The presentation combined with the delcious-ness makes it an instant crowd pleaser. So, I like to make it for get-togethers, and people seem to be so impressed by the simple braided crust and then are impressed by how yummy it is. I’ve tried experimenting with different seasonings and cheeses or making it without ground beef. I’ve found it is pretty much impossible to mess this recipe up, unless you burn it, drop it on the floor and the dog gets to it first.
This is just a fun and delicious way to make left over spaghetti special. Many times though, I make spaghetti specifically for this recipe.
Roll out dough, put spaghetti and cheese in the center. Cut slits in the dough and add a little pesto if you have it. Start folding
Keep going. Almost done! Easy as pie!
Add some Italian seasoning & sprinkle on some Parmesan….
1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 rolls of frozen bread dough
2 cups left over spaghetti (spaghetti noodles covered in meat sauce)
6 oz shredded cheese (mozzarella and/or asaigo and/or romano)
1 tbsp Italian spices (basil/oregano/thyme)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pesto (optional)
Extra sauce for dipping
Let frozen dough defrost in refrigerator overnight, on counter for 2 hours, or if pressed for time, microwave on low until workable.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Roll out dough on floured surface to the size of your cookie sheet or about 12x16 inches
Transfer dough to buttered cookie sheet
Add left over spaghetti in a heaping strip along center of dough, leaving about 3-4 inches on both sides. Add shredded cheese on top.
Cut about 20 slits in each side toward center, stopping ½ inch before reaching spaghetti. Make sure number of slits on each side are equal.
Add a smear of pesto on each strip (optional).
Start on one end and stretch strip over to the other side, at about a 45 degree angle.
Then bring strip on other side back over crossing the first strip at about a 45 degree angle. Keep alternating strip in criss-cross pattern until finished. Fold end up towards center if necessary.
Sprinkle with Italian seasoning then parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
Serve with extra sauce for dipping if desired.
Rhodes bread dough is found in the frozen section. Alternatively use about 12 frozen rolls of dough to substitute for 1 loaf Use two Rhodes bread dough loaves and add more spaghetti/meat sauce to serve 6. Add 10-15 minutes cooking time.
Gnocchi Verde translation: green dumplings. These Italian dumplings are made green by copious amounts of spinach and made delicious by cheeses and spices.
Italian food has always been my favorite. I went over to Italy one summer a little shy of a decade ago for a short exchange program to learn about art and culture, but my favorite part ended up being the food, of course. That is where I first tasted creamy gelato (everyday), fluffy pillows of traditional gnocchi, and truffle pizza. Between the rich sauces, pasta, olive oil, and cheeses, they got it right!
So when my dear friend Carla-Bean gave me a adorable little Italian cook book published in the 1960’s soon after my return from Italy, I was thrilled. I have been meaning to make this Gnocchi Verde recipe from this cook book, ‘Recipes: The Cooking of Italy,’ for the longest time, and now I am wondering why I didn’t do it sooner?! Making these little spinach dumplings was a fun little adventure. I made a few changes, and they turned out ridiculously delicious. Mhhhmmm.
You just cook down some spinach, mix in cheese, spices, flour, and egg, then let the mix chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Then, pop small scoops in boiling in water for a few minutes. Then put the drained dumplings in a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheese and broil long enough for the cheese to start to brown. I served the gnocchi verde over some pasta with Italian-spice enriched spaghetti sauce and sauteed portabello mushrooms. I also served wine with the dish, because it would not be fully Italian with out some sweet wine. My husband said he felt like he had gone to a fancy Italian restaurant. Score!
Melt half of the butter (2 tbsp) in pan over medium heat.
Add chopped fresh spinach then saute until almost all of the moisture has evaporated and the spinach begins to stick to the pan.
Add ricotta cheese and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Transfer cooked spinach and ricotta cheese to a bowl and mix in flour, egg whites, nutmeg, garlic, pepper, and half of Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp).
Let mixture chill in fridge for about an hour, if the mixture is not fairly firm, mix in 1-2 more tbsp flour.
Boil water and drop in rounded spoonfuls, about 1 heaping tablespoon. Do not overcrowd the pot so you will have to do a couple batches. Expect some loose spinach to come free of the dumplings in the boiling water, but the main dumplings will be intact. Let them boil 5 minutes then remove with slotted spoon and place on plates with paper towels.
Turn oven on to broil and pour 1 tbsp melted butter in casserole dish. Place dumplings in dish and pour remaining melted butter (1tbsp) on top of dumplings. Then sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp) on top.
Put casserole dish in oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown. Watch closely.
Serve immediately over pasta with spaghetti sauce.
This meal is perfect to make on a weeknight. It is super easy to make and requires just a few flavorful ingredients. The most time consuming part is boiling the potatoes. Using box mix potatoes would make it ready in a flash, though I used some good old fashioned potatoes. The potatoes in this dish were like the icing on the cake. These mashed potatoes were mixed with butter and cheese, scooped on top with an ice-cream scoop and then broiled to create a nice brown look and flavor. Yes, potatoes, please, get in my belly.
I did use smart balance butter (less saturated than regular butter), sharp cheddar cheese, and unsweetened almond milk in the potatoes to make me feel better about eating this hearty comfort food.
A few months ago, my husband went out to eat with a friend and reported enjoying this dish called shepherd's pie at a restaurant downtown. I tucked that little knowledge nugget away in my mind and decided to make it for our Valentine's Day celebration dinner, along with some gooey dark chocolate brownies. I know, it's a little early to be celebrating, but I have to work Valentine's Day and the rest of the weekend. With 12 hour long night shifts, that means I will be MIA. No cooking those days.
Our little early celebration was a smashing success. Between bites of pie, he told me this was so much better than the shepherd's pie he previously thought was so good. He ate so much, his stomach bulged. Haha, mine did too, especially with a dark chocolate brownie for dessert! I just love being able to make the man I love, love coming home to a lovely dinner. That's a lot of love, but hey, its Valentine's!
Makes two large portions of a savory beef, vegetable, and gravy mixture that is topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food.
2 large russet potatoes
⅓ cup milk
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 can, 14.5 oz, peas & carrots
1 can, 6.5 oz, mushrooms
½ pound ground beef
½ cup water
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
pepper to taste
Boil halved potatoes and start browning meat
Preheat oven to 375 F
When meat is no longer pink, add salt, Mrs. Dash seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir well.
Turn beef burner down to low and add flour, stir, then add water. Then add cans: drained mushrooms and drained peas & carrots.
When potatoes done, or easily able to be pierced with fork, removed from water and take skins off. Mash and mix in milk, cheese, butter, and pepper to taste.
Add meat and veggie mixture to casserole dish(es) then top with mashed potatoes
Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. Serve. Will need more oven time if dish prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.
(optional) Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown top
I used two large individual serving sized casserole dishes and then used an ice-cream scoop to top meat with mashed potatoes. After baking, I broiled for a couple minutes to make the potatoes brown on top. Be careful broiling because it will burn in a skinny minute.
Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to watch some cooking shows, and one episode had me craving some good ol’ hearty chicken noodle soup. I went off to the store and bought my celery and carrots and was mentally drooling over the idea of a warm soup with crusty bread for dinner. I told my husband my exciting dinner scheme, and he said “no way, I had it for lunch at work yesterday, I would love some spaghetti though,” with a big charming smile. Normally that smile wins me over, but he literally wants to eat spaghetti once a week and then have the left overs for another half a week. The man seriously loves spaghetti. I decided to create a casserole that would satisfy both of our cravings, Venison Gnocchi Casserole, complete with spaghetti sauce, potato dumplings, carrots, and celery.
First, I gathered my fresh ingredients, and boiled the potatoes while simmering diced onion,celery, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs in olive oil and wine until the onions looked translucent and the whole house smelled wonderfully delicious. I usually use what ever wine I have on hand . If it tastes good to me when I have a glass, I may as well use it in my cookin’ too. In this recipe I used a mildly sweet white wine.
Then, I made the gnocchi, which is not for the faint of heart because it takes a bit more time than simply boiling some noodles. I first fell in love with the wonderful little delicate dumplings in Italy on a study abroad back in high school. I was told it was too complicated to make and was best left to the experts. That did not deter me. After a few trails and errors, I have found a recipe that takes my taste buds back to Italy. It turns out, it is fairly simple; only four ingredients. You just have to have the proportions right and enough time to make it.
Here is a link to the gnocchi recipe all by it self so you can make it for other dishes. It is the perfect side, and is especially great with pesto.
Then mix it all together with some spaghetti sauce, browned deer meat, and cheese, then bake. This casserole turned out to have a taste factor on a whole other level of yum, full of complex favors and textures. I guess it is fitting that this is my first recipe on my blog, because it is pretty epic. Kindo thought it smelled good too.
1lb. potatoes ( about 3 small/medium or 2 large potatoes)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
¾ cup all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut potatoes in halves and boil until soft when poked with fork, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to over boil as to make the potatoes full of water. This will make the dough very sticky later and trying to compensate with more flour will just make them too dense. Set potatoes aside in bowl to cool. Keep the pot of boiling water on the stove for later use. Take skins off and mash thoroughly.
While the potatoes are boiling, dice carrots, celery, and onion. Mince basil, oregano, and garlic. Sauté on medium heat in olive oil, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until it starts to brown and oil burns off. Then add wine and simmer on low until onions translucent and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes.
Pour celery/carrot/onion mixture in separate bowl and saute ground venison until brown throughout. *
To make the gnocchi, first get that pot of potato water boiling again. Then put mashed potatoes in mound and pour egg on it. Mix in with hands and then knead in salt and flour, adding a little bit at a time, knead thoroughly. Dough should feel slightly sticky.
Separate dough into 5 handfuls and roll each into long ropes, about 1 inch diameter. You may need up to ¼ cup more flour, to dust your hands and the dough, while rolling out.
Cut the dough ropes into ½ inch pieces. To prevent the dough from sticking to the knife, coat knife with a little olive oil. Optionally, you many press a fork coated in oil in the side to make indentations to help it hold sauce and make it pretty, but I did not for this recipe.
Drop about 20 of the dumplings into the boiling water, crowding will make them stick. When it floats to the top, about 1 minute, it is done! Remove from water with slotted spoon into empty bowl. Repeat until all dumplings are boiled, then pour off any remaining water from bowl of dumplings. Mix in sautéed veggies, ground meat, ½ cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and spaghetti sauce then pour in casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake in covered casserole dish for 20 minutes. Uncover and broil until cheese starts to brown on top. Broiling should only take a couple of minutes (2-3) so watch the dish the entire time so it does not burn.
Serve with fresh basil garnish and rolls. Enjoy!
*Note-I actually browned a whole pound of deer meat and mixed with a whole jar of spaghetti sauce then just froze the extra not used in the casserole for an easy future meal of spaghetti.