Streamlined Lasagna

This is the recipe that my mother made when I was growing up. It is not authentic in many ways, but it is delicious comfort food using ingredients that were readily available in a grocery store in the 1970s.

Servings: 6

1 Tbsp oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, sliced
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz lasagne noodles ( 8 slices)
4 oz Swiss cheese, sliced thin
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
parsley, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender.
  2. Add ground beef, cook until browned.
  3. Mash garlic with salt and add to meat with pepper, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. If making ahead, refrigerate sauce until ready to assemble.
  5. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  6. Cook lasagne noodles until al dente. Drain & cover with cold water.
  7. Spread of sauce in a 9×13 pan. Top with half each of lasagne noodles, Swiss cheese (reserve 1 slice) & cottage cheese.
  8. Repeat, ending with remaining sauce and reserved cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute mozzarella for the Swiss cheese and ricotta for the cottage cheese for a more authentic dish.

Fettuccine with Peas, Mushrooms & Ham

SOURCE

Servings: 4

5 Tbsp butter
6 green onions
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
4 oz ham, chopped
1 cup Parmesan
1 lb fettuccine, cooked
salt & pepper, to taste
10 oz frozen peas

  1. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add green onions and saute until soft.
  3. Add mushrooms, increase heat to high and cook until mushrooms are slightly browned.
  4. Add cream and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in peas and cook until almost tender, about 30 seconds.
  6. Reduce heat to low. Stir in ham, Parmesan and fettuccine. Toss until heated through and sauce clings to pasta.
  7. Salt & pepper to taste.
  • You can substitute other pasta such as tortellini or ravioli for the fettuccine.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta

I wrote this recipe out from a magazine, but unfortunately, I did not make note of the magazine name. I love this creamy, spicy sauce with pasta.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
1 lb pasta, cooked & drained

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture, chicken mixture & pasta.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • I like to use farfalle (bow-tie) pasta for this recipe, but you can use any short pasta.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.

Arrabiata Sauce – well, kind of

While we were in Italy, I made this dish at one of the bed & breakfasts we stayed at.  The owner kindly let us cook dinner for ourselves when we got there too late to go out to dinner.

Cooking in a strange kitchen using only what they have in their cabinets and fridge can be challenging. More so when all the labels are in a foreign language. Based on what I found and the memory of an Arrabiata sauce recipe I had read before, I threw this together. It turned out quite tasty, so I wrote it down before I forgot what I put in it. This made one serving.
whole dried peperoncini
1 tsp olive oil (olio di oliva)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (pomodoro), chopped
1/2 anchovy fillet (acciughe), chopped
1 tsp fennel seed (finocchio), crushed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (peperoncini)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrato di pomodoro)
Splash red wine (vino)
1 Tbsp Italian parsley (prezzemolo), chopped
cooked pasta
Parmesan, grated

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add tomatoes, anchovy, fennel seed and red pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  3. Add tomato paste, red wine and parsley.  Cook until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Peperoncini were everywhere – fresh bunches in the produce stalls and dried in the grocery stores. I was especially intrigued by the grinders filled with whole dried red peperoncini – similar to a grinder that we use for black pepper.