Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

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Do not let the title of this next recipe fool you..this is one of the easiest dishes I have ever made, and by far one of the most delicious! Perfect as an appetizer individually, or paired with a nice side of roasted vegetables, my Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls are just the perfect amount of cheesy goodness to satisfy your baked pasta craving…and who doesn’t love bacon? No one.

For the vegans and vegetarians, the great thing about baked and stuffed pasta is that the ingredients are always interchangeable! Instead of ricotta, shrimp, and bacon, a great alternative would be soy cheese and some delicious cooked vegetables that pair well with starch like butternut squash, sweet potato or asparagus. As for the pasta itself, most wheat pastas are actually vegan-friendly because they are made from Duram Semolina, which is essentially wheat flour. Only egg pasta noodles (like Gnocchi) contain dairy ingredients. So remember, any pasta that is made with Duram Semolina is vegan-friendly – just make sure to check the ingredients on the back of the box if your buying the noodles, just to be safe.

Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

5 Lasagne Strips (As discussed in Pasta 101, lasagne is a singular noodle, lasagna is the dish when there are multiple noodles)
2×500 ml tubs Ricotta Cheese
1 bag of de-veined, de-shelled shrimp
10 – 15 strips uncooked bacon (depending on your bacon craving)
1 head of warm-blanched broccoli (slightly boiled for about 2-3 minutes)
4 cloves garlic, pressed and chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons butter/margarine
3 cups of your choice of pasta sauce!
20 toothpicks

Serves: A meal for 3 – 5

1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. In a large pot, bring unsalted water to a boil and place in lasagne noodles.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet heat butter on low to a sizzle and toss in chopped garlic and shrimp.
4. With your lasagne noodles, you want to cook them until soft enough that they are flexible, but not to the point of mush. I usually leave them in about 4 minutes. I you still feel they are too al dente, don’t worry – the pasta sauce will soften them more. When the noddles are ready – take them out and lay them in casserole pan to dry and assemble, and then cut them in HALF – this means you will have TEN noodles.
5. Cook the shrimp until pink and no longer transparent. Adding more butter to the skillet for flavor is always an option : ) Once done, place shrimp in food processor.
6. Cutting off LARGE chunks, place the blanched broccoli in food processor as well.
7. Next, cook bacon in the same skillet as your buttered shrimp until well done. Once cooked, remove and immediately place strips in food processor.
8. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor JUST A LITTLE BIT – you want small chunks..not bacon, shrimp and broccoli dip.
9. In a separate bowl, fill with ricotta and parsley. Mix together.
10. Next, combine ricotta mixture and bacon, broccoli, and shrimp mixture.

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11. In the casserole pan where the noodles lay, roll each noodle into a small tube about 1 inch in diameter – secure and PIN with two toothpicks.
12. Using a small spoon, fill the pasta tubes with the filling mixture until slightly heaping, and then place each roll an inch apart in the pan.
13. Coat with sauce of your choice (I LOVE a good blush sauce), and bake for about 20 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble.
14. Serve, remove toothpicks, and Bon Appetit!

TIP: The reason why the seasoning is so minimal in this dish, is because I think there is so much flavor jam-packed into the filling with the shrimp, butter and bacon, that no extra herbs is necessary. It will only take away from the filling flavor. But, like all foodies, I have my preferences so feel free to add what YOU like!

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Creamy Shrimp and Vegetable Salad

shrimpsalad
(image courtesy of madeinkitchen.tv)

I will be the first to admit, no advocate, that I despise any type of cream-based salad. Potato salad, macaroni salad.. not my cup of tea. But when I came across a seafood salad at a local hotel, it completely changed my perspective on my controversial opinion. I still distaste potato and macaroni salad…but I LOVE this version of shrimp salad that I conjured up, and I hope you will to!

Shrimp and Vegetable Salad

1 bag frozen de-veined and de-shelled raw shrimp
Half of a lemon
1 cucumber, peeled and diced into cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh dill (3 teaspoon dried dill works fine too)
4 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small carton cherry red tomatoes
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1. In a small skillet, slowly cook the shrimp. No olive oil, no butter. Just water. It seems odd, but it leaves the shrimp light, crisp, and fresh.
2. As the shrimp is slowly cooking, squeeze all the lemon juice you can from the halve over the shrimp. Save the the skin for later, as you will need about 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest.
3. As the shrimp loses its transparency, take off the heat – the shrimp is nearly done.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and cayenne pepper until blended together.
5. In a separate bowl, add the diced cucumber, carrots, and cherry red tomatoes.
6. Combine shrimp with the vegetables, then add the creamy mayonnaise mixture and blend well. After blended, add the parsley, dill and the lemon zest.
7. After everything is combined, refrigerate for a couple hours and then serve! Best served chilled : )

Serves: 2

TIP: You can replace/add any shelled seafood you would like to this dish (cooked properly beforehand of course). Shredded crab meat is also delicious in this recipe! For some extra fill, sometimes I use this mixture in a grilled tortilla with some sliced avocado as well.

Superb!

Scallops with Champagne Custard

Baked scallops
(image courtesy of saveur.com)

This recipe comes to us from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (See “A Little Love; A Little Lava..). With only 5 ingredients, this scallop recipe is sure to please any seafood lover – like myself. It’s a little bit of work, but trust me, the taste is WORTH IT.

Scallops with Champagne Custard

12 scallops, in their shells
3/4 cup of champagne (I prefer a sweeter one, but it’s entirely up to you)
3/4 cup of fish OR chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks

Serves: 3 – 4 as an appetizer

1. Shell and rinse the scallops to remove any dirt or sand; set aside in a bowl at room temperature.
2. Rinse the top half of each scallop and set aside for baking/serving.
3. Over medium heat in a small saucepan, reduce the champagne to about half; set aside to cool down.
4. In another saucepan, combine stock and any scallop juices and reduce to half.
5. Lower the heat and add the heavy cream; Quickly bring to just a boil, then take off the heat.
6. In a mixing bowl, mix the cooled champagne, add the egg yolks and whisk until foamy.
7. Slowly, add the cream mixture and whisk continuously – this is the beginning of your custard.
8. Transfer this mixture back to a saucepan, and over LOW heat, whisk custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon (this may take 10 – 15 minutes).
9. Preheat the broiler.
10. Cut each scallop in half horizontally so you have two coins per scallop.
11. Arrange 6 shells per baking sheet, and top off the shells with a scallop coin and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the custard.
12. Cook each pan individually (6 halved scallops per pan = 4 pans) under the broiler for 1 – 2 minutes
13. Serve right away!

TIP: DO NOT rush the custard cooking time by turning up the heat – this may cause the custard to cook too fast and separate. Also, if you prefer your scallops to well done, precook the scallops in a saucepan before baking in the oven. Topping off the scallops with some chopped green onions or bacon bits can also add a nice kick to your flavor!

Enjoy!