Archive for italian

Rica’s Pasta Salad

This pasta salad never lasts long in my house. Everyone goes for a second helping, a third and a fourth. Before I know it, it’s alllll gone! This dish is a hit and a must have for BBQ’S get together parties. It’s really easy and a great dish loved by many. 


Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 box (12 oz) tricolor rotini pasta
  • 1 large red bell pepper (or you can use two small ones), diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 lb pepperoni slices diced
  • 1 small or medium red onion, diced
  • Between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sliced black olives (amount depends on your personal preference)

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta to instructions on box. Drain. Run under cold water to stop it from cooking and drain again. 
  2. Mix all other ingredients in with the pasta in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour into the salad. 
  4. Mix well. 
  5. Use Saran Wrap to cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. The more it sits there, the more time it has to “marinate”. It tastes better that way. 

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Italian Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Potatoes Bake

This is an easy dish to make. It does make a great dish to bring to parties. 


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, cut into half
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into chunky pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced into wedges (I used sweet Vidalia onions)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cook sliced Italian sausage with little olive oil in a pan. Make sure the outside is browned all over before moving it to a baking dish. Don’t worry if it isn’t fully cooked inside, it will finish cooking in the oven. 
  3. When the sausage is moved, throw in sliced potatoes in the pan. Add more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Stir once in a while. Let it cook for approximately 10 minutes. Then move to the baking dish. 
  4. Add peppers and onions to the pan. Add more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. You can add in some minced garlic or garlic powder or even garlic salt at this point. I do that sometimes. 
  5. Move peppers and onions to the baking dish. Add in chicken broth, Italian seasoning and the white wine. Mix well. 
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Tips: you could easily replace the Italian sausage with turkey sausage or kielbasa. You could also add in baby carrots or sliced mushrooms if you want to add more vegetables to the baking dish. 

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Baked Chicken Roll Ups with Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese

Nom nom! This is easy to make and it never fails my family. And what’s to love?! The cheese! I *LOVE* anything that has cheese in it!


Ingredients:

  • 5 oz baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese 
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 3 eggs, beaten (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • between 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of thin chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce (it can be any kind, I personally use mariana sauce for this one)
  • 3 to 4 oz of Mozzarella cheese, sliced (I bought the ball kind but you could probably use the shredded kind if you prefer 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Place the chopped spinach leaves in a large pan. Add in the minced garlic and drizzle olive oil over it. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. The spinach leaves will wilt and shrink in size. 
  3. Place the spinach mixture in a bowl. Add Ricotta cheese, 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg and season with salt and pepper. Mix all of this together well. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs. 
  5. In another bowl, mix 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. 
  6. Grease a 13″ by 9″ glass baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside. 
  7. Lay your chicken breast flat and start with the smaller end. Scoop a small amount of filling and roll towards the bigger end of the chicken breast. Take the rolled up piece and dip into the egg bowl then dip into the bread crumb mix. You’ll want to make sure it’s fully coated before placing it seam down in the baking dish. 
  8. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for between 20 to 25 minutes. 
  9. Take dish out of the oven and pour tomato sauce on top of the roll ups. 
  10. Place the sliced Mozzarella pieces on top of the chicken roll ups and bake again for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

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Veal Piccata Meatloaf 

This lemon-scented loaf is delicious! Veal is tender and is considered a delicacy. It is sometimes hard to find ground but your butcher should be able to prepare it for you. This meatloaf is made with ground veal with mushrooms and the flavors of the famous Italian dish veal piccata. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped 
  • 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teasooon pepper
  • 1/2 lemon slices (approximately 3 slices)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Mix everything EXCEPT for lemon slices. 
  3. Place mixture in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (I prefer a glass loaf pan for this)
  4. Gently pat down the mixture. Make sure it’s even. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  5. Top meatloaf with three slices of lemon and bake again for about 15 minutes. 
  6. Let it stand in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

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Farfalle Con Piselli

This is one of these quick pasta dishes. The light creamy sauce is easy to whip up in no time. Farfalle con piselli roughly translates to “butterflies with peas” 


Ingredients:

  • 1 box of bow tie pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas (we love our peas in my house so I tend to grab these 10oz bagged frozen peas and use the whole thing)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a little bit of ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bow tie pasta according to package’s instructions. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic. Cook and stir occasionally. Make sure it becomes tender but not browned. Approximately 5 minutes. 
  3. Add peas, light cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. When it boils, it’s ready. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm or leave it on low heat. 
  4. When the pasta finishes cooking, drain it. Mix it with the pea sauce. 
  5. Serve hot. 

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Zuppa Toscana

I’m sure most of you have been to Olive Garden or have at least heard of it. One of the most popular items on their menu is their soup called Zuppa Toscana (roughly translated to Tuscany Soup). Here’s the near-perfect copycat recipe for this wonderful soup!

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Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Roasted Vegetables 

Want an easy, cheap and filling meal for your family? Look no further. 


Ingredients:

For the vegetables:

  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 2 large red bell peppers, sliced into 1 inch strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound of small/medium shaped pasta (example: rotini)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheet pans with aluminum foil. 
  2. Mix the vegetables with olive oil and salt. Spread evenly on one baking sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes in the oven. 
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, mix all ingredients together for the meatballs. 
  4. With wet hands, roll into 1-inch meatballs and place on the second baking sheet, about 1/2-inch apart.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. You can bake them alongside the vegetables. 
  6. While the meatballs bake, cook pasta according to instructions on the package. 
  7. Drain pasta. Mix pasta with meatballs and vegetables. Add in olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Mix and serve. 

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