Each day we creep closer and closer to winter and my beloved Holiday Season, which means my favorite type of food: comfort food. And what is more comforting than carbs, right? I have been wanting to tackle my mom’s Americanized “Hamburger” Stroganoff recipe for some time now, but hesitated feeling unsure it would taste like hers and fearing disappointment as she did not leave me her recipe. As in most things, my fears were for naught and I should have just trusted my memories to guide me in the right direction.
I love authentic Russian Stroganoff, but rarely have beef in fridge. I also lack the courage, skill and conviction to tackle making blini. I think I will leave tradition to the professionals! This Americanized version does pull from a similar flavor profile, savory mushrooms and tangy sour cream, and delivers an all together satisfying dish with a hint more tomato flavor to make a rich and delicious sauce for the pasta. Tucking into this hearty casserole on a cold day with a nice glass of wine, I’m sure you’ll find that this Turkey Stroganoff is every bit as comforting and delightful as its more refined namesake.
One of the things I most look forward to each year is the first snowfall of the season. Snow has always felt lucky to me in many ways, I have fond memories of good things happening on snowy days and seeing those first few snowflakes swirling in the wind always makes me smile. This past weekend I had the great pleasure of being snowed in and watching as the view from my balcony transformed into a winter wonderland, it felt like I was looking into a snow globe.
It was one of those perfect days where you have all the time in the world to prepare something truly special, but we decided to add a twist. My sister and I decided we would pool our resources together to come up with the perfect Snowmeggedon meal. A sort of Chopped: Snowed In Edition, and boy did it pay off. We decided on pasta very quickly, and it became apparent that meat and cheese would be essential additions. Baked Ziti came to mind, but we didn’t have the proper ingredients, and no Italian wants to be responsible for serving up a sub-par Baked Ziti. I decided to tear through my library of cookbooks for something out of the ordinary and stumbled upon a Macaroni and Cheese cookbook that I had poured through many times but not yet got around to trying out. It was the clear winner.
Feeling ambitious we decided to use a base recipe, substituting what ingredients we had and hoping for the best. We decided upon a cheese combination of Sharp White Cheddar and creamy Havarti, with the addition of spicy Italian sausage to break up some of the creamy richness of the sauce. Before baking we sprinkled with some dried Italian herbs and Parmesan cheese. This was heavenly. A big cheesy hug on a snowy day. I’ve documented it here, lovingly named it our Snowmeggeddon Mac ‘N Cheese and hope you can enjoy our cheesy success the next time you’re snowed in.
Some recipes come entirely out of necessity. About a month ago I made a fresh batch of Spinach & Ricotta ravioli, (recipe coming soon!) and as I started to fill the raviolis I realized that I would have a large quantity of filling left over. I had two choices, to make another batch of ravioli dough sometime in the near future or find another use for the filling. As my weekends booked up, and the filling sat taking up too much real estate in my freezer, it became clear that I would not have the time it would take to make more dough. I pondered about using it to stuff a chicken, or making rice balls, but I didn’t want to damage the integrity of the filling. That’s when Pinterest saved the day. All those hours of absentmindedly pinning lasagna roll-up variations made a light bulb go off in my brain. I could offer the same comfort and depth of flavor as a baked pasta without sacrificing an entire day for preparation.
The spinach & ricotta filling here is the real shining star, it is not bland and mundane like other similar pasta fillers, but packed with flavor and the roll-ups really showcase the delicious flavors without letting the pasta overshadow them.