We all know that a classic lasagna takes up to an hour or more to bake, so with this recipe I set out to create a lasagna substitute that tasted just like lasagna, but shaved off half or more of the cooking time. Farfelle pasta was a new experience for me, but I have to say that it was one of the best pastas that I have had. This recipe feeds a crowd, so don’t make it for 2-4 people. It can comfortably feed ten, and as a side dish probably double that amount. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features El Gastronomo, Friar Tyst, and The Chef. First we will hear a word on kitchen safety from El Gastronomo.

Cooking With Raw Meat, Kitchen Safety Edition: El Gastronomo: “When cooking with any type of raw meat, it is necessary to make sure that the meat it completely thawed before use. This is especially important if it is going to be fried. You wouldn’t want to start an oil fire in your kitchen! In addition to this, frozen meat does not cook thoroughly, it simply burns on the outside and stays raw on the inside.”

Well, that’s good to know! Thank you sir, for that essential lesson on cooking raw meat.

The Ingredients: 1 lb. Farfelle (or Bowtie) pasta, 1 24 oz. can Hunt’s four cheese pasta sauce, 1 cup of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of ground turkey, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 6 oz. baby spinach, 1/2 to 1 cup pre-shredded Italian blend cheese, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. garlic (FYI, when I say garlic in my recipes I mean garlic powder.)

Thaw ground turkey in your microwave until it is no longer frozen. Add 2 tbsp. of the olive oil to a large saucepan. Cook the meat over medium high heat for 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked in the middle, breaking it up as you go. While you are cooking the meat, boil the pasta for ten minutes, then turn off the heat. Add the pasta, meat, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, cottage cheese, sour cream, and spices to your crock-pot, turn the heat on low. In the same pot that you used for the pasta, wilt the spinach in batches over medium heat, using 2 tbsp. olive oil to 1 cup of spinach. Add the wilted spinach and cheese to the crock-pot. Let cook for an additional ten minutes. Serve warm with toasted Italian bread.

Pardon the shadowy picture, it looks better in artificial light.:)

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