Verdure e Contorni (Vegetables and Side Dishes)

EGGPLANT PARMESAN WITH RICOTTA

This is the version of eggplant parmesan that I make often, adding ricotta to each layer for a creamier center. This is a truly delicious meal, and perfect for the vegetarian in your family.

Ingredients:
1 Eggplant, Large (Peeled & Cut Lengthwise in 12” Slices)
½ Cup Flour & 1 Tsp. Salt
4 Eggs, Beaten & 1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese, Whole Milk
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
Olive Oil for Frying
Marinara Sauce (see recipe)

Directions:
Combine flour and salt in one large bowl. Combine beaten eggs and milk in another large bowl. Dip sliced eggplant in seasoned flour, then egg mixture and then in seasoned breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking, and pan fry eggplant slices. Drain on paper towels. In a rectangular baking dish (11×17), spread a layer of marinara sauce, top with fried eggplant. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Bake
in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

eggplant parm

EGGPLANT ROLLATINI

This is very similar to the eggplant parmesan recipe, but the eggplant is rolled and filled with ricotta for an individual presentation. I tend to prepare this dish for dinner parties. You can alter this recipe with varied fillings if desired. I often layer a slice of prosciutto on each eggplant slice along with the ricotta filling (for a non-vegetarian option). It makes this dish even more delicious!

Ingredients:
1 Eggplant, Large (Unpeeled & Cut Lengthwise in 12” Slices)
½ Cup Flour & 1 Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, Beaten & 1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Olive Oil for Frying
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese, Whole Milk
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded & ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Marinara Sauce (see recipe)

Directions:
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine the beaten eggs and milk in another large bowl. Dip sliced eggplant in seasoned flour, then egg mixture and then in seasoned breadcrumbs. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until hot, but not smoking, and pan fry the eggplant slices. Drain on paper towels. Separately, combine the ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. When the eggplant slices are cool enough to handle, layer the slice with a scoop of the ricotta mixture (approx. 1 ½ Tbsp.) and roll the eggplant, jelly roll style. Layer marinara sauce on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Place the eggplant seam-side down on top of the marinara in the baking dish. Spoon the marinara over the middle of the eggplant rolls, and sprinkle shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top of the marinara. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

eggplant

CARAMELIZED EGGPLANT WITH PESTO

I really enjoy eggplant dishes, and I’ve tried many different recipes over the years. I got creative this morning with ingredients I had in my refrigerator, and ended up with a delicious eggplant side dish. The key is to allow the diced eggplant to cook long enough to caramelize….then add the pesto at the end so the flavors are full bodied when served.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Eggplant, Peeled and Diced
2 Tbsp. Pesto Sauce (prepared or see recipe)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Fresh Basil (Garnish)

Directions:
In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the diced eggplant. Sauté over medium heat until the eggplant becomes golden, approx. 6-8 minutes. (The olive oil will be absorbed by the eggplant right away, so make sure you keep stirring the eggplant as it caramelizes). When the eggplant is golden, add the pesto sauce and stir to warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fresh basil and serve warm.

carm eggplant w pest

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS WITH GARLIC

This is a great vegetable side dish, and can also be used to top any type of meat. I like to sauté a variety of vegetables over the weekend so I can enjoy them all week. This is a very simple preparation for sautéed mushrooms.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
1 lb. Button Mushrooms, Sliced or Quartered
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and butter. Heat until the butter melts, then add the chopped garlic and sauté for approx. 1 minute, until the garlic is light brown. Add the mushrooms and saute for approx. 8-10 minutes, until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

saute mush - Copy

SAUTEED ESCAROLE WITH PIGNOLI & GOLDEN RAISINS

Sauteed escarole is the quintessential Italian peasant dish. This version is a little different, incorporating toasted pignoli nuts and golden raisins. The sweetness of the raisins really brings a delicious flavor to this dish, and adds a Sicilian flair. Feel free to omit if desired.

Ingredients:
¼ Cup Pignoli Nuts, Toasted
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ Cup Golden Raisins
1 Bunch of Escarole, Cleaned Well and Chopped in 2” Sections
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, toast the pignoli nuts until golden brown and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the golden raisins and stir for approx. 1 minute. Add the chopped escarole and stir until wilted. Saute for approx. 4-5 minutes, until the escarole is softened. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add the toasted pignoli nuts to the mixture. Serve warm.

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GRILLED VEGETABLE PLATTER

This is a delicious vegetable side dish to serve any time of year. The vegetables look great on a buffet, especially when decoratively plated. I like to serve this dish with pesto sauce on the side.

Ingredients:
2 Medium Yellow Squash, Sliced Lengthwise
2 Medium Zucchini, Sliced Lengthwise
1 Medium Eggplant, Sliced Across in Rounds
1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded, Cleaned and Quartered
1 Orange Bell Pepper, Seeded, Cleaned and Quartered
Salt & Pepper
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all cut vegetables. Season generously with salt and pepper, and toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place vegetables, cut side down, on a hot grill or grill pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until tender and marked by the grill. Remove from the grill and arrange decoratively on serving platter. Season again to taste with salt and pepper.

grilled vegs

MOM’S CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

I remember Mom making these fritters throughout our childhood. These are really delicious, especially when served right out of the skillet. Mom was always creative, and would also use zucchini and other seasonal vegetables in place of the cauliflower. Feel free to improvise!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Egg
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Cauliflower, Chopped
Olive Oil for frying

Directions:
Place the raw cauliflower in a pot of boiling, slightly salted water. Cook until just tender. Remove and let cool. Separately, mix flour, baking powder, salt, egg, parmesan cheese, water and cooked cauliflower. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Pan fry mixture just like pancakes, until crisp and lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

cauli

ARTICHOKES FRANCAIS

This artichoke recipe is really delicious. The artichokes have a meaty texture, and the lemon, wine sauce really makes this dish savory. I have served this as a vegetable side dish for seated dinner parties, or as a side dish on a buffet. This is perfect for your vegetarian guests.

Ingredients:
2-14 oz. Cans Artichoke Hearts
1 Cup Flour
½ Tsp. Salt & ½ Tsp. Black Pepper
4 Eggs, Beaten & ½ Cup Water
¼ Cup Olive Oil & ¼ Cup Butter
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
½ Cup White Wine (like Chardonnay)
4 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Parsley, Chopped
Lemon Slices, Garnish

Directions:
Cut the artichoke hearts in half, lengthwise. Place the cut artichoke hearts in a colander to drain. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine the beaten eggs and water. Dredge the artichokes in flour, then in the beaten egg mixture. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place the artichokes in the hot oil mixture. Cook until golden brown in each side, turning once. Remove cooked artichokes and sprinkle lightly with salt. Drain the olive oil from the pan, leaving 2 Tbsp. of oil, and return the pan to the stove. Add the lemon juice and white wine to the pan and sauté for approx. 2 minutes. Add the butter and heat until melted. Add the chopped parsley. Return the cooked artichokes to the pan and heat through. Garnish with lemon slices and additional chopped parsley and serve warm.

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