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Category Archives: Italian Cuisine

Cauliflower and Sausage Pasta with Pesto

May 16, 2017
  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3 sausage, crumbled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • ½ pound cooked pasta with 1 cup pasta water spared

Transfer the cauliflower florets to a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle salt and olive oil. Roast under a hot broiler till all sides are golden brown- about 10 minutes on each side. Take out and keep aside.

Pesto

  • 1 full cup fresh basil
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt

Add the garlic and pistachios to a food processor. Pulse till chopped. Add the basil, anchovy fillets, start pulsing and drizzle the olive oil and proxess till a smooth sauce is formed. Take out of the processor, add the cheese, lemon juice and salt to taste. Keep aside.

Heat a wide frying pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the crumbled sausage and sauté on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and ½ cup of the pasta water. Add the pesto, mix well and check for seasonings. Add more pasta water if necessary. Serve warm.

 

 

Pasta Primavera with Roasted Vegetables

May 14, 2017

Yummy and healthy dish for Meatless Monday!!

  • 2 cups zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, with skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Place the vegetables and garlic on to a line cookie sheet. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Mix well and roast in a 400 degrees oven for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool. Slide the garlic out of the skins and mash with fork.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or store bought tomato sauce
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted corn
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt
  • ½ pound pasta of choice, cooked al dente and 1 cup spare pasta water

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, basil and the roasted garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn and the roasted vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cheese and pasta. Mix well and add the spare pasta water if needed. Check for seasonings and add salt.

Garlicky Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

May 7, 2017

This is one of my favorite pastas to eat- I love the earthy, slightly bitter broccoli rabe and lots of garlic… plus it is a perfect Meatless Monday dish!!

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 10 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped with stems off
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ pound pasta of choice, cooked al dente with 1 cup pasta water
  • ½ cup cheese, a variety is ideal- I used a combination of Parmigiano, Asiago and Pecorino

Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the garlic and nuts and cook on a low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and cook on medium high heat till the greens wilt down. Add the cooked pasta and ½ cup pasta water. Mix well and add the cheese. Stir and check for seasonings. Add more salt and pasta water if needed. Serve warm.

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

April 30, 2017

I think I will call these vegetarian meatballs! They were really delicious and no one missed the meat! Make sure to buy a good quality ricotta- preferably fresh and drain in for a couple of hours so the extra liquid comes out before forming your dumplings. I always have fresh tomato sauce on hand – which is quite handy with a number of dishes.

  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese placed in a strainer above a bowl for 3 to 4 hours
  • ½ box 9 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out and chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup all purpose flour (plus more)
  • Semolina for holding dumplings

Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings

Take the ricotta out of the strainer and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, parsley, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt. Mix well. Add ¼ cup flour, mix, if the mixture is still wet, add in the remaining ¼ cup. I added the entire ½ cup.  Using a spoon take about a tablespoon of the mixture and place them on a platter with some flour. Form into a ball and transfer them to a tray lined with semolina. Form all the dumplings and keep aside.

 

 

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce or a 28 ounces can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and some salt and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings.

In the meantime, bring a large pot full of salted water to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and gently add the dumplings to the simmering water. Cook until the dumplings float and swell, about 3 to 4 minutes. You may need to cook them in badges in order not to over crowd. Using a slotted spoon remove the dumplings from the water and add to the sauce. Serve warm.

 

Pesto Crusted Cod with Roasted Cauliflower

April 19, 2017

Healthy and delicious… what more does one want??? Try this one…

  • 4 filets of cod or any other white fish
  • ½ cup homemade or store bought pesto
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the pesto with the breadcrumbs, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if necessary. Season the filets with salt and divide the pesto mixture into 4 parts. Top each filet with the pesto mixture and set aside.

Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in oven for about 10 minutes or till the pesto mixture is golden brown and the fish is cooked through. Baking time will vary according to the filet thickness. Take out and serve with roasted cauliflower and couscous.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tomatoes

  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 1 cup cherry tomaotes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

Place the florets and tomatoes onto a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for about half an hour or till the cauliflower is golden brown. Serve with the fish.

Parsley Pesto Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

April 16, 2017

When I think of spring, I think of asparagus and I think fresh green pesto. This pasta dish is a combination of both. I made a delicious parsley pesto which is very easy to make. I paired it with delicious roasted or grilled asparagus. It is a great side dish or a meal!

  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • Juice of half lemon
  • ¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano

Transfer the parsley, garlic, pistachios and lemon juice to a food processor. Process till a smooth paste begins to form. With the top open, drizzle the oil till the pesto begins to form. Transfer to a small bowl and add the salt and cheese. Check for seasonings.

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the ends off the asparagus and cut the tops into 2 inch pieces. Transfer to a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Mix well and roast in oven for 30 minutes for till golden brown. Take out and keep aside.

  • ½ pound pasta, cooked al dente with 1 cup pasta water saved

Transfer pasta to a large frying pan. Add the pesto and the saved pasta water and stir over low heat till all the ingredients have come together. Fold in the roasted asparagus and check for seasonings. Serve with grated cheese.

Sausage Basil Dumplings

March 28, 2017

This is a great way to keep kids busy after school. These are delicious dumplings with yummy Italian flavors… serve it with marinara sauce!

  • 3 sausage links, squeezed out of the casings (any kind of sausages)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 pack wonton skins
  • Small bowl with water

Heat a non-stick pan with the olive oil. Add the meat from the sausages and brown for 2 to 3 minutes while separating the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the shallot and garlic. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Turn heat off and cool for 10 minutes. Add the chopped basil and keep aside.

Take one wonton skin, wet the edges with a finger. Place one to two teaspoons of filling in the middle.  Fold the wonton skin in half and seal the top while pleating at the same time. Repeat the process using up the remaining filling.

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Heat a frying pan with 1 teaspoon oil. Add enough dumplings making sure not to over crowd. Brown the dumplings on both sides on a medium heat. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook the dumplings on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Take the lid off and cook any excess moisture. Transfer the dumplings to a platter and cook the remaining dumplings. Serve with marinara sauce.