Easy Eggplant Parmesan

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.

Eggplant Parmesan

It’s got bubbly cheese, garlicky tomato sauce, and savory, meaty breaded eggplant: it’s Eggplant Parmesan! This vegetarian Italian classic is hearty, filling, and pleases just about everyone. Most restaurants use fried eggplant, but for a homemade version it’s much simpler to bake. Here’s our best baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe: faster and easier to make at home than most recipes and full of incredible flavor. Even our vegetable-averse 5 year old promptly asked for seconds! We hope it will become a go-to in your family like it is in ours.

Ingredients in this Eggplant Parmesan recipe

Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian dish made with layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce, then baked until bubbly. Called parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, it comes from the Southern regions of Calabria and Sicily but is now served all over the world. The eggplant is fried in restaurant-style versions, but it’s easiest to make baked eggplant when making it in your home kitchen. Here’s what you’ll need for homemade eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant
  • Flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • Eggs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain panko (or breadcrumbs; use gluten-free panko for gluten-free)
  • Dried oregano
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A few ingredient notes

As with any Italian dish, the success of this Eggplant Parmesan recipe depends on the quality of ingredients! Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping:

  • Look for medium eggplants. Size matters here: massive eggplant rounds don’t look quite as nice in the dish. But sometimes the grocery only has large eggplants, so use what you can find! The key is using 2 pounds: it should equal about 18 to 20 rounds.
  • Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese makes a difference. It melts much better than part skim and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan

How to make Eggplant Parmesan: some tips

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is faster and easier than most recipes, but it still takes about 1 hour to make and bake. Keep this in mind in your meal prepping (and review the notes below on make ahead tips). Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Place salt on the eggplant for just 10 minutes. This seasons them prior to baking. Many recipes require you to salt the eggplant for 1 hour, but this is not necessary. (In the past, people would do this to remove a bitter flavor, but today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter. It also allows the eggplant to release moisture, but that’s not required with this baked method.)
  • Dredge the eggplant in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. This is the traditional combination in Italian cooking that you’d do prior to frying the eggplant. But it works just as well with baking!
  • Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping once. The hot oven makes them crispy and golden brown: like frying but with no extra oil!
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Mix crushed tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.
  • Layer the eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Leftover storage and make ahead tips

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe takes about 1 hour to make, which is not always possible for a weeknight dinner. We usually make this one for entertaining or on weekends, but you can also meal prep some of the components. This recipe also freezes well, which makes it great for a quick leftover dinner. Here are a few ideas for make ahead and storage:

  • Bake the eggplant slices in advance. This saves about 40 minutes off the timing of the recipe. Refrigerate the slices, then layer the dish and bake the day of making.
  • Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate, but it’s so good freshly baked that we recommend the above option for make-ahead. Leftovers store well.
  • Freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Place on the counter or in the refrigerator to thaw, or you can place it right into a 375 degree oven and reheat until warmed through and the cheese is melted. (If it’s room temperature, you can reheat at a higher temperature, like 425.)

What to serve with Eggplant Parmesan

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is served with pasta. But you can also serve with salads, sauteed veggies and more. It makes a hearty, crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner that’s great for parties and impressing a crowd. Here are a few ideas:

Eggplant Parmesan

More eggplant recipes

Love working with this tasty vegetable? Here are a few more eggplant recipes you’ll love:

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs or go to Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Easy Eggplant Parmesan


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 to 8

Description

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium large)
  • ¾ cup flour*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko (or purchased or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28 ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes*
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese***

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (to make approximately 18 slices). Sprinkle them with ¾ teaspoon salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading ingredients. 
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons oregano, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and set it aside. 
  4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the flour, then the eggs, then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Place each slice onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: This gets messy; you may need to wash or wipe your fingers off after every few slices.)
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until tender and golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the fire roasted tomatoes, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil. Mix well until all the olive oil is incorporated. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Add half the baked eggplant in a layer (about 9 slices), then top with 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant (we like to add them right on top of the first layer to make 9 stacks). Top with another 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each stack. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with additional chopped basil and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days (or frozen for 3 months); reheat in the oven until warm.

Notes

*You’ll have about ⅓ cup flour left over and about 1 egg, but it’s easier for the breading. There also may be some panko left over. These items are not included in the nutritional info.

**Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

***Whole milk mozzarella cheese melts much better than part skim mozzarella, and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating leftovers. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan recipe, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Easy Bruschetta

This bruschetta recipe pairs the traditional Italian grilled bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil. A simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer! Need a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This bruschetta recipe pairs the traditional Italian grilled bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil. A simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer!

Bruschetta

Need a crowd-pleasing appetizer or snack? Let’s make classic bruschetta! This Italian appetizer has become ubiquitous all over the world because of its easy-to-love flavors. Who can say no to crunchy, toasted bread piled with tasty toppings? The most popular way to serve bruschetta in America is with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil: but it’s actually not the traditional Italian way. Here’s how to make it and more about the background of this classic dish.

What is bruschetta?

Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer (antipasto) of toasted bread with vegetable, cheese, or meat toppings. The term bruschetta refers to the toasted bread, not to the topping itself. The tomato and garlic topping that’s often served in America is actually not traditionally Italian. Italian-style bruschetta has varied toppings that are often seasonal or up to the chef (like mushroom bruschetta, artichoke bruschetta, ricotta bruschetta, and more).

How to pronounce it

How to pronounce bruschetta? Italians say it broo-skay-ta. The “ch” sound is pronounced like a “k”. This word is often mispronounced in America as bruh-shetta. What’s the plural of bruschetta? The Italian word is bruschette (prounounced broo-skay-tay).

Bruschetta Recipe

Ingredients in this bruschetta recipe

This bruschetta recipe features the classic American-style topping: tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. This recipe is perfect for summer when fresh tomatoes abound. The ingredient list is simple, but there are a few things to note in the method that make the classic flavors possible. Here’s what you’ll need to make bruschetta:

  • Tomatoes: of any variety, make sure they are ripe. Some people swear by using roma tomatoes, but this type of tomato is often tasteless and mealy (more on that below).
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Red onion
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baguette
  • Salt and pepper
How to make bruschetta

Tips for how to make bruschetta

It might seem simple (just put tomatoes on toast!). But there are a few tricks to making bruschetta. The most important challenge: tomatoes are juicy and can easily soak through the bread. This bruschetta recipe avoids becoming soggy for at least 1 hour at room temperature, plenty of time for eaters to enjoy. Here are a few tips for how to make bruschetta:

  • Chop only the flesh of the tomatoes. Discard any liquid and seeds.
  • Mix the vegetables with seasonings. Add the chopped vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and allow them to sit while you toast the bread.
  • Toast or grill the bread. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and toast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes. Or grill the bread on a grill or grill pan.
  • Strain the tomato mixture. Here’s the important part! Strain off all extra liquid with a fine mesh strainer before topping the toasts.
  • Add the tomatoes to the bruschetta, then top with flaky sea salt. The extra sprinkle of salt provides the final flavoring.
Bruschetta

Make ahead and storage

Making bruschetta for a party? Here are a few tips for making this tasty summer appetizer ahead of time:

  • Make the tomato topping in advance without the basil. Store refrigerated until serving, up to 1 day in advance. The strain before using as a topping, then add the fresh basil. (Basil becomes brown when refrigerated).
  • Toast the bread in advance. Toast the bread. Allow it to cool completely, then store it in a container with the lid loosely closed or a towel on top. Any extra moisture can cause the bread to become soggy, so use caution. If it does become soggy, place it in the oven for a few minutes to re-crisp up.
  • Assemble directly before serving. Add the topping to the bread directly prior to serving.

More appetizer recipes

Entertaining and need some party ideas? Try these crowd-pleasing appetizer recipes:

This bruschetta recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free bread.

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Bruschetta

Easy Bruschetta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10

Description

This bruschetta recipe pairs the traditional Italian grilled bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil. A simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer!


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds or 3 large tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3 cups diced)*
  • 3 medium garlic cloves (2 minced and 1 whole)
  • 10 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette or thin French bread loaf
  • Sea salt, for garnish (or more kosher salt)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop and dice the flesh of the tomatoes, discarding liquid and seeds. Mince the garlic, slice the basil and mince the red onion. Gently mix the chopped tomatoes with the garlic, red onion, basil, ½ tablespoon of the olive oil, vinegar, salt and fresh ground black pepper. (Depending on the type and ripeness of the tomatoes, it will become very juicy: you’ll strain out the liquid later.) Allow the tomatoes to sit while you toast the baguette.
  3. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, split between the slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, then broil for 1 to 2 minutes until it browns on the edges. You can also make grilled bread on a grill or using a grill pan. Once the bread is toasted or grilled, peel the remaining garlic clove, cut a flat edge and rub it on the top of each toast.
  4. Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the tomatoes of all liquid. Then use a fork or spoon to remove the tomatoes from the bowl and place them onto each piece of bread, leaving any remaining liquid behind in the bowl. Sprinkle sea salt (or more kosher salt) for garnish, which adds the final flavoring. Bruschetta lasts up to 1 hour without getting soggy.

Notes

*You can use any tomato variety. Roma tomatoes are less juicy (which helps reduce sogginess), but have less flavor. Because you’ll strain the mixture before topping the bread, any type of tomato works here.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Appetizer
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Bruschetta, bruschetta recipe, how to make bruschetta

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

How to Make Swirly, Flaky Sfogliatelle

Buckle up, guys—this pastry is definitely a project. But trust me, it’s a super fun, satisfying, and delicious one. There’s nothing like a batch of still-warm sfogliatelle (or if you’re just referring to one, sfogliatella), an especially beautiful Ital…

Buckle up, guys—this pastry is definitely a project. But trust me, it’s a super fun, satisfying, and delicious one. There’s nothing like a batch of still-warm sfogliatelle (or if you’re just referring to one, sfogliatella), an especially beautiful Italian pastry. Multiple layers of gorgeously thin dough (rolled using a pasta machine) encase a creamy filling made with a base of semolina “pudding” and ricotta cheese. The pastry, sometimes referred to as “lobster claws” (not “lobster tails,” that’s something else) here in the States, bake up gorgeously golden and crisp. The result is a seriously impressive pastry that’s time-consuming, but totally doable at home, and worth it. Ahead, I’ll walk you through exactly how to make sfogliatelle at home using my go-to recipe and you’ll be folding and shaping dough in no time.

But First…How Do You Pronounce Sfogliatelle?

Let me take a stab at this one—Ss-fog-lee-uh-tell-ee.

Read More >>

Easy Lemon Orzo

Here’s how to cook orzo as a simple side dish! This rice-shaped pasta comes together in minutes, flavored simply with…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s how to cook orzo as a simple side dish! This rice-shaped pasta comes together in minutes, flavored simply with butter and lemon.

Lemon Butter Orzo

Here’s a clutch pantry staple recipe to accessorize with quick weeknight meals: orzo! This rice-shaped pasta is ultra fast to cook, making it ideal for nights where you need something on the table fast. This orzo recipe is incredibly simple but comes out comforting and nostalgic, pairing the tender grains with butter and a hint of lemon. It’s so tasty, you’ll quickly add it to your regular rotation…then wonder how you lived so long without it!

What is orzo?

Orzo is a small pasta that’s shaped like grains of rice. Known as risoni in Italy, it can be served in various ways: as a side dish, pilaf, as part of an orzo salad, or in soups. There are two main ways to cook orzo: boiled in a large amount of water like pasta, or cooked like rice where it simmers and absorbs all the liquid.

There are several sizes of orzo available in stores: we prefer the medium sized grains that are about the size of grains of rice. You can also find different colors of orzo, like tricolor orzo that’s colored naturally with sundried tomatoes and spinach.

Orzo

How to cook orzo

There are two methods for cooking orzo: the pasta method (cooking in a large pot of boiling water and draining) and the rice method (simmering with less water until it’s all absorbed). The best way to avoid sticky orzo is the pasta method: it makes deliciously tender, well-separated grains. The rice method comes out creamier, but you run the risk of it coming out sticky or waterlogged. Here’s how to cook orzo:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Estimate about 8 cups water per 1 cup orzo.
  • Add the orzo, bring back to a boil, and cook for 8 minutes. Taste a grain. If it’s mostly tender with a small amount of “chew” in the middle, it’s done. If not, cook 1 to 2 more minutes: just take care not to overcook it.
  • Drain and season. Drain the water from the pot, then return the orzo back to the pot. Season with salt, butter and lemon juice. Instant side dish!
Orzo recipe

Flavor variations

This simple orzo recipe with butter, salt and a squeeze of lemon is so simple yet satisfying! The buttery flavor almost reminds us of an elevated version of boxed max and cheese (without the cheese!). There are loads of ways to step up this simple dish: here are a few ideas:

  • Chopped herbs. A bit of chopped parsley looks lovely, or add chopped thyme or chives.
  • Parmesan cheese. Swirl in a bit of grated Parmesan to take it to new heights.
  • Feta cheese. A sprinkle of feta cheese adds a nice salty counterpoint.
  • Garlic. Saute a minced garlic clove in a bit of butter or olive oil, then mix it into the cooked orzo with the salt.
  • Spinach. Saute baby spinach (with or without garlic), then add the cooked orzo and salt. Feta cheese would be another nice addition!
Orzo

More orzo recipes

There are lots of ways to use orzo! Here are some ideas, from this website and others:

Let us know what you think of the simple side dish recipe below, and any other ways you love to serve orzo.

More basic side dishes

This orzo recipe has saved us on many a weeknight. (In fact, as I’m writing this Alex is just bringing me a dish of this exact recipe!) Here are a few more simple side dishes perfect for rounding out a meal:

This orzo recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, use olive oil or plant-based butter.

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Lemon Butter Orzo

Easy Orzo Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 ½ cup servings

Description

Here’s how to cook orzo as a simple side dish! This rice-shaped pasta comes together in minutes, flavored simply with butter and lemon.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (½ lemon)
  • Chopped fresh parsley or feta cheese crumbles, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium pot with 8 cups water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and stir.
  2. Bring the pot back to a boil, then boil for about 8 minutes until the orzo is tender. (Taste test a grain to assess doneness.) Drain into a strainer, then return the orzo to the pot.
  3. Stir in the kosher salt, butter (or olive oil), and lemon juice. Taste and if desired, add more lemon to taste. Add optional chopped parsley or feta cheese to garnish. Serve immediately; leftovers store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Orzo, orzo recipe, what is orzo

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Italian Rosemary Buns for a Sticky-Sweet Easter Treat

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, pan di ramerino, an Italian Easter-time sweet bun.


Pan di ramerino, or rosemary bread—a sticky and sweet little bun studded with raisins—is a traditional Easter-time treat commonly found in Tuscany, in the central part of Italy. They’re remarkable because they have an uncommon ingredient woven into an enriched dough: rosemary. While we often think of the woodsy, piney herb as a savory-only affair, it sometimes finds its way into the sweeter side of things. With these sweet buns, rosemary brings a gentle backdrop of savoriness that is unique, and its flavor is the highlight of these sticky and soft buns.

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This lemon ricotta pasta recipe makes a creamy, zingy sauce in minutes! It’s a shortcut that makes mealtime easy. Here’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This lemon ricotta pasta recipe makes a creamy, zingy sauce in minutes! It’s a shortcut that makes mealtime easy.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Here’s a quick and simple pasta recipe that’s the perfect shortcut for weeknights: Lemon Ricotta Pasta! Mixing ricotta cheese with olive oil, Parmesan and a little pasta water makes a makeshift white sauce that’s ideal for coating on long noodles (who knew!). This quick weeknight trick has become a staple over here: the zing of the lemon zest makes it absolutely irresistible not to keep slurping down noodles.

Ingredients in lemon ricotta pasta

Ricotta is a creamy Italian cheese with a mild flavor that’s famous for its use in lasagna: but it’s ideal for long noodles, too. The great part about this lemon ricotta pasta? It requires just 1 minute of cooking to form a beautifully creamy white sauce. You’ll literally stir together a few ingredients and voila: a creamy sauce. Here’s what you’ll need for whipping up this pasta at home:

  • Bucatini or spaghetti noodles (or your noodle of choice)
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon zest
Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Tips for lemon ricotta pasta

This lemon ricotta pasta recipe could not be easier: boil the pasta, stir together the sauce ingredients, and combine! There’s not much cooking here. But there are a few minor tips that can make or break the recipe:

  • Save the pasta water! This ingredient is used to make a creamy sauce. It’s easy to forget (been there), so my mom shared a tip with us that helps. After you start the pasta, place your strainer in the sink, then place a liquid measuring cup inside as a reminder. When you go to dump the pasta, you’ll think: what’s that liquid measuring cup? Oh yes, I need to save the pasta water!
  • Make sure to cook the pasta to al dente. This means “to the bite” in Italian: when it’s tender with a small white speck inside when you bite into a piece. Boil it a few minutes less than the package instructions indicate, and start taste testing early!
  • The texture is best when served immediately. This lemon ricotta pasta is best when the pasta is freshly cooked and it’s warm: especially since you use the pasta water to help create the sauce. You can eat it later, but it does get drier in texture.

Leftovers and storage instructions

Want to eat this lemon ricotta pasta the next day? You can, though it’s not quite as good as the day of. This pasta is best with piping hot fresh pasta and sauce warm from the stove. It does get a gummier texture as it sits, and especially once it’s cooled. Here’s how to freshen up your leftovers:

  • Leftovers become drier over time, and with refrigeration. You can store the pasta about 2 days refrigerated, but the texture becomes drier.
  • How to reheat it? You can reheat the pasta with a splash of milk on the stovetop, and revive the flavors with a pinch or two of salt. Make sure to generously garnish with grated Parmesan cheese as well.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta

What to serve with lemon ricotta pasta

Want a few fast and easy side dishes to serve with this pasta? Anything from a quick green salad to lemony peas works here. If you’re serving it as a main dish, think about dishes that add additional protein. Here are a few ideas:

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

More ricotta recipes

Ricotta makes magic with pasta, toast, desserts, and more! Here are some of our favorite ricotta recipes:

This lemon ricotta pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Print
Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This lemon ricotta pasta recipe makes a creamy, zingy sauce in minutes! It’s a shortcut that makes mealtime easy.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon (plus reserve some for garnish)
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • For the garnish: chopped parsley, red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, testing a few minutes before the package instructions indicate. Using a glass liquid measuring cup, reserve ½ cup of the hot pasta water, then drain the pasta.
  2. In a saucepan, mix the ricotta, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, lemon zest, and ¼ cup pasta water. Warm over medium heat and stir until a creamy sauce forms, about 1 minute. 
  3. Pour the sauce onto the noodles and stir to combine. Add another splash of pasta water to help the sauce coat the noodles. Serve with chopped parsley, additional grated Parmesan cheese and the reserved lemon zest. (Leftovers last 2 days refrigerated but the sauce becomes thick when cold. Reheat with a splash of milk and additional kosher salt to revive the flavors.)
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Lemon ricotta pasta

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Dry Lambrusco Is Delicious—Why Is It Also So Hard To Find?

I can pinpoint the only moment I’ve ever felt cool in the presence of a bartender: It was early summer 2018 at a casual yet self-serious bar in my native Chicago, and I ordered a dry Lambrusco. “I love Lambrusco,” he said, affirming my early-adopter st…

I can pinpoint the only moment I’ve ever felt cool in the presence of a bartender: It was early summer 2018 at a casual yet self-serious bar in my native Chicago, and I ordered a dry Lambrusco. “I love Lambrusco,” he said, affirming my early-adopter status for the first and last time. “I want to get everyone drinking it.” 

A far cry from the cloying, bulk-produced juice that dominated the category in the 1970s and ’80s, the new guard of Lambrusco from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region represents everything I like in a wine: A chilled, low-ABV red with a gentle, prickly fizz, it’s equal parts no-brainer and deserving of deep contemplation. It’s low intervention and artisanally made, and almost always under $20 a bottle. It’s delicious with pizza, cured snacks, and richly sauced pastas—or all by itself at 5 in the afternoon. It’s also still irritatingly hard to find.

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo is an impressive Italian-style meal with a kick! Tender shrimp swim in a garlicky, spicy tomato sauce.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo is an impressive Italian-style meal with a kick! Tender shrimp swim in a garlicky, spicy tomato sauce.

Shrimp fra diavolo

Want a meal to impress…with a little kick? Try Shrimp Fra Diavolo! This Italian-style dish stars tender shrimp that swim in a garlicky, spicy tomato sauce. “Fra diavolo” translates to “brother devil” in Italian, alluding to the intense heat of this dish. But make it homemade and you can customize the spiciness to your taste! It’s fast and easy, great for impressing guests but simple enough for a weeknight meal, too. Here’s how to make this dish that will wow everyone.

Ingredients in Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Fra Diavolo sauce is a spicy Italian tomato-based sauce for pasta and seafood, named “Brother Devil” for the intense heat. Origin stories of the sauce vary, but it’s most likely Italian American, invented at Italian restaurants in New York City in the early twentieth century. One New York City restaurant, Grotta Azzurra, claims to have been serving Lobster Fra Diavolo since 1908.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a spin on the lobster version of the dish that’s more economical: and it’s become popular on restaurant menus these days. This punchy sauce brings a kick! But made at home, it’s easy to customize to the eater. Here’s what you’ll need for this dish:

  • Large shrimp
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • White onion
  • White wine (or broth of any type)
  • Fire roasted tomatoes
  • Chopped Calabrian peppers or red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Use Calabrian peppers or pepper flakes

This Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe has two options for bringing the heat. If you can find them, we highly recommend using Calabrian chili peppers! The way they lend both flavor and heat to a dish is unparalleled. But, you can use red pepper flakes too, which is the most common way to flavor this dish.

  • Calabrian peppers are a type of chili pepper grown in Calabria, Italy and often used in Italian cuisine. They add just the right level of heat that’s not too searing, along sweet, subtly smoky and fruity flavor notes. We highly recommend them here!
  • Where to find them? Chopped or crushed Calabrian peppers are available in many grocery stores near the olives and pickles, or you can find them online. You can also chop up the whole peppers if that’s all you can find (make sure to wash your hands). We use these chopped Calabrian peppers from our local grocery.
  • Can’t find them? Use red pepper flakes instead! Red pepper flakes don’t add flavor like the Calabrian peppers: they add a straightforward punch of heat.
Calabrian Chili

Customize the heat level to taste

The great thing about this Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe? You can customize the heat level, and add spiciness until it reaches the ideal level. Here are some notes:

  • 1 teaspoon chopped Calabrian chilis makes a medium spicy dish. This is comparable to ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • Start low, then add more to taste. You can always add more spice: but you can’t remove it! So be conservative at first.
  • Or, have each eater add heat. Serve a little dish of chopped Calabrian chilis or red pepper flakes at the table, and each eater can customize the heat level.

Find fire roasted tomatoes for best flavor

The other key to this Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe? Canned fire roasted tomatoes. Here’s what to know about this variety:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s roasted over a flame before canning. They’re sold by several different brands; look for them in the canned tomato section in your local grocery. We like Muir Glen.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet and subtly smoky right out of the can. This means you can cook them for less time than standard tomatoes.
  • What’s a substitute? Use the highest quality canned crushed tomatoes you can find, and simmer the sauce for at least 15 minutes. Consider adding ½ teaspoon each sugar and smoked paprika to round out the flavors.
Shrimp fra diavolo

Ways to serve shrimp fra diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo can be served in a variety of ways! Serving it over pasta is common, but similar to Shrimp Scampi, that’s not the only way to do it. Add a side of crusty bread, or even rice or couscous. It’s totally customizable! Here are some serving suggestions:

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

More shrimp recipes

Shrimp is quick to cook and nutritious: making it king among healthy dinner ideas! Here are a few more shrimp recipes to try:

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Shrimp fra diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Shrimp fra diavolo is an impressive Italian-style meal with a kick! Tender shrimp swim in a garlicky, spicy tomato sauce.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced white onion
  • ¼ cup white wine (or broth of any type)
  • 14-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes*
  • 1 teaspoon chopped or crushed Calabrian peppers** or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes for medium spicy, plus more to taste as desired
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Optional for serving: 8 ounces pasta (like spaghetti, linguine or Easy Angel Hair Pasta) or crusty bread


Instructions

  1. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. Prepare the garlic and white onion as noted above. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side until almost cooked through, turning them with tongs (they will cook fully later). Remove the shrimp from the pan into a bowl, leaving the juices inside the skillet.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the olive oil, minced garlic and minced onion. Cook until the garlic is starting to become golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping until the pan is smooth. Once the wine is nearly evaporated, add the tomatoes, Calabrian peppers or red pepper flakes, oregano and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Taste, and if it’s not spicy enough, add more peppers to taste. Simmer partially covered, for 7 to 10 minutes until the flavor is smooth and rich (or up to 15 minutes if the tomatoes are not fire roasted). 
  4. Stir in the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute before serving. Serve with crusty bread or over pasta. 

Notes

*Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet and subtly smoky right out of the can; they’re widely available in most grocery stores. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality crushed tomatoes and simmer longer (see recipe); you can also add ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon sugar to round out the flavors. 

**Chopped or crushed Calabrian peppers are available in many grocery stores near the olives and pickles, or you can find them online. We used these chopped Calabrian peppers. The flavor is fruity and subtly spicy, and it’s absolutely worth finding! If not, use red pepper flakes. 1 teaspoon Calabrian chilis makes a medium spicy dish. Customize the heat level to your tastes!

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Shrimp fra diavolo

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Baked Ziti

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and feeds a crowd.

Baked Ziti

Here’s a dish that will be a winner any day of the week: Baked Ziti! This Italian American casserole is packed with savory flavor and cozy nostalgia. Its surface is filled with pockets of seasoned ricotta, lakes of garlicky tomato sauce, and punctuated by strands of gooey mozzarella. Side benefit: the wafting aroma makes your kitchen smell like a dream! This baked pasta is ideal for feeding a crowd, or a half recipe works for a cozy romantic dinner. What are you waiting for?

Ingredients in baked ziti

Baked ziti appears to be an Italian American invention, though the tradition of baked pasta dates back to the late Middle Ages in Italy. As with any classic recipe, there are many ways to make baked ziti. Most recipes include pasta, tomato sauce and a filling of ricotta cheese and Parmesan, topped with mozzarella and baked until bubbly. Many include sausage, but ours is a vegetarian spin that’s one step easier but still full of flavor. Here’s what you’ll need for this baked ziti recipe:

  • Ziti pasta (or penne or rigatoni)
  • Garlic
  • Fennel seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Marinara sauce and fire roasted tomatoes
  • Ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese
  • Lemon zest
Baked Ziti

Keys to the flavor

This baked ziti recipe is easy, with a few simple tricks for big flavor. Here’s what to note about this recipe:

  • It uses both marinara sauce and canned fire roasted tomatoes. This way, you can round out the flavor of the purchased marinara with some homemade flavor of your own. See below for some notes on fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Fennel evokes the flavor of sausage. You can skip the sausage here: using fennel seed adds a meaty, hearty flavor to the interior (fennel seed is also used in Italian sausage!).
  • Lemon zest adds brightness. The lemon adds a nice lift to the flavors!
Baked Ziti

Find fire roasted tomatoes for best flavor

This baked ziti uses a combination of purchased marinara sauce and homemade flavors to make a quick homemade sauce. The key? Canned fire roasted tomatoes. Here’s what to know about this variety:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s roasted over a flame before canning. They’re sold by several different brands; look for them in the canned tomato section in your local grocery. We like Muir Glen.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet right out of the can. This means you can cook them for less time than standard tomatoes.
  • What’s a substitute for fire roasted tomatoes? Use the highest quality canned tomatoes you can find. Consider adding 1 teaspoon sugar and a hint of smoked paprika (½ teaspoon) if you have it to round out the flavors.
Baked Ziti

Cook the ziti to just before al dente

The key to a baked pasta? Cook the pasta to just before al dente. Baked pasta cooks while it’s in the oven, so you’ll want to pull it out of the boiling water just before you normally would. Try about 1 to 2 minutes before it’s al dente: so it should still have some crunch.

As a note: typically the pasta package instructions indicate to cook a little too long! So cook it about 3 minutes before the package instructions indicate.

Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9

This baked ziti recipe makes a big 9 x 13″ pan that feeds at least 8 servings. Not in the mood for such a huge portion? Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9! It works just as well, especially since this pasta is tastiest the day of making. But it works as leftovers too!

Leftover storage

Leftover baked ziti lasts for up to 3 days refrigerated. This baked pasta does taste best the days it’s made, as the noodles can become a bit soggy over time. (That’s another reason to make sure not to overcook the pasta!) When you’re eating the leftovers, add a few pinches of salt and reheat it in a skillet to revive the flavors.

Baked Ziti

What to serve with baked ziti

This baked ziti works as a meal for a crowd, or an intimate romantic dinner (as a half recipe). Here are a few side dishes that pair well:

This baked ziti recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti


Description

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and feeds a crowd. Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9 baking dish if you prefer!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ziti pasta (or penne or rigatoni)*
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than al dente (about 3 minutes before the package instructions indicate). Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. If it’s cooked before the sauce is done, stir in a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and fennel seeds, crushing the fennel with your fingers as you add it, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and fire roasted tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes, then taste and add a pinch of salt if the flavor doesn’t pop (this will depend on the marinara brand). Then pour the tomato sauce into the drained pasta and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese, ¾ cup of the mozzarella cheese, the lemon zest, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  5. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish*. Pour in the pasta mixed with the tomato sauce. Add large dollops of the ricotta mixture to the top of the pasta, then use the side of a large spoon to swirl it into the top of the pasta, leaving some larger pockets of ricotta. Top with the remaining ¾ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese on the top is melted and browned. Allow to stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. If desired, top with basil leaves and serve. Leftovers last for up to 3 days refrigerated, though they taste best the day of (add a few pinches of salt and reheat in a skillet to revive the flavors). 

Notes

*Want to make a half recipe? Use half the ingredients and make it in a 9 x 9″ baking dish.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: Baked ziti, baked ziti with ricotta

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Pesto Gnocchi

This pesto gnocchi recipe comes out irresistibly creamy in 10 minutes! Use this trick for a tasty and easy side…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This pesto gnocchi recipe comes out irresistibly creamy in 10 minutes! Use this trick for a tasty and easy side dish in a flash.

Pesto Gnocchi

Here’s a trick to a fast side dish or simple dinner: this Skillet Pesto Gnocchi! Get this: you don’t even need to boil the gnocchi! Cook up these Italian potato dumplings right in a skillet and they cook right in the sauce, helping to thicken it as they release starch. Stir in purchased pesto and you’ve got a bright and herbaceous sauce: in just 10 minutes total. This trick has become a staple in our house when we need a quick meal!

Pesto gnocchi: how it works!

Gnocchi (pronounced NYOW-kee) are Italian pasta dumplings made with potatoes, egg and flour. Typically in a gnocchi recipe, you boil it up then add the dumplings to a sauce. But in this recipe, everything cooks in one skillet! You can cook both the sauce and the gnocchi in just 5 minutes. That’s pretty magical, in our opinion! Here’s what to know about the process:

  • In a deep skillet, bring milk and basil pesto to a simmer. Once it’s ready, add the gnocchi.
  • Add uncooked gnocchi and cook about 5 minutes. The dumplings cook right in the sauce, and as they cook they release starch. The sauce becomes thick and saucy, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  • Adjust flavors to taste. See below!
Pesto gnocchi

Pesto to use, and how to adjust flavors

Here’s the thing about pesto: purchased pesto varies greatly between brands. Even more importantly, jarred pesto is nothing like the fresh flavor of the real thing. Many purchased brands taste intensely acidic or have an odd aftertaste. Here’s what to know:

  • Purchased pesto brands vary greatly, so find one you love. We’ve experimented with lots of different jars: and they all have a different salt and acid level. But when it’s the winter, it’s t the only option!
  • Homemade pesto has the best flavor! Again, this is only an option when you have loads of fresh basil. But Basil Pesto is best homemade.
  • After cooking the pesto gnocchi, taste and adjust flavors. Add a pinch or two of salt, then if it needs it add up to 1 tablespoon additional pesto. It all depends on the brand!
  • Lemon zest adds freshness. If you happen to have a lemon on hand, lemon zest balances out the flavor of purchased pesto.

Can you use homemade gnocchi?

If you have time and energy, you can make homemade gnocchi with potatoes and flour. But it’s a bit of a process! Do it on a day off when you have energy to channel Italian grandmother vibes. If you make homemade gnocchi, we don’t suggest using it here. We’ve only tested this recipe with purchased gnocchi, and homemade have a different texture. Add your favorite marinara or butter sauce for those!

Basil pesto
Homemade pesto has a brighter green color and fresher flavor than purchased. If you don’t have access to fresh basil, use jarred pesto!

Serve pesto gnocchi as a side or main

You can eat pesto gnocchi as an easy side dish, or even a main dish if you accessorize it properly! Here are a few things to note:

Pesto gnocchi

More recipes with gnocchi

There are lots of ways to cook gnocchi! Here are a few of our favorite gnocchi recipes:

This pesto gnocchi recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free gnocchi.

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Pesto gnocchi

Pesto Gnocchi


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This pesto gnocchi recipe comes out irresistibly creamy in 10 minutes! Use this trick for a tasty and easy side dish in a flash.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound purchased uncooked gnocchi
  • ¼ cup basil pesto (purchased or Homemade Basil Pesto), plus 1 tablespoon to finish
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to finish
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon, optional

Instructions

  1. In a deep skillet, bring the milk, pesto, and salt to a gentle simmer. Add the gnocchi, breaking it apart with your fingers if any are stuck together.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the gnocchi are tender and the sauce becomes creamy. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts. 
  3. Taste the sauce and add salt (we usually add ⅛ teaspoon) and if it needs it, the final 1 tablespoon pesto. Add a bit of lemon zest if you have it, which freshens the flavors even more. The amounts will vary since all pesto brands are differently salted and flavored. Serve immediately. The sauce becomes very thick as it sits, so if necessary, add a splash of milk and reheat, stirring until creamy. Store leftovers refrigerated for 3 days and reheat in the same way. (You can also serve this as a main dish like pasta: just add some vegetables and additional protein.)
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Pesto gnocchi

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.