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Category Archives: Healthy Italian Cooking

Pork Cutlets

2-3 servings {easily doubled or tripled}

Ingredients

5-6 lean pork cutlets,½ inch thick
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
5-6 slices of mozzarella cheese

Directions

Spread the mustard evenly over the pork.
Sprinkle the thyme and pepper over the cutlets.
Coat each piece of pork with the panko breadcrumbs.

.Heat oven to 425°F. Spread the olive oil over the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the cutlets.
Between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper, flatten each pork cutlet to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top each cutlet with tomato slices and mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Swiss Chard And Mashed Potato Combo

Chard Recipe

2 cups cooked Swiss Chard
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Directions

Cook the potatoes and garlic in boiling salted water until soft. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the pot. Mash well. Moisten with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the drained cooked Swiss Chard. Mix well, Heat over low heat until hot.

 


There are many versions of this recipe in Italian cuisine. Some call for the addition of peas or meat. I like to keep them simple and I like to use leftover risotto instead of plain rice because risotto has more flavor, especially the Lemon flavored Risotto I shared with you last week.

This recipe makes 10 rice balls

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
14 oz box or can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes

For the Arancini {Rice Balls}
4 cups leftover risotto or cooked white rice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 eggs
10 ½-inch pieces of mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup flour
½ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

For the tomato sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the arancini

Beat one egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley and risotto. Mix well.


Using a ¼ cup muffin scoop form 10 rice balls and place them on a waxed paper-covered plate. Push a piece of mozzarella into each rice ball and with floured hands form them into smooth balls. Beat the second egg with a few tablespoons of water in a deep bowl, In a second deep bowl place the flour, and in a third deep bowl place the panko crumbs.


Roll one rice ball in flour, then in the egg, and then in the panko crumbs. Return the ball to the paper-lined plate. Repeat the process with all the rice balls. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

In a deep dutch Oven heat several inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the ball in the oil until they are brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve
Place several tablespoons of tomato sauce on a serving plate. Place 2 or 3 arancini on top of the sauce and serve.


America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

The earliest known reference to French toast is found in the Apicius, a collection of recipes dating to the 1st century, where the dish is described as simply “aliter dulcia” (“another sweet dish”. The recipe says to “Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs] fry in oil, cover with honey and serve”.The usual French name is pain perdu.It may also be called pain doré, “golden bread”.

An Austrian and Bavarian term is pafese or pofese, from zuppa pavese, referring to Pavia, Italy.The word “soup” in the dish’s name refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop. In Hungary, it is commonly called bundáskenyér (lit. “furry bread”)

French toast was served in railroad dining cars in the early and mid-20th century. Santa Fe was especially known for its French toast.

So, if the French did not invent this breakfast treat, who did? According to some, it was a man named Joseph French. He created the dish in 1724 and advertised it as “French Toast” because he forgot to add the apostrophe to his name.

Still, others say that there are recipes from the early 5th century AD and the dish we now know as French toast existed as early as the Roman Empire/ Romans would soak bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.

Others believe that French toast was created by medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew day-old bread could be revived when moistened and heated. They added the eggs for additional moisture and protein.

The phrase “French Toast” first appeared in print in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. But it is known by a variety of names including German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun’s toast, and pain perdu which means “lost bread” in French.

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Risotto al Limone

I adapted this recipe from Da Filippo Restaurant in Sorrento, Italy. Leftover risotto is excellent for making Arancini {Rice Balls{.

Lemon Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
3 ½ cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus additional for garnish
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Garlic shrimp, recipe below
Salt to taste

Directions

Bring the water to a boil over high heat on a back burner. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice, keep warm.

Heat2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-duty medium pot over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of lemon water to the rice, using a ladle, and cook, stirring constantly, until the water is, absorbed, 2±3 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining lemon water until the rice is al dente.

Add cream and grated lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat, stir in remaining butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season to taste with salt. (If risotto seems too thick, add more water to adjust to desired consistency.)

Spoon risotto onto individual plates, garnish with lemon zest, and top with Garlic shrimp.

Gamberi in Padella


Garlicky Pan-Roasted Shrimp)

4 servings

Ingredients ts

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
Pinch of dried red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and hot pepper and sauté gently until the garlic softens but is not browned about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté, turning once, until they are opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the wine, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds to allow alcohol to evaporate. Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with the risotto.

Kale With Garlic and Olive Oil

4 servings

Ingredients

2 large bunches of kale (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Salt, preferably kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem the kale and wash the leaves in two rinses of water. When the water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and the kale. Blanch for four minutes, until the kale is tender. Transfer to a colander, drain and squeeze the water from the leaves. Chop coarsely or cut in strips.

Heat the oil over medium heat in the same pot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the kale and stir for a couple of minutes, until the kale is coated with garlic and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve


Filet Mignon In Mushroom Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 beef tenderloin steaks 5-6 ounces each)
Fresh thyme sprig
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms or a 4oz can, drained
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2/3 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

With a meat mallet flatten the steaks between sheets of plastic wrap to ½ inch thickness.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil over medium-high heat; Add the thyme, garlic, and steaks. cook steaks to medium-rare, a thermometer should read 125°F, 4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan to a plate and cover with foil. Discard the garlic and thyme.


In the same pan, heat drippings and remaining butter over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and shallot until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until blended; gradually stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Return steaks to the pan and simmer in the sauce for 2 minutes, turning them over after 1 minute.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches asparagus
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove. chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Break off the woody bottoms of the asparagus and wash in cold water.
Arrange trimmed asparagus in a 13 X 9-inch dish. Drizzle with the oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large russet potato, 12 ounces
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 slice bacon cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Brush lightly with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet tray covered with foil until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

While still hot, slice a thin layer off the top of the potato and scoop the potato flesh into a medium bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch shell all around on the potato shell. Season the insides of the potato shell lightly with salt and pepper.

To the bowl with the potato flesh, add the sour cream and butter. Use an electric hand mixer or potato masher and mix until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mound into the potato shell and bake for 15-20 minutes until hot. Sprinkle with bacon and chives. Cut in half and serve.


Easy Knockwurst and Sauerkraut

Ingredients

1 cup sauerkraut, drained
2 large beef knackwurst
¼ of a large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Melt butter in a skillet and add the knockwurst. Cook until lightly brown on all sides,Add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Spread the sauerkraut over the knockwurst. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Crispy Zucchini Cakes

For the zucchini:
1 1/2 pounds of zucchini (about 3 cups coarsely grated}
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain Greek yogurt)
1 clove garlic, minced, about 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt

For the fritters:
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 green onions, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

Directions

Sprinkle grated zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Place in a sieve or colander over a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Press down with a wooden spoon to push out more of the water. Wrap the shredded zucchini in paper towels and try to squeeze out more liquid.

Make the dipping sauce:
Whisk together the sour cream, minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Make the fritter batter:
Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the grated zucchini, flour, minced green onions, thyme, basil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine well.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and hot. Test the oil by flicking a little flour into it. If the flour sizzles, it’s ready.

Working in batches, drop ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet. Flatten slightly with the back end of a spoon or spatula. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining batter.. Serve with the dipping sauce.


The traditional pizzaiola sauce is made with just tomatoes but I like to add peppers and onions.

4 Servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
One 14-ounce container of chopped Italian tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 lb cod fillets, cut into 3-inch pieces

Directions:

Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the dried seasoning. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cod fillets and ladle some of the sauce over the fillets. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked through.

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 egg
1/3 cup AP flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 °F.

Cut zucchini into fry size pieces about 2 1/2 inches long.
Beat egg with a splash of water.
Season the flour with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.
Dust zucchini with flour.
Dip in beaten egg.
Coat with Panko bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, careful not to crowd, and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini sticks and bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese before serving. if desired.


Almond Cream Cheese Coffee Cakes

Makes 2 cakes

Dough

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 eggs at room temperature
4 cups bread or all-purpose flour

Filling

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces almond paste, broken into small pieces

Glaze

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

To Make the Dough:

Mix all the dough ingredients in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until the dough comes to a ball or comes away from the sides of the mixer bowl.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth.

Remove the dough to a floured surface. Grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 hour, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

To Make the Filling:

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese and the almond paste together until smooth. Chill until ready to use.

Assembly:

Cover two large baking pans with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide in half.
Rol one half into a large rectangle, about 12 x 140inches.

Spread half of the filling on the dough, leaving a half-inch border all around the dough.

Fold the dough into thirds like a letter from the long side. Seal the ends tightly. Form the roll into a horseshoe and pinch the ends together.

Place the dough on the prepared pan. Using kitchen scissors, cut two-thirds through the dough from the outer rim of the circle at 1-inch intervals.


Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form another cake.

Allow the cakes to rise, covered with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel for 1 hour until almost doubled in size.

Baking

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Switch pans after 15 minutes to alternate on the oven racks.

Remove the cake from the oven and slide with the parchment paper to cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk to make a thin frosting. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and allow the glaze to set before serving.


This recipe uses some of the leftovers from the post-Rainy Day Pot Roast Dinner.

Ingredients

4 cups chopped leftover pot roast
2 cups leftover brown pot roast gravy
3 leftover cooked carrots, diced
10 oz. package frozen peas
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed.
1 medium onion, chopped
One store-bought 9-inch pie crust pastry

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a deep 10-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

Add all the ingredients except the pastry to the casserole. Mix well. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F. Unroll the pastry.

Remove the casserole from the oven and lay the pastry on top of the beef mixture.

Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Broccoli Soup

8 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
6 garlic cloves, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sprig thyme  or 1 teaspoon dried
1 onion, diced
2 bunches broccoli {4 heads}
8 cups chicken broth
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
1/4 cup snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Remove the broccoli florets and divide them in half. Save one half for another recipe and set aside the remaining florets. Dice the stalks into small pieces.

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic, shallots,, onion and thyme. Sweat in the butter until softened.

Add the potatoes and broccoli stems. Stir the mixture several times.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, partially cover the pot and simmer the soup for about 90 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft.

Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until very smooth.

Add the broccoli florets and cream and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the pan and simmer over very low heat until the florists are softened for about 10 minutes.

Serve h garnished with chives.t.



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