Tag Archives: pasta

Layered Crespelle with Spinach, Prosciutto, and Parmesan Cheese

 

Probably one of the best dinners ever. It takes awhile to make, but is so well worth it, just look how pretty it is and oh, is it delicious! Crespelle are really just crepes. In Italy, just like in France, they are stuffed with different fillings. We followed a recipe from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking– my Italian cooking Bible.

I’ll give a crepe recipe below, but you can use any recipe you’d like. This recipe also calls for Bechamel Sauce (a white sauce). This takes a little while to make. You can make this and even the crepes one day in advance and refrigerate them. If making the crepes one day in advance, weave wax paper through the layers so they do not stick.

Crespelle Recipe:

Ingredients:

1- 1 cup milk

2- 3/4 cups flour

3- 2 egss

4- pinch salt

5- non stick cooking spary

6- 8 ” nonstick skillet

Directions:

1- Put the milk in the bowl and gradually add the flour while whisking to avoid lumps. Make sure the batter is blended.

2- Add the eggs, one at a time, until blended

3- Spray the skillet and heat over medium low

4- Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and swirl to distribute evenly. As soon as the batter firms, flip and cook the other side.

5- Layer them on a plate. Even though I wasn’t refrigerating them, I still layered wax paper between each one.

6- Set aside.

Bechemal Sauce:

The recipe can be found here: (https://dessertcomesfirst.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/lasagna/)

Scroll to the middle of the page.

Filling Recipe:

Ingredients:

1- 1 lb fresh spinach

2- 1 tablespoons butter

3- non stick cooking spray

4- 1/2 cup chopped prosciutto

5- 1 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

6- 3 tablespoons onion, chopped very fine

7- salt

Directions:

1- Clean the spinach and cook in salted water until tender. Drain it and squeeze as much water as you can. Chop it and set aside. Get the oven pre heated to 450 degrees.

2- Put the butter and chopped onion into a pan and cook over medium heat until the onion is pale gold. Add the prosciutto and coat it, cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, stir, and cook about another 2 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and add about 1 cup of the Parmesan, a pinch of salt and about 2/3 cup of Bechemal Sauce, or enough to make the spinach mixture sticky. Make sure everything is well combined.

3- Get a baking dish and divide the crespelle into 2 even piles (about 8 per pile). Spray the baking sheet with non stick spray. Put one crespelle down on the baking sheet and thinly coat it with the spinach mixture (make sure to divide it so you have enough), cover with another crespelle, and again coat with the spinach mixture. Go through the rest of the first pile. Start again with the second pile. Cover both piles with the remaining Bechamel Sauce and top with the cheese.

4- Bake for about 5 minutes then broil for about a minute, or until there is a nice crust on top.

Savour all of you hard work with a great bottle of wine. We just received a delivery from Wine Woot…three bottles of Zinfandel (2005, 2006, and 2007). With this dish we had the ’05. It’s full and rich, with a nice berry aroma- perfect complement to such a savory dish!

Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Sauteed Vegetables

It rained the ENTIRE day yesterday without break. It was grey, it was humid, it was wet. We didn’t want to go out to the beach to surf, we didn’t want to walk outside, puppy Dexter didn’t want to walk outside, it was just icky, so we cooked. We cooked all afternoon. The first thing I made was this sauce to freeze for a later date. I love homemade sauce. It is definitely well worth the little bit of extra time to make sauce at home. You don’t get all the sodium and you know everything is fresh. When school starts next week, I plan to eat just as well as we’ve been eating. This probably means making up sauces in my free time and freezing them, just like we did yesterday. This sauce is perfect because it pairs well with any pasta shape, store bought or homemade. Actually it pairs particularly well with penne or rigatoni because it gets inside the nooks and crannies. Once the little bit of chopping is done, the sauce is a breeze because all’s you do is simmer it for 45 mins. Once done and cooled, divide it in half and pop it in to freezer bags. There will be enough for 4 portions. Don’t forget to mark the type of sauce and when you made it.

Ingredients:

1- 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes (Rienzi), cut up with juices

2- 2/3 cup chopped carrots

3- 2/3 cup chopped onion

4- 2/3 cup chopped celery

5- 1/3 cup olive oil

6- salt

Directions:

1- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until pale gold. Add the carrot and celery and cook at a higer heat for a minute. Stir just to coat all veggies.

2- Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes and a large pinch of salt. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 45 mins.

3- Turn heat off and either toss directly with pasta or let cool and divide into freezer bags.

Hand-Rolled Pasta

I love pasta. I love pasta with sauce, pasta with olive oil, pasta with vegetables, cold pasta, hot pasta, really any type of pasta. But, until recently, I’ve never made homemade pasta. I thought it was too hard and way off my limited culinary radar, but NO! It’s time consuming, yes, but easy and quite satisfying to see racks of pasta hanging about. The following is a recipe from Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington. It’s a great little book with lots of recipes suitable for those with little space. I got her book from the library, fell in love with it, and was too cheap to buy my own copy off Amazon, so I went to Kinko’s and made copies of the pages I wanted to keep. This recipe is one of those copies and it’s definitely a keeper. My new recipe file folder is growing bigger by the minute.

There are tons of homemade pasta recipes out there. I’m not saying this one is the best, but I’ve had lots of luck with it. For this recipe, I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attached, but really all’s you need are your hands and a rolling pin.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (Next time I want to try “00” flour, which is finer, and, according to lots of people, makes a superior pasta)

1 cup semolina flour

5 eggs

Directions:

1- Mix all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed until the dough sticks the hook, about 5 minutes.

2- Knead on a lightly floured surface

for about 4 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and elastic.

3- Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 mins.

4- Remove the dough and divide it into 3 pieces. Use one piece at a time and keep the others wrapped up. Shape the piece of dough into a flattened rectangular disc. Flour the counter and roll out the dough. Try to keep the rectangular shape. Roll the dough until it is quite thin (about 22″ long and 10″ wide). Be sure to turn over the dough so it does not stick. Remove any excess flour from the dough. Don’t worry if you think it’s getting too thin, it should be about as thin as a stick of gum.

5- Once the dough is rolled, start cutting your pasta. I like to use a pizza cutter, but a knife works too.You can either cut

it rolled out flat or fold the dough in half and cut it that way. I prefer the latter method because it is easier to get straight lines.

6- After the pasta is cut, decide how you want to store it. There are several methods: Today, I hung it up to dry. You can hang it on anything you can find. I used plastic hangers that I cleaned with my environmentally friendly cleaner. Once totally dry, you can store it in an airtight container for 2 months.

The other method is to twist it up and put it in the freezer as soon as it’s cut. Be sure to use within 4 months.

Or, of course, you can cook and eat it fresh as soon as it’s cut.

6- Cook as you would normal dried pasta. Bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil and cook 8-10 minutes.