I recently hosted a 12 person sit down Italian dinner at my house. Menu planning involved me pulling from my childhood memories and my travels to the country that has my heart.
When I was 20 I was lucky enough to study and live in Firenze (Florence, Italy). My mother came to visit/spoil me for a week. I remember, like it was yesterday, having lunch outside at a neighborhood restaurant. My mother ordered beef carpaccio. I was NOT keen on raw beef, but even then I was adventurous. It was amazing. Simple and delicious….the Italian way.
Here is my interpretation of what I remember tasting that day. It’s an incredibly easy app to prepare for your adventurous guest.
- 10 ounces of thinly sliced beef tenderloin. Have your butcher freeze and thinly slice the tenderloin
- Lemon vinaigrette: whisk together 3 part extra virgin olive oil, 1 part fresh lemon juice and a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix 1/2 a cup of this vinaigrette.
- 2 cups of arugula
- 6 ounces of aged parmigiano reggiano. A salty Sicilian incanestrato cheese (sheeps milk) also works really well
- 2 Tablespoons of Maldon Sea Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon of ground pepper
- In a bowl toss the arugula with 1.5 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Set aside
- Lay the beef slices carefully on a platter. The slices should be close together, but only slightly overlapping.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the beef slices.
- Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of Maldon Sea Salt over the beef slices
- Top with arugula
- Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of Maldon Sea Salt over entire dish
- Shave about 2 to 3 ounces of parm over entire dish.
- Sprinkle the ground pepper over the entire dish
1 bundle of organic orange carrots, stems removed (thin carrots work best)
1 bundle of organic purple carrots, stems removed (thin carrots work best)
3 tbs spoons of local honey
Juice from 1 large orange
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tsp of sea salt
6 ounces of goat cheese
1 tbs of chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper
- Cut each carrot in half
- In a small glass bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey , orange juice
- Toss the carrots in the mixture
- Evenly spread the carrots on the pan. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. (If the pan looks too crowded, use 2 pans)
- Reserve the remaining honey, orange mixture
- Roast carrots for 20 minutes. Remove and drizzle the remaining honey/orange mixture on the carrots.
- Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until the carrots begin to brown
- Remove carrots and allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Plate carrots. Sprinkle remaining salt, goat cheese and garnish with parsley.
I’ve never really been in LOVE with mezcal. Tequila yes. Mezcal not convinced. Then during one of our most recent “moms night out” I was served the most delicious, well balance mezcal drink. I immediately asked the bartender for his secrets. What is this? What do you call it ? How do I make it? He gave me very little. He quickly blurted out the 5 ingredients and left me just a few words of wisdom, “It’s all in the ratios. Good luck.” Kinda of a jerk move, but that didn’t dissuade me. The next night I successfully recreated what I now call Mezcal Tinto. Have a try…you won’t regret it.
- 2.5 oz of premium mezcal
- fresh squeezed juice from 1 small lime
- fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 a large lemon
- 1.5 tbsp of simple syrup
- approximately 1/4 cup of cabernet
Shake ingredients 1-4 in a shaker filled with ice. Shake fast for about 1 minute until the ice starts to melt and the drink becomes frothy. Place a large square ice cube into an old fashioned glass. Pour the contents of the shaker over the ice cube. Top the drink with cabernet. SALUTE!
There is nothing more satisfying than a frittata filled to the brim with all of your favorite things! This hearty frittata has sweet Italian sausage, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, asparagus and goat cheese. It’s a perfect fall meal that you can serve up for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A frittata is also a great way to sneak veggies into your kids diet. My son didn’t think twice about the fact that he was eating asparagus…one of his least favorite veggies.
- 8 organic large eggs
- 1/3 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1/4 cup light cream
- 1 cup of shaved asparagus (chopped will also work)
- 1 cup of chopped sweet potato
- 1 cup of chopped butternut squash
- 2 links of sausage. Remove cases and break sausage into small pieces
- 6 oz of crumbled goat cheese
- 1 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp of butter
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, grated parm and the light cream. Set aside for later.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a nonstick (preferably Circulon) 11 inch skillet.
- Add the sausage and sauteed until cooked.
- Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.
- Add 1 tbsp of butter to the same skillet and melt over medium heat.
- Add the sweet potato and cook until tender and slightly brown. Remove sweet potatoes from skillet and set aside in the same bowl the sausage is in.
- Add another tbsp of butter to the same skillet and melt over medium high heat.
- Add the butternut squash and cook until the squash is tender and slightly brown.
- When butternut squash is cooked, do NOT remove. Instead, add back the sausage and the sweet potatoes PLUS the shaved asparagus. Note : Add the asparagus last and try to distribute it evenly.
- Add the egg mixture to the pan, over the vegetables and sausange. Cook at medium high for 2 minutes and then lower to medium low. Cover and allow for the frittata to cook through.
- Once the frittata is full cooked sprinkle the goat cheese evenly on top. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to rest for 2 minutes.
- Gently slide the frittata from the skillet and serve immediately!
Romesco sauce is a nut and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Northeastern Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to be eaten with fish. I make jars of it and use it on everything from fish, to chicken to roasted cauliflower and even EGGS!
Try it and let me know what you think!
1 head of purple cauliflower broken down into florets
1 head of yellow cauliflower broken down in to florets
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
grated parmigiano or grated ricotta salata (for plating)
chopped fresh parsley (for plating)
2 red roasted pepper (jarred or homemade)
4 roasted piquillo peppers (jarred or homemade)
1/2 cup of jarred roasted tomatoes
5 raw garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted almonds
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.Place florets on baking sheets and toss cauliflower in olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly.
- Roast cauliflower until golden brown and tender. About 35 minutes
- While the cauliflower is roasting, combine all of the romesco sauce ingredients in a food processor. Process until all ingredients are fully combined. The sauce should not be over processed. I like for it to have texture.
- Generously layer the sauce onto a large circular dish and place the roasted cauliflower on top while still hot.
- Sprinkle the cauliflower with parsley and grated cheese of choice. I prefer pecorino romano or ricotta salata.
Ribollita (click on link for video) is historically a Tuscan peasant dish. It was originally made by reheating (Ribollita literally means Reboiling) the leftover minestrone or vegetable soup and adding to it some day old bread.
I first tasted Ribollita almost 20 years ago while I was studying in Florence, Italy. I was reminded how much I loved the dish when I had it again at an Italian restaurant in Seattle about 4 years ago. This hearty comfort dish is full of veggies and legumes which makes it a perfect meal on a cold February day. I had a hard time finding a recipe that matched what remember tasting in Florence ages ago so I decided to try and recreate it myself. I hope your family loves it as much as mine do!
- 4 Tbsp if extra virgin olive oil (+ 2 Tbsp for garnishing)
- 5 gloves of garlic minced
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chipped
- 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes. I prefer San Marzano Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes if you can find them
- 32 fl. oz. of veggie or chicken broth. I prefer chicken or veggie
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 large fresh sprigs of rosemary
- 13 oz. can of cannellini beans. Puree half the can in a blender. Set the other half aside.
- 1 large loaf of sourdough bread with the crust removed
- 1/4 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano for garnish.
- In a large deep pot saute the garlic over medium heat for about a minute or until golden
- Add the onions, carrots and celery. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add the can of tomatoes, the container of broth and the salt. Stir these ingredients and allow to come to a boil over medium/high heat.
- Once it comes to a boil, bring it down to a simmer and add the fresh Rosemary and the. Cover and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Remove the Rosemary and add the pureed cannellini beans. Mix and let sit for 5 more minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and puree. I pureed mine using an immersion blender. You can also puree the soup in a heat proof blender.
- Add the other 1/2 of the cannellini beans.
- Tear pieces of the sourdough bread. Slowly add the bread while continuously stir the soup. Continue to add the pieces of bread until the soup is nice an thick and the bread is soft
- Laddle soup into bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle parm and ENJOY!!
If you desperately trying to get your kids to EAT THEIR VEGGIES, I’m very confident that this recipes will win your little ones over! My son won’t eat regular corn, but he devours these baby elotes!
BABY ELOTES-MEXICAN CORN:
1 package of baby corn (approximately 18 pieces)
2 tbsp of butter
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp of light sour cream
2 tbsp of mayo
¼ cup of grated cotija cheese or grated parmesan cheese
smoked paprika to sprinkle
1 tbsp of chopped parsley
- Heat butter in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. When butter melts add baby corn and cover. Cook for 2 ½ minutes. Flip corn. Cook for another 2 ½ minutes then remove from heat.
- While corn is cooling, mix the sour cream and mayo together well.
- Once corn is room temperature, sprinkle with salt and place on serving platter.
- Brush the corn with sour cream/mayo mixture.
- Sprinkle cheese generously over corn
- Sprinkle smoked paprika lightly over corm
- Garnish with parsley and serve!
Posted in family, food, Uncategorized
Tagged easy recipe, eat well, feel well, healthy, healthy family, kid friendly, mexican food, mom, mom blog, picky eater, recipe
No child can resist the classic comfort of spaghetti and meatballs! I present to you a super easy pasta dish paired with the most amazing meatballs you’ve ever had! Cacio e Pepe with ricotta meatballs is a twist on the classic favorite!
½ lb 85% lean beef
½ lb 85% lean veal
½ lb 77% lamb
¼ cup of light cream
½ cup of ricotta
½ cup of planko bread crumbs
1/3 cup of grated parmigian cheese
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- In a medium sized bowl mix together planko bread crumbs, grated parm, salt, fresh basil and fresh parsley. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together beef, veal, lamb, ricotta, light cream and egg.
- Add the bread crumb mixture to the meat mixture and mix well.
- Clean your hand and roll the meat mixture into balls. Space evenly on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Let cool and enjoy!!
EASY CACIO & PEPE PASTA RECIPE – Pecorino Romano cheese can have a bit too much bite for my children’s taste, so I’ve altered the cheese ratio of this recipe slightly.
1 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup of Pecorino-Romano
½ tbsp of crushed black pepper
¾ lbs of whole wheat spaghetti or tonnarelli
- Boil a large pot of salted water.
- Combine the Parm Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and pepper in a large glass bowl.
- Add at least 2 tbsp of cold water and mash into a thick paste. Add more cold water if necessary. Spread paste evenly and set aside.
- Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook to aldente
- Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the bowl with the cheese paste.
- Stir the pasta quickly in the glass bowl.
- Add a bit of starchy pasta water if the sauce looks to thick.
- Serve and eat immediately!
Posted in family, food, Uncategorized
Tagged easy recipe, eat well, healthy family, healthy recipe, homecook, italian cook, italian food, italian girl, kid friendly recipe, mom blog, mom of two, picky eater, recipes
My 5 year-old son approached me after dinner the other night and in the softest, sweetest voice EVER said, “Mom, you know what we haven’t had in lowng (long) time? We haven’t had gnocchi (pronounced perfectly).” This only affirmed that my real title in the home is not “mom”, but rather “personal chef”….a title I should loathe, but instead I’m actually quite proud of.
My response to this sweet boy’s request was a delicious bowl of pistachio pesto gnocchi with peas, edamame and avocado….that’s how ya add a little color to gnocchi! I hope you enjoy it as much as he did. Spring has sprung!
Pistachio Pesto Ingredients:
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 3 cups loosely packed basil
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 orange zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 Avocado (DO NOT ADD AVOCADO IF YOU PLAN ON STORING THE SAUCE FOR LATER )
- 1/2 cup of thawed organic frozen peas
- 1/2 cup of thawed organic frozen edamame
Just like you, I’m a home cook learning the deets of healthy family cooking one day at a time so I borrowed the following gnocchi recipe from Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network. It is SUPER simple. These fluffy and light gnocchi take about 5 minutes to make.
Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe: Click Here For Gnocchi Recipe
Put It All Together!
- In a food processor combine ingredients 1 through 9.
- Pour into a bowl and add the peas and edamame
- While the gnocchi are still warm add about 2 to 3 heaping table spoons of the pesto sauce, garnish with grated cheese and serve immediately.