So just about this time of year I always sign up to deliver a meal to someone. I don't know about you, but sometimes that is just a tad overwhelming. Partly because I love cooking and want to make them this knock your socks off meal and partly because I'm low on time these days. Relate?
But I thought I would gradually share the recipes that are amazing. You know the ones that everyone says, "Can I have that recipe?" Because let's face it, those are the winners by a land slide. And I would only share it if it took 30- 45 minutes to make. No gourmet here, just simply good.
So if you are looking for something new to impress some guests, or take to family's house- here's my best pasta dish. I always make double (one for my family and one to freeze or give away). I make the ricotta mixture for just my husband and I. My kids don't like the texture of Ricotta, so instead I add a lot of fresh parmesan on their side of the dish.
"Baked Pasta with Ricotta and Olives"
(taken from The Best Simple Recipes)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I always use a little more :)
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped (fresh are best, but I've used jarred as well)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pound campanelle or penne (or any kind of small cut pasta)
1. Adjust oven rack to top position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts of pasta to boil in large pot. Meanwhile geese shallow 2 quart baking dish. I use a rectangular baking dish. Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and lemon zest in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium- high heat until just smoking. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.Add tomatoes and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in olives and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook till al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in tomato sauce and transfer mixture to baking dish. Dollop ricotta mixture over pasta and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Broil until top is spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.
Notes: I like to add more cheese than called for because I like cheese and it's the only protein in the dish, so I splurge. I have done it with Lemon Zest (that is not fresh) and it just doesn't cut it. Also I've used dried basil as a substitute and that's a no go as well. I rarely suggest sticking to a recipe, but this one always gets rave reviews when I do, so I'm convinced they know more than me. If you do freeze, don't broil at the end. Just cover with saran wrap and foil tightly. Then let come to room temp and heat in the oven. You will need to add a little tomato sauce when baking, but it should turn out fine.
Ok, next week I'll share my easiest bread recipe with you. No bread machine, no 2nd rise, and whole wheat, so get ready!
If you try it- let me know how it turns out, I'd be interested in hearing your opinion. :)