Broccoli Au Gratin (GF)

broccoliBroccoli Au Gratin (GF)

the ingredients

1 pound broccoli
1 small white onion, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (unsweetened almond or regular cow’s milk works too!)
⅛ tsp salt and pepper, each
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Pinch of rubbed sage
¾ cup grated combination of sharp Cheddar, Parmesan – divided

the method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Rinse the broccoli and cut into florets, approximately 1″ cubes. Peel the stalks and cut them into pieces as well. Put broccoli and chopped onion in a casserole dish, toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast broccoli for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the flour. Stir and cook 45 seconds until smooth and beginning to smell toasty.
  4. Add half the milk and stir briskly to combine. Add the rest of the milk and seasonings.
  5. Add ½ cup of the cheese and stir to melt.
  6. Remove broccoli form over after cooked, and pour your cheesy sauce over the broccoli. Toss to coat.
  7. Sprinkle some remaining cheese on top and return casserole dish to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Baked Ziti (GF)

baked zitiI like to spend my Sunday afternoons cooking up some “make-ahead” meals for the week, in case we get home late from work or if we’re just feeling lazy and a heat-and-reheat will suffice. I decided to make a baked ziti with whatever cheese I had and some Marinara sauce. I love this dish – not only is it delicious, but it makes great leftovers – perfect for midweek lunches too.

Trader Joe’s has a pretty decent price on gluten-free pasta; I had never tried brown rice pasta before, but I could hardly tell the difference. Especially since this recipe involves ooey-gooey cheese and a garlicky marinara sauce.

Baked Ziti (GF)

The ingredients:

    • 1 pound gluten-free ziti pasta
    • Kosher salt
    • 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce, recipe follows
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
    • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
    • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, shredded
    • 4 oz. smoked gouda, cubed
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste
  • Marinara Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
    • Sprig of fresh thyme
    • Sprig of fresh basil
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper

     

The method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed gouda and shredded mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with pecorino and parmesan, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Creamy Caprese Pasta

There is something about the flexibility of the word “caprese” the sparks my immediate interest whenever I’m looking through recipes. I’ve made caprese skewers, caprese pizza and of course, the world-famous caprese salad. My roommate and her father can vouch for my overwhelming love for plump tomatoes. Her dad grows them himself and they are so perfectly ripe that I MUST cook with them.

 

After receiving my latest batch of tomatoes, I stumbled across yet ANOTHER version of caprese – Creamy Caprese Pasta. The flavors of the plump tomatoes, fresh basil and ooey-gooey mozzarella complement each other so well – not to mention, it was really easy to make and cheap too AND it’s carnivore approved – right Nick? I’m a mean girlfriend and didn’t pair any meat with this dish, but I think it was rich enough to satisfy the taste-buds of a hungry bear boyfriend J.

 

If I can offer one more tip, make a HUGE batch of this stuff. It keeps well and is perfect as lunch the next day or even for dinner with a fresh salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

The Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan.
  3. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat.
  4. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too.
  5. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  7. Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese.

Baked Gemelli with Pecorino and Smoked Mozzarella


Yeah… so you may have noticed that I’m kind of in the middle of a love affair with smoked cheeses. They are just so gosh darn yummy!

Since it’s birthday season in my world, my wallet has been a little tight – not to mention Mondays are usually very long days for me with work, gym, boy toy, loving on my dog… you get the picture. I had slacked on my running schedule over the weekend so I really pushed myself yesterday. When I left the gym, all I really wanted to eat was a big heaping bowl of pasta. I wanted a recipe that was full of flavor but required minimal effort.

Enter the simple and oh-so-scrumptious Baked Gemelli. As simple as it was, this is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far. I think Nick would have to agree…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce (or any type of tomato/marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Thyme, to taste (I like A LOT)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomato sauce, sauteed onion/garlic/thyme mixture, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Fontina and Smoked Mozzarella with Thyme and Rosemary

Oh. My. Goodness. This was so delicious, if I do say so myself. Nick and I recently dined at North, in Arcadia – it quickly became one of our faves. They have an appetizer called the “Bread and Cheese Plate” – when we ordered it we figured we would be getting a selection of cheeses, some olives, chutney and bread; but what we got would be so much better.

While sipping on a lovely red wine, our jaws dropped to the floor when we saw a cast-iron skillet of cheesy goodness and beautifully grilled artisan bread slices. Needless to say, we were in heaven. This dish was so delish, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it days after we had been there. Naturally, I took a stab at creating it at home and it was my favorite dish that I’ve made to date.

I borrowed this recipe from Ina Garten, but added some twists to it. My recipe is below.

  • 1 pound Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
  • 1 pound smoked mozzarella, 1-inch-diced
  • 1/4 cup white truffle oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 crusty French baguette, grilled and sliced

Directions

Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

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Distribute the cubes of Fontina and Smoked Mozzarella evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the truffle oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and truffle oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

Serve the baked cheese family-style-right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.