Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One Hundred Sixty One (Popeye Strikes Again!!)

Baked Farro with Fresh Ricotta and Mozzarella - Popeye Style - with Spinach
This weekend I visited one of my favorite stores in one of my favorite neighborhoods in one of my favorite cities....Teitels in Little Italy in the Bronx.  It was nice to have a new friend along - Tania - as we shared stories of parenting and the art of feeding our offspring.

As always, I loaded up on fresh made mozzarella (once you've had this stuff it is really hard to be satisfied by the mass produced supermarket variety), fresh ricotta, fresh parmesan and farro pasta.

I decided to make a new old time favorite - baked penne - but this time with a little influence from an old old time favorite - Popeye.   Baked pennette with spinach!

One organic onion (finely chopped)

8-10 crimini mushrooms (thinly sliced)
4-5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped or minced with salt)
1/4 – 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Pomi – crushed tomatoes – all natural, no citric acid – in a carton (no BPA in packaging).  Soon you will be able to buy this on our website.
1-2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt (also soon to be available on our website)
Ground pepper to taste

1 TBL Organic sugar (optional)
1/2 bunch fresh spinach, carefully cleaned and rinsed with water and vinegar.  Coarsley chopped. 
One packages of FARRO pasta which you can now purchase at the Spelt Right store. 
1/2 small container of whole milk ricotta
One half to one pound of natural mozzarella (shredded or pulled apart)
Place chopped onion and garlic in olive oil in large stainless steel pan. Saute until onions are brown. Add mushrooms Saute until browned. Add Pomi tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Add one teaspoon of organic sugar if desired. Stir all ingredients. Cook on medium low for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil.
In the meantime, boil and drain Farro Pasta according to instructions on panel. Rinse, and then toss with extra virgin olive oil to keep from sticking.
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a 9 inch glass baking dish, spread a little of the sauce on the bottom to keep the pasta from sticking. In the sauce pan, toss the pasta sauce and pasta. When thoroughly tossed, place the pasta in the baking dish. Fold in the ricotta.  Fold in the spinach. Then sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake until bubbling on top. 
This meal was DEVOURED.  Can you imagine if we had Popeye to dinner?

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