Gnudi – Spinach and Ricotta Delicate No-Carb Balls

Have you ever just had a craving for something? I love all things cheesy and although I might not eat cheese everyday when I do I like it to be good quality cheese with a quality meal. Sometimes it’s just cheese and wine; here in Italy it’s so common to eat Parmigiano Reggiano in chunks with a nice glass of wine or for a snack.
However delicious; one of my favorite types of cheese is a good Pecorino aged at least 100 days but anyway I find it I like it. I find it so delicious and also easier to digest, maybe because it’s from sheep’s milk instead of cow. Whatever the reason I really enjoy it.

I was thinking the other night as I prepped my menu for the week as to what I would like to make for dinner and as seeing that it’s been cold, rainy, snowy the last week or so I thought of something warm, indulgent and possibly not too heavy because in the winter most dishes seem to be a little bit more heavy and a little too indulgent.
This recipe popped in my head and I thought ‘brilliant’, this it is: Gnudi which means ‘Nude’, they are in the family of Gnocchi but in a much lighter and delicate way because they have no-Carbs whatsoever they are not heavy or chewy, they melt in your mouth and feel like a little piece of heaven when you eat them.
Now, even though these don’t have a lot of ingredients and seem light they are still filling so I think that 4 or 5 balls per person is plenty. You can serve them with a light red sauce, mushroom sauce, bacon or whatever you like I choose a light sage and olive oil concoction, accompanied by a nice green salad. They are very simple and fast to make and make a great impression. Delizioso! I hope that you like as much as we did. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes about 15 large balls

1 kg. of frozen Spinach,  thawed, squeezed dry & chopped (get rid if the excess water)

300 gr. of Sheep Ricotta*

150 gr. of Pecorino, grated**

1 egg

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the sauce:

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

5 leaves of Sage, fresh chopped or whole

Handful of Pecorino, grated

Preheat your oven at 350° (180°) degrees.

In a large bowl mix together spinach, ricotta, pecorino, the egg, salt and pepper.
Grab a baking dish and start making the balls placing down one by one, don’t worry if the are close to each other they won’t stick.

Now in a small sauce pan heat your olive oil and sage together until starts to sizzle and switch off. Drizzle the Olive oil mixture evenly over the balls, sprinkle the pecorino on top and bake for 20 minutes. Serve.

*Ricotta can also be from cow’s milk.

**You can use Parmigiano instead of Pecorino, I just wanted to use all sheep’s cheese.

Homemade Cesar Salad with Polenta Croutons and grilled Chicken

It was something that we were both craving: a nice cesar salad with a twist, I wanted to make it a little healthier with still the delicious flavor. It’s such a heavy salad and with all the heavy ingredients I feel like you could just eat a plate of pasta instead. So, yes I tweaked it and it was delicious. I decided that polenta was going to replace the white flour bread croutons that famously go with this salad, and the dressing was going to be lighter and healthier. Yum!

Here in Italy we obviously don’t have Cesar salad contrary to the popular opinion of people thinking that this salad is Italian. It’s actually originally from Mexico, Tijuana named after the Chef Cesar Cardini an Italian immigrant who invented it in 1924. The original recipe doesn’t contain anchovies. However there are many variations of this salad with some recipes including different ingredients such as mustard, egg, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, garlic cloves or anchovies. I do like this salad and so I added an ingredient of my own. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of Polenta Croutons (recipe below)

2 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped*

1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 clove Garlic, minced

Juice form 1/2 a lemon

2 Anchovies, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Place your chicken breasts on the grill, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes turning once, or until the juice from inside the chicken is clear.

Meanwhile place your chopped romaine in the bowl. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, parmigiano, garlic, lemon, anchovies and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Add salt at the end and be the judge of how much you need.

Get your chicken slice it into strips. Toss the lettuce with the dressing and start plating.
Place the salad down first, then the chicken strips followed by the polenta croutons. If you choose, shave some parmigiano on at the end.

For the polenta croutons:
Follow the recipe on the box for one serving. Once ready pour onto something flat and lay out evenly about and inch thick. Allow to cool. Slice into cubes. Place a nonstick pan over medium flame and drizzle some olive oil place the cubed polenta and allow to get golden, flip and allow the other side to get golden continue with all sides. Set aside and then serve. Simple as that.

* Instead of Romaine you can use whatever you like. I used 3 different versions of radicchio

 

 

Healthy Side Dish Alternatives for Christmas

Christmas, Yet another holiday is among us and life is at its ultimate stress mode. There is so much to get done, so many things to decide and so little time to do it.
First of all I want to tell you the one secret, Breathe! No one is expecting you to perform the way you are expecting yourself to perform. You are your biggest judge, and Christmas is a time of Love, Forgiving and no Judging. So just breathe, it’s not like if you stress you are gonna get anything extra accomplished. It actually might just do the opposite.

I am one of those girls that like to occasionally spice up a Holiday Tradition; what I mean by this is sometimes I like to make roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes, or throw in a lasagna, or just make something different to add to the Turkey or Chicken and all the other standard side dishes that go along this festive late lunch/dinner.

Vegetables, yes I pretty much name this food group in every single one of my posts because I simply love them and can’t imagine my meals without them. So I have just a few simple and fast side dishes that will keep your dinner lighter but still delicious.

Lets start off with something I came up with that ended up being a success not to long ago when I had to bring something to a lunch. It can be served as an appetizer, finger food or main course if you’re going all vegetarian. Really simple.

Ricotta and Pesto Stuffed Artichoke Cap

Ricotta and Pesto Artichoke

Get your Artichoke cap*, scoop a 1/2 tbsp. of Pesto** and a dollop of Ricotta***, sprinkle some Pepper. Place in a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil and  bake in the oven at 320° for 20 minutes.

*For the Artichoke: I found some frozen artichoke caps, I boiled them for 10 minutes and let them cool. You could try to do with fresh artichoke just remember to clean correctly and boil for approx. 20 minutes. You could also substitute with mushrooms caps.
**For the Pesto: I used a fresh store-bought version. I think in the USA you could probably find the Barilla version, if it’s to thick? Take it out if the container, put in a bowl add some olive oil mix until a little more creamy.
***For the Ricotta: Put the ricotta in a small bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and 2 tbsp. of either Parmigiano or Pecorino. Incorporate all ingredients and that’s it.

Now for Side dishes I have a few delicious options:

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Put your clean and chopped Cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. It tastes so good you would’ve never thought that so little ingredients could make Cauliflower taste so darn good.

Roasted Cabbage with Pancetta

Roasted cabbage with Pancetta

Grab a head of cabbage and slice it in 4 or 8. Get out 4 or 8 big enough piece of aluminum foil to cover each piece of cabbage individually. Lay out 1 pc. of foil, place 1 slice of cabbage facing up, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, get about 1 tbsp. of diced pancetta and sprinkle on top. Cover the cabbage completely with the foil, to where no holes (like if you were to steam). Repeat the same steps with remaining cabbage. Place in the oven and bake at 380° for 25-30 minutes. Leave in foil so each person can open in their own plate.
Be careful when you open as steam may let out.

Artisanal Flat buns

You can also try out these Artisanal flat buns recipe here, so delicious and perfect to accompany your dinner, or for a sandwich with the leftover Turkey.

And last but not least I always prepare a salad, it’s fresh and perfect for accompanying a heavy meal. Here are some recipes:
My Light Grilled Corn and Mushroom Salad
Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
No-Carb Grilled Veggie Stack

Well, I hope that I gave you some yummy and healthy ideas for this Holiday feast or for any other day. Happy Holidays!

Ciao

 

Simple Handmade Tagliatelle

Oh this is one of my favorites and it’s so simple. Listen, I know that making your own pasta can seem daunting and complicated, but it’s really, really simple. It cost’s less and tastes better. It’s a win win situation.

I love any type of pasta really, and I also don’t eat it so often because I like to vary with different things like rice, quinoa, potatoes, couscous and sometimes even bread. I know that pasta has a bad rep, and honestly I don’t believe any of it. Italians eat pasta atleast 6 days a week and they are all so thin and in shape.  Have you ever heard of eating Spaghetti in a bikini? Well, come here to Italy and you’ll see people including girls at the beach eating pasta in their bikini’s with absolute pleasure. I’m not saying that this is what we should all do, but I can say that when I eat pasta I am less bloated the next day than when I eat a salad. Trust me it just depends on your body’s digestion, how much you eat and what you put on it. I wrote a whole blog about it here: Skinny Italians Eat Pasta

Anyhow, this is a step by step of how to make it with a roller, but if you have a machine (which is so much easier…but less exercise) I would suggest using it, and just skip the last few steps. You can make this authentic Italian homemade Ragù a la Bolognese to put over it. Or keep it light and follow one of my other recipes for pasta. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2*

200 gr. Flour

2 eggs

Pour your flour on a flat surface and make a well in the center with your hand or fork.

Step one- Pasta fatta in casaThen carefully crack the eggs in the center of the well.

Step 2- Pasta fatta in casa

Carefully start incorporating the flour with the fork gently scooping it into the eggs. Starting from the center towards the outside. You may start kneading with your hands until you obtain a solid ball of dough. Knead until smooth for about 3-5 minutes. **

Step 3- Pasta fatta in casa

Start rolling it out, you have to obtain a really thin layer. Could take anywhere from 15-20 minutes of rolling it out. Continue until if held up to the light you could see the light through it.

If you are using the Pasta machine then start on the thickest setting an start feeding the dough through, fold and feed again repeat this step about 5 times, folding each time.
Start reducing the settings one pass at a time. It will start getting long so be gentle and careful with it.

Step 4- Pasta fatta in casa

Now fold in half, fold in half again, and fold in half once more. but do not press down on the fold. Grab a really sharp knife and carefully slice about 1/4″ in thickness (if you want papardelle do them thicker, your choice.) just make sure that they are all even. Then try to immediately unravel on a lightly floured surface. You can do this by inserting the dull side of a large knife into each slice and gently shaking it loose. But I just use my hands, it’s easier and no risk of slicing them. And you’re done.

If you are using the pasta machine: Once you are on the last setting you may pass it through to make the tagliatelle, put over a lightly floured surface and let rest until you finish them all.

Step 5- Pasta fatta in casa

Final Step Tagliatelle

Now for the cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Gently throw in your pasta and allow to float to surface, it should take about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Tagliatelle fate a mano con Ragu

Accompany with a Delicious Red wine

Tagliatelle con ragu e vino rosso

*This should be helpful: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg = 1 Serving So for each additional serving you add: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg. Easy!

** Kneading ensures a silky smooth pasta, it’s an important step.

One of My many Low Calorie Meals: Spinach and White Bass

We all have go-to dishes that we cook when we feel like we need to get back on track from a weekend or holiday of eating a little too much. I for instance; when away on vacation for a week or so can’t wait to get home and cook my own meals. Although I try not to overdo it, I still don’t know the exact ingredients on my plate and can’t always get it cooked exactly how I like. I almost feel like a need a palate refresher.

My Husband without fail always says “I can’t wait to get home and have one of your salads or meals”. That always makes me feel good because I know that my meals are things he looks forward to even when away enjoying other things he can’t wait to get back to my cooking. I love cooking. I mean I truly enjoy it. So, to know that I can create and put meals together that not only are delicious but also make you feel healthy is so rewarding. Really!

I love fish. My favorites being Salmon, Branzino (Sea Bass), Tilapia, Sole, Cod, Tuna, Grouper, Mahi-Mahi, etc… It’s so good for you and easy to make. The health benefits are so many that you just feel good knowing that you are going to eat it, most of all it is delicious, delicate and light.

I used European White Bass in this recipe but you can use really just about any fish that you have. This is any easy and quick meal with so many benefits. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb. Fresh Spinach

400 gr. White Bass (cut into 2 slices)

3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Lemon

Red Chili Flakes (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place a large non-stick sauce pan over medium heat, add the rinsed Spinach and cover allowing to wilt for about 5-7 minutes.

Grab a medium pan place over high heat and add 1 tbsp. of Olive oil along with some Chili flakes (if using), allow the oil to heat and in the mean time salt and pepper both sides of your fish. Once the oil is hot place the fish and allow to cook for 2 minutes and then lower the flame to medium low and cook for another 3 minutes.

Check on your spinach, mix around and if wilted turn off add salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil and squeeze half the lemon, mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Return to your fish flip over and cook for about another 3 minutes. Turn off and Serve.I served the fish over the spinach, but you do what you like. Ciao

Delicately Pureed Artichoke Soup topped off with to die for Lentils

It’s been a busy 4 days for all of us with Thanksgiving and all the additional get togethers. As much as I enjoy cooking and all the wonders that the Holidays bring, I inevitably need to be a little catered to after it’s all done. And by catered to, I mean I need to pamper myself!

For starters I always without fail need a date night alone with just my Husband; I’ll cook something that we both want, and he’ll light the candles, set the table, open a bottle of wine, set the tunes and the mood. We’ll sit and just talk about the passed events, what we want to do next and really just try to enjoy eachother as much as possible, afterall even though we were together it’s just not the same as being alone.

Then I like to get back to my routine of working out, getting the house back in order and cook a healthy delicious get back on track meal. It’s hard once you start eating sweets and this and that you crave it more, so I like cooking something that is not only healthy but looks amazing that you just want to gobble it up by looking at it. Obviously it also has to be kinda simple, after cooking such big gourmet meals for the Holidays you want something that doesn’t require so much time and effort.

I came up with this meal just because I had the ingredients and thought that I should try doing something with them that I had never done before. It’s so detoxifying, delicious and damn easy. Enjoy this feel good and amazing soup.

Ingredients:

For The Puree:

1 1/2lb. Bag of Frozen Artichokes, defrosted*

3qt. Stock Veggie of Chicken

2 drizzles of Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Lentils:

1 cup Dried lentils, your choice

1/2 small Onion

1/2 Carrot

1 celery stick

1 small Potato**

1/2 veggie bullion cube

Handful of Parsley, chopped

2-3 Sage leaves, Chopped

1 tbsp. Olive oil

2 1/2 cups of Water

 

In a medium pot add your Artichokes, Veggie stock, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set over medium flame cover and allow to boil.

In the meantime, chop up your onion, carrot and celery. Grab a small pot put over medium heat add the olive oil and once hot throw in the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Now, peel and cut your potato into small cubes, once the onions are translucent throw in your potatoes along with the bullion cube, stir until the bullion has dissolved, add your sage and then throw in the lentils along with the water followed by the parsley. Mix everything well; cover and allow to cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Lentil cooking time may vary so just keep an eye on them.

Now return to your Artichoke, should be ready and boiling. Turn heat of and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Now grab your Immersion blender and put in the pot and start blending until smooth.

Once your lentils are cooked turn off. Now start to serve first add your Artichoke puree and then in the center add your lentils. If you want you can top off with a drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil, or not it’s up to you. Now enjoy and congratulate yourself for being an amazing cook.

* Pull the Artichokes out a couple of hours before cooking time. If you have fresh, cooked ones use those instead.

** you can leave the potato out if you wish

 

Sage wrapped Low-Fat stuffed Chicken Breasts

The winter is well on its way and I feel like heart-warming meals without all the added calories and heavy ingredients. As you all know by now there are 2 things that I absolutely love 1. Chicken (especially my husband, he literally could eat chicken everyday) 2. Veggies (I will find a way to incorporate them in all my meals).

During the summer it’s always grilled chicken. It’s light , tastes delicious and most of all easy and fast. However in the winter I feel more like staying inside away from the cold and also don’t really crave a grilled anything for that matter. It’s hard sometimes to try to make chicken inside on the stove top without it tasting absolutely boring. I’ve decided that no matter what I won’t cave in to millions of ingredients in one dish just to give it flavor, there are so many natural herbs and spices that can give your meals incredible flavor and bring out the best of your meals, without overpowering a dish.
The other morning I was craving stuffed chicken breasts and thought that I would need to go to the store for some cheese and whatever else inspired me to put in it. However, the thought became an absolute ‘no way am I going out in this cold for some cheese and stuff’, like always I opened the fridge and saw that I had some sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, some artichokes in olive oil and some fresh sliced mushrooms. Perfect this was going to work. I will say that I did have some Parmigiano Reggiano but I opted to leave out the cheese and see how a stuffed chicken breast with no cheese would taste.

I also have a wonderful Sage plant outside and I love the warming, eloquent, subtle flavor it gives when added to food. It has wonderful health benefits, it helps cure gastrointestinal disorders, muscle spasms and cramps, gingivitis, it helps regulate blood sugar and improves digestion. It’s full of Antioxidants that help with the aging process. And it’s an Anti-inflammatory agent for people with inflammatory issues such as but not limited to Rheumatoid arthritis. So yeah, it’s good for ya; and I decided that it would be the only seasoning herb for the chicken.
Here in Italy people incorporate it to meals quite a bit, whether its soups, sauces, meats, stews, etc… let me say that it really does compliment a dish when used correctly.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe it’s really simple and so delicious. Accompany it with whatever you like, a salad, roasted vegetables, steamed vegetables, rice, quinoa, couscous, potatoes or anything else you can come up with. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless Chicken breasts

8 Sun-dried Tomatoes, in Extra Virgin Olive OIl

8 Artichoke quarters, in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 slices of Mushrooms

2-3 fresh sprigs of Sage, or 14 leaves

2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 pieces Parchment paper, big enough to wrap each breast individually

8 pieces cooking Twine, about 4in. long

 

Preheat your oven at 350°.

Grab your chicken breasts and butterfly. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.  Now layer 4 pc. of sun-dried Tomatoes, followed by 4 slices of Mushrooms, followed by 4 pc. of Artichokes. Now close your chicken, cover the top nicely with half the sage leaves, salt and pepper.
Get 4 pc. of Twine and carefully slide one by one under the breast and then tieing at the top until the whole breast is securely tied. Lay one piece of parchment paper out and place your chicken in the center, drizzle 1 tsp of Olive oil and then close your parchment paper as if making a little doggie bag. Place in baking tray and repeat the same with other breast.

Bake for 25 minutes and then carefully open the paper, start with sides as some steam may leave and you’ll get burnt. Cut twine off and place nicely on dish. Buon Appetito

My Healthy Veggie Stir-fry for Meatless Monday

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box and go back to things that you loved eating as a kid or at a friends house / restaurant but never made it yourself.

Stir-fry is something that I always find tastes delicious when you eat it at a Asian restaurant. It just seems that sometimes when you eat it at home it either lacks flavor or there is too much flavor or it’s mushy or it just doesn’t taste the same. I figured I would try this out as it would make a perfect meatless Monday meal. I mean Veggies with brown rice??? What more could you want.

Now, I have never in my life or as far as I can remember ever cooked a stir-fry so this was gonna be tricky. I know; I can make a lasagna from scratch but a stir-fry frightens me. Crazy.

Of course I know that you generally put broccoli and some other array of veggies. I also know that you use soy sauce but to be honest I try to use as little soy as possible; after all it is high in sodium and so unfriendly to the woman figure, it really has crazy day after bloating effects which cause so much discomfort, nothing like eating a healthy meal but having your pants fit you too tight because of the MSG you just inhaled. So, I kept a close watch on that one.

This was going to be a test of my culinary skills per se, because I wanted to see if I could achieve the deliciousness and still keep it healthy. The health benefits of this dish are many.
Broccoli is so good for you and high in so many great nutrients, it’s high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, which benefits anywhere from brain function to the common cold.
Ginger is another great natural remedy especially for this cold weather, it’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, anti-viral, circulation-stimulating, detoxifying, digestive, lymph-cleansing and warming.
Mushrooms are another fantastic source of nutrients and amazing for the following niacin, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin D, potassium. They are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and extremely low in sodium.

So the above are the ingredients I used to make my veggie stir-fry accompanied of course by non other than delicious brown rice. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients

1 medium head of Broccoli

1/4 lb. Mushroom Pleurotos *

3 Celery stalks

2 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tbsp. fresh Ginger, Minced

3 drizzle count Extra Virgin Olive oil

4 drizzle count Soy Sauce**

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start  by slicing your broccoli into thin florets set aside on separate dish. Then move on to your mushrooms cut longwise and in-between thick and thin set aside on separate dish. Get your celery stalk and cut longwise as thinly as possible and 2 inches long set aside on separate dish. Move on to you ginger, chop up very thin and set aside. And now mince your garlic.

Heat a wok over medium heat, drizzle your olive oil and add the garlic and ginger at the same time. Allow your garlic to get golden and throw in your celery, mix well and then throw in your broccoli. Sprinkle some pepper and add 2 count drizzle of soy. Mix all the ingredients well allow to cook for another 3 minutes and then add your mushrooms. Mix again well with all the ingredients and then add the remaining 2 drizzles of soy. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes mixing ingredients in between. I like my veggies a bit crunchy but if you want to cook more feel free.
Serve over brown rice.

* Use whatever mushroom you like, shitake, portobello, porcini or champignon.

** If you can find Light soy, use that otherwise feel free to use the regular kind.

**If you feel like you need to, you can add a little water to help the cooking process.

 

My Gourmet Porcini with Quinoa Spaghetti

Who said that healthy equals yuck? or boring? or even tasteless? Well they have it all wrong. I find that my healthy substitutions always end up turning out to be fantastic and to top it all off I can’t even tell the difference and neither can my Husband.

Ok, I’m all about forfeiting the ingredients that aren’t necessary. I mean think about it; do you have to use butter when you can use extra virgin olive oil and make it tastier but healthier?! What about white sugar when raw sugar or honey is so much yummier. Or how about white rice when brown rice is to die for. Or in this case what about white spaghetti when Quinoa is just perfect and earthy and couldn’t marry the ingredient of this dish any better, that ingredient being Porcini.

Do you ever find that you get inspired by one simple ingredient and then have to decide your whole meal around it. Well, I randomly get inspired by what I find in the produce section, I’ll often go to the farmers (they’re everywhere here in Italy), and see what they have and what inspires me for dinner.
I recently was driving with my Husband and on the side of the road was a tiny little truck selling nothing but Porcini mushrooms picked fresh in the morning. I had my Husband pull over got out of the car and waited my turn while some other customers got their Porcini’s and left. I then ended up picking out my Porcini; by pointing them out as you are never to touch the produce here in Italy. The farmer was very proud of his Porcini’s and was careful to tell me how to clean them once home. I already knew how but was happy to see how much he cared about it.

I had no idea what I would make with them so I opened the cupboard and remembered that I had purchased Quinoa spaghetti not to long ago and had yet to use them. I love Quinoa but this was my first time using spaghetti made out of Quinoa, so this was going to be a hit or miss dinner. After cleaning the Porcini, which took what seemed like forever because you have to use a damp rag (not to wet, just damp) and delicately wipe off the dirt, never ever ever wash your mushrooms, they are sponges and will not at all taste good if they are soggy; I made a delicious meal that took all about 15 minutes. I hadn’t thought of how well the Quinoa spaghetti would go with the Porcini’s but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Quinoa being so earthy in texture and flavor would go so well with something as natural and earthy as a Porcini. I hope that you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Serves 2

250 gr. Quinoa Spaghetti

2-3 large Porcini mushrooms

1 clove Garlic

1/4 cup White wine, make it the good kind after all this dish deserves it

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil, count to 4

1 fresh Chili chopped, optional

Salt to taste

Parmigiano Reggiano, however much you like

Boil a pot of water.
In the meantime start slicing your Porcini you want them about a quarter inch in thickness and set aside. Now chop your garlic finely and set off to one side.

Once you water is boiling throw in a large sprinkle of salt followed by your Spaghetti, follow cooking time on the package stirring occasionally.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat drizzle your olive oil and add your garlic. Once your garlic is golden throw in your Porcini along with the chili. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Throw in your wine and allow it to reduce about 8 minutes and sprinkle in your salt. Continue to cook at low heat.

Your spaghetti should be cooked, strain and add to the saucepan with the mushroom and incorporate fully. Turn off and serve, sprinkle over your parmigiano. Finito

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach and Pecorino Torta Salata “Quiche”

Meatless Monday is back, Yay!

So, I’ve been pretty much trying to find different ways of incorporating more vegetables in winter dishes without it being boring. We all know that I am a salad lover, I could eat salad always; but with that being said I do also realize that it does get tough in the winter when it’s cold outside to come home and have something cold like a salad vs. maybe some steamed or roasted veggies. I wanted to figure out a way that I could have a salad and something warm at the same time and came up with this delish recipe.

It’s so yum you won’t even want to stop eating it and save the leftovers for tomorrow but you must, take it for lunch and have something different and healthy.
My husband did and was so happy that he had a warm lunch considering that it was raining all day. It’s a light and simple dish, hassle free. I accompanied this with a nice baby leaf salad that had Julienne beets in it. I felt that it balanced out the meal and was a perfect way of getting a double dose of vegetables in for the day.

Alright, so I made this with what I had in the house. You know that sometimes you just have to open up that fridge and see what is in there that needs to be used up. I hate throwing out 1 zucchini, or a few mushrooms, or whatever it might be just because it’s not part of the menu, I make it a part of the menu and see with what I can come up with that compliments the ingredients I have at hand, it’s part of the challenge and so satisfying when something delicious comes out of the oven.

Ingredients:

1 Puff pastry, store-bought frozen (take out of freezer 30 min before starting to cook)

1 medium bag Spinach, frozen

1 Zucchini

1 Handful Mushrooms, chopped

5 Egg Whites, keep only 2 yolks

1 Garlic clove

1 Handful Spicy Pecorino, grated *

Salt and Pepper to taste

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive oil

Pull out Puff Pastry from freezer and set aside to defrost.
Preheat your oven at 350° (180°F). Grab your Spinach out of the freezer and place in a medium sauce pan at medium heat, cover and let defrost for about 8-10 min. Once the spinach is defrosted place in a colander and allow to drain all the excess water.

Get your zucchini and slice it into small cubes. Mince your garlic. In your medium saucepan that you already used for the spinach, place over medium flame and drizzle some olive oil, add the garlic followed by the zucchini and the chopped mushrooms add some salt and pepper. Allow to cook for about 6-8 minutes. Don’t cook fully because they will cook in the oven later.

In a pie dish or in my case I used my cast iron pan place parchment paper. Grab your dough and lay it out making sure that it comes up the edges of the pan. If it’s not big enough roll it out…don’t worry about it being to thin, it’s not. Get a fork and stab lightly over puff pastry and set aside.

By now your spinach should be cooled down, either press down with fork to strain out remaining water or get small handfuls and squish out any water.
Grab a medium bowl and add your eggs, remember only 2 yolks, add some salt and pepper and whisk, now you may add your spinach, zucchini and mushrooms, incorporate all ingredients evenly and pour over the puff pastry.
Lay out evenly and place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile grate your cheese. If the puff pastry has already turned golden and your ingredients seem firm (cooked), grab the pan out of the oven sprinkle cheese on top, place back in oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

* I had some delicious Pecorino leftover from a snack of cheese, bread and wine. But use whatever you like. Any yummy cheese will do.