Margherita Noodles

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 1

2 ounces soba noodles (also known as buckwheat noodles, available in the health aisle of your grocery store)
1 tablespoon pesto
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup mozzarella pearls, halved
¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles to 1 minute shy of package directions.

Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add in noodles and toss to coat. Add in mozzarella and tomatoes and toss again. Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.

Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 4

8-ounce package gnocchi pasta
2 cups 4% milk fat cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stem
¼ cup dry red wine
½ cup fresh mozzarella pearls, halved

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and cook gnocchi for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Heat oven to 400 F and spritz a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add cottage cheese, Parmesan, roasted red peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, rosemary and red wine to a blender. Pulse to combine before blending on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth. 

Toss cooked gnocchi with 2 cups sauce and pour into prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top and dot with mozzarella pearls.

Bake 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks


Start to finish: 50 minutes
Impresses: 6

1    pound riced cauliflower, frozen or fresh
2    eggs, lightly beaten
½    cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1    teaspoon Italian seasoning
1    cup ricotta cheese
1    cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3    cloves garlic, minced
½    teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Steam riced cauliflower in the microwave according to package instructions. If you grate/rice your own, place in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in the top and steam 5–6 minutes.

Carefully spread steamed cauliflower on a sheet pan lined with paper towels and set in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, garlic and salt. Mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cooled cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough-like consistency is formed. Turn mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet and press into an even layer, similar to a pizza crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. 

Remove from oven and carefully flip over parchment, so the top of the crust is now on the bottom of the baking sheet and peel parchment off the now top crust. Schmear with ricotta mixture.

Bake again for 10–15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Roll-Ups


Recipe courtesy of Amber Talsma

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 10

20 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 30-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large eggs
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup basil, minced

Preheat oven to 375 F. Boil lasagna noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water to cool and then lay flat on a sheet of foil. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté for 4–5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Remove vegetables from the pan. 

Add ground beef to the pan and cook until browned. Drain the excess fat. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. 

To make the filling, combine the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the mozzarella, ¾ cup of the Parmesan, eggs, remaining salt and pepper, parsley and basil. Stir to combine. 

To assemble, spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan or five 6-inch disposable foil loaf pans. 

Spread 2–3 tablespoons of the filling on each noodle. Then, roll the noodles up so the cheese is on the inside of the roll. 

Lay rolls sideways in the 9x13-inch pan (four rolls will fit in each loaf pan).

Top evenly with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. 

Place pan(s) on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.