Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Italian Sausage with Broccoli Rabe

I first had this Italian Sausage with Broccoli Rabe as a side dish with a meatless main course Rigatoni with Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella. But, it would make an excellent main course with potatoes, pasta or rice and a dinner salad. Serves 8


2 lbs Italian sausage
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon each smoked paprika and red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs broccoli rabe, trimmed and stems removed
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pecorino cheese


In a large bowl combine the sausage with the spices, garlic and salt with your hands until evenly distributed. Add the parsley and kneed the mixture until combined. In a large skillet over medium heat add the oil. When oil shimmers add the sausage and cook until browned. Add in the shallots and scrap the fond off the bottom of the pan while you are stirring. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the broccoli rabe and the stock, cover and cook about 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Stir in zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and top with pecorino. Serve immediately.

Instant Pot Spinach and Herb Lasagna

This spinach and herb lasagna was the second recipe we made in cooking class. Lots of cheese and fresh herbs made this dish Buonissimo!

You're going to need a steam rack and an 8 oz round soufflé or casserole dish.  I know steam racks come with the Instant Pot, but the rest of us will have to improvise. 

Our teacher told us to make a foil sling under the dish to put it in and take it out. I must have been sleeping at this point, because I honestly don’t remember how we got it out. I just remember how good it was.  


1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
8 oz aged mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 1/2 cups favorite marinara sauce
8 no-boil oven-ready lasagna noodles 


Insert the steam rack into the pot (I placed a small bowl upside down) and add 1 1/2 cups of water. In a medium size bowl beat the egg with the salt and pepper. Add in the ricotta, pecorino and 1/2 the mozzarella, mix to combine. Fold in the spinach, parsley and basil.

In the bottom of your 8 oz dish spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Top with 2 of the noodles (break to fit). Dollop with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with 1/r of the remaining cheese. Top with 2 noodles, 1/3 of the marinara, 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat. End with the last 2 noodles, the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Tent some aluminum foil over the dish and make your aluminum foil sling 3”x 20” to lower the dish on the rack (or on top of the bottom of the bowl).

Lock your lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Use the natural release method for 15 minutes, then vent the rest of the steam. Open the lid carefully. Lift the lasagna out and discard the foil. If desired, put lasagna under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Yum Yum! And I really mean it this time.😀

Just wanted to let you know I did make this lasagna. I just got carried away and before I knew it the lasagna was in the Instant Pot and I forgot to take my pictures ☹️. Very easy and very good👍🏼.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Rigatoni with a Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella

You can make this Rigatoni with a Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella with boxed rigatoni or cannelloni noodles ...or you can make fresh rigatoni noodles. But if you want to save time and just use boxed noodles. Here’s the recipe.....


How to Make Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce

1 lb rigatoni, boiled 6 minutes or 12 oz cannelloni, boiled 4 minutes and cut to fit baking dish. 
6 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/4” pieces 

2 cups ricotta cheese 
1 cup mascarpone 
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley 
1 teaspoon salt 
Ground pepper, to taste 
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 400F. In a 13x9-inch baking dish spread a layer of the tomato sauce. 

In a medium bowl combine all the filling ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a large pastry bag and snip off 1/2” of the tip with scissors. Fill each noodle and lay on top of tomato sauce. Spoon remaining sauce on top of noodles. Bake 20 minutes, remove top with mozzarella pieces then bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.