Delicious Orecchiette with Broccoli

This dish is so simple and easy to make. I can remember this friend of the family would always like to come over to the house with her broccoli and pasta and whip up a pasta dish in no time at all, I became fond of this dish because it is simple but tastes great and is a wonderful way to eat healthy. This dish is also light so after the holiday food you might want something light that isn’t heavy or rich and this dish fits right in. This dish is good if you are vegetarian, follow a low calorie diet, and of course love broccoli. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

350 gr. of Orecchiette pasta*

1 medium head of broccoli

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp crushed red pepper

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

grated parmigiano reggiano

Salt to taste

Place a medium pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime cut your broccoli into small florets and set aside. Once water is boiling throw in your pasta follow cooking time on the box, stir and after 5 minutes throw in your broccoli as well, mixing occasionally.

At this point you can chop up your garlic very finely; put a small pan with the olive oil over medium flame and add your garlic and red pepper, once the garlic has started to sizzle you may turn off the flame and let rest. Your pasta and broccoli should be about ready now, so strain and return to pot, add your oil mixture and mix all ingredients well. Serve and add the Parmigiano. All done.

* you can substitute the orecchiette for whatever pasta you prefer.

 

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Eating in Paris

My Husband and I went to Paris for 2 days, it’s only a 2 hour plane ride from Bologna, Italy and so we decided that this would be our Christmas gift to each other. I was so excited because I have always wanted to go to Paris and see all the beauty, the shops, the streets, the sites, the gothic architecture and of course taste the cuisine. Although you really can’t experience a lot in 2 days I was determined to try some of my favorites. From croissants to baguette, from french onion soup to crème brûlée.

               

The first day we got in at about 6 pm, we took the train to the Hotel and decided to venture off. We could see the Eiffel Tour from our hotel and decided to take some pictures and then find a place to eat. It was raining and a Monday night, which meant that many restaurants would be closed so we ended up at a place called Bosque. A real cute and eloquent restaurant and very Parisian, we order the French onion soup (Soupe à l’oignon), it was delicious and perfect because it warmed me instantly, it had a little more salt than I would have expected but all in all delicious. For dessert we shared a crème brûlée, which was cooked to perfection, the cream was perfectly cooked and the sugar on top was perfectly melted.

The next morning we got up and went for a stroll and decided to have a french breakfast or atleast a Croissant and Coffee. I wasn’t expecting the croissants to taste any different than the ones you find here in Italy at any coffee shop, but to my surprise they actually tasted slightly different, you can sense that they are more buttery but soft and fluffy, it was delicious. I didn’t care too much for the cappuccino as here they like to make the milk foamy where as in Italy they are all about the Crema, and so am I. The place we had breakfast at was called La Coupe D’or, on a beautiful shopping street called Rue Saint-H’onoré.

                      

From here we decided to check out most of the sites, we walked up the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, Jardin Du Luxenburg, Sorbonne, The Latin Quarter, St. Germain, Pont Neufe, Etc… The sites were gorgeous and breathtaking. After all of that walking we got hungry and decided to go to the first place we saw, the restaurant we walked into was called Au Chai De L’Abbaye, it turned out to be quite cozy, I really wanted a baguette with some cheese but that wasn’t on the menu so I ended up ordering a french salad with french shredded potato patties. My husband ordered a grilled bread with goat cheese and tomatoes on top. The salad had a mustard dressing which was very subtle and nice, they did put a lot of cheese on top, which I thought complimented the salad I had ordered but I wasn’t expecting french salads to have that many ingredients, I like my simple Olive oil, lemon and salt dressing. But I was pleased with this lunch and starving so happy to finally eat.

After lunch we strolled the streets, we bought some fresh baguette and artisianal chocolates. We made our way back to the hotel and took a nap. We got up around 6pm and went to the Eiffel Tour, it was illuminated and it felt so surreal being in front of it. From there we went to have dinner at Mariette’s a cozy little family owned restaurant, we went inside and were greeted by the wife of the chef, I ordered homemade potato gnocchi with bell peppers and prosciutto, for my entree I ordered poached salmon. My husband ordered escargot ravioli’s and lamb for his entree, we were truly satisfied with this dinner, and the restaurant was eloquent and beautifully decorated.

We ended up with dessert a crepe with nutella on the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees.

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Artichoke, Zucchini and Mushrooms with Shrimp

I love artichokes, they are so delicious and nutritious, you can literally have them cooked anyway and they always compliment your dish.  Another one of my favorites is zucchini, growing up I can remember always having zucchini, as here in Italy they are very common and inexpensive. My favorite way is sautéed slightly with some olive oil and then some parmiggiano grated on top.

You already know that Shrimp is a must in my household, and the other night I had artichokes, zucchini, mushrooms and shrimp in the house and I decided that I would concoct something that incorporated all of these ingredients, I was going to leave on a trip and did not want to leave them in the fridge to go to waste. So, here is what I ended up making and it turned out to be a success, you can serve this recipe with pasta if you would like or on it’s own like I did.  Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients:

½ lb shrimp*

2 zucchini

¼ lb mushrooms

½ lb frozen quartered artichokes

3 tbsp. olive oil and some extra

2 tsp. powdered ginger or fresh grated

½ tsp. ground peppercorns

1 tsp. low sodium soy

Salt to taste

 

Peel and devein your shrimp. Put in a medium saucepan and cover with water add some salt and boil.

In the meantime clean your mushrooms, and slice in quarters. Slice your zucchini in ¼ inches. Place a big sauté pan over medium flame add 3 tbsp. of olive oil, allow to heat and add your zucchini, sauté for about 5 minutes and add your artichokes along with the ginger, peppercorns, soy and salt. Allow to cook over medium flame for another 5 minutes and add your mushrooms leave lid on and sauté for 5-8 minutes.

In the meantime your shrimp should be cooked so strain.

Once all your veggies are cooked you may start plating; put first our veggies and then add your shrimp on top, finish off with a drizzle of olive oil over your shrimp.

* you can also buy precooked shrimp

 

 

Chicken with Spinach in Ginger Broth

This recipe is perfect to cure the winter blues. I always tend to get a little run down and no matter how careful I am; I always end up having some sniffles. I try as much as can to not take medicine because I much prefer a holistic method if possible. So when doing some research a couple of years back I had read that with its warming and soothing properties Ginger aids respiratory conditions such as colds and coughs amongst other things.
I also read that Spinach is beneficial for respiratory purposes, and then that Mushrooms boost your immune system.

This is how this recipe came about, it’s delicious and a great pick me up. It’s low in fat and calories and very healthy. Easy to make, so don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time.

I hope that you can enjoy this as much as I did and do. Have a warm winter.

Ingredients:

5 cups of water

2 Chicken bullion cubes

1 cup finely sliced scallions

1 (2 inch) piece of fresh ginger finely chopped

2 chiles finely sliced (optional)

1 bunch fresh parsley

6 ounces of mixed mushrooms*

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast sliced thin

3 bunches of fresh baby spinach washed and separated

salt to taste

In a medium pot add your water, bullion, chiles, ginger, scallions and parsley. Bring to a boil. Add your chicken and allow to cook for 15 minutes.

Add your mushrooms and spinach allow to simmer for another 15 minutes and serve.

*Shitake, porcini, portobello, etc.. or just use whatever you can find

 

Garbanzo and Tuna Green Salad

I love salads. I honestly don’t know where I would be without salads; the variety of ingredients that you can put in a salad is extremely vast. I always try to make my salads as nutritious as possible by trying to include protein. In Italy it’s very common to order a salad with pretty much anything on it, one of the most common ingredients is canned tuna; hold on I know what you are thinking but have you ever added canned tuna to your salad? If you haven’t you should try it.

Of course the salad dressing in Italy and in my household is the standard extra virgin olive oil, lemon or vinegar, and salt. I think this is a healthy and excellent way to dress your salad because it maintains the core natural flavors of your ingredients.  I use light tuna in olive oil, and garbanzo beans (aka. Chick peas) in this recipe. If you do try this recipe let me know what you think. In the other hand if you already like these ingredients then you are going to love this salad. This is simple, healthy and fast to make, and remember you can include, cherry tomatoes, avocado, olives, mushorooms, artichokes, celery, onions, carrots, etc… whatever you like. Have fun with your ingredients and Enjoy.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 16oz can Garbanzo beans

2 cans Tuna

1 bag mixed green salad*

1 handful of Rucola (arugola)

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice

salt to taste

Drain your garbanzo beans and rinse. In a medium bowl add the greens, add the garbanzo beans. Open your cans of tuna and pour out extra oil, add to your salad; pour your olive oil, lemon juice and salt, mix well and serve. Enjoy

* Make sure that you have a variety of greens, like romaine, radicchio, baby lettuce, etc.

Aglio E Olio with a Twist

Growing up I always liked Pasta. My mom said that I stopped nursing at 8 month and started eating spaghetti right away, it was like I much rather have spaghetti than milk. I know now why I love pasta; since I was a child  I couldn’t wait to get some pasta, watching my parents eat it and getting it through my mother wasn’t good enough for me. Ha.

I know now though that you can’t eat too much pasta and when I do eat it I often like to substitute it for whole grain, whole wheat or gluten free.

Gluten free is mainly because it feels lighter, and sometimes easier to digest, and if you are a little sensitive to wheat this is an excellent option and substitute, I must say the difference in taste is really not that big at all.    In this I use Kamut spaghetti which are excellent and some of my favorite choices. This dish is light and delicious. Enjoy!

 Ingredients:

Serves 4

500 grams Kamut Spaghetti*

1 garlic clove

2 tsp. of crushed red pepper

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. salt

Grated Parmiggiano

In a pot for spaghetti (generally 8qt), fill with water a little over 3 quarters add salt and place to boil over high heat. Bring water to a boil and throw in your spaghetti. Let cook for 12 minutes if your spaghetti is Kamut or follow instructions on the box. Stir occasionally.

In the meantime place olive oil in a small pan over medium heat, slice your garlic and add to olive oil along with red pepper flakes. Let simmer until golden brown and remove from heat.

At this point your spaghetti should be cooked, strain and put back in the pot and add your olive oil mixture. Stir well and serve. Add some parmiggiano on top of spaghetti and enjoy.

* you can use regular spaghetti

 

My Favorite Lime Pie

This is one of my favorite American desserts ‘Key Lime Pie’. I call this an indulgence, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s healthy but it is a great indulgence because you don’t feel guilty after you have a slice and generally a slice will always suffice. It does have Vitamin C, Calcium and Protein though so you know that it is not all a waste. However, I loved this pie it’s fresh and always tastes amazing!!

I made it here in Italy and seeing that we don’t have Key Limes or Graham crackers I made it with regular limes and biscotto secco. The turn out was great.

 

Ingredients:

For Crust:

1 ½ cups crushed biscotto secco crumbs

2 tbsp. sugar

5 tbsp. butter, melted

 

For the Filling:

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Preheat the oven to 180 °C  (350 °F).

Mix together crushed biscotto crumbs with the sugar and melted butter, until combined well. Pour mixture in a 9-inch pie pan, and press cookie mixture evenly and firmly onto the bottom and sides.

Bake the crust for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown and then let cool. Leave the oven on and begin your filling.

Whisk together condensed milk and yolks, once this is well combined you may add the lime juice, whisk all ingredients until completely combined.

Pour your filling into the cooled crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool your pie completely, then chill carefully covered for at least 8 hours, pie will set as it cools.

In the USA they serve it with whipped cream, but I much prefer it alone.

Enjoy!