Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

So guess what!? Ravioli has its own holiday (it’s today, March 20!), and I can’t think of a more deserving stuffed pasta. Good for you, ravioli!! I’m pretty sure we should all have the day off because of it, and if you’re reading this during work hours, go ahead and take the rest of the day for yourself – you deserve it.

As a very important food blogger, I sometimes get the alert to national food holidays I might not have known about, and get to try foods that aren’t on my list of dazzling go-tos like bananas and tuna pouches. Giovanni Rana contacted me because they are participating in some beneficial hashtag fun for National Ravioli Day. Each time the phrase #RanaRavioliChallenge is used on social media today, Giovanni Rana will donate 1LB of pasta to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.* Hey, if I can provide a bit of buzz for a company doing some good in my little corner of the interwebs, then it’s basically awesome for everyone, but especially me, because in this case, I get to eat some really good ravioli.

Rana Ravioli

Ravioli and I have been in a steady relationship for quite a few years now, ever since Chef Boyardee won me over as a child with his scrumptious canned pasta. Seriously, my brother and I couldn’t wait until Friday night when we were served something Chef B created by Chef Mom. Friday night was ravioli and TGIF, thereby making it the best night of the week.

Fast forward 25 (whoa) years, and ravioli still has a special place in my heart. I’m eating (somewhat) less canned pasta now, and I’m onto ravioli the grown-up way – fresh, or sometimes even deep fried. Oh, and I’m really, really into Bolognese…

Let’s talk about how delicious this Rana Ravioli is. It’s really good, and takes barely any time to cook, so you can get your ravioli eating on pronto. The variety I tried was the Caprese Duet with Bolognese sauce, which has two different colors and fillings, tomato mozzarella and basil pesto – basically awesome for the girl who has a hard time making up her mind.

Ravioli Rana

Rana Ravioli with Bolognese

As with many foods I love (sour cream, cream cheese), this Bolognese sauce falls into the category of “inappropriate to eat with just a spoon, but it’s so delicious you really want to”. Yes, that perfectly explains my thoughts and feelings on the sauce.

So, get out there and celebrate National Ravioli Day, and remember to tag #RanaRavioliChallenge on your Twitters, Instagrams and Facebooks to help the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

*This post is sponsored by Giovanni Rana, and I received the pasta and sauce gratis; thoughts and opinions are my own. Guests, friends, and family are invited to post up to three times on National Ravioli Day (March 20) on the same or different social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or others) to increase the amount of pasta donated.

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Day 4…

Blogging from the iPad is not ideal. But it seems our generous, unsecured wifi router “Postelnek” has disappeared, leaving me blogging the past 2 days using a combination of the WordPress app, Safari and 3Gs. The good news is that I think I’ve finally mastered how to copy/paste on an iPad (yes, I’m slow); the bad news is that typing any thing longer than a few sentences is just somewhat awful. I’ve asked both of our next door neighbors if they would want to share their Internet with us, but so far, neither has jumped at that opportunity. To be fair to Postelnek, we’d only been using the connection for a few weeks since our old upstairs neighbors (who we shared Internet with) moved. Looks like we’ll be adding another utility bill just in time for the holidays!

Onward and upward! This small story was shared with you as a demonstration to how committed I am to this recipe of the day effort, and today I bring you Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls from Kokocooks. I’ve been doing some interesting things lately with pumpkin and apples, but I’ve never actually tried pumpkin in pasta. It looks totally delicious, and if I make this, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles

Pumpkin filling:
15 oz solid packed pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Cheese filling:
15 oz. carton of part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
½ tsp salt

Bechamel Sauce:
2 c. whole milk
2 T butter
2 T flour
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp fresh lemon zest

¼ c fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil on a stove. Drop in lasagna noodles and simmer until pliable, 9-10 minutes. Place noodles to cool over the lip of a large mixing bowl, draping one portion of the noodle on the outside of the bowl and one on the inside.

In a bowl, combine the ingredients of the pumpkin filling. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients of the cheese filling.

In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and cook combination a few minutes until golden. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Cook 7-8 minutes until thickened. Add nutmeg and lemon zest, and set aside.

Assemble rolls by laying noodles out and spreading pumpkin mixture along the length of the noodle, leaving the end of the pasta furthest from you bare. Dollop ricotta mixture down the pumpkin layer, then gently smooth over the pumpkin. Roll lasagna ending with the bare noodle end, and place seamside down in a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Pour sauce over lasagna rolls.

Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls from Kokocooks.

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Hey, it’s day 3, and to celebrate, why not have a recipe that I’ve actually made? That’s right – I made this Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake the week before Thanksgiving, and it was excellent! I cooked this for a vegetarian friend, so I (sadly) omitted the bacon, and added mushrooms. I actually couldn’t find the dried tortellini, even after traipsing all around Lake Forest, so I subbed frozen cheese ravioli. The end result was delicious, and the sauce could easily be made on its own with another pasta dish. The lemon is subtle, but noticeable. Overall, I really liked this one, and I already have all the ingredients on hand to make it again.

The blog where this recipe is from is Emily Bites, and she has tons of recipes that are all Weight Watchers-friendly. This recipe has 9 Points Pluses per serving.

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake from Emily Bites

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake:

12 oz package of dry Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (I used Barilla – find in the dry pasta aisle)
2 slices center cut bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
2 c skim milk
¾ t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 ½ t dried basil
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 t lemon zest
2 c fresh spinach, loose, not packed
1 ½ oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2/3 c reduced fat 2% shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    Cook the tortellini in a large pot according to package directions.
3.    Meanwhile, place bacon in a sauté pan or large skillet and bring over medium-high heat. Cook for 7-9 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and place on paper towels to dry. Leave one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan (if you have less than that like I did you may want to add a little butter to make up the difference. I counted one tablespoon of bacon grease in the recipe builder. If you want to make this vegetarian then just skip the bacon altogether and use butter). Add the garlic to the bacon grease and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour to the pan and whisk into grease. Add the milk slowly and continue to whisk until combined. Add the salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring sauce to a simmer.
4.    Once sauce is simmering, add lemon juice and lemon zest to sauce. Stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
5.    Drain the tortellini and place back into the pot. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Add the spinach along with most of the Parmesan and the Mozzarella (reserve some of each to sprinkle on top). Add the sauce and stir everything together to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan, Mozzarella and bacon over the top.
6.    Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes.

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

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