Cream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry

Recipes in this PostCream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry

I love it when the supermarket puts a large box of whole mushrooms on Manager’s Special. I take them home and make something out of them, this time Manicotti Stuffed with Cream Cheese, Spinach and Pine-nuts. When I opened my refrigerator this afternoon, I realized I had a lot of mushrooms left over, and what could I do with an almost whole box of mushrooms? Mushroom soup seemed like the perfect thing on a cold, winter day.

Some of you are probably saying “Ew! That’s the stuff you make casseroles out of, you don’t actually EAT that!” Well, that’s true. I would never have a bowl of that canned stuff, it’s only good for a few casserole dishes, and then that’s doubtful, too – now that I made this glorious mushroom soup.

This is probably one of the easiest soups you will ever make. When mushrooms go on sale at your grocery store, get a whole bunch of them, and share this wonderful soup.

Continue reading

Manicotti Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts

Manicotti Served

Manicotti is a child friendly food. Most kids love spaghetti and pasta. What could be more fun than stuffing tubes and then eating them? Kids can get a little messy, but that’s their job, right?

My friend, Chef John Farion, came over and brought me a large container of cottage cheese. I did not think that Spane and I could eat if fast enough for it not to go bad, so I decided to stuff something with it. Quite frequently, cottage cheese is used for lasagna, but I don’t like meatless lasagna, and I wanted it for Friday. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed already at home, so I bought some manicotti and brought it home.

Continue reading

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

Shrimp Stuffed Wontons

wontonsIn this Post

I Love Shrimp!

I wanted to make wontons for dinner tonight and stuff them with cream cheese and jalapeño, like I did with the Pope’s Hats. Since they have no meat, they are perfect for Fridays. But, on my way home from dropping Spane off at school, I stopped in at the local Hispanic market, where they had some lovely raw shrimp. So, I got some of that, and when to the local Armenian store to buy fresh cilantro, and fresh spring onions.

When I was a little girl, I had a severe allergic reaction to something, and I was tested and no one could figure out what it was. When I was in my twenties, I went to Encinada, Mexico and I again had a severe allergic reaction. Finally, a few years after that, I had one more allergic reaction. I thought about it, and realized that every time I had had a severe allergic reaction, I had eaten shrimp. But, I had been eating shrimp all my life, what was so different about those times? Then I realized each time that the sand vein had not been completely cleaned – I had eaten some of the sand vein. What is the sand vein in a shrimp? It’s their digestive tract, in other words, that’s where their poop is. There is also the “blood vein” (a euphemism for the ventral nerve cord) along the inner curve of the shrimp’s body that also has some nasty black stuff. I finally figured out after all those years that I was not allergic to shrimp itself, I was allergic to the sand vein, or to be more precise, the poop. I’m pretty much convinced that people who are allergic to shrimp are allergic to shrimp poop, not the shrimp itself, just like I am.

Why am I telling you all this? I am telling you this because, even if you are not allergic to shrimp poop like I am, there is still no excuse to leave the nasty digestive insides of shrimp intact. It may take a few seconds to clean, but it is well worth the effort, now that you know what that dark stuff is.

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.

    New Years Eve Asian Chicken Wings

    Recipes in this Post652_Asian Chicken Wings

    When I was little girl, my mother took me to some function where there were Asian chicken wings on the buffet table.  I have always loved chicken wings, and these were wonderful.

    For years, I have been trying to duplicate them, never with success.  Either they were burned, or they tasted flat, or they were too salty, or they were too sweet, or they were not brown at all.  Yuk!  Well, I was determined to finally start the New Year with a great recipe.

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    Continue reading