I have made this wonderfully cheesy dish a couple of times already- just to get the proportions right. I knew that I had to increase the amount of simple and flavorful sauce after making it the first time.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I lightened the dish by baking the cauliflower after coating it instead of frying it. We ate it over linguini fini with sautéed broccoli rabe on the side. Wonderful!
- 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red Chile flakes, optional
- 3 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 3 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Parmesan rind, optional
- In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
- Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden.
- Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, add the Parmesan rind, if using, and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down.
- Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.
For the Cauliflower & To Finish the Dish:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups panko or plain unseasoned bread crumbs
- Kosher salt, as needed
- freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 1 large or 2 small/medium heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets (I used 1 small and 1 medium)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
- linguine fini or other pasta, optional, for serving
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. (I used glass pie dishes.) Season each generously with salt and pepper.
- Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then eggs, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
- Place on 2 parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets. Roast coated florets for 22-24 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan over sauce.
- Scatter half cauliflower mixture over the Parmesan and top with half the mozzarella pieces.
- Top with half the remaining sauce, sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan and repeat layering, ending with a final layer of sauce and Parmesan.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes. While the dish is baking, prepare the pasta, if desired.
- Let cool a few minutes before serving. Serve over prepared pasta, as desired.
Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baked, casserole, cauliflower, comfort food, dinner, fresh mozzarella, healthy, Italian, light, mozzarella, panko, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, San Marzano, San Marzano tomatoes, sauce, tomato sauce, tomatoes, vegetarian
This dish could or should be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen called the dish “pizza beans” to make it more appealing to her kids- so I did the same. 😉 She also had the genius suggestion of serving it with garlic bread, giving it even more appeal. Perelman described it as “a mash-up of a giant-beans-in-tomato-sauce dish from Greece and American-style baked ziti, with beans instead of noodles.” Heaven!
My husband and I enjoyed this dish very much. We are already big fans of Greek Gigante beans, by the way. 🙂 With the name “pizza beans,” my kids were expecting pizza, but the flavors in the dish were more like minestrone soup. It may have been more well-received if I had simply called it by the original title, Tomato & Gigante Bean Bake. 😉
This dish would also be wonderful as a cold-weather comfort food casserole. The recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman, via smitten kitchen.com. I used a pressure cooker to cook the dried beans, incorporated the pressure cooker bean liquid as well as beet greens, and increased the amount of garlic. I plan to make it again in the winter and give it a different title. I’m sure it will be more well-received. It will be served with garlic bread, of course.
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large or 2 regular carrots, diced
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white or red wine, optional
- 4 ounces (115 grams) curly kale leaves, beet greens, and/or mixed baby greens, coarsely chopped
- 2 1/4 cups (550 grams) crushed tomatoes (28-ounce or 800-gram can minus 1 cup; reserve the rest for another use)
- 1 pound (455 grams) giant white beans such as Italian fagioli corona, Greek gigante/gigandes, Royal Corona, or large lima beans
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) vegetable broth or pressure cooker bean liquid, as needed
- 1/2 pound (225 grams) mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 1/3 cup (35 grams) grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons (5 grams) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish, optional
- garlic bread, for serving, optional
- To use a Pressure Cooker to “Soak” the Beans: Place 12 cups of water, 3 tsp of coarse salt and the dried beans in a pressure cooker. Raise to high pressure (2nd ring) for 2 minutes. Release pressure using the natural (water) method. Drain the beans.
- Cook the Beans in a Pressure Cooker: Place the drained beans with 9 cups of fresh water in the pressure cooker. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Cook on low (1st ring) for 3 minutes. Release pressure using the natural (water) method. Drain the beans reserving the bean liquid.
- Heat the oven to 475 degrees, preferably on convection.
- In a 2 1/2-to-3-quart (ideally oven-safe) deep sauté pan, braiser, or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sautéing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the kale/greens, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth/bean liquid, 1/4 cup at a time.
- Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.
- If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish.
- Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper color, you can run it under the broiler.
- Finish with parsley, if desired. Serve with garlic bread.
Posted in Casserole, Pressure Cooker, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: beans, beet greens, casserole, dinner, fagioli, gigante beans, Greek, greens, Italian, kale, kid-friendly dinner, legumes, lima beans, mozzarella, parmesan, pressure cooker, royal corona, Smitten Kitchen
I must confess that we’ve eaten these delicious sandwiches on a couple of occasions already. They are a fabulous variation of the more common vegetarian alternative “parm” sandwich, eggplant parmesan. Worth using the oven in the summer! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Meatless Sheet Pan Suppers: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven by Raquel Pelzel. I served them with both challah and potato rolls, on different occasions. The original recipe recommends sub rolls. I modified the proportions, used part-skim mozzarella, and substituted fontina for the provolone cheese. Fabulous!
Yield: 4 sandwiches
- 8 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp plus a pinch of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup grated low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup grated fontina or provolone cheese
- 6 T finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 4 large or 6 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce with Barolo Wine), or more, as desired
- 4 rolls, such as challah, potato, or sub rolls
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Combine the olive oil and garlic in a microwave safe bowl, and warm in the microwave at high power until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds.
- Pour 3 T garlic oil into a small bowl and add the panko bread crumbs and a pinch of kosher salt. Rub together with your fingers to combine and set aside, reserving the remaining garlic oil. (Add up to an additional tablespoon of garlic oil, as needed.)
- In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, fontina (or provolone), and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses.
- Place the mushrooms in a medium-sized bowl and toss with 2 T garlic oil and the remaining 1 tsp kosher salt.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan and roast until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Do not flip them. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
- Line a second sheet pan with aluminum foil (or the same pan if it is cool enough to handle). Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the broiler to high.
- Open the rolls and lightly brush the interior of each with some of the remaining garlic oil.
- Place the rolls, face up, on the prepared sheet pan and broil until the bread is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully! Remove the rolls from the oven, keeping the broiler on, and divide the tops of the rolls among 4 plates. Leave the bottom of the rolls on the sheet pan.
- Arrange the mushrooms over the bottom halves of the rolls and top each with 2 (or more) T marinara, spreading it out a bit.
- Divide the cheese over each mound of vegetables and return the sheet pan to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted, 1 to 3 minutes, watching carefully.
- Sprinkle the reserved panko bread crumbs evenly over the cheese and return to the broiler until the crumbs are golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer each portion to a plate and top with reserved roll top. Serve hot.
Posted in Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: dinner, fast, fontina, Italian, marinara, mozzarella, mushrooms, panko, parm, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, portobello, portobello mushrooms, provolone, rolls, sandwiches, sheet pan, sub, vegetarian
I realize that many people avoid using the oven in warm weather, but I have a couple of quick sheet pan meals that make using the oven completely worth the extra summer heat.
In this dish, the pasta even cooks in the oven! It was super creamy as a result. The roasted lemon added incredible brightness. This recipe is from Meatless Sheet Pan Suppers: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven by Raquel Pelzel. The cheese can be omitted for a vegan version. Delicious!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium-size lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed
- 3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 16 oz orzo pasta
- 3 3/4 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly torn by hand
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place a sheet pan on the rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Place the tomatoes, lemon, garlic, 1 tsp salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and the olive oil in a medium-size bowl and toss to combine.
- Carefully turn the tomato mixture out onto the heated sheet pan, spread it in an even layer, and roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and stir the vermouth into the tomato mixture.
- Using a spatula, press down on the tomatoes and lemon slices to extract their juices.
- Stir in the orzo.
- Pull the oven rack partway out of the oven and place the sheet pan on it. Carefully pour the boiling water into the orzo, stirring to combine and distribute evenly.
- Wearing oven mitts, cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil (you may need 2 sheets), crimping it tightly around the edges to seal. Bake the pasta for 15 minutes.
- Uncover the pan, add the remaining 1 tsp salt, stir, and cook, uncovered, to allow the juices to thicken and any partially cooked pasta from the top layer to absorb more liquid, about 5 minutes more.
- Preheat the broiler to high.
- Stir most of the basil into the pasta, then scatter the mozzarella cheese over the top. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melted and golden, 3 to 5 minutes more. Watch carefully!
- Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle the remaining basil over the top just before serving.
Posted in Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: basil, dinner, fast, grape tomatoes, lemon, meyer lemon, mozzarella, orzo, Parmigiano Reggiano, sheet pan, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian, vermouth, white wine
My food blog friend Sally @Bewitching Kitchen inspired me to make this lighter version of classic eggplant parmigiana. The eggplant is breaded but oven-baked instead of fried. It was quite delicious. 🙂
I served the cheesy eggplant over pasta with sauce, per my husband’s request, but it really wasn’t necessary. We ate it with spicy and garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe and roasted asparagus on the side. I used my new favorite jarred sauce, Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara Sauce with Barolo Wine, as a shortcut. This recipe was adapted from The Kitchen, contributed by Jeff Mauro, via Bewitching Kitchen.com. Great!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 medium to large eggplant
- 2 eggs, beaten with a teaspoon of water
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 24 ounces jarred tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce with Barolo Wine)
- slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 pound of prepared pasta, for serving, as desired (I used Capunti pasta)
- Heat a rimmed baking sheet – empty – in a very hot oven, 450 F to 500 F, preferably on convection.
- While the baking sheet is heating, peel the eggplant, cut crosswise in 1/2 inch slices. Place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- Put the eggs, water, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in another bowl next to it.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the egg wash, but allow just one side to get wet with the mixture.
- Next, dip it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat, and carefully place on a rack with the crumb side up.
- Make sure you have the tomato sauce warmed up and ready to go, and the cheese slices also nearby.
- Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and drizzle the olive oil to coat the hot surface.
- Working quickly, add the eggplant slices with the crumb-coated side down. It will stick to the oil and start to get pretty hot right away.
- Add the tomato sauce on top, cover with cheese, and place in the oven, reducing the temperature to 375 F, preferably on convection.
- Cook for 20 to 25+ minutes. When the cheese is starting to get golden brown at the edges, the eggplant will be done. (Additional sauce can be added on top of the cheese halfway through the cooking process, if desired.)
- Serve immediately with your favorite side dish.
Two Years Ago: Oaxacan Pork Picadillo Tacos
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Posted in About thebrookcook, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baked, cheese, dinner, eggplant, eggplant parm, eggplant parmesan, fresh mozzarella, Italian, light, marinara, mozzarella, oven baked, panko, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, sheet pan, vegetarian
I have a couple family friendly comfort food pasta casseroles to share. In my house, this type of dish always seems to be the perfect meal in cold weather.
We recently enjoyed this one on a snowy evening- eating by candlelight. I thanked my lucky stars that it had finished baking before our power went out… hence the candlelight! 😉
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I used diced tomatoes and substituted fontina for provolone. I suppose half and half could be substituted for some (or all) of the heavy cream, but I went for the full indulgence on this (dark and cold) occasion.
1 pound pasta, such as medium shell or tube pasta (I used Capunti pasta)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
4 ounces fontina, coarsely grated
2 ounces extra sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated
1½ cups heavy cream
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
room-temperature butter or nonstick cooking oil spray (for pan)
- fresh herbs such as thyme, basil, or parsley, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until about halfway cooked (it needs to be very firm at this stage so that it doesn’t overcook when baked). Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
Combine mozzarella, fontina, cheddar, Parmesan, cream, diced tomatoes, and reserved ½ cup pasta cooking liquid in a large bowl; mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to coat.
Grease a 3-qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish with butter or cooking oil spray.
Scrape in pasta mixture and spread out into an even layer.
Cover dish tightly with foil and bake pasta until hot throughout and steaming when foil is lifted, 20–25 minutes.
Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425◦, preferably on convection.
Continue to bake pasta until sauce is bubbling and top is browned and crunchy in spots, 20–30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, as desired.
Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: basil, Capunti, casserole, cauliflower, cheddar, fontina, Italian, kid friendly, kid-friendly dinner, macaroni and cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiani, parsley, pasta, sharp cheddar cheese, thyme, tomatoes, vegetarian