As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout the various regions of the United States, many brought with them a distinct regional Italian culinary tradition. Many of these foods and recipes developed into new favorites for the townspeople and later for Americans nationwide.
The ICC (The Italian Cultural Center) was established as a center in Minneapolis for all things Italian and to serve as a beacon for classic and contemporary Italian culture through language, art, music, design, cinema, architecture and technology. The ICC draws Italian-Americans who want to learn more about the culture and connect with their roots.
Discovering modern Italy is a goal for ICC’s students. Some of the students who come to study language here also enjoy learning about what Italy is like now. The Center’s seven university-trained teachers are from Italy and bring their own diverse heritages into the classroom, giving students a glimpse of life in some of the small towns and villages.
Films are a big part of the Italian cultural experience. Since the development of the Italian film industry in the early 1900s, Italian filmmakers and performers have enjoyed great international acclaim and have influenced film movements throughout the world. As of 2015, Italian films have won 14 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, the most of any country.
Every year, the ICC presents a series of outstanding contemporary films in their annual Italian Film Festival. They also offer screenings throughout the year in the CineForum series.
Through the lens of drama, comedies, documentaries and movies, the view of Italy is broadened and offers a fresh perspective on the country and its people. It is a way to take a journey to Italy without leaving Minnesota.
The desire to show Twin Cities’ residents the real Italy has led them to select films by modern Italian directors for the ICC’s annual free film festival, held in collaboration with the Italian Film Festival USA and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). The Italian film series offers a glimpse into award-winning, post-war Italian films and the high fashion industry they launched.
Inspired by her travels and studies in Tuscany, Carmela Tursi Hobbins created Carmela’s Cucina to teach the art of Italian cooking and entertaining. Her experience blends years as co-owner of a successful catering business and her background as a classroom teacher. She has written two cookbooks, Carmela’s Cucina and Celebrations with Carmela’s Cucina.
- 1 pound package of fresh tri-colored tortellini
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 pint fresh bocconcini mozzarella balls
- 1 pint pitted olives
- 1/2 pound salami sliced thin
- 2 envelopes Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing mix
- Bamboo skewers
Boil the tortellini for about 6 minutes in salted water. Drain and put the tortellini into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Wash the tomatoes and basil and pat dry.
Thread the tortellini, tomatoes, basil leaves, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives and salami (folded into quarters) onto the skewers.
Using one package of the Italian salad dressing mix, make up the dressing following the directions on the package and drizzle the dressing over the prepared skewers.
Sprinkle the contents of the second envelope of dried Italian Salad mix over the skewers and let marinate for several hours.
When ready to serve, assembled skewers can be stuck into a melon or pineapple half or laid on a lettuce lined tray.
Little Italy is a neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska that, historically, has been the home to the city’s Italian population. Omaha’s first Italian community developed during the 1890s near the intersection of South 24th Street and Poppleton Street. It was formed by immigrants from southern Italy and Italian immigrants who moved there after living in the eastern states. In 1905, Sicilian immigrants settled along South 6th Street in the hills south of downtown. Additional immigrants from Sicily arrived between 1912 and 1913 and following World War I.
Two brothers, Joseph and Sebastiano Salerno, are credited with creating Omaha’s Little Italy, located near the Union Pacific yards in downtown. When Sebastiano took a job as an agent for a steamship company in 1904, he encouraged friends from Sicily to emigrate. Joseph then secured housing and jobs for the immigrants, particularly in the downtown Omaha’s Union Pacific shops that included grocery stores, clothing and shoe stores and the Bank of Sicily, established by the Salerno brothers in 1908.
Today, the Festival of Santa Lucia is still celebrated throughout Little Italy, as it has been since the arrival of the first immigrants. An annual festival called “La Festa” is held to unite the city’s Italian community and celebrate its heritage. Many other remnants of Little Italy endure, making this area distinct within the city.
Little Italy has several landmarks, including St. Francis Cabrini Church, built in 1908 at 1335 South 10th Street. Other landmarks include the Santa Lucia Festival Committee Hall at 725 Pierce Street; Marino’s Italian Grocery at 1716 South 13th Street; Sons Of Italy Hall located at 1238 South 10th Street and Orsi’s Bakery at 621 Pacific Street.
Orsi’s Bakery and Pizzeria is a gold mine for Italian fare. Their Sicilian style pizza, in particular, has been popular since they first opened in 1919. Passed through the Orsi family for over 90 years, the interior and the owners may have changed, but the recipes have stayed the same. Along with pizza, their Italian deli offers a variety of meats, cheeses, olives, peppers and desserts.
Chefs at Omaha’s Piccolo Pete’s flavor the sauce for their spaghetti with beef steak trimmings and pork and beef bones. In the true sense of Italian American cuisine this recipe combines Italian heritage cooking with Omaha’s love of beef.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. beef shank bones, trimmed
- 1/4 lb. raw steak trimmings (ask your butcher for this)
- 1 pork neck bone
- 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons. celery seeds
- 4 sprigs basil
- 3 (28-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Heat the oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook bones and steak trimmings until browned, 7–9 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add garlic and onion; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, celery seeds, basil, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add bones and trimmings. Cook, until the sauce is reduced by a third, about 1 hour. Discard bones, trimmings, basil and bay leaves; shred the meat and add it to the sauce.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and divide among serving bowls; ladle with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
The Columbus Park area is Kansas City’s Italian neighborhood. Although ethnic lines are less distinctly drawn than in years past, the unique character of the neighborhood remains. Unlike other Little Italys that blur into other neighborhoods, Columbus Park has established boundaries: the Missouri River on one side and the Heart of America Bridge on the other. As one of Kansas City’s oldest immigrant neighborhoods, it has also had a long history of social infrastructure and culture. By 1920 there were about 10,000 Italians living in the area.
The heart of the community is the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Built in 1895, the Church was the result of petitioning by the local Italian community for a church. Bells still toll on Sunday mornings and services have continued in the building for more than 100 years.
The main business area is found along 5th street, where there are many Italian restaurants and grocery shops. You will find traditional foods and products at Garazzo’s Ristorante, LaSala’s Deli and LaRocca’s Grocery.
Wish-Bone Salad Dressing originated in Kansas City. In 1945, returning World War II veteran, Phillip Sollomi, opened a family-style chicken restaurant in Kansas City called, The Wish-Bone®. In 1948, Sollomi began serving his mother’s salad dressing made from a recipe she brought with her from her native Sicily. As demand grew, Sollomi began mixing the dressing in a 50-gallon drum and bottling it. The dressing became known as“The Kansas City Wish-Bone® Famous Italian-Style Dressing. Word of this unique salad dressing spread throughout the heartland. In 1957, Sollomi sold the business to Lipton.
Chef Jasper Mirabile grew up in an Italian family. Each year he travels back to Italy and his family’s hometown of Gibellina, Sicily to see family and friends. He also goes to do research on the authenticity of Sicilian cuisine and to learn as much as he can about its rich history.
He writes in The Kansas City Star, “ I like to say my mother is “old school” in her style of cooking. No short cuts, no microwaves, no cheating at all, just respecting traditional recipes and cooking methods. Unlike me, a short order line cook, mama measured everything exactly, never doubling a recipe, never experimenting with different ingredients, just preparing the same tried and true recipes over and over again since she learned to cook as a teenager. Mama learned to prepare her Sunday sauce, meatballs and braciole from her mother, Rosa Cropisi. Grandmother Cropisi brought the recipe over from Corleone, Sicily, never-changing a single ingredient. My mother claims my father only married her for her mother’s meatball recipe.”
Jasper Mirabile’s Recipe for Meatballs
Makes about 20
- 1 lb. Ground Pork
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Freshly Grated Romano
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Parsley, (Chopped)
- 3 Garlic Cloves, (Minced)
- 1/2 cup Onion, (Minced)
- Salt and Pepper, (To taste)
- 2 cups Plain Bread Crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups Water
- 1 cup Olive Oil
Place pork & beef in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, minced garlic, onions and salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
Add the bread crumbs and blend into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water until the mixture is moist. Shape the meat mixture into 2 1/2- to 3-inch balls.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and fry in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan.
When the bottom half of the meatballs are well browned and slightly crisp, (usually takes about 5 to 6 minutes), turn them over and cook the other side for 5 minutes more.
Remove the meatballs from the heat and drain them on paper towels. Simmer in your favorite sauce.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. runs his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, Jasper’s, with his brother. He is the author of The Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook. Chef Mirabile is a culinary instructor, a founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts a weekly radio show, “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM.
Krebs began as a small coal-mining camp inhabited by the English, Irish and Italian miners. The commercial exploitation of coal in the Native American Territories began in 1872, with the completion of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. A few years later, the Osage Coal and Mining Company leased the property on which the town of Krebs emerged. The first mine opened in 1875 and twenty years later, 15 mines were operating in the area.
Krebs, Oklahoma is considered the center of Italian culture in the state of Oklahoma. Most of the immigrants who found their way to Oklahoma settled in the coal-producing communities in Pittsburg County and in the Choctaw Nation. Italian immigrants to Oklahoma were predominantly from northern Italy. They came as families and often established strong ethnic communities. In 1910, there were 2,162 Italians living in Pittsburg, Latimer and Coal counties. Later on the region attracted immigrants from southern Italy.
First-generation Oklahomans learned Italian from their parents. There aren’t many first-generation Italian Americans left in Krebs. The language hasn’t made it down through the generations, but it can still be heard during festivals and community events, especially over a game of bocce ball. The Italian Festival has been running for 40 years and is the community’s biggest single event.
When Kreps’ resident, Joe Prichard, took his family back to the Italian town his grandfather emigrated from, he was surprised by how familiar it felt. “The little village my grandfather left was almost a clone of the village he came to in Oklahoma,” he said. Joe discovered that San Gregorio Magno, in the Campania region, was not only the same size as Krebs, but community life there also centered around the Catholic Church. Even the town’s differences created parallels for him.
Krebs is famous throughout Oklahoma for its many Italian restaurants. Isle of Capri, “Pete’s Place” and Roseanna’s, to name a few, have been there for generations. A specialty of the region is Lamb fries, the name generally given to lamb animelles (testicles) that have been peeled, rolled in cracker meal and fried. Lamb fries are served in many Italian restaurants, particularly in Oklahoma’s “little Italy” and the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse located in the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
Three years after his arrival, at the age of 11, Pietro began working in the coal mines, changing his name officially to “Pete Prichard.” Through hard work and determination, he managed to make a meager living. However, in 1916, when Pete was 21 years old, a massive cave-in nearly cost him his life. He survived, but the accident crushed his leg in such a way that he couldn’t return to work in the mines.
To help pass the time, Pete took an interest in brewing beer. He found a unique recipe brewed by the local Native American tribe, the Choctaw, which made use of the plentiful supply of golden wheat that grew on the Oklahoma plains. Pete experimented and tested until he perfected his own version, which he named choc® beer.
Before long, other immigrant miners began gathering at his house regularly to relax and enjoy a beer during breaks. Then, it only seemed natural to start fixing the men a hearty lunch to go along with the beer. That’s the Italian way! He served “family-style” helpings of homemade Italian specialties like spaghetti, meatballs, ravioli and sausage. In 1925, Pete officially opened a restaurant in his home and, since everyone had always just called it “Pete’s Place®”, the name stuck.
When Mike Lovera’s Grocery first opened in 1946 in Krebs, it was a regular mom-and-pop general store and meat market. But it was the homemade Italian sausage that made Lovera’s store stand out from the competition. A specialty Italian grocery store would find it hard to survive in most towns of 2,000 people. But Krebs has been largely Italian since immigrant coal miners arrived in the 1870s and the town has no problem supporting a grocery store, three Italian restaurants and a Catholic church.
Along with about 40 imported Italian products, Lovera’s is famous for its caciocavallo, a milky cheese covered in wax. Initially, Lovera bought caciocavallo from local Italians who made it at home, but when the supply started to dry up, Lovera learned how to make it.
Sausage and Peppers
Source: News OK, Dave Cathey, Food Editor
- One 16-ounce coil of fresh Lovera’s sausage
- 1 whole garden-fresh green pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 onion sliced in 1-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeno cut in thick slices, optional
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush sausage with 1 tablespoon oil and place in a cast-iron skillet or small roasting pan.
Roast sausages 20 minutes.
While the sausages are roasting, toss onions and peppers with remaining oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
After 20 minutes in the oven, turn the sausages over and top with the onion-pepper-oil mixture. Roast another 20 minutes and remove the pan from the oven.
Remove the sausages from the pan, let sit five minutes, then cut in slices and toss with the onions and peppers in the pan.
Serve with pasta and Italian tomato sauce or with crusty bread.
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Warmer weather means BBQ time.
Prepare an outdoor grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas). If using a charcoal grill, open vents on the bottom of the grill, then light the charcoal. When the charcoal turns grayish white about 15 minutes after lighting, the grill is ready. If using a gas grill, preheat the burners on high, covered for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat if specified in the recipe.
Keep a third of your grill fire-free. On a charcoal grill, this means spreading the coals over the rear two-thirds of the firebox and leaving the front third coal-free. On a gas grill, leave one burner off. Sausages should be grilled over indirect heat.
Do not boil sausages before grilling because it diminishes flavor and moistness Pre-boiling is unnecessary, if you grill carefully.
There’s no need to prick sausages with toothpicks or a fork before grilling. Perforating the casing only releases flammable fats, juices and flavor.
Lightly brush or rub the casings with olive oil. This prevents sticking and makes them extra crisp.
Handle with care. The key to a juicy sausage is to keep the casing intact. Use tongs and don’t break the sausage skin when turning.
Grill the sausages over the indirect part of the grill until crusty and golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes.
The safe internal temperature for ground meats—sausages included—is 160 degrees F. The casing will be crisp and brown, the filling plump and bubbling. But the only way to check, if the sausages are cooked, is to insert an instant-read meat thermometer through one end of the sausage toward the center.
Warm Pepper and Onion Salad
- 3 mixed colored large bell peppers, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and separated into layers
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Toss peppers and onion with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill on a lightly oiled grill sheet or a sheet of heavy-duty foil set directly on the grill rack (with grill covered if using a gas grill), turning occasionally, until slightly softened and charred, 9 to 15 minutes (onion will cook faster), transfer vegetables to a platter when cooked.
Add vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the peppers and onion, tossing to coat. Let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Place grilled sausages on top.
Potato and Green Bean Salad
- 6 ounces green beans
- 2 pounds peeled small potatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Coarse salt
Simmer green beans in salted water until barely tender and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or wire-mesh skimmer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry.
Add potatoes to the same pot of salted water and simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and halve them.
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and thyme in a large bowl. Add potatoes, beans and red onion. Gently toss. Season with coarse salt.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cannellini Bean Salad
- 600 gr (1.3 lbs) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- A generous handful of mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground white or black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 19 oz can cannellini beans, well-drained and rinsed (if using dried beans, 450 gr or 1 lb)
If using dried beans, start this recipe a day ahead. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. The next day, rinse the beans, place them in a pot well covered with water, add some herbs and simmer for 1 hour or until tender. Cool the beans in the cooking liquid, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 160 C/320 degrees F.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl. Season with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and herbs. Mix well.
Pour the tomato mixture onto a large roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until they begin to blistered. Place the tomato mixture in a serving bowl.
Add the well-drained beans to the tomatoes while they are still warm, taste for seasoning.
Serve warm as a side dish over arugula leaves.
Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1 pound sliced ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush two rimmed baking sheets with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil each. Arrange eggplant slices on the baking sheets. Brush tops with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the eggplant is golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
On a serving platter, layer eggplant with sliced mozzarella and tomatoes. Top with basil leaves and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and balsamic vinegar.
Tortellini Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, rinsed and quartered
- 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Arugula or baby spinach, for serving
- 2 ripe tomatoes, halved and seeded
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the tortellini along with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, scallions and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Working over a bowl, rub tomato halves on the large-holed side of a box grater until only the skins remain. Discard the skins.
Add vinegar, oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper to the tomato juice and whisk until blended.
Add the Tomato Vinaigrette to the tortellini salad and toss. Serve the salad on a bed of arugula or baby spinach.
These recipes are designed to be more in line with the way Italians eat rather than Italian Americans. Eating the Italian way means incorporating more vegetables and healthy fats into your recipes and eating less meat.
Do you want to trim down this summer? Then, trim some calories from your recipes. Trimming calories, however, doesn’t mean trimming flavor. These reinvented Italian classics are an excellent example of how to do this type of makeover.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Calorie savers in this recipe: egg whites instead of a whole egg; eggplant is baked, not fried and no oil is used in cooking.
I like to serve this dish with olive oil mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.
- Olive Oil Cooking Spray
- 1 large eggplant (1 ½ pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1 ½ cups panko crumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought spaghetti sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
- Shredded fresh basil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut the eggplant crosswise into eight (about 3/4-inch-thick) slices, discarding the small ends. Place slices on a double layer of paper towels. Sprinkle all sides of the eggplant slices with the salt. Let stand about 30 minutes or until liquid is visible on the surface. Rinse salt and liquid off the eggplant slices; pat dry with paper towels.
Place egg whites in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish combine panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil and oregano.
Dip eggplant slices in the egg whites, then in the panko mixture, turning to coat both sides of each slice. Place coated slices on the prepared baking sheet.
Sprinkle the eggplant slices with any of the remaining panko mixture. Lightly coat tops of coated eggplant slices with cooking spray.
Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Carefully turn eggplant slices over. Bake for 15 minutes more or until lightly browned and the eggplant is tender.
Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the spaghetti sauce onto each eggplant slice. Divide shredded cheese evenly among eggplant slices. Bake until the cheese melts. Garnish with basil before serving.
Calorie savers in this recipe: less pasta due to added vegetables; lean pancetta instead of bacon; low-fat milk for the sauce instead of cream.
This is a one-dish meal that doesn’t need any sides.
- 8 ounces multigrain spaghetti
- 1 pound broccolini or broccoli rabe, chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 round slices pancetta, each about ¼ inch thick and diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- One 12 ounce can evaporated low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Coarsely ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti al dente, adding broccolini for the last 5 minutes of cooking and the peas during the last minute of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water; drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan melt butter and saute pancetta. Remove the pancetta to a small bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the flour. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and return pancetta.
Place spaghetti-vegetable mixture in a large serving bowl. Pour sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water over the top. Toss gently to combine. Thin to desired consistency with more of the reserved cooking water.
Top with snipped parsley and additional grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
Calorie savers in this recipe: squash instead of pasta; ground turkey and bulgur instead of beef; baked meatballs instead of fried.
Serve this dish with a green bean salad.
- One 3 pound spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1/3 cup bulgur
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
- Three 14 1/2 ounce cans Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Snipped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat the cut sides of the spaghetti squash with cooking spray. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake about 50 minutes or until squash is soft. Let cool slightly. Use a fork to separate the strands of squash.
For the meatballs:
Place bulgur in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur; let stand about 20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Add egg, ground turkey, garlic and 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Mix to combine. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Place in the oven with the squash for the last twenty minutes.
Preheat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper, the salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Add meatballs and simmer 5 minutes.
Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti squash strands. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and basil.
Baked Cavatelli Pasta
Calorie savers in this recipe: less pasta with the added vegetables; leaner chicken sausage instead of pork; part skim mozzarella cheese.
Serve this dish with a mixed green salad.
- 8 ounces cavatelli pasta (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 12 ounces Italian cooked chicken sausage, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions (4)
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- One 28-32 ounce can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups homemade or store-bought spaghetti sauce
- One 5 ounce package fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 ounces), divided
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta al dente. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven heat the olive oil and brush the bottom of the pan with the warm oil to completely cover the bottom. Add sausage, green onions, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Stir in the cooked pasta.
Spoon into a greased 3-quart casserole. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
Calorie savers in this recipe: chicken skin removed; vegetable filled sauce; very little oil used in cooking.
Serve over cooked spaghetti.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 small chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)
- 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 large green sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into bite-size strips
- 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot (1 small)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- One 28 ounce can diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
- 1 ½ cups frozen pearl onions
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus extra for the chicken
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 10 pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
- 1/3 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 4 oz dried spaghetti, cooked al dente
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken thighs lightly with salt and cracked black pepper. Brown chicken thighs turning once. Remove chicken from the skillet; set aside.
Add mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot and garlic to the skillet; cook for 4 minutes. Add wine. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add tomatoes, onions, oregano and coarsely ground black pepper, stirring to combine.
Return chicken to skillet. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Stir in balsamic vinegar, olives and parsley. Adjust salt to taste.
Serve each portion with a ½ cup of cooked spaghetti.
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The coasts of Sardinia are generally high and rocky with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline that contain a few deep bays, many inlets and smaller islands off the coast. The Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia and separates Sardinia from the French island of Corsica. The region’s capital is Cagliari.
The island has a Mediterranean climate along the coasts, plains and low hills and a continental climate on the interior plateaus, valleys and mountain ranges. During the year there are approximately 135 days of sunshine, with a major concentration of rainfall in the autumn and winter.
During the Second World War, Sardinia was an important air and naval base and was heavily bombed by the Allies. In the early 1960s, an industrialization effort was begun with the initiation of major infrastructure projects on the island. These included the construction of new dams and roads, reforestation, agricultural zones on reclaimed marshland and large industrial complexes (primarily oil refineries and related petrochemical operations). With the creation of these industries, thousands of ex-farmers became industrial workers.
The Sardinian economy is constrained due to the high cost of importing goods, transportation and generating electricity, which is twice that of the continental Italian regions and triple that of the EU average. The once prosperous mining industry is still active, though restricted to coal, gold, bauxite, lead and zinc. Granite extraction represents one of the most flourishing industries in the northern part of the island. Principal industries include chemicals, petrochemicals, metalworking, cement, pharmaceutical, shipbuilding, oil rig construction, rail and food.
Agriculture has played a very important role in the economic history of the island, especially in the great plain of Campidano, where it is particularly suitable for wheat farming. Water scarcity was a major problem that was overcome with the construction of a great barrier system of dams. Now, the Campidano plain is a major Italian producer of oats, barley and durum wheat. Sardinian agriculture is linked to specific products: cheese, wine, olive oil, artichokes and tomatoes that contribute to a growing export business. Sardinia produces about 80% of Italian cork and ranks 5th among the Italian regions in rice production. The main paddy fields are located in the Arborea Plain.
Sardinia is home to one of the oldest forms of vocal music, generally known as cantu a tenore. The guttural sounds produced in this form make a remarkable sound, similar to Tuvan throat singing. Sardinia is home to professional soccer and basketball teams and auto racing. Cagliari hosted a Formula 3000 race in 2002 and 2003 around its Sant’Elia stadium.
Sardinia boasts the highest consumption of beer per capita in Italy. The discovery of jars containing hops in some archaeological sites are evidence that beer was produced in the region since the Copper Age.
The Cuisine of Sardinia
Thousands of rare species of plants and animals grow and live on the island, some entirely unique to Sardinia. An excellent example of the longevity of Sardinia’s heirloom produce is the Grenache wine grape which dates back to about 1,200 BC. The Grenache grapes grown on the island today are genetically indistinguishable from their ancestors grown thousands of years ago in the same areas.
Wild boar, lamb, pork, eggplant, artichokes, tomatoes, lobsters, sea urchins, octopus, clams, mussels and squid are plentiful. Salty flavors are preferred by Sardinians, such as, bottarga (a pressed and salted mullet roe) and salt preserved sardines.
Traditional hearty Italian pastas like culingiones (spinach and cheese ravioli) share center stage with Arabic-inspired couscous dishes. Many first-time visitors are surprised by the Sardinians’ liberal use of saffron, which grows well on the island. Saffron is a particular favorite in gnocchi dishes.
A wide variety of herbs, including myrtle (berries, flowers, leaves and stems), flourish on Sardinia and flavor the local dishes. Whether savory, sweet, used for wood smoking or instilled into digestive liqueurs, myrtle is a major part of the Sardinian palate.
Cheeses are especially important and the island’s most exported food product. Pecorino sardo, Fiore sardo, ricotta, caprino, pecorino romano and the famous casu marzu are all made within the region. Casu marzu is illegal now in Italy due to its bizarre culturing and aging process involving the introduction of live cheese fly larvae into the process to bring about a poisonous stage akin to decomposition. Though obviously a risky gastronomic health adventure and definitely not for the timid, casu marzu is nonetheless a very popular black market commodity and is considered a distinctive delicacy by many locals.
For more traditional tastes, you will find local rock lobsters topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and roasted in the oven and cassòla, a flavorful seafood soup, that can have as many as a dozen types of seafood cooked with spices and tomatoes.
Fava beans are cooked with cardoons, wild fennel, tomatoes, salt pork and sausage to create the thick stew known as favata. Farro, a locally grown grain, is simmered slowly in beef broth with cheese and mint to make su farro.
Chickens are marinated with myrtle leaves and berries, boiled and eaten chilled. Other Sardinian recipes for meat are agnello con finocchietti, a stew of lamb with wild fennel, tomatoes and onion. Not people to waste food, Sardinians stew lamb or kid intestines with peas, onions and tomatoes.
Sardinians love pasta in all forms and their cuisine features specialties found nowhere else. Plump culingiones are shaped like ravioli and stuffed with chard and pecorino cheese and served with tomato sauce. The regional dish, malloreddus, are tiny semolina gnocchi topped with a garlic, basil, pecorino and saffron flavored sausage and tomato sauce.
Every village has a unique shaped bread, either a round loaf, a long cylindrical loaf or a donut shaped loaf. Sardinian recipes also include a sweet focaccia flavored with pecorino cheese and a local bitter honey. The entire island loves flatbread and crisp carta de musica or “sheet of music”, a paper-thin crisp bread. One popular way to serve this cracker style bread is to soften it in warm water, then spread it with tomato sauce, grated cheese and poached eggs.
Sardinian cooking also offers a wide selection of cookies, pastries and cakes. These desserts are usually flavored with spices, almonds, raisins and ricotta cheese. Pabassinas are pastries filled with a raisin walnut paste.
Mirto is a liqueur unique to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. It is made from the berries of the flowering Mirto (or Myrtle) plant, a distinctive plant that grows throughout the Mediterranean basin but is most prolific on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. The berries are dark blue in color and look somewhat like blueberries but bear no relationship to blueberries in taste or other properties.
Sardinia’s wines have little in common with those produced in the rest of Italy. The Island’s remote Mediterranean location, as well as the historic influence from other cultures, gives the wines a unique character that might be considered to have more in common with Spanish wines rather than Italian wines. Production is extensive around the port of Cagliari in the Campidano area, where the little known Girò, Monica, Nasco and Nuragus varietals grow alongside Malvasia and Moscato, all bearing town names: Girò di Cagliari, Monica di Cagliari, Nasco di Cagliari, Nuragus di Cagliari, Malvasia di Cagliari and Moscato di Cagliari DOCs.
Traditionally, it is made with whatever is growing in the garden, but it always includes beans and fregula (or fregola) a toasted pebble-size semolina pasta that is popular in Sardinia.
- 1/2 cup dried peeled fava beans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberry beans or cannellini beans
- 1/3 cup dried chickpeas
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2⁄3 cup)
- 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (about 3½ cups)
- 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 1½ cups chopped fennel bulb
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2⁄3 cup of Sardinian fregula, Israeli couscous, or acini di pepe pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano (about 2 ounces)
Soak the fava beans, cranberry beans and chickpeas in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and rinse well.
Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery; cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 20 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley and basil, as well as the drained beans and chickpeas. Add enough water (6 to 8 cups) so that everything is submerged by 1 inch.
Raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary if the mixture gets too thick, about 1½ hours.
Stir in the fregula, salt and pepper. Add up to 2 cups water if necessary. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each of four serving bowls. Divide the soup among them and top each with 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese.
Notes: You can vary the beans in the minestrone: pinto beans make a good substitute for cranberry beans; great northern or cannellini beans, for the favas. Use the stalks and fronds that come off a fennel bulb for the most intense flavor. Add other fresh vegetables from the garden or market, such as zucchini, cabbage, green beans, and cauliflower or broccoli florets.
Cavatelli with Sardinian Sausage Sauce
Cavatelli pasta is shaped like a small hot dog bun with a long, rolled edge that is good for holding thick sauces.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 28-ounce can)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 large pinches saffron
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cavatelli pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, plus more for serving
In a large deep frying pan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the remaining oil to the pan. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mint, parsley, water, salt and 1 pinch of the saffron. Simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cavatelli with the remaining pinch saffron until just done, 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the cavatelli and toss with the meat sauce, the basil, the reserved pasta water and the cheese. Serve with additional Pecorino Romano.
Sardinian Lamb Kabobs over Couscous
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into small florets
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- 1 3/4 cups canned chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cups couscous
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Light an outdoor grill or heat the broiler.
In a glass dish or stainless steel pan, combine the lamb, 6 tablespoons of the oil, the thyme and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice.
In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the saffron, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, the tomatoes, broth and raisins.
Simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the couscous and parsley. Bring back to a simmer. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Put the lamb on skewers. Sprinkle the kabobs with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill or broil the kabobs, turning and basting with the marinade, until the lamb is cooked to your taste, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Serve the skewers on the couscous.
“Torta de arrosu” Saffron rice cake
- 200 gr / 7 oz rice
- 150 gr/ 5 oz sugar
- 750 ml / 1 ½ pints of milk
- 1/2 oz butter
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100 gr/ 3 1/2 oz skinned almonds
- Grated rind of a lemon
- A pinch of saffron
- A pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 C). Grease a 9 inch (24 cm) cake pan.
Put the milk, butter, saffron, sugar, salt and lemon rind in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until all the milk has been absorbed. Let cool and then add the eggs and the almonds.
Spoon mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for one hour. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Fruits and vegetables can be added to bread to enhance the flavor and create a moister texture. You will find breads and desserts baked with onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, tomatoes, pumpkin, spinach and even avocados. Vegetables can be added raw, canned, dried or freshly cooked to produce delicious baked goods. Vegetable breads are richer than basic breads because the vegetables contribute flavor and texture to the loaves. You can also use potatoes, corn, rutabagas, parsnips and other starchy vegetables to sweeten and bring a soft texture to the bread.
Some vegetables, like zucchini, are 80% to 90% water so you have to remove some of that water before adding it to the dough. You can do that by mixing the shredded vegetable with a little salt, letting it drain in a colander and squeezing it dry in a paper towel.
Any time that you add vegetables to your bread, be prepared to adjust the amount of flour that you use. Vegetables will add moisture to your bread and if they are grated or pureed (along with the type of vegetables) will determine the moisture added. The kneading process will also extract some water from the vegetables. It’s easy to add a little more flour if the dough feels too watery. Because it is easier to add more flour than water, start your dough a bit on the wet side and add flour as needed.
Make sure the bread is completely baked. It should register 195 to 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. If it’s not thoroughly baked, the water in the vegetables will make the bread soggy.
Corn and Bacon Spoon Bread
- 8 ounces bacon, diced
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup yellow or white cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen/defrosted
- 4 large eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat a 9″ square or round cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it’s starting to crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard the drippings, but don’t clean the pan.
You can also make the spoon bread in a 9″ square or round cake pan. Cook the bacon in a regular skillet and grease the 9″ pan with some of the bacon drippings.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat it to simmering. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
Add the sugar, salt, pepper, cooked bacon and corn. Stir over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the egg yolks one at a time until incorporated. Allow to cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a small amount of the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture to lighten it a little, then fold all of the cornmeal mixture into the egg whites. Transfer the batter to the bacon-seasoned pan.
Bake the spoon bread for 50 to 60 minutes, until it’s set in the middle and golden brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and serve it hot, right out of the pan.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
One large sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cooked, will yield about 1 cup mashed. I cut my biscuits into squares instead of rounds because it saves time and there is no waste.
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups flour (you can also substitute 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour in place of 1 cup of all-purpose flour)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Mash or puree cooked sweet potatoes with milk and honey until smooth. Set aside; cool to room temperature.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Make a well with dry ingredients and add the mashed sweet potatoes. Mix just until moistened.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a rectangle about to 1-inch thick. With a sharp knife cut biscuit dough into 3-inch squares.
Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned on top. Serve warm with butter and jam.
Orange Carrot Quick Bread
- 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream butter and gradually add the sugar, beating well. Beat in milk, orange juice, egg, vanilla and orange zest. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Add reserved dry ingredients. Mix well.
Spoon batter into a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Since gluten-free batter is thinner than standard batter, the chips and nuts tend to sink to the bottom of the loaf; that’s why it’s important to let the batter rest and thicken for 15 to 20 minutes, then stir to redistribute the add-ins before pouring it into the pan and baking. Another technique you can try is leaving the chips and nuts out of the batter initially, then stirring them into the top third of the batter once it’s been poured into the pan.
Yield: 9″ x 5″ loaf
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup molasses or honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups Gluten-Free Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for the zucchini
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Place shredded zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with a little salt and let it drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini dry.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, molasses or honey, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Add the flour, salt, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon, mixing until well combined.
Stir in the zucchini, chocolate chips and nuts. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes, then stir to redistribute the chips and nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the bread for 65 to 70 minutes or until the loaf tests done (a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean).
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.
Cool completely before slicing; store well-wrapped, at room temperature.
Pizza-Style Dinner Rolls
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2/3 cup seeded and chopped tomato
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning, crushed
- 1 pound whole wheat pizza dough, at room temperature, See recipe homemade below.
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a small bowl combine tomato, mozzarella cheese, garlic and basil; set aside.
Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough portion into a 3-inch round.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture into the center of each dough round; shape the dough around the tomato mixture into a ball, pinching the dough together to seal.
Place rolls, seam sides down, in the prepared baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (30 to 45 minutes).
Lightly the brush tops of the rolls with milk and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Easy Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes 1 pound of pizza dough
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, (105-115°F)
- 1 package active dry yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup bread flour, plus additional for dusting
- 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
Stir water, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour, bread flour and cornmeal until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, mix the dough in a food processor. Process until it forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.)
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
For conscious carnivores who like beef, the best option — for your health and for the environment — is meat from pastured cattle raised on grass from start to finish. They’re rich in good fats and managed in a sustainable way. And if you use the meat as a supporting player, rather than the main attraction, you can serve more people while spending less.
For good tasting grass-fed beef, the key is to limit the exposure to high heat so that the meat juices, in limited supply, do not escape, which is what happens over extended cooking times. Keep the steak over the hottest part of the grill for no more than 3½ minutes per side.
While your grill preheats, or about 30 minutes in advance, take the steaks out the refrigerator to take off some of the chill. Use a paper towel to pat them dry on both sides and season them well with kosher salt.
Oil the grill and place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill. Set your timer for 3 minutes for rare or 3½ minutes if you like medium-rare. Use tongs to turn the steak and reset the timer for 3 to 3½ minutes. If you have a digital instant-read thermometer, check the temperature during the last 30 seconds of cooking. For rare, remove the meat at 125 degrees, for medium-rare 130 degrees. Let the steak rest for five minutes before serving.
Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for steaks and grill
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 4 3/4-inch-thick grass-fed rib-eye steaks
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Simmer vinegar in small pan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Add shallots, 1/4 cup oil, and crushed red pepper; return to simmer. Remove from heat; whisk in parsley, capers, and thyme. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Rub both sides of steaks with oil and garlic. Mix paprika, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of steaks. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack with oil to coat. Grill steaks until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon vinaigrette over each steak.
Stuffed Grilled Zucchini
- 4 medium zucchini
- 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 2 T chopped celery
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 chopped plum tomato
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/4-inch in the shells. Brush with 2 teaspoons oil; set aside. Chop the zucchini pulp.
In a large skillet, saute pulp, celery and onion in remaining oil. Add garlic and tomato; cook 1 minute longer. Add panko crumbs; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, basil and salt. Spoon mixture into the zucchini shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
- 2 lbs new potatoes, halved
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 2 teaspoons
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Place the potatoes, chicken stock, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and place them in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of basil. Toss well and garnish with the remaining chopped basil.
- 2-10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Salt and pepper
Heat oil in small saucepan and add garlic; cook 1 minute.
Add spinach and heat.
Make a well in the center of the spinach and add the milk and cream cheese.
Heat and stir until cheese is dissolved throughout spinach. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad
- 2 pounds medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for roasting
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
- 6 ounces feta cheese, chopped
Mix carrots with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Spread onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast for 30-35 minutes in a 350°F oven until tender. The cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the carrots. Be careful not to overcook.
In a small bowl whisk together the 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs.
Once the roasted carrots are cooled to room temperature, mix together the carrots, olives, feta, and olive oil mixture and place on a serving platter.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before serving.