Sep 18, 2009

Jack's Recipe: Fried Fresh Mozzarella Sticks with Portabella Mushroom Ragu Sauce and Conchiglie Pasta

1 Package of Conchiglie (Seashell shaped pasta)
1 pound fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
all-purpose flour
Dried Bread Crumbs
Olive Oil
Unsalted Butter
White Onion
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Garlic
2 pounds fresh Portabella Mushrooms
1 28-ounce can of Crushed Tomatoes (any brand)
Tomato Paste (buy in a tube)
Dried Thyme (spice section)
Dried Oregano (spice section)
Dried Basil (spice section)
1 can Chicken Stock (buy low sodium)
Parmesan / Romano Cheese (I buy mine all ready made)

Cooking Items and Utensils:
Can Opener
Cutting Board
Large Kitchen knife
Paper Towels
Long Handled Spoon
Pasta Strainer
Frying Pan / Skillet
5 quart pot with lid (I use a cast iron pot with glass lid)
3 quart pot with lid (I use revere ware)

Cooking and Preparation Instructions:

Fried Fresh Mozzarella Sticks-
1 pound fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut into 8 (1/4-inch) slices
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Season both sides of the cheese lightly with salt and pepper.

In three separate bowls -
First Bowl – all purpose flour
Second Bow - season the egg wash and milk with salt and pepper.
Third Bowl – Bread Crumbs
Dredge each slice of cheese in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip each slice in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dip the cheese in the bread crumbs, coating completely.
Put on plate.
Set aside.

Cooking Instructions:
In large saute pan, over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.
Pan-fry the cheese until the crust is golden, about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove and drain on paper towels.
Note – Start this while the Ragu is cooking.

Preparing Conchiglie (Seashell shaped pasta):
In a 3-quart pot, fill 2/3 with water, cover, place on high heat until boiling.
Remove lid add in 1 tablespoon of salt.
1 tablespoon of oil
Pour in pasta
When water starts to boil again, reduce to low, cook as per instructions on package.
Pour Pasta into pasta strainer, do not wash with cold water.
Shake thoroughly removing as much water as possible.
Drizzle lightly with Olive Oil, stir, this prevents pasta from sticking together.

Portabella Mushroom Ragu:
Preparation ..... 

Open 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Open 1 can low sodium Chicken Stock
Chop 1/2 cup of white onion
Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh garlic
Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
Slice the Portabella Mushrooms into strips

Cooking Instructions:
Pre-heat In 5 quart pot with lid
place the following....over medium-high heat
2 tablespoons Olive Oil 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add

1/2 cup diced white onion 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Stir for about 2-minutes
Now add in 2 pounds Portabella Mushrooms
Stir until starting to cook, add more Olive Oil if needed
Next Add
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon basil
Add in...
Can Tomatoes
Can Chicken Stock
Fresh Chopped Parsley
2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
Turn heat to high until it starts to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cook for about 20-minutes to thicken, stir often.
Cover, turn heat to simmer, cook for another 20-minutes.

Place pasta in pasta bowls or onto serving plates.
Spoon the Portabella Mushroom Ragu Sauce over pasta, add some Parmesan / Romano Cheese.
Arrange 2 pieces of the Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks on top of the Mushroom Ragu Sauce and Pasta.

Now You're Cooking with JACK
Just Another One of Jack's Famous Recipes
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