Monthly Archives: March 2014
When we think of Italian cuisine, it is so easy to focus on pasta. In some parts of the world the other great staple, rice, is the key ingredient to creating healthy filling meals. That does not stop anyone from using his or her favorite tomato-beef sauce or white sauce. It just means that instead of noodles the starch will be rice. With a combination of cheese, herbs, and spice, the meal will be delicious and add yet another favorite recipe to the collection. This rice lasagna is perfect for lunch or dinner, freezes well, and reheats quickly in the microwave oven.
It is very common to go to the cupboard and pull out a pack of rice to use in a recipe. One of the most amazing things is that there are more than 40,000 varieties of rice. The kernels vary in size, taste, shape, and cooking requirements. One of the most common types of rice is short grain rice, good for desserts like pudding, sweets, sushi, and croquettes. Long grain rice is exceptionally good when making pilaf. To add an interesting appearance to steamed rice or pilaf, add wild rice.
To make the lasagna, use sticky rice. It has a glutinous composition that holds together, whether it is long or short grain rice and maintains its integrity when frozen and after being thawed. An ideal type is U.S. sweet rice, a plump, short chalky white kernel. Cooking causes it to lose its shape and become glutinous, producing the lasagna-like texture desired in rice lasagna. Other types of rice produce a small difference in the texture and usually do not interfere with the results. Continue reading
If you have ever wondered why there are so many different recipes for lasagna, it is probably because there are so many different types of pasta. The pasta section of the supermarket is incredible with its many different styles of pasta. Fortunately, someone figured out how to dry fresh pasta so it was still delicious after cooking when needed. There are literally hundreds of shapes and sizes of dried pasta in Italy. There is farfalle, the cute little bow ties and the favorite tennis racquet, called racchette.
The laws of Italy are quite specific about dried pasta, since it can only include water and 100 percent durum semolina flour. Most manufacturers around the world follow this guideline. Italian pasta makers have an extra step or two they take to make pasta better. Extrusion is where pasta is forced from a copper mold before it is cut and dried, and is what makes the ridges on ziti, penne, and lasagna noodles. It is an expensive process and allows the sauce to stay on the pasta.
When the pasta is cut, the drying temperature and length of drying time make a difference in the taste and texture. Italian pasta is worth the extra price for special pasta dinners because they follow the guidelines and produce the best quality because of it. Traditional pasta dries for nearly 50 hours at a low temperature. The result is pasta that holds sauce, tastes better, and cooks more quickly. With all the pasta eaten every year across the world, it is understandable that mass production has to take shortcuts. Treat your family now and then to the real thing. Continue reading
Fresh pasta is the beginning of all pastas but many are created for the specific purpose of being dried and packaged for sale down the line. Fresh pasta has a soft texture because of the dough. Southern Italy uses semolina and water most of the time. Northern parts of Italy use eggs and all-purpose flour. Whether it is actually better than dried pasta depends on the recipe, the person who is making it and the ingredients put in it. There are recipes that call strictly for dried pasta and some that give the option of either dried or fresh, with slightly different directions for preparation.
There are areas that use tomato sauces in the summer and herb-butter and cream-style sauces the rest of the year and that is the time you particularly want the flavor and texture of fresh pasta. Those who have the opportunity to visit Italy are in for a treat because most restaurants prepare pasta fresh daily and since you are in Italy trying to soak up ambience, avoid eating somewhere that avoids making fresh pasta daily.
Chicken N Cheese Lasagna is a great recipe although fresh pasta is not a benefit because of the tomato sauce. However, Chicken Alfredo with a delicious white sauce is absolutely the dish you want to prepare fresh pasta for before serving it to the family. A pasta cutter is nice and if you do not have one do not let that stop you from getting the recipe for fresh pasta and cutting the Alfredo noodles yourself. The strips are wider than spaghetti and most linguine noodles, and your family will be too busy eating dinner to get out a tape measure and check to see if each one is the same width. Continue reading
This delicious cabbage lasagna recipe uses cabbage in place of the lasagna sheets. If you enjoy the best lasagna recipes but do not want to use lasagna noodles there is an alternative and that is to use healthy cabbage leaves instead. This cabbage lasagna is made in a rectangular pan (it should be at least two inches high) and then baked to perfection. You can brown the cooked lasagna under a broiler to add more color if you like but this is optional.
This lasagna features ground beef, rice, onion and a creamy sauce too. In fact it features everything except the lasagna noodles and, as you can see, those can easily be replaced with cabbage.
The cheese sets on top to form a delicious layer and you can swap the mozzarella for Havarti if you want a different flavor or omit the mozzarella altogether for less cheesiness and use the parmesan only. Continue reading
A round lasagna makes an interesting change from a rectangular one. The lasagna itself is based on an authentic lasagna recipe but the shape is different. If you enjoy making new takes on old classics, you might like to try out this flavorful round lasagna recipe. Containing chicken, mushrooms, three kinds of cheese, spinach and more, this offers you a hearty and full-flavored meal.
If you prefer to make this in the traditional shape by all means go ahead, but a round lasagna is more unusual. You will not waste any of the trimmed-off lasagna noodles (obviously these noodles are rectangular) because you can use them to fill in the gaps and you can use several noodles or pieces of noodles in one layer of the lasagna.
This is an unusual dish, not only because of the shape but also because of the ingredients. Rather than a tomato-based sauce, we are going to use cherry tomatoes in the lasagna and use a creamy pasta sauce between the layers. If you can find a white sauce which is flavored with mushrooms that is the best one to go for. It really complements the chicken and mushrooms. You will need a small jar or about two thirds of a medium-size one. Continue reading
The Greek food moussaka can be a great choice for those looking for a unique meal. These dishes use eggplant in place of your traditional lasagna noodles to create a dish that is going to be good for you and still taste amazing. For those who are looking for a delicious meal to create for dinner, this is going to prove to be one of the best choices you will have.
One of the biggest variations that people focus on with these items is the filling that is placed in them. What you are going to find is that you can change vegetables out and even change the style of meat that goes into these dishes for a dish that will meet the needs of everyone in your family. Just keep in mind that you need to focus on what you are putting in the dish and consider the flavor and texture that will be attached to them at the same time.
No matter what you come up with, these are going to be hearty dishes that are filled with vitamins and nutrition. That makes them a sound choice for those who are considering making their family a meal that they can enjoy without too much concern. Here is a Greek moussaka recipe that you can adjust as needed to suit the taste of your family. Continue reading
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