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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Pasta

Serve with a green vegetable or a mixed green salad.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed and patted dry with paper towels
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes (seeds removed)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto
Thin Spaghetti, cooked

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the salmon skin-side up and cook until deeply golden, about 6 minutes.

Turn over and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to low and add the butter. When the butter melts, stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the shallot and cook until tender.

Add the chopped tomato and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes soften.

Stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and pesto and bring mixture to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Return the salmon back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the fish. Simmer until the salmon is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes more.

Place some cooked spaghetti on each serving plate and place the salmon on top. Pour the sauce in the skillet over the fish and spaghetti.

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I have family visiting, so this week I will share with you some of our main dish entrees. Complete this meal with meatballs or Italian sausage, salad and bread.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti

Makes 8-10. Double the recipe for the crepes and filling to make two dishes.

Crespelle Batter
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Butter for crepe pan

To make the crepes:

Add the flour gradually to the milk with a whisk in a medium bowl with a cover. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the salt.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the crepe pan and butter the pan.
Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter into the hot pan. Tilt the pan around with a circular motion so that the batter thins out and forms a round crêpe about the size of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crêpe become whitish and the inner portion yellow and partially solid.
Using a wide spatula, turn the crepe over and cook briefly (about 30 seconds).
Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter, buttering the pan for each crepe. Place a sheet of wax paper between the layers to keep them from sticking together.

Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (26-ounce) cartons Pomi finely chopped tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
4 fresh basil leaves, minced

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a cover. Add the garlic and onion. Sauce for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer the sauce with the cover ajar for 1 1/2 hours or until thickened.

Spinach and Ricotta Filling
2 cups cooked spinach, squeezed dry
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for baking
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Combine the filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the manicotti.

To assemble the manicotti:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly brush a 9×13 inch baking dishes with olive oil.
Spread a thin layer of sauce across the bottom of the baking dish.
Place 4 tablespoons of the filling down the center of a crepe. Roll it up and place it, seam-side-down the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling. Top with marinara sauce spreading it evenly over the manicotti and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake the manicotti for 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Fried Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
11/2 lbs chicken thighs
½ cup vegetable oil

Spice Rub
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Combine all the spices for the rub in a glass dish large enough to hold the chicken.

Rub the spice mixture over all the sides of the chicken thighs. Refrigerate covered for several hours.


Set a rack in a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the milk and two eggs in a shallow dish. Place the flour in a large deep bowl.
Heat the oil until it shimmers in a deep skillet.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, then in the egg mixture and dredge in the flour again.


Fry over moderately high heat, turning, until deep golden, 4 minutes on each side.

 

Transfer the chicken to the rack in the baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced. The inner temperature of the chicken should register at 65C/150F when the chicken is cooked through.

Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese

This dish can be baked at different temperatures depending on how you are cooking other parts of the meal. By itself bake the casserole at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. For this meal bake the casserole for 15 minutes while the chicken is baking

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
11/2 cups milk or Half & Half
1/4 lb. (4 oz.) processed cheese (Velveeta), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in flour and black pepper; cook 2 minutes stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boil; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until thickened. Add Velveeta; cook until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni.
Spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with Cheddar. Melt the remaining butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole.


Bake 20 minutes with the chicken until heated through and the top begins to brown.

Green Bean Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
Fresh basil, chopped into thin ribbons
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thin on the cross-wise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt

Directions

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the beans and let them cook for about 7 minutes until done but still bright green and quite crispy. Drain the beans in a colander.

In the same saucepan heat the oil with the rosemary and garlic.
Add the beans and lemon juice and toss in the flavored oil. Arrange on a serving plate, sprinkle with basil, shallot rings, and salt. Let sit at room temperature until serving time.


Grilled Pork Chops

This recipe makes 6 servings but the recipe can easily be cut down to 2 or 3 servings.

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 boneless pork loin chops, about 2 lbs total and cut 1-inch thick

Directions

Mix water, soy sauce, vegetable oil, lemon pepper seasoning, and minced garlic in a wide glass dish; add pork chops and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.


Preheat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
Remove pork chops from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade.
Cook the pork chops on the preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

Summer Pasta

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

ingredients

12 ounces dried tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper, or more to taste
2 cups yellow summer squash, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely grated zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
In a large, deep skillet, combine the olive oil, garlic, red onion and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the yellow squash, tomatoes and torn basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until the squash is tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cream and lemon zest; stir.

Stir in the drained pasta. Mix and add the Parmesan. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Citrus Green Beans With Toasted Pecans

Ingredients

1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
Salt & pepper

Directions

Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover in a large, deep skillet with a cover, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes; drain.
Heat the oil in the skillet and add the shallot. Cook until tender. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add the three zests and three tablespoons of juice. Stir. Adjust seasoning.
Sprinkle with pecans and serve.


These are the dishes my children and grandchildren love. I try to make them when they visit. No one ever seems to tire eating these traditional family favorites.

Neapolitan “Low Carb” Meatballs

Makes 12 large meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Marinara Sauce for cooking the meatballs, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Using your hands. combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and coat the foil with olive oil cooking spray. Form the meatball mixture into large meatballs. Use a ½ cup measure. You should be able to make 12 large meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the meatballs over. Bake for 15 minutes more. Place the meatballs in the pot of marinara sauce and simmer for one hour.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 oz can tomato paste
Two 26-28 oz containers of Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 1 ½ hours.

Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

2 lbs Italian pork sausage, one hot; one sweet
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
8-10 Italian frying peppers, stems and seeds removed; cut into 1-inch rings
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup marinara sauce, recipe above

Directions

Heat an outdoor grill with direct and indirect heat. Place the sausage links on the indirect heat side and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the sausage links over and grill for 15 minutes more. Remove the links to a plate and cool. Cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces.
You may also cook the sausage in the oven or in a frying pan.
Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers. Turn the heat to low and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 30 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and marinara sauce. Heat over low until hot.

Cheese Ravioli

My favorite frozen ravioli are made by Celentano. They are most like homemade ravioli and for busy times they are perfect.

Ingredients

One family size package cheese ravioli
2 cups Marinara sauce, heated, recipe above
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water according to the package instructions.

Tip
I like to place the package of ravioli in the refrigerator overnight. That way the ravioli do not stick together and you can drop individual ravioli into the boiling water.

Remove the ravioli with a spider utensil and place the ravioli in a serving bowl. With each layer, add sauce and Parmesan cheese. Continue until all the ravioli are in the serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Eggplant Parmesan

For each one pound of eggplant, you will need:

1 pound eggplant, peeled
2-3 large eggs
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two large baking sheets with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.

Cut peeled eggplants crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin.

Place the eggs in one shallow dish and the breadcrumbs mixed with the cheese in another.

Dip the eggplant slices into the egg, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes longer.

To assemble the casserole, you will need:

Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

2 ½ cups Marinara sauce (see recipe above)
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
1 recipe breaded and baked eggplant

Directions

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and add half of the cheese slices. Add the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Italian Romaine Salad

Ingredients

1 head of romaine lettuce, sliced, washed and dried
1 small red onion, cut into rings

Italian Dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Place the greens and onion in a medium salad bowl. In a jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well and pour over the greens. Toss and serve.

Leftover Meatballs, Sausage & Peppers and Eggplant make great sandwiches.

 


Grilled Swordfish

According to Seafood Watch.org, Swordfish caught in the Atlantic with harpoons or handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines and Western and Central Pacific with handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines, or by U.S. fleets in the Atlantic with buoys, is a “Best Choice.” Swordfish populations are healthy, and there are no major bycatch concerns in these fisheries. This is the type of swordfish that I purchase.

4-6 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
4 Swordfish Steaks, 1/2 inch thick, (about 1 1/2 Pounds Total Weight)
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian Flavored Panko Crumbs
Lemon Sauce, recipe below

Directions

Place the swordfish in a glass dish, scatter garlic over fish and then pour the olive oil over all.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

When ready to grill:
Remove the fish from the marinade and place on a plate. Pour the marinade into a measuring cup. Reserve.
Place a sheet of heavy foil on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in the foil.
Place the swordfish on the foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each lightly with panko crumb. Turn the fish over and sprinkle with panko.
Heat an outdoor grill to high. Slide the foil with the fish still on it onto the grill grates. Lower heat to medium. Cook about 15 minutes until the crumbs begin to brown the and the fish is cooked through. Do not turn fish.

Remove fish to a plate and pour the lemon sauce over the fish or serve on the side.

Lemon Sauce

Add more olive oil to the oil in the measuring cup that was used for the swordfish marinade to equal 1/2 cup.
Add
1/4 hot water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
Whisk and warm in the microwave when ready to serve.

Linguine with Pesto Cream Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb linguine
1 cup pistachio basil pesto sauce, see recipe
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Directions

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander.
In the same pot add the pesto, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Warm over low heat and then add the cooked linguine. Cook for a minute or two. Pour into a serving bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Cucumber Orange Salad

Ingredients

2 celery stalks, sliced
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded & sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 orange, cut into segments
1 jalapeno; ribs & seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup Italian Vinaigrette

Directions

Combine the salad ingredients in a serving bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Serve immediately.

 


Grilled Tuna Au Poivre

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tuna steak, about 8 oz; 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Sea Salt to taste
Basil Parmesan Cream Sauce, recipe below

Directions

Heat an indoor grill pan over high heat. Brush the pan with the melted butter. Thoroughly pat the tuna steaks dry with paper towels.
Season the tuna steak lightly with salt and press in the crushed peppercorns on both sides of the tuna.


Grill the tuna steak for 2 minutes per each side. Give the tuna steak a quarter turn and grill two minutes. Turn the tuna steak over. Grill two minutes more. (For a total of 6 minutes.).
Place the tuna steak on a serving dish, cut in half and pour a little basil cream sauce over the tuna. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Basil Parmesan Cream Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light (half & half) cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a food blender, combine basil, garlic, salt and olive oil. Process for about 40 seconds, or until mixture begins to emulsify. Pour the light cream into the blender and pulse for 20 seconds to incorporate. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, be careful to not let the mixture boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside while you cook the tuna.

Sautéed Yellow Squash Noodles

Feel free to use cooked spaghetti in place of squash noodles.

2 servings

Ingredients

2 yellow squash
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Use the thin julienne setting on a mandoline. a spiralizer or a sharp knife to slice the yellow squash into thin strips similar to spaghetti. Next, the “noodles” need to dry out or the texture will be mushy when you saute them. Ideally, leave them on your counter on double thickness of paper towels for at least 3 hours.

If you want to prep the dish in the morning for dinner, wrap the noodles in paper towels and place them in a plastic ziplock bag. After the noodles set and lose some of their moisture, warm the olive oil and garlic in a skillet and saute the noodles just a few minutes to heat and coat with oil. Season with salt * pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with the grilled tuna and cream sauce.

Tomato Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

1 1 /2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
14 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 tablespoon rinsed capers
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs to taste

Directions

Combine shallots, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil to blend.
Set vinaigrette aside.
Arrange tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle capers over; season with salt and pepper. Scatter herbs on top. Whisk vinaigrette again and drizzle over the tomatoes before serving.



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