Summer Garden Pasta

One of my favorite pasta combinations!

Summer Garden Pasta

4 pints colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
2 cups grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl combine the halved colorful cherry tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours but no longer.

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add large pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil to the water and stir.

Cook angel hair pasta about 3 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta in with the tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese. Toss together. Sprinkle additional chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese on top if desired.

Serve hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

CHEW THIS! Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

baked-spaghetti.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 7th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Baked Spaghetti is an Italian Classic
Blaise Doubman

If I had to pick my favorite food nationality it would have to be Italian. Although Chinese would have to play an important second role, as well as traditional American food. I love anything and everything Italian, from Ziti to Stuffed Shells and every single one of their desserts. Has anyone tried their lady finger and espresso soaked dessert known as “tiramisu”? Heavenly! Every time there is a celebration around here, and I just do not feel like cooking, which is rare, but it happens, I always pick a nice Italian restaurant. There is something in me that thinks I perhaps have some Italian roots, or maybe even an Italian background somewhere years and years in my background. Maybe I will try one of the ancestry websites and poke around some. Although, I am not really keen on the popular ancestry website where you send in a sample of your blood! I do not want my blood going to some big company that may get hacked or something later. And how is it not guaranteed that my blood will not be used years down the road for cloning purposes! Ha! Can you imagine two of me? My family and friends would not know what to do!

But in all honesty, Italian food makes me think of warmth and comfort, celebrations and togetherness. It may also have to do with the fact that my Grandpa Max and Grandma Deloris ate out quite a bit at Italian places when I was growing up, and I would tag along with them. Recently, when I found out that my cookbook was going to start being sold over at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centerville, Indiana, I immediately wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. I had been working on a baked spaghetti recipe for awhile and decided to perfect it and serve it in celebration. I tinkered around for a while and came up with a recipe that is simple, easy, classic and flavorful! Next time you are thinking about what to make for a celebratory meal, I hope your mind drifts to this recipe and you try it with your family and friends! Feel free to experiment with your favorites types of cheeses and herbs.

Baked Spaghetti with Mozzarella and Parmesan

This dish can be made ahead, wrapped with aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to two days. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two days. Feel free to substitute different types of cheese for the Mozzarella and Parmesan, such as Ricotta. This is perfect served with a side salad and garlic bread.

16 oz spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasonings
28 oz crushed tomatoes
½ cup basil, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until al dente, drain and set aside. Be sure to boil the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water. Also add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water. I do this sometimes to prevent the spaghetti from sticking together once the pasta is cooled.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil for about one minute. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until you can smell the warmth, which will take about 2 more minutes. Add the ground beef and season to your liking with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Cook the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain the mixture and then return to the skillet, still over medium heat. Add in the crushed tomatoes, chopped basil and chopped parsley until thickened and reduced, which will take about 12 minutes in total. You can taste the mixture at this point and add more seasonings if desired.

Toss this with the cooked spaghetti and pour into prepared baking dish.

Top the dish evenly with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and serve hot.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about my favorite type of “quick biscuits”. I would have to say my favorite recipe would be on page 83 in my cookbook and calls for only 2 simple ingredients. Self-rising flour and heavy cream. You take the 2 ingredients, roll out and cut, place in preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 14 minutes. People will not believe that the biscuits are only 2 simple ingredients and you will have a new secret recipe!

Pasta Fagioli

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” November 10th, 2017

We are entering cold weather season here in Indiana and nothing to me says “welcome cold weather” like a big bowl of warm and comforting soup! Pasta Fagioli – which basically means “pasta and beans” – is quickly becoming one of my favorite soups! It is hearty, warm, cooks up in no time and is only 4 ingredients! FOUR! Can you believe that? Print this out, save it, bookmark it, whatever you want to do – just keep this recipe and make it this weekend!

img_0240.jpg

Pasta Fagioli

1 jar “Ragu Chunky” pasta sauce with tomato, basil and garlic
2 cans (19 oz each) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed but not drained
16 oz ditalini pasta, cooked and drained
4 cups reserved pasta water
4 cups water

To prepare the spinach: microwave the frozen spinach in a microwave safe container for four minutes. Using a fork, cut up and separate. Do not drain the spinach.

To prepare the pasta: cook in a large amount of salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil added. Cook according to package directions.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, combine the pasta sauce, prepared kidney beans, prepared chopped spinach, pasta and reserved pasta water. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.

Add in four cups of water and simmer, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Enjoy!

Rigatoni Pie

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” March 22nd, 2017

I first discovered this recipe on “The Food Network” Facebook page and I knew immediately I wanted to try it. I was not sure I would have the patience though to individually place all the rigatoni pastas into the cake pan – but you know what? It was really easy. Might have taken 4 minutes total! Super easy and the end result is really impressive!

This is the perfect recipe for entertaining and the perfect recipe to make with your kids! You can use meat in this recipe – hamburger, sausage, lamb – just make sure it’s precooked and that you add it after the tomato sauce but before the shredded cheese. Fabulous and delicious!

img_4062-1.jpg

Rigatoni Pie

1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 large jar pasta sauce, plus seasonings
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Start by spraying an 8-inch springform cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the bottom with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan heat the pasta sauce and add in whatever seasonings you desire. I added minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and a pinch of sugar to mine. Let come to slight boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Arrange rigatoni pasta in springform pan. The easiest way to do this is turn rhe pan sideways – arrange the pasta building it “up” – sideways – until you reach the top of the pan. Not all of the pasta will fit. That is ok!

Carefully pour the pasta sauce over the rigatoni and level out with a spoon. You may not use all the sauce. Be sure the sauce covers a majority of the top.

If you want to use meat – layer on top now.

Evenly sprinkle with both cheeses.

Place pie on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Place aluminum foil on top of the pie, tenting it slightly. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove from the oven and remove aluminum foil. Place back into the oven for 30 more minutes to brown and melt the cheese.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Gently undo the springform pan from the pie.

Cut the pie into pieces and serve.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Mustard Potato Salad and Fresh Pasta Salad

Mustard Potato Salad and Fresh Pasta Salad

salads-blaise-doubman-chew-this.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, July 19th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Summer salads, perfect for picnics and reunions…
Blaise Doubman

One of the most popular recipes on my website is for a “Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad”. It’s the perfect combination of broccoli, cauliflower, mayonnaise, cheese and sweetness. Every time I make it, people go crazy! The recipe also has special meaning to me, because it’s one of the first recipes I developed for my upcoming cookbook. I remember every detail about that salad. I wanted something crunchy, flavorful and a perfect “picnic food” that would travel well. It took a few attempts, but the final result was perfection.

Since the recipe is so popular, it really got me thinking about other cold salads that would also make perfect “picnic food”. I’ve always loved potato salad and pasta salad, but I always thought the store bought kind lacked flavor and punch. I decided to try my hand at making both, so I could share them here with you. The results? Fabulous! I will never buy store bought salads again… and neither will you after making these!

Mustard Potato Salad and Fresh Pasta Salad

These salads can both be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Both can be served cold, or at room temperature. Leftovers can be chilled for up to three days.

For the Mustard Potato Salad…

10 medium potatoes cooked barely tender and diced
1 ¾ cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced white onion
7 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
Paprika, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, white granulated sugar, salt, black pepper and garlic powder until thoroughly combined.

Pour this mixture over the cooked and diced potatoes in another large bowl and stir together carefully. Next, add the diced celery, diced white onion, and diced hard-boiled eggs. Fold gently until everything is combined evenly. Chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Just before serving, sprinkle on paprika.

For the Fresh Pasta Salad…

1 ¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ pound Rotini pasta (corkscrew shaped), cooked and drained
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced green pepper (about ½ the pepper)
¼ cup diced red pepper (about ½ the pepper)
½ cup diced green onion

Start by whisking the mayonnaise, white vinegar, yellow mustard, white granulated sugar, salt and black pepper together until thoroughly combined.

Next, add in the cooked and drained Rotini pasta, diced celery, diced green pepper, diced red pepper and diced green onion. Stir together until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve.