Monthly Archives: March 2012

Baked Penne with Spinach & Ricotta



I had pasta sauce in the jar left-over from a previous meal and about 1/2 a small container of ricotta cheese and fresh spinach so I put this together for a meal for two.


half box of whole grain penne pasta (boiled in salted water, slightly undercooked)

1/2 small container of ricotta cheese

dash of dried basil and oregano

dash of salt and pepper

1 egg, slightly beaten in a small bowl

1/2 jar pasta sauce of your choice

two handfuls of fresh baby spinach


While pasta is cooking prepare other ingredients. Do not pour pasta water down the drain, spoon pasta out with a strainer and set aside when it is done.

Spray one medium size baking dish (or two large ramekins) with vegetable oil.

In small bowl with egg, add ricotta, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir with fork to combine and set aside (you could add parmiggiano reggiano to it at this point if you like).

Drop two handfuls of fresh spinach into hot (almost boiling) pasta water and allow to blanch while you  add pasta sauce to cooked pasta and stir. Place half the pasta and sauce in bottom of baking dish. strain spinach and place on top of pasta with sauce. Then add the ricotta mixture. You can also add grated mozzarella cheese at this time or on top. Add the rest of the pasta covered in sauce and top with cheese of your choice (I added a little grated parmiggiano reggiano and a slice provolone).

Place ramekins on a baking sheet (or place larger baking dish directly on oven rack) and bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Allow to rest slightly before serving. Quick yummy meal for two, perfect with a glass of red wine of your choice.


St. Patrick’s Day Shortbread



Ingredients for 12

1 cup (1/2 lb) butter, softened

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white rice flour (or more all-purpose)

Look for rice flour in health food stores if not available in your grocery store.

In a food processor or large mixing bowl, whirl or beat butter with the larger amount of sugar until smooth. Gradually add all-purpose and rice flour until well combined. Spread in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Bake in a 275 degree oven until pale golden, 55-65 minutes. Place on wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with 1 Tablespoon sugar, then cut into 24 bars. Let cool completely. Serve, store in airtight container up to 3 days or freeze.

I no longer remember which magazine I ripped these pages from that include the whole St. Patrick’s Day Dinner but this shortbread was actually called ‘Elaine’s Shortbread’ and the article was written by Elaine Johnson. (I was probably a Sunset Magazine from the 80’s or possibly Glamour)