Mini Shells with Mushrooms

I used to think I didn’t like mushrooms, but here I am posting yet another mushroom recipe. I’ll admit it, I hate raw mushrooms. But when cooked, they have an amazing flavor that goes really well with pasta.

On my birthday I went for dinner and ordered a pasta with portobello mushroom sauce. It was delicious, but way too creamy and rich. I decided to recreate the intense mushroom flavor in my own pasta dish, without adding loads of cream. Here’s what I came up with.

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“Meat” and Dairy Lasagna

When it comes to lasagna, we Kosher Foodies always have to make a choice: dairy or meat. Well, I bought some Morningstar Farms Meal Starters to use as meat, and so I could have “meat” and cheese together! Layers of pasta, tomato, meat, cheese, and vegetables made for a very heavy and delicious dinner, the perfect comfort food for a winter night. Whatever you don’t eat can easily be frozen and reheated.

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter sauce

I like to cook with real pumpkin when it’s in season. About once every year I get my hands on a pumpkin, and after roasting the seeds, I cook with the flesh. Usually I make chocolate-chip pumpkin bread. This year, I decided to try a recipe I saw a lot of online: pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter sauce.

Does anyone serve dairy for Thanksgiving? Instead of (or in addition to) a traditional pumpkin pie, this would be a great seasonal recipe for anyone whose menu wasn’t filled with turkey and meat. Try this for a vegetarian (or your unkosher) Thanksgiving feast!

After pureeing and flavoring the pumpkin for the inside of the ravioli, I made my own dough to wrap it in, and rolled it out by hand. I only got about as far as 20 raviolis before I broke my rolling pin. I suggest using a pasta maker or the pasta Kitchenaid attachment. I have neither, so I went out and bought some wonton wrappers the next day (for less than $3) to form the rest of my raviolis, which I threw into the freezer to save for another day.

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Butternut and Acorn Squash Mac & Cheese

The cold weather means it’s winter squash season, as you know. And everyone knows those are the best types of squash. I recently got my hands on an acorn and a butternut variety and didn’t know what to do with them. Soup? Roasted? Boring!

After a long brainstorm, I thought to make macaroni and cheese:

squash and mac and cheese

Originally, I wanted to make risotto, but then I realized that I’d have to go shopping, and I really didn’t want to go to the supermarket, so I had to pick something that I could make with whatever I already had in the kitchen. Then pizza came to mind (I always have mini pizza doughs in the fridge), but I wasn’t feeling it. That’s when I thought of mac & cheese; I’ve read about camouflaging cauliflower in it to trick kids into eating more healthily, so why not put squash in it? I wasn’t trying to make it healthier, just different, but I went with it, and my little experiment was a big success!

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Baby Bello Lasagna Rollups

The Food Network website recommended that I try Ellie Krieger’s portobello lasagna rollups. These were very easy to make kosher – they are vegetarian, anyway. I didn’t use portobellos, just because they were kind of expensive. You can use any mushrooms, but I like the baby bellos, and they weren’t much more expensive than the white button variety. Continue reading

Toasted Ravioli

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As annoying as Rachael Ray is, a lot of her recipes are delicious and easy. After watching her make toasted ravioli, I decided to try it on my own, with a few tweaks. Rachael used fresh herbs and made a delicious looking roasted red pepper dipping sauce. I was pretty lazy and used only what I had on hand, so stuck with the seasoned breadcrumbs and jarred marinara sauce. They still turned out delicious.

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Orzo Salad

We just got a new barbecue! Obviously we had to have burgers and steaks for dinner the day it came. I knew we would be eating tons of meat, so I decided to make a light pasta salad to accompany the meal.

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Szechuan Noodles, Ina Garten Style

I decided to try out a new recipe for Asian-y peanut-y noodles and remembered seeing Ina Garten make some for a barbecue on the beach (don’t ask me how this fits in with a barbecue), so I searched for “sesame noodles” on the Food Network’s website and didn’t see it. I didn’t think I imagined this particular episode of Barefoot Contessa, so I narrowed my results by chef – and these Szechuan noodles were the first, third, and fourth hit (out of four).

Okay, so maybe the words sesame and Szechuan aren’t interchangeable, and maybe you don’t barbecue them, but I made them anyway, and I’m glad I did. The ingredients were overwhelming at first: Fresh ginger? Tahini? Sherry vinegar? But I ended up having many of them in the fridge/pantry already. I bought almost everything else from Whole Foods, and for the rest I left out or substituted with something I had lying around.

szechuan noodles

All of the spices and ingredients resulted in delicious layers of flavor, and although I made way too much (a whole pound of pasta for two people!?) I was able to enjoy leftovers, since this dish is just as tasty at room temperature, or even out of the fridge, than it is hot.

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Noodles and Kelsonnes

These baked egg noodles and kelsonnes (kel-SON-ess) are easy and delicious. We keep the ravioli-like envelopes in the freezer and boil them with the noodles for a quick dinner.

The crunchy and almost burnt parts are my favorite.

The crunchy and almost burnt parts are my favorite.

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Alton’s Tortellini

After watching the Good Eats episode “Use Your Noodle 2” (twice) I decided to try making my own tortellini. I had wanted to try homemade pasta for a while, but I don’t have a pasta maker. Alton said I can make these tortellini without one, so I had to try it. I spent a few hours making this batch, and ended up with a little more than 50 tortellinis (and messed up only four).

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