Category Archives: marinara

Lasagna Rolls

I like this fun way of serving lasagna.  My kids loved having their own individual rolls of goodness. This recipe was taken from “Giada’s Family Dinners” by Giada De Laurentis.  The recipe calls for 3 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto. I always order from my deli in grams, so I converted from ounces to grams and it works out to 85 grams.  The recipe asks to be sure to squeeze the spinach totally dry in order to avoid a watery dish.  The ” Quick Marinara Sauce” recipe is also on this blog.




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

Lasagna
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 dried lasagna noodles
Butter, for baking dish
2 cups “Quick Marinara Sauce”
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking continuously.  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 cream sauce.

To make the lasagna:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, egg, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper until blended.
2. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the lasagna noodles and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.  Spread the cream sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.
4. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Roll the noodles up and arrange the rolls, seam sides down and not touching one another, atop the cream sauce.  Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.  Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the lasagna rooms, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Cover the dish tightly with foil.  Bake until the rolls are heated through and sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the cheese on top is golden, about 15 minutes longer.  Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat and serve alongside.

Makes: 6 Main-course servings





Quick Marinara Sauce

I love the way my house smells when I make marinara sauce, especially when basil is added.  I have taken this recipe from “Giada’s Family Dinners” by Giada De Laurentis.  I used my food processor to chop everything up, it makes this recipe super fast and easy to make.



Makes about 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups)

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 bunch of fresh basil, stemmed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a blender, purée the tomatoes with their juice and the basil until almost smooth.  Set the tomato purée aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until very tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in the tomato purée, oregano, and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. ( The sauce can be made 1 day ahead.  If storing for future use, cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Reward over medium heat before using.)



Fieri’s Marinara Sauce

Amazing! I love the fresh basil in here. This recipe is taken from Guy Fieri’s cookbook “Food”.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
8 medium garlic cloves, crushed
Three 28-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is recommended)
1/4 cup shredded basil
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is almost brown, another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the basil and oregano, and simmer for 30 minutes more to thoroughly marry the flavours.
3. Purée the mixture with a stick blender, food mill, or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Freeze the extra sauce for the future.

Fieri Spaghetti and Meatballs

My husband said that these are the best meatballs he’s had. This recipe is taken from Guy Fieri’s cookbook “Food”. It makes 24 meatballs, to serve 8. I used ground pork instead of the sausage. I also used 1 tablespoon each of dried basil and dried oregano.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 cup 1/2-inch diced sourdough bread cubes (from about 2 slices, crusts removed)
1 pound ground beef(80% lean)
1 pound ground bulk pork sausage, unseasoned
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (about 6 leaves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 to 6 cups Marinara sauce (recipe on blog – ” Fieri’s Marinara Sauce”)
2 pounds spaghetti
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish


1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the extra virgin oil. Cook the onion, bell pepper, and chili flakes for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and let cool. (Keep the pan handy).
2. Meanwhile, pour the milk over the bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain off the milk and lightly squeeze the bread, so that it is moist but not wet.
3. To the bowl with the cooled vegetables, add the beef and sausage, soaked bread, basil, oregano, pepper, parsley, grated Parmesan, and eggs. Mix thoroughly but gently and shape into 2-inch balls, the more gentle you are, the more tender the meatballs will be.
4. In the same pan used for the vegetables, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, browning each completely. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165F on an instant-read thermometer.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer over low heat.
6. Cook the spaghetti al dente, according to the package directions. Drain and toss with about 2 cups of the marinara sauce. You can either portion to individual plates or pasta bowls, add more sauce and 3 meatballs per person, and garnish with shredded Parmesan, or place the pasta in a large serving dish and top with sauce, meatballs and Parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook by Cook’s Illustrated.  I use my own marinara sauce (you can find various marinara recipes on this blog) and I also melt mozzarella cheese on top. The recipe I have included is for the breaded chicken cutlets used. I always serve my Chicken Parmesan with egg noodles.  Super easy and very filling!



Breaded Chicken Cutlets
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs 
3/4 cup unbleached flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 3 /4 cup olive oil

Picture 2064


1.  Use a meat pounder, rubber mallet, or rolling pin to pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness.
2. Sprinkle the cutlets with salt and pepper.
3. Set a large heatproof plate on the rack in the oven, and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish or pis plate.  Spread the flour in a second shallow dish.  Beat the eggs with the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a third shallow dish.  Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
4. Working with one at a time, dredge the cutlets thoroughly in the flour, shaking off the excess.  Using tongs, dip both sides of the cutlets in the egg mixture, taking care to coat them thoroughly and allowing the excess to drip back into the dish to ensure a very thin coating.  Dip both sides of the cutlets in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs with your fingers to form an even, cohesive coat.  Place the breaded cutlets in a single layer on the wire rack and allow the coating to dry for about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a heavy-bottomed 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes.  Lay the two cutlets gently in the skillet and cook until deep golden brown and crisp on the first side, gently pressing down on the cutlets with a wide metal spatula to help ensure even browning, about 2 1/2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the cutlets, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the meat feels firm when pressed gently and the second side is a deep golden brown and crisp, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.  Line the warmed plate with a double layer of paper towels and set the cutlets on top; return the plate to the oven.
6. Discard the oil in the skillet and wipe the skillet clean using tongs and a large wad of paper towels.  Repeat Step 5, using the remaining 6 tablespoons oil and the now-clean skillet to cook the remaining cutlets. 

Picture 2065
Parmesan Breaded Chicken Cutlets
Follow the recipe for Breaded Chicken cutlets, replacing 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs with 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese



Marinara Sauce

This recipe freezes very well.  I make a batch of it and separate it into Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer for our next spaghetti dinner.  I have used this for pizza sauce and I use it for my Chicken Parmesan recipe.This recipe is taken from Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes, by Giada De Laurentis.  If you have a food processor this sauce takes minutes to prepare.



1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Saute until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer, uncovered, over low heat until sauce thickens, about 1 hour.  Remove and discard bay leaves. Season sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.  (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead.  Cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Rewarm over medium heat before using).  Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups); 1 quart will serve 4 over cooked pasta as a first course.  NOTE: To freeze, after sauce is completely cool, pour 2-cup portions into freezer bags and freeze up to three months.