Category Archives: Cooking

BosGuy cooks: Baked eggplant rollatinis

Boston Chops has had a delicous eggplant rollatini on their menu ever since they opened in 2013, and it inspired me to try making this on my own. This recipe is a re-posting of the recipe I tried to recreate in my home back in 2013.

BosGuy cooking

Ingredients for this recipe include:

  • 1-2 Eggplant
  • Tomato / red sauce
  • Ricotta cheese
  • 2 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
  • 4-6 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 cup of Bread crumbs (or panko)
  • 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

PEELING, SLICING & BREADING: Peeling and slicing eggplant length-wise was tricky, because I don’t have a mandoline, and the trick it to cut the eggplant fairly thin to make it easier to roll. Set up two plates for the breading. In the first plate add 2 egg yolks with a splash of water and briefly whisk together. In a second plate add a cup of bread crumbs (panko crumbs can be used too), 1/3 cup of grated cheese, a dash of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and mix together. Dip the eggplant in the egg and water then into the dry plate before adding to a pan with olive oil on medium high heat. Fry the vegetable on each side for only a minute or two – long enough for the breading to stick to the eggplant. Then place it on a plate with paper towels to remove any excess oil.

FILLING: While the eggplant rests, make the filling. Purée the roasted red bell peppers and 4-6 cloves of roasted garlic and stir together with a half cup (or more if you like) of Ricotta cheese and black pepper until all the ingredients have combined. Take a Tablespoon (or more) of filling and spread it along the eggplant and roll it.

BAKING: Place the individually rolled eggplant into an oven-safe glass pyrex dish that has a ladle full of red sauce on the bottom. This will help prevent the eggplant from sticking to the dish. When the eggplant has been placed in the dish add more sauce to keep everything moist. Lastly, sprinkle grated cheese and chopped parsley and cover with foil. Add to a preheated oven set to 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

This is best served warm out of the oven.

BosGuy cooks: Roasted bell peppers

Back in 2014 I shared a post about roasting garlic and bell peppers. I now prefer this method for garlic, which I shared in January this year. It may take longer but it is insanely easy and I can make far more in one batch. I still regularly roast bell peppers for two reasons. First, it is pretty easy, and second, when I buy roasted peppers in a jar sometimes they taste funny so stopped buying jarred roasted veggies a while back.

PREP & ROASTING: Preheat the oven to 400 Farenheit / 200 Celsius or you can do this on a grill over high heat. Wash the peppers and place in the oven on a tray lined with foil for easier clean up and rotate every 8-10 minutes (total cooking time ~30minutes). If you’re using a grill / open flame, you may need to rotate the peppers more quickly.

RESTING AND PEELLING: If there is any work to this recipe it is peeling the skin and removing the seeds from the roasted peppers. Unless you have asbestos fingertips let the peppers rest for 15 minutes because they will scald you. The peppers will look wrinkly and deflated when you take them out of the oven. The skin should easily peel off. You’ll also want to remove the seeds and stem.

cooking

STORAGE: The peppers will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Add a drizzle of olive oil and keep sealed in a container. I sometimes will also add a few sprigs of Thyme. I’m never quite sure if it adds to the flavoring but it makes me feel like I’m making good use of the fresh herb.

One reason I like to roast bell peppers is because the flavor elevates a dish. This is an easy way to add flavor without calories. I welcome suggestions on how you use roasted bell peppers. Here are some of the ways I use roasted bell peppers.

  • Julienne the bell peppers and add to a salad
  • Puree and add them to your red sauce (combine it with roasted eggplant)
  • Puree with sour cream cream cheese and dill for a decadent dip
  • Puree with ricotta cheese to make baked eggplant rollatinis
  • Include in your omelet with goat cheese (it is crazy good)
  • Add to an antipasto or charcuterie platter for color and flavor

BosGuy cooks: Pickling vegetables

I like pickling vegetables because it is easy to do and tastes great. You can pickle pretty much any vegetable, but some of my favorites are cauliflower, carrots, peppers, onions and mushrooms. In addition to the ingredients shared below, you will need a jar (above I’m holding a repurposed Teddy’s Peanut Butter jar).

INGREDIENTS: vegetables (your choice), 2 cups of water, 1 cup of white vineagar, 4-5 peeled garlic cloves, 6 tsp of sea salt, 1 tsp each of: black peppercorn, coriandor seed, mustard seed, celery seed and fresh dill (optional).

PREP: Select and chop your vegetables. Be sure they will fit in the jar! I chop a few more veggies than I think I’ll need because you have to pack the jar tightly. Add 1 tsp of black peppercorn, coriandor seed, mustard seed and celery seed to the jar and set aside until the cooking is done.

COOKING: In a medium sized pan add two cups of water and bring it to a boil then turn down the heat so the water simmers and add the 4-5 peeled garlic cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes then add 1 cup of white vineagar and 6 tsp of salt. Stir until salt dissolves (this happens quickly) and bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat source to cool. You don’t want the liquid to be too hot when you pour it into the jar. There should be more liquid than necessary. This is intentional – it’s better to have a little extra than not enough.

PACKING: Add the garlic cloves and fresh dill (as much or as little as you like) to the jar then begin packing your chopped veggies. Pack tightly (see photo below). I add in a few sprigs of dill as I go. Once done, pour the liquid to the top of the jar. Keep uncovered for ~30 minutes so it cools then seal, give a good shake to mix the seasonings (this will make the jar look murky – see my photo above). Put in the refrigerator overnight. The vegetables will be ready to enjoy the next day.

BosGuy cooks: Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is good for the soul – or so the saying goes. It is also easy to make. The only drawback to my recipe is that it takes a bit of time (approximately 75-90 minutes) so I typically make this on the weekend.

chicken soup

Chicken soup recipe ingredients

16 oz of chicken broth
16 oz of tap water
1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thigh
1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless breast
1/2 lbs of chicken drumsticks
1 cup of rice

1 cup of finely chopped onions
1 cup of finely chopped carrots
1 cup of finely chopped celery
4-5 cloves of garlic (whole cloves)
3-4 bay leaves
bunch of thyme
1 tsp of salt, pepper and oregano (each)
olive or vegetable oil

STEP 1 Place a large pot on the stove with 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium high. Place the garlic cloves and drumsticks and chicken thighs in the pan and rotate so the meat will sear. Hold off on adding the white meat for the moment.

After 2-3 minutes (once the meat starts to brown), add the chopped onions, carrots and celery, a couple pinches of salt, and stir for a few minutes until the vegetables soften. Lastly, add the boneless, skinless chicken breast to the pot, bay leaves, thyme, and approximately 1 tsp of pepper and oregano.

STEP 2 Add the broth and water to the pot. Once added, the liquid should nearly cover the chicken. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover, turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes.

STEP 3 Scoop out the chicken and shred it (the meat should be cooked and shred easily at this point) then add back to the pot. Add 1 cup of rice and bring the soup back to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Cooking tip, I recommend tasting the soup after you take the chicken out to make sure the flavoring is satisfactory.

Once the soup has cooked. Turn off the stove and let the soup cool. Take out the thyme (if you’ve tied the stems together like I do – see image above). I also use a fork to fish out the whole garlic cloves and mash the garlic against the side of the pot then stir it back into the soup. Lastly, if you’ve included the drumstick bones after shredding the chicken, take those out and dispose of them.

This recipe is delicious and makes approximately 6 servings.

BosGuy cooks: Gnocchi

This week I’m mixing things up a bit by sharing a video of Sergio cooking (and me helping) that was filmed in our kitchen back in 2011 as part of a guest blog post he did for my friend Tracey who writes Life. Food. Wine.

This is the first time I’ve watched the video in years and a lot has changed. Sergio and I have a few more wrinkles for sure, new appliances and countertops as well, but what hasn’t changed is Sergio’s love of gnocchi with a rich, creamy (preferably) red sauce. This makes for a heavy meal better suited for the late fall and winter but I wanted to share this as part of my weekly recipes and hope you enjoy the video format.

Sergio is a natural on the camera but instructions that come in the form of temperatures, time, and quantities can be a bit vague. Below I’ve done my best to capture the ingredients you will need to make the gnocchi. For a quality red sauce to accompany this dish I’ll refer you to my January post, BosGuy cooks: Tomato sauce.

INGREDIENTS: Ingredient quantities are a guesstimate based on what was shared in the video below.

  • One package of Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Grated Parmesean and Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Flour
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Salt and dried Italian seasonings

COOKING: Watch Sergio make homemade gnocchi below. He includes tips on how to make, roll, cut and cook the gnocchi. While it can be a little messy, it is worth the time and effort.

BosGuy cooks: Potatoes

According to this January 2021 article in Irish Central there are ninety different words to describe potatoes. Even here in the U.S. we have a number of names, which should be a clue this is a popular vegetable. While there are a lot of ways to cook them, this easy, three-step process is how I cook potatoes. The total cooking time (including prep) takes approximately 30 minutes.

For this recipe you’ll need potatoes (I use golden yukon or red bliss because of their size), vegetable oil, salt, pepper and any other seasoning you may like. I often add chopped parsley to the potatoes after they come out hot from the oven. In the photo above, I’ve added fried and salted sage.

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, wash the potatoes, then add them to a large frying pan. Nearly cover the potatoes with water and liberally salt (this will absorb into and season the potato). Boil for approximately 10 minutes. They will be done when when you prick the potato and there is only minimal resistance.

STEP 2: Drain the potatoes and add them to a large bowl (and let them sit for 5 minutes to cool). Drizzle with vegetable oil and sprinkle your preferred seasonings. I often add a few pinches of salt and lots of ground black pepper. Paprika is another favorite seasoning but use whatever you like. Then mix so the potatoes are coated with the oil and seasonings.

STEP 3: Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and with the bottom of a glass slighly “smoosh” each potato before placing them into the oven which you preheated to 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. This will make the outer part of the potato more crispy, but the inside will remain creamy. Although I’ve never tried it, I imagine you could probably broil the potatoes for their final minute or two in the oven (I’ll have to try that next time).

The potatoes hold up great in the refrigerator for about a week (assuming they aren’t eaten before then), and they make for a great side plate with eggs for breakfast or with your dinner.

BosGuy cooks: Brussels sprout salad

I love this salad, because it is always delicous and is incredibly versatile. You can add whatever you like to the roasted Brussels sprouts, but I like adding fresh fruit or raw vegetables for the texture and flavor. I typically opt for bell peppers for the pop of color, nuts and cheese for the crunch and flavor, but add what you like and more importantly what you have that is fresh in your kitchen.

I first wrote about this salad in 2018 and in that recipe I used pomegranate, slivered almonds and goat cheese. Sound tempting? It is and you can check out that recipe here. Above is a more recent variation on the recipe which includes: Brussels sprouts, red and yellow bell peppers, pine nuts and shaved Parmesean cheese with olive oil and a balsamic reduction drizzled over the salad.

There are two parts to this recipe. The first part involves prepping your veggies and roasting the Brussels sprouts. The second part involves letting the sprouts cool and assembling the salad.

The star in this recipe is the Brussels sprouts so be sure you roast them to your satisfaction. I do this by slicing the vegetables in half and cutting off the botoms of their stems then drizzling grapeseed oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and hand tossing them to make sure they are coated with the oil and seasonings before placing them into an oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When there are about 5-7 minutes left I flip them over. The image above is what the Brussels sprouts looked like with ~5 minutes remaining.

When I take them out of the oven, I let them rest for about 5-10 minutes then I put them in a bowl and into the refrigerator for another 10 minutes to cool down. Once they are no longer hot and steaming, I take them out and slice them 2-3 times (depending on their size) from the core to the top and add them to a large salad bowl with the other chopped veggies and ingredients (minus the cheese add just prior to dressing).

Once everything is assembled to your satisfaction, add your cheese and dressing of choice. I like extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction glaze. Add whatever other seasonings you like and serve cold.

This salad holds up for a couple of days in the refrigerator, provided you have not dressed the ingredients. The oil and vinegar will make this turn into more of a mushy consistency if you dress the entire salad and leave the leftovers overnight in the refrigerator.

BosGuy cooks: Pasta with tomato and feta

I saw a version of this recipe on TikTok and it inspired me to make a pasta dish with feta cheese. I’ve modified ingredients to suit my tastes and encourage you to do the same. This is really easy to pull together and a delicious vegetarian meal.

Recipe Ingredients: 1 package of pasta (I used rigatoni), 12 oz of grape tomatoes (I used “Sugar Bomb” grape tomatoes on the vine), a block of feta (1/3 to 1/2 of a pound), 1 onion (sliced thinly), 4 cloves of minced garlic (I used roasted garlic) as well as fresh parsley and basil. For additional seasonings I used extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano.

Start by heating water to boil the pasta and in a second pan add oil, the thinly sliced onions and chopped garlic over medium heat. Salt to season and stir until the onions soften. If the pan is too hot and the onions start to stick to the pan add a dash of stock, water or white wine and turn down the heat.

Add the pasta once the water starts to boil and in your other pan add the tomoatoes. These should cook for about 10-12 minutes so they will soften and breakdown. Stir every couple of minutes and add dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper. When your pasta is almost done cooking (approximately 2 minutes remaining) add the feta cheese. I chopped the cheese into large wedges and broke it up with my hands as I added it to the pan. Turn the heat on your stove down to low and stir everything together. Note that the photo above only shows approximately half of the feta that was used.

Drain your pasta and add it to the pan with the vegetables and cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the pasta, add chopped parsley (I use a lot because I love parsley) and add 5-6 medium sized basil leaves (hand torn) to the pan. Turn off the heat and stir together. It should look like the photo below when you are done.

This was really easy to make and extremely satisfying. It comes together in about 20 minutes and smells fantastic. The more cheese you add, the more creamy this will taste. I was trying to be healthy so I used the feta sparingly, but if I was making this for a dinner party I would double the amount. I guarantee you will enjoy this meal.

BosGuy cooks: Browning vs. caramelizing onions

I love onions. I use them in nearly everything I cook so I will occassionally brown or caramelize onions. When I’m done I’ll put them in the refrigerator to be used in sandwiches, salads or dinners later that week. The main difference between browning and caramelizing onions is time and temperature. I’ll explain more below.

Browning is a technique that uses a little oil (I use grapeseed / or canola oil) and a sprinkling of salt over thinly sliced onions. The outsides of the onion will brown in 15 – 20 minutes (just be careful not to burn the onions by stirring regularly). This isn’t something you can walk away from once you start.

The image above is what it should look like when you are done browning onions. In this batch, there is a lack of conistency in coloring but for my purposes it was more than fine. Don’t let imperfection prevent you from giving this a try. What matters is you like the taste and they add flavor to whater you add them to.

Caramelizing follows a similar technique (I use olive oil) and a sprinkling of salt over thinly sliced onions. However, I start by heating the pan with oil on medium heat and after a minute or two add the onions. Immediately turn the pan to down to medium low heat and stir until the onions are a dark brown, which takes a good 45 minutes.

In the photos above you can see how the onions start to brown on the left after cooking for a few minutes. The image on the right is what the onions looked like after approximately 20 minutes of browning.

Cooking tip: After I brown or caramelize onions, I usually make a dinner with that pan so the flavor and bits of onion still in the pan can be used to flavor my meal. Add a bit of wine or butter and use a wooden spatula to scrape off the bits to add more flavor to whatever you are about to cook.

Cleaning tip: Add some water and soap detergent then place the pan on your stovetop on low heat. After 2-3 minutes take the pan off the stove and wash in the sink.

BosGuy cooks: Fancy avocado & toast

My trainer has been encouraging me to eat healthier. I have a fairly healthy diet but there is room to impove, and this is one breakfast I make regularly that gets two thumbs up from him so I thought I’d share it since it is easy to make and always delicious. Avocado & toast is a popular breakfast in the US, but everyone does it a bit differently. This is avocado & toast à la BosGuy.

Ingredients required: 1 ripe avocado, fresh whole wheat bread (or whatever is your preference), 2 eggs, tomato, butter, salt and pepper. For best results, the avocado and tomato should be room temperature.

Start by adding butter to the frying pan to prevent the eggs from sticking. Butter seems to work better, but using oil is a bit of a healthier option. Fry the eggs over medium heat and toast the bread. While the toast is toasting and the eggs are fryn’, open the avocado, remove the pit and set aside. Then cut four thin slices from a ripe tomato. When the toast is ready, scoop out the avocado and with your fork and use its tines to mash so it completely covers your toast and then add the tomato. Sparingly sprinkle salt and pepper on both avocado and tomato so everything is seasoned. Then take your eggs out of the pan and place them atop the avocado and tomato (season again as you like – I add fresh dill, salt and pepper) and serve as an open-faced sandwich.

Hints / Tips: I like to wait a minute or two before eating because if the tomatos are sliced thinly the butter and warmth of the egg will slightly soften and cook the tomato. I cook eggs so they will be very runny and the yolk will mix with the avocado, tomato and crunch of the toast so napkins are a must. A strong cup of fresh brewed coffee is the perfect accompanyment.

BosGuy cooks: Fake mashed potatoes

I like mashed potatoes. They are a great comfort food, but I enjoy how much lighter my “fake” mashed potatoes made with cauliflower taste so I thought I’d share this recipe with you to get your thoughts. In full disclosure I keep playing with this recipe and am open to suggestions.

The recipe comes together in three stages and can be made in 15-20 minutes depending on your prep. It is even easier to make if you purchase already chopped or riced cauliflower. For this recipe, you will need a blender or something to help purée the vegetable as well as the following ingredients:

  • Cauliflower (1 lb)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (I used roasted garlic)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of sour cream
  • pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesean cheese
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Step 1 Prep: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and divide the cauliflower in half. Half of the cauliflower will be roasted and half will be steamed. If you buy a head of cauliflower, cut the florets into roughly even sizes (smaller is better because it will cook faster and be easier to blend).

Step 2 Cooking: Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle a few pinches of salt then place the baking tray in the oven. Riced cauliflower (shown above) will only need 5-7 minutes. When the edges start browning take it out. Larger florets will need more time so adjust accoringly.

Steam the other half in the microwave by adding a 1/4 cup of water, salt and half the butter cut into small pieces. Seal the bowl with wrap and set at high for ~3 minutes. When there is approximately one minute remaining, take out and stir the vegetable and put back into the microwave to finish.

Step 3 Blending: Let the cauliflower cool for 2-3 minutes then add to your blender along with the remaining amount of butter, Parmesean cheese and garlic. I used four roasted garlic cloves, but in the future I will use more, because I like the flavoring. Blend briefly then add the sour cream and additional seasoning and blend or fold in and mix together – taste as you go and add more sour cream and seasoning to your liking.

BosGuy cooks: Shrimp Scampi

I first shared this shrimp scampi recipe back in 2014 and make it fairly regularly. This is a favorite dinner because it is relatively easy to make, comes together quickly and is always delicious. The key to this recipe is to avoid bagged, frozen shrimp and to take care not to overcook the shrimp.

BosGuy cooks

Ingredients include:

  • 1/2 lb pound of linguine
  • 12 shrimp (thawed and deveined)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (a dry white works best)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced thinly
  • Zest of one lemon and juice from half a lemon
  • Italian parsley (chopped),
  • Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
BosGuy cooks

Step one is prep your food and peel your shrimp. The shrimp should not be frozen when you cook them. Next, boil a large pot of salted water for your pasta and add olive oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. While you wait for the water to boil, make your sauce and cook the shrimp. When the oil is hot, add the thinly sliced garlic and butter to the frying pan and stir to prevent the garlic from burning. If the pan seems too hot turn the temperature down slightly.

When you smell the garlic cooking and it turns a golden hue add your liquids: white wine and lemon juice. Wait one minute then add the shrimp, lemon zest a dash of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (optional) in that order. Cover the pan and give it a good shake. After 1-2 minutes flip the shrimp and let them cook for another minute so both sides are pink. Then turn off the stove and add the parsley. Remove the pan from the heat (keeping it covered). The shrimp will continue to cook and this will keep everything warm.

The final step is to add the cooked linguine. Toss it so the pasta is coated with the sauce and parsley. If there isn’t enough liquid add half a ladle of the pasta water. This is why it is helpful to liberally salt your pasta water. The starchy, salty water will enhance and help extend the sauce. Then just before plating, drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta. This adds more flavor and a shine that is appealing.

Cooking Tip: 
It is easier to take the shell off the shrimp before they cook, but I keep the shell on and remove the shells after I turn off the heat (but before adding the parsley and pasta). I can do this quickly but it is very hot so for that reason I suggest shelling the shrimp before they are cooked. Just be mindful that when shrimp cook without their shell, they cook quickly and can get rubbery so be mindful of your cooking time.

BosGuy cooks: Caramelized shallots

I first shared this recipe back in 2017 but thought it was worth sharing again. This is a recipe for a side dish, and it will elevate any dinner but works particularly well with chicken and steak dinners.

The recipe comes from Ina Garten and while I never seem to be able to follow recipes, this one is really easy. The total prep time is ~5 minutes and the cooking time is ~25 to 35 minutes. The recipe below is for two people so double this (or more) if you are cooking for a dinner party. I can guarantee you every last shallot will be devoured. When it is cooked, the smell is mouth watering and you can easily cut them with a fork.

BosGuy cooks

Ingredients include:

  • 1 pound of whole, peeled shallots
  • 3 tablespoon of butter
  • 1+ tablespoonsof sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)

The Cooking: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit then take a medium size pan to melt butter over medium heat on your stove. Once the butter has melted add the shallots and sugar. Roll the shallots in the butter and sugar and stir them for 5-10 minutes until they start to brown then add the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. The final step is to place the pan (uncovered) in the oven until the shallots are tender and caramelized (~20-30 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

BosGuy cooks

Cooking Tips: 
You can save yourself time if you buy shallots that have already been peeled.
This plate is best when it is served warm from the oven.

Cleaning Tip: The most difficult thing about this dish is the clean up. I suggest that after you cook the shallots and plate them, add some water to the pan with a little dish soap and leave it on low heat on your stove. Just remember to use your oven mitts when you grab the pan to clean it! Everything will come right off.

BosGuy cooks: Garlic confit

If you use garlic and olive oil regularly, then you should definitely give this a try. The process for making garlic confit is very easy and the result is a flavorful olive oil and soft garlic with a rich nutty flavor. I use this garlic in my red sauce or as part of a rub, and I use the infused olive oil for cooking.

This couldn’t be easier. Take peeled garlic cloves and cook them slowly at 200 degrees Farenheit for 3 hours in your oven. That’s it. While this does take time the only thing you need to do is take them out of the oven and cool. Your kitchen will smell heavenly and once cooled can be refrigerated for several weeks.

The Prep Work: This is largely dependent on how many garlic cloves you peel (I typically do 5-6 garlic heads at a time). Alternatively, you can avoid all the prep work by purchasing garlic cloves already peeled.

The Cooking: Add the garlic cloves in a pan and add just enough olive oil to cover the garlic. Then put in your preheated oven for 3 hours.

Cooking Tips: I like to turn the oven off and let it rest for another 30 minutes before taking it out. Remember to use your oven mitt when handling this, because the pan handle, garlic and oil is very hot.

Rest the pan on your stove top until it sufficiently cools then pour into a container and refrigerate. You can see from the image above that I also add a few sprigs of thyme in the mason jar for additional flavor.

BosGuy cooks: Spinach lasagna

Keeping with the theme of good Italian-American comfort food recipes that are great to make in the winter, this week I’m sharing a modified recipe I found on the web and made my own. I prefer to make this without meat because it is a little lighter, and I use a shortcut that would make adding meat more tedious.

There are three phases to this recipe. The first phase requires the food prep (chopping your veggies). The second phase requires making the filling and boiling the pasta (ever so briefly). And finally, the third phase involves assembly and baking. The ingredients you will need for this recipe include:

1 box of lasagna pasta
1 1/2 jar of good marinara sauce
8 oz of mushrooms (I use baby bella)
1 sweet onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2 bags of prewashed baby spinach
16 oz of Ricotta cheese
4 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz of grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg
Salt
Pepper
Italian parsley
Italian seasoning
Oregano

Phase 1: The Prep

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, lightly oil your baking pan and start to boil your water in a large pot for the lasagna. Roughly chop the mushrooms and parsley and mince the garlic and onion then set aside.

Phase 2: Making The Filling

Add olive oil to a pan on medium high heat and sauté the onions. As they start to soften turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and mushrooms. After they cook, remove and place in the refrigerator to cool. In the same pan, add a drop or two of olive oil, your spinach and a pinch or two of salt. Stir to prevent from sticking to the pan – this should wilt in 1-2 minutes – and take out to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the Ricotta cheese, half your grated Parmesean cheese, egg, sautéed veggies and spinach. The vegetables don’t need to be cold but you don’t want them to melt the cheese. Blend or mix these ingredients so they evenly combine. Then add a cup of roughly chopped parsley and a healthy amount of black pepper and dried seasonings (don’t be shy with this) and stir until combined then set aside for assembly.

Once the water is boiling and you’ve finished your mixture (see above) add your lasagna. My mother doesn’t bother with this step, but I boil the lasagna for about 5 minutes so it is easier to manage. If you don’t briefly cook the pasta it is more difficult to manipulate and trim to fit into your baking dish.

Phase 3: The Assembly & Bake

Drizzle a little oliver oil on the bottom of your baking pan and use a paper towel to spread evenly along the bottom and sides. Then place one layer of lasagna so it completely covers the bottom of the baking pan. This is where having a pliable pasta you can trim makes assembly so much easier.

Then take approximately 1/3 of the cheese fillling and spread it on top of the lasagna noodles. I use a good jarred marinara sauce and pour it over the cheese mixture, using my spatula to spread so it completely covers the cheese filling. Then add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Repeat this process two more times so you have three layers of pasta, cheese sauce, red sauce and mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the lasagna.

Cover the baking pan with foil to your preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. If you want extra red sauce with your lasagna, now is the time to make a quick sauce to serve on the side. I use the same jarred sauce and heat it up with some diced onions and parsley.