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2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan. Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly. Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale. Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.
To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.
(From The Food Network:Giada deLaurentis)
Chicken, Broccoli, and Ziti Casserole
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
8 garlic cloves, minced
21/2 C grated Asiago cheese
5 Tbls unsalted butter, 2 Tbls melted
Salt and Pepper
1 lb Ziti
1 onion, chopped fine
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 C all-purpose flour
3 C whole milk
2 C low-sodium chicken broth
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/4 in slices
12 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-in pieces
Pulse bread, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 C asiago cheese, and melted butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tbls salt and ziti to boiling water and cook until nearly al dente. Drain in colander and rinse under cold water until cool.
Melt remaining butter in empty pot over medium heat. Cook onion until softened, about 5 min. Add remaining garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in wine and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and broth and bring to boil. Add chicken and simmer until no longer pink, about 5 min Off heat, stir in remaining cheese until melted.
Microwave broccoli covered, in large bowl until bright green and nearly tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir cooked broccoli and drained ziti into pot and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to 13×9 in baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and topping is golden brown, 20 to 25 min. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.
(From Cook’s Country April/May 2008)
Lasagna w/ Swiss Chard
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 pound regular or no-boil lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with juice
Pinch of sugar
1 large basil sprig
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil while you prepare the chard. Fill a bowl with ice water. Tear the leaves from the stems and wash thoroughly in two changes of water. Discard the stems or set aside for another purpose. When the water comes to a boil, add the Swiss chard leaves. Boil 1 minute (from the time the water comes back to a boil), until tender but still bright green, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer and transfer to the ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside. Cook the lasagna noodles in the same pot of water if not using no-boil lasagna noodles. Remove the pasta from the pot and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil in a bowl. In a wide, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, basil sprig, and salt (begin with 1/2 teaspoon and add more later), and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, until thick, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the amount of juice in the pan. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the basil sprig. Stir in the Swiss chard and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a square or rectangular baking dish (no bigger than 2-quart) and line the bottom with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread half the ricotta over the noodles and half the tomato-chard sauce over the ricotta. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the tomato-chard sauce. Add another layer of noodles and top with the remaining ricotta and tomato-chard sauce, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Finish with a layer of noodles and the remaining Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes, or until bubbling and the pasta is tender. Uncover, allow to sit for 5 minutes, and serve.