Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

This recipe makes the most of spinach and sun-dried tomatoes soaked in a flavorful smooth sauce with braised chicken breast. It’s easy enough for a weeknight main or a great addition to any Shabbat or Holiday table. The sauce is perfect for wiping clean with challah.

When I read Natash’s recipe for Tuscan Chicken on Salt and Lavender, I had to adapt it for my kosher menu. I omitted the dairy ingredients and swapped up the flavorings to give it a sephardic twist.

The sauce gets its richness from one of my most favorite *secret ingredients. (Read the recipe to find out what it is.) It adds a smooth creaminess to the sauce and keeps the chicken soft and tender. Serve it over rice or pasta to soak up every juicy bit.

Chicken with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Equipment

  • large deep frying pan, tongs, whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, medium bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast each half cut lengthwise
  • Salt, Pepper, and Paprika for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 cup White Wine or Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Harissa
  • 1 tablespoon *Mayonnaise*
  • 5 ounces Fresh Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, sliced I prefer Trader Joe’s

Instructions

  • Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Discard remaining flour.
  • Sear chicken 3-4 minutes on both sides in batches, until it is browned but not cooked through entirely. Remove the pieces from the pan to a platter.
  • Deglaze the pan with wine or broth, scraping up brown bits from the pan on medium low heat.
  • Add the harissa and mayonnaise, whisking into the broth until incorporated.
  • Taste the sauce checking seasoning. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Add the spinach and the tomatoes to the sauce and stir until combined and the spinach begins to wilt. Sauce should be on a low simmer.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce, spooning sauce over until all the pieces are basted.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through 10-12 minutes.

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Inspired by Danielle from Peas Love and Carrots IGTV ode to Duncan Hines fudge brownie video, I made these super rich and chocolatey s’mores version using Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread folded into the batter then topped with biscuit pieces, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.

They. Were. Awesome.

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 package Duncan Hines Family Size Chewy Fudge Brownies
  • 2 Eggs
  • Water measurements on the box
  • Oil measurements on the box
  • 1/2 cup Lotus Biscoff Biscuit Spread
  • 9 Lotus Biscoff Biscuits broken into pieces, reserve one biscuit whole to decorate
  • 1/2 cup Mini Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  • Mix the brownie mix, eggs, water and oil together in a bowl per the package instructions.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 11×7 inch glass baking dish. (The smaller pan size insures a deeper, fudgier brownie).
  • Use 2 knives (see @peas IGTV video to demonstrate the method) to the dollop the biscuits spread throughout the batter.
  • Use one knife to cover the biscuit spread with the batter.
  • Top with biscuit pieces, chocolate chips and marshmallows.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minuets or until a toothpick comes out clean.

How to Roast a 20 Pound Turkey in 2 Hours

Roast Turkey

I’m here to let you in on the biggest turkey roasting hack of your life.

Ready?

Here it goes…

You can roast a whole turkey, as big as 20 pounds, in 2 hours or less.

How?

Ask your butcher to cut it into eighths.
2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings
(plus the neck if your butcher is as generous as mine).

There you have it. One whole turkey, 8 pieces.

Why does this make a difference? Now that the turkey is no longer one giant bird, the increased surface area allows the pieces to cook faster. When the pieces are roasted individually the heat can reach more of the meat quicker than if it was a whole bird.

The obvious thing about a turkey is that it is really just an extra large chicken as far as the anatomy goes. And just like a chicken, your butcher can cut it up for you into eighths. (If you live in L.A. you can ask my butcher to do it for you. He’s been carving it up for me this way for years. His contact info is below. You’re welcome. 😉)

The quicker roasting time is just the beginning of why it is better to roast a turkey cut into eighths instead of whole. Here are 6 more reasons why:

1)You don’t have to clear out half of your fridge (at the least opportune time) to make room for an extra large turkey carcass. When you order a turkey cut up it in to eighths it comes neatly wrapped in manageable size foam trays. Stack and stash them in your fridge wherever you have space until you are ready to prep.

2) Dividing the turkey up among multiple roasting pans, instead of one giant roasting pan, makes it infinitely easier and lighter to take in and out of the oven.


3) Also, dividing the turkey up among multiple roasting pans allows you to remove each piece of the turkey at a time from the oven when it is perfectly cooked as indicated by the thermometer. The drumsticks and thighs cook quicker than the breast pieces and should be taken out sooner.

4) Taking the thighs and drumsticks out first also allows you to get a jump on the carving instead of letting the whole bird sit on the counter and get cold.

5)Baste if you want to or don’t. Your turkey is going to finish cooking so quickly that it won’t have time to dry out.

6) Don’t feel like roasting an entire turkey or aren’t going to need that much meat for Thanksgiving? Go ahead and freeze any pieces that you aren’t going to use. Or roast all the pieces and freeze the ones that you aren’t going to eat or want for leftovers on Thanksgiving. I prefer to do the latter as it allows me to get all of the initial roasting out of the way and free to use the rest of the cooked meat whenever I wish. I’ve got many, many recipes that use roast turkey coming up so I suggest roast as many pieces as you can fit in your oven.

Worried your family is expecting the classic Norman Rockwell picture perfect whole roast turkey on the table? Trust me, they’re not going to miss it one little bit. In fact they will be too busy telling you what a genius you are to have not slaved over a roasting turkey the entire day and boasting about your hosting abilities to even care.

I order my turkey cut into eighths every year from Le Market in Valley Village. It’s best to have it ordered one week before Thanksgiving. Ask for Avraham. His family has been running the small kosher market and butcher shop for over 30 years.

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated in any way for references made to specific products or brands. All opinions are my own

Roast Turkey

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
Keyword: roast, thanksgiving, turkey
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Equipment

  • 4 9×13 Roasting Pans
  • Meat Thermometer

Ingredients

  • 12 Celery Stalks with Leaves
  • 4 Large Carrots peeled and halved
  • 4 Large Onions quarters
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Rubbed Sage
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 6 Cups Water
  • 1 18-20 Pound Fresh Turkey cut into eighths

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Divide vegetables evenly between the roasting pans.
  • Combine all the spices together in a bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture to the vegetables in each roasting pan. Toss to evenly coat.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water to each pan.
  • Divide the turkey evenly between the roasting pans. Each turkey breast should take up an entire 9×13 inch pan. One thigh and one drumstick should fit together in the remaining two pans. (Freeze the wings for a future recipe. More on that coming soon!)
  • Divide the remaining spice mixture evenly (about 1 tablespoon) to season the turkey pieces on both sides. Leave pieces in the roasting pans skin side up.
  • Place the roasting pans in the preheated oven. After 30 minutes check for doneness in the thighs by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. When the temperature reaches 160 F (plus or minus 5 degrees) the turkey is done. Check the breast pieces for doneness after 45 minutes. Continue to check the temperature of the pieces every 15-20 minutes until the temperature reaches 160 F. The thighs and drumsticks should be done after 45 minutes to 1 hour and the breast pieces should be done after one and a half to an hour and 45 minutes.
  • Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving and placing on a serving platter. Reserve the bones for soup!
  • Remove the carrots and onions from the roasting pans and onto a to a serving dish. (I prefer not to serve the celery as it becomes too soft during roasting. You can freeze it and add it to flavor broth. Recipe for that coming soon too!)
  • Strain the liquid from the roasting pans into a large bowl or pitcher. You should have 6-8 cups. Place in the refrigerator and allow the fat to rise to the top. If you leave it to chill overnight the fat will solidify and be easier to remove.
  • Remove the fat with a large spoon. Do not throw it away! Reserve it for frying potatoes in!
  • Reserve the remaining liquid to make gravy. Gravy recipe up next so stay tuned!

White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup

One of the first recipes I made for my husband after we were married was vegetable soup. And I managed to burn it! Thankfully, with much practice, I’ve greatly improved my soup game. White bean soup is one of our favorite meatless meals. Serve it with a warm baguette, a plate of soft cheeses and crudités with your dip of choice for a super easy week night dinner. The recipe includes cooking instructions below for stove top, Instant Pot or in the slow cooker. I highly recommend making a double batch and freezing it in deli containers.

White Bean Soup

Prep Time20 mins
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (optional)
  • Slow cooker (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Small White Beans soaked overnight (unless making in an Instant Pot)
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 c. Tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa
  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 Russet Potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 4-5 minutes until translucent.
  • Add tomato paste, turmeric, salt, pepper and harissa. Sauté 1 minute.
  • Add water and beans, stir and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the pot.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water 1 cup at a time if soup becomes too thick.
  • Add the potatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and stir incorporate.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Follow steps 1-3 in the Instant Pot.
  • Set the pot to Off/Keep Warm
  • Close the pot and set it for 15 minutes on manual.
  • NPR 10 minutes, then QPR or just NPR.

Notes

You can also make it in a slow cooker by combining all the ingredients in the crock and setting it on low for 8-10 hours. I also highly recommend making a double batch and freezing it in deli containers.

Everything Bagel Green Beans

Everything Bagel Green Beans

This is one of those recipes that is hard to even call a recipe. There are only four ingredients. The “cooking technique” is microwave. And that’s pretty much it. The key is to use fresh crisp green beans. And if you are really against using the microwave to cook with you can always steam the beans the old fashioned way. No judgements here.

Everything Bagel Green Beans

Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: green beans, side dish, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • microwave

Ingredients

  • 1 bag “Microwave in Bag” Trimmed Green Beans
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Everything Bagel spice mix
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Slivered Almonds

Instructions

  • Cut the corner of the bag of green beans and microwave 3 minutes.
  • Carefully remove hot beans from the bag into a serving dish.
  • Add olive oil, spice mix and slivered almonds.
  • Gently toss to combine.

Notes

I use  Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning but you can combine white and black sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic and sea salt to make your own.

Cookbook Review: Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman

If Labor Day is meant to be a celebration of the end of summer and vacation, then the day after Labor Day should be the celebration of a return to routine. If you’re a mother like I am then the day after Labor Day might also be a call to celebrate because your kids return school, and you can finally get back into the rhythmic schedule of lunch packing, carpool, and evening homework. When I dropped off my youngest for his first day of school last week I marked the occasion with a stop by one of my favorite bakeries for a freshly squeezed orange juice and a buttery chocolate croissant. As I headed towards home I called my local Barnes and Nobel to ask if they had Adeena Sussman’s book Sababa, Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen, available for purchase. It was being released that day and I realized I had never bought a book on the same day that it came out. As a gift to myself, (for surviving the summer and it’s my birthday month and I’m an adult and don’t need to justify buying something nice), I picked up a copy of the book to fully mark the festive nature of the day.

How do I translate sababa? It’s one of the first Hebrew slang words I learned so many years ago. And like so many other Hebrew slang words, it’s borrowed from Arabic, used to fill in the 2000 year gap between the ancient Biblical language and the modern spoken lexicon. In short, sababa means “it’s all good”. Usually used in response to, “How are you?”, or “What’s new?”, sababa is the catch all phase that translates to, “I can’t complain”.

I planned my Shabbat menu around the book and dove into the vibrant Israeli flavors that I’ve come to know and love since I first discovered them as a young bride so many meals ago. For starters I added the Cabbage, Apple and Pomegranate Slaw with Cumin Dressing to our regular lineup of appetizer salads. Crunchy, nutty, sweet and tart with a Dijon dressing, this recipe checks all the boxes of what makes up a great slaw.

For the second course I used salmon to make Herbed Fish Kababs. Coated in a chimichuri like paste of cilantro, parsley and mint, this dish was a perfect compliment to the starter salads.

As a side dish to our main course I made the Tahini-Glazed Carrots. I added sweet potatoes to the mix to beef it up. Laced with silan, the glaze would also make a great dipping sauce for fried cigars or to be used as a salad dressing. Per Sussman’s recommendation, make double, it will not go to waste.

As part of Shabbat lunch I served Shawarma Pargiyot to accompany the chulent. I grilled them the day before and they were still so tender and juicy.

For dessert I made the Pistachio Crusted Lemon Bars. As someone who does not care so much for baking, I really appreciated the details that this recipe provides. The crust is delicate yet holds together and the curd didn’t run out when slicing the bars. Not to mention the recipe is dairy free, so no need to substitute anything if serving them after a meat meal. Definitely a recipe I’m going to add into the rotation as lemon is one of my most favorite dessert flavors.

I didn’t stop with my Shabbat menu. On Monday I made the Chickpea and Spinach Hirira. A hearty Moroccan vegetable lentil soup, this recipe has everything to make a fabulous one pot meal. I served it with a crusty baguette on the side and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.

It was my husband’s birthday so for dessert I made one of his most favorite recipes, Fluffy Israeli Cheesecake. I’ve been making a version of this recipe that I got from my mother-in-law for years. What I really appreciated about Sussman’s version is the very technique specific instructions that yielded a perfectly well done cake. This Israeli style version of the classic New York dessert is a cross between a cheesecake and a souflée. Thus the light fluffy consistency that will leave you asking for seconds. This recipe alone is worth purchasing the book. My bets are that once you try the Israeli version, you might never to be able to enjoy a slice of the classic version again.

But I wouldn’t worry about not wanting to eat dry, dense, cake any longer. Once you start cooking with Sussman’s recipes you’ll find that everything is sababa, it’s all good.

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated in any way for references made to specific products or brands. All opinions are my own.

Golden Beet Caponata

Golden Beet Caponata

Caponata is an Italian vegetarian dish comprised of vegetables cooked separately and then combined. It’s usually made up of sautéed eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions and sometimes squash. Pickled elements such as capers, pickles and olives are often added to it giving it an added layer of textures and flavors.

I’ve created this version using beets, one of the symbolic foods served on Rosh Hashana and replaced the capers with fresh pomegranate seeds. The vinegar added after the dish is cooked brings out the fresh flavors of the vegetables. All together it makes for a fabulous first course salad to serve with challah.

The recipe calls for golden beets because I love the color but you can definitely use purple beets or a combination of both instead.

Golden Beet Caponata

Rosh Hashana and Fall flavored infused version of Italian caponata
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, dip, Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: appetizer, beets, caponata, Rosh Hashana, salad
Servings: 8 people
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Eggplant cut into 2 inch cubes approx. 4 cups
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Golden Beets cut into 1 inch cubes approx. 2 cups
  • 1 Shallot diced
  • 4 Dates pitted and chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Vinegar preferably pomegranate but apple cider or red or white wine will do
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 Pomegranate Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley chopped

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions

  • Place cubes of eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Allow the eggplant to sweat 15-20 minutes to release moisture. Place eggplant cubes on a sheet of paper towels in a single layer and cover with a separate sheet of paper towels. Press on the top layer to wring out any moisture from the eggplant.
  • Set Instant Pot to Sauté on High. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil.
  • Add the dried eggplant cubes to the hot oil and sauté 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until cubes begin to brown.
  • Add shallot and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Add beets, dates, tomato paste, chili flakes and remaining salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the water and scrape up any brown bits and deglaze the pot.
  • Set Instant Pot to OFF, close the lid being sure the release valve is in the sealed position
  • Set Instant Pot to Manual for 5 minutes.
  • NPR for 10 minutes, then QPR
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, add vinegar, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Store in an air tight container refrigerated for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month. Makes approximately 4 cups

Stovetop Directions

  • Place cubes of eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Allow the eggplant to sweat 15-20 minutes to release moisture. Place eggplant cubes on a sheet of paper towels in a single layer and cover with a separate sheet of paper towels. Press on the top layer to wring out any moisture from the eggplant.
  • Heat a medium sized pot (preferably stainless steeover medium/high heat. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil.
  • Add the dried eggplant cubes to the hot oil and sauté 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until cubes begin to brown.
  • Add shallot and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Add beets, dates, tomato paste, chili flakes and remaining salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the water and scrape up any brown bits and deglaze the pot.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally until beets are cooked through approximately 10-15 minutes, checking for doneness every five minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, add vinegar, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Store in an air tight container refrigerated for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month. Makes approximately 4 cups.

Notes

Can’t find golden beets? Purple beets can definitely be used instead.

3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Creamy Tomato Sauce

I came up with this recipe because I was tired of paying $15 for two servings of creamy tomato pasta takeout. It’s easy, quick, and in my opinion better than the takeout. The secret ingredient that adds all the flavor is harissa, a North African pepper paste. Many different varieties are available and some are spicier than others. Add a little at a time until you get the heat and flavor you prefer. I get my harissa from Le Market in Valley Village. It’s made fresh regularly. Just ask for it at the counter. It’s definitely worth getting because it adds tons of flavor to any savory dish.

Reasons why this sauce is the best:
1) Its only 3 ingredients! (No, I’m not counting the salt and pepper.)
2) It comes together in less than 15 minutes! Because its summer and less time in the kitchen is better for everyone.
3) It’s so tasty you might want to consider serving it as a creamy tomato soup or just put it in a ball jar and call it a creamy tomato smoothly. Go ahead, you have my blessing. I won’t judge you. It’s THAT GOOD! (If you are going to serve it as a soup don’t forget to top it with these super delicious multi-grain croutons! Yummy!
4) Everyone in my family enjoys this sauce. I can count on one hand the number of recipes that this is true for. One recipe, serving my whole family, WIN WIN!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated in any way for references made to specific products or brands. All opinions are my own.

3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Sauce

Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy sauce, easy sauce, pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 1 jar Marinara Sauce
  • 1 8 oz. container heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons Harissa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Put marinara sauce, cream and harissa into a medium sauce pot over medium low heat and whisk to combine.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 8-10 minutes but do not boil.
  • Serve with pasta and/or vegetable noodles and grated Parmesan cheese.

Anti Pasto Salad

The best salads don’t require a lot of prep but still deliver a variety of flavors and textures. My mother made this side salad for our intimate family 4th of July barbecue. It pared perfectly with grilled kabab and chicken thighs that we stuffed into pita and dressed with prepared tahina and matbucha. Anit pasto refers to the appetizer platter of vegetables, olives, cured meats and sometimes cheeses before a formal Italian meal. I’ve left this recipe parve and provided a list of suggested mix-ins to make it either meat or dairy.

In this take on anti pasto, other than the greens and the cucumbers, all of the ingredients come from either a jar or a can and require very minimal prep. The dressing comes from the vegetable marinades plus a little vinegar and some simple seasoning. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

There are a myriad of options that can be added or swapped for other ingredients. If you are planning on serving it with a dairy meal, go ahead and add in some crumbled feta (my favorite way to eat it for lunch), or shaved Parmesan cheese. Make it a main course salad by adding grilled boneless, skinless chicken or as a hearty side with cubed dried salami and smoked turkey.

The measurements are for approximately four people for a side salad. Use your personal preference to double or triple or just finish what’s left in the jar or can depending on how big you want the salad to be and what ratio of greens to preserved vegetables you want. The amounts used for the dressing are more than what is necessary for one salad. If you are using a hearty lettuce like Romain or Kale, you can layer all of the salad ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate it up to a day in advance. Just wait to add the salt and pepper and dressing until you are ready to serve it.

Anti Pasto Salad

In this take on anti pasto, other than the greens and the cucumbers, all of the ingredients come from either a jar or a can and require very minimal chopping. The dressing comes from the vegetable marinades plus a little vinegar and the seasoning is simply salt and pepper. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: antipasto, appetizer, salad, vegetarian
Servings: 4 People
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 5 ounce bag Romain Lettuce or Leafy Greens of Choice
  • 1 Persian Cucumber chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper from a jar chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
  • 1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 cup Marinated Artichokes
  • 1/2 Chickpeas from a can, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomato Oil
  • 1/2 cup Artichoke Marinade
  • 1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chili flakes

Optional

  • Feta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Capers
  • Marinated Mushrooms
  • Grilled Eggplant
  • Deli Meat cubed
  • Fresh Parsley

Instructions

  • Wash, dry and check lettuce. Place in a large serving bowl.
  • Add the cucumber, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, artichokes and chickpeas.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix all dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake to combine. Dress the salad with 1/4 cup of dressing. Reserve the remaining amount for a future salad or to use as a marinade. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes

There are a myriad of mix-ins that can be added or swapped for other ingredients. If you are planning on serving it with a dairy meal, go ahead and add in some crumbled feta or shaved Parmesan cheese. Make it a main corse salad by adding grilled boneless, skinless chicken or as a hearty side with cubed dried salami and smoked turkey.
The measurements are for approximately four people for a side salad. Use your personal preference to double or triple or just finish what’s left in the jar or can depending on how big you want the salad to be and what ratio of greens to preserved vegetables you want. The amounts used for the dressing are more than what is necessary for one salad. If you are using a hearty lettuce like Romain or Kale, you can layer all of the salad ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate it up to a day in advance. Just wait to add the salt and pepper and dressing until you are ready to serve it.

Summer Vegetable Cacio e Pepe

Summer Vegetable Cacio e Pepe

It’s the middle of summer and that means two things: 1) I don’t really want to cook, and 2) produce is at its peek. Tomatoes are the sweetest they are going to be all year. The squash are ginormous! I’m eating peaches, plums, berries and watermelon any chance I get just to keep them from over ripening. Not that I’m complaining. These are all good things that will pass too quickly.

Thankfully, because the produce is SO good right now you don’t need to do a lot to it to make it into an amazing meal. Less is definitely more here folks.

In Rome, Cheese (cacio) and Pepper (pepe) are the two magical ingredients and turn ordinary spaghetti into a rich and delicious dish. I’ve married the beautiful summer produce with this classic Italian pasta to create the ultimate, barely have to cook, summer meal.

There are a plethora of techniques for incorporating the cheese into the noodles. (Google it if you are interested.) The truth is that cheese doesn’t mix well into even the starchiest pasta water. So in this recipe I didn’t even try. I’m keeping the cooking to an absolute minimum here and letting all the magic happen on the plate and in your mouth which is where it should be.

And even though the days are so long and it feels like summer is never going to end, before you know it the farmer’s market peaches and plums are going to be replaced with apples and pears and the zucchini and yellow squash with pumpkins and gourds. So get to it and enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Cacio e Pepe

Beautiful produce combined with this classic Italian pasta dish to create the ultimate, barely have to cook, summer meal.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheese, Parmesan, pasta, summer cooking
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Spaghetti
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 8 ounces Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • 1 medium Yellow Squash
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Cut the zucchini and yellow squash on a spiralizer using the medium size blade. If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut into thin rounds.
  • Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil and add 1/2 t. salt. Cook the spaghetti 6-8 minutes until al dente. Do not drain. Do not over cook! Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.
  • Add the grape tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 t. salt. Cook 6 – 8 minutes until tomato skins begin to brown and split.
  • Using tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti from the pasta water and into the skillet with the tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Gently toss to combine.
  • Add the zucchini and yellow squash and gently toss to combine. Allow to heat through 2-3 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates, add more of the reserved pasta water.
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately. Using tongs, place one scoop of the hot spaghetti mixture onto a plate. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Top with another scoop of the hot noodles and grated Parmesan.