Red Lentil Pasta -Napoli Style

Red Lentil Pasta-Napoli Style, is the second of two recipes I created to show how marinara sauce can be used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes.   The first one was Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan, which I posted last Saturday.  Casseroles like this are great because they can be made in advance, and actually taste better the next day.

Red Lentil Pasta Feature

To make things easy, you can buy marinara sauce at your local supermarket.  If you would like to make it, click on Marinara Sauce – An Italian Essential for my recipe.

Marinara Sauce Feature

INGREDIENTS:

Red Lentil Pasta Ingredients

  • 10 oz box of red lentil pasta (believe it or not, I bought this at Walmart.  It only has one ingredient listed on the box–red lentil flour.  That’s it, and water Of course.)
  • 1 lb of ground pork ( we are blessed to have this special Berkshire ground pork provided to us by our neighbors, Rose and James, at Peach Creek Farm.)
  • 2 lbs of ground beef ( this Austin bred & fed ground beef is from K & C Cattle Co.  which is owned by Patrick, an Army veteran of the 1st Ranger Battalion.)
  • 20 ounces of grated Parmesan (I usually grate my  own, but I found this grated Parmigiano-Reggiano imported from Italy at Costco.  It is the real thing with absolutely no additives.)
  • 24 ounces of marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

COOK:

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  • Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with olive oil
  • Add the ground meat, break it up into bite sized pieces.
  • Saute until brown

Red Lentil Pasta Cook 4

  • Add the marinara sauce
  • Cook for about 10 minutes until the marinara sauce is bubbling
  • Add the pasta
  • Stir it in
  • Cook for 4 minutes.  At this point it will be par cooked.  It will finish cooking when we bake the casserole in the oven.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste

ASSEMBLY: the casserole is assembled in 4 layers using a 9 X 11 baking dish.

Layer 1 –  spread half the pasta mixture

Layer 2 – sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese

Layer 3 – spread the last half of the pasta mixture

Layer 4 – sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese

I like to make the top layer of cheese thicker so that I can get a really cheesy, golden crust.  Its the best part.

Cover with foil.  Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, and bake for another 15 minutes at 400 F to get the golden brown and delicious crust. 😋

Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.  This a great meal to pack for lunch, or make ahead for a quick supper after work.  It is filling, nutritious, and yummy.

On days when my husband is working on the ranch, he gets very hungry and will end up eating a big piece as soon as he comes indoors.  Here is a piece he plated for himself.

Red Lentil Pasta Plated

I like the way it cuts into a sturdy slice.  It almost looks like lasagna.

Please try this and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Next Saturday, I will be posting an unusual and easy Indian vegetable recipe.  Be on the lookout for it.

Ciao for now 🖐

My Grandma’s Yoghurt-A Story of Hope

I want to share with all of you, a yummy blackberry parfait and a story of HOPE, to help bring a smile as we go through these difficult times.

Blackberry Yoghurt Parfait Copy

Hope all of you are keeping safe during this world wide pandemic.  I have been keeping busy by catching up on all the tasks that I had not found time to do.  I have been losing track of the days as they pass by.  I just realized that I have not even taken a step out of my house in 10 days!!!

Ten days ago, when I went shopping for supplies so that we could shelter in place, the shelves in our local supermarket were bare.  There was not even one bottle of milk.  I asked my husband to go to a local dairy farm, The Jersey Barnyard, to see if he could find some milk to bring home so that I could make yoghurt.

I usually make yoghurt weekly, from the best milk that is available to me.  I still have the live yoghurt culture that my mom started.  I love keeping her culture alive because then I always have a part of her with me. 💕 Click on My Mom’s Yogurt, to get step by step instructions on how to make yoghurt.

My husband brought back a gallon of Raw Jersey Cow’s Milk from The Jersey Barnyard.  This milk had just come fresh from the cow.  Jersey cows have the best milk.  Jersey milk has a higher fat content (4.9%) than Holstein milk (3.7%), so it makes a creamier yoghurt.  In addition, Jersey milk has the original A2 protein instead of the mutated A1 protein.  A2 protein is easier to digest than A1 protein.   Lately, I have been using A2 milk from the grocery store, but this local, raw milk is even better.

It reminded me of the milk I used to go get with my grandma when I was a little girl.  We used to go to the dairy very early in the morning.  My grandma would inspect the cows.  She would especially look at their eyes to make sure they were clear, which meant that the cow was healthy.  Once she picked the cow she wanted milk from, she would give her bucket to the farmer to fill up with fresh, hand-stripped milk.  Straight from the cow into the bucket.  When she made yoghurt from this milk, it always had a thick layer of cream on top.  That creamy top layer was my absolute favorite.  I loved being the first one to break into a batch of freshly made yoghurt.

To my delight, when I made yoghurt from this farm fresh raw milk, it came out just like my grandma’s.  You can see the thick layer of cream in the photo below.

Grandma's Yoghurt Feature

Here are side by side photos of yoghurt made from the Promise Land Milk (left) and Raw Jersey Cow’s Milk (right).

You can see the difference in the two.  The raw Jersey milk yoghurt has a thick layer of cream on the top.  This is the creamiest, most flavorful yoghurt.  My husband has decided that this is the only yoghurt he wants from now on.  So the milk bought because there was none on the shelves, during this pandemic, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  It resurrected a childhood pleasure moment that I shared with my grandma.  I consider it A SIGN OF HOPE.

I used it to make a delicious low carb Blackberry Parfait.

Blackberry Yoghurt Parfait Copy

I layered my grandma’s yoghurt with blackberries, pistachios and my homemade chai spice mix.  You can substitute a mixture of fennel and cardamom powder for the chai spice mix.  The parfait tasted similar to a dessert that I used to eat when I was little, but this one has no sugar.  It fits my Ketogenic lifestyle.

Let me know if you have any STORIES OF HOPE.  We could all use a little cheering up😊

A big thank you to my Nani Ji (grandma) and my mom.  I will love them always.💖💖