Category Archives: Vegetarian

Spaghettata con Limone e Tonno

Spaghettata con Limone e Tonno

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I don’t use packaged food products – until now. I was browsing in a grocery store in Amalfi in Southern Italy and noticed a clear cellophane package of dried lemon, onions, capers and other things called, “Spaghettata con Limone e Tonno.”

Spaghetttata con Limone e Tonno

It was only 2 Euros so I bought it. The English translation of the preparation was a little confusing but I figured it out.

Spaghetttata con Limone e Tonno

All I had to do was add 3 ingredients – water, olive oil, and tuna.

Spaghetttata con Limone e Tonno

The preparation was easy and it was delicious. I tried to Google a location where I could buy some more but no luck. I guess next time I want it, I’ll have to go back to Amalfi or make it from scratch.

From scratch –
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsps. chopped capers
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 – 8 oz. jar of imported tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
Start a pot of water for the pasta.
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add garlic, zest, lemon juice, and capers and sauté for a few minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add tuna and the oil it was packed in and break into bite-sized pieces.
When the pasta is almost done add it to the sauce to finish cooking.

Spaghetttata con Limone e Tonno


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Potato Croquettes

Potato Croquettes

This is the first time I’ve ever made potato croquettes. They were pretty tasty but it wasn’t easy. Mashing the potatoes was hard work and breading and frying the croquettes was time-consuming and sloppy. Maybe it gets better with practice but the next time I want potato croquettes, I think I’ll just go to a Sicilian-run pizzeria and buy them.

 

Boil the potatoes in their skins for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain them and let cool 15 minutes then peel. Mash the potatoes and let them come to room temperature uncovered so they dry out.

Add 2 eggs, the Parmigiano, 5 tbsps. flour and parsley. Taste and season with the salt and pepper. Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon and take some of the potato mixture and form it into a small canoe-shaped roll.

Roll the croquettes in the flour and shake off excess. Then dip the beaten egg. Drip off excess and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Let the breaded croquettes rest 20 minutes before frying.

Heat oil until a bit of the potato dropped into it sizzles. Fry the croquettes turning until they are evenly golden browned on all sides. This should make about 20 to 25 croquettes.

Drain and serve warm.


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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

I just got these at a local green market. Making stuffed zucchini flowers isn’t an exact science so I can’t give you exact ingredient measurements.
I got about 20 flowers and started by pulling out the pistil. It’s hard and takes up room that can be used for stuffing.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Pistils
I mixed 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta with 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiana. I tasted it and it didn’t need any additional salt. I put 1 to 2 espresso spoons of stuffing into each flower depending on their size. The petals stick to the stuffing so there’s no need to tie them.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

I rolled them in flour and then beat an egg with 2 tablespoons of cold water to thin it. I dipped them in the egg wash and then rolled them in the flour again.Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Fry them until they’re yellowish-gold, drain and serve. 

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Filomena’s Fettuccine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

Filomena’s Fettuccine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Anchovy Tomato Sauce that I got from a pizzeria chef I know.  I thought it was pretty good. A friend of mine showed it to his Sicilian grandmother who, to put it mildly, didn’t approve of it. The differences in the two recipes don’t seem too extreme to me but to her, there’s a world of difference. Out of respect for Nona Filomena, I’m posting her recipe. I tried them both and prefer Nona’s.Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce
Filomena didn’t exactly give me a breakdown of ingredients and preparation so I’ll paraphrase our phone conversation and fill in a few blanks.

Filomena’s Fettucine with Alici and Tomato Sauce

“You start with a small can of alici (anchovies) in a frying pan with some oil (olive). When they start to dissolve, put in your garlic (2 cloves) finely chopped so you don’t mistake it for a pinole. You cook that a little bit (5 minutes)and then put in a small can of paste (6 oz.). Stir it until it absorbs the oil and then a little of the pasta water to thin it, but not too much. Put in the pinoles (pine nuts) and currants (about 1/3 cup each). Now, a little sugar (two teaspoons) to cut the acid of the tomatoes. Let it cook until it’s done (about 20 minutes) and maybe if you need it, a little more pasta water. You should taste it then. There’s probably enough salt from the alici but if you like it salty you might want more. No cheese with this but you put a bowl of fried breadcrumbs on the table and people help themselves.”
A few of Nona Filomena’s comments:
  • No parsley in this sauce. It doesn’t belong.
  • You make this with fettuccine. No other kind of pasta.
  • You don’t put the toasted breadcrumbs in the sauce as it’s cooking because they get soggy. You want them crisp.
  • It’s all right to finish cooking the fettuccine in the sauce but if you’re making two or three pounds when the whole family is coming, you don’t have to do that.
  • No red pepper in this – just black.

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Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I adapted this from Michele Becci’s recipe. You can serve it hot or cold as a pasta salad.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnut pieces to the hot, dry pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are toasted and brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine the arugula, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until smooth.  Add in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pulse until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain pasta. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Add in the lemon zest. Toss.

Add the pesto into the pasta and stir to incorporate. If too dry, add a little of the pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in a few handfuls of arugula and top with the toasted walnut pieces. Finish with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.Arugula Pesto


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The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

This is the simplest pasta sauce I can think of. Just 3 basic ingredients – tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. You can use any kind of ripe fresh tomatoes or a 28 oz. can of San Marzanno tomatoes would work too.
These 3 ingredients plus pasta, water, salt and pepper make a meal. You can build on it with other ingredients. You can simply add some grated parmigiana, torn basil leaves and a few drops of olive oil when serving. Maybe brown some sausage or saute a few shrimp in the pan before you add the tomatoes then simmer them in the sauce. There are lots of possibilities.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

Preparation:
Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
Start the sauce  by lightly sauteing the garlic in the oil until it’s pale orange, not brown. I prefer it cut into large pieces but do it any way you like. Use a low heat and take your time to flavor the oil. Add salt, black and red pepper depending on your taste. (You can stop right there if you want. In addition to being the base for lots of things, seasoned garlic and oil is all you need for a standard dish – PASTA AGLIO E OLIO.)
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
Add the tomatoes. They can be just roughly chopped alla rustica, or cored, skinned and de-seeded, depending on how much time you have. Let them simmer while the pasta water comes to a boil. As they soften you can break them up with the back of a wooden spoon.
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
When the pound of pasta is almost done, drain  it and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Instead of absorbing water the pasta can absorb some of the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

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Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

This is a good summer recipe for a charcoal or gas grill. It also works indoors on a grill pan. It’s up to you but we like the inside just a little bit pink.

Swordfish with mint and lemon

Swordfish with mint and lemonSwordfish with mint and lemon

Marinade and Sauce

 

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Cook for a few minutes on each side, depending on thickness, on a grill or a ridged pan. Don’t overcook. Grill a couple of lemon halves at the same time and squeeze them over the steaks when done. Serve topped with sauce.

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon


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Oatmeal

Oatmeal

 

 

Recipe for steel-cut oats –
Once you try this you may not go back to instant oatmeal. Steel-cut oats includes the whole oat kernel, cut up. These take longer to cook. Instead of cooking it for an hour or more, ignore the package directions and try it this way.

For 2 servings –
  • The night before – boil 2 cups of water with a little salt. Add one cup of oats (maybe with a handful of pomegranate seeds or dried currents), stir, turn off the heat and cover.
  • The next morning – add one cup of water (or ½ and ½ water and milk), stir, bring to a low boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Oatmeal

Breton Mussels

Breton Mussels

An easy mussel dish that can be served on pasta. And it isn’t bad with just some good bread. This recipe comes from an interesting region of France – Brittany.

Breton Mussels

Rinse the mussels. Pull off beards and discard any with opened or broken shells.

Breton Mussels

In a pot big enough to hold the mussels, sauté the chopped onion and chopped garlic in oil until it softens. Add the parsley and butter.  Stir until butter melts. Add salt, black pepper and wine. Put the mussels in the pot and stir to coat them with the liquid.
Steam them until they open, (throw away any that don’t open) stir and serve.Breton Mussels


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Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

This is a quick sauce that can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta. If you buy fresh shrimp use their shells to make a simple stock. If not, Better Than Bouillon is a good substitute.

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce

Start a pot of water for the pasta.

Clean shrimp and thoroughly dry them so they don’t steam. Season with salt and black pepper. Boil the shells in a cup of water and save it. (* If you don’t have shells substitute  chicken, vegetable or fish stock. ) Lightly sauté shrimp in olive oil until lightly pink and remove. Add the anchovy and cook until it dissolves then sweat the onion and garlic. Add the tomato paste and blend.

Pour in the white wine and burn off the alcohol. Add ½ the stock and return the shrimps to the pan.

Stir in the breadcrumbs and sprinkle with parsley.

When the pasta is almost done add it to the sauce with the rest of the stock and finish cooking. if it’s too dry add some of the pasta water.

Shrimp and Breadcrumb Sauce


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