Stuffed zucchini

stuffed zucchiniThis is a fairly easy and fast dish, that should please just about anyone.   It is vegetarian, but many who prefer meat may not even notice the difference.   We made this last weekend as a side dish, but it can very easily work as an entrée as well.  While some of the basics were found online on various sites, there were some creative touches added which worked pretty well.   The entire thing can be made in about half an hour. Continue reading

Shrimp Pasta Primavera Extravaganza

pastaprimavera2This time of year, this type of dish comes to mind;  fresh vegetables always remind us of spring.    We like to toss together a combination of vegetables and mix it together with some pasta and wine and have a light meal.   Shrimp is a nice touch as well.   However, this time we went a little berserk in the vegetable aisle of the supermarket and decided to add pretty much everything that came to mind.  At one point during the cooking we felt some concern that there were too many  vegetables as they seemed to be piling over the edge of the pot and the pasta had yet to be added (thus the “extravaganza” in the name, and it was no longer what one would call “light”), but this proved to be not an issue at all.   The dish turned out to be a resounding success and all of the flavors worked really well together.  We couldn’t stop piling extra helpings onto our plates and still have plenty of leftovers, which will make the next few days that much better.   Here’s how we did it:

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Vegetable Pasta Salad

As the weather starts to get nicer, it’s hard to stay in the kitchen cooking, which is why we sometimes make a few cold dishes which can last for a few days, and don’t need heating to eat.  This one is an old favorite, and is a variation on an old Mollie Katzen recipe (it has varied quite a bit over the years).   The key flavor which ties it all together is the fresh basil.  It can serve a lot of people;  goes well at potlucks, or is easily refrigerated for eating over several days (though it may go quickly; it’s hard not to go for more)  Here is our version.

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Panzanella

panzanellaPanzanella is another wonderful traditional Tuscan dish, made from items in the garden and stale or dry bread. We discovered it in the beautiful city of Montalcino.   After viewing some absolutely stunning views from atop the castle, we wandered and found a nice little café for a glass of the city’s specialty wine, Brunello. On a whim we ordered this dish and it was perfect, and refreshing.  We had to learn how to make it as soon as we returned home.   It is served at room temperature.  Below is a rough recipe.  I have added a few things that may not be traditional (e.g, the mustard) but it can be modified to taste. Continue reading