Zucchini Carpaccio with Parmesan

Today we bring you another beautiful yet simple salad, Italian in style, featuring zucchini and parmesan. The zucchini is marinated in oil and lemon juice then placed on a bed of rocket with slivers of parmesan. The salad is then scattered with a toasted breadcrumb mixture of onion, olives and feta. Perfect. Easy. Delicious.

Similar recipes include Grilled Zucchini and Fennel, Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Salad, and Salad of Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Zucchini Salads and all of our hundreds of Salads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

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Puree di Fava | Tuscan Broad Bean Puree

We have just a few broad beans left from our pick this week, and to shake things up a bit, I make a Tuscan Broad Bean Puree, full of butter and cream or milk. Quite decadent, but then there was only enough for both of us to snack on at afternoon tea time. Delicious! And quite different to the other purees of Broad Beans that we have made.

This is an excellent way of serving broad beans when the beans are no longer young and tender. The beans are double peeled and simmered till tender, then pureed with butter and milk or cream.

Similar recipes include Walnut and Pomegranate Dip, Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, 31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans, and Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Purees. Our Tuscan dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Minestrone alla Genovese | Genoese Minestrone with Pesto

How most excellent is pesto and its cousin pistou swirled into vegetable soups! We do it in our 13 Treasure Happiness Soup, so called because it brings a sense of joy and happiness to anyone who eats it. More correctly it is a Provencale Vegetable Soup.

Our soup today is one of the Italian ones that combines pasta and dried beans, a classic soup pairing, with vegetables. The pasta used can be Vermicelli or Maltagliati – the irregular shapes of pasta designed to go into soups. A hand made pesto crowns the soup and is swirled through the soup before eating – a process that adds to the joy of hot soup on a cold day.

Similar Soups include 31 Soups for Winter, 13 Treasure Happiness Soup, and Chickpea and Butterbean Noodle Soup.

Browse our Minestrone Soups and all of our Soups. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Insalata di Peperoni e Capperi | Sweet Capsicum Salad with Tomato Dressing and Capers

Bugialli died recently. He was instrumental in bringing Italian regional food to the US – beginning with his first book in 1977, Food of Italy. Surprisingly, he didn’t become as well known in other parts of the world, but that might have been by design.

When French cuisine was being celebrated in the 1970s, Bugialli argued that Italian cooking also deserved to be taken seriously, beginning with the understanding that it varies by region. This fundamental fact, true of any great cuisine, is so often bypassed as we delve into foreign foods – and today the great internet machine condenses ancient and complex cuisines into a few popular dishes. Bugialli, with his love of his own heritage, scoured Italy for regional dishes and published authoritative books on many sub-cuisines of Italy. When we think about the handful of people who have been instrumental in exciting other countries about the cuisine of their own country, excited enough to alter the supply-and-demand chain of ingredients, it is difficult to more than a couple. Roden, Child, David, Thompson – can I include Oliver in this list? – all English speaking passionate foodies who fell in love with the food and food philosophy of a different country. Bugialli and Jaffrey are two of the few who have successfully translated their own cuisine in a way that not only is acceptable to others but has also driven culinary change.

You might expect there to be more people who have achieved notoriety in this way. The difficulty is, of course, that one needs to be able to view the food – ingredients, processes, techniques, history, associated stories – through the eyes of the intended audience. This is easiest if you are yourself a member of your target audience, and incredibly difficult if you are not. The advantage that Jaffrey and Bugialli had was that they both lived and worked in the UK and/or the US for some time before adopting their culinary careers of writing and teaching.

When I returned home from my shortish working sojourn in the North East of France with its amazing foods, wines and cheeses, I scoured the local bookshops for French cookbooks. In the process I also discovered a number seminal cookbooks from other European cuisines. Not that I knew they were seminal at the time but I did have a nose for great cookbooks. That is why I happen to have a much loved Bugialli, but it was a long time before I came to realise how influential he had been and how classic his books are.  This wonderful eggplant dish is one of his.

So today I am making another simple but wonderful dish from his book – a simple salad of capsicums with capers. I learnt a great technique from this recipe. When roasting capsicums in the oven, include a tray of water in the bottom of the oven. The steam from the water begins to lift the skins from the capsicums without over-charring them, so that the flesh is protected. They are more steamed than grilled, leading to a very delicate flavour.

This colourful salad of silky,sweet capsicums, tangy capers and fresh herbs can be a salad or side dish, appetiser, part of a mezze spread, or an addition to a sandwich or wrap. It can also be layered onto other tossed or composed salads. The combination of tomato, garlic, mint and capers is an amazing pairing with the sweet capsicums. Yum!

Similar recipes include Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil, Salad of Pasta and Capsicums with Walnuts, Radiant Autumn Salad of Peppers, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum Salads and our Italian dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli Borlotti | Italian Borlotti Bean and Pasta Soup

What is a Minestra? Minestra predates zuppa (another type of Italian soup) by a few centuries. Derived from the Latin ministrare, meaning to administer, the word reflects how minestra was served from a large bowl or pot by the figurehead in the household. Minestra was traditionally the principal – and often the only – dish served in a meal.

Today it is a rather umbrella term referring to a first course of vegetables, legumes, pasta or rice cooked in a stock.  Minestrone is one of many minestra soups. Regional variations abound but a minestrone always includes a vegetable that will thicken the soup, such as fresh or dried beans, potatoes or pumpkin. It must also include pasta or rice. Our soup today is a type of Minestrone (Minestrone di Fagioli or Minestrone di Pasta e Fagioli), one that does not include a large variety of vegetables. You will find similar soups under many different names as your browse the internet.

Similar dishes include 31 Soups for Winter, Greek White Bean Soup, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Turtle Bean Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Italian dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Baked Fennel Stuffed with Feta, Rosemary and Honey | Gratinéed Fennel with Feta

A long time ago I fell in love with Gratin dishes when I was working in Nancy in France. There was an art theatre there that often showed films in English, so I was a regular visitor. Close by, maybe even next door, was a little cafe that served only gratin style dishes. It was very convenient to have a meal and then pop next door to the theatre, so it became routine for me to visit. It was so good, I still remember it fondly, especially its Poire Belle Helene Dessert.

We have a number of gratin dishes here as a result of that little cafe, and today it is a Fennel Gratin made utterly delicious with feta and honey. The recipe comes from Ilva Berreta, food photographer and former food blogger. I miss her blog, it was full of the most delightful stories and recipes.

Similar dishes include Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Gratinéed Sweet Potato, and Pasta Bake with Cheddar and Cheese.

Similar Fennel dishes include Slow Baked Fennel with Garlic and Orange, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes, our Gratin Collection, and all of our Gratin recipes.  Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Pasta with Minty Broad Bean Puree and Crispy Garlic Chips

Broad Beans make great purees. You can use young pods, tender beans or dried fava beans, and we have some of those recipes here on the blog. One of the ways that you can use the puree is as a pasta sauce! That is what we are going today.

First we make a puree with broad beans, mint, garlic and pecorino. It is called Salsa Marò or simply Marò, from Liguria in Italy. It is often compared to a pesto, but it does not include nuts. Perhaps it more closely resembles the Nicois pistou which is similar to pesto without nuts.

Marò can be used as a dip or spread. Try the puree on a toasted piece of crunchy bread, perhaps with some soft cheese. But it also works well with pasta, as we do here. Use spaghetti, bucatini or penne – really it will work well with many different pastas, even oricchette.

Similar recipes include Tuscan Broad Bean Puree, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli, Lime and Garlic.

You can browse all of our Broad Bean dishes, all of our Pasta dishes, and our Purees of various forms. See just our Broad Bean Purees. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Slow Braised Red Peppers in Olive Oil

When you are on your own (or not), and you have some left over red peppers in the fridge, and you are thinking, quick and easy eating for supper, take the red pepper (or two) and slow cook it in olive oil with some thyme (oh the aroma!).

Similar recipes include Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad, and Roasted Red Peppers Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Or simply browse our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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