|Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch|
I know this Baked Spaghetti dish has a lot of moving parts but it can easily be simplified by substituting some of the from-scratch ingredients with your favorite store-bought items. However, once you make fresh ricotta cheese you will never return to the store for it!
Homemade Ricotta1 gallon whole or raw milk
1/3 cup of white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1. Heat milk in a large, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 185 degrees.
2. Remove from heat and add the vinegar and salt, stirring gently.
3. Cover the pot and let stand for two hours.
4. Carefully transfer mixture to a cheese-cloth-lined colander.
5. Let drain for about two hours.
If you are fortunate enough to have any leftover ricotta from this bake, it can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to a week. Or you might just want to make extra. May I suggest some Ricotta Pancakes? Add a tablespoon of ground food-grade lavender for a nice twist.
Your Favorite Fresh PastaPhoto by Jerry James Stone
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups semolina flour, sifted
2 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch of sea salt
1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
2. Place the yolks into a measuring cup.
3. Slowly add the egg whites to about 7/8 of a cup.
4. Gently whisk together the egg mixture and olive oil.
5. In a large bowl, slowly add the egg and oil mixture to the semolina flour.
6. Knead dough for about 10 minutes.
7. Roll dough into a ball, wrap with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
8. Roll out spaghetti through a pasta machine.
9. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
10. Cook pasta for about 2 minutes and drain.
Roasted Tomato MarinaraPhoto by Kevin Schuder
10 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
2 shallots, chopped
6 gloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of dried sage powder
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1. Heat a large saute pan over high heat.
2. Add the tomatoes, don't move them until they burn and blister. Then flip them over, repeating until the tomatoes are charred and softened.
3. In a large sauce pot, warm some olive oil over a medium-high heat.
4. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic. Cook until softened then remove from heat.
5. Add the tomatoes.
6. Deglaze the saute pan with some of the red wine, add it to the sauce pot.
7. Add the remaining red wine, the dried herbs, and the chili powder.
8. Carefully blend with an immersion blender or in batches through a food processor.
9. Add bay leaf and cook at a very low simmer for 2 hours.
10. Finish with sugar.
11. Salt and pepper to taste once cooled.
Baked SpaghettiPhoto by Jaymi Heimbuch
Homemade ricotta cheese
Fresh spaghetti, cooked
Roasted tomato sauce
1 bunch of fresh basil, washed
1 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Using a 9 x 13 dish, layer the sauce, ricotta and spaghetti as you would a lasagna.
2. Top with mozzarella and bake at 350°F until the sauce is bubbly.
3. Finish with fresh basil leaves and serve.
This dish is simple in its construction but with all of the fresh ingredients, it is bursting with flavor. Still, don't steer away from modifying it. Spinach and roasted red peppers would be a quick compliment, as would mushrooms.
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