Tag Archives: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Baked Walleye—Two Ways

I’ve referenced this method before, but since I have cut out a lot of carbs in my diet (in an effort to keep my blood sugars low), I needed another way to crust the fish. I’m using Parmigiano Reggiano on my fillets, but my husband’s lactose intolerance means that he still gets the panko breading. I’m cooking a lot of dishes in two ways these days, and it’s not as hard as it might seem. I don’t want to make two completely different meals every day, so making meals that can be adapted for both our issues is easiest—he eats the rice and potatoes, I eat the cheeses and sour cream; we both eat the meat and vegetables. You’ll see that reflected in a number of new posts, although I won’t always show two ways of serving a dish, and I’m not changing the blog into any sort of a diet blog—I won’t always tell you when I’m not eating something.

I think I like the cheese coating better, as it turns out. If you do use the cheese, you might want to reduce the salt in the mayo marinade.

Baked Walleye—Two Ways

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425º; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mayonnaise Marinade

For 6 fillets:

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Take out 1/2 cup of marinade for 2 fillets and stir in 1 tablespoon Sriracha.

  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 cups finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese ( I also put some larger shavings on the top of the fish before baking)
Preparation
  1. Lay out the fillets in a glass dish that will hold them without overlapping, spread the mayo mixture over each fillet, with the Sriracha blend on two of them. Turn and cover the other side. It’s messy, but it all works out.
  2. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. After one hour, remove the fillets from the refrigerator to bread.
  4. Pour about 2 cups panko crumbs on a paper towel or in a large dish. Spread out about 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan on another paper towel.
  5. Carefully place fillets in crumbs or cheese, pressing the coating into the mayo all around. You can’t avoid breading your fingers, but don’t worry about the mess.
  6. Place each fillet on parchment-lined baking sheet. I use a meat fork to lift the fillets at this point and it helps keep the coating on the fish.
  7. Bake at 425° for about 10-15 minutes or until crumbs/cheese are browning.
  8. I put all the fish on one baking sheet and it was easy to keep the cheese and bread crumbs apart, but two smaller sheets could be used.

Venison Lasagna Bolognese

The first dish from the buck my husband harvested this fall.

This lasagna is a tale of two sauces—a bolognese ragù and béchamel. Neither sauce is difficult to make and the ragù in particular can be made the day or evening before to simplify the final dish preparation. This lasagna doesn’t require all the cheese (ricotta and mozzarella) of typical lasagna recipes, just finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano on each layer, so that the result is a lasagna that is not quite as filling—and by filling, I mean overfilling. You can certainly use the ragù in a typical cheesy lasagna, but I think the béchamel would be overpowered by all that cheese. Ordinarily, I would add cream and butter to a bolognese ragù after the long simmer, but felt that the layers of béchamel provided the necessary creaminess to the dish.

Two things I did differently:

  1. In addition to using venison instead of lean beef or veal, I used ground, smoked, thick-sliced bacon instead of the traditional pancetta, which is not smoked. The smoky bacon adds another layer of flavor, and the venison can handle it. The bacon happens to be from a local company that provides the hot dogs and kielbasa to Heinz Field, Smith Provision, and it’s a really flavorful bacon.
  2. I used some of my frozen tomato sauce made from our summer garden tomatoes. It’s a thick sauce made from roasting tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and onion, so it is already flavored with some of the final sauce ingredients, but since my sauce has been blended, you still need the chopped vegetables in this ragù.

I used fresh pasta sheets available at my grocery to construct the lasagna; you don’t need to boil them first as they cook in the casserole to just the right tenderness—just make sure you have plenty of sauce to cover.

Venison Lasagna Bolognese

  • Servings: 8 main dish servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Note about salt: There are lots of ways to get too much salt into this dish. There is salt in each sauce, your chicken stock may be salted, the bacon may be salty, and authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is salty. Personally, I would leave out any extra salt in the ragù. Taste as you go along.

Preheat oven to 375° when ready to construct the dish.

Ingredients
Bolognese Ragù Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup celery heart, center ribs with leaves, finely chopped
  • about 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • about 1 cup medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound smoked bacon, coarsely ground
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups thick tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes or tomato paste with more chicken stock)
  • salt & pepper to taste (careful with the salt—see the note above)
Béchamel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups milk (I used lactose-free whole milk)
Lasagna
  • fresh pasta sheets to make at least 5 layers in a 13″ x 9″ dish
  • about 2 cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Preparation
  1. Prepare the meat sauce, which needs to simmer for about two hours.
  2. In a large straight-sided skillet (often called a chicken fryer) sauté the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until the vegetables are translucent. Remove vegetables to a dish while browning the meats, which you can’t do well in a pan of vegetables.
  3. In the same pan, using more olive oil if needed, brown the ground bacon. Add the ground venison and ground pork, breaking it all up and cooking until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Return the sautéed vegetables to the pan. Stir in the parsley, chicken stock, red wine, and tomato sauce (or whatever tomato product you are using).
  5. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. I’m sure this is a sauce that could be made in a slow cooker, too.
  6. When the meat sauce is about done, make the béchamel sauce.
  7. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  8. Stir in the flour and seasoning, stirring until all the flour is combined with the butter and there are no lumps.
  9. Slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon or whisk. Some people like to scald the milk first in the microwave, but I find that unnecessary—maybe it quickens the thickening. Continue stirring over medium heat until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
  10. Construct the lasagna. Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.
  11. Using a large ladle, lightly cover the bottom of the dish with béchamel sauce.
  12. Arrange your uncooked pasta sheets over the béchamel. You don’t need to cover every inch of the pan, as the pasta will swell a little on absorbing the sauces. I trimmed my sheets to fit in two large squares on each layer, but your sheets may be more narrow than mine.
  13. Top each layer of pasta with enough meat sauce to cover all the edges. Then add a layer of béchamel. Finish with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  14. Repeat until you reach the top of the dish, ending with the sauces and cheese. Mine came all the way to the top with 5 layers, and while a little bubbled over, most of it was absorbed by the pasta.
  15. Bake at 375° for about 40 minutes. Place a sheet pan on a lower oven rack to catch any spills. The finished lasagna should be browned and bubbly.
  16. Let rest a little before cutting into large squares.

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Spaghetti Ricotta Frittata

That’s a lot of Ts for one short title.

I had leftover angel hair pasta, dressed with olive oil, bacon fat, and Parmesan cheese, so I’m making a frittata. I think some whole-milk ricotta, a little more Parmesan, and some bacon will round out the flavors and creaminess. I like to pulse ricotta in the food processor until it’s very creamy and smooth, but you wouldn’t have to do that. I’m leaving out any watery vegetables, preferring to have them on the side; If you want to include them, make sure to cook them first and to choose the vegetable wisely. Sometimes we try to pile too much into a dish, when simplicity is enough. I’m only using 6 eggs, which is a little light for all the pasta I have, but I can’t justify more eggs just for myself; if you have a crowd, I suggest using 8-12 eggs with a half pound of leftover pasta.

Spaghetti Ricotta Frittata

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

1 small onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1/2 lb (more or less) leftover pasta, preferably without sauce

4-6 slices thick-sliced bacon, browned and diced

6 eggs

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta, pulsed until creamy in a food processor

4 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

1/4 cup whole milk

olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a 10″ or 12″ cast iron or other non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until softened and the onion is translucent, but not browned. Season to taste.
  2. Toss in the leftover pasta to warm, but not brown. Add more oil if necessary. My pasta already had oil on it.
  3. Toss in the chopped bacon. Turn off heat under pan.
  4. Whisk the eggs together with the ricotta,  3 tablespoons Parmesan, and milk. Pour over the pasta, vegetables, and bacon. Press down the pasta lightly. My egg mixture came just to the top of the pasta, but if you are using a larger quantity, yours may cover the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.
  5. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. If you used 8-12 eggs, bake until the edges are done and the center is still a little jiggly. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Your frittata will differ depending on the amount of pasta and eggs you use. A frittata is really a baked omelet, but the addition of pasta turns it into more of a casserole. I did not choose to use the kinds of cheeses that melt, but you might like to use a cheddar or Gruyere  for that kind of texture.

Looks like I know what my lunch will be tomorrow.

Savory Butternut Squash Soufflé

We like butternut squash roasted in chunks until they brown on the edges, or mashed with butter and salt, and especially in butternut squash risotto. Today I figured it was time for something else, and I wondered how difficult it would be to get the heavy mashed pulp to rise in a soufflé. I haven’t made a soufflé for eons, but I remember the high hat that puffs out of the dish before it falls a little, and the airy texture of the soufflé in your mouth. Surely this one will be different, still with a lighter texture than simple mashed squash, but not like  a squash custard.

“Soufflés have the same kind of life as the ‘breath’ for which they are named. . . .”

My old Joy of Cooking (1967) has a whole section on soufflés—the one with eggplant looks yummy—but I have only ever made the traditional cheese soufflé. It starts with a thick white sauce, but that wouldn’t be necessary when you start with a thick mashed vegetable like squash or sweet potatoes. In the eggplant soufflé, there are breadcrumbs and chopped nuts mixed with the eggplant pulp, but a little milk is only recommended if the mixture seems “stiff.” It’s that point before you fold in the beaten egg whites that determines whether you need more moisture. The sweet potato soufflé uses a little applesauce for that moisture. If I need it, I will use a little milk, but I think I will try to infuse both moisture and lightness with eggs alone—4 eggs in total.

I’ll be mixing the squash, seasonings, and egg yolks in a food processor to a smooth puree, and then folding in the beaten egg whites by hand in a large bowl, but you could make it all by hand or with a hand mixer up to the egg white stage.

Savory Butternut Squash Soufflé

  • Servings: about 4
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Recipe Timing: Timing this recipe depends on your method of cooking the squash. If you roast it in the oven, whole or peeled and in chunks, that will take time, but it could be done the day before, especially since it should cool before mixing with eggs. I cooked mine, whole, in the microwave for 10-16 minutes, so that expedited the process. With cooked squash, the rest of the recipe goes quickly, even with separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites.

Baking dish tips: Butter a 1 1/2 qt baking dish with high sides. Dust the bottom and sides of the dish with finely grated Parmesan cheese or flour. A dish with a smaller round  circumference and higher sides works better than a low-sided larger dish, such as an 8 or 9 inch square baker.

Preheat oven to 350°

1 medium-large butternut squash, cooked—about 2 cups

1 tablespoon bacon fat

1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

4 egg yolks

4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

  1. In bowl of food processor, combine squash, bacon fat, and seasonings to a puree. Taste for seasoning before adding egg yolks. Add egg yolks and pulse to blend.
  2. Transfer squash puree to large bowl. Fold in beaten egg whites with large spatula—a silicone spatula with a large paddle works better than a small one. Mine measures 5″ and is curved to fit the sides of bowls. Mine is blue, but you can see it in red here: http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-Silicone-Mixer-Spatula-Red/dp/B0095PC75C
  3. Pour mixture into prepared dish and bake at 350° for 40 minutes, then check to make sure the center has risen to the same height as the edges. If it is sunken in the middle, let it go for another 10 minutes.
  4. It does rise in the baking dish, but if you want a photo, take it quickly, because the whole thing sinks about an inch in a few minutes. I forgot to get one until it was too late.

The texture is lighter and airier than a squash custard (such as a pumpkin pie) but a little heavier than the traditional cheese soufflé made with white sauce. The edges/sides—if you dust the dish with grated cheese—have a nicely browned crust. A soufflé is a nice change for a traditional vegetable side dish. Think of all the ways you can work vegetables into one.