HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

*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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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.