Here’s a basic and simple focaccia recipe using just 4 ingredients. The total time spent on it is about half an hour – not counting rising.
1. 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2. ½ tsp. dry yeast
3. ½ tbs. kosher salt
4. 4 tbs. olive oil divided + more for greasing
1. Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the water (about 1 ¾ cups) and stir with a spatula until you have a sticky dough. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in another bowl. Add the dough and roll it around to coat it with the oil. Cover it tightly with Saran and refrigerate for at least 1 and no more than 2 days.
2. Brush ¼ baking sheet (9”x13”) with oil. Put the dough in the pan and spread it with your fingers. Add more oil if it starts to stick. If it doesn’t get to the edges of the pan it will when after it rises. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour until it doubles its size. Pat down the dough down to about 1 inch thickness and dimple the entire surface with your fingertips. Sprinkle or brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. While you’re waiting for it to rise pre-heat the over to 450 degrees.
That’s basic focaccia but the toppings are up to you and now is the time to add them. Sprinkle it with coarse sea salt and herbs, chopped tomatoes, chives or scallions, sliced pitted olives, sesame seeds and/or onions. (Be creative.If you’re feeling artistic you can make a focaccia garden.)Lightly press the toppings into the dimpled dough before you add the olive oil. I often make it plain because I like it for breakfast with butter and preserves.
3. Bake it for 20 to 25 minutes rotating the pan once, front to back. Let it cool and then remove it from the pan. It’s good while it’s still warm and will last another couple of days unrefrigerated if wrapped in Saran. It’s thick enough to slice and use for sandwiches.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So, when you can’t get fresh clams, use canned. You don’t need fresh clams for this one. Clam sauce and linguine traditionally go together but if you can’t get linguine use whatever pasta you like.
¼ cup olive oil and more for drizzling 3 cloves of garlic, sliced Salt, black and red pepper 1 can of clams 1 bottle of clam broth ½ half cup of chopped parsley divided 1 lb. linguine
Heat the oil in another pot on medium heat and add the garlic, salt and pepper. Give the garlic a few minutes to flavor the oil. Strain the canned clams, saving the liquid and add them to the pot. Sauté for a few minutes, add half the parsley and the liquid from the canned clams and the bottle of clam broth. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
When the pasta is almost done add it to the pot with the sauce to finish cooking. Remove it to a serving dish, sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley and drizzle it with some olive oil. Most Italians agree that’s it’s a mortal sin to put cheese on seafood.
Here’s another easy recipe. This one’s for a side dish. Arugula with garlic and oil is just three ingredients plus salt and pepper. Precise measurements don’t matter much for this one. Arugula is also known as rocket and is similar to spinach and collard greens which you can also make this way.
Arugula –as much as you like
2 sliced cloves of garlic – more if you like garlic
Olive oil – enough to coat the greens
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer on a low flame for about 5 minutes to infuse the oil with garlic flavor. Don’t brown it. Add the arugula, a ½ cup of water, and toss it until it wilts.
In Italian its pasta e fagioli – that means “pasta and beans.” Some people call it pasta fazool. Both pronunciations are correct. In the Neapolitan dialect its pasta e fasule, often spelled pasta fazool in America.
In a large pot, cook the trinity in oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the beans and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered for 2 hours.
Add salt and pepper, the cherry tomatoes, 2 more cups of water, and the pasta. If necessary, add more water as the pasta cooks. When the pasta is almost done, throw in a couple of hands full of arugula or spinach. I’m using a mix of both. When the greens whilt, it’s ready to serve.
I think it’s tastier reheated the next day. Just add some water to the pot and stir over a low flame.
A pound of beans and a pound of pasta can rally grow as they cook. You might to cut those 2 ingredients in half.
Here’s a simple dish. It’s easy to make with just a few easy to get ingredients.
broccoli cut into florets
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 lb. pasta (your choice)
Salt and black pepper
Place the broccoli in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the broccoli to a bowl and withthe water continuing to boil, add the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, in another pot lightly sauté the garlic in the oil and then toss the broccoli, thoroughly coating it with the oil. Season with the salt and pepper.
When the pasta is almost done remove it from the water and add it to the broccoli, garlic, oil mix to finish cooking. Add some of the pasta water and a sprinkle of oil, stir and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if you like. This recipe also works with cauliflower instead of broccoli.
An interesting recipe – turmeric pasta – from Sue Li in the New York Times. I think of turmeric as a typically Indian ingredient but it really works with pasta. I made a couple of changes to her recipe replacing butter with olive oil and heavy cream with ricotta. You can do it either way.
1 lb. small pasta
Olive oil for frying
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ tsps. Turmeric
1 cup ricotta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp. chopped parsley
Start a pot of salted water to cook the pasta. Drain the pasta when done, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
Saute the onion and garlic in oil in a pot. When the onion is soft add the turmeric and stir it into the onions for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the ricotta and bring to a simmer. Stir in the Parmesan and add enough of the pasta water (you may not need all of it) to thin to a sauce consistency. Add the cooked pasta and parsley, blend and serve with additional cheese.
Whenever I go to New Orleans I over eat. It’s that combination of ingredients that you get in NOLA classic dishes that can’t be beat. With Cajun spice, shrimp and green onions this one really comes together.
My doctor says everyone should eat more beans and greens and less red meat. I’m trying, so here’s another bean and something recipe – Shrimp and Bean Soup. This one is from Evelyn. She adapted it from an old family recipe. You can use any kind of dried beans you like. I’m using Goya’s habichuelas blancas (small white beans).
To start – Pick through the beans and rinse them. Put them in a pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let them sit for one hour. Or you can let them stand in 4 cups of cold water overnight.
In the meantime – Hear some oil in a large pot. Cook the trinity until it’s soft, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, the beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
Remove a cup of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor and return them to the pot to thicken the soup. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water. Put the shrimp in the pot, stir and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until done. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of olive oil.
This one is adapted from a Melissa Clark New York Times Wednesday Food Section recipe. It’s quick. You can make the sauce in the time it takes to boil water and make the pasta.
1 lb. small pasta (ziti, rigatoni, etc.)
2 cups parsley, leaves and tender stems
10 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, divided
1 small bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tbsps. capers, drained
3 tbsps. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
1 broccoli rabe, trimmed stems and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup chopped fresh tomato
2 tbsps. butter
¾ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
Ricotta, for serving
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until almost done. Save one cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, coarsely chop the parsley, 6 anchovy fillets, scallions, and capers all together and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil, remaining 4 anchovies and half the garlic Cook, stirring, until anchovies start to dissolve.
Add the broccoli rabe, tomato, about two-thirds of the parsley mixture to the pot. Add some of the pasta water and cook until the broccoli rabe is wilted and tender.
Add the butter, lemon zest, remaining garlic and red-pepper flakes. Toss until the butter melts then add the pasta and mix with the greens adding more pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Check for seasoning.
Remove to a serving dish and add and mix the remaining parsley mixture. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve with ricotta.
Begin by browning the mushrooms in oil. Do this in one-layer batches. Mushrooms have a lot of moisture and if you put too many in the pot at one time, they’ll steam instead of brown.
Remove the mushrooms from the pot and add the shallots. Cook until translucent and soft, not brown. Return the mushrooms to the pot, season with salt and pepper and set aside until the pasta is ready.
Cook the pasta until almost done. Use any kind you like. We got this colorful pasta as a Christmas present. They’re colored with carrots, spinach and beets.
When the pasta is almost done drain and transfer to the pot with the mushrooms and toss. Add the cream and one cup of the pasta water and simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and then add the lemon juice and zest, parsley, butter, and toss. Serve with additional grated cheese.