Italian


Penne with Braised Squash and Greens

Penne with Braised Squash and Greens

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. cubed smoked tofu
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. whole-wheat penne, rigatoni or fusilli
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add onion to the pan; cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Return the tofu to the pan and add broth and squash; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add chard and stir to immerse. Cover and cook until the squash and chard are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the squash mixture, Parmesan, salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Pizza Dough II

½ package of active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. white sugar
2 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
Oregano

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.
Stir the olive oil, whole wheat flour, salt and 1 cup of the bread flour into the yeast mixture. Mix in the remaining flour ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume; about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form into rounds. Cover the rounds and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat over to 425 degrees F.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into the desired shape, and sprinkle with oregano.
Cook shell in oven for 10 minutes.
Remove shell from oven, cover with sauce, cheese and toppings, and bake it for 10 more minutes at 425 or until the crust and cheese are golden brown.

Ricotta-Spinach Gnocchi

Shape these spinach dumplings by hand. To cook and serve them, heat a pot of homemade vegetable broth or water and cook them in the liquid. Then ladle the broth over the gnocchi in bowls.Alternatively, cook the gnocchi in water and serve them bathed in butter and Parmesan cheese.

Gnocchi:
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach
1 lb. whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup flour
Extra flour (for shaping)

In a saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the spinach through a fine-mesh strainer. When it is cool enough to handle, press and squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible. Wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel (use one that you don't mind turning green) and twist it until all the water stops dripping.
Bring a large pan of salted water or vegetable broth to a boil.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta and the spinach. Stir well to blend them. Add the egg, nutmeg, and salt and stir again. Stir in the Parmesan and ½ cup of the flour and mix until well blended.
Put the remaining flour on a plate. Flour your hands and scoop up a tablespoon of the dough. Roll it in your hands until you have a dumpling about the size of a walnut. Roll the dumpling on the plate to coat it lightly with flour.
Your may need a little more flour and Parmesan. To test the dumpling, drop one into the boiling water (or vegetable broth) to see if it holds its shape. If so, continue making dumplings until you've used all of the mixture. If not, add a little more cheese or flour to make the mixture more firm.
Line the shaped dumplings in one layer on a well-floured baking sheet. Let the dumplings rest uncovered for 30 minutes to dry out slightly.

Broth Method:
2 quarts vegetable broth
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)

Bring the broth to a gentle boil. Add the gnocchi, a few at a time. When they are almost cooked, they will rise to the surface.Continue cooking for 1 minute.
Using a large skimmer or slotted spoon, scoop the gnocchi from the broth. Transfer them to 6 deep bowls.
Ladle hot broth over the gnocchi, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve at once.

Water Method:
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, a few at a time.
Continue adding the dumplings slowly so that the water continues at a gentle boil.
When the gnocchi are almost cooked, they will rise to the surface. Continue cooking for 1 minute more.
Use a large skimmer or slotted spoon to scoop the gnocchi from the water. Transfer them to 6 deep bowls.
Pour the butter over them, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve at once.

Stuffed Portobellos with Bread Salad (Rachel Ray)

8 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for brushing
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 large egg yolk
1 clove garlic, grated
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (a generous handful)
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cups crusty bread, torn or coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, coat the mushroom caps with EVOO. Place on a baking sheet and bake, top side up, until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, spinach, ricotta, egg yolk, garlic and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.
Divide the stuffing evenly among the mushroom caps. Sprinkle with the parmigiano-reggiano and cook until the filling is set and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Place the tomatoes in a salad bowl. Add the bread, onion, basil, the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO and lots of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve 2 mushroom caps per person with a pile of bread salad alongside.

Three Cheese Spinach Manicotti

8 oz ricotta cheese
1 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup minced onion
1 egg
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs, seasoned
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 8 oz. package manicotti shells

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes to until al dente. Drain.
In a large bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, 4 oz mozzarella cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, sour cream, spinach, onions, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
In a 9x13 baking dish, spray with non-stick cooking spray and cover bottom with thin coating of spaghetti sauce.
Fill each manicotti with cheese mixture and place in dish. Cover with remaining sauce and mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Tofu-Basil Lasagna

30 minutes prep time
35-45 minutes to bake

1 pound of soft tofu, rinsed, drained, and mashed
2 cups of finely chopped onions
3 Tbsp. umeboshi vinegar
½ tsp. of black pepper
1 tsp. of onion powder
1 Tbsp. of dried oregano
4 cups of washed chopped fresh basil
½ cup of olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ tsp. of salt
2 ½ cups of grated soy cheese or mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups of pasta sauce (or tomato-basil sauce)
1 pound of dried lasagna pasta, cooked drained, and rinsed, or three sheets of fresh lasagna pasta cooked, drained, and rinsed.

In a large bowl, mix together the tofu, onions, vinegar, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, and spinach, and set aside.
In a blender or food processor, blend together the basil, oil, garlic, walnuts, and salt. Add the basil mixture to the reserved tofu, mixture and stir together well. Mix in the 1 ½ cups of cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375. In an oiled 9x12 inch baking pan, make alternating layers of the sauce, cooked pasta, and the combined tofu mixture, ending with the tomato sauce. Make sure the pasta is well covered by sauce so it remains soft and moist while cooking.
Top with remaining cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Tracz Family Pizza

1¼ cup water
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. yeast
1-2 Tbsp. spices (oregano, basil, Italian, etc.)
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional, Matt’s suggestion)
3 cups flour (half whole wheat, half regular)

Mix it up, adding up to another ½ cup flour as necessary. Place in a bowl, sprinkle olive oil on top, and cover with a wet paper towel and let rise for two hours.
Spread in pan. Bake dough only for 5 minutes at 425.
Take out, spread sauce and additional seasoning. Bake 5 more minutes at 425.
Take out, layer cheese and toppings. Bake for 13-15 more minutes.
Makes one big pizza.

Vegetable Lasagne

1 cup chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 large stocks broccoli (stems & flowers), chopped
10 oz. spinach, chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. basil
Black pepper
2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
4 oz. mozzarella, grated
4 cups tomato or spaghetti sauce
8 oz. uncooked lasagne noodles
1 tsp. oregano

Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms in butter until soft. Add vegetables and herbs. Simmer approx. 5 minutes until broccoli is bright and tender. Combine cheeses in bowl. In a 13x9 pan, spread ½ cup sauce, layer in noodles, cheese, and vegetables, then repeat. End with noodles. Cover completely with sauce. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until soft and cheese melts.