Baked Ziti with Spinach and Veal...

We all have "one of those days". The kind of day where  you just need to watch mindless reality tv, read gossip magazines and enjoy some comfort food. For me my comfort food is something warm and gooey and full of cheese. Last night I was feeling that way so I made this recipe by Rachael was a cheesy, delicious, hearty pan of love. Try it out! Baked Ziti with Spinach and Veal on the Food Network.


  • 2 bundles farm spinach, trimmed, washed and dried, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh sage (a small handful of leaves)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine or chicken stock-in-a-box
  • 1 pound ziti, whole wheat pasta or whole grain ziti
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 rounded tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to your taste
  • About 1 1/2 cups grated Italian fontina (recommended: Fontina Val D'Aosta or 6 ounces Gruyere cheese)
  • About 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.

In the skillet heat the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the ground veal and lightly brown and crumble, then add the chopped carrot, shallots, garlic, and sage and season with salt and a little pepper and cook to soften carrots and onions, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, add the wine and turn the heat down a bit to simmer gently.

Meanwhile, drop the pasta in salted water and undercook by 2 minutes from package cooking directions.

In a sauce pot over medium to medium-high heat, add butter and melt, whisk in the flour for 1 minute then whisk in the milk, bring to a bubble and season with more salt than pepper and a few grates of nutmeg. When the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon taste and adjust nutmeg and pepper to your liking.

Add the spinach to the veal until it is wilted and incorporate, then stir together the pasta, veal mixture, and sauce. Pour the mixture into a casserole and top with the cheeses. Cool, cover and store for a make-ahead meal.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the casserole on a baking sheet to catch the drips and bake in a hot oven until brown and bubbly, 35 to 45 minutes if reheating, 15 to 20 minutes, if not.



Provincetown Memories & Portuguese Kale Soup

Anyone who knows me well knows I love food, coffee and cigarettes. They also know I happily spent my childhood summers in Provincetown MA. Provincetown is known for many things: it's dunes, Norman Mailer,  its arts, its gay population and its Portuguese fishermen.Because of these summers I have a never-ending love for love all things drag,  American "new journalists" with ego issues and Portuguese Kale Soup!

This yummy soup is even better the next day with a chunk of Portuguese sweet bread on the side. ENJOY!

1.5 lbs fresh kale 1 large yellow onion 3 potatoes, peeled 2 chourico or linguica of mix, sliced 8 cups pork broth 1/4 cup Olive Oil 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 can Cannelloni beans 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1 hot pepper 1/3 teaspoon paprika & salt & pepper to taste

Slice chourico or linguica and saute in 1/4 cup of olive oil, onion, and chopped garlic. Do not allow garlic to brown, so add last. Add broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

Season with salt, & pepper to taste

Prepare the kale by rinsing thoroughly and tearing the leafy portions from the stems. Tear into bite-size pieces. Discard stems.

Add potatoes, kale, and simmer additional 30 minutes.

Add beans in last 10 minutes (if canned).

Serve with Portuguese sweet bread or rolls

Serves 4

NEXT WEDNESDAY:  Chocolate Madness!