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!
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!
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!
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.
This cream of asparagus occurred to me one day, preparing grape tomatoes in the oven. I was wondering how I could use them other than as an appetizer and so I came up with the idea for this extremely simple, creamy vegetarian pasta recipe (we can save the proteins for another dish!). I really enjoy the cream of asparagus and I love prepare it often: it’s simple and always a success. You don’t need butter or cream, only high-quality extra virgin olive oil! The result is a playful dish, full of color and reminiscent of the festivities, which is also perfect for getting children to eat vegetables.
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!