Broccoli and Black Forest Ham Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti pie. An odd – and delicious, I might add – sounding item don’t cha think? I reckoned it would be, too, so I took the recipe I saw on and made some modifications to accommodate the edibles I had on hand. Then it was time to get to work.

After about 30 minutes of effort, I found myself with a counter covered with mixed/chopped ingredients all ready to do their job, but no vessel to do it in. The Robert Burns quote, “best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men” came to mind. I reached into the cabinet for the springform pan and found only the ring. The bottom of the pan somehow vanished. I pulled every pot and pan out in my search with no success. I had to come up with a plan B, so I grabbed a cake pan, lined it with foil, and sprayed the foil with non-stick spray. It worked out okay in the end, but you’d make it easier on yourself if you have a springform. I still have no idea where the missing piece disappeared to and with no kids living at home to blame, what’s a girl to do? 

Serves 6-8 people (although we each had 2 large pieces. It was that good!

1 tbsp. butter

8 oz. Black Forest Ham, diced small

1.5 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water

1 bunch broccoli (Keep the heads intact, but slice the stalks thinly)

1 pound dried spaghetti

1 ½ cups whole milk

Zest from one lemon

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

8 oz. grated fontina

2 oz. grated Parmesan

1 tsp. black pepper

Heat oven to 425-degrees

Butter a 9-inch-springform pan and wrap the outside in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes in the salted water until it has some give. Fish it out with a large slotted spoon and dunk in a bowl of ice water (blanching). Drain, squeeze the water out of the broccoli with paper towels, and chop small.

Mix the milk eggs, lemon zest, ¾ of the cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the ham and broccoli and mix well.

Now add the spaghetti to your boiling water and cook until 2 minutes shy of done and very al dente (very chewy!). Drain and let cool.

Once the spaghetti is cool, add it to the egg mixture. Mix very well.

Pour the spaghetti mixture into the pan. Push down with a spatula and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on the top and the center is set.

Cool for 10 minutes and release the ring. Serve in wedges like a pie. Enjoy!

Eat well,


“Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.” – Sophia Loren



Mac + Cheese with Twist

This recipe is a different take on an old classic. I saw somewhere, ages ago, a recipe for mac and cheese that called for avocado. Genius. Since I have no memory of where I spotted this brilliant addition, I improvised and created my own version.

In addition to the avocado, I added roasted tomatoes with a bit of basil. The tomatoes add some acid, the basil a bit of herbaceousness, both of which help balance the richness of all of that delicious cheese. Divine. Much like the bewitching powers the dynamic duo of grilled cheese and tomato soup have on people. Hard to beat.

Here’s what you’ll need to feed 5-6


½ cup whole milk

8 oz. grated gruyere cheese

6 oz. grated fontina

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1 avocado, cubed

2 packages of Manini’s gluten-free rigatoni (or 1lb of regular pasta)

1 package of strawberry tomatoes

1 tbsp. EVOO

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. piment d’espelette (or cayenne)

A handful of basil, julienned

In a 400-degree oven, roast the tomatoes in the EVOO until about bursting.  

Boil the pasta in salty water until al-dente. Drain and retain ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water.

Put the pasta back in the pan with the hot pasta water.

Add the cheeses, milk, garlic, salt, and piment d’espelette to the pasta.

Mix well over low heat.

Once the cheese is nice and melt-y, toss in the cubed avocado and mix again.

Add salt and pepper to taste, top with a few of the roasted, and hot, tomatoes, some basil, and chow down!

Eat well!


“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

J.R.R. Tolkien



Garlic, Sausage, and Broccoli Pasta

My version of garlic, sausage, and broccoli pasta is a family favorite and frequently requested. It’s nothing like the dish you’d find at pedestrian Italian restaurants. It’s not sparsely populated with a few massive hunks of flabby brown-ish broccoli heads scattered here and there. This version is brimming with vibrant and al-dente broccoli, so it’s impossible not to have some of the green stuff pass your lips with each and every bite. That’s just how we like it. Here’s what you’ll need-

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