We're off to Ireland in a couple days so I wanted to share some food with you before we go. First, this easy, but very tasty hors d'oeuvre...
I found this recipe on the Real Simple website and they really are simple to make. I added a bit more rosemary than the recipe called for as I love the flavor of rosemary.
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I almost always use Kerry Gold.)
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more if you want a spicier nut.
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I used 3.)
Heat oven to 375. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the pecans and toss to evenly coat.
Transfer the pecans to a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and arrange in a single layer. Bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the rosemary and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temp.
I don't know how long they keep as they were gone as soon as I served them!
BEST EVER LASAGNA
This recipe came from the back of a Barilla lasagna noodle box. I was having a lasagna craving and the only lasagna noodles (No, I didn't make them this time!) were the oven-ready pasta. I have never used the no-cook pasta and had my doubts, but the lasagna came out perfectly. I did use my own tomato sauce, which I cooked the day before. I like Barilla sauce so if you don't have time, no problem, just use theirs. They call their recipe 5 Layer Oven-Ready Lasagna, but I only managed 3 layers in my 9x13 baking pan, which meant a few sheets of pasta left over. Because I used more cheese than their recipe called for, it filled the pan sooner. There really is no science to this. After all, it is a casserole! I served the lasagna with a Frico or cheese crisp inserted into the lasagna, and a simple salad with herby vinaigrette dressing.
1 box Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna
2 jars Barilla marinara sauce (or about 6 cups of your own)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned (I used 3 Italian sausages browned out of their casings.)
Salt/Pepper to taste
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used 2 cups parm.)
I added 2 cloves of finely minced garlic as I browned the sausage.
I also added about 2 tsp. of dried oregano to the cheese mixture.
Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown the meat and garlic, if using, until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup parmesan. Add oregano, if using. Stir well.
Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the pan and spread to coat evenly. Place 3 sheets of lasagna side by side. Sheets will expand to ends of the dish while baking. I didn't believe this, but they did!
Pour 1 cup of sauce and 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture over the first layer. Just drop the cheese mixture by the teaspoon and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/3 cup of the cooked meat. Repeat for 3 more layers or as many layers as you can fit into the baking dish.
For the final layer, top with 3 lasagna sheets, add the remaining sauce and top with remaining cheese mixture and mozzarella.
Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is bubbling. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
TO MAKE THE FRICO:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grate 1 cup of good quality parmesan (or any cheese you like). Don't use the pre-grated or pre-shredded cheese. It takes only a few minutes to grate the cheese yourself and the end result is much better. On a baking sheet drop about 2 Tbsp. of cheese and press with the bake of the spoon to flatten to roughly 3 inches. Space at least 1 inch apart as they will spread. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until cheese melts and they are golden. Check on them to make sure they are not getting too brown. Remove from oven and let the Frico cool completely before removing from the pan. I served the Frico pressed into the lasagna to fancy it up a bit!