Spicy Calabrian Pesto

This delicious pesto is another one from my boyfriend’s collection of recipes. He usually makes this with homemade gnocchi. You can use it with any type of pasta.

Ingredients:

2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

25 cherry tomatoes, halved

6 basil leaves, fresh

7 ounces (a little over 3/4 cup) ricotta cheese

1.75 ounces (approx 1/4 cup) Pecorino cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Chili flake to taste

Oregano to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in pan and add onion, cook until soft. Add bell peppers and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili flake and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth while adding basil leaves.

In mixing bowl add ricotta and Pecorino and mix by hand, add oregano.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

The best potato salad I have ever tasted!

I had my bf walk me through this potato salad because he makes it often and I wanted to learn his technique. This recipe relies a lot on taste. The basic ingredients are below but the measurements will alter to your taste.

Ingredients:

5 Russet potatoes

3 eggs

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup sweet relish

1 dill pickle, chopped

1 TBS mustard

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp celery salt

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil potatoes, cool, peel, and chop

Cool eggs, cool, peel, and chop

Combine all ingredients, mix well, and chill in the fridge

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

The aroma of a vegetable rice pilaf wafting through the air. That is what you will have when you bust this flavorful, yet simple, dish out. Another one from my boyfriend’s recipe book. Also, his video below to follow step by step directions. He has made this IG cooking profile for his daughter.

Ingredients:

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 carrot, diced

1/2 celery, diced

1/2 cup onions, diced

1 cup rice

1 3/4 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS parsley, chopped

Directions:

Heat olive oil and add diced vegetables until softened. Add rice and sauce until rice is toasted. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the perfect consistency of your liking. Let stand for 5 minutes and add parsley before serving.

Buon appetito!

Pasta All’Assassina – Killer Pasta

Another fantastic recipe from the amazing website Pasta Grammar. If you have not checked out their website yet, I highly recommend you do so. Eva and Harper from Pasta Grammar indicate that this particular recipe is a secret recipe that originated in Bari, Italy. It is a unique technique used to cook the pasta but it is well worth learning this one. Very few ingredients needed and easy to whip up at a moments notice.

Ingredients:

7 oz dry spaghetti (do not use bronze cut, lower quality pasta is recommended, like Barilla)

1 1/8 cup pure tomato puree

5 oz tomato paste

2 1/2 cups water

2 cloves garlic

Crushed red pepper

Olive oil

Salt

Directions:

In a small saucepan add 1/8 cup (2 TBS) tomato puree, tomato paste, and water Bring to simmer while salting to taste.

Add olive oil to coat a cast iron or heavy pan (be sure to use a pan large enough to accommodate the dry pasta lying flush on the bottom). Add 1 clove of diced garlic and 1 whole along with some crushed red pepper to the pan and cook until garlic sizzles. Add the remaining 1 cup of tomato puree and simmer. Add the dry pasta and spread into an even layer in the pan. Let the pasta burn and blacken slightly before flipping and do the same on the other side. Trust your instincts and be patient during this part because the slightly burnt and crispy pasta is delicious. Begin adding the tomato water mixture in increments while the pasta cooks. You want the moisture to evaporate then add more tomato water mixture in steps until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil (and I like to add lots of fresh parmesan cheese on top).

Cheesy Stuffed Shells by Scott

Not only has my boyfriend been learning to speak Italian, but he has also been cooking the most amazing Italian food. This is one of his recipes and is easy to make along with being delizioso.

Ingredients:

For the marinara:

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole

24 oz tomato puree

salt and pepper to taste

basil leaves, fresh and torn

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

For the shells:

1 box jumbo pasta shells

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

10 oz spinach (boiled and diced)

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients for the marinara together and simmer for 1 hour. Once marinara is done, heat oven to 350F and boil pasta shells. Mix cheeses with spinach and pepper. Once shells are done, rinse with cold water to make them easier to handle. Place shells on paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb water. Take a baking sheet and place a portion of the marinara on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place in baking pan until the pan is full of shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining marinara and sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Rice with Tomato Sauce – Risotto al Pomodoro

Scott and I in Napoli

Happy Saturday! I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Something about rice with tomato sauce, I just love it. Spanish rice….yummmm; and now Italian rice. My boyfriend made this delicious meal for me the other night and this rice was on the menu.

The recipe comes from a website named cookingwithnonna.com. It has lots of great recipes but way too many advertisements. I do not blame anyone for making a living but it is sometimes hard to navigate. Sorry Nonna!

Ingredients:

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cups passata or tomato puree

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

Grated Parmigiano cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add in the tomato puree and salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In a separate saucepan bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add the rice and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add cooked rice to the sauce and combine over heat for 1-2 minutes.

Grate Parmigiano cheese to garnish.

Damn that is easy!

Buon apetito!

Panzanella Salad

 

I had my first online cooking class experience yesterday. It was a lot of fun. I went through the cooking school named Cozymeal. They have cooking schools throughout North America and, due to the pandemic, the classes have moved online. I have been wanting to try one for awhile.

I choose an Italian cooking class. The chef, Chris, was very informative and taught the group many great techniques as well as the history of the food.  He even had an Italian opera singer Zoom in from his home whereas he sang a wonderful song.

This is the first of the three recipes we cooked. It is very simple and delicious. It comes from Tuscany.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf of Italian crusty bread
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced and quartered
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (10-15 leaves) rough chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F. Chop slices of bread into large crouton shape. Toss with olive oil (enough to lightly coat). Lay out the croutons on baking sheet in single layer with appropriate spacing between each piece to vent. Place in oven and toast until they appear toasted on all sides (10-15 minutes).

Place tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS red wine vinegar in a bowl, mix and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Once croutons have cooled, mix with marinade.

Other two recipes to follow (Tiramisu and fresh pasta dough with lemon cream sauce.

Buon appetito.

Squash & Gorgonzola Risotto

 

I posted this recipe last week, but while trying to make some modifications on this site yesterday I erased part of the post. Thus, I will post it again because this recipe is that good.

My boyfriend found this gem of a website named:

http://www.pastagrammar.com

Also, check out their You Tube channel, they have many entertaining videos that will teach you a lot of Italian cooking tips:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1tKrA3PQlDzKzmhgq7wPPQ

I reap the benefits from his find and his new found love of cooking Italian. Often, I come home to freshly cooked pasta and other delicious Italian intricacies.

This is one of my favorite dishes from the site so far, it is a northern Italian risotto. It calls for an easy to make homemade vegetable broth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tomato
  • Sprig of fresh parsley
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, cubed
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the vegetable broth. Place potato, celery, carrot, tomato, parsley, half of the onion, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan with water and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Dice the other half of the onion. Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil into a sauté pan and sauté diced onion until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the cubed squash, stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a ladle of the vegetable broth and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to prevent burning.

Toast the rice by melting 1 TBS of butter into a saucepan and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook the alcohol off for a couple minutes.

Add the toasted rice into the squash pan and combine. Begin adding simmering vegetable broth in increments to maintain the ability to cook the rice and to achieve a certain consistency. Desired consistency is soft and not crunchy but not overcooked. This will take at least 15-18 minutes and will require your attention.

Once desired consistency has been reached take the pan off the heat and add 1 TBS butter, gorgonzola cheese, a generous grating of Parmigiano and combine. 

Allow to sit for 3 minutes then serve with another grating of Parmigiano to top the master piece off.

Godere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Fajitas

 

This is the second Hello Fresh meal kit I received. I wanted one to be vegetarian and I was not disappointed. I am a sweet potato fan and mixing them with the spices cut through the sweetness perfectly. With the meal kit came the ingredients and directions to include pickled jalapeño, fresh salsa and lime sour cream. Everything was super yummy but needed more heat so add some jalapeños to everything if you like the heat. I forgot to take a picture of the finished meal because everyone was so hungry. Above is a picture of my daughter, son, mom, and me at our tea spot in Vancouver Island; Milner’s Garden.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (the amount depends on how many people you are cooking for)
  • 2 jalapenos (1 to pickle and 1 for the salsa)
  • 2 red onions (1 for fajitas and 1 for the salsa)
  • 2 long green peppers, core and thinly sliced
  • 2 tomotoes
  • Pepper jack cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
  • 3 limes
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Tortillas (flour or corn, whichever you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp white sugar + 1/2 tsp for pickled jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Make the fajitas first: Adjust your oven rack to top position and heat to 425 degrees. Cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch thick wedges, place in a bowl and drizzle with oil and all spices listed. Roast until tender and lightly crisped 30-40 minutes.

Make the pickled jalapeños: Thinly slice the jalapeños into rounds, place in small bowl and add juice of 1 lime and 1/2 tsp sugar with a pinch of salt, set aside.

Make the veggies: Heat some oil in a pan and add 1 onion and green pepper, both thinly sliced. Cook until softened and lightly charred. Season with salt and pepper

Make the salsa: chop the tomatoes, cilantro, 1 diced onion, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper and chopped jalapeño for heat.

Add the zest of a lime and squeeze some lime juice into sour cream

Heat your tortillas and enjoy.

 

 

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