Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Healthy Italian Cooking

Make extra lemon-herb butter. It’s delicious tossed with steamed green beans or hot cooked rice or pasta.

Butter Sauce
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto
1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Fish
2 (6-ounce) skinless haddock, halibut, or cod fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup rice or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, cooked

Directions

Combine the ingredients for the butter sauce in a small bowl, stirring until well blended. Set aside

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish evenly on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and shake off any excess.

Add fillets to pan; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Divide the spinach evenly between two dinner plates. Place a piece of fish on top of the spinach. Spread each fish fillet with basil butter mixture.

Cacio e Pepe Penne Pasta

Ingredients

3 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions
Cook pasta according to the package for al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.

Drain the pasta. Add the butter, garlic, and ground pepper into the pot over low heat. Add the cooked, pasta, pasta water, and cheese.

Top with a little more grated cheese, freshly cracked black pepper, and parsley.


 


Ingredients

2 eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick, to get about 12 slices total
Salt
Olive oil
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 egg
!/2 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups prepared tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

Brush slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast ( or broil) in a 400-degree oven for 5-10minutes, just until they are soft enough to roll.

While eggplant is baking, make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Drain eggplant on a paper towel if fried. When the eggplant has cooled for about 10 minutes, begin the rolling process. On each slice, put about 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese mixture. Spread it on the eggplant and then roll. Repeat with all eggplant slices.

Carefully dredge the rolls in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.
Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a skillet and brown the rolls until crispy on all slides.

Coat the bottom of a deep baking dish that will fit the rolls in one layer with tomato sauce. Start placing the rolled eggplants at the bottom of the pan.

 

When the pan is filled, put some sauce on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a 400-degree F oven for about 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted and a little bubbling should be going on. Serve with Italian Sausage and a green salad.

 


Tuaca is an Italian naturally flavored brandy liqueur. Tuaca is a sweet golden brown blend of brandy, citrus essences, vanilla, and other secret spices. It is bottled at 70 proof. Tuaca’s mild, sweet flavor makes it popular as a cordial, mixed by some with coffee.

Ingredients

Two Crust pastry dough, enough for a 9-inch cake pan
4 large peaches, thinly sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Tuaca
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Fit one pastry into a 9-inch cake pan.

In a bowl, gently mix peaches, sugar, cinnamon, Tuaca, and flour together. Arrange the fruit mixture in circles until the crust is covered. Cut the butter into small pieces and distribute it over the peaches.

Cut the second pastry dough into ½-inch wide strips. Weave the strips on top of the peaches.

Fold up the pastry dough’s edge over the strips’ edge.
Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Cool the crostata on a rack, and serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite ice cream.

Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur 750 ML


Chicken Salad

Ingredients

3 cups cooked chicken: roasted, grilled, or rotisserie
Half a delicious red apple, seeded, peeled, and finely diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 large celery stalk, finely diced
1 cup of small pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix the apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the finely diced chicken and all the remaining ingredients except the pecans. When ready to serve, stir in the pecans. Serve over lettuce leaves with corn on the cob and heritage tomatoes.

 


Ingredients

5 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled eggplant (1 pound)
2 large chopped leeks, white and light green portions
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
4 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
2 teaspoons whole dried fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spread eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until soft.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a Dutch Oven, add the leeks, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the onion is tender but not browned.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring often. Add the stock, roasted eggplant, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fennel seeds, oregano, red pepper flakes, honey, salt, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Puree the soup with a hand blender.

Stir in basil and taste for seasonings.

Serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


 

Classic French Nicoise Salad

For 4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound red-skinned potatoes, cooked, sliced 1/3 inch thick
10 ounces haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed, cooked al dente
4 large hard-boiled eggs
8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
4 large radishes, trimmed and sliced
¼ of a cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 jarred roasted red pepper cut into strips
2 5 1/2-ounce cans of Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1/2 cup Nicoise olives
French baguette, warmed

HERB VINAIGRETTE:
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon honey
8 fresh basil leaves
¼ cup parsley
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.

Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, radishes, hard-cooked eggs, and tuna on top in an attractive pattern. Add the remaining ingredients and drizzle with the dressing.

 


 

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2- 5 oz sea bream fillets
12 oz tiny red potatoes, cut in half
1 small leek, finely chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small green bell pepper, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Salt to taste
Lemon wedges

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F
Pour the oil into an 8-inch baking dish. Add the leeks and potatoes. Add salt to taste and peppercorns. Bake for 30 minutes.

Lay the fish fillet on a kitchen paper towel and press to soak in excess water. Season with salt. Push the potatoes aside and transfer the fish to the baking dish s, side, skin side down.

Top the fish with bell peppers, tomatoes, and parsley. Season the vegetables with salt.
Bake on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.


Asian Pork Chops

Ingredients

2 pork chops, bone-in
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon nam pla (fish sauce)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together except the pork.
Rub the mixture into the meat then place it in a sealed container and let it marinate for several hours.

Heat the oil in a hot pan. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and place in the pan to sear for 3 minutes on each side, until browned.
Transfer to the oven, sprinkle over the remaining marinade and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.


Stir-Fry Bok Choy And Vegetables

Ingredients

4 cups chopped bok choy, washed and dried in a salad spinner
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz can of water chestnuts, drained
1 tablespoon peanut oil

STIR-FRY SAUCE:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

Mix all the stir-fry sauce ingredients together in a bowl or cup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high to high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add oil and swirl around.

Add the bok choy plus 2-3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until pan/wok starts to become dry.
Now add another 2-3 Tbsp. sauce and continue stir-frying another 2-3 minutes, or until the bok choy is bright green and the white stems are softened but still crunchy.
Taste-test the bok choy with the sauce. Add more sugar if too sour for your taste, or more lime juice if too salty. Also, fresh minced chili or dried chili can be added if you prefer it spicier. If you prefer more sauce, add a little more, as desired.
To serve, lift out the bok choy and place it on a serving platter or in a serving bowl, then pour the sauce (from the bottom of the wok or pan) over. Serve immediately.


 

Ingredients

Stuffing

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices prosciutto, chopped

Braciole
1 pound beef round steak, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices, then pounded as thin as possible
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil

Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove. minced
A few basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the stuffing ingredients. Cook until the onion is tender. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Arrange the beef slices on a clean work surface.

Evenly distribute the stiffing on the steak. Top with mozzarella.

Starting from the bottom, roll up the beef like a jelly roll, creating a cylinder. Tie with kitchen string.

Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided pan and heat over medium. Once the oil is shimmering add the beef rolls, in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and brown the remaining rolls.

Add sauce ingredients to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the rolls back to the pan and turn the heat down to low. Baste the meat in the tomato sauce, cover the pan and cook on low, basting the meat 2 to 3 times during the cooking process, until the meat is very tender about 2 hours.
Serve over cooked pasta.


 

Stuffed Eggplant

I served this entree with corn on the cob.

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients

2 small eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ground beef
2 garlic cloves. minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup green pepper; chopped
1/4 cup onion; chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

Cut a thin slice off the top of each eggplant. Set the tops aside. Scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving 1/2 inch shells. Chop the flesh into small
cubes. Lightly salt the inside of the eggplant shells.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet.
Add all the ingredients except the mozzarella and saute until the meat is cooked and the eggplant is tender. Pour the mixture into a small bowl to cool slightly. Stir in the mozzarella. Fill the two eggplants equally with the mixture. Place the tops on. Place the stuffed eggplant in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake in a 350-degree oven F for 45 minutes or until the eggplant shells are tender.



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