Archive for Summer

Noodles with Zesty Italian Cheese and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Just made this for lunch, it’s delicious!  Used whole-wheat pasta, with Asiago cheese for the sauce.  It might be good with roasted red peppers instead of the tomatoes for wintertime.

Cheese Sauce:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
1 c. grated sharp Italian cheese, such as Asiago or Fontina
1 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Fresh Tomato Sauce:
½ large red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine (optional)
4-5 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 lb. noodles
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Fresh purple basil leaves for garnish

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter over low heat and blend in the flour, stirring for 3-5 minutes until well blended.  Slowly add the milk and simmer, stirring the sauce with a wire whisk until it has thickened and is smooth and hot.  Stir in the cheese or cheeses until they have melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.  Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg; set aside and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce, lightly saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Add the wine and the fresh tomatoes and toss together; cover and cook about 3 minutes on low.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped fresh basil.

Toss the cooked noodles with the cheese sauce and serve with the fresh tomato sauce on top.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and fresh purple basil leaves.


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Golden Summer Squash and Corn Soup

Really good, even without the feta cheese as a topping.

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 lb. summer squash, diced
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme and oregano, divided
14 oz. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, thawed)
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ c. crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook, stirring, for one minute.  Add the squash and 1 tsp. of the herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3-5 minutes.

Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return the soup to the pan and stir in the corn.  Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3-5 minutes more.  Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Serve garnished with the remaining herbs and feta.

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Insalata di Melone

A nice take on cantaloupe:

2½ – 3 lb. cantaloupe, seeds removed and cut into small chunks (or scooped into balls)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. snipped fresh chives

Place the melon in a large bowl; set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over melon; mix gently.  Serve cold.

Also works well served over pale inner leaves of lettuce.

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Mock Potato Salad

This yummy recipe is from Leanna at the library; I tweaked it just a bit:

1 head cauliflower, broken into large clusters
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/4 c. chopped red onion or scallion
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. plain yogurt
1-2 tsp. yellow mustard
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
1 tsp. artificial sweetener
1 tsp. dill weed
Dash of white wine vinegar

Boil the cauliflower pieces in salted water for about 8 minutes.  Drain and cover with cold water; drain and cover with cold water again, repeating this sequence until the water remains cold.  Drain very thoroughly at least 30 minutes.

Cut cauliflower into potato salad-sized pieces; add eggs, celery, and onion.  Blend in mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, pepper, salt, sweetener, dill weed, and vinegar.  Chill and serve.

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Stufato – Garden in a Pot


Extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
3 large fresh sage leaves
1 tightly-packed teaspoon each fresh marjoram and basil leaves, chopped
½ pound green beans, trimmed and halved
3 small pale inner stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow sweet pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1 inch dice
6 oil-cured black olives pitted and minced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 14-oz can whole tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lightly film the bottom of a large saucepan with olive oil.  Set over high heat. Add the onion, herbs, beans, celery, zucchini, pepper, and olives; lower the heat to medium and sauté until the zucchini is golden brown.

Stir in the garlic and tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 55 minutes, or until the vegetables are extremely tender.  Stir several times during cooking, crushing the tomatoes as you stir.  Add a little water if necessary to keep the vegetables from scorching.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Asparagus and Portobello Mushrooms

From Italian pure and simple by Clifford A. Wright.  I made this the first time with late season asparagus and it was pretty good, but would be much better in the spring.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1½ in. pieces
1 lb. portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ c. dry red wine or water, or more as needed
Freshly grated ricotta salata

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms turn a little brown, about 3 minutes, stirring often;  season with salt and pepper.  Pour in 1 c. of the wine, turn the heat to high, and cook for 20 minutes, adding lesser and lesser amounts of  wine to keep the pan moist.  When the asparagus are almost cooked, stop adding liquid to the pan, and leave it to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and they are tender.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with grated ricotta salata.

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