Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Red Pepper, Ham & Parmesan – – Ready in 20 Minutes!!

Quick, Easy and Good!!

If you’ve been following My Yellow Farmhouse for a while, you know I call these types of recipes Quick, Easy and Good. And you may also know – at times when the ‘cupboard is bare’ – I make up with a recipe using whatever I happen to have in the house.

And – this is one of those recipes!!  Looking through my ‘almost empty fridge’ I scored some ham, a red pepper and a hunk of Parmesan cheese – plus a bag of refrigerated KANA brand Spinach & Ricotta-Filled Ravioli.  With the addition of butter and onion, I had the makings of a quick, delicious meal.

(I like KANA refrigerated pastas.  Buitoni is good as well.)

So, see what you have on hand.  Only have a green pepper… or a bit of leftover green or orange peppers, sliced those up  and throw them in.  Like a lot of onion?  Slice up a bunch.  Want a bit more butter… add it in.  Make this recipe your own.  I’m  just giving you a place to start.     PS  I highly recommend preparing this with ham because it adds  quite a bit of flavor to the dish.       ; o )

 

INGREDIENTS

Recipe feeds two, but is easily doubled!

  • One (10 oz.) package Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli, cooked according to package directions   ++ RANA cooks in 4 – 5 minutes!!
  • 2 Tb. – 3 Tb. butter
  • sliced red pepper.. about half a pepper
  • sliced onion..about half a large onion
  • 1 cup ham, cut into short, rather thin slices    ++ If you are going to use deli ham, have it sliced thicker than for sandwiches.
  • about a 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese   ++ Invest in a cheese grater.  Freshly grated Parmesan tastes so much better!

While you’re waiting for the ravioli water to boil, slice the red pepper, onion and ham.

Place 2 Tb. – 3 Tb. butter in a large non-stick skillet.  ++ TIP  Add veggies once pan starts to get hot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until veggies are softened.  Add ham, and cook just until heated through. Remove skillet from heat.

Drain cooked ravioli and add to skillet.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix ingredients – and you’ve got dinner.  Enjoy!

COPY - Ricotta and Spanach Ravioli with Red Peppers, Ham and Freshly Grated Parmesan - My Yellow Farmhous
Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Ham, Red Pepper and Parmesan

 

A New Spin on an Old Favorite – Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna with a Light Basil & Bell Pepper Tomato Sauce

Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna  - My Yellow Farmhouse

My son Dan recently dropped by and I told him I’d made a new dish called Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna.  He wanted to try it for himself… and the first words out of his mouth were, “Why did you make so much”?  Hey, I prefer to make A LOT.  It’s just as easy to make a lot as it is too make a little.  And everyone loves leftovers, especially if you have children who seem to eat 18 hours a day.  I guess I’m still thinking like the woman who used to feed twin sons…. plus all their friends.  And now I just feed the neighbors!   ; 0 )

Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna with a Light Basil & Bell Pepper Tomato Sauce is easier, at least to me, than preparing a regular lasagna with lasagna noodles.  And the mushroom ravioli gives this Italian staple a whole new spin.  The tomato sauce has a fresh, light taste and is a cinch to prepare. I used several types of bell pepper, a bit of red onion, two cans of VERY good quality crushed tomatoes, one can of tomato sauce, some roughly chopped basil – plus salt and pepper.  Then I let the sauce simmer for about an hour, which thickened it up perfectly and allowed the flavors to meld.

While the sauce was simmering I mixed the ricotta, parmesan, eggs and fresh Italian parsley, and cooked the mushroom ravioli al dente.  All that was left to do was make the layers, which I thought was a lot of fun.  (Maybe I need to get out more, huh?)

 

A few of my sister-in-laws (I have six) visited Saturday night, when I prepared this lasagna. The wine was flowing and we had a lot of fun.  Due to my broken ankle, one of them had to drain the ravioli and place the lasagna in the oven… And take it out, of course.

I hope you like this Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna with a Light Basil & Bell Pepper Tomato Sauce as much as we did.  Enjoy!

Follow this link to -‘Not Your Grandmother’s’ Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini – Prepared with Tortellini Instead of Spaghetti !

larger-photo-chicken-tetrazzini-with-a-twist-tortellini-instead-of-spaghetti

small red heart

Oven at 425 degrees F  for 45 minutes           13″ x 10″ deep casserole dish

Do NOT Cover Lasagna with Foil !    

Allow lasagna to stand for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven.

     INGREDIENTS

Sauce

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ cup each; chopped red pepper, chopped green pepper, chopped orange pepper ++ Or any combination – to equal  1 1/2 cups.
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes ++  I used Sclafani brand for the first time & was very impressed with the quality.
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce  ++  I used Hunts – Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • 2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ground fresh pepper – to taste

Filling

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 (16 oz.) package shredded Mozzarella  ++ DIVIDED  Mix 2 1/2 cups into the ricotta mixture – the rest will be sprinkled top. 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (a.k.a. Italian parsley)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. black pepper

Ravioli

  • 3 packages (9 0z.) fresh mushroom-stuffed ravioli, cooked according to package directions    ++ I used Buitoni Riserva Pasta Agnolotti Wild Mushroom, located in the refrigerator aisle of your grocery store.
  • 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbs. olive oil in water
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil… to mix with cooked ravioli.  Helps it not to stick. (I forgot to do this…)

     METHOD

Add 1 Tbs. olive oil to a large stock pot or Dutch Oven.  Add ½ cup each; chopped red pepper, chopped green pepper, chopped orange pepper ++ Any combination – to equal  11/2 cups and ¾ cup chopped red onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until peppers and onion begin to soften. (They’ll cook more in the oven.)

Add 2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce, 2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh basil, 1 tsp tsp. salt and ground fresh pepper, to taste.  Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, for one hour. Do NOT cover pan.  Sauce will reduce by about 1/3.

I highly  recommend using a splatter guard!

splatter guard

While sauce is simmering, prepare ricotta/mozzarella mixture.  In a medium bowl mix 4 cups (32 ounces) ricotta cheese, 2 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (a.k.a. Italian parsley), 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. black pepper.  Set aside.

Ravioli

Cook al dente, according to package directions.  Drain well and mix with 2 Tbs. olive oil so the ravioli won’t stick together.  Set aside.

Putting It All Together    ++  See photos below !

In a large casserole – or 13″ x 10″ pan – spread about 1  cups tomato sauce.  Layer about 14 mushroom ravioli on top, depending upon the size of the ravioli.  Spread HALF the ricotta/mozzarella mixture on top of ravioli.  Cover with more tomato sauce. Add your second layer of ravioli, other half of ricotta/mozzarella mixture and your final layer of ravioli.  Spread remaining tomato sauce on top.

At this time you can sprinkle on the remaining shredded mozzarella BUT I suggest you wait until the lasagna has been cooking for about 25 minutes, then sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella because this helps the mozzarella to not overcook and turn brown.  Enjoy!

Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna - My Yellow Farmhouse

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone – Quick, Easy & Good ! (Uses pre-rolled and pre-formed pizza dough!!)

10 - Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperon Calzone

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone is loaded with several types of Italian cheeses, roasted red peppers and pepperoni.  And better yet, its prepared with pizza dough found in the refrigerator section of your market and jarred roasted red peppers, which makes this calzone ‘Quick, Easy and Good’!

There is a bit of chopping, and about two seconds spent mixing the two eggs with a few spices and the Italian five-cheese mix, then it’s simply a matter of layering the ingredients on one half of the pizza dough, folding up the calzone and baking it.

INGREDIENTS              

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup Italian five-cheese mix –  OR – 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1/8 tsp. Italian seasonings
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

++  I used ‘Wewalka Classic Crust’. The dough is rolled in a layer of parchment, so you don’t have to worry about cutting a piece of parchment paper.  

 ++  If you can’t find ‘Wewalka’, use a tubed refrigerated pizza dough. Of course, you could make your own pizza dough but the cooking times may be slightly different.  (You will need a 9″ x 12″ rectangle.)    

  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred fire-roasted red peppers- sliced and drained
  • 9 slices provolone cheese

TIPS

I placed the pizza dough on the baking sheet when I first began preparing the topping ingredients, but found the dough had dried out a bit on the edges.  I suggest placing the pizza dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet a few minutes before you’re ready to put on the toppings.  ++ If the dough does become dry on the edges, it won’t hold together.  Just moisten one of the edges with a bit of water using your fingers and it’ll hold just fine!

As I mentioned above, I used the new pizza dough which comes rolled in parchment paper.  If you buy another type of prepared dough, be sure to line your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  You’ll be glad you did because the parchment paper will contain any drips and keep the calzone from sticking.

METHOD      Oven at 400F        Bake for a total of 30 minutes

In a small bowl, briefly beat two eggs.  Mix in 1/8 tsp. Italian seasonings and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Set aside half the egg mixture.  To the other half, add 1 cup shredded Italian five-cheese mix (or 1 cup shredded mozzarella).  ++  You’ll be using half the egg mixture as the first layer of the calzone.  The second half is brushed on top of the uncooked calzone.

Chop 4 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni into strips.  Chop the roasted red pepper into strips.  You should have 1 1/2 cups. Drain in a colander and place strips on a few sheets of paper towels.

On one side of the pizza dough spread  the egg and shredded cheese mixture, being sure to to leave a 1″ border around the edges free of filling. Next place pepperoni strips, followed by the drained, roasted red pepper strips.  And finally add the 9 pieces of provolone.  ++  SEE PHOTOS BELOW   

Fold over the other half of the pizza dough, making sure the edges meet.  Using your fingers, press dough down so both sides stick together – fold edges under.  Using a sharp knife, cut a few vent slits on the top of the calzone.

Bake calzone for only 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with reserved egg mixture.  ++ You don’t have to use every single drop of the remaining egg mixture.

Return calzone to oven and bake until crust is golden – about another 15 minutes.  By this time the filling should be bubbling.  ++  A bit of oil from the pepperoni may bubble out but the parchment paper will catch it.

Allow calzone to rest  5 – 8 minutes, which helps the melted cheeses to set up a bit.  Cut into 12 pieces and – enjoy!!

++  If you chose, you can serve your creation with some marinara dipping sauce.  

Step-by-Step Photos – ‘Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone’

 

Pizza Bread Swirls – with Pepperoni, Red Peppers, Onions and Mozzarella

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Great for dinner, a snack or as appetizers!!  

The days and nights are getting colder and it’s pretty cool right now inside My Yellow Farmhouse, so I simply placed my leftover Pizza Bread Swirls in a zip-lock bag and left them on the counter.  Those of you who, like me, sometimes eat pizza for breakfast will be happy to know these were still soft and delicious the next day.

A new recipe often starts as a small nugget of an idea which percolates in your head until you think, “I’ve Got It.”  Then, as people used to say, ‘The Proof is in the Pudding’ – meaning “What does the final product taste like”?  It’s great pleasure when the final product tastes even more delicious than you had imagined!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 lb. purchased pizza dough     ++ “A Little Help from My Friends” !
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper
  • 4 Tbs. tomato paste  ++  I use ‘Hunts’ with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings  ++  Oregano can be substituted but the flavor won’t be the same
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) sliced pepperoni  — DIVIDED – – 3/4 cup chopped — rest left in slices
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Whole Milk shredded Mozzarella
  • olive oil… to brush on stuffed & rolled bread
  • chopped fresh basil leaves – about 1 Tb. —-  to sprinkle on baked Pizza Bread Swirls

 ++   “How to” photos can be found at the end of the recipe    ++

Preheat oven to 375 F       Bake for 30 – 35 minutes      Yield – 12 Pizza Bread Swirls

Use a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper     

  Method          

  Forming the Pizza Roll 

Remove pizza dough from packaging and place in a large bowl.  Spread 1 Tbs. olive oil on top of dough.  Flip dough over.  Cover with a dish towel (tea towel) and allow dough to come to room temperature, about an hour or so if you have the time.  It’s much, much easier to roll out pizza dough when it’s more elastic and pliable.

Meanwhile prepare filling;  pour 1 Tbs. olive oil in a medium skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are softened.  Add 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings, 4 Tbs. tomato paste with basil, garlic & oregano and 3/4 cup chopped pepperoni.  Cook, stirring, for 4 – 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Sprinkle a bit of flour on a dish towel.  ++ I like to spread the flour around with my hands so most of the surface is covered with flour – the dough sticks less!  Roll out dough until you have a rectangle approximately 12″ wide by 14″ long.   ++ I flip the dough over about half way through the rolling process so both sides are slightly covered in flour and the dough doesn’t stick to the dish cloth.  

Divide onion/red pepper/pepperoni filling approximately in half – spread filling evenly over dough.  Place rest of pepperoni slices evenly over filling.  Sprinkle with 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese and entire (8 oz.) bag shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Beginning at one of the long ends of dough, roll dough towards opposite end.  ++ The roll doesn’t have to be super tight… just tight enough to hold together when you cut it into sections.

  Cutting and Baking the Swirls

Turn roll so seam is on the bottom.  Brush with some olive oil.  Cut roll in half – then cut each half into 5 pieces, which gives you 10 pieces total.  ++  Use a sharp knife and cut slowly with a downward sawing motion.  I did a rather rotten job of cutting the swirls into equal sizes but they were fine!!   ; o )

Using a spatula – or your hands (which I do) – place swirls on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake in at 375(F) for 30 – 35 minutes.  ++ To check if the swirls are done, use a fork & lift up the middle of one.  If looks cooked – they’re ready.  

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh basil.  ++ I highly recommend using some fresh basil – it really adds a whole other level of flavor     Enjoy  !!

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.comPizza Bread Swirls- myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.comPizza Swirl Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com.

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Swirl Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Pizza Bread Swirls - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Gemelli Pasta Bake with Parmesan & Mozzarella and Rustic Italian Bread

++ For my recipe for Rustic Italian Bread – please follow this link – https://myyellowfarmhouse.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/rustic-italian-bread

Rustic Italian Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

A meal featuring saucy/cheesy baked pasta with a warm slice of homemade rustic Italian bread is always a sure winner. This recipe is a snap to make and it can be put together ahead of time – which is always nice, especially when you’re having guests.

In my case, I was at our house in the Pocono Mountains, with plans to leave the next day, when I decided that I’d rather cook up something with whatever was in the refrigerator rather drag it all home. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I love “digging in the fridge” and making “what’s for dinner” using whatever I find. I found a bit of left-over spaghetti sauce that I’d made following ChgoJohn’s recipe for basic meat sauce. (It makes quite a bit, so I’d frozen some). http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2013/01/16/basic-meat-sauce-sugo-di-carne/ I also found some left-over red and green pepper, an onion, some left-over bottled spaghetti sauce – and – digging further, I found a box of  pasta in the cupboard. We had run out of Parmesan, so I ran to the store – while there, I also purchased a bag of shredded Mozzarella.

I often bring my bread machine to the Pocono house, and my grandchildren love both making – and eating – homemade bread. So I decided I’d make – for the very first time – an Italian bread using the bread machine for the dough and then baking the bread in the oven. I’d never made Italian bread before and I was so happy with the results.  In fact, the bread looked so beautiful it almost looked fake!

And – I gotta say – the pasta turned out yummy, though I only ate a small bit ’cause I wanted to freeze both the bread and the pasta for my son and his family when they returned to the Pocono house. And were they ever glad because on their next trip they brought along a bunch of nieces and nephew. From what I was told, the pasta – and especially the bread – were big hits!

Pocono House - view from LodgeView from the fabulous new lodge built by the ‘association’ where we have our home in the Pocono Mountains. I LOVE sitting here – you can bring something to eat, and, better yet… something to drink!   So very peaceful….

gemelli pasta - from frites and fries.comGemelli (pasta), which comes from the Italian word for twin, resembles two strands of pasta twisted together. These small pasta twists keep their shape and hold the flavor of sauce beautifully while retaining a firm “al dente” texture – which makes Gemelli perfect for a baked pasta dish.     (Photo courtesy of Frites and Fries.com)

Ingredients for Gemelli Pasta Bake with Parmesan & Mozzarella

Oven at 350 F

Cook  . . .  covered – for 30 minutes.   Uncover….cook for another 15 minutes

++ If the pasta has been refrigerated, it’ll take a bit longer to cook. (Here’s what I do to tell if it’s hot enough – I put a CLEAN finger in the middle – if it’s hot in the middle, then it’s ready!)

  • olive oil – about 2 Tbs.
  • 1/2 to 3/4 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 – 3/4 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 (24 oz) jars of spaghetti sauce    (I like Bertolli “Tomato & Garlic”.)
  • ++ If you have some left-over sauce with meatballs or sausage, chop up the meatballs/sausage and add to the pasta. Or – you could add some left-over chicken or ground beef.
  •  3 – 4 cups UNCOOKED Gemelli pasta, cooked according to package directions for al dente.
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese PLUS 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top       (I highly recommend you buy freshly grated Parmesan – it just tastes so much better!)
  • 1 bag shredded Mozzarella – DIVIDED
  • salt & pepper to taste

Follow the package instructions for cooking Gemelli pasta al dente. Once cooked, drain  in a colander & rinse to prevent further cooking.  While your pasta is cooking, heat some oil olive in a large skillet, and cook the green pepper, red pepper and onion just until they’re just “crisp tender”. If adding left-over sauce with meatballs etc. – add it now. If adding raw ground beef or chicken, remove the veggies and continue cooking until no longer pink. Reintroduce the veggies and add sauce. Mix well.

Gemelli Pasta Bake - Sauce

Pour your sauce into a big bowl. Add the pasta, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 the bag of shredded Mozzarella & combine.

Gemelli Pasta and Sauce

Pour into a large casserole dish or a 13′ x 9″ pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan and the rest of the bag of shredded Mozzarella.

Gemelli Pasta Bake - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Bake at 350 F – covered – for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes – or until heated through.

If the pasta has been refrigerated, remove it from fridge about 20 minutes before cooking. – it might still take a bit longer go heat up – say 40 minutes covered   &   15 more uncovered.    Enjoy !

Gemelli Pasta Bake - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Stuffed Shells Florentine – Cook in Oven – OR – Outside on Your Grill !

++ These Stuffed Shells Florentine can be cooked outside on a covered grill set at “low” so your kitchen remains nice and cool !!t

The term Florentine, or à la Florentine, refers to any dish which is prepared in the style of the fabulous city of Florence, which resides in the Tuscan region of Italy. Florentine recipes often feature meat, poultry or fish served over a bed of spinach. In this recipe the spinach is, in fact, mixed with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses – plus eggs, fresh parsley and some spices. All this deliciousness becomes the filling for the stuffed shells, over which a quick and easy marina sauce is poured, followed by a grating of either Parmesan or Romano cheese. I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s always been a family favorite, however I decided to change both the filling and the sauce – and I have to say I’m very happy with the results!

I was recently invited to spend a weekend with friends in the beautiful town of Wells, Maine. I had decided Stuffed Shells Florentine would be great to bring because everyone likes them – and this recipe makes a lot! Several of us planned to head north in just one car, so, in order to save space, I prepared the filling and the sauce – and cooked the shells –  in advance and then assembled the final dish the following night.

And, get this, my friend decided she’d cook the stuffed shells on the grill so we wouldn’t heat up her kitchen. I never would’ve thought of that . . .  We took the containers of sauce, the filling and the precooked shells outside and assembled everything on the picnic table. Since there were three of us stuffing the shells, it only took a few minutes.

We sealed the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, and placed it in the grill – which was set to LOW.  Then we enjoyed a drink and just let the Stuffed Shells Florentine simmer away. We were very pleasantly surprised when we checked after a half hour to see the sauce bubbling away, signaling that the shells were thoroughly heated through.

So, now you have two choices –  heat these in either your oven or your  grill.  Enjoy!

++ Cook stuffed shells in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes.

++ Cook stuffed shells in covered grill set on LOW for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 full box of jumbo pasta shells – cooked according to package directions and drained  (We had about five shells for which we didn’t have filling, but they were the ones which had fallen apart, so that worked out well !)
  • 2 jars (24 oz.) prepared tomato sauce  (I like Bertolli – Tomato & Basil)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese (32 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese  – plus extra to sprinkle on top !
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese  –  plus extra to sprinkle on top !
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen (DEFROSTED AND DRAINED!!) spinach (I actually squeeze the defrosted spinach to get out all the excess water.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (a.k.a. Italian parsley)
  • 1 tsp. salt – (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

– – – – –  “A Little Help from My Friends” Marinara Sauce  – – – – –

Place two jars (24 oz.) of marinara sauce into a large saucepan – add 1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine and 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil. Simmer, uncovered, over medium to medium-low heat while you cook the pasta shells and prepare the stuffing.

+ +  I had planned to prepare a meat sauce featured on the blog “From the Bartolini Kitchens”.  I had even purchased the ingredients but ended up “doctoring” a purchased sauce when I realized I was running out of time. (And I was actually very satisfied with the results of my “doctoring”.)  But, if you’d like to make this dish with a traditional Italian meat sauce, take a minute to head over to John’s blog!

http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2013/01/16/basic-meat-sauce-sugo-di-carne/

John's Basic Meat Sauce Recipe

– – – – –  To Prepare the Filling  – – – – –

Stuffed Shells - cheese and spinach 1

In a medium bowl, mix 4 cups ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan (or Romano) cheese , the defrosted and DRAINED spinach, 2 eggs, 1 Tbs.chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

– – – – –  Putting It All Together  – – – – –

Pour about two cups of sauce in the bottom of a 10 x 13 pan – or a large disposable aluminum pan. With a large spoon, spread the sauce out a bit so most of the bottom is covered with sauce – you don’t have to be fussy about it ….

Fill each shell with a heaping soup spoonful of the cheese/spinach mixture.  Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.

Sprinkle some shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmesan. (We ended up using some grated Monterey Jack in place of the grated Parmesan, which added a nice little “kick” of flavor!)

Ready for the Oven or Grill !!  (Cover with aluminum foil.)

Stuffed Shells - uncooked

Cover with aluminum foil. If using oven, set temperature to 350 and cook until heated through – about 35 – 40 minutes.  If using you grill, set dial to LOW and cook until heated through – about 30 minutes. (I put a – freshly washed – finger in the middle to check for doneness. It’s a bit unorthodox – but it works!)

Once the stuffed shells are heated through,  remove the aluminum foil and let the shells sit about five minutes. Of course, if you just can’t wait, then you can skip the “let it sit” part.  Enjoy!

Stuffed Shells Floretine - myellowfarmhouse.com

Penne Mozzarella Bake

Hi There – well, here’s another recipe from the woman who’s in the running for The World’s Worst Procrastinator! I’ve recently been thinking, “Maybe I’ll put these recipes out there – and no one’s gonna ever see them”. Then, I noticed that almost 100 people have “checked out” my little recipe blog so far….even though I have, at this point, so few recipes. If that’s not a motivating factor, then I don’t know what is!!  I’m sending out a great, big THANKS to my first 100 visitors! And I promise, there’ll be lots and lots of delicious recipes “comin’ at ya” from My Yellow Farmhouse!

I made up this recipe recently – and – I gotta say – it’s damn good!! Perhaps it’s the additional depth of flavor due to adding some red wine, and simmering everything together for a bit before assembling and baking this Penne Mozzarella Bake.

Oven at 350 F     Serves 6

  • smaller-sized Penne (macaroni) – measure 3 cups, then cook  “al dente”
  • 1 lb. ground beef – 80% lean
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper – or mixture of red & green
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt with parsley
  • black pepper to taste – about 1/4 tsp.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan – divided in two1/4 cup portions
  • 7 oz. container of sliced fresh mozzarella, drained

In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Remove beef from skillet, taking out most of the fat, but not all. Add the chopped onion and pepper to the skillet; cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Return beef to skillet. Simmer with the chopped onions and peppers for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add spaghetti sauce, spices and red wine.  Lower heat, cover skillet, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you don’t have a big lid, cover with foil.)

Add the cooked Penne to the simmered spaghetti sauce mixture. (If there’s not enough room in the skillet, mix Penne and sauce mixture in a large bowl.)

Place half the Penne/sauce mixture in a 2-quart casserole. Then, in a single layer, place the drained mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover this layer with the rest of the Penne/sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 F – uncovered – for 30 minutes. Pour yourself a nice glass of the red wine left-over from making the sauce – and ENJOY!!