Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Sauce”

Pepper-Crusted Top Sirloin with Pinot Noir and Dried Cherries

Pepper-Crusted Top Sirloin with Pinot Noir and Dried Cherries

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I thought it might be fun to post something to impress your sweet darling…or roommate.  Whatever.

Pan sauces are such an easy way to make any ole’ dinner special.  And, though it may seem like a little extra work, that deglazing will actually save you time come clean-up when you don’t have a crusty pan to hack away at.

I served this up to my man and the pack of monkeys just a few nights ago (I skipped the pepper crust for the kiddos’ meat) along with some star pasta (again, because I loves the kiddos) and steamed veggies.  Not a bite was left for breakfast, so I’d consider that a win!

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The Spaghetti Sub

Spaghetti Sub

Howdy folks.

So let me tell you about this beast of a sandwich.  You might be thinking to yourself, What sort of crazy person makes a spaghetti sub??  Honestly, I had never even heard of such a thing, though apparently they do exist and even have quite a little following at the restaurants that offer them.  I think the idea actually came to us one night over a spaghetti dinner.  We were sitting there happily slurping our spaghetti and wiping our plates with crusty bread when the husband had a flash of genius.  Why not stuff a loaf of garlic bread with the spaghetti? The conversation then quickly turned to a better garlic bread, great sauce, and–the crowning glory–bubbly mozzarella cheese.

So here it is.

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Lasagne al Forno

Lasagne

Lasagne al Forno.  So delicious.  Homemade ragu bolognese, fresh pasta, creamy balsamella, nutty parmigiano throughout with a sprinkling of mozzarella to top things off–this dish is so worth the effort and the leftovers are amazing.

If you’ve been following my posts leading up to this grand finale, you’ve had a sweet peek into each of the delicious ingredients in this authentic Italian lasagne.  Yes, this dish is a labor of love, but the results are nothing short of delizioso.

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Balsamella

Sorry, no picture for this post.  Though this recipe is really a quickie and part of my ongoing series of Lasagne al Forno posts, I thought it might be easier to do a separate post for this last ingredient.

Balsamella, more widely known as bechamel, is a thickened milk sauce with a wide variety of uses.  One of the four ‘mother sauces,’ balsamella uses a roux mixture to thicken milk, creating a velvety sauce or base for such dishes as cannelloni, macaroni and cheese, creamy sauces, and more.  Depending on the ratio of flour and butter used to milk, this sauce can range from thin to rather thick and may be used plain or flavored with herbs, spices, cheese, and more.

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Ragu´ alla Bolognese

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I have had this serious desire for some real lasagne.  So serious that I made this delicious bolognese today and will make fresh pasta tomorrow.  Layered with besciamella (or bechamel, in French) and freshly grated parmigiano, this is a truly authentic lasagne al forno.  I will, of course, do a post for the fresh pasta as well as for the construction of the final masterpiece.

The recipe I use here is an adaptation from Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian.  What a beautiful cookbook!  The photography alone makes this one worth owning, not to mention the authentic cuisine.

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Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce with Beecher’s Flagship

There is nothing quite like homemade…and that goes for pasta sauce, too!  This recipe is quick and easy, not to mention super versatile.  Feel free to tweak the herbs, amount of cream, or the type and quantity of cheese to your heart’s content!  This sauce is even more delicious with a couple Italian sausages (spicy or sweet) sauteed with the onions and garlic.  Tonight, I kept it fairly simple and not overly indulgent with the cream and cheese.  Today is Tuesday, after all.  Leftover grilled chicken and steak were a no-brainer and put this dinner on the table in less than 40 minutes, though the sauce can certainly be made earlier in the day and then gently reheated come dinner time.  Where this sauce is slightly chunky, a shaped pasta is a great choice; though the creaminess also makes it a happy pairing with a long pasta, such as linguine.  My personal favorite?  Gnocchi!

Click for the recipe!

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