Italian Recipes

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Rosemary Roasted Beet Risotto with Ricotta Salata Cheese Recipe

I had half of a beet, puréed, leftover from the harissa paste I made yesterday. Since there are no infants in the house and all the adults have teeth, I had to find some other use for it. I finally decided to incorporate the beet purée in a risotto. The beets imparted a mild sweetness and beautiful pink color to the rice. I roasted some more red beets and added them as well for a texture contrast. I flavored the dish with rosemary from the garden and topped it with some ricotta salata.

Leftover ingredients can be a great way to test out new dishes. What I often do is combine the ingredient with a basic dish, such as risotto in this case, and couple it with complementary flavors that work well with the ingredient in other recipes. This way, chances are the new dish you've created will taste delicious. The real trick is knowing really well a few recipes that are easy to modify. 


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Cumin and Saffron Flavored Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

If Fall had a flavor, it would be butternut squash. I know pumpkins are the symbol of Halloween, and sweet potatoes are a staple of Thanksgiving meals, but to me, nothing compares to the earthy sweetness and versatility of butternut squash. It works perfectly in salads, soups, side dishes, and, in the case of this risotto, as a main course.

To prepare this dish, I just diced and roasted some butternut squash and mixed it with a pot of risotto I infused with saffron. It's a simple, no frills preparation that really highlights the flavor and texture of the butternut squash.


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Summer Vegetables and Hummus Pizza Recipe

Hummus pizza breaks the traditional rules by using a garbanzo bean spread instead of the standard tomato sauce. I added some Mediterranean ingredients to keep the flavor fresh, such as asparagus, garlic, roasted red bell peppers and artichoke hearts.

It's the perfect recipe for a light summer meal; the few shavings of parmesan cheese is the only sinful ingredient in an otherwise very healthy pizza.


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Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Syrup and Mascarpone Cream Dessert Recipe

We hosted a dinner party at home this evening. I wanted to make a "summery" tiramisu parfait, as opposed to the "wintry" coffee tiramisu I made in the past. I found some beautiful sweet Maui Gold pineapple and decided to add a refreshing twist to the classic Italian dessert. I added some fresh mint from the garden, some coconut, mascarpone and crème fraîche.

I served a wide variety of sweet petit fours and other desserts along with the pineapple mascarpone desserts. I know it was a hit because there wasn't a bit left. When everyone went home, I gathered 14 empty parfait glasses. It looked like the guests washed the dishes themselves. I'm definitely going to make this again!


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How to make an Italian Insalata Caprese Recipe
It is officially tomato season at our house. Lulu planted 5 varieties of cherry tomatoes in February and I was finally able to gather a large bowl of them today. They are perfectly ripe, so sweet and definitely organic. While picking the fruits, it was obvious what I was going to make: a Caprese Salad. There is really no specific recipe. Just gather some sweet basil, mozzarella and tomato. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a good quality olive oil.
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