Fool Proof Lasagna

Classic Lasagna Fool Proof

Fool Proof Lasagna

Nothing beats classic lasagna!

And this is the easiest recipe you will ever make. It’s FOOL PROOF , which means anyone can make it even if you have never cooked before. Follow the recipe exactly and you will be super happy with the result. Also it can be made ahead of time and it’s freezer-friendly too!

This recipes takes some more time to make and a little bit of effort than most of my recipes  – but I promise you, it’s worth it. I even double the recipe some times and freeze  it.

The lasagna has layers of classic meat sauce, bechamel and cheese.  A.K.A. layers of goodness!

This one of those dishes that tastes even better the very next day! So if you have leftovers, lucky you!

Fool Proof Lasagna

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 fresh lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 oz. finely chopped bacon
  • 1 onion peeled and diced small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 Cup Passata (tomato sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. bouillon powder or 1 1/2 cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 C. red wine or water (red wine gives a fuller flavour)

BECHAMEL:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Cups milk
  • a grating of nutmeg, about 1/8 tsp.
  • 1 bay leaf

ADDITIONAL: 

  • 3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves or basil

DIRECTIONS MEAT SAUCE:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C . Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Heat  a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and fry until it starts releasing a bit of fat, add the ground beef and onion and cook until beef has browned, add the garlic. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; season with pepper, to taste. Drain off excess fat. Put back on the heat. Stir in the passata, bouillon powder and Italian seasoning until well combined. Add the wine or water and let simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Since you are using fresh pasta you don’t want the sauce to be too wet.
  • Remove from heat.
Fool Proof Lasagna

DIRECTIONS BECHAMEL:

  1. Heat a large pot with a thick bottom, add the butter and melt.
  2. Add the flour and stir with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly, until very well combined and there are no lumps at all.
  4. Add the bay leaf and nutmeg.
  5. Simmer for about ten minutes until flour is fully “cooked”
  6. Remove from heat.

ASSEMBLE LASAGNA:

  1. Spread 1 cup tomato mixture onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish; top with 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the bechamel sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat . Top with remaining noodles, tomato mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan.
  2. Place into oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbling.
  3. Let cool 15 minutes. This is an important step! *
  4. Serve, garnished with parsley or tiny basil leafs, if desired.

 

Fool Proof Lasagna

Fool Proof Lasagna

 

*RESTING:Letting the Lasagna rest for 15 minutes will ensure that you can cut beautiful squares or portions.

*MAKE-AHEAD: Cover lasagna tightly with foil. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until completely cooked through and golden on top.

*TO FREEZE UNCOOKED: Cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake, remove plastic wrap, cover and bake for 90 minutes. Uncover; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

*FREEZE COOKED: sometimes I will make this recipe and divide it into four portions and pack them into foil baking dishes. Then freeze, when I’m in a hurry I will only have to defrost and place on a plate and microwave, and believe me….still really delicious.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Pumpkin Mac n Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Garlic Crumb topping

 

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201056

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201328

 

Just because Weekends need comfort food.

I just love Pumpkin in any recipe, here are some of my favourites,

 

Especially now with this wet weather, you really need comforting food, am I right?

This mac with Pumpkin will become your favourite fall recipe, especially with the addition of slowly cooked golden glazed onions. A perfect combination with the salty cheeses. It’s creamy, dreamy, and with a crispy golden breadcrumb topping that will make you jump for joy.

I’ve added a few different kinds of cheeses to make the flavours more complex and balanced. Pumpkin, delicious as it is can also be very bland and in my opinion needs a helping hand to bring out the best of it, the smooth creaminess.

I used a combo of Gouda, Gruyère, and Mozzarella and I literally said Oh my God as I put the first bite in my mouth. SO GOOD! You’re just going to have to make it to see what I mean, I assure you won’t be disappointed.

 

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_200215


 

⏰ Prep time : 20 minutes

 🍝 Cooking time : 30 minutes

 🍴 Serves 4 – 6


LRM_EXPORT_20170911_200336

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_200634

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_200645

 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • Salt  and Black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed or grated
  • 4 thick slices  bread pulsed into fine crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 Lb. Pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium  onions thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2  tbsp.  all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound short cut pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, reserve some of the cheese for the top.
  • 1 – 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp.  cayenne pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. butter cut into little cubes

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_200958

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201514

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201540

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the over to 400° F / 200 ° C .

  2. Add the bread, nuts, garlic to a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Melt 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and cook another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the crumbs out onto a plate. Set aside.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain.

  4. Meanwhile cook the pumpkin for about 7 – 10 minutes, in a pan over medium heat with a little water, or cook in the microwave. Whichever you prefer.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes.

  6. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook gently for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the milk, whisking until combined.

  7. Add the Pumpkin mash and stir to mix.

  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted  then stir in the pasta. Spoon the mac and cheese into a baking dish.

  9. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs, some of the left aside cheese and scatter over the cubes of butter, transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201145

LRM_EXPORT_20170911_201405

…..and remember, sharing is cool…

Tuscan Meatballs

Tuscan Meatballs 7.jpg

Tuscan Meatballs 4.jpg

These have to be my favourite meatballs. They have everything I love. Meat and cheese (lots of melting cheese) and mediterranean flavours! Summer flavours, yet comforting enough to serve all year round. And really, does it have to be cold weather to eat melted cheese??? I think NOT.

This dish is actually lighter than you might think. I drain off all the fat from the meatballs after frying them. The lemon zest lifts the whole thing up, and the fresh herbs add freshness. All round a great dish. Serve over pasta, with french bread, in a sandwich or make small ones and serve as an appetizer.


Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 glass dry white wine (or wing it)
  • a tiny grating of lemon zest, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • a pinch of sugar or agave syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream, I use half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano

Meatballs:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Topping:

6 oz. fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon  fresh oregano

Tuscan Meatballs 3a

Tuscan Meatballs 8

Tuscan Meatballs 1

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet melt the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook about 3 minutes . Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds until it starts to soften, Add the tomato paste. Stir in the sugar. Add the wine. Add the lemon zest.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add the herbs. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook while you prep the meatballs.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the onion until it is finely diced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Roll the mix into meatballs about the size of golf balls.
  4. Heat a large frying pan and add the meatballs to the dry (non stick) pan and cook for 15 minutes – it’s okay if they aren’t cooked quite all the way through. Remove from heat and drain off all the fat in a collander!!!
  5. Place the meatballs in an oven proof dish.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220° C / 425° F.
  7. Add the sauce to the meatballs, add the cream. Stir.
  8. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  9. Place in the oven to bake until the cheese on top is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  10. Garnish with the fresh oregano.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

 

Tuscan Meatballs 5.jpg

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

Parpadelle with roast tomato Puttanesca, fried Halloumi and Pangrattato

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

 

Does anybody still do Meat free Monday? Is that even still a “thing”?

It was for a while… I guess so many people eat meat free now anyway that it’s not worth mentioning.

It was probably meant for people who never ate meat free at all ,  and since so many  have become vegans, vegetarians or flexatarians  you don’t hear about it that much. Funny how even food has become subject to lifestyle fashion. The vegan hype is everywhere, especially on Instagram.

My daughter asked me the other day, mom, what are we? And I said, we’re flexitarians. So she gave me this look and asked if I had made that up. And I explained that, that was a “thing” too.

So here to please you with a super delicious meat free pasta dinner, hassle free and easy. It does rewuire a few steps but none of them are difficult.

First get your tomatoes in the oven, just some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and get them roasting.

Soak some sun-dried tomatoes.

Meanwhile you fry your onion, garlic and chili and set aside. This is the base for your sauce.

Cook your pasta, fry the halloumi and throw it all together.

It’s not really that complicated, and nothing beats a roast tomato sauce. I mean I even use them on pizzas or on focaccia like   Potato Focaccia , and believe me roasting is the way to go.  It brings the tomato sauce to a whole other level.

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

Serves: 4


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. fresh Parpadelle or Fettucine

Roast Puttanesca sauce:

  • 6 C. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 6 anchovies
  • pepper
  • 6 sun-dried tomato halfs

Pangrattato:

  • 3 C. stale bread cubes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
  • salt and pepper
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley

Extra:

  • 6 oz. Halloumi, cut in to squares
  • 1/4 green olives, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. drained capers
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

 

METHOD:

Pre heat the oven to 200° C / 400° F

Put the sun-dried tomatoes in half a cup warm water to soak.

Process the breadcrumbs until chunky crumbs, set aside.

Place the tomato halfs on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the olive oil and place in the middle of the oven.

Roast for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large frying pan, cook the onion and garlic with the chili flakes and the anchovies, until lightly translucent and the anchovies have dissolved.

Add the onion mixture to the tomato mixture and the drained sun-dried tomato halfs in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Wipe out the large frying pan and add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest salt and pepper and garlic. Toss around and cook until golden brown and toasted. Remove to a bowl, and add the parsley, stir to combine.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Cook the parpadelle for about 9 minutes or according to package instruction.

Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the parpadelle with the tomato sauce, olives, capers and organo and place on a large platter. Keep warm. If necessary add some cooking liquid.

Quickly fry the Halloumi in a dry pan for a minute or two on each side. Place over the parpadelle.

Sprinkle over some of the pangrattato and serve immediately. Place a bowl of pangrattato on the table to everyone can add as much as they like.

Serve with more Parmesan cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Parpadelle Puttanesca with fried Halloumi

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day. ♥

 

Baked lentil fusilli

Crispy Baked Lentil Penne Pasta with Cauliflower Alfredo

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo9

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo10

So, from all things healthy this is going to blow your mind. You CAN NOT taste the cauliflower at all and even kids truely don’t believe that the sauce is vegetable based. How cool is that? Kids eating tons of veggies and not even believing it?  In fact there are plenty of adults who aren’t crazy about vegetables and they too will become a big fan of this amazing Cauliflower Alfredo Bake.

The creamyness of the sauce is incredible. To be honest, I still can’t get over it, every time we eat this at home, I’m still amazed at how creamy and good this is without the gallons of dairy fat. Ok, there’s some cheese to go over the top that you could even sub for vegan cheese or just leave out all together if you really want to cut the calories, either way it certainly  beats a sauce with tons of cream and eggs. I am super thrilled about this recipe and I really encourage you to try. It’s a really easy recipe and very budget friendly too. 😊

I just want to add that Lentil Pasta has less carbs than regular pasta, it’s gluten free and full of fibre, what’s not to like?

Vegan option ✔

Vegetarian option  ✔

Gluten free  ✔

Dairy free  ✔

Ref. sugar free  ✔

Dairy free  ✔

Egg free  ✔

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:


  • 12.5 oz.  Red Lentil Penne
  • 1/2 lb cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup low fat (soy) cream
  • 1 cup cooking liquid
  • 2 tsp. Vegetable Bouillon Powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or vegan/vegetarian alternative
  • 1/2 cup (Gluten Free) Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 cup (vegan) grated cheese

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo 1

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo3

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo4


METHOD:

Pre heat oven to 200° C / 400° F

  • In a large pan bring water to the boil and add salt. Add the lentil penne and cook for about 6 minutes or according to package instructions. When cooked, remove the pasta to a collander using a slotted spoon reserving the water in the pan. Alternatively you can drain the pasta over another pan to catch the water and return it to the heat. Place the pasta in a oven proof dish and set aside.
  • Once the water is boiling again you can add the cauliflower and boil it for about 7 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
  • Meanwhile gently cook the onion and garlic in the oil over meadium heat until translucent , about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Reserve two cups of the cooking liquid and drain the cauliflower. Let all the steam evaporate.
  • When the cauliflower has cooled down a bit place it in a food processor together with the onion,  garlic and a pinch of nutmeg. Add one cup of the cooking liquid the 2 teaspoons of stock powder and process. Add the cup of (soy) cream and process again until it is smooth. Season with some more salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Add this point you can add a cup of cooked chicken or vegan alternative to the pasta in the baking dish.
  • Spread the Cauliflower Alfredo over the Penne pasta and toss so everything is coated.
  • Sprinkle over the cheese and then the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until nice a golden on top.

Enjoy!

Myra. XO 

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo11

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo12

Baked Lentil Fusilli Cauliflower Alfredo18

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day. ♥

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Garlic Herb Shrimp with Bacon over Angel Hair Pasta  or maybe Spaghetti alle Vongole

Browned Sage Butter and Turkey Pasta

Browned Sage Butter and Turkey Pasta with wild Mushrooms and Prosciutto.

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms14

 

I can’t believe it’s already boxing day, and the count down to New Years has begun. I truly hope everyone had a great Christmas. Now we can sort of relax for a week or so, take a breath, relax, cook some simple meals and get ready for the end of the year.

This easy pasta dish is perfect for the “in between” days, make it with left over turkey, or use fresh turkey or chicken. And by all means throw in any left overs, like a little gravy, some vegetables or whatever you like.

This easy recipe is done in under half an hour.

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms1

 

Serves 4


Ingredients;

2  to 3 medium chicken breasts,or 2 cups cooked leftover turkey, torn to pieces.

salt + pepper, to taste

4 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. butter, divided

4 slices prosciutto

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 garlic clove peeled and grated

2 tbsp. flour

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup stock

1/4 cup fresh sage

pinch of fresh nutmeg

1 lb. Pasta, cooked

1  cup mixed wild mushrooms

1 small onion

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve

1/4 cup mascarpone or heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

 

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms2

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms5

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms4

Method;

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the butter and oil start to sizzle, add  chicken and sage leafs and cook for 15 minutes on medium low, turning occasionally. Place the sage leafs on top of the chicken.  I like to use a cast iron pan for this because it gives the chicken a perfect crust.  Remove and transfer to plate.

Add the prosciutto to the pan and brown on both sides, for about two minutes, remove and transfer to plate.

Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for 4 minutes, add the garlic. Stir around and add the flour, cook for one minute and add the wine and stock, stirring to create a smooth sauce.

Add the mascarpone or cream, mix thru. Add the shredded chicken and two slices of torn up prosciutto.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the pasta until al dente.

Heat another large skillet over high heat, add the remaining olive oil. Once hot, toss in the mushrooms in a single layer. Without stirring cook them until golden brown, flip them over.Transfer half the mushroom to a plate.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain but DO NOT RINSE! add it to the pan with the mushrooms and toss well. Add the cream sauce with chicken heat thru. Scatter over the remaining wild mushrooms, some parsley and serve straight away. Top with some of the crispy prosciutto. And serve with Parmesan.

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms13

browned-sage-butter-and-turkey-pasta-with-wild-mushrooms12

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you were looking for? How about Garlic Herb Shrimp with Bacon over Angel Hair Pasta

Garlic Herb Shrimp with Bacon over Angel Hair Pasta

shrimp-pasta05

shrimp-pasta06

This is one of those dinner you can have on the table in under 20 minutes, from start to finish. Great for week nights during the holiday season. And SO crazy delicious, you’re going to be licking your bowls!

And guess what??? You could use left over turkey or chicken instead of shrimp.

shrimp-pasta09

 

Serves: 4


Ingredients;

 

1 lb. fresh Angel Hair Pasta or any thin pasta

1 lb. shelled and deveined shrimp, fresh or frozen (thawed)

4 oz. chopped bacon

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated

1/2 tsp. smoked Sweet paprika

1/4 tsp. of Red Crushed Pepper flakes

3 tbsp. fresh basil, torn

black ground Pepper

generous seasoning of Himalayan Salt

a handful of freshly chopped parsley

1 C. dry white wine

1 egg yolk

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

shrimp-pasta07

 

Method;

In a large pan with boiling water cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Fresh pasta only takes about 4 minutes, so if you get everything ready for the sauce. It should take about the same time.

In a large frying pan, heat the two tablespoons of olive oil and add the bacon. Cook for two minutes or so, then add the garlic and chili. Add in the shrimp and toss, cook on high for a minute or two until they begin to color. Add the paprika, chili, pepper, salt and white wine. Cook for another minute. Add the basil and the drained pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk making sure to cover all the strands of pasta. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

shrimp-pasta14

 

Not quite what you were looking for? How about Spaghetti alle Vongole or Spelt Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes & bacon,

This post contains affiliate links.

Cambozola Grilled Chicken on Peperonata with Parpadelle

IMG_0716

Well, I scored one of those big bags of red bell peppers on the market the other day without  really having a plan.

When I came home I realized that I had tons and tons of tomatoes too so I thought it best to start making a Peperonata, to freeze some, to have some straight away and keep some in the fridge for over sandwiches and pizzas.

Then when dinner time came around, I wanted to use some of the Peperonata so I came up with this recipe.

Grilled Chicken and melted Cambozola complemented the sweetness of the peppers just perfectly.

Cambozola is a cow’s milk cheese that is a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola. It melts perfectly!

Lets make the Peperonata first.

IMG_0704

Ingredients Peperonata;

  • 5 red peppers , washed. Green stalk removed and cut in strips
  • 4 tomatoes, green tip removed and cut into chunks
  • 4 onions , peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. water
  • A handful  chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. Capers
  • 2 tbsp. Black (Greek Thassos)* olives
  • Salt and pepper

IMG_0714

Method:

In a large pan heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic, glaze for three minutes or so and the add the peppers. Sauté 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and add the water.

Cook for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are tender. Add the parsley, capers and olives.

Cook for an other 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

You can even preserve the Peperonata in sterilized jars!

 

Ingredients for the dish;

4 small chicken breast, flattened with a mallet

olive oil cooking spray

salt and pepper

12 oz. Parpadelle

1 C. Peperonata

4 thick slices Cambozola

IMG_0698

Method;

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add a good amount of salt and add the parpadelle.

Cook al dente for about 7 minutes or according to package instructions.

It is best to flatten the chicken breasts between two pieces of cling film or baking parchment.

Heat a griddle pan on high. Meanwhile season the chicken breast and spray on both sides with oil. Cook in the griddle pan for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. After turning the first time put the slices of Cambozola on the chicken and let them melt.

Drain the pasta, toss with a little olive oil.

To serve, place some parpadelle on a plate, cover with peperonata and top with grilled cambozola chicken.

Buon appetito!

Myra XO

IMG_0702

  • Greek Thassos olives are dried salty olives. I love them but feel free to use any black olive you like or have in your pantry.

 

Spaghetti alle Vongole

 

IMG_7465

This is a really fast dish that you can have on the table in no time. It looks impressive and it taste pretty impressive too. You need to get very fresh Clams. Although this dish is very easy to make you do need to take care of your clams making sure they are properly cleaned, nobody wants to bite on sand.

Just soak them in cold water as soon as you get home and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

This dish can be easily multiplied or divided to suit the amount of eaters you’re feeding.

Some people use butter in their Spaghetti alle Vongole because it forms an emulsion, but I think it makes the dish too heavy and it takes the freshness away.

 

Dairy Free Egg Free Vegetarian Cane Sugar Free

Serves 4.

Ingredients:IMG_7455
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lbs. littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Noilly Prat or dry white wine
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon cut into four to serve alongside the Pasta.

 

 

Soak the clams in water.

 

 

 

IMG_7462
Method:

Soak the clams in water as soon as you come home from buying them. Leave them in the fridge until you are ready to cook. This is to remove any sand.

In a large pot bring water to the boil and add salt. Add pasta, stirring constantly in the beginning to prevent it from sticking together. Cook al dente, for about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until  all clams have opened. Discard any clams that haven’t opened.Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water!

Add the pasta into the clam saute pan and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning.
Pour pasta into large serving bowl.Garnish with remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Eat straight away.

IMG_7459

 

 

Epic Lasagna

 

IMG_6495

Egg Free Cane Sugar Free

Serves 6.

Preparation: 1 hrs.

Cooking time 35-40 min.

Oh no, not another Lasagna recipe. Well, yes. But a different one. This recipe is actually from my mother, who still lives in Spain. She came about the idea, more out of need to finish of large amounts of Eggplants. She is always buying Eggplant and red bell peppers in bulk,  amounts enough to feed an entire army. She will eat a slice of toast with a whole grilled pepper on top. I mean I like them too, but Jeez. As a child I was never a fan of Eggplant, but I learned to appreciate them thru this dish. They get a lovely soft texture but are still firm enough to be recognized with every bite.

This delightful sauce is simmered for hours to fully develop the flavours, the sauce includes bacon and red wine but you can sub the red wine for stock if you prefer. Best even if you make the ragú (the red meat sauce) the day before. The Eggplant or Aubergine, is thinly sliced and grilled with some olive oil. This adds a nice smokey flavour and is then layered between the pasta and sauces. Much like Moussaka, hence the name.

It is some where in between a Moussaka and a Lasagna.

My mother adds All spice to the sauce, which works really well and is not at all overpowering. This recipe is for 6 people, but you can easily double the recipe, make two dishes and freeze one before the oven cooking step. You will need to cover it very well with foil and cling wrap, then it will keep for 3 months in the freezer. When you want to bake it, take it out the evening before and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove all the wrapping and bake as stated in the recipe.

 

You will need :

An 8″ x 11″ x 3″ Casserole dish

12 sheets of dried Spelt (or regular) Lasagna sheets

 

Ingredients for the Ragú;

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 oz. smoked bacon, diced

1 medium onion, peeled and diced small

1 celery stalk, chopped fine

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed

2 bay leaves

1 lb. minced beef

1 15 oz. can tomatoes

1 15 oz. Passata

2 organic stock cubes, beef or chicken

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)

1 tbsp. Coconut sugar

1 glass of red wine

2 tsp. dried Basil

2 tsp. dried Oregano

1/2 tsp. Sage

1/2 tsp. Thyme

1/4 tsp. All Spice

2 Bay Leaves

1/4 C. chopped Parsley

1  can of water.

 

For the Eggplant;

2 Eggplants, washed and sliced 1/4 ” thick

cooking oil spray

 

For the Bechamel; 

3 tbsp. olive oil (or butter)

3 tbsp. Spelt flour

3 1/2 C. Soy milk unsweetened, or a milk of your choice

a good grating of Nutmeg

1 organic stock cube, beef or chicken

1 C. grated cheese, a mix of Parmesan and Mozzarella

 

Method:

Ragú:

Put a large frying pan on high heat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground beef and the bacon and cook for 7 minutes until brown. Add all the chopped vegetables. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the stock cubes ( I always crumble them up between my fingers), the coconut sugar and the nutritional yeast. Give it a stir. Add the tomato paste and fry for one minute before adding the glass of red wine. Now add both cans of tomato plus one can of water. Add all the dried herbs and the Parsley. Cover half with a lid and simmer on low heat for about two hours. Check once in a while to see if you need to add more water. Alternatively you can transfer the sauce to a slow cooker. Set on high for about one hour until it bubbles then reduce to low and cook for four hours. When the sauce is done, check for seasoning, add a grinding of pepper and add some salt if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. You should end up with 4 cups of sauce. Add liquid if necessary.

Bechamel:

You need to use a pan with a very thick bottom so the sauce doesn;t stick or burn easily. Heat the olive oil and add the flour all at once. Stir in the milk, very little at a time so you do not get any lumps. Stir constantly. Adding milk bit by bit.

IMG_6415

 

You should end up with a silky smooth sauce like this.

IMG_6417

Add Nutmeg and the  stock cube (crumbled up) and let simmer for about ten minutes to cook the flour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Eggplant:

Wash the Eggplants and cut of the crown. Cut in 1/4″slices. Heat a large Griddle pan and spray the pan. Put in enough slices to cover the pan with just one layer of Eggplant. When ready to turn spray the top and turn over the slices. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate when done. Repeat with all the slices.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

To assemble:

Oil the Casserole dish generously. Start with a thin layer of sauce, then layer the rest like this;

  • lasagna sheets
  • sauce
  • Eggplant
  • Bechamel
  • Grated cheese

The last layer should just be Lasagna sheets, bechamel and cheese.

Put in to the preheated oven and bake until brown and bubbling, for about 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for at least ten minutes before cutting.

Buon Appetito.

IMG_6466