CHEAP & SUMPTUOUS EATS – \”CASEATS\”

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Lasagna la Cheez

LRS      LRW

Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

Lasagna:
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamelsauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

-Greg

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★

Ease ★★★

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May 6, 2006 Posted by | Italian | 9 Comments

RISOTTO WITH SAGE & BUTTERNUT

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Arborio rice-1 handful per person
Butternut-1 fist worth of roughly cut squares
Garlic-3cloves finely chopped
Large handful of sage leaves
Your choice of mushrooms-1 handful
1.5 pounds or 500ml of canned chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 of a bottle of white wine (cheap one!
Parmesan cheese-small handful from a packet or fresh

Cut off a fist sized portion of butternut. remove the peel with a nice cutting down toward the chopping board. Turn butternut onto its side, cut into finger thick slices (these will be round). From each of these slices cut strips and from the strips small cubes of butternut. Roughly cut an onion into cubes the same size as the butternut.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. rip sage leaves and drop into hot oil, fry till aromatic. Add butternut till it begins to soften then add onion, garlic and mushrooms chopped roughly and fry till it takes on a little brown colour (it begins to caramelise).

Add rice and stir till rice is hot to touch. Add stock until all the rice is covered then bring to a boil and turn heat down until it just bubbles softly. Stir every now and then. When half the stock has been taken up by the rice grains and wine. Once again wait for stock and wine to have been taken up till the rice is half exposed again and add the rest of the stock. Continue to stir and heat on a low heat so that the liquid just bubbles a little (simmers). Add parmesan cheese and stir.
IMPORTANT-the rice grains should be cooked but they should still be gooey because of a small amount of left over stock and wine and the cheese. If the rice is dry add some more stock. Season the dish to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

You could supplement the butternut with zucchini, gorgonzola cheese and walnuts, rocket and beetroot or anything you like.

-James

Taste ★★★★
Price ★★★ (if you include wine)
Ease ★★★

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Italian | 2 Comments

Italian Strawberry Soda

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of sparkling mineral water 18 FL OZ.
  • 1 bottle of strawberry syrup
  • 5-6 ice cubes uncrushed

Add 1-2 oz. of strawberry syrup (Torani Strawberry Syrup) to a glass of sparkling mineral water. Crush ice cubes. Add crushed ice and serve.

-Greg

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★★★

Ease ★★★★★

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Drinks, Italian | 6 Comments

Penne Carbornarra

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serves 4
Ingredients
· One bag of Penne
· 8 strips of bacon
. Mushrooms of your choice
· 2 egg yolks · Heavy Whipping Cream (Half Pint)
· Parmesan Cheese.
· Parsley (Handful)

Bring a pot of water to a boil. When it boils, add a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt.
Throw in the penne. Make sure to stir once in a while to prevent the pasta from sticking. Bring a pan to highest heat setting, throw on the strips of bacon. The number you can throw on depends on the size of your pan. I do four at once. No oil is needed! Make sure to flip all of these once. I usually give them 3 minutes on each side. As the bacon is cooking, take the two eggs. Crack them in the middle. Make sure the two halves are intact. Now move the yoke and white from shell to shell making sure to transfer the yoke. This will separate the white from the yoke and eventually leaving the yoke in one of the shells. Throw the eggs in a bowl, whisk them, and leave them there. The bacon is ready when it becomes brittle and crispy. Take them out of the pan and let them rest on the plate. In my experience, my pasta is ready when I have my bacon ready. Do consider that I do two rounds of bacon. But the directions will usually say the amount of time needed. Now take the bacon and use your hands and just crush them to pieces about the size of your nails on your index finger. It really doesn’t matter, whatever you prefer. Drain the pasta. Fire up the pan to high again making sure it’s clean from the oil left from the bacon. Put in the musrooms and fry in fresh olive oil till they start to get a little colour then add the bacon and fry till it is hot again. Pour in all of the heavy whipping cream and stir till it boils. The heavy whipping cream is ready when it forms a foamy texture. I usually just wait 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool. When it cools pour in the egg yolks. It’s very important to wait for the heavy whipping cream to cool because otherwise the egg yolks will cook! It’s cool when you can comfortably stick your finger in. Throw in the pasta and parsley and mix them together, add a palm full of parmesan. Serve and dine!

-Harry

Taste: ★★★★★

Ease: ★★★★

Cost: ★★★★

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Italian | 8 Comments