Life would not be near as fun without carbs and it turns out America feels the same way! Did you know March was National Pasta Month?
Now, don't get me wrong. Let us say for a moment that I had a ticket to South Beach sitting on my dresser for one month from now. Let's say that a week long vacation of a different Salsa club every night and basking in the Miami sun was in the cards...trust me, "South Beach" would quickly become a verb in an effort to battle the Blogger Butt. For now though, I am content to cook and enjoy carbs and for the love of Pete...all you have to do is have ONE serving and carbs become a whole lot less evil than everyone wants you to believe.
I am posting these recipes in the order of their time/difficulty level. Beginning with the most time consuming...
Sweet Potato Risotto-
I love Risotto. And my kids eat this by the shovel-full. I promise that your family will love it's creeeeaaaaaamy goodness. This recipe is pretty healthy all around, gluten free and cheap! I have adapted this recipe from a favorite cookbook: Feeding Baby.
You will need:
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (or another Risotto rice)
5-6 Cups of Chicken Stock preferably homemade
4 Large (Organic) Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup diced onion
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese (a little more doesn't hurt)
Fresh Thyme - I've used dried when I had to.
Peel and cut the Sweet Potatoes and cook them in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat the stock in a small saucepan. Take one tablespoon of the butter and sauté the onion in a large stock pan until it becomes translucent. Add the rice to the onion and stir thoroughly until all the rice is coated with the onion and butter. Add a little stock and stir until it is all absorbed. Repeat until the stock is all mixed in. The key to really good Risotto is to take your time mixing in just a little stock at a time.
(Take a moment and in a Cuisinart, blender or with beaters beat the Sweet Potatoes until they are creamy.)
Take care not to scorch your meal! Once all your stock is absorbed; meaning your rice is creamy but not watery add your Sweet Potatoes mixing them in thoroughly. You can then add the remaining butter, Parmesan and some fresh Thyme! Et Voila!
This recipe is easily doubled and freezes well!
Lasanga is an easy way to please the crowd. I make my own sauce but you can of course use your own sauce or your favorite store bought jar. I'll post by sauce recipe soon - I canned 24 quarts in September and just used my last one so I am sure we will get to that any day now around here! In our family we don't do a multi, multi layered pan of lasangna. An old Italian family friend taught my Mom that keeping it simple with a layer of noodles, a middle layer of Ricotta and another layer of noodles allows the Ricotta to set up real nice with a custard like effect!
I have no idea what I did to the HTML to make it do what it just did!
You will need:
1 Quart pasta sauce
No boil Lasanga noodles
1 small tub Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Mix the Ricotta and the egg with a sprinkle or two of the dried Italian spices.
Take your favorite baking dish and spread some sauce along the bottom of the pan. Lay your noodles to cover the bottom of your pan and sauce. Spread your egg/Ricotta mix over the noodles, another layer of sauce if you'd like and lay another layer of noodles down. Pour more sauce on top and sprinkle mozerella cheese!
I like to make a veggie lasangna by adding a layer of Zucchini or Spinach to the mix!
Now, I have to say, there is a reason they say, "The secret is in the sauce!" so splurge on the best sauce you can get your hands on!
Bake at 35o until it pleases your eye - we like ours a little more well done!
Gorgonzola Penne Pasta with Walnuts!
Now, this is the easiest of the three but the "Wow"'s you will get might even make you feel a little guilty!
You will need:
Olive Oil (Or if you are lucky, Walnut Oil)
Walnuts (perhaps a quarter cup per serving)
Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese if that's all you have in stock
Prepare your noodles the way you like - it's al denté around here! And in a dry frying pan toast your Walnuts for a minute or two. I think that releases their oils or something!
Once your noodles are done add your cheese, drizzle some oil and sprinkle some Walnuts. Oh, my gosh, the cheese will start to melt and get "all creamy"...it's so good and so easy you won't believe it!!!
So, there you have it. Happy National Pasta Month! If something doesn't make sense let me know otherwise...Bon Apetit!