Bombolotti Al Forno

Good Morning!  I hope you are all off to a great week.  My weeks continue to get busier and busier but I am enjoying the company I carry around with me every day.  🙂  This little girl is a movin’ and a shakin’…reminding me every few hours with a kick and a punch that she is on her way.  The last 2 weeks so have been filled with “moments-to-remember”.  At 21 weeks, I POPPED.  Yes, without question, there is now a baby bump..and I SWEAR, it happened OVERNIGHT.  My friends and co-workers have been not been shy about pointing this out.  LOL.   In the 21st week, Baby B also started flexing her muscles hard enough for Dad to see it from the outside.  I can only imagine what it is like for him to see a kick or a punch “outside” without having felt them on the “inside” for so many weeks now.  It was so fun for me to see the look on his face as we watched my stomach move all about.  He had this look of “Oh-my-gosh-that-is-FREAKY-but-really-COOL!”  I wish he could feel what I feel.  🙂

In addition to feeling her move, I had my first dream about this munchkin.  I dreamt that my dear friend Jenny McCauley and I were taking a walk together…and while we were walking, Jenny looked down and noticed that suddenly we could see through my stomach!  Baby B was actually a young toddler in there…with chin length blonde hair pulled to the side in a barrette, big blue eyes, and was dressed in a pretty white and pink outfit.  We decided to pull my stomach off of me and hold it out in front of us like a sphere so we could get a better look at her.  All of a sudden…she pooped everywhere!  You know…all over the place.  I insisted that we needed to “clean her up” before we put her back in my tummy.  So…we got out the wipes and washed her up.  Jenny then handed me a solid gaudy blue Elmo diaper.  I looked at her and said, “No…we cannot put that diaper on her!  That is NOT her style.”  Jenny reminded me that it was our ONLY option.  So, on went the diaper and a clean little outfit.  Suddenly she was back in my stomach….and I awoke.  And now…I wait…several weeks (and perhaps months) to see if she looks at all like I dreamt.  I can’t wait to find out!  😉

Amidst all of the excitement surrounding the baby, we are still finding time to cook!  This week, we decided to re-create one of our favorite meals!  Over the last couple of years, Ryan has had to travel to Boston several times for work.  Each time he comes home he says, “You have GOT to try the Bombolotti Al Forno that I had in Boston.  There is this great little restaurant called Ristorante Fiore…”  Lucky enough for us, worked landed BOTH of us in Boston last fall in the same week…overlapping by 1 day.  We took that 1 day and night to share a date at Ristorante Fiore and indulge in Bombolotti Al Forno!  He was right.  DELISH! 

We started our meal at home with a veggie-full salad packed with flavors to compliment the pasta.  You have seen this one before on Indulge….it is “Sarah’s Spinach Salad.”  We love it!  (Word is that this week baby is beginning to taste everything that I taste….so we figured we better get her going on veggies and italian food NOWZA!)

Next up…the Pasta!

With a brief review of the menu description, a little memory of flavors, and some creativity of our own…we replicated this amazing italian baked pasta.  I’m not sure that even the original Chefs would be able to tell the difference.  Give it a try this week!

BOMBOLOTTI AL FORNO

Inspired by Ristorante Fiore

Serves 4

  • 8 x 8 pan
  • 3-4 oz freshly grated Reggiano Parmesano
  • 2/3 lb of Hot Italian Sausage, rolled into quarter sized balls
  • 3-4oz Goat Cheese, crumbled in medium-sized chunks
  • 12 oz Rigatoni noodles (Bombolotti noodles if you can find them!)
  • 1/2 of 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 8 large Basil Leaves (divided in half)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jar of Classico Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes with garlic & olive oil (with juice)
  • Optional:  a pinch or 2 of crushed red pepper.  Do you like it HOT?!

Directions:

*Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Start by making the SAUCE in a 5 qt pot

1.  Saute onion and garlic until translucent

2.  Add both canned tomatoes w/juice and Classico Sauce.  Mix well.

3.  Add 4 leaves of chopped basil.

4.  Sprinkle in crushed red pepper (optional)

5.  Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Next…the SAUSAGE

6.  In a separate pan (wide base), cover bottom of pan with quarter-sized balls of sausage.  Brown on each side for ~5mins on medium-low heat until cooked thru.

7.  Make a cut in each ball and continue cooking if still pink in the middle.

8.  Drain grease and add sausage to the sauce.

And the NOODLES

9.  In another 5 qt pot, bring water to a boil.

10.  Add a dash of salt.

11.  Add noodles and boil until al dente (~10 min)

12.  Strain and add noodles to sauce.

Final Steps!

13.  Grease 8 x 8 baking pan with butter or olive oil.

14.  Pour a layer of the pasta mixture over the bottom of the pan.

15.  Sprinkle a thin layer of goat and parm cheese.

16.  Using the rest of the mixture, pour another layer of the pasta mixture.

17.  Top with a thicker layer of the cheeses.

 

(Notice the excitement on Ryan’s face as the pasta was just about to go into the oven! LOL)

18.  Bake at 475 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

19.  Top with freshly shredded basil and serve!

  

If you like spice…and you like goat cheese…you will LOVE this pasta.  Pair with a glass of bold Zinfandel….one that can stand up to the bold flavors and heat of this dish!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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Thirty, Thankful, & Tributing TASTE

Turning 30 isn’t so bad.  To be honest, I really didn’t have any anxiety about turning 30 to begin with.  Maybe it’s becuase I can hear my Mom saying, “You are only as old as you feel….and I still feel like I’m 25.”  (She is 63, mind you.)  Or maybe it is because I am content with who I am, what I do, and where I have ended up.  I feel pretty fortunate to have married my high school sweetheart, found a career I love, and to be surrounded by so many great friends….those close by and those across the miles.  And did I mention…the best little dog in the world lives at my house (her name is Ruby)…and our first munchkin is due to arrive in August.  All in all…I think this year…my 30th year is shaping up to be a great one!  Thank you to everyone who has made me who I am today…for loving me and supporting…through good times and bad.  🙂

Last Thursday, St. Pat’s, was the big day.  The big 3-0!  Having a birthday on St. Patrick’s has always been a blast….green green green!  Growing up, my Mom made ALL of my birthday food green.  And, once I was older…there was green beer.  LOL.  While I couldn’t indulge in any of the green beer this year, my family and friends ensured that I was spoiled rotten.  First, I woke up to a surprise from Ryan.  A little blue box.

 

I don’t know a girl that doesn’t like the look of a little blue box!  I was even more thrilled with the silver inside.  A beautiful key necklace.  The big key from Ryan, of course….and the little key from Ruby.  Ruby thought I needed a little bling on my necklace, so “Dad” had to order one up with some stones!  🙂  What a thoughtful gift!

That evening, a group of great friends met us out for some pizza.  There was green beer…(no, not for me), lots of pizza, and plenty of laughter to go around.  To the local friends who shared the evening, thank you for being there!

And the next day, celebration continued with my childhood friend, Holly.  Holly treated me to lunch at one of my FAVORITE new restaurants in Iowa City, “Her Soup Kitchen.”  Honestly, the Roasted Portabella sandwich is to.die.for.  Don’t you worry…I will be featuring HSK on Indulge, SOON.  After our lunch, Holly also surprised me with a box of CUPCAKES! 

 

6 White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and 6 “Robin’s Red Velvet” (yep, named after me!).  I have mentioned Holly’s cupcakes on the blog before, but today, I am going to plug them again.  YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THESE CUPCAKES.  The white cupcakes were my favorite (but white always is)…super tasty…super moist…super delicious.  I believe my first comment was, “These are ridiculously good.”   Holly & her business partner Sara are now open for business.  I am so proud of them. 

Check out CRAVINGS at cravingiowa.wordpress.com.  If you are local to Iowa City, I am telling you that these cupcakes are tough competition for Yummy’s and Deluxe!  🙂

And finally, for my 30th bday, I am sharing one of my all-time favorite recipes with you.  Spicy Chicken Pasta.  Again, for those of you who are local to Iowa City, this recipe is a tribute to TASTE on Melrose.  TASTE was my favorite restaurant in Iowa City…hands down.  It was eceletic, quaint, and always delicious.  Just before it closed (Feb 2010), I made it my mission to create their Spicy Chicken Pasta at home.  After running through my anticipated ingredient list and rough attempt at creating the recipe with a local Chef, we perfected it!  Everytime I make this recipe, Ryan will walk into the house or kitchen and say, “Am I am at TASTE?!”  The aroma smells just like our favorite little restaurant.  🙂  And the good news is, the final products tastes EXACTLY like it did when the Chef’s at TASTE made it for us!

For those of you who received the Boudreau Christmas Card this year, this is the recipe I included on the last page of the card.  Pull it out and give it a try!

SPICY CHICKEN PASTA

A tribute to TASTE on Melrose

6 Servings

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Can Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce (pureed)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine
  • 3/4 Quart of Heavy Cream
  • 2 Big Tomatoes, (cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Lb Campanelle Pasta
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro

  

Begin by grilling the chicken breasts (~6-7 minutes on each side at 400 degrees) until cooked through.  Cut chicken into thick slices and again in half.  Add EVOO to a 5 qt pot.  Saute EVOO, garlic, and 3-4 tbsp of the pureed chipotle peppers for 2 minutes.  (Remember, chipotle peppers pack heat!  Start by adding 3 tbsp…you can always add more later…especially if you are sensitive to heat).  Add chicken and red peppers.  Sautee for another 3 minutes. 

Deglaze the pot with 2 tbsp white wine.  Add heavy cream and tomatoes.  Reduce on med-low heat for 30 minutes.  Sauce should reduce by 3/4.  While sauce is reducing, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles (~10 minutes).  You will want the noodles to be al dente.  Once the noodles are done, add 1-2 Tbsp of water from the noodles to the sauce.  Stir well.  Add noodles and cilantro.  Serve with a glass of wine & indulge!

  

 

INDULGE.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Yogurt, Granola & Berries

Good Morning!  Rise and Shine!

“Rise & Shine”…oh how that saying brings back memories.  I’m not sure I have ever shared this story with you…if I have, forgive me.  Growing up, my sister and I shared a bedroom.  We hated it at the time…and I was sure to make it clear (as the big sister), which half the room was mine and which half was hers.  I think there even came a day I told her she needed to pack up all of her dolls and toys and move them to the basement because I was in Jr High…and just too cool to have that “kid” stuff in my room.  WOW.  Poor Nicole.  LOL.  Regardless, we were stuck in that room together…like it or not.  And several times a week, my dad would take his turn coming into our room to wake us up for the morning.  (That alone, had to have been a chore all its own.)  So…our dad’s approach was to walk in the room….snap the room-darkening shade up as fast as he could and shout at the TOP OF HIS LUNGS, “Riiisssse andddd Shiiiinnnnne!!!”  He, of course, thought this was hysterical.  Nicole and I had a harder time finding the humor.  Unfortunately for him, we never forgot this morning ritual and every time I go home to visit, I take every opportunity to walk into his bedroom and shout, “Rise & Shine!” at the top of MY lungs.  He usually rolls over and pretends he didn’t hear me….but I am pretty sure if I looked real closely…he would be grinning from ear to ear.  Some memories never die…and I will make sure that one doesn’t.   If only our parents knew that some of their antics would come back to haunt them.  😉

After that stroll down memory lane, I thought I would share another craving with you.  While there is no doubt that this pregnancy has brought on a new love for sweets, I was blessed with just two cravings in the first trimester…fruit and yogurt.  I went thru soooo many yogurts…sometimes 2-3 a day!  I guess there are worse things, huh?  During that time however, yogurt, fruit, and granola became a new breakfast favorite.  In the event that you are looking for a new morning meal (move over Frosted Flakes)…or an afternoon snack (time to skip that monster cookie?)….give this one a try.

Yogurt of your choice (I loved the Yoplait Light Orange), a sprinkle of granola, a handful of blueberries, and a handful of raspberries. Done!

…Colorful & Crunchy….

…Bite after Bite…

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Breakfast for Friends

So there was a little something I left out of my post on Wednesday.  Yes, we had Bonnie and Matt over for dinner on Saturday night…but also sent them home with….BREAKFAST!   As much as I enjoy cooking for friends, I also love doing little things to make their lives easier or brighter or happier!   So….as I whipped up the spaghetti and meatballs, I also threw together a few pans of our favorite egg bake.  Sure…I had been craving this dish since our weekend in Madison with Cory & Kelly, but making a full 9×13 for just the 2 of us would be way more than we need.  Turns out, dividing the recipe into two 8×8 pans worked perfectly!  And what a fun thing to do for friends…send them home with a homemade breakfast casserole that they simply need to pop in the oven when they roll out of bed.  😉

Just to be fair, this egg bake has been a favorite in the Boudreau family for years.  The original recipe (below) is in the Bylery’s Cookbook (Vol 2).  Mom & Dad Boudreau have been making this breakfast favorite for as long as I remember.  Cory makes it for us every time we visit.  And Ryan and I have a few variations of our own.  (You know I can never leave a recipe alone).  What I am trying to say here is….chances are it will be a winner at your house as well!  (Assuming you like sausage!)

BYERLY’S COUNTRY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

8 – 10 Servings

  • 2 (12oz) packages of frozen hot pork sausage, thawed
  • 2 (1 lb) packages of hash browns
  • 1 cup minced onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 (8oz) packages of shredded co-jack cheese (4 cups), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 (12oz) carton of salsa (optional)  – We use HOT SAUCE instead!  🙂

Grease 9×13 (or 2 – 8×8) glass baking dish.  In a medium skillet, brown sausage; drain.  In a large bowl, combine sausage, hash browns, onion, milk, 3 cups of the cheese, salt, and eggs.  Mix well.  Pour mixture into greased baking dish.  Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.  Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.  (Let it be known, there are many times I make this recipe in the morning and immediately pop in the oven.  No harm done!)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake, uncovered, until knife inserted near the center comes out clean (50-55 mins).  Let stand 10 minutes, covered.  Cut into squares and serve warm with salsa (or hot sauce!). 

 

Serve up a hearty portion.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

And for an added kick, top with tabasco or hot pepper sauce of your choice!  (Our favorite is Marie Sharp’s from Belize…try it!).  Leftovers are good too…we’ve been eating ours all week!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

S’ghetti & Meatballs

Good Morning!  Do you need a smile today?  A little pick me up?  Well you are in luck.  I have just the fix!  For those of you who didn’t see this online yesterday, check it out.  This laughing baby had me laughing out loud!  After a long Monday….and an equally long Tuesday, it was just what I needed. 

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/laughing-baby-loves-ripping-paper-2459529

Hopefully it will hit the spot for you as well.  And what a friendly reminder….it’s all about the little things….like torn paper.  🙂

And speaking of little things…I have a recipe to share with you today for some “not-so-little-meatballs”…and spaghetti, of course!  After a month of looking forward to this meal, our good friends Bonnie and Matt came over on Saturday night to enjoy a “S’ghetti and Meatballs” dinner with us.  You all know how much we love italian…and you all know we love to cook…but there are few things we love more than cooking for friends.  Thank you, Bonnie and Matt, for joining us! 

Now…I am not going to lie to any of you and tell you that this is a quick easy meal.  It’s not.  No…it’s not hard but it does require a little patience.  We’ve made this recipe before but later swore we’d only do it for a group because it was just a little too much  work (and makes servings for 6) to whip it up for just the 2 of us.  With all of that said, we love this recipe.  It is well worth the patience!   

 S’GHETTI & MEATBALLS

6 servings

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef (90%)
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil (plus another tablespoon)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand with juices
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, with garlic and olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Mozzarella
  • Freshly chopped Basil

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the 5qt pot.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.   Add the crushed tomatoes, whole peeled tomatoes, and petite diced tomatoes.  Add the wine, fresh basil, salt, and pepper.  Stir well and bring to a gentle boil.  Return to a simmer uncovered, stirring often.  Reduce for ~1 hr.  Drizzle in another tablespoon of olive oil just before serving.

 
While the sauce is reducing, begin making the meatballs.  Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, parmigiano-reggiano, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, red pepper, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl.  Combine gently with a spatula. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 3-inch meatballs. 
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
 
Pour the olive oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch.   Once the oil is hot but not boiling, carefully place the meatballs (in batches) in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning gently.   Once the meatballs are browned, remove them and place them in a baking dish.  Spoon about 3 ladles of sauce over the meatballs.   Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.   Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, fill another pot with salted water.  Bring the water to a boil.  Add spaghetti noodles and boil until al dente.

Remove meatballs from the oven (cutting one in half to ensure they are done and no longer pink).  Strain the noodles.  Build your feast! 

Top your spaghetti noodles with sauce, meatballs, freshly grated mozzarella, and freshly chopped basil.

Serve with a good glass of red wine (yes, N/A versions do exist…I will review in another post), a salad, and homemade garlic bread!

Twirl your s’ghetti and dig in! 

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, cancel your dinner reservations and invite your friends over for dinner.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”  If I could share my two cents, I would go on to say…

The heart of the home is the table gathered round by guests .” 

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.