Tag Archives: Italian food

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

I took it as an omen that I should try to make a pasta dish with feta cheese and tomatoes when I saw two different clips on YouTube about baked feta and tomatoes in a sauce. My version of the recipe includes spicy sausage. What can I say. My family enjoys meat. Of course this recipe can be made meatless for the enjoyment of my vegetarian friends. Either way my Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes came out a winner.

Until hubby came into my life I was never big on feta cheese. It was not a cheese I would automatically pick up at the grocery store having grown up using cheddar, Swiss, Gueryre and mozzarella cheeses. Feta just looked really bland to me so it was easy to bypass for other cheeses. I cannot say I didn’t like the taste of feta cheese because it sometimes was a topping for salads when we dined out. However, with all of the other flavors in the salad my palate must not have been sophisticated enough to distinguish its tangy taste way back when. Hubby introduced me to the delicious flavor of feta while eating at various Italian restaurants while we were dating. Now, I incorporate feta into a variety of recipes to add a level of tang and creaminess to the dish.

I think this Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes dish is quite tasty and oh so simple to make. The hardest part of prepping the recipe is browning the sausage and cooking the pasta. The feta cheese and cherry tomatoes bake together in a casserole dish with a few herbs. Once baked the tomatoes and feta are turned into a delicious creamy sauce which is tossed with the sausage and pasta. Talk about quick and easy. I can make this dish within an hour and have it on the table for my hungry crew to gobble down.

If you have pasta lovers in your house, try this recipe. They will love it!

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 spicy fresh sausages with casing removed

2 pints of cherry tomatoes

1 block of Feta cheese

1 box pasta. [Prepare according to cooking instructions]

1 bag baby leaf spinach

¼ cup olive oil + 1 tbsp

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

1 tsp Sea Salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cherry tomatoes in a casserole dish and drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Toss until coated with olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the casserole dish and add the block of feta cheese. Place sprigs of thyme and rosemary around the tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until cheese is slightly golden brown and the tomatoes are roasted.

While the feta cheese and tomatoes are baking prepare pasta according to the package. Brown the sausage and drain on a paper towel then add to a bowl along with the spinach. Toss the two together and the heat from the sausage will wilt the spinach.

Once the feta cheese and tomatoes are finished baking remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Mash the cheese and tomatoes with a fork then mix the two together. Add sausage and pasta to the casserole dish then gently toss everything together until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Top with a little mozzarella cheese and stick in the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with a nice salad.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

I am dedicating this post to my hubby and mother-in-law (may she rest in peace).

Hubby and I were discussing our childhoods the other day and reminiscing about the comfort foods our mothers would make. One of the comfort foods my hubby mentioned was the baked spaghetti his mom would prepare for the family. Mom B. had a special frying pan with rings in the bottom that she would use to bake the spaghetti in. I kind of remembered a similar pan from my childhood my mom would use but I don’t think she used it for baking.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti was pulled together based on how Mom B. would make her baked spaghetti. As always, I added my own twist to the recipe but hubby said my version did remind him of his mom. What a great compliment. I was happy that we could share a moment from his childhood and feel the same warmth and comfort his mom’s cooking would bring to the family.

Fast forward to today and now I have a recipe I can share with my kids and grand kids that makes them feel the comfort we felt from old family recipes. Pasta is usually a hit with my family. Add spice to the mix and a crispy cheesy topping and it’s a home run.

Thanks Mom B. for leaving hubby with a wonderful memory and giving me a delicious recipe.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients:

1 box vermicelli pasta (prepare per package instructions and save ½ cup pasta water) al dente and drained

1 pkg hot sausage links (casing removed)

1 pkg Italian sausage links (casing removed)

1 large jar spaghetti sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the sausages in medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Remove most of the grease from the skillet then add the spaghetti sauce, ketchup and seasonings (except for the red pepper flakes). Stir to mix then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.

After preparing pasta drain it and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta back in the pot and add the spaghetti sauce. Mix well and add a little pasta water if the spaghetti seems dry. Spray a large cast iron skillet with cooking spray and drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the pan.

Place have of the spaghetti in the skillet then top with ½ of the shredded mozzarella and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining spaghetti and sprinkle with the remaining cheese along with the red pepper flakes. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the top is slightly crispy and golden browned.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hot Italian Sandwich

IMG_3515_1

A good sandwich always starts with delicious bread. Some of the best bread comes from the bakery at your local grocer. I often find myself searching for different types of rolls for sandwiches when I want to make a tasty but quick family meal.

IMG_3520_1

The other day I found two different flat rolls that inspired me to try a new sandwich. An Italian roll and a jalapeno roll. The Italian roll was sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and oregano while the jalapeno roll was sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese with slices of jalapeno peppers baked into the top of the bread. Both rolls smelled heavenly at the bakery and were so inviting that I had no choice but to put a couple of each in my basket. The Italian roll inspired me to create a Hot Italian Sandwich which turned out to me a winner in the family. I have made this sandwich a few times since my first try and it continues to be something the family enjoys. The sandwich is packed with soppressata, capicola ham and pepperoni sliced from the deli.

IMG_3529_1

Sandwiches are my go to meal whenever we are having a later than usual dinner because my son has a sporting event, school event or I have a bunch of errands after work. By the time we get home I don’t feel like preparing a complicated meal but I still want a balanced dinner. I really just want to get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes so that we all still have time to relax before going to bed to prepare for another busy day.

IMG_3546_1

IMG_3542_1

Hot Italian Sandwich

Ingredients:
2 – 3 flat bread rolls (jalapeno, Parmesan or regular) sliced in half
6 – 9 slices deli pepperoni
6 – 9 slices deli soppressata
6 – 9 slices deli capicola
1 large tomato sliced thin
4 – 6 slices provolone cheese
4 – 6 slices pepper jack cheese
2 tbsp pesto
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp oregano
1 tbsp Italian dressing
1 cup of shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix Italian dressing with lettuce and set aside.

Spread pesto on bottom half of each roll. Place two slices of pepper jack cheese on the bottom half of each roll. Place on a cookie sheet.

On a separate cookie sheet pile 2 slices of capicola, 2 slices soppressata, 3 slices tomatoes sprinkled with oregano and red pepper flakes. Top tomatoes with pepperoni then 2 slices provolone cheese.

Place meats and bread in the oven until cheese melts approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from oven and top bottom half of each roll with meat and lettuce. Place other half of roll on top of the lettuce and cut in half. Serve with chips or a cup of soup.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin