Primi Piatti-Pasta e Riso (First Course-Pasta and Rice)

MOM’S MANICOTTI

These homemade manicotti are soft, creamy and delicious. The crepes are not difficult to make…expect to discard the first couple of crepes while the skillet comes to temperature. The filling can also be changed to create different dishes.

Ingredients:
Crepe Batter:
2 Eggs
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Flour, Sifted
¼ Tsp. Salt & ¼ Tsp. Butter
Filling:
1 Container Ricotta (3 lbs)
3 Egg Yolks
2 Tbsp. Parsley
1 lb. Mozzarella, Shredded
½ Tsp. Salt & ¼ Tsp. Pepper
Topping:
Tomato Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Grated & Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Directions:
In a blender, combine crepe batter ingredients. When the batter is ready, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add approx. ½ cup of the batter to the skillet and swirl around so that the batter evenly and thinly coats the bottom. Cook for about 30 seconds and flip over. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a plate. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients and spoon about 2 Tbsp. of mixture into the center of the cooked manicotti crepe. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking pan and place filled manicotti seam side down. Top with additional tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and/or shredded mozzarella. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 25-30 minutes.

manicotti

GNOCCHI WITH PARMESAN CREAM SAUCE

This dish is extremely flavorful. The gnocchi is soft and really absorbs the delicious flavors of the parmesan cream sauce, the sautéed pancetta and the caramelized vegetables. You will enjoy this dish!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 oz. Pancetta, Chopped
1 Cup Onion, Chopped
1 Cup Mushrooms, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Bunch Broccolini
1 Cup Light Cream
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to Taste
16 oz. Gnocchi

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped pancetta and sauté for approx. 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms and sauté for approx. 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped garlic and continue to sauté for several minutes-until the vegetables look golden brown and begin to caramelize. Add the broccolini and sauté for approx. 5 minutes, until the broccolini has softened. Add salt to taste. Add the light cream and parmesan cheese and mix well. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to package instructions and add the cooked gnocchi to the parmesan cream sauce mixture. Toss to coat and serve with additional parmesan cheese as garnish.

077

TORTELLINI ALFREDO WITH PROSCIUTTO AND PEAS

Whenever I host a dinner party or holiday gathering, this dish is always included on the menu. I tend to eliminate the prosciutto so I can offer a vegetarian option. I always make this a day in advance, which allows the tortellini to plump up and absorb the cream.

Ingredients:
12 oz. Cheese Tortellini
2 Tbsp. Butter
¼ lb. Prosciutto, diced
1 Cup Heavy Cream
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
½ Cup Frozen Peas, thawed
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. While tortellini is cooking, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the diced prosciutto. Cook for approx. 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for approx. 5 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese and peas. Before draining the pasta, reserve about ¼ cup of the cooking water. Add the cooking liquid and drained tortellini to the cream mixture in the sauté pan. Mix well to combine the flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra parmesan cheese.

061

PENNE VODKA (see Blog for detailed instructions)

Penne Vodka is one of my daughter’s favorite dishes. There are many different versions of this recipe, and we have tried most variations. The recipe below has been modified to include our favorite ingredients. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Penne Pasta
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ Cup Onion, Minced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
¼ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Vodka
1 28-oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tsp. Salt & 1 Tsp. Pepper
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped (Optional)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (approx. 8-10 minutes for al dente pasta). Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. In a separate saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the minced onion and sauté for approx. 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for approx. 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Return the saucepan to medium heat and simmer for approx. 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese and basil, if desired. Add the pasta to the sauce mixture and combine. Add the reserved cooking water if needed. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and basil.

penne vodka

PENNE WITH BEEF BRACIOLE SAUCE (see Blog for detailed instructions)

I made this penne dish with my beef braciole, and was delighted with the deep flavors that developed from the braciole sauce. The long cooking time and the red wine incorporated in the sauce creates tremendous flavor. Cook the pasta to the al dente stage and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Add freshly shredded parmesan cheese for the best flavor.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Penne Pasta
3 Cups Beef Braciole Sauce (see Beef Braciole Recipe)
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package instructions to the al dente stage (approx. 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, warm the beef braciole sauce. Add the drained pasta to the braciole sauce and cook for approx. 2 minutes, until the penne has cooked through and the sauce has adhered to the pasta. Remove from the heat and add the shredded parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

penne

SPAGHETTI WITH GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL

This is a very easy dish to make, requiring few ingredients. It’s a perfect dish for
a quick weeknight meal, and is generally simple enough to appeal to the kids!

Ingredients:
1 lb. Spaghetti or Linguini
4 Cloves of Garlic, Sliced
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Tsp. Salt
½ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
2 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped or Fresh Basil, Chopped (Garnish)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (approx. 8-10 minutes for al dente pasta). While the pasta cooks, combine the garlic, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes in a large sauté pan over low heat, stirring until the garlic becomes light brown, approx. 3 minutes. Before draining the pasta, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the cooking liquid and drained pasta to the garlic mixture in the sauté pan. Mix well to combine the flavors. Add the chopped parsley and top with the grated parmesan cheese.

spag w garlic and olive oil

SPAGHETTI WITH EGGPLANT, MUSHROOMS & RICOTTA SALATA

I created this spaghetti dish with the ingredients I had in my refrigerator this morning. The pasta is delicious, and the vegetables and cheese really make this a savory dish. Feel free to modify based upon your favorite ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Spaghetti or Linguini
4 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ Eggplant, Diced
2 Tbsp. Pesto Sauce (prepared or see recipe in sauce section)
6 Button Mushrooms, Chopped
¼ Tsp. Salt
½ Cup Ricotta Salata, Crumbled
2 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped or Fresh Basil, Chopped (Garnish)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (approx. 8-10 minutes for al dente pasta). While the pasta cooks, combine the garlic, and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat, stirring until the garlic becomes light brown, approx. 2 minutes. Add the diced eggplant and cook until the eggplant is golden brown, approx. 4 minutes. Add the pesto sauce, stir, then remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside. To the same sauté pan, add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and add the chopped mushrooms. Saute until golden brown, approx. 3 minutes. Add the eggplant mixture back to the sauté pan and combine flavors. Before draining the pasta, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the cooking liquid and drained pasta to the vegetable mixture in the sauté pan. Mix well to combine the flavors. Add the crumbled ricotta salata and the fresh herbs. Serve warm.

048

PASTA WITH SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI BEAN SAUCE (see Blog for detailed instructions)

I made this sauce recently for both shell pasta and for a homemade gnocchi. The taste of the delicious sausage, paired with the creaminess of the cannellini beans was divine. It was so easy to make and really worth the effort!

Ingredients:
1 lb. Shell Pasta (Medium)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ lb. Sweet Italian Pork Sausage, Casing Removed & Crumbled
½ lb. Hot Italian Pork Sausage, Casing Removed & Crumbled
1 Container Fresh Baby Spinach, Cleaned (approx. 5-6 oz.)
½ Cup Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced
1-15.5oz. Can Cannellini Beans
1 Cup Beef Broth
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese,

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (approx. 8-10 minutes). While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the crumbled sausage and cook for 6 minutes, until cooked through. Add the fresh spinach, roasted peppers and cannellini beans to the sauté pan. Sauté for approx. 2-3 minutes, until the flavors have combined. Add the beef broth and cook for approx. 2 minutes, until heated through. When ready, drain the pasta and add to the sausage and bean mixture. Stir well to combine and heat through. Remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan cheese. Taste and season as desired.

072

DAD’S LINGUINI WITH RED CLAM SAUCE

We have enjoyed this dish for years, especially since the clams are readily accessible in my parent’s backyard (the bay of North Wildwood). We have all taken our turns “clamming” and have fond memories of returning to the house so Dad can prepare this delicious meal.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Linguini
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
32 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
18 Small Clams, Scrubbed Well
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
5 Basil Leaves

Directions:
Boil the linguini in salted water according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, brown the garlic in olive oil over medium heat for approx. 2 minutes (do not burn). Add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and sauté for approx. 5 minutes. Wash the clams thoroughly and add to tomato mixture in pan. Cover the sauté pan until clams open (approx. 8-10 minutes). Remove clams, discarding any that did not open. Add remaining crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and fresh basil, along with two cans of water (using tomato paste can). After sauce bubbles, return clams to pan. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. When linguini is cooked al dente, drain and add to clam mixture until all flavors are combined and linguini is cooked through.

clam

FETTUCCINE WITH PESTO SHRIMP

This dish is delicious and easy to make for a quick weeknight meal. You’ll be surprised at the deep flavors developed from the pesto and fresh fettuccine pasta.

Ingredients:
½ lb. Fresh Spinach Fettuccine Pasta
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ Cup Zucchini, Chopped
½ lb. Large, Peeled and Deveined Shrimp
Salt & Pepper to Taste
½ Cup Pesto Sauce (Premade or See Recipe)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the shrimp are cooked through, approx. 4 minutes. Meanwhile, add the fresh fettuccine pasta to the boiling water, and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Before draining, remove ¼ cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water and the cooked fettuccine to the zucchini mixture and sauté for approx. 1 minute. Add the pesto sauce and sauté to combine flavors. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

SHRIMP

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