Soup

Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup

This Italian meal is just not hearty and healthy but it’s really flexible too…There’s something incredibly satisfying about using up whole bunch of vegetables, beans and vegetable broth, this soup is a meal in itself .

Ingredients:

4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 celery rib chopped

7 cups vegetable broth

1 medium potato peeled and cut into cubes

1 medium zucchini trimmed and cut into cubes

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cup cannellini beans

Method:

Remove and discard the stems from the spinach. Wash, chop and keep them aside. Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add the leeks, carrots, onions and celery and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add the stock, potato, zucchini, spinach and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. stir the beans and salt to taste. Simmer just until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve immediately with grated cheese!

Minestrone soup

 

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Main Course

Pasta Puttanesca

puttanesca

This dish mainly originated in mid twentieth century. Some believe that it was a sauce created by a restaurant owner … Petti who was near closing his restaurant one evening, found a group of customers sitting at one of his tables, Petti was low on ingredients and told the customers he didn’t have enough to make a meal. They started complaining and said it’s too late and they are hungry. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi (Make any kind of garbage),” they insisted. At that time Petti had nothing more than tomatoes, capers and olives, so he used them to make a sauce for the spaghetti and later from then he included this dish in his menu as spaghetti alla puttanesca- source history of pasta puttanesca.

I personally love this sauce, it has wonderful taste of capers, olives, tomatoes and herbs. Its jam-packed with intense flavors and very simple and easy to make.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves chopped finely

1 tsp red pepper flakes

20 large pitted black olives (coarsely chopped)

3 -4 tbsp capers

1/2 white onion chopped

1 (32 ounce can )- chunky style tomato

1 (14 ounce can)- diced tomato

Black pepper and salt to taste

1/4 cup parsley chopped

1 pound spaghetti cooked to al dente

Method:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, chopped onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sautee until the onions and garlic are translucent. Then add  chopped olives, capers, tomatoes and bring them to boil. Simmer and heat the sauce for another 8-10 minutes. Add pepper and salt according to your taste and garnish with parsley.

puttanesca

Toss the sauce with pasta and serve with bread and cheese/olive oil, vinegar mix.

puttanesca

 

 

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Main Course

Eggplant stir-fry

Eggplant (or brinjal in India, and “badanekai” in Kannada), is a favorite vegetable in my house. The only two varieties which I was most familiar with was the Eeranagere badanekai (Eeranagere is a town near Mysore) and Matti guLLa (Matti is a town near Udupi). If we go to an Asian market we see so many varieties of eggplant. I didn’t even know their existence until I came to the US. I have now been introduced to quite a few different cuisines where eggplant is the main vegetable. Today I tried my dish with Japanese eggplant and it turned out to be tasty!

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil-2 Tbsp

Japanese eggplant- 2 cups, diced

Red onion- 1 medium, thinly sliced

Tomatoes-2 medium, chopped

Brown sugar- 3 Tsp

Soy sauce-2 Tsp

Lime juice-2 Tsp

Chilli-garlic sauce- 1½ Tsp

Bean sprouts- 1½ cup

Bamboo shoots- 1 small can, sliced

Fresh mint- 3 Tsp chopped

Preparation:

Heat oil in a Wok or large pan. Sauté onions for 2 minutes, add in eggplant, stir-fry for 10 minutes over high heat or until eggplant is brown.

Stir in tomatoes, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli garlic sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, stir fry for a few more minutes.

Garnish with mint and serve with hot rice (preferably sticky rice).

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Appetizers/Snacks

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Italian bruschettas are one of my favorite appetizers. I make this often at home. They are a perfect appetizer for an Italian dinner. I learnt making this from a recipe on the internet. I customized the recipe to my own taste. My whole family enjoyed this a lot.

Ingredients:

Roma tomato- 1 finely chopped

Onions- 1 finely chopped

Fresh basil-2 Tbsp finely chopped

Garlic- 3 to 4 cloves minced

Mozzarella cheese- 8oz  finely grated

Extra virgin olive oil- 2 to 3 Tbsp

Salt and pepper- to taste

1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the bread diagonally into ½ inch thick slices.

Place the bread slices on the cookie sheet and rub garlic cloves on each slice and drizzle top side of the bread with olive oil using pastry brush.

Add chopped tomatoes, onions and mozzarella cheese evenly on each slice, sprinkle salt and pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Place the tray on the top rack of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until all the cheese melts and bread becomes crispy.

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