Slightly Sinful Pasta

Vegetarian

I like my pasta like I like my men ~ mostly wholesome but with a little naughtiness thrown in.  This recipe has all the healthy basics, but a dash of decadence is added to make it special!

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  • 1 box of whole wheat rotini
  • 1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 carton mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded or grated
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the rotini according to the instructions on the box.
  2. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook mushrooms until they begin to turn brown, then add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.
  3. Once pasta is al dente and drained, stir in the mascarpone along with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vegetables and the parmesan, and stir until well mixed.

Hazelnut & Mascarpone Cinnamon Rolls

Breakfast

4 out of 5 dentists recommend using dental floss in lieu of a knife.

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Dough (from Sally’s Baking Addiction):

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Filling (from Giada de Laurentiis):

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting (from Giada de Laurentiis):

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. To toast the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the nuts in a single layer on a cooking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until their color darkens slightly. Once cooled, remove the skins (rubbing them in your hands or in a towel works well) and chop into small pieces.
  2. To make the dough, toss 2 1/4 cups flour (reserve 1/2 cup for later), the sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl until evenly mixed, then set aside. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in a pot over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough (I only ended up using 1/6 cup). Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes, then let rest for about 10 minutes in the bowl while you make the filling.
  3. To make the filling, mix the nuts, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl. Roll out the dough into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle. Brush 1 tablespoon of butter over the dough. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the top long edge. Starting at the other long edge, roll up the dough jelly-roll style, forming a log. Pinch the seam to seal.
  4. Using a piece of dental floss, cut the log into 12 pieces (slip the floss under the log, cross over the top, then pull on both ends until the loop closes and cuts through the dough). Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased baking dish, spacing evenly. Let the rolls rise in a warm area for 60 to 90 minutes (the oven that was previously used to toast the hazelnuts is a great place).
  5. Once the rolls have roughly doubled in size, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cinnamon rolls uncovered until the tops are golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  6. When the rolls are almost done, whisk the powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese, and milk in a medium bowl until smooth. After the rolls are done baking, drizzle the frosting over the top. Serve warm.

Cannibal Mushrooms

Appetizers

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These are really just a slightly adjusted version of Ina Garten’s Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms, but my friend Grob has decided that they are cannibalistic because the stuffing also includes mushrooms…he may have had bit of wine while we were cooking…What you want to call them is up to you, but I can guarantee that they’ll be a crowd-pleaser.

  • 32 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 10 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 5 tablespoons red wine (Marsala wine or medium sherry preferred)
  • 1 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • bundle of scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • A sprinkling of your choice of herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and wine. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the parmesan, herbs, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
  4. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.