Nothing says summer like fresh veggies from the garden! When the abundance of cherry/grape tomatoes is too much to eat now or even give away, why not make this quick and easy (1, 2, 3) fresh roasted tomato sauce? You can enjoy some of it over your favorite pasta today – and freeze in small containers to enjoy when you’re yearning for a taste of summer!
- Wash and dry (remove stems) cherry/grape tomatoes
- Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper on a sheet pan – roast at 400F for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes start to caramelize and the juices escape onto the pan. Cool slightly after removing from oven.
- Blend in food processor, little by little, along with a couple of garlic cloves, a handful of Italian parsley, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and more kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
That’s it! Enjoy over your favorite pasta and bite into summer goodness!
Truly is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – and 4 – Buon Appetito!
Until recently, I had never eaten spaghetti squash, let alone cook with it. I recently shared an appetizer of Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with my friend Sylvia and I was hooked! Check out my take on this easy, delicious, and nutritious (I’m sure) recipe:
Wash and cut (lengthwise) one spaghetti squash. With a tablespoon, scoop out and discard seeds and stringy interior from center of squash. Lightly coat cut surface and interior with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Place cut side down on parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour at 375F. You’ll know it’s ready when a knife can be easily inserted into the center of the squash. Let cool for 10-15 minutes until you can comfortably handle the squash. Using the tines of a fork, scrape along the interior (down to the skin) of the squash, peeling away ‘spaghetti-like’ strands of squash. Remove to a bowl and toss with the red sauce of your choice and 2-3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Once squash is well coated with sauce, scoop back into the squash shells, top with Mozzarella cheese, return to parchment lined baking sheet – and continue baking at 375F for another 10-15 minutes (until cheese is melted.)
Let stand to cool for a few minutes – and enjoy! Pair with a mixed salad, crusty Italian bread, and a glass of red wine! Delicioso!
Two years in a row is the start of a tasty tradition – swordfish for Christmas Eve dinner! If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m a big fan of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, and the dinner we enjoyed last night came straight from Ina! (I wonder if I’m her biggest fan??)
Sicilian Swordfish and Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese
Sicilian Swordfish: Pat dry, light olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Sear a couple of minutes each side on a hot grill. Remove to a platter, poke all over each piece with the tines of a fork, then drizzle lemon vinaigrette over each piece, cover with aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes.
(Lemon Vinaigrette: Olive Oil/Fresh squeezed lemon juice [2/1], pinch each of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of dried oregano [or two teaspoons of fresh chopped.)
To serve – place one piece of swordfish on each plate, top with arugula, and drizzle with a couple of spoonfuls of the lemon vinaigrette fish sauce. Top with some grated lemon zest.
Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese: Start by cleaning (soft wet cloth) medium or large size Portobello mushrooms (6-8). Place on sheet pan (top side down,) drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F until tender, then set aside.
Bring 2 cups half-half and 2-1/2 cups chicken stock to a boil. While whisking constantly, sprinkle 3/4 cup fine cornmeal into boiling liquid. Continue stirring (almost constantly) with a wooden spoon until creamy consistency (6-8 minutes.) Off the heat, stir in 1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese. Pour polenta into a baking dish (medium size) and top with mushrooms (top side down.) Finish with 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, sprinkled all over the top. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes until a bit bubbly and starts to turn golden brown. Let rest for a few minutes – and enjoy!
This was my first attempt at making polenta at home – and aside from the constant attention to stirring (similar to making risotto,) it’s so easy. Once you achieve a creamy consistency, you could add in grated Parmesan cheese or any other element of flavor as you wish.
I hope you’ll try one of these delicious recipes yourself. My point in sharing some recipes that aren’t my original creation is to provide pairing ideas, to let you in on easy delicious meals you can replicate in your own kitchen, and to open the door to your own creativity by starting with a published recipe – then making it your own! Buon Appetito!
In the mood for a light, yet filling, nutritious, and delicious summer supper? Here’s an idea that can be on the table in no time if you have Ina’s Warm French Lentils ready in the freezer. (If not, you can find heat and serve lentils at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s.)
I tossed the mixed greens with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing, topped by a couple spoonfuls of warm lentils. Added some tomatoes, olives, avocado, and bleu cheese – and supper is on the table. (Walk away feeling satisfied, not stuffed, with room for a little something sweet!)
Here’s an excerpt from my post on December 25, 2013 (Christmas Eve Dinner) with Ina’s recipe for Warm French Lentils:
Saute a couple carrots (1/2-inch chopped) and one chopped leek (white and light green parts) in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add one chopped garlic clove and saute for an additional minute. Set aside. Bring 4 cups water to a boil with 1 cup dry lentils, 1 turnip (cut in half) and one whole (peeled) onion stuck with 6 cloves. Once boiling, add the carrots and leeks, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes until lentils are tender. Discard turnip and onion, strain lentil mixture, and toss in a bowl with 1 tsp. unsalted butter. In a separate bowl, make a Dijon vinaigrette. (1/4 cup olive oil, 2 TBPS red wine vinegar, 4 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 TBSP kosher salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Add warm lentils to vinaigrette, toss, and let stand for about 15 minutes. Ready to enjoy!