I am mad about eggplant! I know so many people that claim they don’t like it, but I guarantee if they tried it, they would be forever enamored with it! These are very similar to Eggplant Rollatini, which I love, but they are not made with Ricotta Cheese. These delicious little edibles could be served as an appetizer, or as a Vegetarian Entree. I love the inclusion of hard-boiled eggs. This is a very Sicilian ingredient that adds a nice texture to this dish. Continue reading
Tag Archives: italian
If you are a cook who is always looking to learn new recipes and techniques, then you probably keep a list of things you would like to attempt to make at least once in your lifetime. My list begins with Make Homemade Pasta and ends with Bake the Perfect French Bread! Somewhere in the middle of this list is Perfect Risotto. Many professional chefs like to say that it is one of the toughest dishes to master. For some reason, I always felt intimidated by this dish. It seemed much too complicated for the average cook, right? Wrong!
There are a few key things to keep in mind when making Risotto:
- Risotto takes time – have patience and plan on standing at the stove for at least 30 minutes!
- Toast the rice for at least 3 or 4 minutes before adding liquid…Don’t Burn the rice during the toasting stage!
- Use the best basic ingredients; olive oil, onions, garlic, white wine, chicken or vegetable stock, Arborio rice, butter and a good quality Parmesan cheese!
- Stir continuously! Don’t stop stirring!
- Add liquid slowly, allow the rice time to absorb each cup full!
I have made this several times for my family. I have a Vegetarian in my family so I use vegetable broth, but you can alter this recipe to suit any palate. Chicken broth can easily be substituted for vegetable broth. Swap out different seasonal vegetables depending on your likes or dislikes and feel free to add some shrimp or chicken. You won’t be disappointed with this recipe if you follow the directions and pay attention to the times listed. I like to recruit a helper to stir for me when my arm starts to get tired. My kids are always willing to step in and lend a hand.
- 6½ cups (about) vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine (i.e. Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 cup 1-inch pieces thin asparagus
- 1 cup of petite frozen peas (about ¼ pound)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add onion and garlic. Sauté until soft and almost tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add rice; stir until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in center, about 3 minutes.
- Add wine; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stir often, about 1 minute.
- Add broth 1 cup at a time until rice is about half cooked, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often, about 9 minutes.
- Stir in asparagus and parsley. Continue adding broth by cupfuls and stirring until rice is almost tender, about 6 minutes longer.
- Add peas. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to bite and mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes longer.
- Remove from heat. Add ¾ cup cheese and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until cheese and butter melt.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Italian is always a big hit in our household. Who doesn’t love a good hearty pasta meal? This manicotti is a delicious vegetarian choice, but it can also be quickly adapted to suit any meat lover…just by adding italian sausage to the ingredients list. I made this recipe this past weekend along with a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs for my husband. My teenagers invited several friends over for dinner and low and behold the manicotti disappeared! Spinach stuffing and all… I promise that even picky eaters will enjoy this dish!
Vegetarian Spinach & Cheese Manicotti
SPINACH & CHEESE MANICOTTI INGREDIENTS:
• 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup of onion, finely chopped
• 2 teaspoons of fresh garlic, chopped
• 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella
• 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature, softened
• ½ cup of grated pecorino ramono cheese or parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
• Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1-10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach (cook according to package directions, squeeze dry by hand to remove excess water and moisture.)
• 10 manicotti shells, cooked and drained
• 1 to 2 jars of your favorite Marinara Sauce (Depends on how saucy you like your shells)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPINACH & CHEESE MANICOTTI:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil 13 X 9 –inch baking dish.
2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Set aside to cool.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1-½ cups of mozzarella, cream cheese, ¼ cup of pecorino cheese, Italian seasoning, kosher salt & pepper. Mix well.
4. Add onion and spinach to the mixture. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
5. Using a teaspoon, carefully spoon mixture into manicotti shells.
6. Pour half of the marinara sauce into the baking dish. (Use just enough to generously cover the bottom of the dish, save the remaining for covering the shells.)
7. Arrange shells over sauce. (You can cover and refrigerate at this point until ready to cook.)
8. Top with remaining sauce. Do not cover the shells completely with sauce.
9. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of pecorino cheese.
10. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
11. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
12. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.