Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shells Baked with Tomato, Cream, Corn and Five Cheeses

There is a great restaurant not to far from us in Providence, RI named Al Forno , they are known for their baked pasta's and not taking reservations..... You have to get there early or be prepared to have a drink or two at the bar. But let me tell you it is worth it, not only are the pasta's amazing they make seasonal tarts that are to die for.  So whats the next best thing to eating there, having their cookbook so you can make some of their yummy dishes from the comfort of your own kitchen. Well I didn't have the cookbook, but my mother did so the last time I visited my mom's house I stole I mean borrowed the cookbook, On Top of Spaghetti and boy am I glad I did!! Oh the recipes, I could make one everyday and be one happy camper!! They always use the freshest ingredients and the recipes are so simple and easy.

I have two favorite pastas dishes there, Baked Pasta with Pumpkin and the Baked Shells with Five cheeses which they didn't have in the cookbook, but they had something better!! A slightly different version of the dish this one with tomato and corn. There is nothing more comforting then a baked pasta dish and this one does not disappoint! Disclaimer: it is very rich and creamy which for me equals YUMMY!!! Hope you enjoy our version as much as we did.

Shells Baked with Tomato, Cream, Corn  and Five Cheeses

Items needed:

Baking dish
Big bowl

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

  • 2 C Light cream*
  • 1 cup pureed tomato*
  • 1/4 c Percorino Romano, grated
  • 3/4 C Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 4 tbsp Gorgonzola crumbled
  • 2 small balls fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 - 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh cooked corn kernels
  • 1 lb shell pasta
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

  • Bring a large pot to a boil
  • In large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the pasta and the butter,stirring well to combine
  • Salt water generously and drop the pasta , parboil the pasta for 5 minutes, stirring often. Drain pasta ( it will be to hard to eat; it will cook further in the oven) 
  • Add the pasta to the large cheese mixture, and toss to combine, divide into 6 to 8 small gratin dishes or one medium size baking dish.
  • Dot with butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top about 10 minutes. You can test a shell for doneness just be careful it's very hot!!!

*********** The original recipe called for heavy cream... I wanted to cut some fat so I used the light cream we thought it came out fine, but if you prefer heavy it is the same measurement.
*********** The original recipe called for 1 c canned chopped tomato, I am not a big fan of chunky tomatoes but I love all products of the tomato IE: tomato sauce, ketchup, pureed tomatoes..you get the picture...so I subbed in pureed tomatoes for the chopped and loved it!!!

Eat and Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stuffed Pork Chops with Cream Sauce

I must start this post with a disclaimer that I did not get to finish cooking this recipe as I burnt my hand... only about the 5th time I have done this. Anyway..... For years my girlfriends and I would get together every Tuesday night at my friend Erica's house for dinner or as we called it "Dinner Night". We would get a few bottles of wine and eat drink and be merry, until our lives got too hectic now we are lucky to get the group together every month or so. Boy do I miss those days. Erica and who ever was out of work early enough that night would cook up some fabulous meals. This was one of those meals, so when I got married I threw it into the rotation and my hubby loves them!!

Stuffed Pork Chops 

Items Needed:
Oven proof Skillet 

Preheat oven 350 degrees

  • 3 Boneless Pork Chops, 1 inch thick
  • Smoked Gruyere Cheese, sliced
  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 c Light Cream
  • Chicken Broth
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil

  •  Make a slice horizontally in the non fat side of the chop
  • Lay one piece of cheese and some bacon then another piece of cheese inside the chop, I do not toothpick it closed it usually stays closed enough for me.
  • Heat olive oil over medium to high heat, sear each chop on both sides 4-6 minutes total then place skillet ( make sure it is oven proof ) Cook in oven for no more than 20 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the chops check after 15 and go from there. 
  • Remove from oven and remove chops to a plate to rest covered with foil. 
  • Now this is where it gets tricky folks.. THE PAN WILL BE SCORCHING HOT!! Be careful!! I usually put a rubber oven mitt over the handle but in this case I forgot and burnt my hand. So return pan to stove top with oven mitt in place, and deglaze the pan with the cream making sure to get all those yummy bits off the bottom and bring to a boil slowly add the broth as much as needed to be the consistency that you want. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

    Sorry no pictures of the finished product due to the fried hand.......

    Eat and Enjoy!!! 

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

    Spring has finally sprung, and the grill is out for good now. Oh wait did I say spring.. more like summer with it hitting 87 degrees the other day, which is warm for New England in April. I love this time of year because it means less time in the kitchen cooking and more time outdoors!! There are so many yummy things to do on the grill it can be hard to decide. Since my hubby has been painstakingly working on our house, we are in the process of repainting the outside... No small task that's for sure.  I let him decide, so we went for hubby's favorite Teriyaki Chicken and Steak, paired with some grilled potatoes. Now I could tell you that I have this great recipe for Teriyaki sauce but I don't. I usually use Soy Vey Teryaki products but today I decided to stop in the center of town at a local family market Auclair's and pick up some of there famous marinated meats. So there you have it my secret is out. Ok so two things before I sing off.. 1) There is no recipe here since the chicken was already marinated sorry... 2) No pictures of the steak....we ate it too fast!! Yum!

    • 2 Packages Teryaki Marinated chicken 
    That it folks!! Nice and easy for a quick grilled dinner  !!

    Eat and Enjoy!! 


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