I have shared my love for manicotti in the past– stemming from wonderful memories of enjoying it with my college roommate’s large Italian family on Easter Sunday.
I have made many versions of spinach manicotti, usually filling store-bought manicotti noodles. Using no-boil lasagna noodles instead was a great “less-hassle” shortcut. They were also chosen to mimic the texture of fresh pasta. It was absolutely true! I will never buy manicotti noodles again. 😉
This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. I replaced one cup of ricotta cheese with an equivalent amount of chopped, steamed spinach seasoned with freshly grated nutmeg. I also used whole milk ricotta instead of part-skim, part-skim mozzarella instead of whole milk mozzarella, coarse salt instead of table salt, and modified the method. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Tomato Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons
- 3 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon optional
- coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
For the Filling & Pasta:
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
- 2 cups
- 4 ounces (about 2 cups) (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 16 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s)
- Steam the baby spinach until wilted. (I did this on the stove top.)
- Let the spinach cool slightly, then use a potato ricer to remove excess liquid. Coarsely chop. (You should have about 1 cup.) Season with salt and freshly ground nutmeg. Set aside.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Make the Sauce: Pulse 1 can tomatoes with their juice in food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining can tomatoes.
- Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in basil; adjust seasoning with salt. Set aside.
- Make the Filling: Combine the chopped spinach, ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl; set aside.
- To Assemble: Pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. (I used a pyrex dish.) Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 to 6 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking.
- Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels. Do not use paper towels because the noodles may stick. (I used flour sack towels.)
- If using the same dish to bake the manicotti, drain the water and dry the dish. (I used a ceramic baking dish to bake the manicotti instead of using the pyrex dish.)
- Place the preferred baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce.
- Using a large cookie scoop or a soup spoon, spread 3 to 4 tablespoons of the spinach-cheese filling mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed.
- Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down.
- Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered. (It seems like a lot of liquid but it’s necessary for the no-boil noodles to cook properly.)
- To Bake: Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil.
- Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element).
- Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Return to the oven on the adjusted oven rack; bake for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.
- Set the oven to broil.
- Broil until cheese is lightly brown or spotty brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.
Note: The manicotti can be prepared through step 15, covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Posted in Casserole, Greens, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baby spinach, baked, basil, casserole, cheese, dinner, Italian, lasagna, manicotti, mozzarella, no boil, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, ricotta, spinach, steamed, vegetarian
This is another dish with a crispy and delicious parmesan topping. Cheese makes everything better. 🙂 I loved that the base of the dish was an arugula salad. The crunchy roasted almond topping provided a nice contrasting texture too.
I cut the head of cauliflower through the center into two steaks and roasted the additional florets in a formation as close to a plank as well, for presentation purposes. Next time, I may change the orientation of the cauliflower to keep the florets attached to the core.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used French green lentils, added red pepper flakes, and modified the cooking and serving methods. It was a lovely, fresh and healthy light meal. We ate it for dinner, but it would also be wonderful served for a special lunch, of course. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4
- 3 cups of cored and chopped tomatoes, about 3 beefsteak tomatoes (I used 2 beefsteak and 3 romas)
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove for cooking the lentils, if desired
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut through the core into 1-inch planks
- 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French green lentils)
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (3/4 cup)
- 1 bunch arugula, trimmed (I used about 4 oz wild baby arugula)
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- toasted almonds, chopped, for serving (I used sliced almonds)
- Cook the lentils: Place 3/4 to 1 cup of dried lentils with a large smashed (but intact) garlic clove, optional, in a pot covered by 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. (You will have leftover cooked lentils.)
- Toast the almonds: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread almonds in an even layer on a rimmed quarter sheet pan. Toast the almonds, stirring once or twice, about 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove and set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 475°F, with a rack placed in the center and another rack in top position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
- In a bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, capers, large pinch of red pepper flakes, if using, and 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
- Place cauliflower planks on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Brush cauliflower evenly with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast until undersides are golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, flip the cauliflower and push to one side.
- Add tomato mixture to other side of the pan.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees; roast 12 minutes more.
- Stir 1 1/2 cups drained lentils into tomato mixture. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle everything with cheese.
- Switch oven setting to broil, and broil on top rack until cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the roasted cauliflower planks over lentils and arugula salad, sprinkled with toasted almonds.
Posted in Greens, Quick, Recipes, Salads & Dressings, Vegetarian
Tags: almonds, arugula, brunch, capers, cauliflower, dinner, French lentils, green lentils, healthy, lentils, lunch, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, red wine vinegar, roasted, salad, sheet pan, tomatoes, vegetarian, warm
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I have made this wonderful roasted chicken twice recently. The grated Parmesan forms a crispy and delicious topping on the skin and the meat is very nicely seasoned with fresh rosemary and lemon zest. I served it with roasted potatoes and vegetables on both occasions.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. If roasting vegetables with a short cooking time, such as asparagus, it would be amazing to roast them in some of the pan juices while the chicken is resting. I drizzled my roasted potatoes and other vegetables with the lemony pan juices after they were cooked. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- zest and juice from 1 lemon, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, plus 3 to 4 sprigs
- large pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving, optional
- 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, patted dry
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- parsley, for garnish, optional
- Finely grate the zest from the lemon and place it in a small bowl. (Save the zested lemon for the drippings.)
- Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and red-pepper flakes, if using.
- Season the chicken inside and out with salt mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate uncovered for up to overnight.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. I set my oven to convection roast.
- Place chicken, breast-side up, in a large skillet, sheet pan or roasting pan. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
- Stuff cavity of chicken with rosemary sprigs. Drizzle breast with a little olive oil.
- Roast chicken for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle chicken all over with Parmesan.
- Return pan to the oven and continue roasting until bird’s juices run clear when skin is pierced with a knife and the skin is golden, 25 to 30 minutes longer. (I used an oven probe and cooked the chicken until the breast reached 165 degrees.)
- Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. (I tented it with aluminum foil.)
- Squeeze juice from the zested lemon, to taste, into the pan drippings and season with more salt and red-pepper flakes if you like.
- Carve and serve with drippings spooned over the meat. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. (I also had extra drippings available at the table.)
Posted in Chicken (Poultry), Recipes
Tags: cast iron skillet, chicken, dinner, easy, lemon, lemon zest, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, red pepper flakes, roast chicken, roasted, rosemary, sheet pan, skillet, whole chicken
This quick weeknight dish was packed with flavor. The seasonings had a great balance too. The original recipe notes that tofu can be substituted for the pork to make a vegetarian version.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Dawn Yanagihara. I reduced the amount of kimchi and increased the amount of garlic. This dish could definitely gobble up more kimchi- I may incorporate the full amount next time. I served it over brown Basmati rice to make a complete meal. Wonderful!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin (can substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups Napa cabbage kimchi, drained, large pieces chopped, with 2 T reserved juice (I used 10.6oz jar of Trader Joe’s kimchi)
- 2 1/2 T soy sauce, divided (I used reduced sodium soy sauce)
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 T grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
- 8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 T mirin
- 1 T toasted sesame oil
- 2 T sesame seeds, toasted
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced
- brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 1 cup rice cooked in 2 cups stock)
- Cut the tenderloin in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise about 1/4-inch thick.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pork, 1 tablespoon of the reserved kimchi juice, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- In a 12 or 14-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil until beginning to smoke. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl.
- In the same pan over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil until beginning to smoke.
- Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, if necessary (I omitted it), and the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Return the pork to the pan with any accumulated juices and cook until the juices evaporate, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add the kimchi, mirin, the remaining 1 tablespoon kimchi juice and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the kimchi is heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the sesame oil, half of the sesame seeds and half of the scallions.
- Transfer to a bowl or platter, over rice, if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.
Posted in Pork, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: Asian, dinner, easy, kimchi, Milk Street, mirin, mushrooms, pork, pork tenderloin, quick, scallions, sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, stir fry, toasted sesame oil, tofu
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This is a variation of one of my favorite Italian restaurant dishes, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. It was fast to prepare and really full-flavored- incorporating anchovies, freshly ground fennel seeds, and lots of garlic. Great.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Jeanne Maguire. I substituted jarred fire-roasted red peppers and brine for Peppadew peppers. I used a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage as well.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
- coarse salt
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound (about 6) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 2/3 sweet (4) and 1/3 hot sausage (2))
- 3 anchovy fillets, minced
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mild Peppadew peppers or fire-roasted red peppers, plus 1 T brine (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
- 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, divided
- 3 T freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Remove the stems from the chard leaves and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Soak in a bowl of water, drain, and set aside.
- Cut the leaves into 3-inch wide ribbons; wash and drain. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Drain, return to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet (with a lid available) over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
- Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small chunks, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 T of the drippings from the pan.
- Add the anchovies, ground fennel seed, and peppers to the skillet and cook over medium, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in the garlic and chard stems, then cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add 1/4 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the chard leaves and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the leaves are wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Scrape the chard mixture into the pot with the pasta. (I added the pasta to the pot with the chard instead!)
- Add the sausage and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir over medium-low until the pasta is heated through, about 1 minute.
- Gradually stir in the Parmesan, then the Peppadew or roasted red pepper brine.
- Taste and season with salt. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.
Posted in Greens, Pasta, Pork, Quick, Recipes
Tags: anchovies, chard, fast, fennel seed, greens, hot Italian pork sausage, Italian, Italian pork sausage, orecchiette, pasta, Peppadew peppers, pork, quick, roasted red peppers, sausage, sweet Italian pork sausage, Swiss chard