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Recipe for Penne with ucchini: Serves 4
1 pound Penne, Mostaccioli or other medium shape, uncooked
1 pound small zucchini (about 3), plus one for garnish
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 piece Parmesan cheese (at least 4 oz.)
1 cup vegetable oil plus 3 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced, about 2/3 cup
2 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
Salt to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Wash zucchini, wipe dry and trim the ends. Slice one zucchini into rounds about the thickness of a quarter. Toss sliced zucchini in a bowl with flour until coated on all sides. Remove slices from bowl, shaking off excess flour.
Cut remaining zucchini into fine dice. Grate enough Parmesan cheese to measure 2 tbsp. Set aside. Shave enough of remaining cheese into curls with a vegetable peeler to measure 2 tbsp. Set aside separately.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet. Add onion and sauté until tender and light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook one minute, then stir in diced zucchini. Cook until zucchini is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated from skillet, about 10 minutes. Remove zucchini from skillet and set aside.
Clean skillet, dry it well and pour in the remaining one cup of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until an edge of one of the coated zucchini slices sizzles when dipped in oil. Carefully slip as many of the zucchini slices as will float freely into the oil. Fry them, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm and repeat with remaining zucchini slices if necessary.
Combine pasta, diced zucchini mixture, grated Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Heat over low heat until butter is melted and pasta is coated with sauce. Divide the pasta among serving bowls and sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan. Top with fried zucchini slices
FETTUCCINO ALFREDO: Serves 4
8 oz. Fettuccine
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain. In a medium saucepan, melt butter or margarine over low heat. Blend in cream and cheese and cook over low heat to reduce mixture slightly and melt cheese. Sauce should not boil. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, toss with pasta and serve immediately.
SICILLIAN STUFFED SHELLS: Serves 4
8 ounces jumbo shells
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup yellow raisins
1/2 cup chopped green olives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Cook the shells according to package directions. Rinse, drain and spread on a sheetpan while you prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saute pan, stir together the onion and olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the onion is wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the ricotta cheese, raisins, olives, and salt and pepper to taste.
Fill each shell with some of the ricotta mixture. Arrange the shells, open-side-up, in a baking dish. Spoon the tomato sauce over the shells and then sprinkle them with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake, covered, until bubbling and hot, about 35-40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot.
TURTLE SHELLS: Serves 6
24 Jumbo Shells, uncooked
2 cups low-sodium canned tomato sauce
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups low-fat, part-skim ricotta cheese
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated (about 2/3 cup)
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold water until completely cool. Drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Squeeze as much water as possible from the thawed spinach. In a large bowl, stir together the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, carrots, egg whites, pepper and nutmeg until thoroughly blended.
Line the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Divide the ricotta mixture among the pasta shells, pressing the filling into the shells with spoon to completely fill each shell. Arrange the shells side by side in a baking dish. Coat the shells with an even layer of the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bake until the center of the shells are heated through and the sauce is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
EGGPLANT PARMESAN: serves 2
9 Lasagne pieces, uncooked
1 medium eggplant, about 3/4 pound
Olive oil flavored cooking spray
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. grated low-sodium Parmesan cheese
1 26-oz. jar low fat-marinara sauce
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 15-oz. container light ricotta cheese
8 oz. low-sodium shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)
Cook lasagne pieces according to package directions. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Trim ends and peel eggplant; cut crosswise into 12 1/4-inch slices. Place on foil-lined baking sheet; coat well with cooking spray. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat source 5 minutes or until browned. Turn; coat well with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes. Remove from broiler; sprinkle with basil and Parmesan cheese. Return to broiler; broil 1 minute or until cheese is golden brown. Remove pan from broiler; let stand 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine marinara sauce and Italian seasoning. Spread 1/3 cup sauce each in bottom of two disposable foil 8 x 8 2-inch baking pans. Drain lasagne; rinse with cold water. Cut lasagne pieces crosswise, forming 18 pieces. Layer 3 pieces in each pan; top with half of ricotta cheese. Place eggplant slices over cheese; top with 1/4 cup sauce. Repeat layering in each pan with 3 more lasagne pieces, 1/4 cup sauce, remaining ricotta cheese, last 3 lasagne pieces and remaining sauce.
Cover pans with aluminum foil; place one pan in a large resealable freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months for another meal. Bake remaining lasagne 40 minutes or until hot. Remove foil; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes; cut in squares. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.
To reheat frozen lasagne, thaw in refrigerator over night or at least 8 hours. Bake as directed above.
MACARONI & CHEESE with TOMATOES:
8 oz. Elbow Macaroni, uncooked
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced or try experimenting with can tomatoes
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups skim milk
2 cups grated hard cheese (such as Cheddar)
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain in colander. Preheat oven to 375-o F. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices. Set aside on a small plate. Crumble the bread crumbs with your fingertips. Set aside on another small plate.
Into a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine. Add the flour, dry mustard and salt, then cook together for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk little by little and continue stirring until mixture thickens. Add cheese and stir until melted. Place two slices of tomato in bottom of pan, then half the pasta. Place another two slices of tomato, the remainder of the pasta, and pour the sauce over all. Arrange three slices of tomato on top and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
See our CHEESE section for more recipes.
BAKED MANICOTTI: Serves 6
8 oz. Manicotti, uncooked
1 15-oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese, whipped until smooth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sliced scallions
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium bowl, blend ricotta, Parmesan, egg and scallions. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Stuff pasta with cheese mixture. Arrange in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Cover. Bake in a 350-o F oven until hot, about 35 minutes.
PASTA PRIMAVERA: Serves 4
1 16-oz. package Linguine, or other long pasta shape, uncooked
3 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup snow peas
1 cup broccoli flowerettes
1 cup cauliflower flowerettes
1 cup red and yellow bell pepper, peeled and julienned
1 baby carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 cup shiitake, morel or chanterelle mushrooms
4 fresh basil leaves or 2 tsp. minced fresh chervill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Heat oil. Add remaining ingredients except Parmesan. Saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Toss with pasta. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, Parmesan and serve.
Are you thinking about serving this dish at a party or a dinner?