I was going to start this off with “a few years ago,” but I did the math – and it was FIVE years ago. Anywho. Five years ago, my dad and I went to Florida over my high school winter break. While there, besides tasting “Alligator Bites,” we stumbled upon a restaurant called Romano’s Macaroni Grille, a restaurant I think we may have heard of from one of my dad’s coworkers, but I can’t remember details back that far. I ended up ordering the chicken cannelloni and was blown. away. “Hand-rolled pasta filled with roasted chicken, fresh spinach and melted cheese, then baked in an Asiago cream sauce. Topped with imported tomato sauce.” .. how can you not devour it?! We asked about any locations they had up north and there’s 2 in Massachusetts, but they’re each about an hour from here — so there was only one real thing to do recently when I started craving just that – find a copycat recipe and make it myself.
Matt and I loved it, though next time I’m not sure I would mix the two sauces together because as I remember the dish in the restaurant, it was an asiago sauce with a small topping of tomato sauce on top of the actual pasta, as opposed to a complete mix of the sauces. Regardless, the dish was gone a day or two later (it makes a lot!) and I’d definitely make it again. It’s relatively easy, it’s just really about timing the cooking of the chicken with the cooking of the lasagna noodles – so the chicken has a little time to cool and the lasagna noodles don’t sit too long and stick together. Pictures & recipe…. Continue reading
finally, a cooking post! two weekends ago, for Sarah’s birthday, we went out to Vinny T’s for lunch. I usually don’t get that excited for Vinny T’s, even though my whole family loves it because I struggle to find something on the menu that doesn’t come with chunky tomato sauce or is too heavy and makes me contemplate truly rolling. out. of. the. restaurant. but on this particular saturday, i found it – THE dish. tortellini con piselli. it was so good that i decided i’d just have to recreate it myself. so, i did. the hardest part was definitely finding a good recipe for a light cream sauce – i didn’t want it to be too watery, but also not too creamy.
the ingredients themselves were pretty simple – a package of tortellini, half a bag of frozen peas, some prosciutto (the amount is really up to you, same with the peas, i suppose), half a bag of shredded italian cheese, a pint of heavy cream and a stick of butter (both for the sauce). I cooked the peas in the microwave and tried timing the tortellini cooking with the sauce, but was unsuccessful. The pasta ended up done much earlier than the sauce and I gave up on the sauce thickening when I started worrying the pasta would get cold and sticky, but it ended up working out well. I combined the pasta, peas, prosciutto and about half the cheese in the pot, and then covered it in the sauce. Because it was more watery than I intended, I ended up draining some of the sauce right out, which may seem wasteful, I suppose, but it allowed the sauce to drip into the creases of the tortellini without making the whole dish too watery. Next time, I’ll probably try to time the sauce better and get it more creamy than I had the patience for. After some slight drainage, I sprinkled more cheese on top and covered it for a few minutes to let the cheese melt. 5 minutes later, Matt, two friends and myself were seated silently, shoveling it in. Pictures and recipe (again) after the jump! Continue reading