recipes, simple life, Uncategorized

Bacon, Pea, Alfredo Lasagna

Now that it’s really cold outside, I want to eat pasta all of the time. And, you know, I’m seven months pregnant so nothing sounds better than carbs and cheese.

 

This week we made lasagna – but we mixed it up a bit. We traded in your typical red sauce for alfredo and swapped out the filling for a creamy pea and bacon mixture. This recipe originally came from a cookbook we have called Poor Girl Gourmet, but after making it a few times, I’ve tweaked it to fit our tastes.

This dish is perfect for cold evenings when you want your food to warm you after a long day of work. This dish is also light enough that it’s ideal for summer evenings, especially when made with garden fresh peas. I also want to note, that neither my husband nor I are a big fan of straight up cooked peas, but we absolutely love this lasagna.

 

Bacon, Pea, Alfredo Lasagna

What you need:

  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • ¼ cup of water, as needed
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 tbsp parmesan
  • 4-6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked

Alfredo sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan

 

Begin by cooking your peas. Once tender, add your peas and the water they were cooked in with the Thyme into a food processor. Blend well. If the mixture is too dry for your peas to break down, add a bit of water (no more than a quarter cup). If you don’t have a food processor, you can always use a potato masher. Your peas should be mashed well and not runny. They will sort of resemble baby food, but that’s the preferred consistency.

Mix your pea puree with the ricotta cheese and 2 tablespoons for grated parmesan cheese. Cover your filling and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to assembly your lasagna.

Begin boiling salted water to cook your lasagna noodles. If you feel like going the extra mile, check out how to make homemade noodles in this post. While preparing your noodles, you will also need to fry your bacon. Don’t forget to throw an extra piece in your skillet – the cook always deserves a special treat and it might as well be bacon!

Once your ingredients are prepped and ready to go, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull out your 9×13 pan and grease well with olive oil.

Layering the lasagna is simple. Noodles. Pea/ricotta mixture. Sprinkle on crumbled bacon. Repeat. You should have enough to make three full layers and top off the lasagna with the last two noodles.

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I like to put a pat of butter on top of the lasagna before placing in the oven. Place your lasagna in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

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With the lasagna in the oven, now is the time to make your sauce. I keep my alfredo sauce pretty simple: butter, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and parmesan.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese over medium heat. The butter will practically melt itself once the heat is turned on, but the cream cheese takes a bit of tender love and care. I use a spatula to help smoosh down – smoosh is a word, right? – and stir the cream cheese.

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Once mostly melted, add the heavy whipping cream and grated parmesan. Allow the sauce to cook on low heat, while stirring occasionally. This helps the sauce to thicken into the creamy alfredo sauce we all know and love.

When your lasagna is finished, remove from the oven and smother with the alfredo sauce. Allow the dish to sit 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Now, my friends, you have a delicious dinner waiting for you. I’ll leave you to your creamy, cheesy, bacony dinner and wish I was eating it too.

 

And as always, may your hearts be full!

 

recipes, Uncategorized

Homemade Pasta

I love digging into a plate of pasta. Part of that stems from my love of carbs (and really, who doesn’t love carbs?). And the other part of that stems from the fact that my father is Italian.

Well, he thinks he is, at least.

Growing up we ate pasta at least once, if not twice a week. But now, my parents have limited their carb intake and my sister was diagnosed with celiacs (aka gluten intolerance). Thankfully, I’m married with my own family and I can make pasta as often as I please — which is a lot, especially now that I’m pregnant with baby #2 (six months down, three to go!).

 

Ahh, pasta – you have a special place in my heart. Right next to coffee, chocolate, and breakfast.

 

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I wanted to learn how to make my own pasta. I’ve learned that homemade pasta is easy to make and much more delicious than store bought boxed pasta. Plus, it’s a fun way to get the whole family involved in making dinner.

All you need is flour, eggs, and a pasta machine. We have this inexpensive pasta machine and it makes making pasta a bajillion times easier – and yes, I just used the word bajillion.

 

Homemade Pasta

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose or strong bread flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour  (you can always just use all white flour (2-2 ¼ cups total), but we like to add in some whole wheat flour for a heartier taste)
  • 3-4 eggs, depending on size
  • Water, as needed

Start by mixing your two flour types in a large bowl. Other recipes call for piling your flour onto a clean workspace, i.e. a cutting board. I found mixing in a large bowl contains all of the flour, and prevents me from making an enormous mess.

Use your fingers to create a well in the middle of the flour.

Crack open your eggs into the well in the flour. Then dig your hands in to combine. Continue to work the dough until all of the egg is mixed into the flour and you end up with a large ball of dough. Feel free to add a bit of water, as needed, to assist in the mixing process.

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Next, you’ll want to break apart your mega ball of pasta dough into more manageable pieces. We normally divide down into four to six smaller pieces.

Now it’s time to get rolling! If you are sans pasta machine, you’ll need to heavily flour your work surface and rolling pin to roll out the dough. Pasta is a tough dough to work with, so be prepared to get a full workout if rolling out the pasta by hand. I’m not that in shape, at least, not currently – hence, the pasta machine.

Once your pasta dough is thin enough, you can cut and shape any pasta your heart desires. Most pasta machines come with spaghetti and linguine attachments. You can also cut out squares to make your own ravioli, or leave the pasta as long lasagna sheets.

Cook your pasta as you normally would, by tossing it into a pot of boiling, salted water. The best part of fresh, homemade pasta is that your pasta is already hydrated, unlike the dried pasta from boxes, so it takes 5 minutes or less to cook. You’ll know your pasta is finished cooking when it floats to the top of the water and the color has lightened.

All that’s left is to whip up your favorite sauce, pour yourself a glass of wine (or in my current state, sparkling grape juice), and dig in to enjoy!

 

How long does it take to make homemade pasta?

A few minutes to mix the dough, a few minutes to roll it out, and a few more to cook. Honestly, it takes as much time, or less, to make and cook homemade pasta as it does to cook store bought noodles.

Homemade pasta is delicious and easy to make. It’s also an enjoyable way to spend the evening because the whole family is involved in making the food we’re about to share together. Normally, I’ll mix the dough. Then my husband will roll out the noodles while I start to boil water and make a sauce. And we may, or may not, have flour fights while making the dough. What’s better than laughing and making a mess while enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a meal together? Even better yet, as our children grow up they can join in the fun by mixing and rolling out the dough too.

 

By making homemade pasta, we’re practicing another skill to become self-sufficient by using ingredients around the house to make dinner instead of running out to the grocery store. And there’s something satisfying about making your entire dinner from scratch.

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So roll up your sleeves and get pasta rolling!

 

May your hearts, and your flour bins, be full.