martedì 31 maggio 2016


Entree - Can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose free (READ footnotes)

Another pasta salad, which I love beyond belief. In summertime it's the perfect dish, weather for a buffet or as an entree. It's highly customizable, following your preferences.

1 lb Italian farfalle (bowties pasta)
1 5-oz can Italian tuna in olive oil
2 big ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 cup Italian artichokes in oil
1 cup mozzarella, diced
1/2 cup Italian green olives
1/4 cup Italian sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup peas, thawed (if you're using frozen one)
4 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In the meantime, peel and dice cucumbers, dice tomatoes and drain tuna but reserve its oil; slice artichokes stems in round and top in wedges; slice sundried tomatoes in strips,

Transfer all vegetables, tuna and mozzarella in a bowl and season with olive oil and salt. Mix well and refrigerate until it's time to use it.

When water boils, add salt and farfalle, stir and cook about 2 minutes shorter than it would take to get "al dente". Drain it, quickly rinse it under cold running water, to stop the cooking. Spread on a kitchen cloth to cool down completely.

Transfer farfalle to a big bowl with all other ingredients and mix well.

Refrigerate, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for 2 hours at least.

This recipe serves 4-5

- It's a perfect dish for a buffet.
- It's great during summertime.
- Alternate small batches of pasta and other ingredients, so they will combine more easily.
- I pitted olives before adding them to the salad.
- If you need some extra oil, use the sundried tomatoes or the tuna or the artichoke one; they are super flavorful and will add to your dish.
- For a gluten free version, use Italian GF pasta (we carry them).
- For a vegetarian, avoid tuna and for a lactose free dish, avoid mozzarella (both can be replaced with hard boiled eggs). For a vegan version avoid both tuna and mozzarella, and replace with a couple different beans like cannellini and borlotti or chickpeas.
- For a dish as simple as this, use only good quality ingredients like the ones we carry (especially artichokes!!).

lunedì 23 maggio 2016


Entree - Can be lactose and gluten free (READ footnotes)

I had no idea what to prepare for dinner so I got home and opened the refrigerator... this is what turned out. I tried twice before actually sending this recipe out, the first one was good, but the second was the better one. There is still room for adjustment, I'll try it again SOON!!

1 lb Italian farfalle (bowties) pasta
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 oz white fish fillet, sliced crosswise about 1/4" thick
1 can high quality tuna in olive oil
1 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt & rinsed
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup brandy (or white wine)
Italian sea salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Clean bell peppers, remove inner white ribbings and seeds, then cut in pieces. Arrange in a saucepan with some water (or vegetable broth) and stew until very soft. Set aside.

Bring a large pot with water to a boil. When it boils, add salt, then pasta.

While you wait for the water to boil, start the sauce.

In a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sautee onions, capers and hot pepper flakes until onions become translucent. Then add fish fillets pieces and sautee for about 2 minutes.

Deglaze pan with brandy or white wine (I prefer brandy) and add crumbled tuna (reserve the oil, you may need it at the end). Lower heat to medium and cook a couple more minutes and turn the heat off.

Remove bell pepper pieces from their liquid with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a blender with the cream cheese and a few tbsp of the cooking liquid. Season with salt, then blend until you obtain a smooth cream.

Stir the bell pepper cream in the skillet with the onion/fish mixture; season with salt and add the tuna oil, if needed.

A couple minutes before pasta is al dente, drain it and bring your sauce back to warmth.

Transfer pasta to the skillet and sautee on medium heat until evenly coated.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley, if you like.

Serves 4-5

- You can avoid the fish fillet, but use 2 cans of tuna.
- Use high quality tuna, in olive oil, like the one we carry.
- Capers in salt are the best: you rinse salt away and get only the capers flavor, not brine or vinegar.
- Always reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, you may need it, in case your sauce is too thick.
- Please, avoid Parmigiano Reggiano since its strong flavor would cover the delicate flavors of the other ingredients.
- It can be gluten free (use high quality GF pasta) and lactose free (avoid cream cheese).

lunedì 16 maggio 2016


Appetizer or entree - Lactose and gluten free - Can be vegetarian (READ footnotes)

This is one of my favorite dishes in summertime. No need to cook, only prepping and refrigerating!! It's so nice to have recipes that don't require cooking: they're a lifesaver during those hot summer days, and they're so refreshing to eat! You can add ingredients or change some... it will satisfy you regardless!

6 medium tomatoes, ripe but firm
1 can Italian tuna in olive oil, drained and crushed
1 cup peas
1 cup Italian marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt, rinsed
1-2 tsp Italian anchovy paste

Cut off the top of the tomatoes and set it aside. Remove the inner pulp (save it for future use, like a quick tomato sauce), and lay tomatoes cutside-down on a colander in order to lose its water.

Soak capers in water for 10 minutes. This is necessary in order to remove some salt, given the fact that they won't be cooked.

Thaw peas under running water. Roughly chop artichoke hearts and capers, crush tuna with a fork; transfer all of them to a big bowl.

In a small bowl, dissolve anchovy paste in a small quantity of mayonnaise, then add to the bigger bowl, mix and add enough mayonnaise to coat evenly.

Stuff tomatoes with this mixture, cover with the "lid" and refrigerate until it's time to serve (a couple of hours, at least)

This recipe serves 3-6 depending on what else is served.

- It's perfect for an appetizer or even an entree (use bigger tomatoes or consider serving 2 of them per person).
- It's lactose and gluten free. It can be vegetarian, provided that you don't use anchovy paste and tuna.
- It can be prepared in advance, even the day before, just keep them in an airtight container (or wrapped with plastic wrap).
- You can find a video for this recipe here.

lunedì 9 maggio 2016


Entree - Can be lactose and gluten free (READ footnotes!)

Everything tastes better, when fried!! If you use frozen fish fillets, let them thaw slowly in a colander then make sure they're well dry: this way the breadcrumbs coating won't detach. When I prepare them, I normally prepare more than needed for one meal, then bring them to work the day after or freeze them; they won't be as good as straight out of the frying pan, but they "can be eaten" ;-)

4 fillets of white fish (cod, sole, tilapia...), whole or cut in smaller pieces
1 eggs
1/8 cup milk
00 Italian flour
REAL Italian breadcrumbs (NOT seasoned or flavored)
Italian sea salt
Fresh sage, basil and parsley, chopped
Italian extra virgin olive oil

Mix the chopped herbs and breadcrumbs nicely; lightly beat eggs with a pinch of salt and milk.

Pat your fillets dry with paper towel: this is a very important step, make sure that they are REALLY dry!

Dredge fish fillets in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs, pressing with your hand so that breadcrumbs stick firmly to your fillets and set aside.

Warm up enough olive oil to fry.

Fry cutlets, turning them in order to get golden on both sides.

Transfer on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Serve immediately, with a green salad or other vegetables.

Serving depends on size of slices.

- Depending on how many you're preparing, while frying, keep other cutlets warm in the oven.
- DON'T sprinkle with salt while frying or you won't have a crisp cutlet.
- For lactose intolerants: use 1 extra egg and avoid milk.
- For gluten intolerants: use corn starch, instead of flour, and GF breadcrumbs.

lunedì 2 maggio 2016


Entree - Gluten free - Vegetarian versions in footnotes

I like preparing food that can be frozen for later use, or prepared 1-2 days in advance, that can be brought to your workplace... well, this dish allows all that! It's very easy to make, and you'll find vegetarian options in the footnotes. Sorry I haven thought of a vegan version, yet.

1 lb of ground meat (pork, beef, turkey whichever you prefer)
1 bratwurst (casing removed)
2 large zucchini
2 bell peppers (yellow or red)
1 eggs
1/2 onion
4 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
1/3 cup parsley, freshly chopped
Italian sea salt
Italian extra virgin olive oil
1/2 can Pomodorina sauce

Cut vegetables in half (lengthwise); remove seeds and inner ribbing from peppers and discard them; scoop out pulp, leaving "boats" of about 1/4" thick.

Chop pulp with onion and sautee with 1-2 tbsp of Italian extra virgin olive oil until soft. Set aside to cool down.

In a large bowl, combine ground meat and crumbled bratwurst with zucchini pulp, egg, parmigiano, nutmeg, parsley and salt. Mix well to combine all ingredients.

Stuff the vegetables with the meat mixture.

In a large non stick skillet, with lid, warm up 2 tbsp of olive oil and the sauce, transfer your stuffed vegetables in it and cook, covered over medium heat, for 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

(pictured: bell peppers only, soon all veggies)

- You can use eggplant, also, following the same prepping steps of zucchini.
- The sauce I mentioned in the recipe is outstanding, we do sell it, in case you want to try it.
- These vegetables can be cooked in the oven, in a baking dish covered with aluminium foil, at 320 degrees, a few minutes before ready, uncover it, sprinkle with a mix of Parmigiano and breadcrumbs to get a nice crust on top.
- This recipe is gluten free (if you cook in oven, do not sprinkle with breadcrumbs).
- You can make it vegetarian, following our recipes here (do not add prosciutto) and here (do not add bratwurst).
- you can find a video recipe (for the second vegetarian option) here, again remember to avoid bratwurst.