Category Archives: Italian

Cheesy Eggplant Pasta Bake

Adventures in eggplant are always interesting. Mostly because I usually feel like I don’t know what I’m doing so every time I cook it it feels like an experiment. I didn’t grow up eating it…ever. Even now I don’t eat it all that often. But with my weekly surprise farm boxes, sometimes they come my way and I’m hate throwing away food so you can bet I will find a way to cook it! I’m still teaching myself to cook it, and to love it. I’m not quite there yet, but we have reached an accord, the eggplant and I.

I would call this particular eggplant experiment a success. I mean, really, when you add sauce and cheese and pasta, you can pretty much throw anything in there and it will be good, am I right? The ricotta and marinara sauce mingle into a wonderful creamy coating for the noodles and the eggplant adds great texture (and a few vitamins, yay!). If you want a little less texture, I would recommend peeling the eggplant. I left the peel on and didn’t mind it a bit.

Don’t be intimidated by all the steps. While there are several components, they are all individually easy to make and the finished dish is pretty, hearty and great for serving a crowd, or sticking in your fridge to eat all week, or gifting it to friends or family who have had a busy day.

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Cheesy Eggplant Pasta Bake

Sauce:
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped olives
Handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
Salt & pepper to taste

Crumb:
1/2 cup chopped kale, spinach or herbs
1 clove garlic
2 slices of sourdough bread (stale is best!)
Pinch of sea salt

For the bake:
2 cups diced eggplant (bite size dice) – 1 large eggplant or 2 little ones
1 tsp. sea salt
1 package penne pasta
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
8 oz. mozzarella

Heat oven to 375˚. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray or rub with olive oil. Set aside.

Put eggplant in a colander and toss with sea salt. Let it sit in the sink for 10 minutes while you make the sauce, pasta and crumb topping. The salt will help draw out the extra moisture so it isn’t mushy in your casserole.

In a medium sauce pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook a minute or so until fragrant but not browned. Add tomatoes and olives. Bring to a boil and then turn down and let simmer. Add basil. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Cook pasta according to package directions, removing about a minute earlier than usual so it’s still a little al dente. It will continue to cook in the oven so this will keep it from getting too soft. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

Combine kale, garlic, sourdough bread and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse to get a crumb mixture. Sauté in a large dry skillet until it’s slightly brown and crunchy. (You can also do this step in the oven, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.) Set aside.

Spread paper towels on your counter top and put the eggplant on top of them. Press down on top with another layer of paper towels to remove the moisture that has accumulated. Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Spread out eggplant evenly in one layer. Cook a few minutes on each side until slightly browned and tender but not mushy.

Build your casserole. Start with half the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with the pasta. Then the ricotta in dollops all around and then smear them around to form a layer. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Add eggplant. Then the other half of the sauce. Top with mozzarella, just torn into chunks. Finish with breadcrumb topping.

Bake at 375˚ for 25 minutes, or until top is crunchy and cheese is melty. Serves 6.

Right out of the oven. Mmmm.

Right out of the oven. Mmmm.

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CSA Week 5: Cannolicchi alla Caprese

Lately I’ve been trying and trying to use all my CSA ingredients before I use the next batch. And overall I’ve been really successful. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had to toss anything that went bad before I could use it, although I’ll admit to taking a couple of weeks to get to some items. I don’t blog about everything I use since some of it just gets snacked on (I’m looking at you blueberries) and so much of it gets tossed into side salads or breakfast scrambles. That being said, I was afraid if I tossed kale and/or squash into one more recipe this week, there would be a revolt in my household.

The first three or four farm boxes included an herb plant, which has contributed to quite a nice little herb garden in my backyard. My basil in particular has been doing great and was absolutely delicious in this. Later in the summer when I’m trying to figure out what to do with an overload of tomatoes, this recipe will definitely be making another appearance. For the best flavor, use an assortment of vine-ripened tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes (I used a combo). With so few ingredients, quality really does matter!

This recipe combines my favorite flavors of all time in symphony of simplicity and deliciousness. I love basil, tomato and mozzarella together. Give it to me in salads, sandwiches, pizza, or just sliced up together on a plate and I am a happy camper. I’ve made a few different versions of this from time to time, but this one really was nice. The big difference with this recipe is combining the ingredients ahead of time and letting them marinate for several hours before tossing with the pasta. Mmmm. Perfect.

Cannolicchi alla Caprese. Use whatever noodle your heart desires, but these twirly ones were a great choice!

Cannolicchi alla Caprese. Use whatever noodle your heart desires, but these twirly ones were a great choice!

Cannolicchi alla Caprese
(from The Pollan Family Table – the original recipe is Conchiglie alla caprese, I just used a different noodle)

2-3 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes (I used a combo of roma and cherry tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups diced fresh mozzarella (or buy the little balls, which I had on hand)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (little ribbons)
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
1 pound pasta, either shells or a spiral shape to catch all the little bits and flavors

In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and let the sauce marinate at room temperature while you prepare the pasta, or for up to three hours to enhance the flavors. I highly recommend letting it sit a while, it did make a big difference.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, the drain the pasta.

Add pasta to the tomato mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water, or as desired, to moisten the sauce. Season with sea salt and pepper as needed. Sere hot or at room temperature.

 

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Spaghetti Squash Gratin

I’m not a squash fan. Or at least, I didn’t use to be. I’ve been gradually teaching myself to like it. The main trick I have learned in teaching myself to like new foods is to start by cooking it in a similar recipe as foods I do like.

I like spaghetti. With red sauce and cheese.  Now I’m not going to tell you that spaghetti squash tastes exactly like spaghetti. It doesn’t really. In fact, it doesn’t really taste like much at all. When you cook it with cheese and spaghetti sauce, mostly what you taste is cheese and spaghetti sauce. But the spaghetti squash has a nice texture (a little firmer than an actual noodle but not that different) and it’s a great conveyance for your favorite flavors.

The star of this dish – for me – was the ricotta topping. It’s hard to feel like you are missing out when you are eating something so rich and creamy. And here’s the kicker. My daughter ate SQUASH and it was all because she loved the ricotta stuff so much. I gave her a tiny spoonful of this dish (I have a rule that you have to at least try everything once) and told her if she hated it she could make herself a sandwich. Normally she hates squash, so this is how I was expecting it to go down. But instead she went back, loaded up her bowl and ate it all. It was some sort of squashy miracle.

One note on cooking the squash: some people cook it whole, some cut it in half. It will cook faster if you cut it in half (in about 45 minutes or so), but wrestling these things into submission when they are raw is not always easy. I found it much easier to break this sucker down when it was cooked and tender, so I left mine whole.

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Gratin
(from Recipe Sweet)

1 spaghetti squash

Sauce:
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and smooshed with your fingers or coarsely chopped (or you can use diced ones)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn

Gratin Topping:
1 (15 oz.) container part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400˚. Poke your squash with a fork or knife a few times and place in the oven whole (I put mine on a pan just in case it leaked some juices). Roast for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until tender. Let it cool just a bit so you can handle it. (You can do this the day before or earlier in the day if time is an issue).

Slice it in half, scoop out the seeds in the middle (discard the seeds), and then using a fork, comb through the squash, creating “spaghetti” strands. Place these in the bottom of your baking dish. Drizzle with just a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss a bit with your fingers to combine.

Looks like spaghetti!

Looks like spaghetti!

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper.  Cook and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning and wine. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Pour over the top of the squash and spread out so all of the squash is covered.

Smother anything in this sauce and it will be good.

Smother anything in this sauce and it will be good.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan and seasonings.  Carefully spread ricotta mixture over the top of the red sauce.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

Bake at 400˚ for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned. Dig in!

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Pizza Stuffed Peppers

I came across these giant red bell peppers the other day and they were so pretty (and so on sale!) that I just had to buy them.  And with so many spring colds going around, this seemed like the perfect way to get an extra dose of vitamin C. Did you know red bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges?

Since the peppers were such a nice shape and good size, stuffing them seemed like the thing to do.  But stuff with what?  As it happens I had all the makings for homemade pizza, except crust.  You know, sometimes things just fall into place.  Obviously a pizza filled pepper was the solution to all my problems.

Now when you’re making a stuffed pepper, you’re faced with two choices:  lop off the top and stuff them whole, or cut them in half and make boats.  Since my peppers were so tall I opted for boats. This has the added benefit of being able to pick it up and eat it like pizza if you so desire (and if you’re willing to wait a bit for it to cool).

These were delicious.  I’m not anti-crust myself, but if you’re searching for a more healthy, low-carb or gluten-free solution to pizza, give this a try!  Feel free to vary the pizza toppings to your liking. I am not listing quantities because really it depends on how big your peppers are and how many you want to eat.

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

3-4 large red bell peppers (or any color)
Red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of basil, coarsely chopped
Mushrooms
Mozzarella
Pepperoni (optional)
Salt & pepper
Dry or fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stuff peppers with veggies, pepperoni (if using) and cheese.  I went for random placement so I could have a bit of everything in each bite.  Don’t overfill or it will just melt everywhere.  Lightly sprinkle with salt & pepper & oregano.  Bake for 20 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.

Yum.  Pick it up to eat or slice it up and eat it with a fork.  Up to you.

Yum. Pick it up to eat or slice it up and eat it with a fork. Up to you.

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Mediterranean Pizza

I can’t remember the last time I went out for pizza.  There are a few places I like in town, but none are very close to my house, and it usually just seems like too much trouble.  I’ve found it’s much easier to make my own, especially if I want a healthy-ish, gourmet-ish sort of pizza.

I threw this together with a few ingredients I had on hand, and the result was a tasty, Mediterranean style pizza that disappeared in the blink of an eye!  I read an article recently about ingredients you should never put on pizza, and I think spinach was on the list, but what do they know?  I actually really like it on pizza, especially if you cook it at a high enough temp that it gets a little crispy on the edges instead of just wilting.  Because nobody likes a soggy pizza.  This is a great way to get some extra veggies into the little ones (and the big ones!) without it seeming like rabbit food.

If you have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, they make a great fresh pizza dough that you can find in their refrigerated section.  It comes in plain or garlic-herb varieties.  If you don’t have a TJ’s close to you, you can use any pizza dough that suits you.

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Garlic-herb fresh pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s pizza crust, but whatever kind you like will work)
1/2 cup basil pesto (click here for my pesto recipe or use store bought)
Pepperoni
1 tomato, sliced or diced
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
Assorted olives (I used kalamata and some green Italian ones)
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup mozzarella
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and preheat that too, otherwise you can use any baking pan.  Flatten your dough out with your hands into whatever shape suits you (I usually just make it whatever shape of pan I’m using). Make it as thin or thick as you like.

Spread pesto evenly over crust.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

Layer  pepperoni and spinach.

 

Pepperoni and spinach.  For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pepperoni and spinach. For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pile on the other toppings, sprinkling evenly over crust. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper, or if you like it spicy, scatter a bit of crushed red pepper over the top.

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top.  Doesn't that look gorgeous?

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top. Doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned on the edges and bottom.  I like a crispy crust, so I sometimes cook an additional minute or two.  For a softer crust, take it out a bit sooner.

Let it set for a few minutes before slicing.  Cut into wedges and try not to burn the roof of your mouth when you dive in!

Mmmmm!

Mmmmm!

 

 

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5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

I am an expert of the field of minimal effort cooking.  Mostly this happens on days when I’m just cooking for myself (or at the end of busy, crazy days, or lazy ones).  I threw together this light and tasty pasta in about 5 minutes the other night and man, it was good!

You could use any kind of olives in this, but I happened to have some Castelvetrano olives on hand so i used those.  I recently discovered these and it was love at first taste!  They are bright green and round, and very mild and a bit nutty in flavor.  If your grocery store has an olive bar, that will probably be your best bet if you’re interested in picking some up, but I do occasionally see a jar of them here and there as well.  If you can’t find them, feel free to sub the olive of your choice.

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

Capellini or angel hair pasta
3-4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
Handful of olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, very thinly sliced or minced
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while you heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the skillet.  Toss in the pasta and keep an eye on it.  Capellini is very thin; it will only take about 4 minutes to cook.  While the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned.  Add tomatoes and olives.  Turn heat down to low and give the mixture an occasional stir until the pasta is ready.  You really don’t need to cook the veggies much, mostly you are just heating them up and letting some of their juices release and combine to make it a little more saucy.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed (depending on the type of olives you use, you may not need much salt at all, if any).  Drain pasta (reserve a bit of the pasta water) and toss with tomato mixture.  If pasta seems dry you can add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water or drizzle with a touch of olive oil.  Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan or feta if desired.

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Veal Parmesan with Zpaghetti

In recent years, I have started a new tradition of buying myself a Christmas present or two and wrapping it up to put under the tree.  As it turns out, Santa always seems to bring me something I really want!  As you might imagine, kitchen gadgets tend to make my wish list here and there.  This year I really wanted a spiral slicer!  I love the idea of making “noodles” out of whatever veggie happens to be handy, but I do not love the idea of sitting there painstakingly peeling or slicing away at it to get my uniform, healthy, yummy veggie-noodles.  But now!  I have the perfect little tool and let me tell you this baby is fun to play with!  At the risk of sounding like an informercial, let me just say it worked like a charm and I had a pile of lovely curly strands of zucchini in mere moments.

What else can I slice up?  Quick!  Get me a carrot!

What else can I slice up? Quick! Get me a carrot!

A quick sauté with a bit of garlic and they were perfect alongside my delicious veal parmesan.  My daughter, who is not usually a big zucchini fan, actually ate the entire serving.  As for the veal, you’ve got to try these delicious burgers.  With a simple marinara topping and a sprinkle of cheese, they were a huge hit!  Not a veal fan?  No problem.  Feel free to substitute ground beef or turkey, or even slices of eggplant!

Veal Parmesan with Zpaghetti.  So delicious!

Veal Parmesan with Zpaghetti. So delicious!

Veal Parmesan with Zpaghetti

Sauce:

Olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of crushed red peppers
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. capers

Blend up or crush tomatoes (with juice).  Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add garlic and stir about 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, crushed red peppers and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Toss in capers.  Let sauce simmer while you prepare the burgers.

Mmmm.  Simple and good.  When I have a bit of fresh basil I throw that in as well.

Mmmm. Simple and good. When I have a bit of fresh basil I throw that in as well.

Burgers:

1 pound ground veal (or ground beef or turkey)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
3-4 mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 cup panko (or other bread crumbs)
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

Heat oven to broil.  Mix veal, garlic, egg, mushrooms, onion and seasonings until well blended.  Form into patties.  Dredge both sides in panko and shake off excess.  Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet.  Add patties and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until brown on the outside and done in the middle.

Cooking up the burgers.

Cooking up the burgers.

Remove to a baking sheet.  Top each burger with a generous spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan.  Place under the broiler 3-4 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown on top.

All sliced up and ready to cook.  The strips are so thin it only takes a couple of minutes to cook!

All sliced up and ready to cook. The strips are so thin it only takes a couple of minutes to cook!

Zpaghetti:

3 zucchini, cut into thin strips either with a spiral slicer or using a vegetable peeler
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper

While burgers are broiling, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet and toss in the zucchini, along with minced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper if desired.  Sauté 2-3 minutes until zucchini is tender.  Serve hot, topped with extra marinara sauce.

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Tossed Caprese Salad

It’s nice to have a salad once in a while that doesn’t involve lettuce.  When you eat salad often (which I try to do) sometimes you just can’t look at another lettuce leaf.  There is just something about this simple salad that reminds me of summer.  And truthfully, summer is my favorite time to make it, with vine-ripened tomatoes and basil from the garden.  But I make it year round, because I love these flavors together so much.  And even in winter the cherry or grape tomatoes taste sweet and juicy. Do yourself a favor and spring for the fresh mozzarella for this one.  The taste and texture are completely different from the rubbery stuff and well worth the extra buck or two.

So toss this one together, kick back, and think sweet thoughts of summer days.

Tossed Caprese Salad

Tossed Caprese Salad

Tossed Caprese Salad

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I usually leave the tomatoes out at room temperature for maximum flavor)
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or sliced in ribbons
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra version olive oil
Salt & fresh ground pepper

Toss together all ingredients until the oil and vinegar coat the cheese and tomatoes somewhat evenly.  Serve at room temperature.

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Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

In an age where it seems that everyone I know is going gluten-free or full-on Paleo, I’ve embraced my whole grains, and have been exploring some new ones.  I think in moderation, just about anything can be part of a healthy diet and whole grains offer many benefits.  They are full of nutrients and fiber, and are very filling, especially when they are the base of a salad.

I’ve never tried farro before but this one dish made me a fan.  It has a great chewy texture, with a mild, nutty flavor.  While not gluten-free, it is considerably lower in gluten than most other grains, and at least according to the sources I checked, can often be eaten by people who don’t tolerate gluten well.

This salad uses the best of the late summer veggies that are still available, but you could easily modify it to include whatever happens to be in season.  I found some very cool tomatoes – blueberry tomatoes – at the market that I had never tried before.  They were delicious, but feel free to use the cherry tomato or diced fresh tomato of your choice.

Blueberry Tomatoes!  Very yummy.

Blueberry Tomatoes! Very yummy.

This is definitely filling enough for a meat-free meal, but feel free to add some grilled chicken or fish along with it if you’re up for something a bit more hearty.

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

1 pkg. farro
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 cucumber, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper
1/4-1/2 c. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Grilled chicken (optional)
Balsamic glaze (optional)

Cook farro according to package directions and set aside.  While that is cooking, heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and add onion, jalapeno and garlic to pan.  Sauté a few minutes until onion is tender.  Add corn and cook and stir another minute or two.

In a large bowl, add farro, onion mixture, tomatoes, cucumber, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and olive oil.  Add a big pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper.  Stir well and taste.  Add a bit more vinegar if it needs some extra oomph.  Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.  Top with grilled chicken and/or balsamic glaze if desired.

We served ours with a little sliced grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.  Mmmm.

We served ours with a little sliced grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Mmmm.

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Baby Lasagnas

Pinterest is a tiny addiction of mine.  Equal parts inspiration and time suck. I like to go and browse and discover and pin things that I’m sure I will create at some point.  And sometimes I do.  But sometimes the pins sit there on my board, unloved and unmade.  The other day I made a list of about 70 (!) recipes that I had pinned that I REALLY wanted to make (and no, that’s not all of them, and yes, I’ve pinned more since).  I’m systematically making my way through the list over the next 2-3 months.

This is a recipe I pinned quite a while ago from one of my favorite blogs, Can You Stay For Dinner?, and I’m thrilled to report they turned out every bit as good as I had hoped, and have come to expect from her recipes.  My version is slightly different from the original (is this any surprise?). Quick to make and seriously, who doesn’t love lasagna that bakes in 10 minutes?  No doubt I’ll be making these again.

Baby Lasagna!  Adorable.  And delicious!

Baby Lasagna! Adorable. And delicious!

Baby Lasagnas
(adapted from canyoustayfordinner.com)

6 oz. lean ground beef
1-2 Italian sausage links
1 cup chopped onion
Salt & pepper
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes (I used about 2/3 of a 28 oz. can)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. dry oregano, divided
1/4 cup red wine (optional
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (or sub 1/2 tsp. dry basil)
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
24 square wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚.  In a large skillet crumble beef.  Remove casings from sausage links and crumble that in there too.  Add mushrooms and onions.  Sauté until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook and stir a minute more.  Add tomatoes and 2 tsp. of oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper, and red wine.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so.  Set aside.

Yummy red sauce.  My version uses lean versions of beef & Italian sausage.

Yummy red sauce. My version uses lean beef & Italian sausage.

In a small bowl mix ricotta cheese with 1 tsp. oregano, a few grinds of pepper and fresh basil. Mix well and set aside.

Creamy, delicious ricotta mixture.  Yum.

Creamy, delicious ricotta mixture. Yum.

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.  Place one wonton skin in the bottom of each cup, pressing firmly to the bottom and sides.  Divide half the meat sauce among the lasagnas, placing a spoonful or so in the bottom of each cup.

babylasagna3

Top with half the ricotta mixture.  I dropped a spoonful on each one and then gave it a little smear to smash it down a bit.

babylasagna4

Sprinkle with half the mozzarella.

babylasagna5

Gently press another wonton skin on top of the cheese.

One more time...with feeling!

One more time…with feeling!

Repeat the above sequence, with sauce, ricotta and mozzarella.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes or so.

After they are cool, insert a butter knife down the side and gently lift it out.

After they are cool, insert a butter knife down the side to gently lift it out.

Remove from muffin tin and serve.  Makes 12 baby lasagnas.

Mmmm.

Mmmm.

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