Sausage Stuffed Shells

Some times, I like to really doll up a meal to make it something delicate and decadent. Other times, I just want something hearty and quick. This is one of those times: lasagna’s less popular, ugly step-brother: stuffed shells.

Sausage Stuffed Shells

This is nothing terribly fancy–pasta, tomatoes, sausage, parmesan, and ricotta–but hey, it’s good. For no good reason at all, I was just in the mood for shells instead of lasagna, even though really, they would both be largely similar. I don’t have pasta terribly often, and when I do, its usually some quick linguine kind of dish, so having a filled pasta just seemed like a nice change. Plus, it can be hard to write a ton of posts ahead of time before you go on vacation so bear with me! 😉 (this is the last one–I’ll be back and cooking fresh soon! Think of this as “leftovers”)

  • 1 box of shell pasta
  • ~ 1-1.5 lbs sausage (I use

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Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron Risotto)

Risotto is a quick and easy dish to make–it just requires that you pay it some attention. As long as you stick around to keep stirring, you should be in good shape–this isn’t a dish that you just set on heat and come back to in 20 minutes. Your reward is an amazingly creamy and rich side dish.

Finished saffron risotto

Risotto is traditionally an Italian dish made from a special kind of rice. When you treat risotto the way its meant to be treated, you tease the creaminess out of the rice without cooking the entire dish down into mush–each grain will still have its own individual, slightly firm and distinct shape. The result is a side dish that is always a pleasure to eat–bursting with flavor, creaminess, and the familiarity of rice. This particular version (and oh are there many!) enhances the flavor of the risotto in a very traditional fashion: with broth as the cooking liquid and both saffron… click to read more…

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Chicken Saltimbocca

If I have sage on hand, this is one of my favorite dishes to put it to good use: chicken saltimbocca.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in the mouth” as all of the core flavors to this dish are really vibrant when they come together. Surprisingly though, there are countless variantions on saltimbocca as it is apparently popular in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece where the featured meat, sauce, and garnish can all differ greatly (e.g. chicken, veal, pork, wine, salt water, oil, etc). The one commonality across all of these interpretations of the dish though: roulades stuffed with that mentholy, peppery flavor of sage and the richness of prosciutto. In this version, I stuffed chicken breast roulades with fresh sage, basil, goat cheese, and prosciutto and then top it off with some Marsala and mushrooms. This dish is also my entry for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by click to read more…

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Pizza

I love pizza. My wife and I don’t eat out much, but pizza is our one regular splurge. But as routine as pizza is, there’s always something special about home-made:

Pizza fresh out of the oven

Slice of pizza

I had a lot of fun making this one. Its amazing how much better something as simple as pizza is compared to ordering in. Usually, pizza is a gut-bomb…delicious, but way too filling (or when its not so delicious, its a good excuse to try out one of my new hot sauces, another regular splurge). This was pretty easy to prepare at a leisurely pace and tasted vibrant, fresh, and light, which is a nice change from greasy and heavy. Plus, it gave my pizza stone, an oft negelected tool in the kitchen, some much needed TLC. 😉 Also, a nice side benefit to making this dish: you’ll have extra dough leftover which you can store in the fridge/freezer so that… click to read more…

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Chicken Francaise

I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that when I want something quick, easy, and tasty, I fall back on Italian-style food. This week’s not-actually-Italian-but-common-in-Italian-restaurants food: chicken francaise (but doesn’t “francaise” mean French?).

Chicken francaise with creamy garlic pasta

This version of the dish has a light and delicate sauce that packs a surprising amount of punch. The core ingredients are some very Mediterranean flavors: white wine, lemon, capers, and parsely with broth standing firm as the backbone. Of all of those components, I really like to try to highlight the lemon in a big way–it brings a vibrant, fresh flavor, and if you can get any great produce in Florida, its citrus 😉 . The capers bring that peculiar salty sweetness (not quite sure how I’d describe their taste) to the dish and the parsely just gives that earthiness that you need to temper the lemon. Like chicken marsala, the core idea to preparing… click to read more…

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Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan, next to lasagna, is to me, the quintessential Italian comfort food. Its not too heavy, not too unhealthy, and can work as a nice dinner or even as a hero/sub/hoagie/whatever you call it in your part of the world.

Chicken parmesan

I had my doubts in writing this post that Chicken/Veal Parmesan was in any way, actually Italian. Surprisingly, it seems that yes, at one point, there was an authentically Italian version…it just had no cheese, tomato, or anything that would look familiar to us today beyond the meat. But history aside, this is still delicious and is another household favorite of mine that can surprise a lot of people, because, like burgers, I feel that most people are accustomed to subpar versions of this dish. I suppose that’s the price you pay for popularity.

For me, the key is to use a really flavorful breading on the meat, frying it as… click to read more…

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