I spent New Year’s in my boyfriend’s house with his sister and other relatives.
I just want to share some of the food I cooked for them. It was tiring, but definitely worth it after all the wonderful feedback I got!
FYI. Both of these were Don’s requests.
When I tasted TGIFriday’s version, all I wanted to do was recreate that. I’ve never cooked baby back ribs before and I didn’t have a grill. So it was a challenge! I searched online and got a copycat recipe via Spicy Southern Kitchen. I followed the recipe to the T except for the celery salt and oven baked it all the way through instead. And we were satisfied with the results. That was the main reason why Don requested for the same dish for New Year’s.
This time around, I adjusted the ratio of the spices on the dry rub and made it a little bit more spicy. And… Added more JD to the sauce. Perfect outcome!
Everybody was saying it was delicious! Don’s nephew ate 1/4 of the rack!
Our dog, Chelsea had a feast, too!
This next one was supposed to be a copycat of Sbarro’a Baked Ziti. However, we couldn’t get a hold of Ricotta and Romano cheese so I just improvised.
This tasted real good! Tasted even better the day after! We had so much leftovers!
Will post the recipe tomorrow. :)
Recipe for: BAKED ZITI WITH MEAT SAUCE & THREE BELL PEPPER, TWO CHEESE WHITE SAUCE
Serving: 8 – 10 portions
Cook as instructed. Drain and toss in Olive Oil. Set aside.
*Save some pasta water to add onto the sauces, about 2.5 cups.
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, for sautéing
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- Half of White Onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 kg Ground Lean Beef
- 200 ml Italian Spaghetti Sauce or Tomato Sauce
- Salt and Pepper
- 3-4 pcs Tomatoes, deseeded, chopped into small cubes
Heat the vegetable oil and sauté the onion and garlic. Add in the ground beef and continue to heat until the beef is thoroughly cooked. Add in the spaghetti sauce. Add some pasta water to get the consistency you want. In my case, about 1/2 cup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the sauce is warm. Set aside.
Sprinkle the cubed tomatoes onto the pasta and mix. This is to add texture and real tomatoes into the sauce.
When sauce is cooled, the toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. Use just enough meat sauce to coat the pasta. There will be extra meat sauce ;) Set aside.
THREE BELL PEPPER, TWO CHEESE WHITE SAUCE
- 1-2 pcs each Red, Green, Yellow Bell Pepper or Capsicum (depending on size)
- 100 g Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 100 g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
- 60 g Unsalted Butter
- 60 g All Purpose Flour
- 1.5 – 2 cups Pasta Water
- 3/4 cup Milk
- Salt and Pepper
Roast the bell peppers on your stovetop until the skin is charred. Turn the bell peppers so that all sides are evenly cooked. Put the cooked bell pepper and seal with plastic wrap. This way, it’ll be easier to remove the charred skin. Leave for a few minutes or until the peppers have cooled.
When they are cooled, using the non-sharp side of a pairing knife and remove the charred skin. If charred properly, sometimes you can peel off the skin by hands.
Slice in the middle and remove the seeds and chop the peppers into half-inch cubes. Set side.
Using low heat, melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour to form roux. Use a wire whisk to combine the butter and flour. Cook for a few seconds, whisking constantly. Add the pasta water while whisking to form a veloute. In doing this, the milk/cream won’t burn when added. This will look like a thick paste. Add the milk and/or cream to the mixture, again while continuously whisking. Make sure to get all the veloute under the pan otherwise this will eventually burn or your sauce will become lumpy. You can add salt and pepper at this time or like me, I wait until the sauce has thickened. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens. Season to taste. Add the two cheeses while whisking continuously. Then add in the roasted peppers. Turn off heat.
- 150 g Parmesan Cheese, grated – more if preferred
- 150 g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
- 5 g Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Using a deep dish, in my case a 9 x 11 nonstick pan, put half of the pasta in. Flatten to level. Pour some cream to cover the pasta. Sprinkle half of the grated parmesan and mozzarella. You can dash in some cayenne too if you want. I prefer to put it on top. Put the second layer of pasta and do the same. I like to put
more a lot of mozzarella on top. Sprinkle cayenne on top, depending on how spicy you want this to be. Bake this at 350F until the cheese melts and/or the top is gratinated a little.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve!