Italian Dishes

Italian Sausage & Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi

Cauliflower Gnocchi at Trader Joe’s has been on my list for the past year. While I had my reservations about it, I was blown away with how good it was in this dish. I browned the sausage a bit before baking to release some of the grease. It is now a favorite recipe and so easy to prepare!

Italian Sausage & Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 onion, yellow or sweet, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • 4 sweet Italian sausages, cut into fifths
  • Bag of Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi (or gnocchi of your choice)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Add onion, peppers to the center of the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with garlic salt. Toss to coat.
  4. Spread into an even layer and roast for 10 minutes.
  5. Add Italian sausages and frozen gnocchi and roast for 20-30 minutes until sausages and vegetables are cooked through and gnocchi are golden grown. Stir halfway through the process.

Recipe from Iowagirleats

Desserts · Family Favorites · Italian Dishes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is heavenly.  I followed Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown.  When I saw his Facebook Live featured Tiramisu, I was in!  I have found that Ladyfingers from Cost Plus World  Market are best, and appropriately crunchy. The ladyfingers from my local grocery store are soft, so I crisp them up in the oven before dipping into the water/Amaretto mixture.

I’d highly recommend a food scale to get the ingredients right, but I have adapted to U.S. measurements below. 

TIRASMISU

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar (4.58 ounces or .5725 cup)
  • 500g mascarpone (17.637 oz. or 2.205 cup)
  • 125g whipping cream (4.40925 oz. or .55116 cup)
  • 100g amaretti cookies (3.5274 oz. or .44 cup)
  • 30g cocoa powder (1.058 oz. or .1323 cup)
  • 1 package lady fingers
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liquor
  • 1/2 cup caffè (coffee) or water
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Using a tumbler, fill about 3/4 full with 50% Amaretto (or coffee) and 50% water.
  2. Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the glass; flip to get both sides. Place in 9×13″ glass dish.  There should be about 15 ladyfingers per layer.
  3. Crush the Amaretto cookies. Set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs.
  5. Add sugar to the egg yolks.  Mix well.  Add Mascarpone to the egg mixture. Folding in gently.
  6. Add a dash of water to the egg whites.  Beat until stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture.
  8. Add Amaretto cookies, crumbled, to the mixture.
  9. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  10. Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.
  11. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers.
  12. Put cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over the cream mixture.
  13. Repeat the dipping of lady fingers in Amaretto and water and place 2nd layer into the pan.
  14. Spread remaining cream on top of the lady fingers.
  15. Chill the Tiramisu.
  16. When ready to service, sift cocoa powder over the top.
  17. Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe from Chef Lucas Migliorelli

Italian Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Italian Wedding Soup

Welcome to 2022! Italian Wedding Soup was on the menu after seeing this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, IowaGirlEats. I had the ingredients on hand and needed to take a meal to my daughter after giving birth to my 5th grandbaby. Be careful that you don’t eat all for the tiny meatballs when they come out of the oven. They are delicious! Next time I would make a double or triple batch of the meatballs, so I would have them in the freezer when I want to make the soup. Serve with a hearty Italian bread.

Italian Wedding Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 1 parmesan cheese wedge rind (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dry gluten free orzo
  • 3oz fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • For the Pork Meatballs (makes ~75 meatballs):
    • 1/2 cup small-torn pieces of soft gluten free white bread (crusts removed first)
    • 1/4 cup finely grated onion + juices
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned, pressed, or finely minced
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Pepper, to taste
    • 1lb ground pork (I used Italian Sausage)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. For the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or non stick sprayed foil. To a large bowl add torn bread and grated onion then mix to combine and let sit for 1 minute. Add parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then stir to combine. Crumble ground pork over the top then use your hands to mix until just combined.
  2. Use a teaspoon to portion meatballs out then gently roll in your hands and place on prepared baking sheet – meatballs can be very close together but not touching. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Set meatballs aside – can be done a few days ahead of time.
  3. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and shallot/onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. If the vegetables are taking too long to soften, I like to add a glug of extra chicken broth to the pot then place a lid on top and let them steam for a few minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and parmesan cheese rind (if using) then turn heat up to high to bring liquid to a boil. Add pasta then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until pasta is al dente, 20 minutes or so. Add cooked meatballs then stir to combine. Bring soup back up to a bubble (may need to turn heat up a touch) then add spinach and cook until wilted and tender, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Whisk egg and parmesan cheese together very well in a small dish. Give the soup a couple of big stirs to get the liquid swirling in one direction then slowly stream in egg mixture. Continue to stir to create small threads of egg (NOTE: the eggs are NOT curdled, they are COOKED – like egg drop soup!) Taste then add more salt and/or pepper if desired. Let soup sit and thicken for 10-15 minutes before removing parmesan cheese rind, scooping into bowls, and serving.

Recipe from Iowagirleats

Desserts · Family Favorites · Holidays · Italian Dishes · New Favorite · New Traditions

Pears in Red Wine Sauce

During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas.  We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise.  We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!

When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer.  It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE

6-8 Pears
1 Bottle Red Wine
8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves

  • In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
  • If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after
    cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4
    cup water and mix with the wine.
  • Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.

Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli

Family · Garden · Home · Italian Dishes · New Favorite · Pastas · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato, Sausage and Pesto Sauce

Fall brings the bounty of tomatoes, basil and much more. Older daughter, Megan, told me about a roasted tomato and pesto sauce she made. I tweaked it a bit to serve my tastes. I love the idea of adding pesto to a rich, red tomato sauce. It was delicious and definitely a new recipe for my collection.

ROASTED TOMATO AND PESTO SAUCE

1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups roasted tomatoes and peppers, cooled and blended (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
Cube of pesto (about 1/3 cup)
26.5 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped or blended
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1 pound cooked pasta (I used bow tie pasta) and 1 cup of pasta water
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  • Core and slice tomatoes. Halve and remove seeds from peppers.
  • Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on a heavy cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper).  Drizzle with Avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Roast at 400 degrees until the edges of the vegetables start to char and are cooked through.
  • Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.
  • Cook and drain the sausage. Drain and set aside.
  • Sauté onions in olive oil and when almost cooked through, add the garlic. Continue to salute until garlic is cooked through.
  • Add roasted tomatoes and peppers, pesto, San Marzano tomatoes, water, basil and sausage.
  • Heat thoroughly.
  • Add 1 cup of pasta water to sauce. Stir.  Add drained, cooked pasta, and stir to mix thoroughly.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Italian Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Zuppa Toscana…Copycat of Olive Garden recipe

My daughter, Megan, told me this was a great recipe.  As mentioned in my Roasted Fennel post of last Friday, we garnished the soup with bits of the fennel and loved it. From now on, it will be a traditional side served with the soup, and a slice of hearty Italian bread.

The original recipe called for heavy cream, but we liked the soup without the cream and without the extra fat. Next time I would add chopped carrots and celery.

ZUPPA TOSCANA…COPYCAT OF OLIVE GARDEN RECIPE

1 lb. Italian sausage
2 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (I omitted)

  • Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
  • Brown sausage in your soup pot.
  • Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
  • Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
  • Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  • Add bacon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Turn to low heat.
  • Add cream (optional) and heat.
  • Tear pieces of kale into bowl and pour steaming soup over the top.

Recipe slightly adapted from Food.com