Posts tagged ‘basil’

March 30, 2011

margherita lasagna

Last week, I bought a butt load of basil for the bruschetta I made. The bruschetta recipe doesn’t call for a butt load of basil – just 8-9 leaves – but unfortunately basil isn’t usually sold by the leaves.

So I was stuck with a ton of leftover basil that was slowly starting to wither away.

And I started to panic thinking about this basil ($$$) going to waste.

So what did I do? I made basil paste with it!

This basil paste is simply basil and extra virgin olive oil, blended together into a thing of beauty.


Margherita pizza is my favorite pizza in the world. It’s so simple, yet still delicious at the same time. And that’s what I wanted to translate to this lasagna.

So, what goes into Margherita pizza? Well, “bread,” tomato sauce/tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil!

But I will say here that this lasagna did need a bit of “bulk,” so next time I will probably add some hot sausage to the tomato sauce. And maybe even some layers of veggies.

My “tomato sauce” of choice?


Start with a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, just to flavor the bottom of the lasagna and keep it from sticking to the pan.


Then begin the layering process with the noodles…this is the kind I used:


Then slather on the sauce…


Sprinkle on the cheese…


And another layer of noodle…I used a smaller baking dish so I had to break up some of the noodles, but I couldn’t even tell in the end product!


But instead of tomato sauce this time, layer on the basil paste…


And then cheese again.

Repeat layering (pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, pasta, basil paste, cheese) until you reach the top or…run out of cheese (which is what happened to me, so I had to cut the lasagna short, literally).


After baking, behold this beauty!


By the way, this “cookie” spatula works awesome for lasagna too!



But there are some things I will change for the future, including:

1. “bulking” the sauce up with ground (hot) sausage. I loooove hot links, so I’ll probably use that.

2. adding a layer of thinly sliced long vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or maybe even whole sliced tomatoes.

3. Using fresh, sliced mozzarella instead of shredded mozzarella.



Margherita Lasagna

Serves: 2-4



1 package lasagna noodles (I used the “no-boil” kind)

2 cups favorite tomato sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or sliced mozzarella cheese)

2 cups fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil



Preheat oven to 375F.

Start by making the basil paste by blending together the basil and extra virgin olive oil.

In a baking dish, layer lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, mozzarella, lasagna noodles,  basil paste, then mozzarella. Repeat until you reach the top of the baking dish, ending with mozzarella.

Cover the top of the baking dish with foil and bake about 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a few more minutes until the top is melted and bubbly.


We kinda liked this.

March 24, 2011

addictive bruschetta

This bruschetta is…addicting. It’s so good, I just popped these one after another into my mouth. I love classic bruschetta, and whenever I make it, I make it the same way – it never lets me down!

I made these today because Jeff has been bugging me to bake him the other half of the Camembert with roasted garlic. I finally went to the market today to get the baguette so I could comply to his request. I’m a girl who loves killing 2 birds with one stone so I decided to use the baguette for bruschetta as well.

Don’t worry, Jeff still got his Baked Camembert.


But he got bruschetta too.

He’s a lucky guy and he better know it!


Trader Joe’s Artisan Srilatino baguette is my favorite go-to baguette. I just love it. Sometimes I’m tempted to buy one of the other baguettes available, but I always fall back on this one.


It’s the perfect base for this bruschetta. After it’s sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled, I rubbed each slice with a piece of garlic and sprinkled it with some mozzarella before putting it back into the oven to broil again until the cheese melts beautifully.


I have become obsessed with rubbing crostini with garlic. I used to scoff at it, thinking, how much flavor can it really transfer to the bread? But don’t underestimate the power of garlic.

As you rub, the garlic clove gets smaller and smaller. Hey that means it must be going somewhere right?? Yep, it’s melting beautifully into the bread.


As for the bruschetta topping itself, it starts with beautiful Roma tomatoes.

Make sure to get out all the juice and seeds, you don’t want an overly watery bruschetta!


Don’t worry, none of the innards went to waste. I sprinkled it with a little sugar and slurped away…

So, so good. In undergrad when I was in the dorms, I used to get a plateful of the sliced tomatoes at the deli bar (usually for the sandwiches) and sprinkle it with sugar. And eat. Holy yum!


Anyway, back to the bruschetta. The tomatoes, mixed with basil, red onion, and garlic…


And then seasoned with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and kosher salt…

= Come to mama.


Today, I was excited to finally bust this open to use in this bruschetta. I think I bought it last year.

It made a great addition to the bruschetta.


Jeff and I enjoyed this bruschetta immensely, along with the Baked Camembert and roasted garlic. After a while, I started smearing roasted garlic on crostini and topping it with the bruschetta mix, which was heavenly too.

We each got a whole bulb to ourselves again. Roasted garlic, I love you.



Serves: 4-6



-1 baguette, sliced thinly

-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 clove garlic, halved

-1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (sliced mozzarella would work wonderfully too)


for the topping:

-5-6 Roma tomatoes, halved, seeds and juice removed, and diced

-1/4 medium red onion, chopped

-4-5 cloves garlic, minced

-8-9 large leaves basil, chopped

-2 T balsamic vinegar

-2 T extra virgin olive oil

-kosher salt, to taste



Begin by prepping the topping. Combine tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and basil in a medium bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and mix. Sprinkle with kosher salt until seasoned to taste. Set aside and let it marinate until needed.

Preheat oven to Broil or if no broil setting is available, 425F. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet covered in foil and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Rub each slice with the clove of garlic and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Place back into the oven for 2 minutes or until cheese has melted and bubbles.

Top each slice with a spoonful of the bruschetta topping. Serve and enjoy!


Nutritional Information for 5 pieces of bruschetta: 140 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 210mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g protein