lunedì 30 maggio 2011


Pasta entree

This is a really simple and fast pasta dish.

1 lb short cut pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli, little shells, elbows....)
1 cup peas, frozen or canned/jarred
1 cup diced ham
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk (optional)
4 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
Salt, pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; when it boils, add salt and then pasta, stir and cook until al dente (7-10 minutes depending on the shape of pasta).

In the mean time, put a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and warm olive oil, add ham and sautee for about 1 minute, then add peas and a couple of tbsp of the water you're cooking pasta in. Cook for about 5 minutes and add cream, stir and season with salt and pepper. If it's too thick, use some milk to thin it.

Strain pasta (reserving some water), arrange it in the skillet with your sauce and, over medium heat, toss to coat evenly. If it's still too thick add a few other tbsp of the reserved water.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with grated parmesan.

This recipe serves 4-6 people.

- If you use fresh peas, it may be better to cook them with pasta.
- You can use rosemary rubbed Italian Prosciutto Cotto (cooked ham).
- You can use butter instead of milk or water.
- You can use Prosciutto (Parma), in this case it's better to roughly chop it and, because it dries quickly becoming tough and extremely salty, it's better not to sautee it but to add it at the end.

lunedì 23 maggio 2011


Complete meal or appetizer - vegetarian and lactose intolerants safe (see notes at the bottom)

1 cup Italian barley
7 oz cheese (provolone, pecorino or any other cheese you like), diced
8 oz turkey or chicken breast, diced
2 small zucchini
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 lemon
6 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
Rosemary, sage and garlic (for the breast)

Boil the barley for about 40 minutes in lightly salted water, drain and chill it.

Steam the zucchini until you reach the desired doneness, then dice them and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, sautee the meat in a non-stick skillet with 1 tbsp of oil, chopped rosemary, sage and garlic for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Set adise to cool.

Arrange barley, cheese, meat, tomatoes (with their juice) and zucchini in a bowl, then prepare the seasoning.

Blend together the remaining oil (5 tbsp) with anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper; drizzle over the salad and toss to coat well.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

This recipe serves 4-6 people.

- You can serve this dish as a complete meal, as appetizer, as entree, as your fantasy suggest you.
- You can add capers and parsley to the seasoning, if you like them.
- This is a really versatile dish: lactose intolerants can avoid cheese and use hard boiled eggs or shrimp, vegetarians can use eggs instead of meat, you can add as many vegetables as you like: bell peppers, cucmbers, celery, shredded (or boiled and diced) carrots, peas..... there's no limit.
- You can use farro instead of barley, or a mix of the two (cook them separately because they have slight different cooking times).

lunedì 16 maggio 2011


Fish entree - lactose intolerant and celiac safe (see below)

1 1/2 lb baby octopus
1/2 lb eggplant, peeled and diced
2 red onions, cut in 8
4 anchovy fillets
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 slices of toasted bread

In a deep non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sautee garlic, anchovies and baby octopus; stir occasionally.

After about 5 minutes add wine and, once evaporated, lower to simmer, cover with lid and cook for about 10 minutes.

At this time, add onions and eggplants, stir and cook until onions are soft (about 8-10 minutes), then add hot pepper flakes and cook for 5 more minutes.

Season with salt, divide evenly into 4 individual bowls, drizzle with parsley and serve with toasted bread.

This recipe serves 4.

- If you like, you can add 4 peeled tomatoes together with the eggplants.
- You can rub toasted bread with garlic.
- You can use 2 tsp of anchovy paste instead of anchovy fillets.
- Celiacs: serve it without bread (or with a gluten free one)

lunedì 9 maggio 2011


Side dish - Vegetarian - lactose intolerants and celiacs safe

1 Red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup Italian green olives, pitted (rougly chopped if you like it better)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
Salt and Pepper

Over the open flame, sear the bell pepper; remove stem, seeds, skin and inner white ribbing, slice (lengthwise) and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat warm the olive oil, then add olives, garlic and peppers and mix; stir in oregano, parsley and salt (pepper if you like it) and cook until peppers are tender, or until desired doneness.

Add a few tbsp of warm water, chicken or vegetable broth if needed.

Serve immediately with white meats, fish, eggs or by themselves.

Serves 4.

- You can add 3 peeled San Marzano (whole or chopped) if you like them.

- You can use it also as a pasta sauce

- You can add capers and anchovies which go well with peppers.

- I wouldn't use green bell peppers: the other colors (yellow, orange and red) are sweeter.

lunedì 2 maggio 2011


Rice entree - vegetarian - celiac and lactose intolerant safe (see notes below)

1 1/4 cup Carnaroli rice
1 28 oz can of Italian peeled San Marzano
6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable, for vegetarians)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/2 cup white wine (or red f you like a bolder flavor)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped

Roughly chop the peeled San Marzano and put them, along with their sauce in a bowl.

Bring broth to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, warm the extra virgin olive oil and sautee onion and garlic until onion is translucent.

Stir in rice, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, then add wine; when it's evaporated, add tomatoes with their sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.

Now start adding boiling broth little by little, stirring frequently, adding a new batch of broth only when the previous has been absorbed. Cook it for about 17-20 minutes (depepnding on your taste).

Remove from heat, stir in parmigiano and butter and serve immediately, sprinkled with basil!!

This recipe serves 4.

- You can use low fat (or fat free) cream cheese instead of butter.

- You can use fresh ripe tomatoes, as soon as the season will allow you to have good ones, about 3 cups, diced.

- Carnaroli is the best rice for risotto, less starchy than arborio but easier to cook: it doesn't overcook too easily.

- Lactose intolerants avoid butter and cheese (to thicken the risotto, if needed, you can use come corn starch)