This evening I was in the mood for an Italian style dinner. I decided to make "pasta", Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread (improved recipe) and a small side salad. I started my dinner prep by making the baguette bread first. While it was baking, I made a quick and simple "pasta" using yellow summer squash that I cut with my julienne peeler
. I have found that yellow summer squash pasta does not release the amount of liquid when cooked like zucchini pasta does. I didn't want to make a regular red pasta sauce, so instead, I used a heaping tablespoon of Mezzetta's sun-dried tomato pesto and mixed it with extra virgin olive oil to serve as a scant, but flavorful "sauce". To cook the pasta, I lightly sauteed it in a bit of olive oil until al dente and then stirred in the sun-dried tomato pesto and olive oil and tossed it to coat well. In a separate skillet I sauteed diced Vidalia onion, red bell pepper and a large minced clove of garlic until almost tender and then added 1 pound of ground sirloin, breaking it up as it browned. I seasoned it well with Celtic sea salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Once it was nice and browned, I removed it from the heat and stirred in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I tossed the "pesto coated pasta" with the browned meat mixture and added in some sliced fresh mini San Marzano tomatoes to keep them fresh and just slightly heated. I sliced the baguette bread and added a side salad and we had a delicious "Italian Style Feast". I snapped a few photos below and included the recipe for my improved Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread. Enjoy!
|Yellow squash pasta before cooking|
|Baguette bread dough spread and "ready to roll"|
|Before going into the oven to bake|
Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread (Improved)
1/2 cup golden flax seed meal (organic golden flax has a milder taste than brown)
2/3 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste (*use less salt if using a saltier cheese filling)
Few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute such as Egg Beaters)
1 tablespoon olive oil (a little more, if desired)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Cheesy Herb Filling
1/2 - 3/4 cup "favorite" shredded cheese (Italian blend, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix dry ingredients together; make a well in the center of the bowl and add wet ingredients; mix well until a dough forms. Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes to thicken (if the dough is still too wet or sticky after sitting to handle, add a little additional flax meal or grated Parmesan to stiffen it up a bit). Spread dough on a lightly oiled pan or a cookie sheet with greased parchment paper or foil (I use Reynolds non-stick foil, lightly brushed with olive oil or parchment paper lightly sprayed with olive oil).
Press the dough out with a rubber spatula (to keep it from sticking) into a rectangular shape (approximately 12" x 8"). Sprinkle shredded cheese of your choice evenly on top of the dough; sprinkle with seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired (do not put too much cheese or it will be difficult to roll and will weigh the bread down as it bakes). The easiest way to roll it up is to place it on parchment paper or foil (on the cookie sheet) and lift the long side and use it to roll it over and when you are almost done rolling at it is at the edge, slide a new piece of parchment paper underneath and continue rolling it off onto the new piece. You could also use your hands or a rubber spatula and begin gently rolling the dough lengthwise, jelly roll fashion, until it is rolled into a tube shaped baguette. Make sure the seam side is down and gently press the ends closed so cheese doesn't melt out while baking. Lightly sprinkle top of baguette with additional shredded cheese, if desired.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until baguette looks and feels done. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes on a rack. Slice, spread with butter...and enjoy!
Note: This would also be good with some crumbled, cooked Italian sausage scattered on top of the cheese before rolling. You can substitute the seasonings, cheeses, etc. for those that are your favorite. The possibilities are endless!