Posts Tagged ‘Italian Cooking Recipes’

Minestrone Soup
In a Bread Bowl



Ahhh! Culinary delight.



Im not going to lie soups are definitely a department I have been lacking in.  Its not for a deficiency in ability but more just a lack of propriety on my part.  I am not really a soup eater.  To me a soup is something you have to warm you up on a cold winters day, maybe a light snack and in both cases I have had no problem just throwing on some pasta and a chicken or beef bouillon cube.  Since I am trying and broaden my horizons and get my menu up I figured I would give one a go.  I have always enjoyed Minestrone Soup out and decided why not give it a shot.

Total Cost: $12.85
Feeds about 4-6 people (as soup, if you using bread bowl you must add in the cost of one roll per person)


Ingredient List:

  • Vegetable Broth/Stock – 3 cups
  • Vegetable Bouillon Cube – 1 cube
  • Diced Tomatoes – 28 oz (canned or fresh)
  • White Cannellini Beans – 15oz (canned)
  • Celery – 2 stalks
  • Red Onion – 1 (Chopped Julienne)
  • Carrots – 2 (Chopped Julienne)
  • Yellow Squash – 1 (Chopped Julienne)
  • Zucchini – 1 (Chopped Julienne)
  • Italian Brown Mushrooms – 8 (chopped Quartered)
  • Spinach – 2 cups – (Fresh, Rough chop)
  • Ditalini Pasta – 8 oz
  • Salt – 2 Table Spoons (or as see fit)
  • Pepper – 1 Table Spoon
  • Oregano – 2 Table Spoons (Dry chopped)
  • Sage – 1 Tea Spoon (Dry)
  • Thyme – ½ Tea Spoon (Dry)
  • Bay Leaves – 2
  • Parmesan Cheese – 4 Table Spoons
  • Basil – 1 Table Spoon
  • Parsley – 1 Tea Spoon (Dry or fresh, Chopped)
  • Sour Dough Rolls – 6-8” diameter, 1 roll per person if making bread bowls


Step 1: Prep Vegetables – Take Zucchini and Squash, cut into thirds or fourths long ways, then julienne on an angle the length of vegetable. Take celery remove leafy tops cut in half long ways, starting at the wide white bottom of stalk to about half way up, then cut the length of stalk julienne on an angle. Peel Red Onion, cut in half down middle, then long ways, half both halves, cut julienne.  Peel carrots, cut off tip and back.  Then cut in half long ways, then half both halves long ways as well.  Cut julienne on an angle. Quarter mushrooms from the center.  Dice tomatoes or used pre-diced canned ones (I used canned in this instance).  Roughly chop Spinach.

This is what I mean by cutting something Julienne, its just a fancy way of saying uniformly sliced.

Step 2: Combine Vegetables and Stock in Slow Cooker – In a slow cooker combine vegetable stock, vegetable bouillon cube, Cannellini Beans, all of the vegetables you prepared in step one, Oregano, Sage, Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Basil, Parsley.  Set slow cooker on high and let stay for around 6-8+ hours, the longer the better in most cases when it comes to slow cooking.  If you don’t have a slow cooker this can be done on a low flame in a sizable boiling pot for around the same amount of time, of course when cooking on a range you should not leave it unattended.  Remember what Smokey the Bear says “Only you can prevent fires”.

Step 3: Cook Pasta – In a medium size boiling pot cook pasta till done probably around 10-12 minutes at boil.  Strain pasta when cooked.

Step 4: Combine All Ingredients – In a large boiling pot combine pasta and your now finished slow cooked concoction.  Bring to a boil and leave for around 8-10 minutes, add any extra spices as you see fit.  Around 6 minutes into the boiling stir in Parmesan Cheese.

The culmination of all your ingredients.

The culmination of all your ingredients.

Step 5 (optional): Make Bread Bowl – Take roll and cut about a 4-5” diameter circle being careful to not cut through the bottom of the bread.  I would say cut about three quarters of the way in.  Remove cut out and turn the inside of roll into a bowl using your fingers to compress the bread.  Save the tops for dipping!  Pour finished soup into bread bowls for a scrumptious looking meal.

The bread bowl pre-soup.

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Grilled Chicken Breast in a Spinach Cheese Sauce
Over Pasta


Shown over Gemili Pasta.


This is an original Lisanti Italian creation.  I had been playing with the recipe in my head for some time and finally decided to give it a whirl.  To my surprise I created a rather enjoyable dish.  Just for your warning this one is a bit on the expensive side.
Total Cost: 16.75
Feeds 4 people


  • Chicken Breasts – 4
  • Ricotta Cheese – 1lb
  • Heavy Cream – ½ pint
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Spinach – 10 oz chopped
  • Salt – 2 tablespoons
  • Pepper – 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Mozzarella Cheese – 12 oz shredded
  • Parmesan Cheese – 8 oz shredded
  • Fresh Garlic – 1-2oz minced
  • Oregano – 2 tablespoons
  • Basil – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive Oil  – 1 tablespoon
  • Pasta – 1lb

Step 1: Grill the Chicken – First clean your chicken breasts of all excess fat.  Then throw it on the grill turn every few minutes till chicken is cooked.  It should probably take around 10-12 minutes.

Step 2: Make the sauce  – Combine Ricotta cheese 1lb, ½ pint of Heavy Cream, ½ cup of Milk, Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil, and Garlic.  I have 1 or 2 oz garlic listed but you can add as you see fit.  Im not a really big fan of garlic, I know it sounds absurd for an Italian, so I use just enough to get the flavor but not over power the taste of the other ingredients as I have seen done by others more times then not.  Bring to boil and stir in the Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan Cheese.

Step 3: Prepare the Spinach – I personally use frozen spinach, but you can use fresh as well.  If you use fresh make sure to chop it up.  Boil your spinach with salt in the water for around 8 minutes.  Strain and ring out spinach of all excess water.  Should be rather dry when your finished with it.

Step 5: Make the pasta – Boil your pasta in an adequate size pot to allow it a fair amount of breathing space.  Add salt and Olive Oil to the water to prevent pasta from sticking and allow it to boil faster.  Boil for around ten minutes or till desired pasta quality.

Step 6: Put it all together – Mix Spinach into boiling sauce, stir for 2 minutes and then let stand for five minutes or so.  Cut chicken into small cubes.  Put the chicken over the pasta and top it all off with the sauce which should have a nice thick consistency.

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(how to take a vegetable and turn it as unhealthy as possible)

Total Cost: $9.50
Feeds about 4-6 people

I going to honest this meal was inspired by a similar dish we had prepared for the vegetarian section at the college.  I never even considered to stuff a tomato before and found the idea rather intriguing.  I figured I could do something similar but stuff it with meat and cheese and make it the first tomato capable of giving a massive coronary.  Yummy!

Ingredient List

  • 4 Medium size tomatoes
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 4 oz of parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 8 oz of mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 16 oz of tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs (Italian seasoned)
  • 2 table spoons of oregano (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon of basil (dry)
  • 2 table spoons of salt
  • 1 table spoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Step 2: Prep the tomatoes for stuffing.  Cut tomato in half horizontally (not through the core (see picture).  Then hallow out the inside of the tomato leaving about a quarter inch shell.  Do not throw away the inside of the tomato, instead dice it up, we will use it for the sauce.


This is how your tomato half should look.


Step 3: In a large mix bowl take the ground beef, breadcrumbs, Lisanti egg mixture (beat one egg, a teaspoon of salt, pinch of pepper, teaspoon of basil together in a small bowl), 2 oz of Parmesan cheese and 3 oz of mozzarella cheese.  With your hands mix together till you have a regular consistency of all ingredients.  Move from bowl into a large baking pan, spread the meat out flat no thicker then a half inch or so.  Put in oven for around 6-10 minutes. You want to just brown the top but not let it get too crunchy.

Step 4: Making the sauce.  In a medium size sauce pot mix the tomato sauce, 1 table soon of salt, 1 table spoon of Oregano, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the diced tomato chunks.  Heat on low flame.

Step 5: Stuffing the tomatoes.  Now that you have finished baking your meat mixture pull out of the oven and let cool a few minutes.  Stuff the bottom ¼ of your tomatoes with mozzarella cheese.  Pour in about two tablespoons of sauce, Then stuff the rest with the cooked meat mixture.  Top it off with a healthy layering of parmesan cheese.  Bake in oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes till cheese melts and tomatoes are soft.

Step 6: Take left over meat mixture, crumble it up and mix it into your sauce and heat on a medium flame.

Step 7: Serve over a plate worth of pasta and either one or two tomato halves.  Make sure to drizzle some sauce over the finished tomato.  Boun Appetite!


A tasty finished product


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