Roasted Tomato Mac & Cheese

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Roasted Tomato Mac & Cheese
Cheesy, comforting mac and cheese with roasted tomatoes, bacon and fresh herbs. Serves two as a main dish or three as a side dish.
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Keyword mac & cheese, pasta
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Keyword mac & cheese, pasta
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Gently toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast until tomatoes are blistered, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your tomatoes.
  3. Turn oven down to 350ºF. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
  4. Set aside 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses for the top.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk milk and heavy cream together.
  6. In a 2-quart oven safe pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Heat until thickened, whisking out any lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I used 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)
  8. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup each cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. Taste sauce and season with more salt or pepper if necessary.
  9. Fold in cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, bacon, 1 teaspoon parsley and 1 teaspoon chives. Top with remaining cheese.
  10. Bake in top third of the oven, just until cheese is melted, about 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and chives.

Italian Easter Pocket Pies

Italian Easter Pocket Pies

Italian Easter Pie, also known as Pizza Rustica is a rich, delicious, savory pie, similar to a quiche. When I was growing up, my family enjoyed this pie at Easter time, but it’s delicious and comforting any time of the year. Easter Pie typically contains meats and cheeses. We made ours with sausage, cheese and spinach. I started making these small, handheld versions years ago for my kids. They love dipping them in pizza sauce. I included the recipe for the homemade pie crust below, but you can streamline the recipe by making the pie dough the night before or using store bought 2-crust pie dough if you wish.

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Italian Easter Pocket Pies
Golden handheld pies filled with Italian sausage, spinach, ricotta and mozzarella cheese
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pastry, pie
Servings
pocket pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Filling
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pastry, pie
Servings
pocket pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Filling
Instructions
Pie Crust
  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Work the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Work the butter into the flour mixture until flat, dime size pieces are formed.
  2. In a small bowl combine the ice water and vinegar. Sprinkle the ice water mixture over the flour mixture a little at a time and mix just until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the water, depending on your climate. On a lightly floured surface, fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times. Form the dough into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours or up to overnight.
Filling and Assembly
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the sausage, spinach, cheeses and seasonings in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Roll out the pie dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into ten 5-inch rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Brush the edges of the rounds with egg wash. Place about 3 tablespoons of filling into the center of each round. Fold the dough over and press the edges to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the pies with egg wash. Cut a 3/4-inch ventilation slit on the top of each pie.
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce or marinara if desired.

Little Spring Vegetable Pot Pies

These little veggie pot pies are so cute and comforting. The crust is incredibly flaky and the filling is so versatile. I used asparagus, carrots and peas for the filling, but feel free to use your favorite vegetables. The possibilities are endless! The small size bakes up quickly and is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. I typically serve these with some fresh fruit or salad greens on the side.

I used vegetable shortening for the crust because it makes the flakiest crust ever and also because the pies can easily be a vegetarian dish. If you’re trying to avoid trans fats, then choose a brand of vegetable shortening that doesn’t contain trans fat or replace some of the vegetable shortening with butter.* Keep in mind that if you replace all of the vegetable shortening with butter, your crust won’t be nearly as flaky.

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Little Spring Vegetable Pot Pies
Servings
Mini pot pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Servings
Mini pot pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Instructions
Pie Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Work the shortening into the flower with your fingertips until flat dime size pieces are formed.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ice water and vinegar. Sprinkle over the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing just until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the liquid, depending on your climate.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over onto itself a few times. Do not over work the dough. Form the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or up to overnight.
Filling
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. (200ºC). Grease four 6-oz ramekins.*** Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and asparagus for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
  3. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour. Cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in the broth and simmer until thickened. Add the milk, parsley and seasonings. Make sure to taste your sauce to adjust the seasonings to your preference. Stir in the peas. Transfer the filling to the greased ramekins.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 4 rounds of dough about an inch larger than the tops of your ramekins. Brush the top edges of the ramekins with a bit of egg wash. Place the rounds of dough on the ramekins, overlapping a bit. Crimp the edges of the dough with your fingers or with a fork. Brush the pies with egg wash. Cut a 3/4-inch ventilation slit in the top of each pie. Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
Recipe Notes

*To replace part of the shortening with butter, use 1/4 cup (48g) shortening and 1/4 cup (57g) butter.

**For a vegetarian version, you can substitute the egg wash by brushing the tops of the pies lightly with olive oil.

***To find the ramekins I used, click here.