Italian Recipes

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Italian Recipes

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Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushroom
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise, fronds chopped
1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage coarsely crumbled
1 8-ounce package sliced fresh crimini mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 16-ounce package dried tortellini with pesto filling or fresh tortellini with 3-cheese filling
1 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel bulb, sausage and mushrooms and sauté for 15 minutes or until the sausage us brown and cooked through and the fennel is almost tender. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and stir for 1 minute. Blend in the cream, then 1 cup broth. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and slightly thickened.
In the mean time, cook tortellini stirring occasionally, in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender but still firm. Drain tortellini and return to the pot.
Add the sausage mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat stirring continuously until well blended. Add the spinach and cook till the spinach wilts. Add ½ cup cheese, broth by ¼ cupfuls to moisten the mixture if dry.
Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chopped fennel fronds and serve.

Three Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped peeled carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces lean ground beef
6 ounces spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
¼-cup tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
15 lasagna noodles
2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
2 large eggs
4 ¾ cups grated mozzarella cheese

In a heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic to the hot oil. Sauté for 12 minutes or until they are softened. Add beef and sausages and sauté until fully cooked. If lumps form, break them up with the back of a spoon. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until the flavors blend together and about 5 cups of sauce is remaining. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and discard. Let cool at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350o F.
In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the noodles and cook for 7 minutes or until they are almost tender.
Drain and rinse with cold water, Keep the noodles covered with cold water.
Mix the ricotta and ¾ cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Blend in the eggs.
Drain the pasta and pat dry. Spread ½ cup of the sauce over the bottom of a glass 13X9 inch baking dish. Arrange 5 noodles over the sauce, overlapping to fit and covering the entire baking dish. Spread half of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Spread 2 cups of mozzarella cheese evenly over the cheese mixture. Spoon 1 ½ cups of the sauce over the cheese and spreading evenly with a spatula to cover the entire surface.
Repeat the layers with noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and sauce. Place the remaining 5 noodles over the sauce. Spread any remaining sauce over the noodles and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese evenly over the lasagna.
Use a aluminum foil sheet to cover the baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover and bake for another 40 minutes or until it is bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chopped parsley for garnish.
Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.



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