Tag Archives: rice pasta

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake

11 Nov

I will be honest… I learned this recipe from somewhere on the Internet. The thing is… I can’t remember where or who to give the credit to.

I made this recipe for the first time about 3 years ago when I was staying with my sister for the birth of my nephew, who turned 3 recently. I was craving eggplant… and I wanted an easy way to make it without frying it, which you all know is my favorite eggplant preparation. I did it at home in Puerto Rico and also at my sister’s after scoring a huge bag of eggplants at The Boys Farmer’s Market.

I vaguely remembered what I did the initial time I made it. So who knows, maybe I did came up with THIS version after all.

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Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake

1 medium eggplant, find one as light as possible, peeled and diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes, divided, all cut in half
1 tbs of dried basil, I use freeze dried
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 ounces of goat cheese
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, optional
Brown Rice Fettuccini, I use Tinkyada brand
  1. In an oven-proof dish place all the diced eggplant pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, minced garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss all to combine well.
  2. Add over the eggplant half of the grape tomatoes that you’ve cut in half already. Leave aside the rest of the tomatoes.
  3. Sprinkle the dried basil over the tomatoes. Add the goat cheese inc crumbles over the tomatoes. Drizzle a final stream of olive oil over everything and a last sprinkle of salt and pepper to make sure everything is well seasoned.

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4.  Place in a 375F oven for about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven.

5.  Boil water to make the pasta according to the package directions. I use Brown Rice pasta, but you can use your favorite brand/kind

6.  Drain the pasta, return to the pot and add the eggplant bake. Mix well to combine. Add Parmesan cheese, if using. Add the fresh tomatoes you set aside earlier. This adds an element of freshness that contrasts really nice with the creaminess of the baked eggplant.

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Serve with your favorite salad and baked plantains on the side…  This is so easy to make ahead and just re-heat when you’re boiling the pasta.  Easy dinner without a lot of tending to it.

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Broccoli Pesto

28 Jun

So I wanted to see if I could find a way to eat a whole head of broccoli before it turns yellow, like it usually does in my fridge. How can I eat large quantities of broccoli just by myself??? I have seen how Food Network chefs can make a pesto out of anything… pestos are just “pastes”, right? So let’s make it out of broccoli…

This recipe rocks… it is simple and you do not need to pre-cook the broccoli. I do cook a few florets separately to give it a nice touch and for people to see what’s in the dish. But it certainly does not need it. You can do without the extra broccoli pieces, particularly if you’re giving these to proclaimed non-lovers of broccoli.

Go ahead… convert them with this dish. I dare them to say they do not like broccoli!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BROCCOLI PESTO

½ head of broccoli, florets separated
2 oz of cream cheese
¼ cup almonds
½ tbs horseradish
¼ cup of shredded cheese mix
¼ cup pecorino romano cheese
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup heavy cream
About ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ bag of whole wheat or brown rice pasta
  1. In a large pot bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Salt the water liberally and cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente.
  2. Reserve a few broccoli florets for the final dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor mix together the remainder raw broccoli, the cream cheese, almonds, horseradish, shredded cheeses, pecorino romano, garlic and heavy cream. Pulse a few times to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil thru the shoot of the food processor until the mixture is creamy and loose.
  4. Take the reserved broccoli florets and add them to a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain all water reserving about a cup and return the pasta to the same hot pot where it cooked. Add the creamy broccoli mixture to the pasta… add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Add the sautéed/cooked pieces of broccoli to the mix to add flavor and another layer of texture.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Stuffed Shells

24 Jun

  A few weeks back I was figuring out what to do with the broccoli I had gotten in my CSA box…  I like it steamed or as part of a salad… but the farmer had told me the leaves are really good and I just was not sure how to cook them.  In Puerto Rico, or maybe it’s just me, we are not too fond of cooked leafy greens.  It’s just not part of our regular culinary vernacular.  But lucky enough, I saw this recipe for stuffed cannelloni from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home.  It was just the recipe I needed to use up a lot of broccoli in one single recipe.

The broccoli I get in my CSA box is small… sometimes I questioned if it was really broccolini or even broccoli rabe.  So that’s why I used a few bunches of my CSA broccoli, but the recipe calls for ½ a broccoli stalk.  I guess you could use it all if you wanted.  This CSA broccoli came with lots of leaves, so that’s why I really wanted to use up and not waste.

CSA - Brocoli

When I am trying out new recipes, I rarely like to cook them just for myself.  Some people call me brave because I am willing to test and try out things I have never cooked before on my friends.  So I invited my friends Annie Mariel and Laura to try out this recipe with me… these were the brave and lucky two who got to try this one first.  Since then, I have made this recipe a bunch if times… they loved it!!!  When my mom tried it she thought the filling had cheese in it…   it’s so creamy.

But don’t be intimidated by the ingredient’s list…  I looks like there are too many ingredients, but if you think of it in components in the dish, it’s neither that long nor very difficult.  You’ll see…

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BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER STUFFED SHELLS

½ of a large head of broccoli, chopped into medium sized pieces, including the stem and leaves
½ head of cauliflower, chopped into medium sized pieces too
2 tbs olive oil, divided for the filling and the tomato sauce
6-7 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
A pinch of Red pepper flakes – you can add more if you like the heat
About 12 -16 brown-rice pasta shells – I use the Tinkyáda brand
½ cup sour cream
½ cup Devon double cream – it’s a Jamie Oliver-inspired recipe, I had to use English cream…
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fried tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
About 1 tbs vinegar – I’ve used white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves – optional
 
  1. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. 
  2. While the water boils, chop the cauliflower and broccoli.  Make sure you peel the outer skin of the broccoli stalks and chop the leaves as small as possible.  Do not use the stems of the leaves, just the leaves.  The stems will never puree well… I tried. 
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  4. Add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the salted boiling water and cook for about 10 -15 minutes.
  5. When the broccoli and cauliflower have been for about 5 minutes already in the pot of water, heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a medium sized pan with tall sides.  Add the garlic slices and the red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, but not browned or bitter.
  6. Very carefully pass the broccoli and the cauliflower to the pan where the garlic and pepper flakes are.  Drain the vegetables as much as you can before placing in the oil, because the oil WILL SPLATTER.  I usually have a splatter guard in hand to make sure the oil does not catch me.  Mix the veggies with the garlic and pepper. 
  7. brocoli y coliflor blanched
  8. Add some salt and pepper to season and cook covered for about 30 mins, until the vegetables turn into an unrecognizable mass where they no longer retain their vegetable shape.  The leaves will not disintegrate…
  9. While the veggies cook, let’s prepare the sauces…
  10. For the tomato sauce, mix together the tomato puree, salt, pepper, vinegar and a small drizzle of olive oil.  Set aside. 
  11. For the white sauce, mix together the double cream, sour cream, most of the parmesan cheese and season with some salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  12. Also, bring again the large pot of water (with new water please…) to a boil.  Add salt and add the pasta shells.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes until they have grown in size a bit, are flexible to the touch, but still not fully cooked.  Drain the pasta shells and rinse with cold filtered water to stop the cooking process and cool them enough to handle.  Set aside.
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  14. After the veggies are cooked, use an immersion blender to turn the veggies into a puree.  Make sure all the leaves are pureed and remove any stringy parts that may be around…
  15. Now we assemble… in your baking dish pour the tomato sauce on the bottom.  Using a small spoon, fill each shell with the broccoli/cauliflower puree and place in the baking dish. 
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  17. After all the shells are filled and placed on the baking dish, spoon the white sauce over the shells.  If you want, now is the time to add some basil leaves, put I have made it without and the dish doesn’t need it…  now sprinkle some additional parmesan cheese on top of the white sauce and finish with pieces of fresh mozzarella on top.
  18. Now we assemble25-30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown.  As always… when the time is up, just turn the oven off and leave it there for about 10-15 more so it finishes cooking.

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I served this with a very simple tossed salad and sweet baked plantains.  We had mango sorbet with kiwi pieces for dessert…

White Lasagna with Spinach and Almonds

3 Feb

I am a craving girl…

It’s hard for me to go grocery shopping having a few menus in mind for the week.  Why?  Because, I go to the store and see stuff that inspires me, what looks delicious that day, but that isn’t necessarily what I will be craving to eat another day.   It’s always been like that…  ever since I was a little girl, my mom never made a fixed dinner – it was all a la carte.  Whatever you craved, that’s what you ate.  Mind you, my mom did not have junk food at home, so all the alternatives were, for the most part, healthy.  That’s how we learned to make our own food.

So this past week, I was browsing thru some fellow blogs and there I saw it… the Cooking Light Veggie Lasagna…  I have that recipe clipped, but the photos this fellow blogger posted were amazing!!! That’s how I knew what I wanted to have for dinner that night – a spinach lasagna using white sauce.  Yumo!!!! (like Rachael Ray would say).

I improvised with the ingredients I had on hand… remember, I do not go out and but any specific ingredients for any specific recipe.  And even less when I got a craving at 7PM at night…  I was craving some serious comfort food. 

 The results were really nice – so nice in fact that I decided to make this recipe for our upcoming Yoga Center Menu.  I made a version at home that serves 2 and I also did a version that served 20.  I’ll use the proportions for the smaller version, which is probably closer to what you’ll make at home.  Here is the play-by-play (I’m into Super Bowl mode here I guess):

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WHITE LASAGNA with SPINACH AND ALMONDS

 4-6 lasagna noodles – I use DeBoles NoBoil Rice lasagna noodles
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs sofrito
3-4oz cream cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Italian Cheese mix
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese – you can use Pecorino Romano also if you prefer
Sprinkle of Garlic Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup frozen spinach measured frozen, defrosted and squeeze out of most the water but still wet
1/3 cup marcona salted almonds – but any almonds will work
4oz fresh mozarella cheese
  1. Pre-heat over to 325 degrees F.  I do this in my toaster oven for just 2 people.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Add sofrito and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in cream cheese and whisk in together until the sofrito and cream cheese are incorporated.
  4. Whisk in milk. Add in the Italian cheese mix and Parmesan. Season with the garlic salt and pepper.  The sauce should have a light creamy consistency.  Is important the sauce be more on the liquidy side because we’re using no-boil rice pasta and the “liquidy” consistency will help the pasta cook. So you might want to err on the side of a more liquidy cream sauce rather than a tight creamy sauce.

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Now we assemble the lasagna…

  1. In the bottom of a small casserole dish, spoon a few ladles of the cream sauce.  Layer lasagna noodles. Spoon more sauce. so the noodles are always touched by sauce on the top and the bottom.
  2. Distribute evenly the thawed spinach in a layer.  Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt and pepper.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese if you like. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the almonds. Shred with your hands 2-3 thin slices of the fresh mozzarella. Spoon a few ladles of the sauce.
  3. Place another layer of noodles and spoon some sauce over them.
  4. Repeat step #2.
  5. Repeat step #3.  This will be your last layer of noodles.  Place a few slices of fresh mozzarella on top.  Sprinkle the last bit of almonds you have left.

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6. Cover the casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

7. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more until cheese on top is golden brown.

8. Turn oven off and leave in there for a few minutes until lasagna cool a bit and sets. 

It seems like a lot of steps… but not really.  You know how to make a lasagna… I just wanted to show you how I layered the ingredients.  You don’t need to cook the spinach, just make the sauce and assemble.  I had it all put together and in the oven in 20 minutes. 

Believe me… this lasagna hit the spot.  My cravings were curbed… until next time.

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