September 4, 2016

Baked Ziti

Posted in Pasta, Uncategorized at 1:43 pm by Sheila OConnell

This is a real crowd pleaser. Great for parties since the work is done ahead of time. It has to stand for 10 minutes after coming out of the oven, but you can let it sit much longer.  The original recipe called for 2 lbs of sausage, 1/2 cup oil and 3 tbsp basil, but I thought that was a bit much.

1.25 lbs hot Italian sausage
1 lb ziti or penne or rigatoni
1 14oz can tomato sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp. sugar
2 red chili peppers (optional)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add tomato sauce, basil, rosemary, oregano, sugar to medium-large pot
Wash chili peppers and add to pot whole (or trim off stem)
Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hr
After 45 minutes start water to boil for pasta
Remove casing from sausage and break into small pieces
Heat olive oil in pan on medium high, add sausage and cook until it starts to brown
Remove and discard chili peppers then add sausage and all of the oil to the tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook pasta to al dente (don’t over cook – it will cook during baking)
Add pasta to 9 x 13 baking pan
Add sausage and sauce to baking pan and toss together to mix
Add parmesan on top then cover with mozzarella
Cover with foil (or top of pan), but don’t let foil touch cheese, and bake for 30 min at 350
Remove top/foil and bake 10 minutes (watch that cheese doesn’t burn)
Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes
Serve with a nice salad, bread, and a good Italian wine (a super Tuscan works well).

Bon appetite
(posted by dad)



November 4, 2012

Chicken and Sausages

Posted in Chicken, Pasta at 8:37 pm by Sheila OConnell

The amounts of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste and the number of servings.  Here is approximately what I would do for six servings:

6 or 8 hot Italian sausages, cut into pieces about 2 inches long
2 whole boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
olive oil
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup sliced onions
2 sliced green peppers
1 tsp basil
pinch sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup flour

Fry sausages in a small amount of olive oil in Dutch oven until brown; remove from pan.
Fry chicken until lightly browned.  Pour off remaining oil.
Add tomatoes with juice, wine, onions, green pepper, basil and sugar and start to simmer, scraping drippings from bottom.
Add meat and mushrooms.
Cover and simmer about 35 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Make a paste of flour and water, and add some pan juices.  Add mixture to pot and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Serve over pasta.

July 22, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Posted in Chicken, Pasta at 8:10 pm by Sheila OConnell

This is kind of a variation on my pasta recipe with a little more emphasis on the chicken part.
There are two variations I’ll present here. One is a earthier version featuring mushrooms and beef broth. The second uses capers, white wine and chicken broth. Both are delicious.

1 frying chicken
1/2 cup flour
2 tblsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tblsp red pepper flakes
1 28 ox can diced tomatoes (RedPack if available)
1 medium onion, chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 box pasta (linguini or fettucini)

15 or so mushrooms, cut into 1/2 in thick pieces
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tblsp dry parsley

1/2 tblsp capers
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tblsp dry oregano

You can make this easier by using boneless, skinless chicken. Real easy and quick using chicken tenders. But I use one whole frying chicken. Rinse the chicken well and pat dry. Cut it up: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts each cut in half (4 pieces). 2 wings (eh – your choice, I don’t both since there isn’t much meat on them). I remove most of the skin and fat and take breast off bone.

Start water boiling for pasta

1 tblsp oil in medium hot pan.
dredge chicken pieces in flour and place in hot oil
fry chicken pieces for 3-5 minutes per side. (do in batches if they don’t all fit in pan)
remove pieces to plate and sprinkle with salt & pepper
Add 1/2 tblsp oil and reduce heat to medium
Add garlic, onions, pepper flakes for a minute or two

Add (A) mushrooms or (B) capers
sprinkle w Salt & pepper (salt brings liquid out of mushrooms)
saute for 5 minutes or so, until onions are tender and mushrooms.

Add (A) beef broth or (B) white wine then chicken broth 1-2 minutes later
When bubbling at good clip, add tomatoes and (A) parsley or (B) Oregano.
When that is bubbling again at a good clip, return chicken to pan – submerging as much as possible.
Let cook over medium-low heat (a little more than a simmer really) for 5-10 minutes (depending on how confident you are that the chicken is fully cooked)

While chicken and sauce are simmering, cook pasta – linguini or fettucini.

Serve with salad, bread, and, of course, a nice red wine – Chianti, Rhone, or Tempranillo work great.

Bon apetit

Posted by Dad

April 11, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

Posted in Pasta at 7:17 pm by Sheila OConnell

Dad and I used to make this a lot in our grad school days, but we had forgotten about it until recently.  We were happy to rediscover it!

   1/4 – 1/3 lb spaghetti
   3 strips bacon
   2 tbsp olive oil
   1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
   1 egg
   freshly ground black pepper

Brown bacon in olive oil.   Beat egg in large bowl.  Cook spaghetti, drain and dump into bowl with egg.  Toss quickly.  Stir in cheese, bacon and about 1 or 1.5 tbsp oil from the pan and mix well.  Grind plenty of pepper on top.

Serve with tossed salad and wine.

Safety tip: since you don’t cook the egg, wash the shell well with water or soap and water before cracking it open.  Then make sure you drain the pasta quickly so you can dump it onto the egg while it is still hot, which kind of cooks the egg.  Some of you who work in the public health field may not approve of the raw egg thing … but I don’t think the dish would be as good without it.

March 13, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Variations

Posted in Pasta at 2:54 pm by Sheila OConnell

This is a follow-up to my original post. Part of the fun of cooking is trying variations of a recipe. Here are a few of my favorites. They all use the basic technique – get water boiling for pasta, cook garlic, onions, and other items along with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, then add tomatos and oregano. Then combine with pasta water and pasta.

1. Succulent Shrimp

In this version I strive for a slightly creamier sauce so I reduce the olive oil and add 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Also I use a small can of diced tomatos.  Use about a half pound of shrimp – wash, shell and devein. The shrimp cook fairly quickly so start onions and garlic then add shrimp.

2. Sausage and mushrooms.

Use one or two Italian sausages – cut a slit in, and remove from, the casing. break into small pieces and cook with the onions and garlic. Add chopped mushrooms (i like small pieces in this recipes) and cook for several minutes before adding tomatos. Defintely top with parmesean cheese. Mushrooms give a nice earthy taste.

3. Chicken & artichokes.

Half pound of chicken tenders and a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts. Wash, dry, and dust the chicken with flour – quick saute in oil or butter (2 minutes per side) and set aside. Then saute garlic and onions and chopped artichokes. Add chicken pieces. Let saute a couple of minutes, then add tomatos. Continue as usual.

4. Squash and eggplant

Wash and slice 1 small zucchini or yellow squash and maybe 1/2 eggplant into smallish, but not too thin pieces. Heat oil then saute vegetables. After 4-5 minutes add garlic and onions. Stir/turn vegetables frequently. Add tomatoes, then spinach, etc.

Posted by Dad

January 23, 2010

Dad’s Mediterranean Pasta

Posted in Pasta at 6:41 pm by Sheila OConnell

Simple dish of garlic, olive oil, onions, diced tomatoes, spinach and thin spaghetti. Ready in 30 min or less. Serve with baked zuchini, italian bread, and wine. (Variations include squash & eggplant, chicken, italian sausgae, and shrimp; see my next post.)

Basic Ingredients:
Thin spaghetti (or linguine or angel hair)
Olive Oil
2-3 large cloves garlic, diced
1 large onion, cut in chunks
1 large can Red Pack diced tomatoes
1 bag washed spinach
Red pepper flakes
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Put large pot of water with salt to boil
Dice garlic & chop onions
When water is near boiling…
Put olive oil 1-2 tbls in large skillet w garlic
Heat on medium high heat – as soon as garlic starts to sizzle, reduce heat and add onions.
Stir onions and garlic until tender. Add red pepper flakes
Start spaghetti to boil
Add tomatoes to skillet, raise heat to medium high
Add salt and pepper if desired
When Spaghetti has 2 minutes to go, add spinach to skillet and slowly fold in. Reduce heat if necessary.
Pour out most of water from pot, then add several large ladles of spaghetti water to skillet.
Slowly, add spaghetti to skillet, folding into tomatoes as you go. Let all ingredients cook on low for a few minutes.
Serve with bread, etc. Spinkle pasta with parmesan cheese if desired.
Nice Italian white wine (Pinot Grigio or Gavi), or a mediterranean red wine (Chianti, Rhone, Spanish) will go nicely.
Bon Appetit!

(ps, above uses 12″ skillet, 2/3 box pasta, serves 4-6)

Posted by Dad