Green beans and bacon rolls: a tasty side dish.

The recipes I am sharing today is quite basic (I would say almost trivial) but maybe not everybody knows it, and since my blog is many times directed to “first approach cooks” learning this quick, easy but absolutely delicious and scenic recipe could be of some use for someone (or at lest I hope so 🙂 ).  And last, but not least, I totally love the combo green beans and bacon, which I found out that in USA is quite unusual, since most of the time, you see these rolls made with green asparagus instead.   Before to start describing the method, I have to admit that when I eat green beans in restaurants here in Midwest I don’t like them much because they are served almost raw (and still crisp). I prefer steaming the green beans first, in this way they are more tender and tasty.  But let’s go back to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS for about 4 servings

1 lb. green beans

1/2 lb. bacon

Directions

Rinse and dry the green beans, place them in a stained steel pot with one inch of water and put the lid on. At high heat wait until the water inside the pot start boiling, then (always keeping the lid on), switch to low heat and steam  the green beans for twenty minutes. Once steamed, dry in a colander.

Wrap about 5 green beans a time with half a slice of bacon. Place in an oven sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 420 F. (200 C.) for about 20-30 minutes. YUMMMMM what a delicious smell!!!!

Serve in a cute serving dish well arranged and still warm, and people will love it!

LEARNT IT! MADE IT! LOVED IT!

TIPS: 

– There is really no needs to add extra condiments to these rolls: while baking, the bacon releases all its salt and fat, and the green beans will absorb all the taste.

– The quantities I gave you are merely approximative: when cooked like this, I could eat the all bunch by myself!

– Considering the baking, and the avoid of using condiments, this side dish is quite a  low calories, low carbs and high protein source.

– This side dish is so scenic that it would be perfect for a special dinner (why not for a Valentine’s day one?) and is also very versatile because you can prepare the wraps ahead of time and bake them at dinner time.

Did you like this recipe? Have you ever made green beans this way? Which is your favorite way to prepare green beans?

Please, leave a comment, and If you’d like to receive one recipe weekly for free, subscribe! 

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Silvia

White onion, bacon and blue cheese savory pie: the utimate recipe for a magnificent appetizer.


Hi everyone! Ready for Thanksgiving? You probably all are and I apologize if I am so late in posting something BUT.. if you are still hoping in a last minute idea for a fabulous (but easy) appetizer  to keep the stomachs quiet in the waiting of the craved Turkey, you are reading the perfect post!

You probably remember that I like using puff pastry very much (especially for appetizer), because it is so versatile and it is very easy to use… do you remember my savory cheese and bacon pie? This new recipe with puff pastry will for sure not leave you disappointed!

This savory pie is as simple as it is, but has a flavor so special that everyone (even who doesn’t like blue cheese) will love it! I’ve made it twice since I found the recipe on Pinterest few weeks ago and I couldn’t manage to get a picture of the pie once cut, because it just disappeared from the table in few minutes! It is so delicious!

I have to tell you that I was skeptic about using the balsamic vinegar and all that onion, but at the end, those two ingredients are just the perfect touch to this super tasty appetizer which is a cheesy heaven with a delicate vinegar and onion aftertaste. Although it is not a finger food, this pie it’s an appetizer I would absolutely suggest you to try  because it is so delicious, scenic and appealing that your guests will be amazed!

INGREDIENTS for 1 puff pastry sheet

1 frozen puff pastry sheet

3 regular sized white onions peeled and finely cut

7 oz. blue cheese (200 gr. formaggio verde) cut in small cubes

3.5 oz little stripes of bacon (100 gr.)

2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 eggs

olive oil

1 handful grated parmesan cheese

few tbs. crumbled bread

sea salt to taste

1 egg yolk to brush the pastry

DIRECTION

A few hour before arranging the pie, take out of the freezer the puff pastry sheet and let it thaw in the refrigerator until it is easy to roll out.

For the filling: pan fry (or saute’) the onions and bacon in a large pan with some olive oil for about 10-15 minutes stirring every now and then to avoid burning. Once cooked, adjust with sea salt and add the balsamic vinegar. Let cool off.

In a separate bowl  combine the cheese,  eggs and parmesan and mix very well. Add to the mix the cooled onion and bacon.

Preheat the oven at 420 F. In a clean surface, roll out the pastry, giving it a round or rectangular shape, according to the shape of your baking dish. Lay the pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, fill the pastry with the mix evenly, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Be careful to close inward the sides of the pastry so the filling doesn’t run out while baking.  Brush the edges of the pastry with some beaten egg yolk. (as you can see I’ve tried both options using the regular rectangular puff pastry sheet and both time it turned out great!).

Bake at 420 F for about 20 minutes or until the pie rises and starts getting colored.

Serve still warm… it is sooooooo scrumptious!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – the Blue cheese I buy comes in packs of 150 gr. so I add to the filling 50 gr. of brie cheese and the result was wonderful;

– I’ve tried to add stripes of salami together with the bacon, and again, the result was absolutely amazing.

– Considering the two previous facts, I would definitely consider this recipe as a way to use up a few ingredients that sometimes are in our refrigerator for days and usually ends up going bad (I am talking of small pieces of cheese or few slices of bacon…).

It would really make me feel proud knowing you intend to try this savory pie as one of your Thanksgiving appetizers, but even if you’ll not, or if you decide to try it on a different day it doesn’t matter! What matters it that you’ll like it! And if you do, please 

share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe to  receive every week one new recipe for free,

and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

 

Oven baked, bacon wrapped, cod fish. Light, crunchy, and so good!

Many times you have heard me complaining about how much I miss seafood living in Midwest. When we lived in Italy we could easily have access to seafood market twice a week just down the stairs of our apartment, along the alleys of the our middle-age walled hometown (Cittadella, PD, Italy). Anyway, place you leave, new habits to develop! And this super easy, fast, light recipe fits perfect our crave for sea food, satisfying even my little ones, which love the light taste of cod, and adore the aftertaste of baked bacon.     One curiosities about Italy is that in the Region I come from (Veneto), cod fish is very popular, and some of the most popular recipe with cod fish are “baccala’ mantecato” and “baccala’ alla veneta“.

Going back to the recipe, this one could really be perfect for any kind of meal, even if you want to impress your guests, and the ingredients are so simple that (besides the cod), you probably already have them all at home! This time I chose a 4-5 servings dose (about two pounds) to feed my numerous family, but ingredients could be easily reduced or increased according to the amount of people you intend to feed ! Moreover, considering the delicate taste of the cod, you can pick whichever side dish to pair with it (a simply salad would be great), but if you have some “extra time” and you like baked potatoes, you can bake them while you bake the cod, only for a longer time. 

INGREDIENTS for 4-5 (adults) servings

2 pd. fresh cod fish loins

2-3 tbs. dried or fresh thyme

about 1 pd. slices of smoked bacon

plain bread crumbs

Panko bread crumbs

about a cup milk

optional: 1 pd. red potatoes peeled and cut in cubes

olive oil and sea salt to taste

Directions

In case you decided to make bake potatoes along  with the cod, peel and cut them in cubes, spread them with olive oil and panko bread. Arrange the potatoes in a baking sheet previously covered in parchment, keeping the cubes pretty far to each other to obtain a “crunchy” result.   Preheat the oven at 420 F. (200 C) – Convection. Be aware that the potatoes will need about 45-60 minutes to get ready, while the cod will need only 30 minutes. So, start baking the potatoes ahead of time, flipping them about every 20 minutes, and start baking the cod only 30 minutes before the potatoes will be done. Remember to salt the potatoes before to serve them.

Back to the cod: Mix the different kinds of breadcrumbs and the thyme to prepare the breading. Cut the cod fish loins in pieces of the quite same dimensions.

Drench the cod pieces in the milk one at a  time and bread them in the crumbs mix. Wrap the cod in bacon and arrange it in an oven sheet previously covered with parchment.

Bake the cod for about 15 minutes and then, flip the slides and bake for the same amount of time. Serve still warm with some fresh vegetable and (if you like) with a slice of lemon and/or if you had the time to made the potatoes, with them!

YUMMMMM!   LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tip: – baked cod leftovers will be still good, only not as crisp as just baked.

– to make this recipe you can use even frozen cod, but remember to thaw it ahead of time, and that probably the frozen fish will release a lot of water while baking, so the result will be less crunchy than with the fresh one.

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,
share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe to  receive every week one new recipe for free,

and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

Spaghetti alla CARBONARA: one of the most famous Italian pasta dishes

Although the target audience of this blog is intended to be Americans and those not already familiar with Italian cooking and customs, a consistent part of my audience is, in fact, Italian! And it has been a while since my Italian followers made fun of me because I haven’t yet published the recipe of Carbonara Pasta. You see, together with “Spaghetti al pomodoro, bucatini all’amatriciana, e tagliatelle al Ragu”, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most famous pasta dishes in Italy! So now that the taunting has subsided, 😉 I will share with all of you the recipe for this Italian classic!

Like many other popular Italian dishes, this pasta dish requires just few fresh ingredients (bacon or better- pork jowl, eggs, spaghetti and parmesan cheese).  It’s super-easy, quick to prepare (ready in 20 minutes), and would be perfect for any kind of occasion. It is absolutely “kid friendly” (my daughters love it), appealing to even the pickiest eaters. I mean, who- especially in the U.S.- doesn’t love bacon and cheese?!?

Just like the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, the main ingredient of this sauce should be pork cheek or jowl (“guanciale”). However, it could be hard to find or a bit expensive. So since bacon here in the U.S. is really DELICIOUS, you have my blessing to go ahead and make it with bacon! Even Italians often make it simply with bacon! Whichever you choose, I assure you that by making this spaghetti sauce you will for sure bring a breeze of Italy to your table!

Since this recipe is pretty popular, before writing my post, I pried on some American cooking websites to see how knowledgeable the American audience is of how to make an authentic Carbonara. Well, no matter what you may read, Italians don’t use any parsley, onion, peas or tomatoes in this recipe. The only variant I’ve known (typical from Rome’s area) is that you can use Pecorino cheese instead of Parmesan.

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4 serving INGREDIENTS

1 package spaghetti

3 egg yolks (of medium-sized eggs)

1 medium sized egg

about 10 slices bacon (approximately half a pound)

1 tsp. black pepper

3 handfuls of parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Start heating a pot of salted water to cook the spaghetti (if you want to be sure to cook your pasta in the authentic Italian Style, follow these easy directions).

In the meanwhile, cut the bacon into small cubes.

When the water reaches boiling, toss the spaghetti in to cook. Then move the bacon into a pan (no oil or butter, just let the bacon cook in its own grease) and saute at medium heat for about five minutes, or until it looks crisp and the fat is rendered.

Drain the fat from the bacon, throwing away the grease.

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In a good sized bowl (you will need to fit all the spaghetti and bacon in it) beat the yolks and the egg. Add the parmesan cheese and the black pepper and mix altogether, stirring very well. Honestly, when I cook for my family, I avoid the black pepper at this stage, and instead my husband and I just add it on top of our spaghetti once it’s plated.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain well. Then, while the pasta is still very hot, mix it into the bowl with the egg mixture using a fork. The heat of the pasta will cook the raw eggs into a creamy sauce. (Be sure you do NOT do this in the pot or on the stove or you will be eating “Spaghetti alla Frittata” 😉 instead of Carbonara!) Add in the bacon and continue mixing quickly, until the eggs thicken.

That’s it!

Serve your Carbonara with some extra parmesan cheese and black pepper on the table (in case somebody would like to add a bit more) and Enjoy!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips:

– Prepare the dressing while the pasta is cooking,  to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready at the same time as the dressing.

– It is very important that the pasta is still very hot when you add it to the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs, and just as important, that the beaten eggs are never combined with pasta on the stove because the eggs would cook too quickly on the bottom of the pot, ruining the creaminess of the sauce. The eggs MUST be mixed with the drained pasta, in the bowl where they were beaten.

– This pasta is very rich- both in taste and calories- so it would work perfectly as a complete meal.

– If you enjoy having a breakfast of bacon and eggs, this could also be considered as a “parachutes” choice when you have no idea what’s for dinner, or a way to use some leftovers.

 

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

Savory Cheese and Bacon Pie: puff pastry makes it SO easy!

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Puff pastry is something that usually everybody likes (even kids), and honestly, the one you find at the store is absolutely tasty and so easy to use that it isn’t even worth considering making it from scratch.

In my opinion, using puff pastry could be a good way to approach “cooking” even for those who think they are disaster in the kitchen! It’s the perfect ingredient to use to get beautiful and savory dishes, with a very minimal amount of talent and arduousness.

I use puff pastry relatively often, like to make tasty appetizers (puff pastry and bacon hearts) or to make salted pies.

Salted pies, in fact, are usually fast, delicious, and addictive appetizers/entrees. They are crunchy outside, tender inside, and the one I’m describing here is just a cheesy heaven with a delicate bacon aftertaste.

So get ready by simply taking out of your freezer a puff pastry sheet, mix together any kind of cheese that will otherwise soon be going bad in your refrigerator (don’t forget some ricotta cheese to make the mix less heavy), stuff the pastry with the cheese mix, lay some bacon slices on the top, bake and … VOILA’!

INGREDIENTS for 4-5 serving

1 thawed puff pastry sheet

1 lb. ricotta cheese

a handful (or more) of asiago cheese cut in small cubes

a handful of shredded parmesan cheese

a handful of blue cheese (or better, real “Gorgonzola“)

5-8 slices provolone cheese

1 beaten egg

5-8 slices bacon

(Truth be told, you can use any kind of cheese you like, as long as it melts easily, and the result will not change… BUT mozzarella cheese will ruin your pie by making it watery!)

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F.  Then take out of the freezer the puff pastry sheet and let it thaw until it is easy to roll out, and lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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In a bowl, mix all the cheeses together evenly.

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Spread the cheese mix on the puff pastry sheet, being careful to leave the sides free.

Arrange the bacon slices on the top of the cheese as evenly as you can.

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Close inward the sides of the pastry so the cheese doesn’t run out while baking. Then brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the pie rises and becomes golden.

Enjoy it still warm!

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tip: – If you have guests and decide to make this pie, consider that it needs to be served warm, and would not be an easy “finger food”, so be ready with some plates and silverware.

– This pie is really, really rich in flavor and calories, so opt for a light side dish when you serve it!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

Walnut and thyme cream fettuccine

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This special pasta recipe is typical from Liguria, a really beautiful Italian region located in the North-West of Italy.  cartina-liguria

The beauty of this region is that it is overlooking the sea to its full extent, although mainly mountainous, so that the landscape is both mountain and sea- a really stunning scenario.
Liguria is also very famous for its cuisine.  Among the most popular dishes are focaccia with rosemary and pasta with pesto sauce, as well as many seafood specialties.

The recipe that I propose today has a rich flavor and a creamy and crisp texture. A delicious dish that will satisfy even the most demanding palates.

In addition, the cream to dress this pasta is incredibly simple and fast; you can prepare it while you cook the pasta!

In few words: a succulent and spectacular dish, ready just in 20 minutes!

INGREDIENTS for 4-5 servings

1 package of fettuccine

6 tbs. olive oil (3 for the cream and 3 for browning the bacon)

8 oz. bacon (chopped in cubes)

3 slices sandwich bread

1 and 1/2 cups walnuts

1 tbs. fresh thyme

5 oz. whipping cream

sea salt and pepper

 

DIRECTIONS

Start heating a pot of water to cook the pasta (and a small sauce pan for double boi link the walnut sauce).

After removing the crust of the bread, put it in a food processor and chop into pieces.  Then set the chopped bread aside.


Now put the walnuts in the food processor with the cream and blend for a few seconds.

Transfer the mix into a sauce pan, add 3 tablespoons of oil and stir to get a smooth cream.

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Add salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm in a double boiler.

IMG_2511(If the water for the pasta begins to boil, don’t be afraid to pour the pasta in, because your dressing is almost done).
Now dice the bacon and brown it in a pan with the remaining oil until crispy.


Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  In the remaining oil in the pan, toast the chopped bread with crumbled thyme.


Drain the pasta al dente, toss immediately with walnut-cream sauce, bacon and toasted bread, spice with plenty of pepper and serve still warm.

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

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Tips: – If you don’t have fettuccine at home don’t panic, this pasta sauce pairs perfectly with short pastas like Farfalle or Fusilli also!

          – My daughters (4 and 2 years old) don’t like this pasta sauce because of the walnuts.  I mention that because maybe this is not the most “kid friendly” pasta to prepare!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do, share it, like it, and support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

Hearts shaped Puff pastry stuffed with bacon: be ready for Valentine’s Day appetizer!

Puff Pastry and Bacon hearts

Less than one week remain until VALENTINE’S DAY!   Although many of us who have found our “other half” also have kids (and may not be able to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day), we should not give up on celebrating!    This week I would like to propose to you a recipe for a very tasty and elegant appetizer, ideal for celebrating the “day of love” at home with our family!   But before I go ahead, let me just inform you that VALENTINE’S DAY is a celebration followed also in Italy, exactly the same day as yours: February 14th.       And I would like to add that, in Italy, perhaps just to find the way to make more money (for restaurateurs and other businesses who cater to such holidays) they introduced another festivity, on February 15th, where they celebrate “SINGLES”!  So each “free” person goes out to parties organized just to celebrate their being alone, or maybe to find their soul-mate…    Do you celebrate Singles too?     Well whether you are single or in a relationship, you will fall in LOVE with this recipe!!!

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings (about 15 hearts)

1 thawed puff pastry sheet               (1 foglio di pasta sfoglia)

2-3 tbs rosemary (dry or fresh)     (2-3 cucchiai di rosmarino)

2-3 tbs parmesan cheese             (2-3 cucchiai di grana

1 beaten egg                                   (uovo sbattuto)

8-10 slices of bacon                (8-10 fette di pancetta affumicata)

 DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 400 F. (250 C.).   Lay the puff pastry sheet on a baking paper, and brush on some of the beaten egg (you will need more of it in the next steps).    Then sprinkle the rosemary, and then the parmesan.

Arrange the slides of bacon on the top, as regularly as you can.

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Fold one side of the puff pastry toward the middle, and then do the same for the other side creating 2 equal halves.

Apply to the top some more beaten egg, and then fold the two sides together, as shown in the picture.

 Brush the rest of the beaten egg on the outside of your loaf, and then cut it in slices about 1/2 inch wide.(Since the pastry will be very sticky at this point, I usually use a kitchen scissors, or a very sharp knife to cut it).

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Arrange the obtained hearts on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.  Bake for about 20 minutes on the middle rack of your oven.

Enjoy your appetizer still warm!

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips: – This appetizer is absolutely delicious, fancy, and simple to prepare, so I would make it any time I have some guests to impress!

         – If you know that you will not have time enough for preparing the hearts at dinner time, you can also make them during the day, and keep them refrigerated, and bake them at the very last minute.

        – Since they are made with puff pastry, these appetizer have to be eaten immediately, and are not ideal as leftovers.

       – According to my experience, kids love this food (who doesn’t love bacon?!?) so don’t hesitate to make them happy with this fun Valentine treat!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

share it, like it, leave a comment, and subscribe to receive a new recipe each week for free,

and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

SPAGHETTI ALL’AMATRICIANA: how to get the best from bacon!

 

During the Thanksgiving holiday, my parents in-law came to visit us from Italy.  I knew one of my mother-in-law’s best dishes is pasta all’Amatriciana, so I asked her to made it for us, and I wrote down the recipe for you!!!!

“Amatriciana” is the name of a pasta sauce, originated at the end of 1700 in Lazio Region (the region of Rome, middle Italy) in the town of Amatrice.

This is what we call "guanciale"
This is what we call “guanciale”

 

Honestly the main ingredient of this sauce should be pork cheek or jowl (“guanciale”)

but since it couldbe hard to find (or too expensive), in the rest of Italy it is also simply made with bacon.

Considering that bacon here in U.S. is really DELICIOUS, by making this spaghetti sauce you will for sure bring a breeze of Italy on your table!

One curiosity I want to share before starting with the recipe is that in Italy we usually dress with the Amatriciana sauce a special kind of spaghetti called “Bucatini”(Buco in Italian means “Hole”). This special kind of spaghetti has a hole inside, which allows to the sauce to soak them better, and make them more tasty.

BUCATINI
BUCATINI

But no problem, this is just a curiosity, and if cannot find “Bucatini” at the groceries store or  on-line, your Amatriciana will be perfect also with spaghetti!

To prepare the sauce, you will need about one hour.  It would be neat to make a big pan of it any moment you have some free time, and then freeze it in small containers and just thaw the quantity you need as needed.

 

INGREDIENTS (for about 20 servings)

10 oz. bacon (chopped)

1 big onion (chopped)

5 tbs. olive oil

4 springs of rosemary

3 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced tomato

1 beef buillon cube

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 (or more if you like spicy taste) tbs. crushed red pepper

sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a big pot, pour the 5 tbs. of olive oil and as soon as it starts to be warm, add the onion already chopped.

Let the onion brown, and then add the bacon, the rosemary, and crushed red pepper.  Let them cook for 3-5 minutes at medium heat.

Now add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, stir a little, turn the stove on high heat, and let your sauce reach the boiling point uncovered (it should take 10 minutes, keep stirring sometimes).

When your sauce reaches the boiling point, add the butter and as soon as the butter melts, add the beef buillon.

Let the mixure cook for about 30 minutes more, at medium heat, half-covered (just to save your stove form a lot of messy tomato sauce stain!). Don’t forget to adjust with sea salt and crushed pepper according to your taste.

SUGO ALL'AMATRICIANA
SUGO ALL’AMATRICIANA

It sounds super easy, and I promise you that you will love this velvety and creamy sauce.

As soon as your sauce will be ready, cook your spaghetti as usual, dress them with this sauce… and enjoy it!!!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips: – You can easily freeze your sauce in small containers, and just thaw each as needed. I usually pack 1 pound sauce for 4-5 spaghetti servings (about 1 container of spaghetti).

          – If you don’t overdo the red pepper, this sauce is definitely “kid friendly” : my daughters love it!

I really hope you liked this recipe, and if you did, please leave a comment, like it and share it with your family and friends! This way you will support my blog!

Thanks a bunch!

Silvia