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Jewish World Review
Fondly remembering the deep dish with the bubbling crust
By Steve Petusevsky
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) It's deep dish season. These standbys are easy to assemble in disposable aluminum pans. They freeze well and seem to make everyone smile when they come out of the oven bubbling and golden brown.
When I think back to my childhood and the greatest dinners my mom made, they seem to have been served from my grandmother's glass dish with gold laminated designs on the side. It had to hold enough food for at least 10 people. She carried it hot from the oven as my dad arranged the stand for it on the dining room table.
That stand was a battered large gold metal oval with legs. I still vividly recall her slowly walking toward the table holding the huge dish with potholders. She would focus intently on getting the dish to the waiting stand, much like an astronaut rendezvousing in space with the docking station. The heavy pot had to go in the holder perfectly the first time around or some kind of ingredients would slide off into orbit.
It was a process.
The top of her dishes were encrusted with cheese and a sauce came bubbling through. It reminded me of molten lava. If you accidentally touched the surface, pain ensued. My brothers and I fought for the crispy pieces of burnt cheese on the corners.
Once my younger brother Howie tried to pull some of the topping off. It was sad to watch him gripping his fingers in pain, but this was a Petusevsky right of passage.
Depending on the filling, my mom made numerous crusts from stuff like corn flakes, bread crumbs, crackers and potato chips. She was a creative crust specialist now that I think back.
The four men at the table my two brothers, dad and I each tried to secure a piece of valuable crust real estate. Before dinner, we each stashed a spoon in our pockets and, when Mom went back into the kitchen to get the other side dishes, we gently scraped the surface to get some crust before she returned.
As we each got older and brought occasional dates to dinner, we warned our guests what was about to happen. We also suggested that they not be shy about helping themselves.
That was then, and frankly, not much has changed. I still love making recipes that are four inches deep and potentially lethal if you try to eat them right out of the oven. I keep looking for a glass dish and stand like my mom uses to this day no luck.
I offer two sauce recipes that can be used with cooked penne or rigatoni, stuffed shells, ravioli, manicotti or tortellini. These are great alternatives to plain marinara sauce and cheese. One is a version of ratatouille and the other a Basil Spinach Walnut Pesto. I also tell you how to turn these into a deep-dish casserole.
When using these recipes, make the topping first (this can be done up to three days prior to finishing your deep dish recipe).
If you are going to use the toppings with either cooked tortellini or ravioli, these must be al dente and then transferred to a baking pan before putting the sauce on and finishing in the oven. If using with stuffed shells or manicotti, the sauce can be poured directly over top and baked with the uncooked pasta until tender.
COLORFUL RATATOUILLE BAKING SAUCE
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large Spanish onion, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
1 large zucchini, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
2 small yellow squash, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced into 1/2 -inch cubes
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red chili flakes
- 2 (32-ounce) jars marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded basil leaves
Heat oil over medium heat in a nonreactive large saucepan.
Add onions and saute 1 minute to coat with oil. Add remaining vegetables, garlic, Italian seasoning and chili flakes and saute 3 minutes to combine well. Add the marinara sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add basil and cool at room temperature.
Per serving: 153 calories, 29 percent calories from fat, 5 grams total fat, .20 gram saturated fat, no cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram total fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 17 grams net carbs, 5 grams protein, 929 milligrams sodium.
DEEP-DISH PASTA CASSEROLE
Makes 10 to 12 servings
- 2 pounds ravioli or tortellini, cooked al dente, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta, optional
- 1 egg, optional
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, optional
- Colorful Ratatouille Baking Sauce (recipe given) or Basil Spinach Walnut Pesto (recipe given)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or shredded cheese mixture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pasta in a 2.5-quart baking dish. Combine ricotta, egg and parmesan, if using. Spoon this mixture over the pasta. Pour sauce over pasta and top with mozzarella cheese, if desired. Cover and bake 40 minutes.
Per serving (with Colorful Ratatouille Baking Sauce): 535 calories, 22 percent calories from fat, 13 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 77 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams total fiber, 3 grams total sugars, 72 grams net carbs, 22 grams protein, 1,084 milligrams sodium.
Per serving (with Basil Spinach Walnut Pesto): 583 calories, 41 percent calories from fat, 27 grams total fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 61 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams total fiber, 1 gram total sugars, 56 grams net carbs, 25 grams protein, 370 milligrams sodium.
BASIL SPINACH WALNUT PESTO
Makes 8 cups; 12 servings
This sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Try it on sandwiches or grilled vegetables.
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 cups loose-packed fresh spinach
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated romano cheese
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or blender and process or puree 45 seconds until creamy and smooth..
Per serving: 202 calories, 84 percent calories from fat, 19 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram total fiber, .13 gram total sugars, .93 gram net carbs, 7 grams protein, 215 milligrams sodium.
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Steve Petusevsky is the author of "The Whole Foods Market Cookbook". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)
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