Tag Archives: Cherry tomatoes

Linguine con Zucchine e Pomodorini (Linguine with Zucchine and Cherry Tomatoes)

22 Sep

Pasta with zucchini is a simple dish, quick and tasty that can be prepared in different ways. This recipe is made with linguine topped with zucchini and cherry tomatoes sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Linguine is a type of long pasta similar to spaghetti, but it is wider and flatter. It looks somewhat like fettuccine. In Italian the name linguine means “little tongues”, this might be related to its long shape. This healthy and colorful first course is also perfect for a light meal when you want to avoid weighing yourself down. In my opinion, pasta enhanced with fresh seasonal vegetables is best described as joy for your palate.

LINGUINE CON ZUCCHINE E POMODORINI (LINGUINE WITH ZUCCHINE AND CHERRY TOMATOES)
Preparation time: 20 minutes    Cooking time: 12 minutes      Servings: 4

Linguine con Zucchine e

INGREDIENTS
340 g (12 oz) linguine, artisanal pasta
8 medium zucchini
500 g (18 oz) cherry tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, whole
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring to boil 3 liters of salt water.
2. Meanwhile, wash the vegetables under running water. Remove the ends from the zucchini and cut into cubes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
3. In a pan heat oil and sauté garlic over medium-low heat, taking care to not letting it burn. Add zucchini and tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Remove garlic.
4. Cook linguine for 12 minutes (check the cooking time on the package). Drain pasta, add to the vegetables in the pan and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese or seasoned ricotta in flakes.

Note: My dear readers you might have noticed that in my recipes the amount of vegetables is always abundant; this is because I love vegetables. I’m not a vegetarian, but fruits and vegetables are mainstays of Italian cuisine and are always present in abundance on my table.  They are the basis of a healthy, Mediterranean diet!  -Paola

 

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Insalata di Lenticchie (Lentil Salad)

7 Aug

This lentil salad with fresh vegetables is a refreshing, summertime dish that you can enjoy either as a main course accompanied by cheese, or served as a side dish. This is a recipe you can prepare in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. It is quick and easy, in fact, it is not necessary to soak the lentils for several hours before cooking them.  It is best served fresh, “just made”, at room temperature, but you can also refrigerate it and enjoy it cold the next day. Surely this salad is healthy and nutritious. Lentils, in fact, like all legumes, are an important nutritional source of proteins and carbohydrates (in the past they were known as “la carne dei poveri” the meat of poor people), but they are also low in fat. They are also rich in iron, potassium, phosphorus and dietary fiber which are important to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Lentils are ancient legumes, consumed by the Egyptians and present in different quotations from the Bible. In the past, they were peasants’ food because of the high nutritional value and low cost. These tasty and versatile legumes, often found in vegetarian cuisine, are good in salads, soups and other recipes. Do not forget that lentils are a symbol of luck and wealth, therefore let’s eat them in abundance!

INSALATA DI LENTICCHIE (LENTIL SALAD)
Preparation time: 30 min. Cooking time: 20 min. Servings: 4

Insalata di Lenticchie
INGREDIENTS
280 g (10 oz) dry lentils
1 bay leaf
300 g ( 11 oz) cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 medium pepper, diced
1 bunch of basil
4 tablespoons of olive oil (Extra Virgin)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Rinse the lentils under running water, put them in a pot with the bay leaf and plenty of water, and boil until they are crisp, about 18-20 minutes. A few minutes before they are done, add some salt. The cooking time should be indicated on the packaging. Drain and allow to cool
3. While the lentils are cooking, cut the tomatoes in half, dice the cucumber. Mix together in a bowl and let stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature to remove the water
4. Drain the tomatoes and cucumber with a strainer. Cut the onion and pepper. In a large bowl mix all the vegetables
5. In a small bowl prepare the dressing with olive oil, salt and pepper
5. Add the lentils and some basil leaves to the vegetable mix, toss well with the dressing. Leave for 10-15 minutes and serve at room temperature.   -Paola

Insalata di Ceci (Chickpea Salad)

20 Jun

This is refreshing and healthy salad made with chickpeas, olives, tomatoes and onions, flavored with olive oil and fresh basil making this salad even more delicious.  This is a perfect vegetarian dish for a light summer lunch and is best served fresh “just made” and at room temperature to heighten the flavor of tomatoes and basil, although you can also refrigerate it and eat the next day. Chickpeas – or garbanzo beans – are legumes rich in protein, zinc, B vitamins, folate and fiber, but also low in fat and most of which is polyunsaturated: good friends for your heart!!! They are one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500 year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. They are largely cultivated in the Mediterranean area and are well known in Italian cuisine. The Mediterranean chickpeas have lighter color, larger seed and smoother coat in comparison to Asian ones. I love their buttery taste, like a combination of chestnuts and beans,  and I enjoy them in everything: salads, stews, pasta (the delicious pasta e ceci), in fritters and farinata.

INSALATA DI CECI (CHICKPEA SALAD)
Preparation time: 1h 40 min. Cooking time: 70-90 min. Servings: 4

Insalata di Ceci

INGREDIENTS
280 g (10 oz) dry chickpeas
1 bay leaf
450 g (1 pound) cherry tomatoes
1 shallot, finely sliced
3 tablespoons Taggiasche olives
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil (Extra Virgin)
Basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS
Day 1
You should start the day before you plan to serve the salad.
1.Rinse the beans under running water, then place in a large glass bowl with bay leaf.  Fill bowl with plenty of water to cover generously (about 5 cm, 2 inches above the level of the chickpeas).  Cover with a lid and soak overnight.
Day 2
2. Drain soaking water, put chickpeas into a pan with fresh water and cook until they are tender, from 70 to 90 minutes, depending on how fresh the chickpeas are. A few minutes before they are done add some salt. The cooking time should be indicated on the package
3. Fifteen minutes before removing chickpeas from the stove , cut the tomatoes, add some salt and let them rest for 10 minutes
4. Drain tomatoes in a colander.  Slice onion and chop basil.  In a large bowl mix all together with the olives and olive oil
5. Drain the chickpeas well, add lemon juice and mix.  Add to the vegetable mix
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad rest for 10-15 minutes and serve at room temperature.

Note: You can use canned chickpeas (about 1 pound) but the taste of dry ones is more buttery and exquisite.  If you use canned ones drain into a colander and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  -Paola

Spaghetti al Pesce Spada e Capperi (Spaghetti with Swordfish and Capers)

1 Nov

Pasta is a great ingredient for preparing quick and delicious meals and is a real treat to make for someone special.  Spaghetti with sword fish, capers and cherry tomatoes is a tasty first course to enjoy before your non-pasta secondo (like we Italians eat it), or as a solitary main dish, fast and easy to prepare.  It is made of fresh and flavorful ingredients from Sicily, land of sea, sun and an extraordinary food tradition.  Since Italy is a country with thousands of miles of coast, it is understandable that fish is a big part of our diet.  This particular pasta sauce blends the delicate taste of sword fish with the intense flavor of the capers, either the edible flower buds or the fruit (cucunci in Italian, pronounced cu-CUN-chi) of a Mediterranean plant found in rocky terrain.  The best capers, the ones I love with my Martini (!) and like to use in my recipes, are the cucunci from the Pantelleria and Salina islands, which are preserved either in salt or vinegar.  They are used to season or garnish salads, pizza, pasta sauces, meat dishes and fish dishes. 

SPAGHETTI AL PESCE SPADA E CAPPERI (SPAGHETTI WITH SWORDFISH AND CAPERS)

Preparation Time: about 20 min.        Cooking time: 7-8 min.           Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS
340 g (12 oz) spaghetti (Faella Pasta)
450 g (1 pound) swordfish filet
450 g (1 pound) cherry tomatoes
90 g (½ cup) capers (sotto sale, preserved in salt)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil (Extra Virgin)
80 ml (⅓ cup) dry white wine
2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside
  2. Remove the stem from the cucunci capers (the flower bud capers are stem free)
  3. Wash the capers under running water to remove the salt and set aside
  4. Wash and dry the filet with paper towel.  Remove skin and dice
  5. Drop the pasta in boiling water at this time (see below)
  6. In non-stick skillet on high heat sautè the garlic with olive oil.  Add the fish filet and cook for 3 min on high heat, add the wine
  7. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 5 min
  8. Add the capers, some salt and  fresh ground pepper to taste.

In a large pot of salted water, at the same time you are cooking the sauce, cook the spaghetti al dente (for about 7-8 min, read the cooking time on the package).  Drain and transfer the pasta to the skillet, mix gently.  Before serving garnish with the parsley.

Note: If you cannot find capers from Pantelleria, make sure to choose the biggest ones you can find, as they taste better and make a better visual impact in the sauce.  You can also substitute the spaghetti with linguine, a flat, spaghetti-like pasta from Liguria, which is often served with pesto or with seafood. -Paola

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