Category Archives: Italian

Cheesy Basil Pizza


Cheesy Basil Pizza

Cheesy Basil Pizza | Photo by Healthyandlazy

Pizza is, has always been and will always be my favorite weekend food.  Homemade.  Delivery.  Doesn’t matter.

I came across this post on Hungry Birdie, and the two pizzas looked so delicious, I couldn’t decide which one to make.

I went with the “Cheesy Basil Pizza” because I happened to have all the ingredients handy, but I’m definitely making the other one soon as well.

The pizza was super easy (like my spinach and artichoke pizza), perfectly rich and extremely flavorful.

It was a late night pizza (aren’t they always?) and in my cave of an apartment, that makes for some dark pictures that don’t do the pizza justice.  I strongly recommend checking out Hungry Birdie’s post, where the pics put mine to shame.

The color, though, is true, and isn’t a byproduct of my late night, cheesy flash photography.  This pizza has an awesome, basil-y green color that you don’t see too often.

Here’s the recipe, borrowed appreciatively from HB – click here to see the original.

“Cheesy” basil pizza
Makes one large pizza

1/2 this homemade dough recipe
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
2 cups vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya)
1 cup fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1 plum tomato, sliced
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In food processor, combine both types of cheese, basil, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended. Lightly drizzle dough with olive oil, evenly spread cheese and basil mixture, leaving one inch border. Top with tomato slices and bake for about 15 minutes (I broiled it for an additional minute to ensure bubbly yumminess). Wow all your vegan and non-vegan friends alike with these phenomenal pizzas- do try.

Pizza Slices

Green pizza is better than other colors | Photo by Healthyandlazy

I made a few changes, but none of them fundamentally changed the pizza.  I used my own dough, regular dairy cheeses and one extra clove of garlic (if the scientists ever decide that garlic is bad for you, I’m doomed).

And, although I’ve never said it before on here, thanks for those of you who have subscribed and leave comments.  It makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

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Spaghetti with Crazy Sauce


Spaghetti with Crazy Sauce

Spaghetti with Crazy Sauce | Photo by HealthyandLazy

I’ve been inspired lately by the great pasta posts over at Brave New Food.

My wife spotted an interesting recipe in a Rachel Ray magazine and we thought we’d give it a try.  It’s got a funny little sauce, with garbanzo beans and jalapenos and curry powder, but at the end of the day it still fills you up like a plate of spaghetti should.

The beans replace the protein you would normally get from the meatballs, the curry powder gives it some great flavor and the jalapeno adds just the right amount of spice.

Top the pasta with goat cheese to add some creaminess and you’ve got yourself a good meal.

It was the perfect pick-me-up for what has been, so far, a rather bleak start to the baseball season by my hometown Tampa Bay Rays.  C’mon fellas.

Also, I’ve been trying to think of a slick way to get a picture of my dog into the blog, and so far, nothing has come to me – so I’m just going to kick off this recipe with his beautiful mug.

Oliver

Gimme my Dinna | Photo by HealthyandLazy

And now, on to the good stuff:

(again, recipe courtesy from the Rachel Ray Magazine May 2011 Issue)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh chile pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a jalapeno)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    Sauce ingredients

    Sauce Ingredients | Photo by HealthyandLazy

  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese for sprinkling
  • parsley for garnish

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Step 2) Meanwhile, in a big saucepan, begin cooking the diced onion,

Sauce

Simmerin Sauce | Photo by HealtyandLazy

garlic and chile pepper in a few splashes of olive oil.  After 2-3 minutes, add in curry powder and a dash of salt.  Let it sit for another minute or two, and then add in the veggie stock, tomatoes and chickpeas.

Step 3) Let it sit for 15-20 minutes until the liquid steams off a little, stirring occasionally.

Step 4) Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and toss.

Step 5) Top with goat cheese and parsley and eat it up.

I’d also like to announce, unrelated to this pasta, a new addition to my family – a new baby nephew, RJ.

RJ

Poker Face | Photo by HealthyandLazy


Homemade Spinach and Potato Gnocchi


 

Potato and Spinach Gnocchi

Potato and Spinach Gnocchi | Photo by HealthyandLazy

Saturday afternoon, not much going on, hanging out at the house watching movies and surfing the web and it hits me – tonight would be a great night for gnocchi.

When I was studying in Italy, I had some of the best gnocchi ever, specific meals that I still remember years later.  I’ve had it at restaurants and I’ve bought packaged gnocchi that is super quick to make at home.  BUT, until yesterday, I had never made it myself, from scratch.

So, I looked up some recipes online and set to work.  Turns out, just about every potato gnocchi recipe on the web is the same, but I liked this one because of the spinach (definitely a blog worth reading, too).

Let’s start with the positives – it was delicious, it was fun, it was filling.  I had a great time making the gnocchi.  I used every space in my kitchen and then some.

The downside?  It took forever.  I wasn’t exactly rushing through it, but the meal clocked in at just under 3 hours from start to delicious finish – it was like the Super Bowl of healthy/lazy cooking.  Oh, and I somehow managed to dust the kitchen, the dining room and my entire body in a fine layer of flour.  Perhaps careful cooking could avoid the flour problem, but it’s in my nature to be a little sloppy in the kitchen. Continue reading


Super Easy Eggplant Parm


Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan | Photo by HealthyandLazy

This is the kind of dish that you can impress your classy friends with.  Eggplant has an air of sophistication to it, I think.

Eggplant parmesan is always a crowd pleaser, and since it uses many of the same ingredients as traditional chicken parmesan, they can be made at the same time to accomodate mixed company.

I’ve pared this recipe down to six essential ingredients, all of which you probably already have in the kitchen, with the exception of the eggplant.  It can, though, be spruced up in a number of ways.  The sauce is a big deal with eggplant parm, and I sometimes like to add spinach to my sauce of choice.  Ricotta cheese also makes a great addition, but it isn’t necessary by any means for an enjoyable meal.

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Rigatoni with (veg) Sausage and Goat Cheese


 

Pasta with sausage and goat cheese

Pasta with sausage and goat cheese | Photo by HealthyandLazy

I can’t help but love pasta.  I come from an Italian family, with Italian grandmothers, and an English mother who has forsaken her own culinary tradition (can’t really blame her for moving away from English food, right?) and has joined the cult of the Italian.  I grew up on Italian food, and am delighted to roll out another Italian recipe today – and from the most authentic Italian establishment around, Carrabba’s.

Okay, so maybe it’s not authentic, but this pasta is darn good.  They don’t serve it there anymore, but there was a time, several years ago, when this was the dish to get.  I’ve never seen anything like it in any restaurant in Italy, and I’ve been to a bunch.  Oh well.  The concept is simple – pasta with Italian sausage (non-meat sausage in this case) and goat cheese.  The execution is just as simple.  This is a great weeknight dinner, quick and easy.

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Spinach and Artichoke Pizza


Spinach, artichoke, cream cheese pizza

Pizza night? Count me in.

Who doesn’t love a good spinach and artichoke dip?  I, for one, am a sucker for a warm bowl of gooey, cheesy dip.  Unfortunately, eating a bowl of dip for dinner in the company of others will elicit funny looks and muffled chuckles.

So, we’ve compromised.  Today’s creation is a spinach and artichoke pizza.  It’s a little nontraditional – no red sauce, no mozzarella cheese, and of course, no meat.  But it is delicious, and it’s a good way to incorporate a lot of delicious vegetables into a single meal.

You will need some pizza dough – and there are a lot of options.  Pillsbury makes a pop and bake crust, which is super easy.  There’s also the add-water-and-mix doughs.  And there’s always homemade pizza dough.  Choose whatever suites your style (and your time frame). Continue reading


Fakin’ Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara


Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara

So good it should be illegal.

Here’s a family favorite for you.  Growing up, this was my go-to birthday dinner – only now, years later, I’ve learned to adapt the recipe to make it veg-friendly.  It’s not a light, summery pasta by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s moderately heavy and extremely flavorful.

In my travels, I regularly order it just to see how it stacks up against momma’s.  So far, my mom wins every time.  In Italy, it’s usually even egg-ier than the recipe here, but they typically use a lighter meat (prosciutto instead of bacon, usually).  So, experiment.  Try more eggs, less eggs, more parm, more bacon (or veggie bacon) – that’s what cooking is all about.  This is my favorite carbonara recipe, but it certainly doesn’t have to be yours.

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