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Salsa Fresca (fresh tomato sauce)

Salsa Fresca (fresh tomato sauce)

One of my favorite simple summer pasta dishes- pasta con salsa fresca. We have it for lunch weekly at the beach house in Italy. The sauce takes minutes to prepare and we let it sit and marinade while we are at the beach then toss it with hot pasta when we come home. I am laughing while I eat. I love it. I love the pasta and I love this moment. This describes the many moments at our family table in Italy- years and years on repeat. We eat. We discuss. We share. We yell (it’s the Italian way of “talking” when passionate- it took my husband years to understand this). We eat. We laugh. We love. That’s it. Mangia. Mangia. Life is short and we only have so much we can eat every day. Make it worth your time ️.

Made with Amore,

Elena

 

Ingredients

Sauce:

2 pints (560 grams) cherry tomatoes, diced

2 cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 cup fresh basil, torn by hand

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

1 package (454 grams) good quality pasta

 

Salt for cooking pasta

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large serving bowl

  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on counter at lest 30 minutes before tossing with pasta

  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil

  4. Salt pasta water generously (about 10 grams of salt per liter of water)

  5. Cook pasta according to package until 'al dente'

  6. Drain pasta and toss with fresh tomato sauce

Enjoy warm or cold!

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Warm and comforting just in time for the cooler weather! These stuffed peppers are a one stop meal with veggies, meat, and rice (feel free to leave out meat for vegetarian).
Made with Amore,
💗Elena
Ingredients:
• 4 bell peppers (I prefer a mix of colors or just red)
• 1 pound ground beef (use 90% lean, or ground turkey)
• 1 onion (yellow or red)
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 quart marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite store brand)
• 1 cup cooked long-grain rice (or use brown rice or quinoa)
• 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 8 fresh basil leaves
Instructions
1 Fill a 6-quart pot 2/3 full with hot water. Place over high heat on the stove and cover.
2 Rinse your peppers and pat them dry. Cut out the stems and slice each pepper in half. Scrape out the seeds and membranes and discard them.
3. When your water is boiling, carefully place the pepper halves in the pot. Boil the peppers for three minutes.
4. Carefully drain the peppers in a colander in the sink. Use tongs to turn the peppers so the cut sides face down, allowing the water to drain out of them. Let them sit in the colander as you make your meat filling.
5. Peel your onion and chop it. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grate your Pecorino and shred your mozzarella, if needed.
6. Add your ground beef to a 12-inch skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon. After a minute, stir in the chopped onions, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and the onions are tender. If your meat is lean enough (90%) you shouldn't have to drain any fat. If you have lots of liquid, drain most of it.
7. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce to the meat mixture. Stir in the rice (if it was frozen, thaw it in the microwave first.) Add the Pecorino Romano and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for a couple minutes, or until it's heated through.
8. Prepare a half sheet pan or a 10x15 baking pan for the peppers. If using a sheet pan, line it with foil and grease it with cooking spray. If using a 10x15 pan, just grease it with spray.
9. Add your drained pepper halves to your baking pan, cut side up. Scoop about three tablespoons of the meat filling into each pepper half. Add more meat as needed, until each pepper half is filled to the surface. Scatter any extra meat filling around the peppers in your pan.
10. Sprinkle each pepper half with two tablespoons of shredded mozzarella. Gently pat the cheese onto the peppers.
11. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Then, broil the peppers for two minutes to brown the cheese, if desired.
12. While the peppers are baking, gently rinse your basil leaves and pat them dry. Stack a few leaves, roll them up, and slice them into ribbons. When the stuffed peppers are done, sprinkle the basil on top and serve with extra marinara sauce.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to four days!
*Recipe Adapted from Mama C.

Fresh Peach Custard Cream Pie

Fresh Peach Custard Cream Pie

It’s September and prime peach season in Utah! Some peaches are so divinely delicious they are too good to cook. That’s why I invented this recipe. I wanted to highlight the pure goodness of a peach without baking it. The best part? It’s a no bake pie. Enjoy the last bit of summer with this sweet as a peach dessert.
Made with Amore,
💗Elena
Ingredients:
4-5 large peaches- peeled and sliced
1 pint of heavy whipping cream- whipped and sweetened to taste
1 recipe graham cracker crust 
1 recipe custard 
Graham Cracker Crust*:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (I like to use Annie’s Organic Honey Graham brand) 
1/3 cup white sugar (I do not add sugar to my crust at all but some like it sweeter)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a food processor, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar (if using), melted butter, and cinnamon until well blended. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
*double recipe if you like thicker crust
Set aside.
Custard:
6 Tbs of sugar (or optional honey)
6 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Cups whole milk
2 egg yolks (save egg whites)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs butter
Beat egg whites and 3 Tbs sugar (or honey) until stiff. Set aside.
Mix 3 Tbs sugar (or honey), flour, and salt in a large sauce pan until combine.
Turn on heat to medium and add milk. Whisk for about 5-8 minutes on medium until thick. Add egg yolks and continue to whisk for about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and butter and stir until combined. Take off of heat. Fold in egg whites into hot mixture.
Assembly:
Fill prepared graham cracker crust with thick layer of fresh peaches. Pour custard over peaches. Cover with plastic wrap and let set in fridge for 2-4 hours (up to 24 hours in advance). Before serving add mounds of freshly whipped cream and a few slices of fresh peaches for decoration.
Enjoy!!

Polpette Con Sugo (Italian meatballs in tomato sauce) di Nonna Laura

Polpette Con Sugo (Italian meatballs in tomato sauce) di Nonna Laura

Another tried and true super simple and mouthwatering recipe from my Nonna. I’ve sat at so many different kitchen tables and rolled these exact meatballs with her countless times. The smell of onion frying in olive oil, fresh tomatoes, basil, and beef and parsley bring me back to all those tables and all of our conversations. My favorite part about all my Nonna’s recipes is the simplicity and authenticity of the fresh ingredients. It’s about highlighting the natural flavors of the food and this recipe exemplifies just that.
Made with Amore,
Elena and Nonna Laura 💗

INGREDIENTS FOR 4/6 PEOPLE

Meatballs
  • 1 pound of full fat ground beef
  • 2 slices of stale bread with
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1/2 Cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (optional 1 Tbs fresh minced garlic)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Breadcrumbs
Sauce
  • 1 large can high quality crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Soften the bread in milk until unified mixture
  2. Add the egg to bread mixture and combine
  3. Put the ground meat in a bowl with bread, finely chopped parsley, garlic(if using) grated parmigiano, salt, pepper.
  4. Combine egg mixture with meat mixture. Mix WELL with your hands. If it too wet add some breadcrumbs
  5. Take the beef mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Set on a cookie sheet
  6. Pour extra-virgin olive oil into a large frying pan and brown the onion (about 7 minutes on medium heat)
  7. Plunge your meatballs into the pot with the tomato sauce. Let it cook for on low for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked all the way.
  8. Once finished cooking add the basil and stir.
  9. Cook your favorite pasta or gnocchi, as directed by package,to serve with meatballs. You can also eat the without the pasta. Generously top with parmigiano and serve hot!