I had some requests on my Facebook fan page, you are a fan right, for a few different recipes. Some are things I can’t see spending the money to make because no one here but me would eat it and some are for foods I couldn’t imagine eating, such as octopus or squid or organ meats.Many Italians do eat those things but I am not one of them. I am too American and well, frankly, a bit grossed out at some of those things. Maybe one day I’ll try some of those, but not the organ meats! But I want to share the ones I found with others and let you know about the wealth of information available online. Don’t forget to utilize youtube for recipes and tutorials. Many are posted there as well. Just search for Italian cooking recipes or lessons.
A friend wanted an Eggplant Parmigiana recipe and I found one on the Food Network by Mario Batali. I would actually try this one because it’s not fried but baked and so the fat content is somewhat reduced. He also uses fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded mozzarella in a bag and I think the fresh cheese will give this a different flavor all together. So I will probably try this one.
Next up is a Fetticuni Alfredo recipe. I looked for several back in January when my daughter requested this for her birthday. I can’t remember what I ended up using but try this recipe from eHow with step by step instructions. It is a fattening sauce so use it sparingly.
Now onto antipasti recipes. There are so many recipes for great Italian “appetizers” that it’s almost impossible for me to list them all. But there are some favorites among the blogs I visit and some are simply popular all over Italy.
Caponata is one of them. This is an eggplant “relish” and all vegetarian and healthy!
This Italian version of the Mexican seven layer dip is wonderful. I made this in January and we all loved it so much that I made it again as a side dish to a pasta meal. Be sure to make a good crunchy crostini to serve it with, but good crackers will work as well.
The Caprese salad is one of my favorites and almost anyone can do this without fail. One tip, get a good quality olive oil if you are going to make good tasting Italian food. I have both cheap and more costly olive oils here and I use them at different times, but for a salad, use the better oil, extra virgin would be better.
If you are looking for something more pesante or rich in flavor or difficult to digest, how about these delcious looking Parmesan-Reggiano stuffed onions wrapped in Proscuitto de Parma? I would have to wait about 30 minutes after eating one or two of those to even think about adding in the primo and secondi courses!
Here is one example of a video at youtube showing a classic antipasti plate. I might be using some of these Saturday when we have friends over for Italian food! It’s very simple.
I am a lover of artichoke hearts and olives. They are a great pairing for a quick salad. Here is what I do, so this is basically my own recipe.
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, in water-drained
1/2 can of ripe black olives-drained
1/2 can of ripe green olives, not Spanish olives. Lindsay brand has a line of Naturals which has the green olives-drained
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove of minced garlic
olive oil and red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional as they add heat
grated parmesan cheese, optional
croutons or dry crusty bread in chunks
Mix all together in a bowl and add enough oil and vinegar until moistened. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving for bread to soften a bit and flavors to mix.
Italian food is simple and easy. Please believe you can make good food. And it doesn’t need to cost a lot either. If you can’t afford the best then buy the best you can afford. Relax and enjoy your food.