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Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

Tomato and Mozzarells Sandwich

Eat them while the tomatoes are still around…

  • Sliced baguette or a piece of garlic bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 3 to 4 slices fresh mozzarella (1/4 inch thick)
  • 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
  • One medium tomato or several grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Salt

Cut a big enough piece of the garlic bread and slice and toast. Spread the mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Place the mozzarella slices on one side of bread and sprinkle some salt. Place the tomatoes and basil leaves. Place the other piece of bread on top and serve.

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

My daughter loves baked ziti and she loves pasta with meat sauce- so I made baked ziti with meat sauce. Why not?? It is easy to make and yummy!!

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne, cooked al dente
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the turkey meat and brown at a high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the thyme and rosemary and tomato sauce. Add salt and bring to a boil and simmer at a low heat covered with a lid for 20 to 25 minutes. Take the lid off and add the al dente pasta and mix well and check for seasonings.

Transfer half of the pasta mixture to an oven proof dish. Top with the fresh mozzarella and basil, distributing evenly. Top with the rest of the pasta mixture. Add the shredded cheese and top and bake, covered for 45 minutes. Take the foil off and bake to brown the top for another 15 minutes. Serve warm.



Pasta with Tomato Sauce Mozzarella and Basil

This is my daughter’s all time favorite pasta dish- works for me as it is super easy to make. The key is to make your own tomato sauce with fresh cherry tomatoes. Try this for meatless Monday!

  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add the tomatoes, oil and salt to a saucepan and cook on medium low heat with lid on for 30 minutes or till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Transfer to a food mill or processor. Keep the sauce aside.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ pound any pasta, cooked al dente with ½ cup pasta water set aside
  • 1 cup fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the butter and olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté on medium low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sauce and salt to taste. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, pasta water, basil and the fresh mozzarella. Mix well and cook till the cheese melts about half way. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

Leftover Chicken Lasagna

After I made the delicious stew, I had some chicken left over- this is a great way to make a completely new dish!!! If you haven’t cooked the stew and don’t have leftover chicken- just buy a rotisserie chicken…

  • Leftover chicken breast, meat taken off and chopped, mixed with any leftover gravy. It should be about a cup.
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and keep aside.

  • 3 to 4 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • 9 lasagna noodles (I used no bake ones)
  • 1 medium sized oven proof dish
  • 5 to 6 small slices of fresh mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Dip the no bake noodles in tomato sauce and place three at the bottom of the dish. Add half the amount of ricotta cheese mixture and top with half the amount of chicken. Top with three more no bake noodles (dipped in tomato sauce) and repeat the process. Finally top with the last three no bake noodles (dipped in tomato sauce) and add at least a cup of tomato sauce on top, covering all corners (add more sauce if needed). Top with fresh mozzarella and then cover with aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Take out and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.



Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Roaste Pasta PrimaveraThis is a really delicious one…. it is hard to remember it is made without any meat. One of my husband’s favorite pasta dishes is pasta primavera. It is typically made with seasonal vegetables, a delicious marinara sauce and pasta of choice. I have made many different versions of it over the years but I have to say, this one is my favorite.

I roasted some red pepper, squash and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasting vegetables brings out the nutty, sweetness which is delicious in this dish. I mixed the veggies in a mixture of pesto and homemade marinara sauce. To make even more different, I tossed the pasta with some chopped fresh mozzarella.

I then roasted the dish in the oven till the cheese became soft and oozy. I served it with some delicious garlic bread and a yummy red wine… and we did not miss the meat…
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Zucchini Pesto Pizzas with Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Zucchini Pesto Pizza Okay, so this is a delicious concoction. While we were in Umbria at a very small yet great restaurant- we were served a variety bruschetta. One of them was green and tasted like heaven. We asked about it and found out it was made out of freshly picked zucchini. It was processed simply with extra virgin olive oil and salt. 

So, that is what I did. I bought some lovely looking zucchini from the farmer’s market. This pesto is so simple yet delicious. I made it and wasn’t sure what to do with it. My daughter had been complaining about me not making pizza at home. That is what gave me the idea to use the pesto for the pizza.

As usual I bought pizza dough from our local pizzeria and decided to make individual ones. I had leftover chicken which I decided to use for the topping. I spread the pesto on the rolled out dough and topped it with fresh mozzarella cheese and chicken pieces.

The pizzas were delicious! My neighbors were outside and I decided to give them a taste. Even the kids loved it! I told the parents that the pesto was made out of zucchini and that they should keep the main ingredient to themselves! All in all it was a great experiment. Try it, I bet your kids will love it too…
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Day Eight- Part Spello and Part Rome

Day eight was our last in Spello. The day before I was busy shopping for things to take home. While I was at the local supermarket, I found these cookie like confections. We had tried them earlier through the week and I wanted to eat them one last time before we left. I bought them for breakfast on our last day.
Cookies in Rome

I woke up the next day and got ready and did some last minute packing. I was sad to leave Spello but very excited to be in Rome and ultimately home. No matter where we go I am always very happy to be home. Nothing like your own familiar surroundings and your own bed!

I came down to the kitchen and started breakfast. I made coffee in the similar contraption as what I have at home. This was the first time I didn’t travel with mine. I remember walking into the kitchen the first time in the Spello apartment and smiling as I saw the coffee maker.

I had my coffee and the delicious cookie like cakes covered with sugar and stuffed with a chocolate marzipan filling. They look like mini doughnuts but taste a lot better. I wanted to pack some and take home but I settled on two for breakfast.

Coffee in Rome

After breakfast we headed to Rome. It took us a while to drop our luggage off to the hotel and then return our car. As we drove into Rome, I realized it had been almost 10 years since I had been to this lovely old city. It made me nostalgic as I looked around- it reminded me of Delhi.

We finally got everything done and took a bus to the old part of Rome across the Tiber- Trastevere. It is a section that is a mix between Soho and old Barcelona. It has small cobblestone streets full of restaurants and funky, upscale shops. We walked around and settled on a Trattoria with seating outside. Dinner consisted of lasagna, pasta primavera which was unlike the one we get in the US. This was mostly tomato sauce and pasta, topped with fresh arugula and chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese. It was delicious! I had a rigatoni with sausage in a cheese and cream sauce- very yummy!

Pasta Primavera Rome

Rigatoni with SausageAfter dinner we walked some more and took a bus to the colosseum. What a beautiful structure- especially at night.


It was a very brief stay in Rome- I am glad we did it. It reminded me how I really enjoyed visiting this city last time and how I would like to come back very soon.