#NationalPastaDay with Ragu

Friday the 17th is #NationalPastaDay! Most people love pasta, unless they can’t eat it- and guess what? This post is all about classic pasta dishes that are recreated without pasta! We recently had the chance to get in the kitchen with Ragu and learn three great recipes that replace the pasta but still taste just as yummy-something that us moms need to make sure of since kids aren’t as easy to fool as you think!

First up we learned how to take classic mac & cheese and replace the mac! If you haven’t already pinned this recipe on Pinterest, here goes:

Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets, stem sliced into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 jar (1 lb.) Ragu® Double Cheddar Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Bring lightly salted water to a boil in large pot and cook cauliflower until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Stir in Ragu® Double Cheddar Sauce; toss until coated. Pour mixture into 8 x 8-inch baking dish; sprinkle with crumb mixture
  3. Bake 15 minutes or until bubbling and crumbs are golden.
  • Tip: Stir in your favorites such as crisp-cooked crumbled bacon, a small can of diced green chilies or thawed frozen peas, or top with chopped fresh tomato.

 

Then, we learned how to replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash, (about 4 lbs.)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Sauce
  1. Pierce squash with knife 5 or 6 times. Arrange squash on paper towel in microwave and microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until soft, turning over halfway through cooking. Cut in half; remove and discard seeds. With fork, gently scrape squash to pull apart spaghetti like strands.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, red pepper and yellow squash 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender. Add Sauce and simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve sauce mixture over spaghetti squash and garnish, if desired, with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

And lastly, we watched Ragu’s chef show us how to make lasagna without the pasta.

Eggplant “Lasagna”

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut lengthwise into 9 slices
  • 1 cup canned rinsed and drained chick peas or garbanzos or garbanzo beans
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, halved and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 container (16 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups Ragu® Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, (about 4 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Brush 2 baking sheets with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Arrange eggplant on baking sheets. Brush with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake 20 minutes or until golden; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, process chick peas or garbanzos or garbanzo beans in food processor until ground; set aside. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook mushrooms, red pepper and onion, stirring occasionally, 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Combine ricotta cheese, beans, egg and garlic in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup Sauce in 8-inch glass baking dish sprayed with no-stick cooking spray. Arrange 3 slices eggplant on Sauce, then spread with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 of the mushroom mixture, then 1/2 cup Sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with 3 slices eggplant, remaining ricotta cheese mixture, remaining mushroom mixture, then remaining eggplant. Evenly top with remaining Sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes or until bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

 

Our Turn

After the demonstrations, it was time for us to get our Top Pasta Chef on, and create something inspired by what we learned. I teamed up with Karen Angustia of Mami Does it All and immediately opted to try out the cauliflower mac and cheese dish, but with a tasty twist. We grabbed some chorizo and red pepper and sauteed it up. We then tossed it in with the cauliflower topped with Ragu’s cheddar sauce and topped it with tortilla crumbs verses bread crumbs! Popped it in the oven for around 15-20 minutes and wala! So good.

Then, we decided to try out the spaghetti squash. I grabbed a pack of italian sausage and squeezed it out of its casing. I mixed in peppers and onions, garlic, and italian seasoning and sauteed until sausage was cooked. Added a jar of Ragu’s Old World Style sauce, and then stirred in the spaghetti squash. Done!

Both dishes were a hit and I was excited to take home my recipe idea and see what the kids thought. So I’ll be creating them both soon! Have you tried any imPASTA dishes yet? Let us know what you think!

 

Also! Be sure to join in on the Pasta fun on Friday with Ragu’s Twitter Party!

When: Friday, October 17, 2014 at 1PM EST

Where: #NationalPastaDay on Twitter

Follow: @Crowdtappers & @RaguSauce

Prizes: $725 in Visa gift cards

Questions: Ask @Crowdtappers

 

 

For more great #NationalPastaDay recipes, visit www.ragu.com.

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