Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Italian cuisine

Sausage Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
`/2 cup finely chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 containers (2- 26 and 1-14 oz) chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tomato container filled with water

Directions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and site until tender about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, seasoning, and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and add the sausage to the sauce. Partially clever the pot and simmer the sauce until thickened for about 2 hours.

Baked Ravioli

Depending on how many ravioli you want to make, you can place the second layer of ravioli over the first layer. This is such an easy way to cook ravioli and makes clean up
easy plus the ravioli don’t come apart in boiling water.

Ingredients

1 lb frozen ravioli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Sausage Tomato Sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place 1 cup of sauce in an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish.
Make one layer of ravioli, cover completely with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Continue with the second layer making sure ravioli are completely covered with sauce.
Cover and bake for 30to 40  minutes depending on how many layers are in the dish.
Uncover and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve the sausage on the side.

Serve with a leaf lettuce salad with added sliced red onion and Kalamata olives.


Cauliflower Parmesan

Ingredients

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg and ¼ cup water, beaten together
1 ½ cups panko Italian unseasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
1 small-medium head cauliflower, trimmed and divided into large floret clusters
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. Season each with salt and pepper. Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then egg, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.


Fill a large skillet with oil. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry cauliflower in batches, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer fried cauliflower pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.
Spoon the marinara sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan. Place the cauliflower evenly in the baking dish. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and return to the oven until the cheese melts.

Lemony Chicken or Turkey Cutlet Piccata

Ingredients

4 servings

1 lb boneless skinless chicken or turkey breast cutlets
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup flour for dredging
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Pat the chicken breast pieces dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Lightly coat the chicken on both sides with the flour (shake off any excess flour).
In a medium skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Cook the chicken on 1 side for about 2 minutes, then turn over to cook for 3 minutes. Add the butter and capers. Drizzle the lemon juice over the cutlets and let simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Linguini with Pesto Cream Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients

Pistachio Basil Pesto Sauce
4 cups washed basil leaves
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil

Cream Sauce
1 lb linguini
1 cup pistachio basil pesto sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Directions

For the pesto sauce
Place the pistachios, garlic, salt, and pepper in a processor bowl. Process until the nuts and garlic are chopped. Add the basil leaves and process for a minute or two. In the opening spout at the top, pour the olive oil as you process. Keep processing until the mixture is smooth.
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.


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 their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Although often called simply rainbow cookies in much of the continental United States, some local names for this special cookie are:

Neopolitan cookies
Seven-layer cookies
Tricolor cookies
Venetian cookies

In southern Italy almond paste cookies are abundant, but rainbow cookies weren’t found in this region or anywhere else in Italy. Although it is reported that recently some bakeries in Italy feature the cookie during the Christmas holidays. Rainbow cookies are an Italian American invention and most likely created to honor the color of the Italian flag. While it can be pretty difficult to pinpoint the exact history or creator, Rainbow cookies were made popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s by Italian-American bakeries, particularly those found in New York City, such as De Lillo’s and Ferrara’s.

Here is a modern twist video on this  old-time treat from CBS News:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/rainbow-cookies-get-a-colorful-twist/

Rainbow cookies are also a common dessert for Jewish Americans. As Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe settled in New York at the turn of the 20th century, they often settled in areas that also had an Italian population. It was at this point that Jewish Americans were introduced to the rainbow cookie. The original rainbow cookie was made with butter and featured the Italian flag-like design in white, red and green. Jewish Americans adapted this cookie to suit their own Kosher dietary needs, substituting margarine for the butter. Jewish Americans were the first to change the original Italian flag design from a white layer to a yellow layer and the cookies are quite popular at Jewish delicatessens.

Italian American Rainbow Cookies

Ingredient

1- 8 ounce can almond paste
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
12-ounce jar apricot preserves
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dishes; line with waxed paper; spray the paper with cooking spray.
Break up the almond paste in an electric mixer bowl with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and extract and beat with the mixer until fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir into the almond mixture with a wooden spoon, using a turning motion similar to folding.
Remove 1-1/2 cups batter; spread evenly into one of the prepared pans. Remove another 1-1/2 cups batter to small bowl; tint green with coloring. Spread into the second pan. Tint remaining 1-1/2 cups batter red. Spread in the remaining pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges are lightly golden; cake layers will each be 1/4 inch thick. Immediately remove cakes from the pans onto large wire racks. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Cool.

Place red layer on upturned jelly roll pan or large platter lined with foil. Heat preserves; strain. Spread half of the strained preserves over the red layer. Top with a white layer. Spread with remaining preserves. Cover with a green layer, top side up.
Cover with plastic wrap. Weigh down with a large wooden cutting board, heavy flat tray, or large book. Refrigerate overnight.
Melt chocolate on top of a double boiler over hot water.

Trim off the uneven cake edges with a sharp knife. Frost the top layer with half of the melted chocolate. Let chocolate dry. Turn the rectangle over and frost with the remaining chocolate. Let the chocolate dry. Cut the cake crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 6 dozen. Store in a container in the refrigerator. Cookies freeze well.


This is a great time of year to make this sauce since all the vegetables included in the recipe are in season.

Ingredients

Eggplant
1 ½-2 lbs small eggplant
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Peppers and Onions
1 ½ lbs Italian frying peppers
1 large sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Tomatoes
2 ½ lbs large vine ripe tomatoes
1 ½ lbs ripe cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

For the roasted eggplant
Peel the eggplant and then into ½-inch cubes. Pour the olive oil into a 13×9-inch baking pan. Smash the garlic cloves and place them in the pan. Add the eggplant and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir the ingredients until the eggplant is coated in oil. Bake 30 minutes stirring the eggplant several through the roasting time to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Scrape the eggplant into a Dutch Oven with a spatula and set the pot aside, Do not clean out the baking dish.

For the peppers and onions
Remove the seeds from the cut peppers and cut them into ½-inch dice. Peel the onion and cut into ½-inch dice.
In the same baking dish used for the eggplant, pour in the oil, add the smashed garlic, peppers, and onions. Add salt and pepper and stir the ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes stirring the ingredients several through the roasting time. Pour the peppers and onions into the Dutch Oven with the eggplant and reserve the baking dish.

 

For the tomatoes
Cut the large tomatoes in half. Pour the olive oil into the baking dish. Add the smashed garlic, large tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Generously salt and pepper the tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes stirring the ingredients several through the roasting time.

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher and add the ingredients to the Dutch Oven.

To make the sauce
Add 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning and a sprig of fresh basil to the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.

To use the sauce with pasta
Add 12 ounces of short pasta, such as Casarecce, Campanelle or Farfalle cooked al dente and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan with the sauce and bring to a simmer, tossing until the butter melts and the pasta finishes cooking about 1 minute. Serve pasta with Parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes
You can also serve the sauce over cooked spaghetti or as a sauce for lasagna.

To use the sauce for pizza
Cover the dough with sliced Fontina cheese and add about 2 cups of the Roasted Garden Vegetable sauce. Bake in a 450-degree F oven for 20 minutes.


Ingredients for 2 servings

4 oz fettuccini pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
2 cloves of minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 small heads (about 8 oz) broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Boil a large pot of water, add salt and cook pasta to the al dente stage. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli. Drain and set aside.


Sprinkle the shrimp with salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning.
Melt the butter in a deep skillet, add in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Do not brown the garlic.
Add the cream, stir in the cheese and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and poach in the cream over low heat until pink.
Fold in the broccoli and pasta and cook just until warmed.

Pour the mixture into 2 individual pasta bowls and serve.


The recipe yields enough sauce and meat for 2 pounds of pasta. Serve this meal, as the Italians do, with a green salad.

Penne with Ricotta Cheese
1 lb whole grain penne pasta
1 lb Italian pork sausage, hot or sweet, cut into links
1 cup ricotta cheese, warmed in the microwave
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Soft and Tender Meatballs
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup milk
1 pound meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
3 (26-28-ounce) containers Italian crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

For the meatballs:
Combine the crushed saltines and milk in mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Mash with a fork until a smooth paste forms. Add the meat, Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the saltine mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Use a muffin/ice scoop to form 12 meatballs. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:
Combine oil and garlic in a large Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until the garlic is soft about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion softens about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes. Carefully place the meatballs into the sauce. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and place the Dutch Oven in the preheated oven.

Place one tablespoon olive oil il a separate baking pan and place the sausage links in the pan, turning to coat the sausages in oil. Place in the oven with the sauce. Bake until the sausages are brown, turning them over halfway through the baking time about 45 minutes. Add the sausages to the meatball/sauce mixture. Continue to bake the sauce for 15 minutes more.

For the pasta
Remove the Dutch Oven from the oven and place it on the stove, covered, while you cook the pasta. When the pasta is cooked al dente, return it to the pasta pan and add 2 cups of the tomato sauce, stir gently and add the Parmesan cheese. Stir again. Place the pasta in a pasta serving bowl. Drop tablespoons of warm ricotta cheese on top. Place some of the meatballs and sausage around the pasta and serve.


When broccoli rabe shows up in my supermarket, I know spring is not far behind in my area.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a large sweet onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 container (26-28 ounces) chopped Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
8 ounces short pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions and add the broccoli rabe to the pot with the pasta. Cook for the remaining time. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Stir in tomato sausage sauce.

Transfer to an oiled 3-quart baking dish Top with diced mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling about 15 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.


 

The Tri-Tip goes by so many (often incorrect) names — California cut, Newport steak, sirloin tip, sirloin butt, culotte, bottom sirloin, top sirloin and more — that it’s sometimes confusing.
The term tri-tip is correct and descriptive because the steak is triangular and is the tip of the sirloin.
Serve this main dish with a salad or sauteed greens.

Ingredients

Cherry Tomato Marinara Sauce

One 28-ounce can whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovies packed in olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Steak

1 tablespoon olive oil
One 24 oz trip-tip steak
1 medium onion, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Chianti, Montepulciano)
8-10 oz spaghetti
Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinara sauce together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Season the roast lightly with salt and pepper. Put the roast fat-side down in the pot. Cook until the bottom is browned, about 3 minutes, then carefully turn the roast to brown on the other side, an additional 3 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.

 

Add the onions and stir periodically until they soften and start to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sauce ingredients and wine. Add the meat with all its juices back to the pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover, transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the meat is very tender about 2 hours. Place the meat on a cutting board and slice into thin slices.

Cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Drain and stir into the sauce in the Dutch Oven. Pour the pasta onto a platter and place the sliced steak on top. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.


Tuna Coating
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground fennel
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flour

Tuna
2 tuna fillets about 1 lb total
1 tablespoon olive oil

Peppers and Onions
1 cup sliced Italian Frying Peppers
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 garlic glove, smashed
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Beans
One 15 ounce can cannellini or navy beans, drained, rinsed or ½ cup dried beans soaked overnight and cooked. (See recipe below)
1/2 cup jarred baby artichoke hearts, cut in half
1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

For the peppers and onions
Heat oil in a large deep skillet and add the garlic clove. Add the peppers and onions. Saute until tender about 5-6 minutes. Add the mint and season with coarse salt and pepper. Remove from the skillet and place on a serving platter.

For the tuna
Combine the coating mixture in a shallow dish.
Rinse the fillets in cold water, letting the water drip off but don’t dry the fish.
Coat the tuna fillets in the coating mixture.

Add the 1 tablespoon oil and heat. Carefully place the tuna fillets into the skillet. A spice crust should form within 1 minute. Using a wide spatula, turn the tuna fillets over, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 2-5 minutes to the desired doneness. Place the cooked tuna on the bed of onions and peppers.

For the beans
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Heat over low just until hot. Serve with the tuna fillets.

How To Cook Dried Beans

Ingredients

8 ounces (1 cup) dried beans
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly smashed
Half a serrano or jalapeño pepper seeded, or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Place the beans in a large saucepan, add enough cool water to cover by 1½ inches, and soak overnight at room temperature. Drain.
Place the soaked beans in a large saucepan with water to cover by 1½ inches. Add the onion, garlic, chili, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil over moderate heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cook the beans at a bare simmer until they are just tender but not mushy, about 30-45 minutes. If necessary, replenish the water, so that it stays 1 inch above the top of the beans. Halfway through the cooking time, stir in the salt.

Remove from the heat. If you are using them right away, drain the beans. Remove and discard the onion, garlic, chili, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. If you are not using the beans immediately, allow the beans to cool in their cooking liquid before draining. (Keep the cooking liquid to reheat the beans or to use in many of the recipes that follow.) You can keep beans, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.


If you are looking to reduce some of the carbs in your diet, this is a good meal to make. Serve this wintertime dinner with pickles, Giardiniera, pickled peppers or olives on the side.

Italian Burgers With Garlic Lemon Aioli

Since I usually cook just for two, I cut this recipe in half.

4 burgers

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs ground beef, shaped into four patties
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Sprig of rosemary
1 large clove garlic, crushed
4 slices (1/4 inch thick) sweet onion
4 slices fresh tomato (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices 1/2-inch-thick and 4 inches wide of Focaccia bread, toasted

Quick Lemon Garlic Aioli
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Optional: ½ teaspoon anchovy paste

Directions

 

For the aioli
In a small, shallow bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Stir to combine and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, so the lemon juice can absorb the garlic’s flavor.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over another bowl. Using a silicone or rubber spatula, scoop the contents of the bowl into the strainer, then press on the garlic with the spatula to get as much juice out as possible. Discard the garlic.
Stir the mayo into the garlicky lemon juice until combined. Add the Dijon mustard and anchovy paste. Aioli will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 10 days. It will thicken up more as it chills.

For the burgers
Season the burgers with salt, pepper, and dried Italian seasoning.
Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high to high. Add the olive oil to the pan and tilt the pan to distribute the oil..Add the patties and onion slices. Cook, about 6 minutes for rare or 8 minutes for medium-rare. Turn the patties and onion slices over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the onion slices and place them on the toasted bread. Leave the burgers in the pan.

Add the butter, rosemary, and garlic to the pan. Using a large spoon, baste the patties for about 2 minutes with the garlic-rosemary butter; top each burger with a slice of tomato. Place ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each tomato. Cover the pan to melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
Serve the burgers on top of the toasted bread with the garlic aioli. I had baked Foccacia that was one-inch thick and I cut the pan into 4-inch square pieces. I then cut one square in half lengthwise to use for the base of the burger.

Red Cabbage Slaw

If you do not have lemon-flavored olive oil, add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the dressing.

Ingredients

1/4 of a head of red cabbage, about 8 oz., shredded
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon-flavored extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Cover cranberries with water and let sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain.
Toss together the cabbage, carrots, parsley, walnuts, and cranberries.
In a serving dish with a cover whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Toss with the cabbage, carrots, parsley, walnuts, and cranberries.
Taste, adjust seasonings and serve. Alternately, allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator, then serve.



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