Sunday, March 2, 2008

Main Dishes - Italian

Italian Sausage and Pasta

This is one of Sam's favorite. He loves to order it at Paesano's in Seneca, so in between visits there, I make it at home.

1 package of Italian Sausage from the meat case
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic sliced in half
1 large can of Italian tomatoes, crushed
3 basil leaves, washed, patted dry and chopped
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
salt & pepper to taste

pasta of choice


Place about 1 cup of water in a large fry pan and cook sausage about 7 minutes per side in water. Drain water off and then heat and brown sausage unti it is 160 degrees inside. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and then cut into round pieces. Make the Marinara sauce.

Marinara sauce directions:

1. Place garlic and olive oil in large sauce pan.
2. Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is soft and lightly browned.
3. Crush the tomatoes and add with their juices.
4. Fill empty tomato can 1/4 of the way with water and pour in with tomatoes
5. Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper
6. Bring to a boil, add sausage, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Cook pasta according to directions on the pasta box. (We like angel hair.) Drain pasta and top with sausage and Marinara sauce. Sprinkle top with parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Serve with a salad and garlic parmesan toast.

A variation of the following recipe was entered into the contest using Contadina products. My recipe was selected as one of the top twenty and competed during the month of February, 2009. I didn't place, but it was an honor to have it selected as a finalist!

Julie's Italian Ziti Bake

1 pound Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (14.5 oz.) Contadina Diced Tomatoes With Italian Herbs
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
16 ounces ziti pasta, cooked according to package
1/2 T oregano
1 T minced garlic
1/2 t salt
1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C shredded fresh parmesaen cheese

Cook sausage and onion over medium heat in a large skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, heat until hot. Toss with pasta; top with cheese.

Chicken Marsala
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
flour, spread on a plate
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound of mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, dredge both sides of the chicken breasts in flour, shake off excess flour and place in pan. Saute chicken, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a warm plate.
Drain all but a little bit of the oil and add mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they begin to release their juices.
Add the Marsala wine, and scrape loose with a wooden spoon all browning residues on the bottom and sides of the pan.
Add butter, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, approximately 5 minutes.
Place the chicken breasts back in the pan and cook until heated through. Transfer the chicken breasts to warm serving plates, pour sauce over them and serve.

Cindy's Italian Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 - 1 t oregano
1/2 t salt
1 large can tomato soup
1/3 C water
2 C cooked noodles (I like to use bowties)
1 C grated cheddar cheese


Brown meat and seasonings along wtih onion. Drain. Combine in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish meat, soup, water and noodles. Place grated cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cook's Note: You can vary the amount and kinds of cheese used and you can very the tomato soup with different tomato based sauces.

Italian Chicken Sticks
by Paula Deen

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
11/2 teaspoons dried thyme
11/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch ground red pepper
8 boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
Marinara sauce or honey mustard, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a pie plate or platter, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, thyme, basil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper. Dip the chicken strips in the melted butter, then dredge them in the bread crumb mixture. Place the chicken strips in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken sticks hot with marinara sauce, or serve hot or cold with honey mustard.

Chicken Piccata
Serves 4

4 chicken breasts pounded thin
flour spread on a plate for dredging2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of white wine
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chicken broth


Dredge each chicken breast in flour to coat and shake off excess.
Heat oil in a large saute pan set on medium heat.
Place chicken breasts in pan and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes for each side.
Drain the oil and add butter, wine, lemon, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the broth and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 6 minutes(sprinkle a little flour in when it starts boiling to thicken.)
Transfer Chicken to serving dishes, top with sauce (drippings from pan) and a slice of lemon for garnish.

Fettucine Alfredo
Serves 2


4 tablespoons of butter
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 pound of homemade fettuccine
2 egg yolks
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


In a large sauté pan add butter and cream, turn the heat on to medium and cook until cream and butter are melted together, around 1 minute. Turn off heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the fettuccine. Cook for 1 minute.
Strain pasta and add to pan with butter and cream. Turn the heat on medium.
Add the egg yolks, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper.
Stir vigorously, mixing the egg yolks and cheese in and coating all of the pasta with the sauce.
Serve immediately from the pan, sprinkling additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

Julie’s Italian Shells

1 box large pasta shells
1 beaten egg
¾ C bread crumbs ( 1-2 pieces of bread)
1 T minced onion
½ t salt
1 pound hamburger
1 C mozzarella cheese (grated)
3 C Ragu or other tomato sauce

Cook shells in boiling water according to instructions on the package. Drain and cool. Combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, meat and most of cheese. Mix well and use it to stuff the shells. Place stuffed shells in pan and pour Ragu sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake covered with foil in 350° oven for ½ to ¾ hour.

Marinara Sauce
Serves 6


1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic sliced in half
1 large can of imported Italian tomatoes (or the best you can find)
3 basil leaves, washed, patted dry and chopped
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Place garlic and olive oil in large sauce pan.
Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is soft and lightly browned.
Crush the tomatoes and add with their juices.
Fill empty tomato can 1/4 of the way with water and pour in with tomatoes
Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Pasta with Grape Tomatoes

Serves 4
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves sliced thin
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large basil leaves, chopped
salt to taste
1 pound spaghettini pasta
freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese for serving


Add olive oil and garlic to a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic is lightly browned, then add the sliced tomatoes, red pepper flake, basil, and salt.
Saute the tomatoes until they are softened and have started to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of liberally salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.
Strain pasta and transfer to the saute pan with the sauce and toss until completely coated.
Dish out into individual serving bowls and serve with grated Parmagiano-Reggiano.

Zesty Italian Ziti


1 pound Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut into lengthwise strips
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
1/4 tomato paste16 ounces ziti pasta, cooked according to package and kept warm
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese


Cook sausage and onion over medium-high heat in a large skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain. Blend in tomatoes and paste, heat until hot. Toss with pasta; top with cheese.

Garden Style Lasagna
Cooking Light, MARCH 2006

Ingredients :
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped zucchini (about 8 ounces)
2 cups chopped yellow squash (about 8 ounces)
2 cups thinly sliced carrot (about 8 ounces)
2 cups chopped broccoli (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
3 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 cups
1% low-fat cottage cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
12 precooked lasagna noodles, divided


Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Spoon onion mixture into a large bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and yellow squash; sauté 4 minutes or until tender and just beginning to brown. Add to onion mixture.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced carrot; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add chopped broccoli; sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add to onion mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to combine. Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Stir in spinach. Combine cottage cheese and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella; stir well. Spread 1/2 cup spinach mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over spinach mixture in dish; top with half of cottage cheese mixture (about 1 1/2 cups), half of vegetable mixture (about 2 1/2 cups), and about 1 cup spinach mixture. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining spinach mixture over noodles; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Yield12 servings

Simple Tomato Pasta

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti
1 (4-ounce) block mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Toppings: chopped fresh basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute or until lightly browned. Carefully stir in wine and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until thickened.Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Stir together hot pasta, mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in a large serving bowl, tossing to coat until cheeses start to melt. Pour tomato sauce over pasta mixture, and toss to combine. Serve immediately with desired toppings and a garden salad and garlic bread.

Annie’s Lasagna


1 pound of ground beef
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon of basil
1 teaspoon of salt (for meat sauce)
1 can of tomatoes (do NOT drain) (16oz)
1 package of lasagna noodles (8oz)
2 cartons cream-style cottage cheese (12oz each)
2 cans of tomato paste (6oz each)
2 eggs (beaten)
½ teaspoon salt (for cheese mixture)
3 tablespoons of parsley (divided)
½ teaspoon of pepper
½ cup of Parmesan cheese


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook beef in a large skillet until browned (Stirring to crumble)
3. Drain off pan drippings.
4. Add garlic, parsley, basil, salt, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
5. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until thick (Stirring occasionally)
6. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions (Drain)
7. Combine cottage cheese, egg salt, pepper, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
8. Spread about ¼ cup of meat sauce in a 9x13x2-inch pan.
9. Layer 3 lasagna noodles, ½ of the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of the meat sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
10. Repeat Layers.
11. Bake for 30 minutes in oven.
12. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Annie’s BEST Lasagna (Pioneer Woman)


1 ½ pounds ground beef3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1 pound hot breakfast sausage 2 beaten eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup grated (not shredded) Parmesan
2 14.5 ounce cans whole tomatoes, cut up 2 T dried parsley
1 6-ounce cans tomato paste 1 t salt
2 T dried parsley 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
2 T dried basil 1 10-ounce pkg. lasagna noodles
1 t salt (add ½ t salt and 1 T olive oil to pasta water)


Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 T parsley, basil, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more T parsley, and 1 more t salt. Stir together well and set aside.

Cook lasagne until “al dente.”

To Assemble:

Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a single layer of mozzarella slices. Spoon a little less than half the meat mixture over the top. Repeat, ending with the meat mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 10-30 mintues, or until top is hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

KITCHEN TIP: Degreasing Pepperoni from America's Test Kitchen

Pepperoni slices from the package often leave unsightly puddles of grease when baked atop a pizza. To wick away excess oil, try this trick next time: Line a microwave-safe plate with a double layer of paper towels, place the pepperoni on top, then cover with two more paper towels and another plate to keep the meaty disks flat. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, remove the plate from the microwave, and uncover. Then simply place the degreased pepperoni on the pizza and bake according to the recipe.

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This web site is from my years of collecting recipes that I have enjoyed. You will find recipes I've clipped from newspapers, copied out of cookbooks, recipes from relatives and friends. I've given credit when I remembered from whom or where I got the recipe. The recipes that say "Julie's" in front of them, do not mean I created it. I've just made it so many times, I now claim it as my own. Others' names in front of the recipes only mean they gave me the recipe. They may not be the original creator. I have not tested all of these recipes except the ones with my name in front of them, but I'm sure they are GREAT!


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