Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

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Stuffed Paccheri Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

Life is too short, and I'm Italian.  I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0." ~ Sophia Bush
(A woman after my own heart....)

Paccheri after being stuffed with Ricotta and Roasted Garlic

I haven't been cooking as much as usual lately.  I miss it.  Tonight, I decided to make a pasta dish as I had purchased some Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce and I wanted to try it.  It is quite yummy.  I may try and make homemade butternut squash sauce next time to see how that turns out.  I bet it will be fun!

Here's how I made the stuffed pasta:

I boiled and drained about 24 Paccheri pastas until al dente and set aside to cool.  These little tubular pastas are like mini Manicotti or jumbo Rigatoni pasta.  In the meantime, I roasted 2 heads of garlic (drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil) in a 350 degree oven for a half hour.  I mixed 15 ounces of ricotta cheese with one beaten egg and about 4 tablespoons of fine bread crumbs and gave the mixture a few dashes of black pepper, dried basil and nutmeg.  I sliced a couple of shallots very thin and added those to the cheese mixture.  Then, when the garlic was roasted all soft and golden, I squeezed the fragrant cloves into the cheese mixture, mashed it in and mixed it well.  Yum!  The smell of roasted garlic is one of my most favorite aromas on earth!

Put it all together:
Stuff the Paccheri tubes with the cheese mixture (I used a small butter knife instead of a spoon) and laid them on top of some sauce in a shallow baking dish (as seen above in the top photo).  Cover the pasta with more sauce and sprinkle with shredded  Mozzarella cheese. You may add as much sauce as you desire. Bake the stuffed pasta for about 20 minutes to a half hour until cheese on top is melted and the sauce is hot and bubbly.  Sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese on top and serve with a side salad and your favorite warm bread.  

Out of the oven
The butternut squash sauce added a soft and surprising sweetness to this dish.  It is a simple meal with delicious flavors.   We really enjoyed it and will have leftovers tomorrow for sure (pasta tastes even better the next day).