Tired of winter? Here’s a hot and colorful cream soup to brighten up your dinner! The butternut squash cream soup is a dish that I like to prepare in many versions: Today I propose you a spicy and flavorful version with turmeric powder, dill and goat cheese. You can serve the butternut squash cream soup with wild rice or, alternatively, brown rice.
Chocolate salami is the traditional Italian dessert most loved by children. Just saying the name brings me back to childhood: it was my favorite snack! Preparing the chocolate salami is very simple, the ingredients are few, easy to find, and does not require cooking. To increase the realism, sprinkle the chocolate salami with powdered sugar. It will resemble classic Italian salami and it will be difficult to distinguish from a real one!
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Here’s a vegetarian pie which believes itself a lasagna! Lacinato kale leaves with potatoes layers, all garnished with a classic béchamel sauce and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. This recipe is not quite dietetic, but its fulfilling taste takes care of all your remorse! If you prefer, you can prepare this pie a day in advance, cooking it in the oven just before serving. Don’t forget to operate the grill after cooking, to get a golden and crispy crust!
The “Ragù Barese” (Apulian meat sauce) is a Southern-Italian typical pasta dressing full of history and tradition. Even though it has improve some changes over the centuries, has maintained an intense and antique flavor. A few weeks ago I ate this dish at Enzo’s caffè in Portland and loved it: For a few minutes I felt myself in Italy, so much that along Alberta Street looked like there were appear olive trees! I’m writing here the recipe, so that a little ‘olive trees can grow in your kitchen! As with “Bolognese sauce” or” Neapolitan Genovese”, the secret to this recipe is a long cooking at a low temperature. In Italy we use a traditional crock pot, left on the stove for many hours. Here in America I tried to make the sauce with my slow-cooker and the result was perfect!
The most famous Italian pesto is “Pesto Genovese” (basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts and olive oil): Its goodness lies in its simplicity! But Pesto Genovese is not the only option. In Sicily, for instance, pesto is prepared with tomatoes, cottage cheese and almonds. Today I propose you a rich but healthy pesto version with eggplant and mint. Eggplants are baked in the oven with no added fat. The mint leaves are crushed with garlic and blended with the eggplant pulp. The Tuscan pecorino adds flavor and a pinch of Italian tradition. Finally, the zucchini cut into chunks are a tasty surprise in the sauce. You can prepare the eggplant pesto also a day or two in advance, in order to have a quick and super-tasty dish ready to serve. For the pasta, I suggest caserecce, a typical south Italian specialty whose shape is perfect to hold the sauce!
When I see rack of lamb in plain sight on the butcher’s counter, I simply cannot resist! I love its unique flavor, almost naturally spicy, and its versatility: you can fry, pan-fry, bake, or stew it. My very first memory of lamb goes back to my maternal grandmother’s breaded lamb chops: fried and immediately served in a dish with baked potatoes…yum, sooner or later I’ll make them again! Today we will prepare the rack of lamb simply in the oven, after having briefly pan-fried it. To enhance the flavor of the meat I recommend an intense sage pesto and to finish off, a scented potato purée seasoned with fennel; need I say more? Buon appetito!
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.
Monkfish and bell peppers is a combination that must absolutely be tried! The zucchini cut into “spaghetti” will complement the flavor of the dish and add color. Remember not to overcook the fish to preserve its delicate taste and to stir the pasta with the cream of cornstarch, to harmonize the flavors well.
In Italy, meatballs (that we call “polpette”) are a classic Monday dish. In fact, originally the meatballs were made with the leftovers of the meat used for Sunday’s broth. Nowadays, meatballs are no longer made just to avoid throwing out leftover food, and we prepare them in many ways: with vegetables (eggplant is an excellent choice), meat (veal, beef or pork) or fish (especially cod and shrimp). Usually the balled mixture is fried and then simmered, although at times they area perfect street food, just fried and eaten on the go. Today we are going to prepare sausage meatballs, topped with a sauce made of tomatoes and fresh basil, without frying them so they are lighter. Given that the meat is very savory, I don’t add salt to either the sauce or the meatballs, and they are still very tasty. Your only regret will be not having prepared a few more!
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!