For me, born and raised in Bologna, stuffed zucchini are part of the tradition. This vegetable came in Europe from America, as a consequence of Cristoforo Colombo travelling, and was quickly introduced in the tradition of Italian cuisine. For centuries, stuffed zucchini were prepared with the leftovers of meat to provide a dish full of vitamins and protein. Here, I suggest a vegetarian version, filled with tasty goat cheese, coriander seeds, potatoes and shallots. Stuffed zucchini can be prepared either “lying” or “standing”, but I personally prefer the second option. Do not dig totally the zucchini, in order to preserve a base that will prevent leakage of the filling.
In Italy we particularly love stuffing tomatoes! We really enjoy Roman-style gratin dishes prepared with breadcrumbs and herbs or with rice and potatoes. Today we’ll prepare them with one of my favorite fillings: diced eggplants that we will fry beforehand in order to release the typical eggplant parmigiana flavor. To further enhance our filling, we will add sun-dried tomatoes and smoked aged mozzarella (in Italy known as “scamorza“). You may serve these tasty tomatoes as an appetizer or as a side dish to your grilled meat. Once ready, let stand for 5 minutes and serve still warm!e ready, let stand for 5 minutes and serve still warm!
The idea for this risotto came to me a few years ago when I was still living in Bologna. I wanted to combine the classic tradition of risotto with something different, using both meat and fish (which in Italy is not very common). The result was excellent: every time I prepare it, it is a success, both with Italians and friends from other countries. Crispy bacon goes well with the softness of the salmon and the sweetness of the pepper; saffron completes the whole and allows the risotto to become creamy.
In Italy (and not only!) usually fish is cooked with white wine. It is always true? Not really! In many Italian regions such as Tuscany and Campania, octopus is braised in red wine. We call it “drunk” octopus. The result is a tasty main dish with a sauce to be enjoyed with a slice of toasted bread. Today we will prepare it in a particular version, with Concord grapes and potatoes, a new way to enjoy a very old recipe.
A while ago I found myself having to come up with an appetizer at the last moment, with only a few things in the fridge and no time to go to the supermarket. And so I created the following dish with Belgian, simple as it is tasty, fast and perfect for a snack or as an appetizer or side dish. It is so true that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!
Tuna, beans and onion is a classic Italian salad. Quick to prepare, it is very tasty and also easy to carry, making it a perfect lunch for work or during a trip to the beach or in the countryside. In my version, I have used the most soft and tasty portion of the tuna itself: the belly. Being a quick recipe to put in your bag or backpack, I used tuna belly preserved in olive oil, which can be easily found at the supermarket, along with canned beans. To dress the salad, I prepared a sauce made with parsley, inspired by the Italian “salsa verde” (green sauce), with the addition of wasabi to give a new and zesty touch.
Next we have a common passion that ties Italy with the United States: shrimp! Big or small, we love them too, and like to cook and eat them in every way. My mind goes back in time and I become nostalgic…along the Tuscan seashore, grilled shrimp and a glass of Pinot Grigio…too bad both summer and Italy, for now, are far away…sigh! Today we’re preparing a linguine recipe with shrimps and a little secret ingredient that will make it creamy and tasty, but at the same time light. Cream, milk and flour banished, we will prepare a simple and revisited bisque with shrimp shells. Yes, I know, many of you just throw them out, but I assure you that from these “scraps” you will be able to extract a unique flavor that will make your dish simply delicious!
There are days in which I just don’t feel like turning on the stove, does it happen to you too? If that’s the case, then here is a tasty, low-calorie, and super fast recipe (can’t get any better than that). I really enjoy tartare: classic tartare is made with beef, but if you don’t feel like meat you can prepare it with tuna or, as in the recipe I’ll show you, salmon! A healthy meal helps keep you in shape and in a good mood, but to be even safer, use first quality salmon which has just been defrosted. In Italy it is customary to accompany salmon and all river fish with mushrooms. I wanted to try something along the same lines and chose champignon mushrooms, seasoned with olive oil and left to marinate with the fish. Result? Excellent! Celery provides a crunchy note that will render it an even more delicious dish. To get the best results, cut the vegetables into very thin slices and season the tartare 5 minutes before serving.
The fresh tomato pulp is ideal for dressing pasta, entrees and bruschettas. Its fast and taste summer. You can prepare it a day or two before, in order to speed up the preparation of the main course. I also use it on bruschettas, with olives, capers and some finely chopped fresh onion.
Roasted cherry tomatoes in olive oil are both excellent for pasta, risotto, salads, and also to eat during an aperitif, with olives, cured meats, and cheese. They can be flavored with many herbs and scents: here, I have prepared some with fresh oregano and some others with garlic, capers, and parsley. Try to make them; the taste of these roasted tomatoes after a few weeks stored in the dark is so yummy!