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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: tomato

This classic Italian sauce is called sugo alla puttanesca in Italian. Recipes may differ according to preferences; for instance, the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies, unlike the Lazio version. Spices are sometimes added. In most cases, however, the sugo is a little salty (from the capers, olives, and anchovies) and quite fragrant (from the garlic). It is usually served with spaghetti but we like it with seafood.

Seafood in an Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 fish fillets,(I used sea bass) (about 1 1/2 inches thick 4 ounces each)
4 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
26 oz container finely diced Italian tomatoes (I used the Pomi brand)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread brushed with olive oil and grilled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

For the sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet.
Add the anchovy paste and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and continue to stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, oregano and basil and heat to a simmer. Add the olives and capers and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

For the fish
Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the fish shaking off extra flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Brown the fish fillets and shrimp on both sides.

Pour a cup to 1 ½ cups of sauce over the fish in the small skillet and cover the skillet. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Save the remaining sauce for pasta.

Place a piece of grilled bread in each serving bowl. Divide the fish evenly and place it on top of the bread. Spoon the sauce over each portion and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

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Going to a Potluck Dinner? Here are some tips and suggestions for dishes that travel well:

Pre-baked casseroles held together with cheese or eggs
Slow-cooked dishes that travel in the crock pot
Salads with separate dressing to be mixed in just before serving
Pasta salads
Savory pies and tarts
Dishes that do not need re-heating – use an insulated carrier to keep the food hot.

re is a recipe for a dish I like to bring to a potluck: Stuffed Shells.

Italian-American Meat Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Salt
Two 35-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups of water
6 oz can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and pork and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the meat is brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, water and tomato paste. Stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 hours.

Spinach Ricotta Cheese Filling

Ingredients
Two 10 oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
32 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to stuff the shells.

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Ingredients

One 12 oz box jumbo shells (about 46 shells)
Spinach ricotta cheese stuffing (see recipe)
Meat sauce (see recipe)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drop the jumbo shells into boiling salted water and cook about 10 minutes or until tender but not overcooked. Drain and place on kitchen towels.


Spoon a layer of sauce over the bottom of two large baking dishes.
Fill each shell with equal portions of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Arrange the shells stuffed side up in the baking dish. Spoon more meat sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes.


Italian Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
One 26-28 ounce container Italian diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano
Salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Then, stir in the broth and undrained tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs, salt to taste and red pepper. Cover with the lid ajar and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

Chicken Fontina

Ingredients

2 large boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
All-Purpose or low carb flour
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from regular or low carb bread
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large slices Italian Fontina cheese
Italian Tomato Mushroom Sauce, recipe above.

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the pounded chicken breasts in flour. Dip in the beaten egg white and then into the bread crumbs. Press the crumbs onto the breasts. Place the breaded cutlets on a plate and refrigerate for several hours.


In a large skillet with a cover heat the butter and oil. Add the cutlets and brown on both sides.

Cover each breast with tomato mushroom sauce and a 1 1/2 slices of cheese. Cover the skillet and heat until the cheese begins to melt.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Serves 4

1 pound medium asparagus, woody stalks removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
l garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the asparagus with oil in a large baking dish.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the minced garlic and lemon zest on the asparagus and roast an additional 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Italian Macaroni & Cheese

Serve with meatballs and a green mixed lettuce salad.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

10 oz small pasta, penne or macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 plump garlic cloves, grated
1 (28-ounce) can plus 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in juice
1/4 teaspoon honey
Salt to taste
A couple of fresh basil sprigs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

To make the tomato sauce.

Pulse the chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, or pass through the medium blade of a food mill. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, wide nonstick skillet or saucepan and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to a minute and add the tomatoes and their juice, the honey, salt, oregano and basil sprigs. Stir and turn up the heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the basil sprigs and add freshly ground pepper. Measure out 4 cups of sauce and save the remaining for another recipe.

Combine the ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and then stir into the 4 cups of sauce to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To make the pasta:

Heat a large pot of water to boiling.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and oil a 2-quart baking or gratin dish with olive oil.
When the water for the pasta comes to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and cook the pasta for a minute or two less than the instructions on the package indicate. It should still be a little underdone as it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomato-cheese sauce and stir together until the pasta is thoroughly coated.

Transfer the pasta to the baking dish. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni. Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned about 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


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.


Beef Rolls
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef top sirloin or top round, cut into 4-6 thin slices
4-6 slices of prosciutto
Olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Filling
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper

Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced carrots
1/4 cup minced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes
One container (26-28-ounces) Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
4 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Directions

Beef Rolls
Place each slice of beef between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder until very thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each one.

Mix together the parmesan cheese, onion, bell pepper, garlic and parsley and sprinkle evenly on top of the beef slices with prosciutto.

Roll up the slices, tucking in the ends and tie with kitchen string.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the beef rolls until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

Sauce
If needed add some more olive oil to the pan then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir. Add the red wine and cook, stirring up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, salt, bay leaves, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Place the beef rolls back into the sauce, turn heat to low and cook at a simmer until beef is tender 1.5 – 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves.

Sprinkle the rolls with the mozzarella and basil leaves, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer.


Italian Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Take advantage of the lower prices for red bell peppers this month. There are so many different ways to fill them and they make a delicious entrée for dinner.

For each 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large red bell pepper
1/2 cup Tomato Sausage Sauce, recipe below
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F Coat a small baking dish or ramekin with olive oil cooking spray.

Slice the bell pepper in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds.

Place pepper halves in the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.

Remove the peppers from oven.

Mix the ricotta cheese with the salt and Parmesan cheese.

Fill each pepper half with ¼ cup of the tomato sausage sauce.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the meat sauce in each pepper cup.

Pour an additional 2 tablespoons of sausage sauce on top of the ricotta cheese in each pepper half.

Top each pepper with 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese.

Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes.

Tomato Sausage Sauce

You will only need a small portion of this sauce for the stuffed pepper recipe, depending on how many peppers you make. Leftover sauce can be used in a number of other dishes.

Ingredients

1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed (You could also use ground meat of your choice.)
¼ of a large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
26-28 oz container chopped Italian tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Place the oil in a large non-stick sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage, onion, garlic and sea salt.

Cook until the sausage is brown. Drain off any grease in the pan.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Asian Meatball Soup

I prefer to use chicken for the meatballs in this recipe, so they are not heavy. I also like to use almond flour in Asian meatballs instead of all- purpose flour or breadcrumbs because I think the almond flour compliments Asian flavors much better. Asian cabbages are also in season during this month and they make a delicious option in your recipes.\

For the meatballs

1 lb organic ground chicken or ground meat of your choice
1 egg
2/3 cup almond flour/bread crumbs/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
Pinch salt

For the broth

1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the vegetables

3 cups fresh bean sprouts
3 cups thinly sliced Napa or Bok Choy cabbage
1/2 cup radish sticks
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

To make the meatballs:

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a small cookie scoop, form into 24 bite-sized meatballs and place on a baking sheet covered with foil and coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

\To make the soup:

In a large saucepan heat the sesame oil, garlic and ginger for about 1 minute or until sizzling. Add the chicken broth, water, soy sauce, fish sauce, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables and meatballs. Stir well. Bring back to a simmer and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes

Roasted Pumpkin

Have you ever thought of pumpkin as a savory side dish. I hadn’t either until I saw an article that suggested pumpkin was a fall squash that deserved more than being a pie. And they were right. It is delicious. Do not use a large decorative pumpkin. Instead use a sugar/cooking pumpkin between 2 and 3 lbs and your favorite spices.

Ingredients

2-3 lb fresh (cooking, sugar, pie) pumpkin, peeled & seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder or regular garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.

Cut each half into 1″ thick slices

Place the oil on a baking sheet with sides.

Add the pumpkin slices and sprinkle the seasonings over the pumpkin.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and tinged brown at the edges.

Turning the slices over halfway through the cooking time.

Pan-cooked Broccoli Rabe with Italian Sausage

Ingredients

1 pound/bunch broccoli rabe
1 pound thin Italian sausage made with parsley and Pecorino cheese (or luganega), cut into 3-inch lengths
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and flattened with a large knife
Salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup (or as needed) water

Directions

Cut off the tough ends and stalks of the broccoli stems.

Wash the trimmed broccoli rabe in a sink filled with cold water, swishing the stems gently to remove all dirt from between the leaves.

Let the leaves sit a minute or two undisturbed to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom of the sink, then lift the broccoli rabe from the water with your hands and drain in a colander.

Place the broccoli in a deep skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and cook the broccoli until tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain and place on a kitchen towel to dry. Wipe out the skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.

Add the sausage and cook, turning as necessary, until caramelized on all sides and no trace of pink remains in the center, about 8 minutes for thin sausage or longer for thicker sausages.

Remove the sausages to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the garlic to the oil. Cook, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Carefully lay the broccoli rabe into the oil, season lightly with salt and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Stir and toss to distribute the seasonings.

Pour 1/4 cup water into the skillet and bring to a boil.

Cover the skillet tightly and cook, lifting the lid to turn the stalks occasionally, until the broccoli rabe is tender and the water evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Return the sausages to the skillet and heat until warmed through. Serve the sausages and broccoli rabe on a serving platter with crusty Italian bread.



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