Tag Archives: Italian

Panzanella Salad

To Italians, this constitutes a salad….lololol!  Just replace the lettuce or anything green with a baguette, and voila! A Salad in Italy! I’m not making fun either, this is truly my idea of a salad. A variety of great, rich flavours mixed with buttery carbs; you really can’t go wrong.  Only one question remains….Why don’t I live in Italy?

This recipe is from a cooking class I did in the fall, and I couldn’t wait to make it again.  It did not disappoint the second time around.  Start with the carbs!  Cut a baguette up into chunks and prep your dressing. (Rosemary, garlic, olive oil, butter, etc.)

Panzanella Croutons

Add a generous heap of fresh Parmesan to the baguette cubes.

Panzanella Parmesean Croutons

Mix in the dressing and stir until evenly combined.  Bake @ 350 until golden and crusty.

Golden Panzanella Croutons

Mix the veggies, cheese and croutons together in a bowl, and then whip up the salad dressing.

Panzanella Prep

Add the dressing right before serving to make sure the croutons don’t get soggy.  The only thing missing from this “salad” that I would add next time would be artichokes.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad Recipe

1 batch freshly baked croutons (Recipe below)
4 red peppers (roasted if you like!)
8 vine ripened tomatoes, cubed
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 large balls fresh buffalo mozzarella torn into small bite size pieces
1 red onion sliced finely
1 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts

Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lemon zest

1.    Combine the prepared vegetables together (peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil and artichokes) in a large mixing bowl.
2.    Combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and lemon zest.  Whisk to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
3.    Place croutons (still warm if possible!) in the bowl with the vegetables and cheese, and lightly toss with dressing.  Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Croutons Recipe

1-2 good quality baguettes
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup butter
4 sticks fresh thyme or rosemary
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

1.    Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.    Cut the baguette into large cubes and toss with salt and pepper, crushed whole garlic cloves, picked thyme/rosemary, butter and olive oil.
3.    Place the croutons in oven until they become golden but are still soft in the middle.

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Filed under Salads, Vegetarian

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes with Fresh Pasta

As I’ve mentioned before, I love carbohydrates intensely.  And for this reason, I think this might be in my top five favourite homemade recipes of all time.  But I’ve only made it the once…  It takes a long time to make pasta from scratch, it can’t be denied, but it’s also what makes this recipe so outlandishly tasty. Of course it will still be amazing using store bought pasta, but if you have a few hours to kill one afternoon (and a pasta maker), I strongly encourage you to try it.

AND this dish is perfect if you’re having company.  Impressive presentation is simple because everyone gets their own lovely roasted tomato on top of a heap of pasta!  Add a leafy green salad on the side, and tada!

So, get all your pasta making gear set up to start.

Pasta making Set-up

Make and knead your dough.

Dough Kneading

Pass it through the pasta maker a few times.

Dough through the roller

It should start to get really long, narrow and thin.  And try not to get too jealous of my gray jogging pants.

Dough rolled through the pasta maker

Next, put it through the spaghetti attachment.

Spaghetti!

Lay it out to dry.  Beware, it will take over your kitchen.

Spaghetti Invasion

EVERYWHERE.

Spaghetti

Now prepare delicious stuffed tomatoes to roast, and then devour with some fresh pasta. Start with the filling.  AKA:  Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, fresh parsley, fresh basil, garlic powder, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and olive oil.

Roasted tomato filling

Scoop out of some of the tomato filling (dicing it if necessary), and stir it into  the bread crumb mixture.  Stuff everything back into the tomatoes, and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

Toss some fresh pasta with a bit of olive oil and/or melted butter and a bit of fresh parsley.  Top with roasted tomatoes. And if you feel like getting fancy, sautée up some pancetta in a little bit of maple syrup.  MMMMMMMmmmmmmm, crazy ingredients mixing and causing intense flavour sensations 🙂  IMAGINE IF YOU ADDED ROASTED GARLIC TOO????  Why didn’t I think of this before? 😦

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Fresh Pasta

From another angle…

Birdseye view

Fresh Pasta Recipe

6 cups (+ more as necessary) all purpose flour
5 Eggs (Tip:  Don’t use eggs straight from the fridge!)

1.    Pour flour into large mixing bowl, and add eggs to centre.
2.    Mix eggs with a fork until completely blended with the flour.  Knead the mixture with your hands until it is completely homogenous and consistent.  If the mixture is too dry, add some water.  If it is too soft add some flour.  A good mixture should never stick to your fingers.
3.    Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut mixture into small pieces.
4.    Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass a piece of the pasta mixture through the machine.  Repeat this 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary.
5.    When the dough has started to take shape, pass it through the smaller settings once or twice, until you obtain your desired thickness.
6.    With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces that are approximately 10 inches long.
7.    Switch your machine settings to the spaghetti attachment and pass the dough through to make your pasta!  Note:  if the rollers won’t “cut” this means the dough is too soft.  In this case you should pass the dough through the smooth rollers, adding some flour to the mixture.  If the dough is too dry and won’t catch in the machine, add a little water to the mixture and pass it through the smooth rollers once again.
8.    Place the pasta on a table-cloth (or hang from a pasta drying rack if you’ve got one) and leave it to dry for at least an hour.  This pasta can last a long time (1-2 weeks) if stored in a cool, dry place.
9.    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, averaging about 2-5 minutes, depending on thickness.  Stir gently and then drain the pasta once it has finished cooking.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

6 Big, Juicy Tomatoes
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts (optional)
¾ cups Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup pancetta, sautéed in maple syrup until crispy (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out 2-3 tbsp of the innards.  Dice tomato innards into bite size pieces.
3.    Put diced tomato into big mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until everything is thoroughly combined and stuff mixture back into tomatoes.
4.    Put in oven for 45 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  Serve on top of fresh pasta, and add sautéed maple pancetta if desired.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian

Pita Pizzas

It doesn’t get any easier than this.  All you need is some store bought pitas (I like the big thick greek ones), tomato sauce and cheese.  And whatever else you have in your fridge that would work as toppings.  Not only are these fast, but they’re really good too.  If you want to get fancy, you can make your own tomato sauce, but stuff from the store will work just fine. There you have it, food doesn’t always have to be complicated to be delicious!

Pita Pizza with Chorizo, Red Peppers and Parmesean

So many possibilities for these little beautys.

Pita Pizza with Broccoli, Italian Sausage and Old Cheddar

Pita Pizza Recipe

Greek Pitas
Tomato Sauce
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Cheese
Whatever toppings you desire

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Add tomato sauce onto pita.  Sprinkle a little garlic powder and salt and pepper on top of sauce.  Or whatever spices you like best.
3.  Top with whatever toppings you have come up with, and then put lots of cheese on top of that!
4.  Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until it gets adequately crispy and melty.

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Filed under Easy Peasy