Italian Pasta Bake

This is a recipe calling for our Tuscan Red Wine that our friends at shared with us. Please give it a try and if you like it, share with others. We always welcome new recipe ideas, if you have some you’d like to share please send them to

Food By Franz

Free Recipes for Friends coldest part of the winter season calls for warm, cozy family style meals, and this month the ROM or Italian Pasta Bake is about as comfort food as it gets. Try this instead of spaghetti one night for a change. Presented two versions of this main dish casserole. The Franz version and a busy cooks version. The quick version uses items to save time and takes advantage of some prepared products, but loses no flavor by them. The Franz version takes advantage of a locally made red-wine sausage and a home-made tasting sauce – the taste is worth it if you have the time. The casserole also slips in a extra veggie – your kids will never notice, but it ups the nutrition factor.

Winter cooking can be a challenge with the limited vegetable supply, but spinach is one of those veggies that is available year round. The VOM (vegetable of the month) features spinach. Lots of ideas for pairing spinach with different flavors. Information about the amazingly varied nutritional value of spinach – it stacks up way beyond iron (no offense Popeye). Spinach can be found fresh bundled, fresh bagged, in baby form, frozen whole and chopped. Surely you can find one idea to add spinach to meal this week. Try the spinach artichoke dip recipe for starters – its a microwave version and comes together quickly.

Fennel seed – actually the fruits from the fennel plant are the featured Herb/Spice for this month. Mistaken for anise seed at times the seeds are essential to several regions. Flavoring European rye breads, Indian curries to Italian sausages, fennel seed gets around. Used medicinally for ages as a diuretic and stomach calming agent – today its said to help IBS. Fennel seed is a good addition to this month’s ROM or Italian pasta bake, either in the sausage or the sauce. Toasting the seeds bring out the flavor and gives an authentic Italian taste to spaghetti sauce.

Are you missing the fresh herbs? The preserved ones from summer past are better than dry. This is the time of year when the ones harvested and frozen come in so handy for savory taste additions to soups, stews and sauces. Used two cubes of the basil in the ROM* sauce.