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
This dish was the first-runner up for Valentine’s Day dinner. It was a Valentine’s Day bonus that I made it in addition to our celebratory biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie. Right? Why choose when you can have both? 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey. I increased the amount of vegetables, modified the baking temperature, and incorporated the garlic used to make the garlic oil. We could eat some sort of cheesy, veggie pasta every night of the week. Great!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Béchamel:
- 5 T (70 g) unsalted butter
- 2 T (20 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (650 g) whole milk
- 1/4 tsp (2 g) fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp (1 g) freshly grated nutmeg
For the Pasta:
- 2 T (24 g) coarse salt
- 1 pound (454 g) penne or rigatoni
- 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound), large stems removed, cut into 1-inch ribbons
- 1 bunch thin asparagus (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 T (30 g) extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 batch béchamel, about 3 cups (recipe above)
- 1 1/2 cups (130 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
To Make the Béchamel:
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is a light butterscotch color, about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously to keep lumps from forming.
- Continue to whisk and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and has the consistency of heavy cream.
- Pour the sauce into a bowl to cool.
To Finish the Dish:
- Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, add the salt, and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente.
- Drain the pasta well and spread it out over the surface of a rimmed baking sheet.
- Heat the oven to 475, preferably on convection.
- Steam the chard and asparagus for 4 minutes, or until tender. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so, until it begins to sizzle. Lower the heat and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Brush the inside of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with some of the garlic oil.
- In the pot that was used to cook the pasta, combine the cooled pasta, the garlic oil (including the garlic, if desired), the béchamel, half of the grated cheese, the steamed asparagus and chard. Stir until well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta begins to brown on top.
One Year Ago: Flattened Chicken Thighs with Roasted Lemon Slices
Two Years Ago: Meera Sodha’s Chicken Curry
Four Years Ago:
Five Years Ago:
Posted in Casserole, Greens, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: al forno, asparagus, bechamel sauce, casserole, chard, dinner, nutmeg, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, penne, rigatoni, Sullivan Street, Swiss chard, vegetarian
My husband is not partial to brothy soups. Making this one required some convincing, but I was able to win him over by the inclusion of pasta and potatoes. By the way, he loved it. 🙂
This wonderful soup recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I increased the onions, garlic, and kale, and added fresh lemon juice. I also used my homemade turkey stock. We ate it with a green salad, of course, and sliced sourdough baguette. It was surprisingly filling! Absolutely delicious too.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish
- 2 cups+ diced onion (I used 1 1/2 large onions)
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced fennel or celery
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large thyme sprig or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- parmesan rind, optional
- 3 quarts/12 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used 2 quarts of homemade turkey stock and 1 quart of chicken stock)
- 2 pounds medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or russets, peeled (if desired) and cut in 1-inch chunks (I skipped peeling the potatoes)
- 6 to 8 ounces kale or chard, stems removed, leaves sliced across into 1/2-inch ribbons (about 6-7 cups total)
- ½ pound dried pennette, orecchiette or other small pasta
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or marjoram, for garnish
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, carrot and fennel, stir, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to prevent vegetables from browning or scorching.
- Stir in bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic, paprika tomato paste, and parmesan rind (if using), and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Stir in kale and pasta and simmer another 10 minutes, or until greens are well cooked and pasta is done. (Soup can be made up to this point, without the pasta, cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
- Add the fresh lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
- Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil, if desired. Pass extra Parmesan at the table.
Note: If making ahead of time, do not add the pasta until reheating.
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Posted in Greens, Quick, Recipes, Soups, Stews, & Chowders, Vegetarian
Tags: chard, dinner, escarole, Italian, kale, orecchiette, paprika, parmesan, pasta, potatoes, rosemary, russet potatoes, soup, thyme, vegetarian, yukon gold potatoes
I have two versions of one of my favorite classic Italian dishes to share. This is the broccoli-loaded “healthier” version.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Adam Rapoport. I increased the amount of broccoli, modified the proportions, and used sweet Italian sausage. It was a quick and tasty weeknight meal.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of broccoli florets
- coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 12 to 14 ounces fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 3-4 links), casings removed
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 14 to 16 ounces orecchiette
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
- Cook broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander and let cool (save pot of water for cooking pasta).
- Chop broccoli into small pieces; set aside.
- Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, shaking skillet occasionally, until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes.
- Add sausage and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and break up meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage, until it is browned and cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
- Bring reserved pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 9 minutes (set a timer for 3 minutes less than the package instructions; it will cook more in the skillet).
- Meanwhile, ladle about ½ cup pasta cooking liquid from pot into skillet with sausage and add blanched broccoli. Keep mixture at a low simmer, stirring often and mashing with spoon to break up sausage even more, until pasta is finished cooking.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer pasta to skillet, then ladle in ½ cup pasta water. Cook, stirring, until pasta absorbs most of the liquid and is just al dente, about 4 minutes.
- Add butter and stir until melted, then transfer pasta to a large bowl.
- Gradually add 1½ oz. Parmesan, tossing constantly until you have a glossy, emulsified sauce.
- Serve pasta topped with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes and a drizzle of oil.
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Posted in Pasta, Pork, Quick, Recipes
Tags: bolognese, broccoli, dinner, Italian, orecchiette, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, pork, quick, sausage, sweet Italian pork sausage
I have a few broccoli pasta recipes to share. I’m always buying the 3 pound bag of broccoli florets at Costco when I’m on a break from my CSA vegetables. 😉
This first dish is one of the Most Popular Recipes of 2017 from New York Times Cooking. I’m surprised that I didn’t see it when it was first published- especially because it’s a sheet pan dish! Although it has the ingredients typical of a pasta casserole, more of the broccoli and toppings get crispy by the increased surface area exposed to direct heat by cooking it on a sheet pan.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the amount of broccoli and used Gigli pasta. We ate it with a huge green salad. Quick, easy, and tasty. It would be even more incredible if it was topped with fresh ricotta. Next time!
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 ½ pounds broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 12 ounces chiocciole, penne, or other tube-shaped pasta (I used Gigli pasta)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- finely grated zest from 1 large lemon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces best quality, whole milk ricotta
- fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together broccoli, 3 T olive oil, cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes.
- Roast until tender and browned at the edges, 18 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set oven to broil.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
- In a small bowl, stir together Parmesan, panko, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the black pepper.
- Toss cooked pasta with broccoli on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dollop with ricotta.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan mix, drizzle generously with oil, and broil until topping is crisped and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste, and serve.
One Year Ago: Fresh Ricotta
Two Years Ago: Spaghetti Pizza
Three Years Ago: Penne with Radicchio
Four Years Ago: Pasta Alla Norma with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Five Years Ago: Movie Night Pizza
Posted in Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: broccoli, casserole, cumin seeds, dinner, fast, gigli, lemon zest, panko, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, penne, quick, ricotta, sheet pan, vegetarian
This hearty vegetarian main course casserole would be a lovely option to serve vegetarian guests during the holidays. We ate it as a cozy winter meal with roasted broccoli and green salad.
The puréed beans add creaminess to the filling. After reading comments about this recipe online, I was apprehensive to include all of the bean liquid required in the original recipe because others had complained that the final consistency was mushy. I only used half of a cup but next time I would include 1 cup or even additional liquid (noted below).
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted celery for fennel, added a chipotle chile, used mixed baby greens, and reduced the breadcrumbs, beans, liquid, and baking time. It was the ultimate dish to utilize my brand new giant 14-inch skillet. Yay! The vegetables could be cooked in batches if using a smaller pan, of course.
Yield: 12 servings
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock
- coarse salt
- 1 ¼ cups wild rice, rinsed
- 9 t0 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 24 oz sliced mushrooms, preferably a mix of different kinds (I used cremini mushrooms.)
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 celery heart or 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
- 5 ounces mixed baby kale, chard, and spinach
- 7 fat garlic cloves (4 chopped, 3 finely grated or crushed into a paste)
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 (14-ounce) cans white beans, strained with liquid reserved (I used cannellini beans.)
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (about 2 tsp)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/4 cups panko or coarse bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Taste broth; if bland, season to taste with salt. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour, or according to package directions. Fluff rice with a fork, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sauté vegetables: In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. (If using a smaller pan, cook in batches, adding oil if necessary.)
- Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- In the empty skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in leeks, fennel/celery and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in baby greens, chopped garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts turning golden, another 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees, and oil a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
- In a blender, purée 2 cans beans with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the reserved liquid, chipotle, lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. (I used a Vitamix.)
- Stir bean purée, remaining whole beans (drained), mushrooms, cilantro, parsley and cooked wild rice into skillet with vegetables. Taste and add more salt or lemon as needed; it should be well seasoned. Add additional bean liquid, if necessary, in order to achieve desired consistency. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, rosemary, lemon zest, remaining 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and Parmesan, if using.
- Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Note: To make part of this recipe in advance, assemble casserole and prepare topping (separately) up to 24 hours ahead. Refrigerate, covered, in separate containers. Just before baking, spread breadcrumb topping evenly over the casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until heated through and topping is golden, another 20 to 30 minutes.
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Posted in Casserole, Greens, Recipes, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian
Tags: cannellini beans, casserole, chard, chipotle, cremini mushrooms, fennel, Great Northern beans, greens, kale, kidney beans, mushrooms, panko, parmesan, rosemary, spinach, Thanksgiving, vegan, vegetarian, wild mushrooms, wild rice