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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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Archive for Pasta/Pizza

TIP OF THE DAY: Crabtini, A Simple & Elegant First Course

A delicious crabtini. Photo courtesy Ruth’s
Chris Steakhouse.

 

When you’re cooking a fancy dinner, there are tricks to shave time and effort. We typically do this by making first courses and desserts that are simple yet impressive.

One of our go-to first courses is a slice of store-bought pâté with a lightly-dressed mesclun salad, cornichons, pickled onions and some halved grape tomatoes for color. Another is a crabtini.

A crabtini is a crab cocktail served in a Martini glass. Thanks so much to Lynne Olver of FoodTimeline.org, whose research indicates that the originator of the concept appears to be Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, circa 2005.

The crabtini has inspired chefs to create even more elaborate preparations like this molded crab cocktail. But, seeking the quick and easy, we emulated Ruth’s Chris to make our own crabtini:

RECIPE: CRABTINI

Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 1 pound lump or white crabmeat (types of crabmeat)
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Herb vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Romaine
  • Garnish: salmon caviar, red tobiko or tiny dice of
    red bell pepper; lemon or lime wedges
  • Preparation

    1. GENTLY toss the crab with capers, onion, parsley, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper and vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

    2. PLACE romaine leaves upright in a Martini glass. Place a mound of the crab salad in the glass.

    3. GARNISH with caviar and serve with lemon or lime wedges.
     
    RECIPE: HERB VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mixed leafy fresh herbs: basil, mint, parsley, tarragon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few shakes Worcestershire sauce
  •  
    Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
     
    WINE PAIRING

    Enjoy your crabtini with a festive glass of sparking wine—another quick and easy way to add glamor to a simple course—or a clean, crisp dry white wine.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pillow Pasta

    Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-pom-wonderful-230

    Butternut squash ravioli. Photo courtesy Pom
    Wonderful. Here’s the recipe.

     

    When studying culinary history, you learn lots of fun food facts. For example, in the history of pasta, Marco Polo may have brought pasta back from China—but it wasn’t spaghetti or other “long cut” pasta, and it wasn’t “short cut” pasta like farfalle (bowties) or penne.

    Credit for the spread of boiled pasta in the West is given to Arabs traders who packed dried spaghetti-type pasta on long journeys over the famed “Silk Road” to China. It was easy to reconstitute into a hot meal along desolate trails. They brought it to Sicily during the Arab invasions of the 8th century and planted the seeds of an Italian culinary breakthrough.

    There are records of pasta in Italy before Marco Polo returned from the Far East (he set out in 1271 and returned in 1295). In 1279, in his last will and testament, a Genoan soldier named Ponzio Baestone bequeathed “bariscella peina de macarone,” a small basket of macaroni.

    So what part did Marco Polo play? The record is so scant, we’ll never know; but it is conjectured that he brought back “pillow pasta”—boiled dumplings that evolved into agnolotti and ravioli.

     
    Polo returned from the Far East at the very end of the 13th century. The earliest mention of ravioli appears in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century, and other 14th century mentions follow. (Source: Wikipedia)

    Here’s a brief history of pasta.

    TYPES OF PILLOW PASTA

    Pillow pasta is stuffed pasta, but not all stuffed pasta is pillow pasta. The other sub-category includes the large tubes that are stuffed and baked, like manicotti. (Other tube pasta, such as penne, rigatoni and ziti, are too small to be stuffed but are covered with heavier sauces, which are meant to catch in the hollows of the tubes.)

    Pillow pasta comprises fresh pasta sheets stuffed with a filling. The filling is placed on the flat sheet of pasta, another sheet is placed on top, the shapes are cut and the edges are sealed.

  • The pasta can be stuffed with almost any kind of filling, either single or combinations of different meats, cheeses, vegetables, seafood and herbs.
  • They can be sauced, tossed with butter or olive oil, or added plain to soups.
  •  
    How many of these pillow pastas have you had?

     

    Agnolotti: Small stuffed pasta in the shape of a half moon, similar to mezzalune and pierogi. The term is Italian for “priests’ caps.” Photo.

    Cannelloni: Rectangular sheets of pasta dough that are filled and rolled into tube shapes. The name is Italian for “large reeds.” They can easily be confused with manicotti, which are pre-formed tubes that are stuffed (the word comes from the Italian word manica, sleeve).

    Mezzalune: Literally “half moons,” a crescent-shaped stuffed pasta.

    Ravioli: The original “pillow pasta” can be oval, rectangular, round, square, sunflower-shaped (called girasole) and triangular (called pansotti). There are also specialty shapes, from fish to hearts. The name is a diminutive of rava, little turnip, which may or may not have been an early stuffing.

    Raviolini: Miniature ravioli. They can be served as a pasta dish, hors d’oeuvres or put into soup, like won tons.

    Ravioloni: Very large ravioli. They can be as large as three-inch circles and four inch squares or rectangles. In this photo, you can see that the piece at the right is almost as long as the fork.

     

    sauce-ravioli-2-230

    Giovanni Rana’s tasty ravioli and sauces. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Sacchette: Sacks, or “beggar’s purses.” (More)

    Tortellini: Thin strips of raw filled pasta pinched to form a navel-like shape. A popular dish with sauce, it is also served in soups, as in the classic dish, tortellini in brodo. We serve them as cocktail party appetizers with a dip. More.
     
    GIOVANNI RANA PASTA

    We recently celebrated March 20th, National Ravioli Day by pigging out on a huge supply of Giovanni Rana pasta, along with another fresh pasta brand.

    Hands down, Giovanni Rana was the winner. The venerable Italian artisan producer—who now makes most of the products for the U.S. market here—uses ingredients that are top-knotch; you can taste the difference. We were sent four of the seven varieties ravioli: Artichoke, Cheese “Delicato,” Cheese “Forte” and Spinaci e Ricotta, plus four sauces.

    The other flavors including Caprese (basil and mozzarella), Chicken Rosemary and Mushroom. We’ll be seeking them out. (The company also makes tortellini, long cut pasta and gnocchi.)

    The ravioli, sold fresh in bags, cook up in two minutes—it takes longer to heat the sauce! The sauces are very dense; a little goes a long way.

    Ravioli Vs. Tortellini: A Revelation

    After tasting the prosciutto tortellini at the same time as the ravioli, we’ll probably never buy tortellini again.

    With all due respect to this popular dish and the quality of Giovanni Rana’s product, we had a revelation: It’s too much pasta and not enough filling. Since one eats pillow pasta for the filling, there’s too little of it in tortellini to deliver on expectations.

    Check out all of the delicious pastas at GiovanniRana.com.

    If you’re in New York City, head to Chelsea Market, where Giovanni Rana has a restaurant (cucina) and fresh pasta shop (pastificio).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Two Riffs On Lasagna

    One of the fun things about cooking, we think, is that you can develop riffs on favorite dishes that always keep them fresh and interesting. Even if everyone loves your brownies, potato salad or whatever, try variations on it (like adding contrasting flavored baking chips or different nuts to the brownie batter, or minced jalapeño or a fresh herb medley to the potato salad).

    Look at what you’re cooking tonight and see how you can do a variation—divide the recipe in half and serve both. See what everyone thinks.

    Here are two riffs on that family favorite, lasagna. The one at the bottom is actually “faux” lasagna, called pasta al forno.

    RECIPE: SPINACH LASAGNA

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  •  

    Print

    How to get your family to eat more spinach: spinach lasagna! You can substitute kale. Photo and recipe courtesy Westside Market | NYC.

  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess water
  • 2 cups non-fat ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles (make it “double spinach lasagna” by using spinach noodles)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. HEAT olive oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Add spinach, oregano and basil. Set aside.

    3. MIX ricotta/cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in a large bowl with parsley, salt, pepper and egg.

    4. SPREAD half of the spinach mixture in 8 x 8-inch ovenproof baking dish. Spread half of the cheese mixture on top. Add one layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat. Cover with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

    5. REMOVE foil and bake another 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

     

     

    Print

    Pasta al forno: lasagna without the lasagna
    noodles. Recipe and photo courtesy Westside
    Market | NYC.

     

    RECIPE: PASTA AL FORNO

    Pasta al forno, which means “pasta in the oven” or baked pasta (and defines lasagna), is a variation that provides the flavor and relative appearance of lasagna without the effort of cooking and layering lasagna noodles.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet or hot fresh Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces pasta, such as ziti or penne, cooked and
    drained
  • 1 25-ounce jar or homemade marinara sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 6 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano or
    Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F. COAT a 2-1/2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.

    2. REMOVE Remove from casing, break up into pieces and sauté in a skillet until sausage loses its color.

    3. COOK pasta. While the pasta is cooking, combine marinara sauce, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, peas, ricotta, 6 tablespoons Pecorino Romano/Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in pasta and sausage, and pour mixture into the baking dish.

    4. STIR together in a small bowl 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano and oil. Sprinkle over top of pasta. Bake until hot, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let pasta sit for 10 minutes before serving.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Acorn Squash Soup & Sauteed Gnocchi

    acorn-squash-soup-gnocchi-garnish-giovannirasta-230close

    Acorn squash soup with gnocchi and a garnish of
    dried cranberries, Brussels sprouts leaves and
    crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Giovanni Rana.

     

    Italians are known for combining pasta and soup: minestrone, pasta e fagiole (pasta and bean soup) and pasta in brodo (chicken broth with pasta) are classics.

    Here’s an even fancier creation from pasta maker Giovanni Rana: acorn squash soup with potato gnocchi. This hearty starter can also serve as a main course—an example of how you can build on a simple bowl of soup to create a meal.

    RECIPE: ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP
    WITH SAUTÉED GNOCCHI

    Ingredients

  • 1 package (17.6 ounces) potato gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 large shallots (or 3 small), cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 bulbs fennel, core and stem removed, cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut the squash halves into segments, following the natural seams. Toss segments with extra virgin olive oil and season with kosher salt. Lay squash in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast until tender; about 30-35 minutes. In the meantime…

    2. MELT butter with extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots and fennel until soft, about 8-10 minutes. While shallots and fennel are sautéing, peel leaves from Brussels sprouts. Toast in a dry nonstick pan over medium high heat until starting to char in spots. Remove and set aside.

    3. INCREASE heat to high and add half of the vegetable oil. When oil is shimmering, add half of the gnocchi directly from the bag. Sauté gnocchi, tossing often, until browned. Set aside and repeat.

    4. REMOVE acorn squash from oven when tender; allow to cool enough to handle. Peel skins off and discard. Working in batches, purée squash, sautéed shallots and fennel, vegetable broth, heavy cream and vinegar in a blender or food processor.

    5. RETURN soup to a pan and gently reheat. Adjust consistency with more vegetable broth if necessary and season with kosher salt. Add gnocchi and divide among bowls.

     

    1002200_gnocchi-NecoGarnicia-230

    Boiled potatoes are riced and rolled with flour into ropes of dough. Small pieces are cut off and handmade gnocchi are pressed between the thumb and the tines of a fork to make the characteristic indentations (no dents in factory-made gnocchi). Photo courtesy Neco Garnicia.

     

    6. GARNISH with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, toasted Brussels sprouts leaves and dried cranberries.
     
    WHAT ARE GNOCCHI?

    Gnocchi (NYO-kee) are light and fluffy Italian dumplings. The most commonly known in the U.S. are made from potatoes and flour, although other styles are noted below.

    You can find butternut squash, spinach and sweet potato gnocchi on modern menus, and creative chefs can create a myriad of flavors. Some also substitute semolina for the potato flour—the original recipe (more about that in a minute). Shapes and ingredients vary by region.

    The word “gnocchi” means “dumplings” in Italian. There are two suggestions for the origin of the word:

  • Nocchio, “gnarl,” referring to a gnarl in wood
  • Nocca, “knuckle,” referring to the knob-like appearance
  •  
    They’re Not Italian!

    Gnocchi are of Middle Eastern origin; the originals were made with semolina dough. As the Roman Empire expanded, favorite recipes were brought home and adapted, based on local ingredients and preferences. Depending on where you are in Italy, you can find:

  • Gnocchi alla romana (Roman-style gnocchi), made with semolina flour and rolled out in a thick, flat dough. Circles are cut from the dough and then baked.
  • Gnocchi di ricotta (ricotta gnocchi), which uses ricotta instead of potatoes with the flour and egg mixture.
  • Gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi), shown in the photos above; essentially mashed potatoes with egg and flour, cut into small pillows and boiled.
  • Gnocchi Parisienne (Parisian gnocchi), made with boiled pâte à choux (cream puff dough, which can be used in savory recipes). They are often pan-fried in butter and great tossed with fresh herbs.
  •  
    Whether covered in sauce, tossed in butter or pan-fried, gnocchi are crowd-pleasers.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sneak Veggies Into The Pasta

    ravioli-brussels-fennel-redonion-giovannirana-230

    Brussels sprouts and fennel accent
    mushroom ravioli. Photo courtesy Giovanni
    Rana Pasta.

     

    Just about everyone likes to eat a big plate of pasta; a smaller percentage of us enjoy a big plate of vegetables. Pasta Primavera, “spring pasta,” with a complement of spring vegetables like asparagus and zucchini, has long been a way of combining both. Often, a fun shape—bowtie or corkscrew pasta is used.

    We’re still some weeks away from spring asparagus, so how about “Pasta Inverno”—a pasta recipe with winter vegetables. Think bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, onion, winter squash and other seasonal choices.

    The winter-hearty dish below from Giovanni Rana Pasta unites their refrigerated mushroom ravioli with winter veggies that don’t naturally come to mind when you think pasta: Brussels sprouts and fennel. Try—it’s delicious.

    The second time you make it, add an even larger percentage of vegetables, with the goal of achieving a 1:1 ratio of pasta and veggies. And of course, serve with a big side salad. That’s how to get everyone to eat more vegetables!

     
    RECIPE: MUSHROOM RAVIOLI WITH ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 package (12 ounces) refrigerated mushroom ravioli
  • 16 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts, dark green outer leaves removed
  • 1 small bulb fennel, stalks removed and cored
  • 1 small red onion or red bell pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
  • 4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters lengthwise. Place in a mixing bowl.

    2. SLICE fennel into 1/8” pieces and add to bowl. Cut both ends off the onion, peel and cut in half. Then quarter each onion half, for a total of 8 chunks. Separate the onion layers and add to the bowl, along with the garlic cloves.

    3. ADD enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat all pieces (about 3 tablespoons). Lay the vegetables on a sheet pan in one layer and roast without flipping for 15 minutes. Add the whole sprigs of fresh thyme and flip all pieces.

    4. CONTINUE roasting vegetables until they are tender and well browned, flipping every 5-10 minutes; about 35 minutes total. Remove garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme. Season vegetables to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. While the vegetables are roasting…

     

    catskill-brussels-sprouts-230

    Who’d have thought up pairing Brussels sprouts with mushroom ravioli. It’s a yummy recipe. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    5. MELT butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Prepare ravioli according to package instructions. Drain ravioli, reserving ¼ cup of cooking water. Toss ravioli in the butter along with roasted vegetables. If necessary, add enough cooking water to achieve a sauce-like consistency. Plate ravioli and vegetables together and serve.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Valentine Pizza

    You can use a giant heart-shape cookie pan, pressing into the dough like a cookie cutter, to cut a heart-shaped crust (which also works for anniversaries, bridal showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day and other festivities).

    Or you can freehand it.

    Use your Valentine’s favorite toppings or stick to a red theme:

    RED VEGETABLES

  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Diced San Marzano tomatoes (canned)
  • Grilled red pepper (pimiento)
  • Mini red jacket potatoes, cooked and halved
  • Pepperoni
  • Pimento-stuffed olives
  • Red bell peppers
  • Red chiles (Anaheim, Fresno or jalapeño, e.g.)
  • Sliced plum tomatoes
  • Sundried tomatoes
  •  

    heart-pizza-dueforni-lasvegas-230

    We [heart] pizza. Photo courtesy Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    PINK-RED PROTEINS

  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto/Serrano ham
  • Salmon caviar
  • Shrimp
  • Smoked salmon
  •  
    One of our favorite pizzas: sliced boiled potatoes, smoked salmon strips, salmon caviar and fresh dill with white sauce.

    It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day!

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE FOOD: Spaghetti & Meat Balls

    valentine-spaghetti-beansprouts.com-230

    Now, loving pasta has a double meaning.
    Photo courtesy Bean Sprouts.

     

    This fun idea comes from Shannon Payette Seip, author of “Bean Appetit: Hip And Healthy Ways To Have Fun With Food.” She is co-founder of Bean Sprouts Café and Cooking School in Seattle, where families learn to make dishes that are both great tasting and good for you.

    It’s easy to make this heart-shaped pasta dish. For each portion, plan on two cups of cooked pasta, one meatball, 1/2 cup marinara sauce and an optional two strips of red bell pepper.
     
    Preparation

  • Use aluminum foil to create a heart shape, a little smaller than the size of a salad plate (or dinner plate, for a larger portion).
  • Place the outline on a greased cookie sheet. Fill with cooked spaghetti and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes.
  • While the spaghetti is baking, cut the cooked meatball and red pepper into arrow shape. You can use the marinara sauce to make the arrow shafts, instead of the bell pepper, if you wish.
  • Use spatula to transfer the spaghetti heart on plate. Outline with marinara sauce.
  •  

    Shannon suggests that, as you dig in with family or friends, you share three things you love about each other.

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL: Football Pizza

    football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

    It’s easy to make “football pizza.” Photo
    courtesy Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    Turn pepperoni into a pigskin with this clever idea from Due Forni restaurant in Las Vegas (the restaurant’s name means “two ovens”).

    Whether you’re having pizza delivered on game day or making it yourself, it’s easy to add a football to your pizza.

  • Slice a pepperoni sausage thinly.
  • Slice mozzarella into “laces.”
  • Ten minutes before the pizza should come out of the oven, quickly remove and lay the pepperoni atop and mozzarella, as shown in the photo.
  • Return to the oven to heat the pepperoni and melt the cheese. If it’s delivery pizza, have a hot oven ready; lay down the pepperoni and cheese and heat for 10 minutes.
  •  
    Go team!

     

    MORE “FOOTBALL FOOD”

  • Football Cupcakes
  • Football Deviled Eggs: make laces with chives
  • Football Steak
  • Football Strawberries: Pipe white chocolate laces onto chocolate-covered strawberries
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Pizza

    Pizza dough, so much fun to knead. Photo by Mariha Kitchen | IST.

     

    It’s National Pizza Week. If you’re not already making homemade pizza, here’s an incentive to start.

    For the easy way, buy a pre-made crust, raw dough (we get ours at Trader Joe’s—delicious!) and add your favorite toppings. It’s healthier if you use a whole wheat crust.

    For those who like to bake, here’s how to make your own pizza dough and a championship recipe from chef Bruno DiFabio, a six-time winner of the World Pizza Games / Pizza World Championships.

    You may be a pure pepperoni person, or prefer a grilled veggie pizza. The most popular pizza toppings in America, according to one survey, are (in order) pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sausage, bacon, extra cheese, black olives, green peppers, pineapple and spinach. (What, no anchovies?)

    But if you’d like to consider more creative ingredients, including those that you rarely find at a pizza restaurant. You can also use your leftovers. For your consideration:

     

    Proteins

  • Alternative cheeses: Brie, blue, feta, Gruyère, etc. (pick out something special in our Cheese Glossary)
  • Bacon in all its forms (types of bacon)—instead of four cheeses, consider four different types of bacon
  • Chicken, including BBQ or fried
  • Fried egg (crack the raw egg onto the pizza and let it cook in the oven
  • Lamb (ground—delicious with feta)
  • Seafood: clams, crab, scallops, shrimp, tuna
  •  
    Veggies

  • Artichokes, avocado
  • Broccoli rabe, broccolini
  • Capers
  • Chiles: fresh, dried
  • Fresh herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme
  • Greens: arugula, radiccchio; fennel (sautéed); chard, kale, mustard greens (including mizuna and tatsoi), spinach (sautéed)
  • Onions: caramelized, cippolini, leeks (sautéed)
  • Potatoes: roasted, sautéed, mashed (all delicious with rosemary); sweet potatoes (especially with sage and Gorgonzola)
  • Tomatoes: fresh, sundried
  • You can make pretty much anything work.

     

    DESSERT PIZZA
    You can also make dessert pizzas with bananas and other fruits, chocolate sauce, Nutella, nuts and raisins, and other ingredients you enjoy. Check out:

  • Piña Colada Pizza Recipe
  •  
    PERSONAL FAVORITES

    We enjoy making these “fusion” pizzas, incorporating ingredients from other cultures into the iconic Italian food:

  • Asian: roast pork, scallions, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce
  • Greek: anchovies, dill, feta, fennel seeds, ground lamb, sliced grape leaves (see the different Mediterranean-inspired recipes below)
  • Russian: sliced roasted potatoes, smoked salmon and salmon caviar
  •  

    How creative can you get? This “taco pizza” is topped with ground beef, salsa, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and tortilla chips. From Due Forni | Las Vegas.

    MORE RECIPE IDEAS

  • Andouille Sausage Pizza With Onion Confit
  • Bacon & Walnut Pizza
  • BBQ Chicken & Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipes
  • Bacon, Chicken & Ham Pizza Recipe
  • Gorgonzola Pizza With Caramelized Onions or with Pear & Walnuts
  • Greek Pizza Recipe: kalamata olives, spinach, onions, feta, sundried tomatoes
  • Middle East Pizza: lamb, Kalamata olives, feta
  • Potato & Pancetta Pizza, with asparagus, brick cheese, garlic and thyme
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF PIZZA

    How did the crust, tomatoes and mozzarella get together, especially when tomatoes were considered poisonous for their first 200-plus years in Europe?

    Check it out!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pasta Without The Carbs

    Have all the noodles you want; these tofu
    shirataki are very low in calories. Photo
    courtesy House Foods.

     

    Why is “comfort food” high-carb food? What’s a pasta lover to do?

    Well, there’s spaghetti squash, and you can shred zucchini into a form that cooks up like pasta (and is delicious topped with sauce and grated cheese).

    And then there’s shirataki.

    WHAT IS SHIRATAKI?

    Shirataki are Japanese noodles that are very low in calories and carbohydrate (many have zero). They are thin and translucent, made from the colorfully named devil’s tongue yam (also called elephant yam or konjac yam). They are fat-free, gluten-free and soy-free. There are also varieties made from tofu, which does have soy and a modest number of calories.

    The Miracle Noodle brand is certified kosher by OU. The company also makes “rice” from the same yam.

     

    “Shirataki” means “white waterfall” in Japanese, a term that describes the appearance of the very white yam noodles (the tofu noodles have a more pasta-like color).

    Largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber from the yam, they have little flavor of their own. But top with tomato sauce or add to a cup of broth, and you’ve got a pretty darn good pasta substitute. Like tofu (and the tofu shirataki), they easily absorb the flavors of any dish or sauce.

    A special benefit: The soluble fiber slows digestion and prolongs the sensation of fullness.

     

    The yam-based noodles have recently been joined by tofu-based shirataki-style noodles. They require refrigeration and contain a minimal amount of carbohydrate.

    Shirataki noodles can be found both in dry and “wet” forms in Asian markets, some supermarkets and online. The wet noodles, most frequently found, are packaged in liquid.

    There are many offerings out there. The NoOodle brand has meal starters at 20 calories per serving, that allow you to enjoy great-tasting meals without packing on the pounds. They also have 50-calorie soups. The line includes:

  • Tomato Infused Angel Hair, angel hair NoOodles in a tomato flavored broth
  • Chicken Flavor Infused Angel Hair NoOodles in a light chicken broth
  • Chicken NoOodle Soup, prepared with chicken and fresh vegetables in a natural chicken broth
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    Shirataki noodles are made in favorite cuts, from angel hair and fettuccine to spaghetti. There are even ziti and “spinach noodles.”Photo courtesy Miracle Noodle.

  • Tomato Risotto with diced tomatoes, spinach, and basil prepared in a tomato sauce
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    COOKING TIPS

  • There is a fishy aroma when you open some packages, possibly from the preservatives. Once the noodles are rinsed and boiled, it is gone and there is no unpleasant taste. Be sure to follow the package directions.
  • The texture is gelatinous. Pat the noodles dry with paper towels) before adding to the recipe. If you still don’t like the texture, try this technique: Rinse 4-5 minutes, boil for 5-7 minutes, then rinse again in cold water again for a minute. If you want the noodles hotter, put them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  • An easy dish: heat olive oil and a garlic in a pan and add the rinsed, blotted noodles. Add whatever proteins and vegetables you have. It’s a delicious dish. You can also toss shirataki into stir-frys.
  • Some fans say the recipes taste better the next day.
  •  
    We’re coming up on the Year Of The Horse; but this may also be the Year Of The Shirataki Noodle.

      

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