lunedì 26 settembre 2016


Entree - Can be Gluten free (READ footnotes)

I was scrolling down posts in a Facebook group I belong to (a lot of Italian women around the word sharing recipes and suggestions). I stumbled upon a photo of a dish made and posted by Angela and, thinking I had all the ingredients, I planned to fix it for dinner. It turned out I didn't have have a couple of them, so I made some substitutions. Check the footnotes for the original ingredients. THANKS ANGELA!

1 lb Italian penne pasta
2 cups frozen peas & carrots
1 small onion
3 oz Italian speck
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian coarse sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, thinly slice the onion and cut speck in strips.

In a large non-stick skillet warm the olive oil and sautee onion until lightly golden, add speck and sautee just about a minute. Stir in cream, let it warm up and remove from heat.

When water boils, add salt and frozen vegetables; cover with lid and bring to a boil again; now add pasta, stirring for the first couple of minutes, so pasta won't stick.

Once pasta is al dente, turn the heat on again under the skillet, drain pasta and transfer to the sauce; sautee, tossing to coat evenly.

Serve immediately sprinkled with some good grated Parmigiano, if desired.

Serves 4-5

- Angela's original recipe called for shallot and fresh peas, no carrots. I didn't have shallot so I used onion. I also used the mixed frozen peas and carrots, you can use fresh ones without big issues, just remember to adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Speck is a cured cold cut, similar to Prosciutto, but with it's smoked. I find it hard to substitute, honestly...
- To make it gluten free, use a good quality GF Italian pasta, like the one we carry.

lunedì 19 settembre 2016


Appetizer or salad - Vegan/vegetarian, lactose and gluten free.

I believe beans are very good, in many meanings ;-) I always make a bean salad when we have friends over for lunch or dinner and everyone appreciates. This is a basic recipe: you can add thinly sliced onions, if you like it, or other vegetables. It can also be served mixed with farro and some vegetables, making it a complete and healthy meal.

1 14-oz can Italian cannellini beans
1 14-oz can Italian borlotti beans
4 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
3 sage leaves
savory leaves
rosemary leaves
1 garlic clove

First prepare the dressing. Halve garlic, finely chop rosemary, savory and sage and infuse them in olive oil, for at least 30 minutes: this will give the olive oil enough time to absorb all the flavors.

Drain and rinse the beans. Discard garlic from dressing.

Put about a tbsp of dressing on the bottom of a serving bowl, then add the beans and the remaining dressing.

Stir well so all ingredients combine nicely.

Refrigerate until serving, it's better if prepared a few hours to one day ahead of serving.

It serves 4 to 8 people, depending on what will be served with it.

And here with farro and vegetables

- It can be used as a salad or an appetizer.
- It is VERY important to rinse canned beans: this way you'll rinse some salt away and reduce your sodium intake.
- If you don't mind garlic pieces, chop it finely together with the herbs.
- It is vegetarian, vegan, lactose and gluten free.
- Given the fact that this is a dish made with few ingredients, it's imperative that their quality is very high. We DO sell the ingredients to prepare this salad (except for herbs and garlic).

lunedì 12 settembre 2016


Entree - Lactose and gluten free

We love salmon and had thawed some fillets, then I decided I didn't want to prepare it as usual and open the fridge: pulled out onion, zucchini and yellow bell pepper and decided to make skewers. I didn't want to fire a bbq for just 4 skewers so I cooked them on a cast iron griddle on the gas stove. I topped it with an Italian "salsa verde" and you'll find its recipe below.

For the skewers:
1 lb Salmon fillets
1 medium zucchini
1 medium onion
1 yellow (or whatever color you prefer) bell pepper
1 lemon, juice only

For the Italian salsa verde:
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt and rinsed
3 Italian anchovy fillets in oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Italian extra virgin olive oil

Cut salmon fillets in cubes about 1" thick, consider 4 cubes per skewer. Put the cubes in a bowl and marinate with the lemon juice, until it's time to use them.

Cut bell pepper and onion in squares and zucchini in rounds.

Skewer the salmon cubes alternating with vegetables, brush with a little olive oil and cook them until salmon reaches your desired doneness.

In the meantime, prepare the salsa verde: wash parsley, remove the leaves and arrange them in a blender with garlic, capers and anchovy fillets. Blend, adding oil in a thin stream, until you obtain the consistency of pesto.

I cooked them on a cast iron griddle, loosely covered by a foil sheet.

Serve them with fresh vegetables, in our case julienned carrots, dressed with Italian extra virgin olive oil, Italian balsamic glaze and Italian sea salt.

This recipe should serve 4 (depending on how big you cut your salmon ;-) ).

- You can bbq your skewers or bake them; I partly cooked the vegetables so that they would cook in the same time it took salmon, which cooks quickly.
- You can keep this salsa verde refrigerated (in a closed glass jar), covered with a thin layer of olive oil, for weeks.
- This sauce is great with boiled (or grilled) meat, fish, eggs... all ingredients that can complement your dish. You can also use it to toss pasta with, exactly like a traditional pesto.
- You can use anchovy paste (2 tsp) instead of the fillets, if you want. The quantities of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.

mercoledì 7 settembre 2016


Appetizer or Entree or Complete meal - Lactose free - Can be gluten free and vegetarian/vegan (READ footnotes) 

We love tomatoes; we love farro too, which is richer in fibers and protein than rice and with a distinct nutty flavor that goes perfectly with lots of dishes... I combined the things. Read the footnotes so you'll have vegetarian/vegan substitutions, if needed.

4 big tomatoes, ripe but firm
2 cups Italian farro, cooked and cold
1 can Italian tuna packed in olive oil
1/2 red onion
Italian sea salt

Cut the top of the tomatoes, empty the tomatoes and keep both the pulp and the top, sprinkle with a little salt and arrange on a colander upside down, to drain water.

Drain tuna from its oil and crumble it; reserve the oil. Dice the tomato pulp.

Thinly slice onions and place them in a big bowl, then add farro, onions and the tomato pulp; season with salt and the tuna oil. Toss to combine evenly.

Stuff tomatoes with the mixture, cover with the tomato "lid" and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

This recipe serves 4 (as long as tomatoes are big enough)

- You can add some freshly chopped (or dried) parsley to the farro mixture.
- You can prepare the tomatoes one day in advance and keep them in an airtight container.
- It's great in a mixed appetizer, if small, or also as entree.
- If you have too much stuffing, serve it by the tomato's side.
- Try to get Italian tuna (like the Tonnino we have in stock): it's of a higher quality and comes in chunks of fillets!
- It's lactose free and can be gluten free, provided that you use rice instead of farro which, being a grain, contains gluten.
- It can be vegetarian/vegan if you replace tuna withe Italian cannellini or borlotti beans. Dress the farro mixture with a high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil.