Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

Last night was Spane’s Chorus performance at John Muir Elementary School. Spane has been in the chorus since first grade, and he really likes it. He’s in the third grade now. It brought tears to my eyes seeing those children all dressed up in their best white shirts and black bottoms, most with red Santa Claus hats. The kids were just wonderful, lead by the talented chorus directory, Mrs. Melano. Those children worked very hard practicing and they did a really good job.

When we got home, I wanted to make something was easy, but a little celebratory. Spane has always liked Pasta alla Carbonara – it’s easy and flavorful.

I’m very grateful to the U.S. troops who brought bacon and eggs to Italy in the Second World War. Some Italian cook got the idea to combine the two and put them over pasta. We’ll never know the true origin of the dish, except that it does not appear in any cookbooks until after World War II.

The funny thing is, even though this is a quick dish to make, Spane had fallen asleep by the time it was finished. He was really tired. I had a little, and we wound up eating the rest for breakfast. Hey, bacon and eggs, right?

Continue reading

Stuffed Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Recipes in this Postushrooms in Wine Sauce

Love Mushrooms

I love mushrooms, and lately I have been finding nice big ones at the local corner store. I picked up six of them and decided to wait and have them stuffed for our meatless Friday meal.

The Nesco is the perfect appliance to cook them, as they do not dry out, and can steam in wine. Clean up is a snap, and your kitchen does not heat up.

Continue reading

Stuffed Dinner – Stuffed Mushrooms and Baby Red Peppers

Recipes in this PostMushrooms and Peppers Stuffed Waiting to Be Steamed

Wonderful Vegetables

I love living in Glendale, and having all these small fresh vegetable grocery stores. Today, I happened to go to two different stores, and one had giant mushrooms, and the other, Edna’s had small, heart shaped red peppers. Both were just the size for stuffing. Continue reading

Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Recipes in this PostLasagna alla casa di Boswell - ricotta spinach sausage

A few days ago, I found a box of no-cook lasagna noodles in the sale section of the store. I had never tried no-cook lasagna noodles, so I bought them with the intent of making my own version of Lasagna.

I have been making this lasagna for many years, and it seems to get better every time.  Yes, it is time consuming, but the rewards for the taste buds are worth the time and effort.

I do not make a standard red sauce, although there are tomatoes in the sauce.  There is a lot of meat – a little over three pounds all together.  Mushrooms sautéed with shallots in butter and sherry. Italian sausage cooked and sliced on the bias.

I don’t like ricotta cheese, I never have.  A lot of people who don’t like it use cottage cheese instead, but although I don’t like the texture of ricotta, I do like the flavor, so to compensate for the texture, I add spinach, nutmeg and Parmesan to the ricotta.  It gives nice flavor with more nutrients as well.

This is a great lasagna. Don’t let the complexity of this dish put you off. Once the sauce is done, you are home free.

Recipe: Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Ingredients

Sauce
  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 pound Ground pork
  • 2 Garlic chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 2 Carrot chopped
  • 1 Green pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 1 can Whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Ricotta Layer –
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 package Frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
– Mushroom Layer –
  • 10 Mushroom sliced
  • 1 Shallot chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dry sherry
– Other Layers –
  • 1 pound Italian sausage sliced
  • 2 cups Mozzarella sliced
  • 1 package Lasagna Noodles cooked (or uncooked in this case)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Make the sauce
  • Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl it around so the whole pan is covered.
  • Sauté the vegetables until they are translucent.
  • Add the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, then add some of the milk.
  • Turn the heat down.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you cannot see the milk. Then add more milk. Do this until all the milk has been incorporated.
  • When all the milk has combined, add the wine and the tomatoes, then cook down on low heat until the sauce is thick. Set aside.
  • Make the Ricotta layer

    1. Defrost and remove all the water from the spinach. You can do this by putting the spinach in the microwave for 3 minutes. Then add the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
    Make the Mushroom layer
    1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and let them cook until they are translucent, then add the mushrooms. Add the sherry. Sauté the mushrooms until they brown with the shallots in butter and sherry. Set aside.
    Make the sausage layer
    1. Pan fry the sausages on medium heat. Turn to brown on all sides. Remove from the pan, cool slightly, then slice them on the diagonal.
    Make the pasta layer:
    1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta just until it’s done, then drain and leave in cold water while assembling the lasagna.
    Assembly:
    1. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
    2. Put a layer of pasta.
    3. Put the some of the sauce on the pasta, then put the mushrooms.
    4. Put a layer of pasta.
    5. Put a layer of sauce and mozzarella.
    6. Put a layer of pasta.
    7. Put the ricotta layer.
    8. Put a layer of pasta.
    9. Put some of the sauce and then the sausages.
    10. Put a layer of pasta.
    11. Put the rest of the sauce.
    12. Put the last layer of mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan.
    13. Bake in a slow oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheeses are brown and bubbling.
    14. Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10 minutes so the lasagna can settle.

    Quick notes

    If you have sauce left over, freeze it for another dish.

    Variations

    If you don’t like spinach, you can omit it. If you don’t want to use pork sausage, you could use turkey sausage instead.

    Preparation time: 3 hour(s)

    Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

    Number of servings (yield): 8

    Culinary tradition: Italian

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 22 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.