Friday, October 15, 2010

Widespread Panic Baked Ziti

Remember when you were in high school and you would 'carbo-load' the night before the big game? What if I told you that I'm going to carbo-load for a concert? It's ok, you can laugh at me.

My favorite band is in town and it's the one time a year that I can let loose and dance like a hippie for 3 1/2 hours. I've been seeing these guys for 12 years and after every show I am starving. This year, I thought that if I stock up on carbs before the show that maybe I won't need that burger at midnight. I figure it's worth a try. Here's what's on the menu...

Widespread Panic Baked Ziti
  • 12 ounces ziti (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 pound Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 26-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain it and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beef, sausage, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until it’s no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, marinara sauce, spinach, ricotta, and ¼ cup of the Parmesan.
  5. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 4 large ramekins. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and the remaining ¼ cup of the Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts, 12 to 15 minutes.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Maple-Glazed Peanuts & Bacon

I was just browsing on the Food & Wine website this afternoon and came across a recipe for this peanut concoction. Suddenly, it hit me...I've eaten these before! See friends, there are some great people out there that send me random foodie stuff in the mail. I've received books, cheeses, special sauces, bacon chocolates and much more. But probably my favorite package came from my friend in NYC about 2 years ago that sent me a jar of these peanuts. According to the article, these have become so popular that The Red Head Restaurant in NYC now sells these online. With this recipe, you can skip the shipping fees and make it right at home.

Maple-Glazed Peanuts & Bacon
  1. 3 thick slices of bacon (3 ounces)
  2. 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, minced
  3. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  4. 3/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  7. 3 cups unsalted roasted peanuts (1 pound)
  8. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then finely chop.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the thyme, salt, Old Bay, cayenne and dry mustard. Add the peanuts, maple syrup and bacon and toss until the peanuts are evenly coated. Scrape the nuts onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once, until the maple syrup has thickened. Let the peanuts cool completely, stirring frequently to break up any large clumps. Transfer the peanuts to glass jars or a large bowl and serve.
The peanuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.