One thing that I have learned from my two attempts to make mozzarella last week is that I am very good at making ricotta. I will try again, I am sure, but for now I had to find a recipe to use up all this delicious ricotta cheese that I had accidentally made.
I turned to Giada De Laurentiis's Everyday Pasta and found a recipe for shrimp lasagna rolls with creamy marinara sauce and adapted it to use some of the other seafood that I had in the freezer.
For the fresh pasta, I wanted to try making whole wheat noodles so I subbed in half of the flour for whole wheat and added some dried herbs. The meal has a lot of parts but is not difficult, and hubby said it was the best meal he had ever had. High praise indeed!
Basic Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be made one day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
Herbed Fresh Pasta
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
Place flour in the bowl of a large food processor. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt, herbs and olive oil to the eggs and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture to the food processor with the flour and pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides once or twice. Continue, with the machine running, until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers. Some of the dough will be clumping together, but it will not form a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough into a ball and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before rolling.
Seafood Lasagna Rolls with Creamy Marinara
1 pound lasagna
3 tbsp olive oil
1 heaping cup each shrimp, calamari, and scallops (approximately)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (15oz) containers whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, drain.
(I like to spread mine out on an oiled baking sheet, drizzle with a little more olive oil and cover with a moist tea towel while the noodles are waiting for the next step - it keeps the cooked noodles from sticking to each other.)
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Season the seafood with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and the garlic to the pan and saute until the seafood is cooked, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool. Coarsely chop the cooled seafood and place in a large bowl with 2 cups of the ricotta cheese, the Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.
In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce with the remaining 1 cup of ricotta cheese and stir to combine.
To make the lasagna, cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara mixture. Lay four noodles down on a dry work surface. Spread about 1/4 cup of the seafood mixture evenly over each noodle. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat twice more to make 12 lasagna rolls. Drizzle the rolls with the remaining marinara sauce and top with grated mozzarella. Bake until the lasagna rolls are heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. (I broiled a little at the end.)
All of today's recipes are adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Pasta.