Tortellini With Bacon

You can make this up for dinner when you only have 30 minutes. It is easy to make and , yes, it is delicious.

 

  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 2 pgs. cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

In a fry pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towelling to drain. In the same fry pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until the soft (just a few minutes). Now add the flour and cook  stirring constantly for 30 seconds.

Whisk in the milk and cream slowly and add the tortellini and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, until thickened. Remove from the heat, add the bacon and half of the cheese.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Place under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown.

Salad and warm rolls and  you have a meal fit for royalty – your family.

Asiago And Proscuitto Puff Strips

This is a great food to put up when serving at your wine and cheese function. Fast and easy to do.

  • 1 pkg. frozen butter flavoured puff pastry, thaw in fridge overnight.
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 12 thin slices of proscuitto
  • 2 tbsp. grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll 1 sheet of thawed pastry and return the second sheet to the refrigerator. Brush the pastry with half of the mustard.

Cut each slice of proscuitto lengthwise into 2 strips.

Cut pastry into 12 x 2 inch strips

Place 1/2 of the proscuitto on each top half of the pastry strip. Fold the uncovered half of the pastry back over the meat to cover. Twist the strip slightly and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Repeat these steps with the remaining pastry and proscuitto. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake on the center rack for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. These should make 24 strips.

 

One Wild And Wacky Lasagna

This is notice for you to plan the meals around the holiday season and, if you have guests staying over, this will blow their minds.

One word of caution – read it through first. It looks daunting but it isn’t. It is relatively easy. Like I said – read it through and then loudly proclaim ‘ damn I can do this’.

 

Red Sauce

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • pinch each of salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil and add the tomatoes, paste and herbs, salt and pepper, simmering for about 12-15 minutes. Set aside.

 

Cream Sauce

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  •  5 tbsp. flour
  • 2 3/4 cups half and half cream
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • dash of red pepper sauce

Cook the shallots in butter over a low heat. Add the flour and keep stirring as you add the cream and vermouth.

Mix until thickened. Season with the red pepper sauce and remove from heat. Set aside.

 

Vegetable Layering

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the zucchini, onion, garlic and pepper in the olive oil until softened. Add the parsley and CAREFULLY salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

 

Cheese and Spinach Layer

  • 2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 tbsp. Pernod liqueur
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Cook the spinach according to directions and drain well. Mix this now with the  cheese, egg, Pernod and nutmeg. Set aside.

 

  • 15 cooked and drained lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb. small scallops
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread most of the red sauce over the bottom of the dish. Lay out 3 lasagna noodles.

Add the vegetable layer, and top with 3 noodles. Spread the cream sauce over the noodles and lay out the shrimp and scallops over the top. Add 3 more noodles. Then the spinach and cheese mixture. Add 3-4 remaining noodles and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the Asiago cheese and bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with a beautiful cold salad and a glass of well chilled wine.

  • there will be a few noodles over but that is in case you tear one or two and replacements are needed1-2

Cheese Straws

Again, this is for the times you are entertaining for a wine and cheese evening or a big dinner for family and friends, and wish to put up something that is a bit different but everyone will love. Goes really well when consuming a glass of wine.

  • 1 frozen puff pastry (13-14 oz.), thawed in the refrigerator
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick and sprinkle on the cheese and paprika.

With a pizza wheel, cut into strips that are 1/4 inch thick and about 6 inches long.

Place the strips on the baking sheet and you could, at this time, even twist them to give a spiral effect, and then bake for 20 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool just slightly and stack in a tall cylinder. Serve just warm.

Easy Friday Night Lasagna

This only takes about an hour to make, so put it together then pour a glass of the grape and get ready to enjoy a wonderful dish on a Friday night.

 

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 chorizo sausages, casings removed
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 drops of hot sauce
  • 1 -796 ml can of plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 lb. container smooth ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cups Asiago cheese, grated
  • 6 fresh lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a deep 10 inch fry pan that is oven safe. Add the onion and cook until transparent (3 minutes). Add the sausages and cook  until browned. Now the mushrooms, garlic and hot sauce and cook until the mushrooms are soft.

Stir in tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Gently simmer until the sauce thickens (12-16 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir the beaten egg, ricotta and 1/2 half of the Asiago cheese in a bowl.

Spread 1 heaping cup of the meat mixture on the bottom of the fry pan (one you have been using). Cover with 2 lasagna noodles, making sure to cut to fit. Layer with 1 heaping cup of the meat mixture and half the ricotta mixture. Repeat layers, ending with the meat mixture.

Bring this to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Broil in centre of oven until cheeses are melted and browned. 2-3 minutes. Serve with garlic toast, wine/beer and you are set.

 

 

Artichoke And Tomato Bucatini

This is really a tasty dinner and easy on the pocketbook. You can also add shrimp or even cooked ground beef. Your choice.

 

  • 8 oz. dried bucatini
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 – 6 oz. jar artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, coarsely chopped
  • pinch each of salt and pepper
  • fresh basil leaves

Cook the past according to directions, drain reserving 1/4 cup of the water. return the pasta to the pot and add the Asiago cheese, tossing to mix, Add a little of the water to ensure that the pasta is evenly coated with the cheese.

In a large pot, cook the onion in olive oil over a medium heat until tender – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (do not burn). Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring all the while.

To serve, top the pasta with the tomato/artichoke mixture and toss with some small basil leaves. Add a small salad and Voila! you did it again.

 

 

Asiago Prosciutto Puff Sticks

With Easter around the corner, it usually means entertaining with family and friends. The next couple of days I will be showcasing tidbits to serve when everyone arrives.

Use frozen puff pastry (butter flavoured) and make sure to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

 

  • 1 pkg. frozen butter puff pastry, thawed as above
  • 1 tbsp. mustard
  • 12 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp. grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Unroll one sheet of the pastry and place the remainder in the refrigerator. Brush pastry with half of the mustard.

Cut 1 slice of prosciutto lengthwise into 2 strips

Cut pastry in 12 x  inch strips.

Place half of the  prosciutto on one of the pastry strips. Fold the uncovered half of the pastry over the meat to cover. Twist the strip slightly and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with all the remaining pastry strips and prosciutto. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Bake on the center rack for about 15 minutes, until golden in colour and crisp. Cool slightly.

Remove from the baking sheet. Now remove the pastry from the refrigerator and repeat the steps  above. It should make 24 sticks.

Delicious and Happy Cauliflower

Ha Ha….this is a truly delicious way to serve cauliflower: even those who think they don’t like vegetables (they will).

 

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs. cauliflower, peeled, core removed and broken into large florets
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp. freshly chopped garlic
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted olives
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lime peel

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the cauliflower in a large roasting pan and sprinkle the bread crumbs over.

In a small saucepot heat the olive oil, butter and garlic over low heat. Cook and stir about 5 minutes. Do not burn the garlic. Drizzle this over the cauliflower and sprinkle the  cheese over the mixture.

Bake this, uncovered, in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the olives, peppers and lime zest just before serving. If you have any lime wedges, serve in a small bowl and pass around.

Didn’t I tell you ? Uhuh, it’s yummy.

This will serve 8.

 

 

 

Risotto-My Most Favourite Dish Ever

I have so many recipes for risotto and here is one more. This is a basic risotto and can be used at any time with anything. Darn….I’m hungary just thinking about it and, no, we don’t make it as often as I would like. Thank goodness!

 

  • 4 cups warmed chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. finely minced onions
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (make sure it is a quality product)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tbsp.  chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 – 1/3  cup grated Asiago cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Black Truffle oil for drizzling

Keep the chicken stock simmering on the stove at a very low heat. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and add the onions and cook until golden in cololur. Add the rice and stir to coat each and every grain with the oil.

Begin the process (here, unplug the phone, pour a coffee, get a stool if needed but do not stop this process for 22  minutes EXACTLY).

Add 1 cup of the hot stock and use a wooden spoon to stir. Allow this liquid to be absorbed and then, by 1/2 cup measures, continue the process making sure the liquid is almost all absorbed before adding the next lot. Stirring constantly is the secret here.

With the last addition of liquid, add the butter and cream. This will become very creamy and now add the parsley. Remove from heat, top with freshly grated Asiago cheese and drizzle with the truffle oil.

I know,…..you’re welcome. See? I didn’t lie. Oh, please let me refresh your glass of wine.

Damn, you did it again!

 

 

Truffles Like You Have Never Had Before

We are always looking for new things to try on our guests and this is one, I guarantee, you have never had before. Entertaining is always exciting and this will definitely up the ante on your hosting skills.

 

  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese (my favourite)
  • 3  1/2 oz. whole duck foie gras, torchon style*
  • 1 tbsp. apricot jam (homemade if you have – it  would be perfect)
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • pinch of dried mint
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Place 2/3 of the cheese in a frying pan and, without stirring, cook over medium heat until the cheese starts to turn golden (60 seconds).

Remove from heat and quickly transfer to a plate to cool down. When cooled, break up with a knife and chop fine then transfer to a small bowl.

In a processor, puree the foie gras and jam until completely smooth. Transfer this to a bowl and fold in the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and mint. Season to taste.

Scoop up teaspoons of the mixture and form balls with your hands. (keep hands wet so mixture doesn’t stick), repeating until all done.

Roll in the toasted Asiago cheese you chopped earlier and chill now until ready to serve. The only thing needed is a toothpick and a glass of wine. Ha!

 

“torchon style’ only means the method of cooking fois gras.

 

Roasted Squash And Artichoke Hearts

We are always looking for either new vegetables we haven’t yet tried or new ways to use ones we love. This is the latter one.  You should try it.

 

  • 2 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water, drained, halved and patted dry
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • generous pinch of salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated  Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Gently toss all the ingredients in a large bowl.

On 2 parchment lined cookie sheets, spread out the ingredients. Roast for about 45 minutes, making sure to switch the cookie sheets.

When done, they should be tender and golden on the bottom.  Scoop all out into a large bowl and sprinkle half the grated cheese over top. Let it melt a little and add the rest. Serve immediately with your favourite meat/fish dish.

 

There, I told yu it was simple AND delicious. Yummy.

Fettucine With Asparagus And Lime

I love pasta….any kind and almost in any way. This is easy to make, delightful to eat and you won’t be sorry you tried it.

 

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • finely grated zest from 4 limes
  • pinch of sea salt and white pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh fettucine
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces diagonally
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

Combine the butter and whipping cream in a heavy skillet. Bring to a boil and add the lime juice and zest. Continue cooking until reduced by one third. Remove from heat and add the salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add salt. By using the fresh pasta, add the asparagus at the same time and cook for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes. Drain both.

Reheat the sauce and add the pasta and asparagus, stirring to coat. Add the grated cheese and stir to incorporate. Serve with a wedge of lime, slice of garlic toast, green salad and, of course, a glass of chilled white wine.

Yummy.