All posts tagged: cheese

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

I can’t think of anything more comforting or more universally-loved than lasagna.  Most families have their versions they go back to time and time again.  There’s the traditional Italian version which is made with bolognese sauce, bechmael sauce, parmesan (no ricotta or mozzarella) and the American version made with ground beef (or leftover meatballs), marinara, ricotta, and mozzarella.  There are countless veggie versions and even kinds made with tortillas.  This time around I decided to go all-American, but with one substitute a la the Barefoot Contessa, turkey sausage.  Here you have it–her fabulous version of American lasagna.  I slightly adapted her recipe in 2 ways.  1) I omitted goat cheese–only because I don’t care for it.  2) I substituted no-boil lasagna noodles to cut back on time. First you cook the onions and garlic, add the ground turkey sausage, and all of the basic red sauce ingredients. Then the fun part… the layering.  A quick stir of ricotta, grated parmesan, egg, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper–and that forms the creamy layer comb.  I constructed each …

Savory Ham and Gruyere Mini Muffins

Yep–that is NOT a picture of mini muffins.  It’s a cake photo–a savory ham and gruyere cake photo.  The outside looks bubbly cheesy, slightly crisp… and it hints at all of the yummy goodies inside: more cheese, sweet ham, crumbly cake dough.  What you can’t tell by this photo is the fact that the center is goo… uncooked mush.  I did the toothpick test after 50 minutes in the oven–it was clean as a whistle.  I removed the loaf from the oven when the recipe told me to, did the toothpick test, let it sit to cool, and removed from the loaf pan.  Took my photos and anxiously cut myself a slice.  That’s when I first saw the goo.  The oven was off at that point, so I fired it back up thinking “hmmm, maybe my oven temperature was off–I’ll give it another 20 minutes.”  I removed it 20 minutes later–again, clean toothpick.  And sadly again, goo in the center.  I ended up having to cook this thing almost another hour until it was completely …

Grilled Pizza: Zucchini, Red Onion, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts

One of the many great things about making your own pizza is that you can choose any toppings you like!  From my experience, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.  I followed the exact cooking method as outlined in my Grilled Pizza: Pizza Margherita post, except I substituted whole wheat pizza dough and different toppings.  Another hit–and a healthy one too.  The key to this pizza is the thinly sliced vegetables–I used a mandoline to achieve them. Grilled Pizza: Zucchini, Red Onion, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts Dough technique adapted from Gourmet, June 2003; toppings original to OlivetoCook.com Ingredients (to make 3 thin-crust pizzas) 1 store-bought whole wheat prepared pizza dough, cut into thirds 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 zucchini, thinly sliced on the bias on a mandoline
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandoline 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a saute pan until slightly browned Optional: red chili flakes Directions 1.  Cut store-bought dough into thirds and roll into balls.  Gently dredge 1 ball of dough in a bowl …

Grilled Pizza: Pizza Margherita

With Summer winding down and temperatures dropping, I’ve been thinking about our charcoal grill–and getting a few more runs out of her before it’s time to close her down for the season change.  We’ve made plenty of sliders and kabobs, but for some oddball reason, we never tackled grilled pizza this Summer.  Armed with Stew Leonard’s store-made whole wheat pizza dough and regular white pizza dough, we had a grilled pizza party. To get things started, we kept it basic with a classic–Pizza Margherita.  Other variations were Zucchini, Mozzarella, Pine Nut, and Pecorino pizza + Shiitake, Cremini, Garlic, and Parmesan pizza.  I will share them in my next post.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, I give you Pizza Margherita–made with love by my #1 love, Nick and my best friend, Lauren, visiting from Vermont. A quick comment on the pizza dough.  I’ve made pizza dough from scratch before, with mixed results.  I never seem to be able to get the right amount of airy bubbles when I do.  Instead, I save myself the trouble by …

Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy, Red Chili, Garlic, and Pecorino

  I love cauliflower.  I love it raw and dipped in fresh Ranch dressing.  I love it mixed with broccoli and cheese.  I love it cooked in roti with cilantro.  This love is why I feel so disappointed when I find it on the side of an entree plate as an afterthought… usually combined with some sliced carrots and green beans in a puddle of steamy water.  Cauliflower deserves to stand on its own–crisp and meaty and full of flavor.  This dish puts cauliflower at center stage.  I’ve also prepared this dish with chopped moroccan olives and capers (instead of the anchovies) and loved the results. First, prep the cauliflower.  A great trick to prepare cauliflower is to rinse it off and turn it upside down.  Cut off the green leaves to reveal the stalks.  Voila–you can now easily cut into florets by the stem.  Now chop up the anchovies, garlic, and parsley.  I like to keep the garlic in BIG chunks as when cooked, the chunks will become mild and caramelized. Add the olive …

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Thyme, Saffron, and Parmesan

Risotto is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  When made right, it’s creamy and belly-warming.  I tend to like my risotto packed with a lot of vegetables–mushrooms being the classic companion.  Here is my take using shiitakes only, but 2 ways: fresh and dried. I soak the dried shiitakes in HOT water for about 45-60 minutes before adding. Start by sauteeing a chopped medium size onion in butter and olive oil until transcluscent.  Add in the sliced mushrooms until cooked down by about half.  Make sure you add salt & white pepper as you cook the risotto–you want those flavors to penetrate the mix as you go.  Once cooked down, add the rice.  Stir well. Once the rice and ‘shrooms saute for a few minutes, add the thyme and saffron threads.  Start adding the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly.  After the first 1/2 cup of chicken stock, add the strained mushroom liquid and wine.  Keep adding chicken stock until the rice is tender and the consistency is creamy.   Add 1/2 cup grated …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Three: Sauce and Serving

Ahh… the finish line.  The first bite.  Experiencing the combination of textures and tastes: smooth & crunchy; sweet & salty.  Everything in one bite.  Total bliss.  Total joy in knowing that it all turned out–rejoice in your accomplishment!  Now, the final step in making butternut squash agnolotti. After making the fresh pasta, the filling, and composing the finished agnolotti, it’s time to bring it all together by making the sauce and plating.  This part probably takes only 20 minutes–so make sure you save this to just before serving.  Fill a pot with well salted water; cover and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, start dicing the pancetta, thinly slicing scallions or chives, and chopping garlic into big chunks. Add the pancetta and garlic chunks to a COLD large pan.  Place over medium-low heat.  Once the pancetta and garlic are browned, discard the garlic.  Add the pancetta and pancetta fat to a ramekin and set aside.  Lower the pan heat to low. When the water comes to a boil, drop the fresh (or frozen) agnolotti into the …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Two: Filling & Stuffing

This post serves as part two of three posts on how to make Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte.  To make the filling for the agnolotti, start by baking one butternut squash.  If you find one already cubed, awesome–that will work just fine.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and white pepper.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.  Bake until the squash is tender and you can easily pierce with a fork.  Cool at room temperature. Once cooled, add the butternut squash flesh (no skin!) to a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and maple syrup (the real stuff, please.)  The result with be super smooth and creamy with a bright orange color. To fill the agnolotti, fill a pastry bag with the butternut squash/cheese mixture.  Or you can fill a large (gallon-size) Ziploc bag.  Roll down the sides to ease the process.  Twist the bag above the filling to fill the bottom of the bag–snip off the corner of …

Charred Corn Polenta with Gorgonzola

Fresh corn on the cob is one of my favorite treats from Summer’s bounty.  As a kid, we always ate it with little cob holders on the side, corn dripping with butter and salt.  Over the years, I’ve discovered other ways of cooking it.  One of my easiest and most nutritious methods is simply shucking the corn and removing any remaining silk, wrapping the ears in plastic wrap, and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes.  You simply remove the plastic wrap (once cooled a bit) and bite away.  If the corn is sweet enough, I find it doesn’t even need butter and salt.  But I also like to grill corn, in the shuck and out of it.  The latest batch I decided to grill, and unfortunately, I was disappointed with the result.  The corn wasn’t sweet at all.  Instead of just coating the sad kernels with butter, I wanted to try something different.  I love polenta–and I knew that fresh corn always makes a great addition to corn bread.  So I thought, I’ll mix the …

Escarole Salad, Walnuts, Red Onion, Pecorino

Escarole is most commonly eaten cooked.  After first having it raw and cold in a salad at Otto a few years ago, I knew I had discovered another wonderfully crunchy, hearty, and crisp salad green–similar to romaine, but with more umph and bitterness.  At Otto, Mario Batali’s kitchen prepared it simply with a lemon & olive oil dressing, Marcona almond halves, curls of parmesan, and peeled Jerusalem artichokes, raw, and sliced thin.  Since Otto, I also discoverd an escarole salad at Centro Vinoteca (which is now off the menu) that Anne Burrell prepared with pickled red onions.  She generously shared that recipe on the Food Network, and I chronicled that recipe here. I purchased a gorgeous head of escarole at the farmers market over the weekend and wanted to try a different salad recipe.  I recently picked up a copy of the Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, after falling in love with their Caesar Salad recipe, which I also chronicled here.  When browsing through the salad section of the book, I found this …