There’s something consistently comforting about homemade meatballs and tomato sauce for Sunday supper. Maybe it’s the act of mixing and rolling the meat with your bare hands; an organic and ritualistic labor of love. Or, perhaps it’s just the sweet warm aroma of onion, garlic, fresh basil and tomatoes wafting off the stove. Whatever it is, we couldn’t get enough of it this week when we tried Lidia Bastianich’s “polpette” with our spicy tomato-basil sauce. Instead of serving the dish over spaghetti, we baked a pan of polenta and then fried the squares in olive oil. Light crunch on the outside with a soft, warm, heartiness on the inside — perfect with a dollop of tangy sauce.
Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category
Posted in Fruits and Vegetables, Italian, Soups, tagged basil, carrots, celery, dinner, garlic, linguine, lunch, minestrone, onion, Recipes, soup, spaghetti, squash, tomatoes, vegetables, zucchini on January 8, 2011| Leave a Comment »
‘Tis the season for soups and chilis! I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of new recipes this winter, and this one turned out great. Lots of hearty “stuff” in here to make a big bowl a satisfying meal for lunch or light weeknight dinner. And, it’s super healthy. The red pepper flakes give this a bit of a kick, so be sure to sprinkle those in to your taste.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 celery stalks, plus celery leaves, chopped
1 large carrot diced
1 cup each, diced yellow squash/diced zucchini
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon marjoram
dried red pepper flakes to taste
1 10-oz package frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans)
4 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 oz whole-wheat linguini broken into small pieces
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
(1) Saute onion, garlic, celery, carrot in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes; then, add zucchini and squash and cook until slightly softened.
(2) Add basil and marjoram plus the frozen mixed vegetables and cook until thawed, about 3 minutes. Then add broth and bring to simmer.
(3) After 20 minutes, toss in linguine and beans and cook until al dente.
Posted in Italian, Recipes, Recommended Meals, tagged arborio rice, asparagus, cheese, dinner, gourmet, lemon, onion, parmesan, parsley, recipe, risotto, Shrimp, white wine on January 2, 2011| 1 Comment »
This is a fabulous dish to start off the New Year in the kitchen. Lemon juice and zest add a tangy brightness to the fresh asparagus and sweet shrimp. There’s a little bit of grated parmesan cheese and butter for creamy richness. And, the white wine and minced onion yield a great depth of flavor. The recipe, from the venerated archives of Gourmet Magazine, gives a good reminder: “the rice should be creamy and tender but still al dente — like the consistency of a thick soup.” Solid guidance that led to a perfect outcome this time around!
No restaurant food is worth waiting hours for, in my opinion. Especially hours spent outdoors, in line, without a cocktail in hand! But to experience what Zagat’s calls the “best pizza in New York City,” I had to make a special exception to my rule and travel to Brooklyn, just beneath the Bridge, to the no-frills pizza joint called Grimaldi’s.
The nearly two hour wait for a table — at 2:30 in the afternoon! — pumped up my expectations and fueled my appetite, and in the end the pizza did not disappoint.
The coal-fired brick oven produces a crisp, New York-style crust and smokey flavor. The crushed tomatoes are fresh and bright, dotted with slices of white mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. Italian sausage and roasted red peppers the perfect toppings.
No fancy toppings or elaborate menu here. Just the basic pizza pie done exceptionally well. And all for cash only. Worth a trip back? Probably not for me, given the lengthy wait; but I highly recommend it for the overall experience.
After a little hiatus from this space in March, I’m kicking off April — and capping a beautiful Easter Weekend — with this wonderful, simple shrimp and pasta dish. I find myself increasingly drawn to “simple” preparations, like this one, in which the flavors, colors, textures of the individual elements of a dish shine for what they are. The vibrant colors of the fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp Italian parsley and wild caught shrimp play big when tossed lightly with spaghetti in an olive oil, white wine, onion, garlic sauce. The juices from the shrimp give the sauce added depth and a couple pinches of dried red pepper flakes give it a little punch. The dish does not have a lot of ingredients and doesn’t take long to prepare, but it’s packed with flavor. I really love how healthy and light this is, too. Perfect for a warm spring or summer evening meal with a tossed salad and crusty bread.
Spaghetti with Shrimp Sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound ripe roma or plum tomatoes
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
Red pepper flakes, salt/pepper to taste
(1) Boil spaghetti, drain and set aside.
(2) Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes over low heat in a large fry or saute pan. Then add shrimp and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
(2) Add the white wine and cook until liquid begins to evaporate, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add tomatoes and seasoning to taste, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
(4) Toss spaghetti in the pan with the sauce and shrimp, topping with the fresh chopped parsley.
I’m usually not a big fan of pasta once the warmer weather rolls around, but even when it was almost 90 degrees in New York City a couple weeks ago, this dish won me over. The cherry tomato, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella combo stands out among the ear-shaped pasta tossed in a light and simple olive oil/chicken broth “sauce.”
But it’s the mini chicken meatballs that put this dish over the top. They are tender and delicious!
Mix one pound of ground white meat chicken or turkey with: 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 chopped parsley, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 3/4 cup grated romano cheese, and salt/pepper to taste. Brown the little balls in olive oil over high heat, 9-10 minutes.