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ENTREES/ Italian/ Pasta/ Vegetarian

Marinara Sauce

This is a simple sauce, so having good ingredients is the key. Good tomatoes and good olive oil are essential.

Marinara Sauce

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By Can't take credit for Marinara Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Probably the easiest sauce to master is marinara. Why? Because there isn't much to master. It's as easy as throwing a few things together in a pan.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil
  • 1 28 can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions

Instructions

1

In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands. Swirl the water in the can to get all the tomato goodness. In a large pan (not a pot), saute the garlic in the olive oil. As soon as it sizzles, add the tomatoes. Add the water from the tomato can and the salt and basil and let it all simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss it all together. Enjoy the simplicity.

Notes

Some people add oregano, but I love the brightness of the basil and the simplicity of this sauce.

ENTREES/ Italian/ Uncategorized

Chick-schetta

A simple summer dish. This is so easy, there really isn’t even a recipe, but here goes….

Chick-schetta

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I am purposefully not giving amounts— this should be a low stress dish to make.

Ingredients

  • boneless chicken breasts (either sliced thin or pounded out)
  • herbs de provence
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped (see note)
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bunch blue kale, thick ribs removed, chopped and sauteed in olive oil until soft
  • 1 package gnocchi (fresh from the refrigerator section of you super market) sauteed according to package.

Instructions

1

Chop the tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped basil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and stir to combine. Set aside.

2

Coat the chicken with olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and herbs de provence.

3

Grill on both sides until cooked through. (You can also just saute them or use a grill pan on the stove)

4

Place the sauteed kale on a platter. Arrange the chicken on top of the kale and then top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle a touch of balsamic reduction on top. Serve with the gnocchi.

5

Dinner is served!

Notes

I didn't give amounts because you can add as much garlic, basil etc, as you like. I would estimate that you will need at least one tomato per serving. I made 3 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 6 pieces and I had about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.

ENTREES/ Italian/ Vegetarian

Spinach & Artichoke Ravioli Bake

Spinach and artichoke ravioli bake

Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli Bake

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Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30

All I can say is a child could make this. No offense to the kids.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
  • 2 15 ounce cans artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 20-ounce bag frozen spinach and ricotta ravioli (I had a half bag open so I actually used a bag and half and I added just a little more milk and cheese)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the mozzarella, the Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, milk, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Mix in the artichokes and spinach.

3

In a 9 x 13” baking dish, spoon a little of the spinach and artichoke mixture and drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of the pan. Place half of the ravioli into the baking dish. Next, place half of the remaining mixture over the ravioli and spread it around. Place the rest of the ravioli on top and cover with the remaining mixture. Sprinkle the top with the reserved mozzarella cheese.

4

Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until it's all melty and bubbling.

Notes

You can use fresh sautéed spinach if you have it handy.

ENTREES/ Italian/ Uncategorized

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I made this for the hubby and myself on a night when we just felt like renting a movie and staying in. It was a perfect choice for that sort of evening. We ate this as our dinner, but you could easily serve it as an impressive first course. Also, think of this recipe as more of a suggestion. You can stuff these with pretty much anything you find appealing. Let your creative juices flow.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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By Mrs. Kossenfloffer Serves: 3-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems and gills removed
  • 4 Italian sausages, removed from casings (I used sweet Italian chicken sausages)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or a little wine or even just water)
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 6-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 375.

2

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the mushrooms stem side down and the tomatoes on the sheet. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off some of their water. Remove from oven and set aside.

3

In a large pan, saute the sausage in olive oil until cooked through. Add the onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the panko over the top and stir to combine. Add the stock or wine or water just to moisten the mixture a bit. This just makes it easier to stuff the mushrooms. Add a few pepper flakes and parsley, mix and taste for seasoning. (If you let the mixture cool a bit, you can moisten it with a lightly beaten egg too — that never hurt anything.)

4

Flip the mushrooms over so they are gills side up. Place a generous mound of the filling on each cap. Top with a sprinkling of both cheeses. Place the mushrooms, along with the tomatoes, back in the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and top with basil and maybe some more parsley. If you like, serve with red sauce.