Ultra-comforting, and packed with layers of meat sauce, cheese, and tender noodles, Olive Garden's Lasagna Classico is one of their bestselling menu items (and for good reason). Learn how to make this surprisingly easy dish at home, and bring a taste of Italian-American fare to your table. Gooey, gratifying, and fit to feed a crowd, it's a must-make for large dinner parties — for extra ease make it ahead of time and reheat it — or to keep on hand for leftovers throughout the week. Watch the video to learn how to make it, and then get cooking.
In its classic preparation, pasta carbonara is immensely comforting but a hair heavier than I typically crave this time of year. To make this fast and easy dish springtime-friendly, I add fresh flavor in the form of grassy, slightly sweet leeks, a hefty handful of parsley, and a few slivers of candy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes.
Thin wisps of leeks take to browning in a bath of bacon drippings magnificently, without tacking on more than a couple minutes of prep time, keeping this fresh take on an old friend firmly in the weeknight-dinner camp. Carbonara purists will balk at this suggestion (if they haven't already), but I've even been known to wilt down a bunch of kale, in ribbon form, alongside the leeks for a bulked-up, greener iteration — consider this recipe a template for experimentation.
Anytime I have basil on hand, I whip up a quick batch of pesto. It's so simple and keeps in the fridge for a few days. Tossed with pasta, it's a perfect weeknight meal — a healthy, sweet, and delicious variation of the typical family pasta your kids may eat. This simple pesto pasta recipe (grilled chicken totally optional but completely delicious) will have you serving up fun "green sauce" pasta in just five steps.
Until my late teens, I incorrectly assumed that classic pesto got its backbone from walnuts. This notion came from years spent as a small child helping my step-grandmother, Grenelle, blitz up batch after batch. Every Summer she'd harvest her backyard basil crop, and we'd spend afternoons tucking away containers of walnut-studded pesto in her basement freezer to enjoy year-round. Most (if not all) was enjoyed simply — with a platter of saltine crackers, ham, and cheese — though throughout my youth, I shunned pesto for its pungent odor and suspect color.
Years later, after I realized the error of my ways, I dived into a passionate love affair with all things pesto. I called Grenelle for her recipe, remembering the pesto's legion of household fans. I scribbled down the recipe on scrap paper, where it lived for many years, splattered with olive oil. Then one day, while flipping through a tattered copy of the Silver Palate Cookbook, I learned her secret.
She may not have invented this recipe, but today I still consider it Grenelle's pesto. Though pine nuts star in the classic Genovese version, to this day I prefer pesto made with walnuts, as the delicate flavor of pine nuts can get lost amongst the assertiveness of parmesan and raw garlic. Chances are, this version will make you a walnut pesto convert.
We've got a new partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen; they'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us. Today, America's Test Kitchen shares pasta-filling tips — and a recipe for squash ravioli — just in time for National Ravioli Day.
March 20 is National Ravioli Day—and what better way to celebrate than making your own filled pasta from scratch? With some patience, handwork, and a tasty filling, you can easily produce homemade ravioli in your own kitchen. Read on for our Test Kitchen tips for making and cooking ravioli; then, use your newfound knowledge when making our Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce. Our recipe features a multitude of flavors—squashy, sweet, savory, buttery, herbal, and nutty—that work together to create complexity. Plus, the contrasting textures of silky filling and crunchy nuts is truly irresistible.
Dos and Don'ts for Ravioli Fillings
For the best results, a filling must be spoonable (not liquefied) so that it can be mounded onto the pasta sheets. It also should be fine-textured so that it won't cause tears in the pasta (and can be used in small amounts), and be relatively low in moisture so that it won't ooze when the filled pasta is cooked.
See more ravioli tips and the butternut squash ravioli recipe when you keep reading.
Most of us know that Italians serve panettone for Christmas, but have you heard about a similar cake that's prepared just for Easter? Allow me to introduce you to colomba, a sweet Italian Easter cake. We recently got our hands on a neatly wrapped version ($25) from olive oil purveyor Nudo.
Colomba batter is similar to a panettone batter, except colomba is stuffed with candied citrus rather than raisins; the shape of the cake matches its name as colomba translates to "dove" in Italian. Almonds and pearl sugar scatter the top.
Despite our worries that Nudo's colomba would resemble some of our recent encounters with dry, overly spiced holiday panettone, the food team was surprised by colomba's addictive quality. Our concern should've been eating too much of the cake: we sat around the dove-shaped confection and tore off light, fluffy pieces like cotton candy. Not too sweet or rich, the candied orange and pearl sugar satisfy sugar cravings without overdoing it.
Everyone agreed this particular colomba pairs exceptionally well with a glass of dry, crisp Prosecco — and that Nudo's colomba would be an interesting and much-appreciated addition to the Easter dessert table.
If your home is anything like mine, your pantry shelves are lined with boxes filled with a variety of pasta shapes that make their way onto the kids' plates almost every night. We serve it up in various sauces — spinach pesto! homemade tomato! meat sauce! turkey meatballs! — but until last weekend, we had never attempted to make our favorite meal from scratch. It always sounded hard, messy, and not worth the effort when a store-bought box costs under $2.
Antonella Rana, daughter-in-law of the founder the 50-year-old Italian pasta company Giovanni Rana, may have convinced me otherwise. The animated chef and mom of two at home in Verona, Italy, was in town to host a "Pasta-Making For Kids" class at her family's first US restaurant, Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina. With my 7-year-old in hand, we headed downtown for a morning of ravioli making, and to our surprise, it was easier than we ever imagined — and fun, lots of fun! From Antonella's explanation of her golden rules of cooking (see below) to rolling out the dough and creating fun shapes, we had a blast — and, as with almost anything you make from scratch, it was delicious. And we weren't the only ones who thought so. The class was such a hit that the restaurant will soon be offering it on a weekly basis, so if you're in NYC, it's a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.
Looking to bolster our Italian wine knowledge, we recently attended a tasting put on by Slow Wine (part of Slow Food) where we sampled offerings from Italy's many storied wine regions. While many pleased our palates, some stood out more than others. Click through for our top picks, and get inspired to savor a bottle or two yourself.
— Additional reporting by Susannah Chen and Anna Monette Roberts
This may sound blasphemous, but I've never been quite able to get behind classic seven-layer dip. Don't get me wrong: I understand the appeal and then some. Heck, I wish I were as smitten with it as its many ardent fans are, but it's just not my cup of tea. So when I stumbled across this Mediterranean take on the iconic Super Bowl treat on one of my favorite blogs, I knew it was high time I got my offset spatula at the ready.
What I didn't anticipate was just how much I would adore this tangy, garlic-heavy appetizer. I'm only a hair embarrassed to say that I managed to polish off half the platter in one sitting. Each bite's ever-so-slightly different makeup makes it easy to keep coming back for just one more bite, and do so I did . . .
This menu, loosely based off Italian-American cuisine, is foolproof — even for the beginner cook. The main course and dessert can be made the night before, and the cocktails and appetizers are straightforward and a cinch to pull together an hour before your guests arrive. Entertaining is all about enjoying yourself, too. Put the apron away, and take out the party dress. It's about time you joined your guests in the living room. Here's to a successful, easy-breezy dinner party!
The bittersweet negroni cocktail, made from gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, is stirred and served straight up with an orange twist. It's a strong beverage, intended to be sipped slowly. You'll find negroni cocktails help cut the fat in rich appetizers like the sausage skewers and buttery garlic bread.