Eggplant Rollatini With Kale

Roasted eggplant filled with cheese… what else do you even need in life! This recipe is so easy to make and absolutely delicious. It was the first time I made it and I will definitely be making it again! Totally worth turning my oven on in the hot weather yesterday…

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, cut into ¼ inch slices (the long way)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped kale
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
Good pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups tomato sauce (I used tomato basil)
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sliced eggplant on a baking sheet (you may need two) and brush both sides with olive oil. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the eggplant is roasting/cooling make the filling. Saute the garlic, onion, kale, and red pepper flakes in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Add the kale mixture and stir together.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, add a good dollop of the ricotta mixture to one end, and gently roll up each eggplant piece. Pour enough tomato sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish to cover it, then add the rolled eggplants, fitting them closely together. Top with more tomato sauce and additional mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Try to not let the foil touch the cheese though otherwise when you remove the foil, it’ll take the cheese with it (as I unfortunately learned.) Remove foil and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is slightly golden.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy with maybe a side salad and/or crunchy bread!

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Kale Leek & Butternut Squash Pot Pie

I had a lot of leftover vegetables this week and thought it would be a good idea to use them up in a fall pot pie! It was perfect little meal to make on a Sunday afternoon. If only they made buttery pie crust blankets I could wrap myself in… then Sunday’s would EVEN BETTER. Dare to dream people.

Pie Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for surface)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 egg (for egg wash)

Filling:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed small
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste

Start by making the dough. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and pepper. Add the cold butter and pulse until the texture resembles small peas. Add bits of the water at a time and pulse until the dough is able to hold together when pinched. Make sure not to over mix it though! Pour it out onto a flat surface and form the dough into a disk shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

When the dough is almost ready, you can start to make your filling. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the squash and carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for about 25 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and set aside. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent. Next add the leeks, kale, and mushrooms, and cook until softened. Lastly, add in the sage along with the roasted squash and carrots.

In a separate saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle in the 1/4 cup flour. Whisk well for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup chicken broth at a time until smooth. In a little bowl, mix together the corn starch with a splash of water, then add that to the broth. Stir for about 5 minutes until thickened. Pour the mixture into the pot with the vegetables, and toss in the white pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and salt to taste. Let cool slightly.

While that cools, roll out your dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Pour the filling into your pie dish, and top with the dough. Trim edges as needed, and slit a few holes in the top so it can vent while cooking. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If the edges begin to burn or cook too fast, simply cover the edges with some aluminum foil for the remaining time… OR you can get one of these lovely pie crust shields that I use!

Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before digging in. I randomly added a small dollop of sour cream to mine which was delicious!

Leek & Arugula Risotto With Pancetta


I’ve never made risotto before, mainly because I thought it always sounded so time consuming to make. But I am happy to report that it doesn’t take that long and is totally worth the end result. The pancetta with the runny egg reminded me a little carbonara, which I love. I think my favorite thing about this recipe was that I tossed in some lemon juice and zest which ended up giving it really nice flavor.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 large garlic clove
1 cup sliced leeks
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup chopped arugula
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs

Start by bringing the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep on low.

In a heavy saucepan, cook the pancetta in a little olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Next, saute the garlic and leeks in the leftover pancetta drippings until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the the water, lemon juice and zest, and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add in 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, then repeat until all broth is used. You want to be stirring constantly. The rice will be soft but will still have a little firmness to it when finished. Toss in the pancetta and arugula.

To poach the eggs, boil some water in a medium sized pot. Add about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (helps make them fluffy) and swirl the water with a spoon to get a little whirlpool going before pouring the eggs in one at a time. Cook for about :30-:45 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon. I usually lift them slightly out of the pot and gently poke the centers until it feels a little firm but runny in the center.

Plate the risotto and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and your poached egg!

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Homemade Sweet Potato Ravioli With Watercress Pesto

Making your own pasta isn’t as hard as it sounds! I’d like to experiment more with different flours and techniques when I have some extra time, but these quick raviolis were a nice start. The sweet potato with the peppery watercress were nice together. I’m looking forward to my leftovers tonight!

Pasta Dough:
1 1/5 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice cold water (as needed)
1 egg, beaten

Filling:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 whole garlic cloves
1/2 small white onion, chopped into chunks

Pesto:
1/2 cup pecans (I used what nuts I happen to have, but pine nuts or walnuts work too!)
1 cup watercress
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 the juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the dough. On a clean surface, mix together the flour and salt, then make a little well in the center. Add the eggs and olive oil to the center and whisk with a fork. Start scooping bits of the surrounding flour into the whisked eggs. Once all the flour is mixed in, start shaping it with your hands, adding small amounts of cold water as needed. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes. After a while you’ll notice that it pretty firm and no longer sticky. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

**Alternatively, you can place all the dough ingredients into a food processor! If the dough seems dry at all, add a little cold water until you achieve the right texture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the sweet potato, garlic, and onion with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender. Place in a food processor with a splash of olive oil and blend until smooth. Cover and set aside.

For the pesto, place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta dough is ready, cut it into quarters. One chunk at a time (while the others stay covered as to not dry out) pass each portion through the pasta machine until 1/16 inch thick. Dust with flour and continue with the other pieces. Next, brush two pieces of your rolled dough with the egg wash. Scoop teaspoons of the sweet potato mixture onto one side of the dough, keeping each dollop about 1 inch apart. Top with the second piece of dough, and use your fingers to press down around each mold of filling. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut between each piece to make the individual raviolis. Dust with a little flour and set aside.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling, and add about 10 raviolis at a time. I like to add a tiny bit of olive oil to my water to prevent the pasta from sticking together while cooking. Plate and top with pesto, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh Parmesan cheese!

Roasted Corn & Poblano Chowder

There’s been so much sweet corn at the farmers markets the past few weeks, and it’s been making me want corn chowder. So I finally made some! I didn’t want it to be super creamy and heavy, so I only used a bit of cream and kept it thinner. Overall it was a chowder success!

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob, reserve cobs
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups reserved corn water (see in recipe)
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 cup half & half (or cream)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the corn and poblano peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until the corn is slightly browned. In the meantime, get a pot of water boiling and add the potatoes and reserved cobs. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, but careful not to overcook or they won’t hold up later when added to the soup in the end. Strain the potatoes and toss the cobs. Set the water aside for later use. Next, saute the garlic and onion and some olive oil for about 2-3 minutes, then add the leeks and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Lastly, toss in the roasted corn and peppers, followed by the thyme, chicken broth, 2 cups of the reserved water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat down low add the cream, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes more then serve!

Sausage & Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash


There is a restaurant in NYC (Zero Otto Nove) who have this amazing appetizer that I could eat mounds of. It’s very simple – butternut squash, sweet sausage, and Gorgonzola cheese. When I got a big acorn squash in my CSA bag this week, I though I would try to recreate something similar. I roasted the squash and mixed half of it into the sausage mixture, then stuffed put it back into the squash shell and roasted it for a bit. It was delicious and totally reminiscent of my favorite little dish!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 small acorn squash, cut in half & seeds removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the acorn halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside to cool slightly. Next, in a large pan saute the garlic and onion in some olive oil until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Lastly, toss in the kale and cook until wilted. Remove half of the squash filling and add it into the sausage mixture. Combine well, then add the butter and Gorgonzola cheese. Fill both squash halves with the mixture and place back in the oven for about 10 minutes. You can also broil for a few minutes to crisp the top a little. Serve with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Okra & Tomato Pizza + Beet Sausage & Onion Pizza

Last night I gathered all my items from this weeks CSA bag and headed to my friends house. We decided to make a few pizzas to have with our bottle bottles of wine. The first pizza had more of a southern style, with okra, shallots, and fresh heirloom tomatoes. The other pizza was made with these AMAZING beet and pork sausages that Meghan got from The Meat Hook. The sausage was so good we decided to just add some onions and cheese and let it shine on its own. Both came out amazing! To save us time, I bought the dough from a local pizza shop in the neighborhood for a few bucks. Thanks Meghan and Daniel for having me over for the 700th time this year!

Ingredients:

Okra Pizza:
1 small pizza dough
Tomato sauce
6 large okra, chopped 1/4 inch thick
2-3 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese, for serving

Sausage Pizza:
1 large beet sausage (available here)
8 oz fresh ricotta
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
4-5 small fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat the over to 425 degrees.

Start by rolling out the dough on a floured surface. I used one large ball of dough and split it in half, as I like my crust on the thinner side. Place on two lightly floured baking sheets and set aside.

To make the okra pizza, simply cover the bottom with about 1/4 cup tomato sauce, then layer with sliced mozzarella, fresh tomato, okra, garlic and shallots.

For the sausage pizza, start by cooking the onion and garlic together in a large pan until the onion is a bit translucent, then crumble in the sausage and cook thoroughly. Set mixture aside and cook the potatoes in the same pan until slightly golden on each side. Spread a good amount of ricotta cheese on the dough, followed by some fresh mozzarella. Top with the sausage mixture and sliced potatoes.

Cook both pizzas for about 15-20 minutes or until the dough begins to crisp and the top is bubbling (and your mouth is watering.) If you used a larger ball of dough for each, you may need to cook a few minutes longer. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper, then slice and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese on the side. Bon appétit!

Rhode Island Stuffed Quahogs

My mom’s stuffed quahogs (aka “stuffies”) are one of my favorite things EVER. She’s been making them forever, and I finally got the recipe! Stuffies are a big thing in Rhode Island where we’re from. They’re large clam shells stuffed with a mixture of chopped clams, spicy sausage (we use Portuguese chourico) and bread stuffing, then roasted in the oven. They’re perfect if you’re having a BBQ and want an appetizer to pass around. You can also wash and save the shells to re-use them for next time, this way if you can’t find big quahogs you can buy smaller ones and stuff the larger shells.

Ingredients:
10 quahogs, scrubbed, steamed, and chopped
2 bell peppers (we used smaller mixed ones for color) minced
1/2 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine (a blush wine would work too)
1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs, chopped (such as parsley basil or chives)
2 large links Portuguese chourico, minced
1 Italian bread loaf (day old bread, not soft), broken down to crumbs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon paprika
Black pepper, to taste
Adobo seasoning, to taste (I use the Goya brand)

Start by steaming the clams until they fully open. Let cool, then chop the clams. Don’t chop them too small though, you want people to taste the clams in there! Next, sauté the onion, garlic, and peppers until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chourico and chopped clams and cook for another 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add handfuls of the breadcrumbs until the the consistency is right. You want it to be like the texture of thanksgiving stuffing. You may need to add splashes of clam juice to get the right consistency. Next, add the fresh herbs, paprika, cheese, red pepper flakes, adobo seasoning, and pepper. Mix well. Fill the clam shells with the stuffing, and place each of them in a little foil pouch with a tiny piece of butter on top. Wrap tightly and cook in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and unwrap from the foil. Serve hot. Enjoy!!

Shepherd’s Pie With Garlic Spinach Mashed Potatoes

My cutie grandma has had these certain bowls for as long as I can remember, and knowing how much I love them, she bought me a few when she recently came across some at a store. I was having a friend over for dinner this week, so I made us little personal shepherd’s pies using my new bowls! They’re great because they’re oven proof, so you don’t have to worry about the glass breaking in the oven. The shepherd’s pie was really great! I added a bunch of veggies from my CSA and also mashed some garlic and spinach into the potatoes to make it a little different as well. It’s such a comforting thing to eat in the winter. Thank you “Bumma” for my special bowls!

Ingredients:
5 garlic cloves, minced (use 2 of cloves for the potatoes)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
4 sun chokes, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, chopped
1/4 dried thyme
1/4 cup vegetable stock
4 potatoes, cubed small
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk (or more as needed)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Add some olive oil to a large pot and cook the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the beef and cook through. Next add the carrots, sun chokes, leeks, beef stock, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender. Mix every few minutes and add additional splashed of beef stock as needed if it starts to dry out at all. While that cooks, boil the potatoes until fork tender. At the last minute toss in the spinach with the potatoes just to quickly cook it. Drain and add the butter, milk, and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish or oven safe bowls, put a good layer of the beef mixture on the bottom and top with the mashed potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes in the oven then top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes before digging in!

Kale & Butternut Squash Pizza With Ricotta

Pizza is one of my favorite things to make- the toppings are endless! And there’s something special about pulling a homemade pizza out of the oven. For me, it’s important to get the crust nice and thin, otherwise you feel like you’re eating a loaf of bread with stuff on top of it. Sometimes when I am feeling ambitious I will make my own pizza dough, but on a weeknight after work I tend to just grab a ball of dough from the grocery store, or better yet, I buy some at my local pizza place for a few bucks. Once you make your own pizza you’ll never go back to the boring stuff!

Ingredients:
1 small bunch kale, roughly chopped
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed small
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloved, minced
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (plus more for topping)
Parmesan cheese, for topping
4-5 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pizza dough, enough for (1) pizza
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Next, add some olive oil to a pan and saute the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough. Place on a floured baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Spread the ricotta cheese all over the pizza, then add the kale mixture and the butternut squash. Top with some more ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes or until crust is golden. In the meantime mix together the honey and paprika. Let cool for a few minutes then drizzle the spiced honey over the top of the pizza. Alternatively, you can leave on the honey on table for guests to drizzle themselves!