We believe that because life today is already so difficult and dramatically exhausting, the only way to alleviate this very fact is to eat and enjoy the food that will make you and your family happy physically and financially. That’s because the recipes I want to share will not cost you a great deal of money and will make everyone happy.
Today we’ll start with three simple meals: antipasto, pasta, and dolce. So with a fork in one hand and a knife in the other, let’s begin… the coffee is on you!
Antipasto (serves 4)
1 package fresh mozzarella (Bel Gioioso comes already sliced, the mozzarella comes in two loaves per package; you can use both or just one)
3 whole Jersey tomatoes
8 oz mixed olives
2 oz olive oil
10 leaves fresh basil (for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste
On a serving plate, arrange a row of slices of fresh mozzarella, overlapping each slice slightly. Next to the mozzarella, add a row of thick slices of tomato, also overlapping slightly. Then create a row of mixed olives. Lightly drizzle the plate with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. If you have left over Italian bread that is still soft, slice it up (about 3/4 inch thick), lightly toast in the oven, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside to accompany the antipasto.
Remember- an antipasto is intended to tease your appetite while you wait for the first course.
Pasta (serves 4)
It is unbelievable how many endless ways there are of making this cheap product a memorable dish for you and your family or guests. Today let’s make something refreshing, low cost, and easy.
1 lb Farfalle pasta (bow ties or butterflies)
2 medium yellow squash (peeled and diced)
2 diced tomatoes
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp (1 oz) butter
1 medium onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
5-6 leaves fresh basil (for garnish)
In a pot, bring 3 quarts of water with 2 oz of salt to a boil for the pasta. Start to make the sauce while waiting for the water to come to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling- and while your sauce is coming together- add the pasta, so that your pasta will be ready at the same time as your sauce.
In a large sauté pan, start by peeling and dicing the squash and onions. Then wash and dice your tomatoes, and mince the garlic cloves. In a large sauté pan over medium heat add 4 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onions and let them sweat, adding a quarter teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper. As soon as they start to become translucent (in about 3-4 minutes) add the squash and the garlic. Let them cook for 5 minutes. Check to see if the squash is tender with the point of a knife, and once the knife can easily pierce the squash you can add the tomato and sprinkle another quarter teaspoon of salt and another pinch of pepper.
Add the wine, chicken broth, and butter to the sauté pan. Cover and let simmer. At this point the water should be boiling, so add the pasta. Let simmer for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat while you wait for the pasta to finish (the total cooking time for the pasta is about 10 minutes).
Drain the pasta very well and add to the sauce. Never rinse the pasta!! Other wise it will never take in the flavor of the sauce. Mix to coat and finish with the fresh basil, sliced julienne. To julienne the basil without cutting your fingers, roll the leaves and cut into very fine strips. Garnish and serve.
Remember- our bodies need sugar. Yes, by eating pasta and vegetables, it will satisfy you. But something is missing… dessert!
Dolce (Sweets... serves 4)
This is a very simple dessert. Easy and fresh for the summer.
7 oz white chocolate
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 tsp lemon zest
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup berries (more is ok!)
You will also need:
4 ramekins (4 oz)
1- 3” deep baking pan
It is best if this dessert is prepared the day before and spends the night in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 300*F. In a medium bowl add your milk, heavy cream, chocolate and bring to barely a simmer over very low heat, letting the chocolate melt. In another bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix well. Slowly, very slowly, drizzle the hot milk mixture into the eggs… do not do this all at once or you might scramble the eggs! Add the lemon zest and a pinch of salt, and mix very well.
Fill the ramekins about halfway with the mixture. Place the ramekins in the baking pan, and fill the pan with water so that it reaches about halfway up the ramekins. Bake for about 30 minutes.
Let cool and then refrigerate over night. When you are ready to serve, add the berries on top.
A good tip: Before adding the water to the baking pan, bring the pan with ramekins to the oven and place on the rack. Then add the hot water. This way you don’t have to worry about carrying the heavy, water-filled pan and ramekins over to your oven.
I know it is a little work, but it is worth every bit!