Italian Sausage Lasagna

italiansausagelasagna01

Ingredients:

Generous glugs of olive oil
3 garlic cloves
4 Italian sausages cut and rolled into small balls
1 large can of diced tomatoes (or two regular ones)
1 tsp sugar
Salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
300 g ricotta cheese
1 egg
Lasagna sheets to make two layers (I used the express ones)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the garlic cloves. Remove them. Fry the sausage balls. When golden, add the diced tomatoes, the Tbsp of tomato sauce, the sugar, salt, pepper, dried herbs. Bring to boil, cook on medium heat  until the tomato sauce reaches a consistency that is not too runny yet not too dry.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg, add the ricotta and Parmesan cheese and mix well.

3. To layer your lasagna dish, start with a scant layer of the sauce (try to take out the sausage balls), then lay lasagna sheets to cover the bottom. Then spread a layer of the sauce (half of it) and the ricotta cheese mix on top. Top that with a layer of lasagna sheet, a layer of sauce (the other half), and cover everything with the grated mozzarella.

4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and broil it until the cheese is golden.

Yum, yum, yum!

Mixed Vegetable and Veal Tagine

mixedtagine00

 

I wanted to cook with vegetables yet not my mom’s vegetable stew. I wanted something witih spices, a lot of flavor, and broth. I remembered my friend’s different tagines that she makes, so I put together this recipe from whatever my sensory memory recollected of previous flavors.

I used two handfuls of all the vegetables mentioned, roughly chopped too. Here’s the recipe:

This will serve 4 people.

- 350 g of meat cubes (I used veal)
– Olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot you’re using
– 1 medium onion cut into long strips
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
– 500 ml beef stock
– 1 heaped tsp tomato paste dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
– 1 tsp ginger powder
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp dried coriander
– 1/2 tsp 7 spices (or allspice)
– Salt

- Two handfuls of potatoes, zucchini, and carrots (all cut into big chunks)

- 1 preserved lemon cut into thin strips

- 1 cup of kalamata olives

Method:

- Heat the oil in a deep pan or slow cooker. Cook the meat cubes until golden. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and spices. Cook for a few minutes. Add the stock and dissolved tomato paste, bring to boil. Let it boil slowly for ten minutes.

- In the meantime, chop your vegetables into big chunks. Add them to your pot along with the olives and preserved lemon. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be well cooked after 30 minutes.

I prepared couscous to eat with it. I thought couscous would taste the best with this mix of spices.

There you go! Easy, great-tasting, and done in an hour!

 

Rice With Merguez And Rosemary

 

Do you have a rice cooker? I have recently invested in one and I do not regret it one bit. I was always hesitant to buy one thinking that it pretty much does what a regular pot does. Well, it does, only that you don’t have to keep an eye on it, and that could be a very critical detail when you’re preparing several dishes at the same time.

I use my rice cooker not just to cook white rice, but also to make any mixed rice recipe like this one. I served this rice with a green salad on the side. The ingredients below will yield 3 generous servings.
rice-merguez-rosemary00Ingredients:

- 1.5 cups short grain rice (I used Italian rice), washed
– 1.5 cups water
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 3 Merguez sausages
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– A sprig of rosemary, the little leaves taken apart from the stem
– 2 Tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Cut the Merguez sausages into small discs. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the Merguez on medium heat. When the sausages are cooked on the outside, add the chopped onion and cook everything until the onion turns translucent and the sausages are further cooked.

2. Add the washed rice, salt and rosemary and give everything a good stir.

3. Pour what you have in the pan into your rice cooker. Add the water. Turn on your cooker and let the rice slowly cook.

If you’re not using a rice cooker, add the water into the pan (you might need more water), lower heat, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water and is well cooked.

It is a really easy and aromatic recipe. With a side salad, it makes a great dinner on a working day.

 

 

Peruvian Tallarines Verdes with Steak

This is a famous Peruvian recipe that was on my list of Peruvian dishes to make. The sauce for the fettucine is a revisited Italian pesto recipe. The steak that goes on top is marinated with cumin, mustard, and some wine vinegar. It was a truly fulfilling lunch with very evident flavors: the basil and the marinated meat.

tallarinasverdes

This recipe will serve two.

For the pesto sauce:

- 1 cup evaporated milk
– 1/4 cup fresh cheese
– 1/8 cup olive oil
– 2 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
– 2 bunches of fresh basil
– 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
– Salt, pepper

Blend everything is a blender. Add cold water if you need to thin it out.

For the steak marinade:

- 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
– 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
– Salt, pepper

I marinated the meat for 30 minutes before grilling them in a hot skillet.

To prepare the fettucine, cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain when it’s cooked and mix it the pesto sauce.

To serve, placed the grilled steak on top of the pasta (just like in the photo) and you’ll have yourself a delicious nutritious meal.

 

 

Linguine alla Bolognese

allabolognese

Spaghetti, linguine, penne… it really doesn’t matter as long as you got the sauce right. I used linguine because for some reason I prefer how it wraps around the sauce,  but feel free to use spaghtetti.

Linguine alla bolognese (for 4)

- 1 packet of linguine pasta, cooked in salted water according to instructions
– 300 g minced beef
- 1 onion, finely chopped
– 1 carrot, finely chopped
– 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
– Olive oil
– Salt, pepper
– 650 ml tomato sauce in a bottle (passata di pomodoro)
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 Tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese

Method

1. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a deep sauce pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until they are soft. Add the minced beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until well done.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese. Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium/low and let it cook until the sauce reaches the consistency you want: neither too thick nor too watery. Just before turning off the heat, add the cheese and give it a good stir.
3. Pour the sauce into the pot of the cooked drained pasta, give everything a good mix, make sure the sauce envelopes everything, and serve with extra grated parmesan cheese.

Melanzane Parmigiana With Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Mozzarella Cheese

We usually look forward to the weekend so we can do the hobbies we enjoy or the activities that we we hadn’t had time for during the week. For me, the weekend in the winter could include a trip to a new cafe, a homemade meal (preferably something in the oven), and an hour on the couch reading my novel.

This weekend’s oven baked dish is the classical Melanzane Parmigiana, with a twist. It is a no-fuss recipe that requires no pre-cooking of the tomato sauce. In addition to the grilled eggplants, I roasted half a red bell pepper and finished with a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Follow the recipe step by step and you’ll end up with a finger-licking Melanzane Parmigiana!

melanzane02

 

Ingredients (for 2):

- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch circles
– 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters
– Olive oil
– 1 can of crushed tomatoes
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– A handful of coarsely chopped basil leaves
– 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella and cheddar

melanzane00

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1. On a baking sheet, brush the eggplant slices and the red pepper with olive oil on both sides and broil until brown. I peeled the red pepper after they grilled because I really dislike the skin when it comes off the pepper.
2. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients except the two kinds of cheese. Mix well with a spoon.
3. In the baking dish, place the grilled eggplants at the bottom, spread the tomato sauce mix on top of them, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over that, place the grilled red pepper, and finish with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tomato sauce is boiling and the cheese has melted.

Sunshine Omelet

It isn’t quite shiny this omelet, but it is colorful and inviting, isn’t it?

vegetable omelet

When your handsome is away and when it isn’t yet time to go out to browse the bookstores and settle in a cafe, what do you do?

Cook up brunch!

Today’s brunch is this wonderfully colorful omelet that brings sunshine to your kitchen even when it is -20 outside and snow is blowing in all directions.

omelet-spring

Red Pepper, Zucchini, Onion, and Mushroom Omelet (For 2)

Ingredients:

- 1/4 of a red pepper
– 1 small zucchini
– 1/2 an onion
– a handful of sliced fresh white mushrooms
– Salt

- 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 3 eggs

- Cheese, I used Grana Padano, but feta would be perfect for this recipe too
– Herbs, I used fresh thyme, but some basil or parsley would also be good

vegies-omelet

Method:

1. Slice the onion and red pepper into thin strips (see photo), cut up the zucchini into capital Ds (see photo), and chop the mushrooms (see photo).
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add vegetables and fry until tender and aromatic.  Add some salt (1/4 of a tsp).
3. In a bowl, beat the eggs together. Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl, add the fresh thyme (or whatever herb you’re using) and give everything a quick stir.
4. Pour this mixture back into the hot pan. Lower heat and cover.
5. When the lower side of the omelet is golden and the upper side is dry but not fully cooked, flip the omelet. Use a spatula, or simply flip the omelet onto the lid of the pan and then slide it back into the pan with the golden cooked side up. Turn off the heat.
6. Slide the omelet onto your plate and grate some Padano cheese on it, or crumble some feta.