Tag Archives: parmesan cheese

Celebrating Fall Flavors: Buckwheat Bucatini w/ Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

Now that Fall is finally here, I’m so excited to start cooking comfort food again with flavorful seasonal ingredients like wild mushrooms, truffles, sage, prosciutto, toasted nuts, hearty greens, whole grains…yum. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year when it comes to food 🙂

Buckwheat Bucatini

In particular, I love making homemade pasta and one-pot dishes, which is so easy to do with my KitchenAid® Gourmet Pasta Press that attaches to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.

KitchenAid Gourmet Pasta Press

It makes six different types of pasta in a snap: Bucatini, Spaghetti, Rotini, small and large Macaroni, and Rigatoni simply by swapping out a different disc for each pasta cut…how cool is that?!?

Sauce Ingredients

I decided to make a homemade Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce, Prosciutto, Spinach, Pecans and Sage. I love Buckwheat pasta because of its rustic flavor, and it’s perfect for fall pasta dishes. Similar to the traditional Italian Pizzoccheri (flat buckwheat fettuccine), buckwheat noodles have hearty depth of flavor, and pair perfectly with warm fall flavors and ingredients like wilted greens, potatoes, cabbage, cheese and garlic.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

My pasta dish is topped with a luscious savory sauce made with crispy prosciutto and sage, nutty toasted pecans, garlic, shallots and wild mushrooms (portabella, porcini, oyster, beech, cremini, and shiitake) that I sautéed in olive oil and butter, then made into a luscious sauce with chicken broth and truffle oil.

Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

I’d love to hear how you would use the KitchenAid Pasta Press and what recipes you would make! Share your take on my Buckwheat Bucatini & Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce recipe on KitchenAid’s Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

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Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

I made myself a pledge to focus on being healthier and happier since the New Year has started… getting more sleep, balancing work and life better, focusing on my business and my brand with a revived passion, reaching out to friends and family more often, traveling more, eating healthier and getting more walking around the city in, and just choosing to be happy every day, no matter what. NO EXCUSES.

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

BUT, see the thing is…I hate diets. They never work and I slowly grow tired of counting calories and feeling deprived and end up eating like a maniac and ruining all the good i just did by torturing myself on the diet in the first place. So I’ve decided to go in a different direction by simply cutting sugar out of my diet, eating more healthy lean proteins and fresh veggies and cutting DOWN on carbs, not fully out. It seems to lessen the pain of a diet and I truly feel better and am more conscious of what I eat by tracking the amount of carbs I’m taking in.  So far, so good. 

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

So I decided I wouldn’t fully deprive myself of the carb-laden pasta dishes I crave in the Winter and that I’ve been missing out on, and made a Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo that’s absolutely to die for. I used some lower-carb fettuccine pasta (Carba-Nada, which I got on Amazon for $10 and it only has 17 grams of carbs in 1.5 cups of pasta...LOVE IT). I sautéed some chicken breasts, shallots, garlic, bacon and added some spinach and mushrooms to make the base for the pasta. Then I made a delicious Alfredo sauce with half and half, unsalted butter, whipped cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese, thinned down with some water to make a semi-healthier version of this luscious, velvety (and usually super rich and fattening) pasta sauce.

I hope you’re getting through the Winter OK yourselves, and if not, whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Guilt-Free. You’ll be just fine, I promise. 😉

Chicken Mushroom Spinach Fettuccine

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Alfredo Fettucine

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  • 1 package fresh or dried fettuccine pasta
  • 4 slices center cut bacon
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (3-4 pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach (or a few handfuls fresh baby spinach)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (baby bella, porcini, chanterelle)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • ALFREDO SAUCE
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup water, as needed for desired sauce consistency

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta water to add back in to the pasta sauce later on, for consistency.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
  4. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, brush olive oil on and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain bacon grease from saute pan and raise heat to medium high. Saute chicken breasts, about 6 minutes per side, until a nice browning occurs and chicken is cooked through. Set aside, and keep warm with tented foil. (NOTE: You may also grill the chicken if desired at the same cooking time).
  6. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until they are soft.
  7. Defrost frozen spinach in microwave for 5 minutes, drain and then add spinach (you can also add fresh spinach now) to the pan with the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until all cooked through, add crumbled bacon and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and keep warm while making the Alfredo sauce.
  8. ALFREDO SAUCE
  9. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream and whipped cream cheese over medium-low heat.
  10. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it down to desired consistency.
  11. Pour the Alfredo sauce into the pan with the spinach and mushroom mixture, slice the chicken into slices or chunks and add to the sauce and stir together well.
  12. Serve hot over the pasta (or you can mix the pasta into the sauce ahead of serving, whatever you prefer).
  13. Serves 4-6.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/02/23/chicken-spinach-mushroom-fettuccine-alfredo/

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Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I love making savory tarts and pies, but unfortunately I don’t love the carbs and calories that come along with them. It’s also Summertime, and I’m trying to cook and eat lighter than usual…and the Fall season will come soon enough with all that yummy comfort food!

Quinoa Tart 1

I’ve been experimenting lately with alternatives to pasta and dough – things like zucchini, cauliflower, almond flour, and quinoa. Not only are they lighter, but also , gluten-free and less carbs than traditional flours and equally as satisfying and tasty!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I found a recipe on Cooking Light for a savory Fall tart made in a toasted quinoa crust and decided to experiment a little with the crust, fillings and flavors. MISSION ON.

Toasted Quinoa

I love the flavor of the nutty toasted quinoa, which is done in the oven and gives a nice depth of flavor and crunch to the tart crust.

Toasted Quinoa Tart Shells

I mixed in some Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, corn starch, Parmesan cheese and an egg for binding the quinoa, then added a little garlic salt and olive oil to bring it all together for the crust. Then I pressed the quinoa mixture into four small tart pans and baked for about 10 minutes before filling them and baking again.

Mascarpone & Cheddar

While the tart crusts were baking, I made a savory filling with mascarpone and cheddar cheese and spooned in this delightful cheesy goodness on to the par-baked crusts.

Crispy Cooked Bacon

I also cooked up some crispy gorgeous bacon in the oven while the tarts were baking..(for about 20 minutes or so)..

Top with Crispy Bacon

then chopped it to pieces and layered it on top of the cheeses. HELLO PRETTIES. Come to me.

Blanched Cauliflower and Peas

Next I started filling the tarts with my blanched cauliflower and baby peas,

Veggie Tart fillings

more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,

Ready to bake the tarts again

popped them back in the oven..

Tarts Cooling

and baked these cuties for another 5-10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for a few…

Tarts cooling

the anticipation of these delicious things in my mouth is MOUNTING.

Cooked Quinoa Tarts

Once the tarts were cooled a bit, I garnished them with some fresh chopped basil, chives and freshly cracked black pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Mini Green Goddesses!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

And Oh Holy Delicious.

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

This is a great base recipe for any savory tart really – feel free to substitute different fillings for the tarts depending on the season..butternut squash and spinach in the Fallcorn, tomatoes and zucchini in the Summer… roasted carrotspotatoes and Gruyere in the Winter..asparagus and leeks in the Spring…oh, the ideas are endless!

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes four 4 5/7-inch tarts

Serving Size: 1 tart

This is a gluten-free tart recipe made with a toasted quinoa crust, filled with a savory filling of mascarpone and cheddar cheese, bacon, cauliflower, peas topped with Parmesan, and fresh basil and chives.

Ingredients

  • Toasted Quinoa Tart Crust:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond meal flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup baby green peas, frozen
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or Gouda)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Toasted Quinoa Tart Crusts:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Place quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
  4. Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and salt to bowl; stir to combine.
  6. Add oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
  7. Press into bottom and up sides of four 4 5/7-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pans coated with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden, but not completely cooked (you will put them back in the oven later after you fill them with the veggies, bacon and cheese.)
  9. Prep the Tart fillings:
  10. While the tart crusts are baking, chop the cauliflower into small florets and measure out the baby peas.
  11. Blanch the veggies in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them in very cold water or shock them in an ice bath, set aside.
  12. Cook the bacon and drain, chop into small chunks, set aside.
  13. Measure out the mascarpone, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, and chop basil and chives, set aside.
  14. Fill the Tart Crusts:
  15. Spread the mascarpone cheese evenly in bottom of each tart crust.
  16. Top each tart with shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon.
  17. Arrange cauliflower and peas evenly over cheese and bacon mixture on the tarts and drizzle with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  18. Bake tarts for another 5-7 minutes in the oven.
  19. Remove tarts from the pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
  20. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and chives, serve warm.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2014.

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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/07/23/veggie-bacon-cheese-tarts-in-a-toasted-quinoa-crust/

Other Tart Recipes you might enjoy:

Savory Harvest Fall Tart

Quinoa Tart with Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Dressing

Gluten-Free Tomato Tart

Gluten-Free Spinach and Onion Tart

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Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans, Ricotta & Toasted Walnuts

Yum

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

Today was one of those days – rainy, overcast, dreary, and oh, Monday. I also had a ton of things in my fridge that I need to clean out and organize. What a better day than today to do that, and whip up something delicious with all those goodies that needed to be used up.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

I had a whole spatchcocked chicken that I had already grilled and roasted last week, plus a bunch of spinach, shallots,  some white beans and garlic. I thought I’d make a healthy and delicious Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans served in a silky, savory sauce made with lemon zest and juice, white wine, butter, olive oil and chicken stock; infused with red pepper flakes, rosemary,  aged Ricotta Salata and topped off with some toasted walnuts for extra crunch.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

It’s such an easy and satisfying dish to make and it’s super healthy too, with tons of protein from the chicken and beans, and vitamin c from the spinach and lemon..and the silky savory sauce is just beautiful – light and bright, perfect for Spring. I also used a whole wheat penne pasta for some extra fiber and nutty flavor to go with the toasted walnuts which give a super nice crunchy texture.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens and Beans

All you need is a glass of lovely white wine, and maybe some crunchy toasted bread with olive oil and more grated cheese to go with it. And forget that the sun isn’t out today. And that it’s cold and dreary. And that it’s Monday.

And just be happy where you are, right here. Right now.

Lemony Rosemary Chicken Pasta with Greens & Beans

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

This is a light and bright lemony pasta dish with roasted shredded chicken, sauteed spinach, white beans, garlic, shallots, and rosemary in a light wine and chicken broth sauce with grated ricotta salata cheese and topped with toasted walnuts for extra crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 bunches of fresh spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine or dry sherry
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup aged ricotta salata cheese (or grated parmesan)
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (grilled or rotisserie)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed and toasted

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Wash and trim spinach, cut shallots and garlic, drain white beans, zest and juice lemon and set aside along with other prepped ingredients (broth, wine, half and half, cheese, rosemary, red pepper flakes.)
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute shallots for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Increase heat to medium high, add spinach, red pepper flakes and rosemary; saute together for about 5 minutes until spinach is wilted, but still bright green.
  5. Add the cannelini beans and saute, stirring together for another few minutes until heated through.
  6. Add chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and zest and continue cooking with spinach and beans for a few minutes. Add the half and half and grated ricotta cheese, stir to combine.
  7. Stir in the cooked shredded chicken and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, keep warm on medium-low heat.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the saute pan with the chicken, greens and beans, adding the reserved pasta water and stir to combine.
  9. Crush the walnuts into small pieces and toast over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes in a small saute pan until lightly browned and nutty flavor.
  10. Serve the pasta in large bowls with additional grated cheese, toasted walnuts, and salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

This recipe calls for whole wheat penne but you can use any pasta you desire. You can also experiment with other types of greens - chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, etc. Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese can also be used if you can't find aged Ricotta Salata. Toasted pine nuts or breadcrumbs would also be great in place of the toasted walnuts.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/20/lemony-rosemary-chicken-pasta-with-greens-and-beans-ricotta-toasted-walnuts/

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Superfoods Recipes for a Healthy New Year

Once the holidays are over, it’s time for a break from all the super rich food and cocktails and detox with some healthy recipes made with some of my favorite superfoods for a fresh start to a healthy New Year!

What’s all the fuss over superfoods about? They help step up your immunity, boost energy, slow down aging, lift your spirits, improve circulation, detox, improve sleep, and they have healing benefits too. And they just make you feel better and healthier all around. Colorful fruits and vegetables possess tons of vitamins and minerals – start ‘eating the rainbow’, and you’re off to a healthy start.

Veggie Bean Soup

The best way to get your fix of Superfoods is to make a big pot of veggie soup in the middle of winter, not only for it’s warming properties, but also because soup gives a big dose of healthy vegetables that boost the immune system, as well as detox and cleanse the body with its healthy ingredients, antibacterial properties, vitamins and minerals.

Simmer Soup KitchenAid Stockpot

I’ve created a super healthy soup recipe that I made with my KitchenAid 11-cup Food Processor, that is so convenient to chop, grate and shred all those lovely veggies. Then I just threw them all in my KitchenAid 8-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot (part of the Stainless Steel 8-piece set that I just got!) to make a delicious and heartwarming Vegetable and Bean Soup. The Stockpot is great because it heats up fast on the stovetop to sauté all the veggies and seasonings and it has etched measurement markings inside the pot that make it easy to measure all the liquids for the soup.

Soup_Ingredients

My soup is full of onions, garlic and chicken stock, which all help build the immunity system and keep the colds away. It also has tons of fresh veggies including zucchini, kale, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and northern white beans topped with grated Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil and some crusty whole wheat bread for dipping.

Kiwi Apple Berry Blast Smoothie

The New Year is also a great time to cleanse and detox by eating lots of healthy Superfood fruits! I love all berries that are full of antioxidants, with plenty of vitamins for a super boost in the morning.

Smoothie_Ingredients

I’ve created a delicious Kiwi Apple Berry Blast Smoothie recipe made with kiwi, apples, vanilla greek yogurt, almond milk, blueberries, acai berry puree, honey, lemon zest, flax seed and raw almonds.

Fruit and Almonds KitchenAid Diamond Blender

I simply threw all the ingredients into my powerhouse KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender with 5 different settings that does all the stirring, mixing, blending, pureeing and heavy lifting for me.And the smoothie is a healthy breakfast or snack, giving a big boost of protein and energy from the yogurt, almond milk, flax seeds and almonds; antioxidants from the berries and honey; and betacarotene, vitamin E and C from the kiwi fruit and lemon zest.

Click here to read the full post on the Kitchenthusiast blog by KitchenAid for more photos and recipes!

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Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta w/ Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

So it’s finally beginning to feel like Fall around here in the Big Apple. The temperatures have dropped into the low 50s and it’s been raining like crazy for days. Enough to make you feel a little bit down, but also the crisp air, wet leaves and grey skies kind of make me feel nostalgic and excited for the holidays coming ahead. (November is also my birthday month so celebrations are in order in a couple of weeks!)

Also this dampening weather is a great excuse to make some homey comfort food, curl up under a blanket and read a good book! I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with spicy Italian Pork Sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, a few handfuls of healthy iron-rich spinach, and a homemade marinara sauce with fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

It’s really an easy dish to prepare and after making my own sauce I can definitely tell a difference from store-bought pasta sauce, which this one puts to shame on all fronts! I bought some Campari Italian tomatoes that are sweet and little and absolutely adorable (I got them at Fairway on 2nd Ave but I’m sure you can find them at other grocery stores). And the homemade sauce is soooo good with the spicy sausage, savory sautéed peppers, onions, spinach and garlic! (And hey, a little bit healthier than a fattening super cheesy-baked pasta dish I normally crave!)

The fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese give it a creamy, tangy contrast to the spicy, savory flavors in the dish. All you need is some crusty bread and a nice medium-bodied Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola (from Sicily and a bit fruity and herby), Barbera (from Veneto with hints of black cherry and licorice) or a Bonarda (from Northern Italy with hints of black fruits, violet and black pepper). If you prefer white wine, go for a Pinot Grigio or even a Riesling which is a little sweeter and a good balance for the hearty, spicy flavors in the pasta.

Buon Appetito!

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta with Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with some spicy Italian sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, some healthy iron-rich spinach and to top it off, make my own fresh marinara sauce with some fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese and some red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce
  • 3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
  • 1 pound Rotelle pasta (or sub Gemelli, Gigli, Fusilli or Festonati)
  • Sausage, Peppers and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound ground pork sausage (spicy or sweet, you choose)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ orange pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese:
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/4 cup grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A small handful of minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Sauce:
  2. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and shock in ice water. Peel the tomatoes and cut in half, and de-seed. Place the tomatoes and sea salt into the large work bowl of a food processor and pulse on medium speed until tomatoes are finely pureed. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes, then add the tomato puree and cook for about 25-30 minutes at a steady simmer (lower heat if it starts boiling), stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and cooked through. Add in the fresh torn basil and remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Note: If making the sauce ahead of time, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  5. Cook the pasta:
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add fresh marinara sauce and toss to combine; throw in a little extra grated Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  7. Make the sausage, peppers and spinach:
  8. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  9. Add onion and bell peppers to the bowl of your food processor and pulse at medium speed until chopped into a small dice.
  10. Heat olive oil in the sauté pan, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute on medium-low heat until lightly golden. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage and cook until well browned and no longer pink. Drain the cooked sausage mixture on paper towels and place in a large mixing bowl.
  11. Heat additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and peppers until soft and onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add baby spinach and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Place the cooked veggies into the bowl along with cooked sausage mixture, add salt and pepper, fresh basil and stir together. Set aside to cool.
  12. Prepare the ricotta and Parmesan cheese:
  13. Stir together ricotta, salt, pepper and shredded cheese and stir to combine, reserving some of the grated Parmesan for garnish.
  14. Scoop some of the pasta and marinara sauce into bowls. Top with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach mixture and stir to combine. Top the pasta with a few dollops of the Ricotta-Parmesan mixture, minced chives and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  15. Serve with some crusty Italian bread, a green salad and a medium to full bodied red Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola, Barbera or a Valpolicella blend.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/10/23/rotelle-sausage-peppers-spinach-ricotta-fresh-basil-marinara-sauce/

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

 

Click here to see a great pasta and sauce pairing chart at Chow.com

Click here to see a cool chart to selecting Italian Red wines at WineFolly.com

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Going Low-Carb & Healthy for Spring! Grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash

Spring Flowers in Bloom
Spring Flowers in Bloom

Well, Spring is FINALLY here and the weather in NYC has been absolutely gorgeous this past week. I get so motivated when the weather warms up to go walking in the park, get moving around town, and most of all start eating healthy and maybe drop a few pounds or two to get ready for Summer. Plus, with all the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies at the farmers markets – it’s hard to resist dreaming up some healthy, light recipes to get excited about making.

I know what you’re probably thinking – sometimes “low-carb diet” is a taboo word. And I’ve tried a few of them that have worked in the past (Atkins and South Beach Diet), but once I started eating normal again, the pounds just came back. So I’m making over my diet for the long term with foods that are good carbs – fresh green non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruits like berries and melon and citrus, light dairy including cheese and Greek yogurt, and healthy lean proteins across the board with omega3-enriched eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, beef, pork and seafood. My main goal is to cut out sugar and refined carbs like flour, pasta, bread, crackers, processed foods. Oh, the sugar cravings start kicking in the first few days, but once I get through the first week – it’s amazing how those cravings just go away. And my palate changes to crave all the good, healthy foods that actually keep me full and keep those cravings at bay. Yes, I will miss chocolate dearly. And crackers, and bread and pasta. But at the end of the day, once I start eating healthy low-carb, I actually FEEL better. And SLEEP better. And my allergies and body aches GO AWAY.

I’m not talking about living on cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs my whole life. Just cutting down on the bad carbs that make me cranky. And tired. And have mood swings and blood sugar swings. It’s crazy how good I feel and hey, it doesn’t hurt to lose a few pounds along the way. So here goes – Day 1 of my Get Into Shape Low-Carb, Feel Good Diet for Spring. Let’s see if I can keep this going for a few weeks – who knows. I might not miss that chocolate as much as I think I will. And if I feel like cheating? Well a square of dark chocolate here and there (or a glass of wine!) might just have to happen. And I won’t feel guilty one bit. Especially when I’m feeling amazing in my bikini on the beach this summer 🙂

Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini
Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini

I whipped up this tasty recipe today for some grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash. The burgers are made with lean beef (but you can substitute ground chicken or turkey if you like), finely minced zucchini, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, then grilled to perfection, served over an arugula salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. I sauteed the zucchini and yellow squash in a lemon-infused olive oil, with some crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of dill and red pepper flakes, and that’s it! Light, healthy, filling and totally delicious. I think I could do this all the time. Enjoy! (and wish me luck!)

Going Low-Carb & Healthy for Spring! Grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Burgers:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, diced fine
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste (about 6 grinds for me)
  • Arugula, dressed with a light vinaigrette, for serving
  • -----
  • Zucchini Squash:
  • 2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 2 small-medium zucchini, sliced and halved
  • 1 small-medium yellow squash, sliced and halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dill (dried or fresh)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (a few grinds is good, but adjust to taste)

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill over medium-high heat.
  2. Place all the burger ingredients into a large bowl and mix together well with hands, make 4-6 burger patties.
  3. Grill burgers for 4-6 minutes (depending on how well done you like them).
  4. Add a slice of melted provolone cheese on top and some hot sauce, if desired.
  5. Serve burgers over arugula salad dressed in a light vinaigrette dressing.
  6. -----
  7. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  8. Slice zucchini into small moon-shaped slices, peel and smash garlic.
  9. Saute zucchini and squash and garlic cloves for about 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked through (but not mushy).
  10. Add red pepper flakes, dill, sea salt and pepper, stir together.
  11. Serve immediately with burgers and arugula salad.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/04/14/going-low-carb-spring-grilled-parmesan-zucchini-beef-burgers-sauteed-lemon-garlic-squash/

Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini Squash
Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini Squash

 

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Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta & Mozzarella

CheesyBakedPasta1

Spring is on the way, and there’s nothing I love to cook more than fresh greens. Broccoli rabe is one of my favorites, also known as cime di rapa (meaning “turnip tops”), rapini, broccoli di rapa and broccoletti in Italy. The young leaves of the plant are used in cooking along with the clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. The flavor of the vegetable is slightly nutty, bitter and pungent and has tons of vitamin A, potassium, calcium and iron, with its peak season from fall to spring.

Broccoli Rabe

I decided to incorporate it into a cheesy baked pasta dish made with fresh sweet Italian sausage and three cheeses (ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella), along with some fun mushroom flavored pasta, tossed in truffle oil. I picked up some fresh broccoli rabe at the farmers market and sautéed it with some garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil until aromatic, then tossed it into a big casserole dish with the pasta, cheeses and a dash of nutmeg and lemon zest, and baked it into a big pot of golden bubbly brown goodness.

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe-Sausage

Pasta

Ready for Oven

The dish is a perfect light one-pot dish, and is  superb served with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping. Andiamo a mangiare!

Baked Pasta Dish

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed, chopped into large pieces
1 pound of pasta (dried ziti or penne, or chunky pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 pound ground sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 (15 ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 egg, whisked
A dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” or 10” round casserole dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set up an ice bath in a large bowl to the side. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute and immediately remove and plunge into ice bath to cool for another few minutes. Pat dry and set aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta in cool water to stop cooking, while reserving ¼ cup of hot pasta water. Toss with white truffle oil and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring the pan to a medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute or two, until soft and aromatic. Add the broccoli rabe and toss with olive oil, add salt and heat through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat more olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until soft and light golden brown. Add ground sausage and cook until browned, drain off any excess fat.

Return the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe into the large sauté pan with the sausage and onion mixture.

Toss the ricotta cheese with whisked egg, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cooked pasta, broccoli rabe and sausage-onion mixture in the large sauté pan, mixing ingredients together well. Stir in ¼ cup of pasta water to make a light sauce.

Place the pasta mixture into the greased casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

Serve with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping.

Serves 8.

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Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage

Garlicky Greens and Beans

On a recent trip up to Rochester, I had the pleasure of discovering a lovely little Italian place called the Mona Lisa Café. My mother and I stopped in there on a whim one afternoon for a cappuccino, but after entering the café and seeing all the delicious pastries and gelato and enticing smells of amazing food, we decided to stay for lunch instead.

We sat at a table by a large window and enjoyed a glass of wine while perusing the menu. At first we thought we would just split an appetizer, but there were just too many tasty choices on the menu to settle for just one item. We opted for a delicious Italian Panini and their amazing Greens and Beans appetizer made with escarole and cannelloni beans sautéed with heaps of garlic, savory Italian sausage, white wine, olive oil and bread crumbs topped with Parmesan cheese. WOW. Best thing I’ve ever tasted! I loved this dish so much I was inspired to recreate it at home, and my own version of Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage I now present to you. Delicioso!

Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or chunks
  • 1 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage (may use chicken or turkey sausage if you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch of greens (I used collards, but you can use spinach, kale, escarole, or mustard/turnip greens)
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Crusty bread or garlic bread, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain potatoes, cut into quarters or chunks, depending on the size.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. At the same time, add 1/2 inch of water to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sausages to and cover with a lid, simmering for 10 minutes (without turning). Remove the lid, turn sausages over, and cook for another 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, measure out your liquids and dry seasonings and set aside.
  5. Chop the garlic.
  6. Wash the greens well and drain. Remove and discard the veins and stems, cutting leafy green parts off on either side into 1-inch strips.
  7. Remove sausages from pan and cut into coin-sized chunks. Drain fat from pan and wipe down.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the same pan and return to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute while stirring often, for about 1 minute being careful not to burn garlic.
  9. Add additional 3 tablespoons of oil and start sauteing greens by the handful until they are just starting to wilt.
  10. Add cannellini beans, sausage, potatoes, broth, water and minced onion; bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  11. Remove lid, add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the liquid reduces a little (you can simmer it down longer if you like a thicker stew or add more broth/water if you like a thinner stew).
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve the Greens and Beans in large bowls topped with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
  14. Delicioso!

Notes

Substitute sweet Italian sausage with chicken or turkey sausage or omit all together and adjust water/broth down to 2 cups if you prefer a vegetarian dish.

Mona Lisa Cafe uses breadcrumbs and white wine in their dish which I omitted in my version because of the starch from the potatoes and adding a splash of white wine vinegar which gives it a nice tangy flavor to the broth. Feel free to experiment by topping it with toasted breadcrumbs and using some wine in place of the water in my recipe, but you'll need to adjust the amount of liquids down if you omit the potatoes from the dish so it's not too watery/brothy. The consistency should be of a nice light stew with a balance between the meat and vegetables and the broth.

Serve with a dry white Italian wine such as Pinot Grigio and crusty bread for dipping up the broth.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/04/16/garlicky-greens-and-beans-with-sausage/

Garlicky Greens and Beans

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

White Bean and Escarole Soup with Meatballs

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Greens and Beans with Sausage

All photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyright © 2010-2016 Kristen Hess Styling & Photography and The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute in any way without my expressed permission granted or at least with a link back to my original blog post with credit to me. Thanks!

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5 Holiday Appetizer Recipes and Colavita Olive Oil Holiday Giveaway!

Holiday Appetizer Recipes & Colavita Holiday Giveaway
Holiday Appetizer Recipes & Colavita Holiday Giveaway

The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating  some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection and Private Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends. 

Colavita Olive Oil Collection

Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!

*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays 🙂

I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace. 

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.

*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25’ to receive the discount upon checkout!

**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**

Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!

Colavita California EVOO

 

Colavita 100% Californian EVOO

The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.

Read more and get it online

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).

Read more and get it online

 

Colavita Argentina EVOO

Colavita 100% Argentina EVOO

The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

Colavita Private Selection EVOO

Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO

Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil Blend

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil Blend

This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

 

 

 Holiday Appetizer Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10

These yummy sweet and spicy Asian Chicken bites combine honey, soy sauce, orange and Sriracha to make a fun bite-sized appetizer with a delicious glaze.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus 1 tsp zest
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO
  • Fresh ground white pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon black and white sesame seeds, toasted (for garnish)
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients from honey through minced garlic and place inside a large plastic freezer bag.
  2. Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces and trim visible fat, place in bag and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Remove chicken from freezer bag, reserving marinade, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, turning one time until chicken is browned nicely.
  6. Strain marinade and discard solids, and pour into a saucepan bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. Combine water and cornstarch and slowly pour into glace in saucepan. Add fresh cracked white pepper and red pepper flakes, stirring well.
  8. Turn oven up to 500 degrees.
  9. Toss chicken bites with the glaze and broil for about 5 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds for a few minutes in a pan over medium heat and chop green onion.
  11. Serve chicken bites garnished with sesame seeds and green onions with cocktail toothpicks on a small platter or small plates.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light March 2003

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

 

Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart
Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart

Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 8

This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.

Ingredients

  • 1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
  • 3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
  • 2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
  3. Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
  4. Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
  5. In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
  6. Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
  8. Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
  9. Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
  10. Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
  11. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
  12. Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
  13. Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
  14. Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
  15. Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  16. Serve tart cut into wedges.

Notes

If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips
Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 8

Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Colavita California extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • dash of paprika (for garnish)
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
  2. Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
  5. Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
  6. Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
  7. Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Baked Garlic Pita Chips

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 36 pita chips

Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole wheat pita rounds
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
  3. Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
  5. Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
  6. Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
  7. Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs
Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs

Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 18 medium or 36 small meatballs

Serving Size: 2-4 per person

Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar glace.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground pork or chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Argentina EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
  • Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
  • Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
  • Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
  4. Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
  5. Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
  6. Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
  7. Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
  9. Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce
Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce

Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8-10

These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.

Ingredients

  • CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
  • Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Fresh minced dill, for garnish
  • YOGURT DILL SAUCE
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tablespoon minced dill
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
  2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
  3. Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
  4. Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
  5. Pour the flour and Panko breadcrumbs into one large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  7. Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with flour and breadcrumbs.
  8. Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
  9. Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  10. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
  11. YOGURT DILL SAUCE
  12. In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays. 

**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.

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