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*July 2010 COTM - ITALIAN EASY: Vegetables

Our July cookbooks are ITALIAN EASY and ITALIAN TWO EASY, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the following chapters:

Italian Easy:

Potatoes
Verdura

Italian Two Easy: Italian Vegetables

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Potatoes with lemon, Italian Easy, P186

    We loved this. A lot. And it was simplicity itself to put together. Halve waxy potatoes lengthwise, and then half again so you have skinny quarters. Toss in a bowl with 2 lemons, cut into half, then thirds, then halves again - squeeze the lemons as you go so the juice mixed with the potatoes. Add two cloves of chopped garlic, some chopped marjoram and season. Add enough EVOO to moisten - I used about a TBSP, probably - a good glug anyway. Bung the whole lot in an ovenproof dish and roast in a hot oven (220C) for half an hour, turning once. I forgot to do this, and just shook the pan a bit, but they turned out fine.

    These were really, really good. I served them with meatballs with the quick tomato sauce from IE, and a simple salad. To be honest, they'd be good with just about anything and I will make often. The combination of flavours was delicious, and they were just lemony enough. Mr GG was a big fan and had about three helpings. I will have the leftovers for lunch today. Yum.

    Picture to follow, once my technical assistant gets back from his swim. ;-)

    6 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        Potatoes with lemon, Italian Easy, Pg186

        We made these potatoes last night and Loooooved them! I had 4 skin-on/bone-in large-ish chicken thighs so used the same lemon/garlic/seasoning for them, set them on top of the potatoes and roasted the whole thing together for a longer time. Served with sauteed beet greens, Wonderful delicious dinner!

        1. re: Gio

          I've had my eye on these lemony potatoes, too. Obviously, with two raves already, this is a must do!

          ~TDQ

      2. re: greedygirl

        So, we tried this (potatoes with lemon) tonight in a foil packet over the gas grill. There was no fresh marjoram at the grocery store, so I used 1/3 specified quantity of dried. Re-reading gg's post, I think I quartered the potatoes wrong.

        Anyway, I'm not sure whether it was the cut of the potatoes, the dried marjoram, or some other user error, but this recipe did not seem to adapt well to the gas grill. Bummer.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Just had these, cold, and a shrimp crostini "sandwich" for brunch (ie., the adapted crab crostini from the bruschetta section) and they were actually pretty lovely. I think they'd be nice for a cold potato salad for a picnic or something, though they might want some capers or something like that. I am convinced these potatoes want to be cut thinner than I cut them. I am definitely going to have another go at them, perhaps even on the grill again.

          ~TDQ

        2. re: greedygirl

          Made these tonight- super easy & pleasing to toss & put together, flavor was very good but i wanted them crispier, saltier, better. I don't think i'd make them again just the same, but maybe i'd try the idea Gio had of cooking them with chicken, to let them fry up in the chicken grease. Also, something that is bothering me about this book in general- i want more specific instructions, i.e. what size the potatoes should be and when it says to add enough olive oil to moisten- i'm not sure what to do because two lemons have already made the potatoes very moist. of course i know enough to err on the side of too much oil, but still- i want an amount that i can then choose to follow or vary from.

        3. Fava Beans and Peas (IE, page 201)

          Didn’t think this the best use of some truly fine ingredients. You’re instructed to soften the whites of scallions in a heavy-bottomed skillet in olive oil, then add shelled favas and peas, season, add water to cover, and cook “slowly” until the peas and beans are soft and the water “absorbed.” Cooking “slowly” wasn’t “absorbing” the water. I turned the heat to high to try to boil off water that didn’t quite cover the beans. The water still wasn’t absorbed when I thought the beans had cooked long enough. I had baby spinach, so instead of following the instruction to preboil the spinach, I just added the baby spinach to the peas and favas, covered the pan until the spinach wilted, and tossed to combine. You’re then instructed to season again and drizzle with olive oil. (This, by the way, made two out of two recipes you’re instructed to “drizzle with olive oil” to finish.) After tasting, I drizzled with a really good sesame oil; it seemed to need something else. It helped.

          Served with Grilled Tuna with Fennel Seeds (IE, page 137).

           
          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            JoanN: I also made this and was less than impressed. All those great ingredients - fresh peas and favas and spinach. It was also labor intensive - shelling peas and favas. I also added spinach directly to the pan with the peas and favas. I don't think that could have altered the taste all that much. I added the olive oil at the end and then s & p. The whole dish seemed to be missing something. Sesame oil! What a great idea. I didn't think of that and could only think think that butter could possibly improve the taste. I added a bit of butter and that did make it quite delicious. It wasn't very Italian, though.

            Maybe Rogers and Gray's olive oil is so much better than mine that it made all the difference, but I don't think so.

            I served this with a warmed slab of Acme Ciabata and some chicken thighs rolled in garlic and olive oil and then coated with some panko crumbs which I fried in a non-stick skillet with a bit of olive oil. Served them with lemon wedges. All in all, this was a good dinner, but the labor of shelling wasn't worth the final result.

          2. Fried Porcini, Parsley, Garlic (Easy p. 217)
            This was such a simple dish, but delicious if you love mushrooms/porcini. It is much like a Spanish dish called champiñones a la plancha. One sautés porcini in olive oil on high heat and then adds parsley and garlic and then cooks at a lower temperature for 5 minutes and finishes with olive oil. This could certainly work with other mushrooms. I was not sure about adding more olive oil after finishing the sauté, but it did add a wonderful aroma and richness. After tasting it, I did add a touch of salt.

            Grilled Radicchio p. 210 (Two Easy)
            Radicchio is cut into half and each half into 8 segments (I cut mine into 4 segments). Broil or grill to wilt. I broiled mine a little too long. A couple of the small pieces charred. Oops. Season the radicchio with lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I resisted the temptation to add salt and as it turns out it didn’t need it. The pleasing bitterness of the radicchio was complemented by the addition of the dressing. I did have grilled scallops with this and it was a great duo of contrasting flavors.

            11 Replies
            1. re: BigSal

              Was that rehydrated dried porcini in the first recipe, or were you lucky enough to have fresh?

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I used fresh porcini for this recipe. This is the first year I've had the chance to try fresh porcini and I am hooked.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    I'm also jealous. They're soooooo expensive.

                    PS: I think your cite for the porcini recipe should be Two Easy, no?

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      Yes, Two Easy. Thanks for pointing that out.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Caitlin, for me it's not "lucky", I can find beautiful porcini at Monterey Market, but they're sooooooo expensive, I can't bear to buy them.

                  Also, re: BigSal - I read that Italians (or maybe I heard it on some PBS cooking program like Lydia) NEVER use balsamic vinegar in salad dressing. I never let that stop me, though, and use it frequently.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    I had a salad on Saturday made by a bonafide Italian and an aristocrat no less (she's friends with that woman who was made famous in America by the Naples at Table man, Albert Schwartz) and she used balsamic in the dressing. Plus I was given it to dress a salad with myself in restaurants in Campania.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      In "The Splendid Table," Lynne Rossetto Kasper has 6 (large!) pages on Balsamic vinegar. She says the finest of them are sipped as after dinner liqueurs or drizzled in very small quantities over finished dishes. This is most definitely not the kind of balsamic vinegar one would use to make salad dressing.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Have you cooked much from that book (The Splendid Table)? I love reading it, but have only cooked the Renaissance Bolognese and one of the breads.

                        1. re: BigSal

                          No, I haven't. I, too, use it a great deal for reference but have cooked from it rarely. I made her roasted potatoes with sage and pancetta once and they were great, but labor intensive because you had to keep turning them. And I made the "Priest Stranglers" with Fresh Clams and Squid--but I used dried pasta.

                          This would be such a wonderful COTM. I wonder if enough of us have it to lobby for it? On the other hand, it seems we've done more Italian books than anything else.

                      2. re: oakjoan

                        Oakjoan, my "lucky" comment was not just re finding fresh porcini, but also *having* them. They are too dear for me at this moment, too.

                  2. Zucchini trifolati, tomato, Italian Two Easy, p214

                    Trifolati is a method of slicing vegetables and cooking with olive oil, garlic and parsley, apparently, You slice the courgettes in half and then randomly cut them into 2cm pieces. Then you fry with 2 cloves of garlic, sliced, in olive oil until they start to brown. Add cherry tomatoes which you have "torn" in half and squeezed to removed some of the seeds and juice. I cut mine as the tearing didn't really work out for me and I didn't see the point! Season and cook for another five minutes. Remove from the heat, add basil and cover. Leave for at least ten minutes before serving.

                    We thought this was terrific - bursting with flavour and perfect for a summer's day. Now that courgettes are in season I'll be making it again, perhaps with the addition of mint or chilli, as it suggests in the footnote to the recipe.

                    I served this with roast chicken with lemon, from Italian Easy.

                    22 Replies
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Oh I am so glad! I was really looking forward to the zucchini recipes in this book and I'm very encouraged by your report!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I think trifolati means with fried parsley - you didn't mention when you added the parsley- was it before the tomatoes? Years ago I was taught how to make fagiolini trifolati using a can of Italian green beans and frying them in olive oil garlic and parsley.

                        1. re: Berheenia

                          There wasn't any parsley in this recipe.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Berheenia: I also saw the description of this recipe which says trifolati is a method of cooking with parsley... but GG is correct, there's no parsley in this dish. The book is a bit confusing on this point.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Isn't it that it's a traditional cooking method for truffles (!) or a flavoring used with truffles (!!)? I seem to recall that from somewhere.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Actually trifolati can be the method of cooking many veggies, mushroom being just one way. Parsley is used and a bit of water is added to the oil so the veggie becomes creamy.

                                In the cook's notes for that recipe she states that although parsley is generally used for this particular recipe they substituted basil.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Aha. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing! ;-)

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          Zucchini Trifolati, Tomato, Italian Two Easy, Pg, 214

                          Made this last night and we found it to be just as Greedygirl described. Definitely a make again dish. I augmented the zucchini with 2 small yellow squash, used large-diced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, and added a bit of parsley and mint to the basil just to use it up. Very tasty indeed. I, too wished for more salt even though I try to be low-sodium, and thought crushed hot red chilies would have been a good addition. But as it was, we loved every bite. Served with steamed Basmati, grilled sausages and a terrific cucumber salad from the Ottolenghi book, Plenty.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Zucchini Trifolati, Tomato, Italian Two Easy, Pg, 214

                            I made almost the same subs and we loved it. I also used lemon basil and a bit of hot chilies. This is my new favorite squash recipe.

                            1. re: Gio

                              I made this earlier in the week and we all loved it too. This recipe is definately on my (short) list of ones to copy down before the books go back to the library.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Yay! Two zucchini and one yellow squash, plus basil, appeared in my CSA box yesterday. That's when you know summer is REALLY here. No tomatoes yet. Would it work with crushed canned tomatoes?

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Crushed canned tomatoes? Oh sure. Why not. We're certainly making these recipes, and I dare say those from Gourmet Today, our very own.
                                  Justa likea in Italia.

                                  ETS: Drain first and rough chop to mimic cherry tomatoes..

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    I'm not a fan of crushed canned tomatoes - I think they tend to have a tinny flavour, and be a bit watery. I'd buy whole canned tomatoes and cut them up myself. We don't have good tomatoes here either, but the little grape tomatoes that come in boxes do seem to have a nice robust flavour.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Ah, good tip, MMRuth, thank you for that. Yes, might as well go to the effort to crush them myself. ;-) Do you think they knock a few pennies of the price for that?

                                      Gio, yes, I shall remember to drain!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Can you get tinned cherry tomatoes in the States? They're a bit more expensive, but generally very good quality if you can find them.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          The only canned cherry toms I've seen in NY were imported from Italy (bought in an Italian deli) and were unpeeled. That was a bit odd but they were good.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Yes, I've used some of those too - from Di Paolo - very good. And Pomi is much better than tinned, as someone else wrote.

                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                          The Campari brand small tomatoes in the plastic box have nice flavor too, a bit more acid than the grape ones. (I'm with you, never buy anything but whole peeled tomatoes).

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            Agree completely. In fact, I pretty much ruined a dish the other night just because I wanted to use up a can of chopped tomatoes. Even loaded with garlic and onions, the sauce tasted like a tin can.

                                            I have, however, thank you Rick Moonen, become a big fan of Pomi chopped tomatoes. They come in a carton, so no tinny taste, and not at all watery; they never have to be drained. Pomi also sells strained tomatoes, but I haven't tried those.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Not only am I unable to type correctly, now I've lost my ability to read as well. One cannot rough chop crushed tomatoes. Obviously I was thinking of canned whole ones which I use in a pinch, too.

                                          2. re: Gio

                                            Zucchini Trifolati, Tomato: Italian Two Easy, Pg, 214

                                            Back again two years later for the zucchini trifolati and this time used 3 summer squash. Pretty much followed the procedure I used last time and the outcome was just as wonderful as I remembered. This is a good recipe to use all summer. Peppers would be delicious with these ingredients...

                                          3. re: greedygirl

                                            Inspired by all of these reports (and a handful of small zucchini in my CSA box), I tried this. I threw in some large slices of jalapeno, which I thought was nice, and some scapes in addition to the garlic--and I used a bit more basil than called for. I liked this a lot; it is one of the better zucchini recipes I have tried. And very simple to make.

                                          4. Potatoes and mustard, p183

                                            Another winner. Scrub and boil new potatoes. Put in a bowl with 2 tbs of capers and some chopped parsley. To make the dressing, combine 2 tbs of French mustard (I used dijon) with a tbs of red wine vinegar. Slowly add 6 tbsp of olive oil drop by drop, whisking constantly, until you get a thick mayonnaise style dressing. Add to the warm potatoes and sprinkle over more parsley.

                                            I thought this was a nice alternative to potato salad. The mustard added a nice piquancy and it went well with grilled sardines. Will make again.

                                            1. Slow-cooked fennel, p 205

                                              The recipe calls for 8 bulbs of fennel - I thought this was somewhat excessive and the fennel at the market was pretty big, so I used four bulbs. Even so this made a ton - I will be eating fennel for days! Especially as I discovered tonight that Mr GG doesn't really care for it. Our friend had second helpings, but even so, there's a lot left over...

                                              Anyway - cut the stalk off the fennel and remove the tough outer layer. Cut in half and then cut each half in thirds. Grind 1 tsp of fennel seeds. Peel 4 cloves of garlic and chop in half (this is news to me - I didn't read the recipe properly and chopped my garlic, oops)!

                                              Heat EVOO in a thick-bottomed pan with a lid and add the fennel, fennel seeds and 2 crumbled dried chillies. Season and stir over a high heat until the fennel starts to colour. Then add the garlic, turn the head down, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the fennel is soft.

                                              I really liked this, but a little goes a long way and there was way too much. Never mind, it will go nicely with the Italian sausages I got out of the freezer but didn't cook, because there was TOO. MUCH. FOOD.

                                              Never knowingly undercatered, that's me.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                Your last sentence cracked me up completely. And there definitely is such a thing as too much fennel!

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  No, no, never!! I always make a huge serving of fennel salad because I know Lulu and I can live on it for lunch for a week very happily.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Salad, maybe. Cooked isn't as appealing, at least to me.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Actually, had the leftovers cold for lunch and dinner tonight - they were pretty good.

                                              2. Green bean, mustard p. 31 (Italian Two Easy)

                                                Very similar to greedygirl's post on potatoes and mustard. Boil green beans in salted water to tender. Meanwhile, put 3 T mustard in bowl (I used Dijon), stir in the juice of a lemon and slowly add olive oil to emulsify (I used a blender to do this part). Toss beans with sauce and add italian parsley. The spiciness of the mustard paired well with the brightness of the lemon. Good, but not a knockout.

                                                Sorry, I just realized that I should have posted this in the salad section.

                                                1. First off, the kitten has killed off mi whi kee, so bear with me.
                                                  Potatoes with Lemon, IE
                                                  I had some nice local waxee fingerlings around so I made this after reading good reviews here.
                                                  Good and simple, but not as great as I'd imagined them to be.
                                                  Loved the simple prep, the weigh it smelled coming together, etc. Used fresh marjoram, which is one of me favorites, and some nice fresh garlic I've been hoarding.
                                                  Baked them about ten min longer than specified, I often find I have to bake fingerlings longer though, and I did cut them as instructed, nice, thin lengths.
                                                  The lemon flavor was veree pronounced. A bit too much for me, which surprised me. I halved the recipe and used one whole, juicee lemon.
                                                  I kept telling me sister I was tempted to mix in a spoonful of aioli, or, gasp, Best Foods!
                                                  I'd make them again, with half as much lemon, and look forward to tasting the leftovers, perhaps the dish mellowed.
                                                  Apologies for the obnoxious tipos, off to get the keeboard fixed I hope!

                                                  5 Replies
                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                      Wow! rabaja! What great photos. I want to eat this dish IMMEDIATELY!

                                                    2. re: rabaja

                                                      Just a thought but it may be that an American lemon is a lot bigger than the ones we have in the UK. We've had that issue before.

                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        Another good point, and one I thought about when I made my pasta with arugula the other night. My lemons were HUGE, and likely even by american standards. So the lemoniness of the pasta was probably seriously overdone by what the recipe wanted. But c'mon, someone should be editing for american standards, surely?

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          This lemon was chock full of juice, so I should have used 3/4 or so. Next time I'll know.
                                                          I did like the leftovers with roasted veggies for lunch this afternoon, and it looked so darn good in the pan!

                                                      2. Cavolo nero, fennel see p. 226 (Two Easy)

                                                        Another winner. Cook the cavolo nero (aka lacinato, black kale, etc) in boiling salted water with a whole garlic clove until tender (5 minutes), drain and rough chop. Saute sliced garlic dried hot chile (I used crushed red pepper flakes) and crushed fennel seed. Saute to brown the garlic, add cavolo nero, season and mix. I liked this quite a bit. I love how the cavolo really holds up to cooking and the seasoning additions complement the kale, not overwhelm it.

                                                        1. Zucchini Scapece, Pg. 212, Italian Two Easy

                                                          Nice easy side dish to just about any main. I reduced the amount of sunflower oil called for from 1 cup to 3 Ts and substituted small yellow squash for the zucchini. The other ingredients are: garlc, mint leaves (I added a few leaves from the last of the fresh basil I had), dried hot chiles, and red wine vinegar. The squash is washed and cut into 1/4" ovals then sliced into matchsticks... I left them as ovals. They're fried in hot oil then drained on paper towels. Placed on a platter and drizzled with the vinegar, strewn with thinly sliced garlic (I pressed it) mint leaves fried for 2 seconds ... seasoned with S & P and the chiles.
                                                          My mother fried zucchini and yellow squash but used oregano and basil instead of mint. This was a different flavor and went well with the Arista di Maiale, IE, pg. 166.

                                                          1. Whole Zucchini: Italian Easy pg. 196

                                                            Well that's a boring name for a recipe, huh?

                                                            One is supposed to boil 1.5 pounds of whole zucchini in salted water until tender. I noticed that a photo, two pages later, of what I assume was this dish, appears to use baby zukes, although the recipe doesn't actually say so. I used three small ones from the garden and just cut them into the appropriate sized pieces.

                                                            After the zucchinni are cooked, one cuts them up and drains in a colander for 30 minutes, "pressing gently to remove excess water."

                                                            Separately, one mixes a vinaigrette of chopped garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. It gets tossed into the zucchini in a salad bowl and them torn basil is strewn on top.

                                                            This was a light, easy and useful addition to one's repertoire of zucchini dishes. And judging from the plants in the garden, I will be needing to do just that...

                                                             
                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                              As you say, boring name - I totally bypassed this one, but it sounds like just the ticket. Thanks for pointing it out.

                                                              1. re: clamscasino

                                                                Hmm, sounds tasty, but I'd be very inclined to chop the zucchini up first, microwave them to cook, then drain. Not very authentic, but it seems like it would achieve the same results.

                                                                I often take leftover grilled zucchini, chop them up, and toss with a vinaigrette, pretty much the same idea. (Grilling drives off the excess moisture, plus adds the grilling flavor, of course.)

                                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                                  Whole Zucchini: Italian Easy pg. 196

                                                                  You know, clams, despite your comment about baby zukes, I just had it in my head that the recipe was calling for a single, whole 1 1/2 lb zucchini, rather than 1 1/2 lbs of baby zucchini.

                                                                  So there I am, with a honking big zucchini floating around in a pot of boiling water, taking forever to get tender! Oh well, eventually it did. I cut it into smallish spears and let it drain.

                                                                  It was, as you say, a light and pleasant dish, although DH thought it needed more oomph.

                                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                    I agree with your DH on the oomph part. I liked the trifolati recipe much better, although this was the first one I made.

                                                                    I'm giggling at the thought of your "honking big zucchini" bobbing about like a baby whale....

                                                                2. Cauliflower, fennel seeds (IE p. 204)

                                                                  Cut up a cauliflower head. Heat oil in heavy pan with lid and add garlic, chiles (they called for 2 crumbled - I did 3 and it was maybe just a little too much, even for me) and fennel seeds. Once slightly colored add the cauliflower and stir until slightly browned. Add 10 oz. halved cherry toms, season, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in basil and serve. I love fennel. This was pleasant. I'm not in love with it but it was pleasant. A nice side with the roasted chicken with lemon.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Holy cow. I came here to post a review of this dish (Cauliflower, fennel seeds) only to find that I'd made it before. I had no recollection of this. Oh well, I'd say I have pretty much the same reaction this time around - pleasant, not in love with it. I think it could easily be made without the tomatoes.

                                                                  2. Peas and prosciutto, Italian Easy p. 197
                                                                    Tempted by some peas (the last of the season) at the farmer's market this weekend, I made this dish. The recipe called for 4 lbs of peas . I read the recipe after I had already podded the peas, but was left with 6 oz shelled peas. I added a small pat of butter (maybe .5 T) to the skillet and added cut 2 scallions (white part) and 1 chopped garlic clove. These are cooked to soften and then the peas are added with additional butter (another .5 T) and cook to tender. Then add prosciutto slices (I added about 1.5-2 oz and sliced then into smaller pieces), cover and leave 5 minutes. This was quite delicious and would even be better with delicate, young spring peas. Sweetness of the peas and butter with soft onion and garlic flavor was enhanced by the sweet and salty prosciutto.

                                                                    Green bean, potato, Two Easy, p. 220

                                                                    I am always trying to find a way to sneak green vegetables into my potato and corn loving fiancé's plate. I thought this might be a good one. Boil 1 lb new potatoes in salted water until tender. In another pot, cook 1 lb green beans and 2 peeled garlic cloves (cut in half lengthwise) in salted water until tender. Coarsely mash the potatoes with a fork and mix in 2 T oil and season (I only added 1T). Smash the green beans and garlic. The recipe suggests a fork, but I used a potato masher, add 1 T olive, parsley and season. Combine the two ingredients roughly. I choose not to drizzle with olive oil. This did not knock our socks off, although, it might have been enhanced with the extra T of olive oil and a drizzle on top, it was plesantly satisfying and definitely filling. The taste of garlic was subtle, but welcome. I would make this dish again, not on a special night, but definitely a weekday.

                                                                    Smashed cannellini, olives, Two Easy p. 218.

                                                                    I made this because I had recently purchased some Rancho Gordo Cannellini beans at a local cheese shop. It was also an excuse to use my new (used) pressure cooker. I did not soak the beans, but just put them in the pressure cooker with sage leaves and garlic cloves and salt. Cook until tender, drain, discard sage and roughly mash the beans and garlic, and then add chile (I used flakes) and black pepper. Spinach is then cooked, seasoned and mixed with olive oil (I omitted the oil and just seasoned the spinach- all these glugs of oil were adding up). The olives are then to cooked in olive oil, pepper and chile (I skipped this step). Serve the spinach and cannellini beans with olives (I used nicoise) and a sprinkle of chile. We enjoyed this combination of flavors - not earth shattering, but good.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                      BigSal: Your report on the smashed cannellini reminded me that I meant to order borlotti beans from R.G. today and forgot. There are several recipes for them in both books and I do love them.

                                                                    2. Roast Potatoes In A Pan, Italian Easy, Pg. 180

                                                                      Waxy potatoes (I used Yukon golds), rosemary, garlic, EVOO. Eventually seasoned. Cook's notes say that the "recipe is for roast potato lovers who do not have an oven." I have an oven and I have been making roast potatoes with the same ingredients since forever. However, in the spirit of COTM I cooked these a few days ago and served them with cold slices of leftover Slow Roast Chicken, Vermouth, Pg. 162, Italian Two Easy.

                                                                      I did not peel but sliced the potatoes into cubes, chopped the rosemary, peeled the garlic and sliced the cloves in half. Heat a pan with a lid and add EVOO to cover the bottom. Add the potatoes, rosemary and garlic, season generously. Cover. Cook over a medium high flame, shaking the pan so the potatoes don't stick. Turn the potatoes over so they crisp and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. It took longer for us and DH felt he needed to add a little more oil, so he did.

                                                                      The potatoes were tasty, not very crisp however. I think DH was worried he'd burn them. The words, "season generously" should be taken seriously. I find that potatoes do need an extra heavy hand with S & P and I like to add a sprinkle of paprika as well. Sometimes it's plain paprika, sometimes smoked, sometimes hot. In any case, this is a very serviceable dish and easy to make.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Speaking of potatoes....I'm looking with great interest at the Stuffed Pumpkin recipe on p. 184 of Italian Easy.

                                                                        I don't have a pumpkin at hand, but I do have a couple of squash. This dish looks so gorgeous to me I might try it with the squash. I may have some pancetta in the freezer...if not, perhaps a bit of Italian sausage?

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                          I have the stuffed pumpkin recipe on watch, Oakjoan. But I'm waiting for October - November when they're in season here. A squash might just do it... especially one of those round as a ball zucchini? I say try it. And, try it with the sausage...

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            That's what I was thinking today when I bought a nice squash at the market. Will report.

                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                              I made the stuffed pumpkin this past week and we loved it. I'll have to write proper report, but suffice it to say it was a very easy prep with on hand ingredients and a delicious finish. I subbed an acorn squash cut in half and included a sliced small fennel bulb just to use it up.

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Stuffed Pumpkin, Italian Easy, Pg. 184, Acorn Squash Variation

                                                                                This was a very nice change from the stuffed vegetables I've been making lately.
                                                                                The ingredients are:

                                                                                Either 2 small pumpkins or acorn squash...we used a rather large squash (from our last CSA box in October, btw...), potatoes, dried chiles, pancetta, garlic, thyme leaves, EVOO.

                                                                                For the squash: cut in half, after removing the seeds etc. season with S & P and the chiles and a drizzle of EVOO. I placed the squash halves on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 425F oven 15 min or so. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes (Yukon Golds) into cubes (I didn't peel them) then boil them for 8 min. Place into a bowl and add chopped pancetta, thyme and garlic. Season with S & P and an EVOO drizzle. To this mix I added a small-ish thinly sliced fennel bulb.

                                                                                Fill the par-baked squash with this mixture and bake for about 35 minutes or till either the pumpkins or squash are very soft. The photo of the finished veggies accurately depicts what they look like. But the best news is they're delicious. I served them with grilled chicken breasts that had been marinated in Veggo's chimichurri sauce... my favorite.

                                                                      2. Grated Zucchini p. 209 (Italian Easy)
                                                                        Zucchini is grated, salted and sits for 30 minutes. Excess water is wrung out. Heat olive oil, add zucchini, nutmeg and chopped garlic. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Add parsley and drizzle of oil (I went without the drizzzle). Both of us enjoyed this. The sweetness of the zucchini really came through and the nutmeg added a lovely aroma and taste. The garlic was there, but subtle. Would make it again. We enjoyed the flavors, but texturally not the most interesting.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                          Zucchini and nutmeg. Whoddah thunk it? This is another recipe I shied away from. Good to read your take on it. Perhaps not grated zucchini but simply sliced thinly in rounds?

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            I was surprised by the zucchini nutmeg combination too. Thin rounds might help with the texture. My SO did not mind it being mushy, although he does gravitate towards texture free foods (pudding, apple sauce,mashed potatoes, etc).

                                                                        2. Half Mashed Potato and parsley (IE2, pg. 222)

                                                                          Surprisingly tasty. I was a little hesitant because there was no dairy for these mashed potatoes. But, we ended up really enjoying this dish.

                                                                          I used unpeeled yukon gold CSA potatoes. Cut lengthwise into quarters and boil until done. Then add 2/3 cup olive oil and 5 T parsley. Roughly mash and season with salt and pepper.

                                                                          I do think this was so good is because I used really fresh ingredients. The potatoes were straight from the farm and the parsley was straight from my container garden. I used a chunky hawaiian red salt to finish and it gave it a pleasing crunch as well. It's a nice and lighter change to the standard mashed potato and it worked really well for the summer.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                            Half Mashed Potato and Parsley, Pg. 222, Italian Too Easy

                                                                            We loved this dish. I used much less oil then Beetlebug did, used unpeeled Yukon golds, 2 smallish kohlrabi from the CSA basket, about 3 T parsley, plus the same amount of basil. Quite an easy prep and simple cooking procedure. I liked the kohlrabi prepared like this and now must get more to try other recipes for them. The seasoning included Maldon salt.