Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Glorious Vegetables of Italy

Italian home cooks put lots of thought into the preparation of vegetables. Just like meat and seafood veggies play an important role in the family meal.  Mixed into a frittata, tossed with some pasta or cooked on top of pizza veggies can easily be the star of any meal.

Domenica Marchetti does a wonderful job portraying this in her new book: The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. Included inside are over 100 recipes for cooks of all levels interspersed with drool worthy photos.  These treasured recipes are a mix of tradition and innovation with some handed down form previous generations, others collected during Domenica's travels throughout Italy and some created in her very own kitchen.

Organized by course The Glorious Vegetables of Italy makes bringing vegetables into your own kitchen and creating a meal around them an easy and enjoyable task. I am finding myself cooking more and more vegetable dishes since I've gotten my copy and I'm loving it!

Honey-Balsamic Roasted Carrots

1 lb carrots, cut in half and lengthwise into quarters
2 tsp balsamic vinegar 
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp honey
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 375F

Put the carrots in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and 1 tsp vinegar. Pour over the carrots. Season with sea salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Roast the carrots for 10 minutes, toss, and roast for 15 minutes more, or until the carrots are tender and browned in spots.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle a few more drops of vinegar and some sea salt on top. Serve hot or warm.

Roasted Fennel With Golden Raisins & Chile Pepper

1/2 cup golden raisins
1 batch roasted fennel, (see how to below) using 3 bulbs
2 strips orange zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 to 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 small fresh chile pepper, minced
2 small fresh rosemary sprigs fine sea salt

Put the raisins, orange zest, juice, white wine, and 1 rosemary sprig in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes; until the raisins are plumped and tender. Drain the raisins in a small strainer and discard the liquid and rosemary sprig.

In a large bowl, combine the roasted fennel with the poached raisins. Add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the minced chile pepper and toss everything together gently.

Taste and season with salt or more vinegar if you needed. Transfer the salad to a decorative bowl or platter and garnish with the remaining rosemary sprig. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Fennel

2 or 3 large fennel bulbs, quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices
sea salt
3 to 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400
Mound the fennel on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over it, starting with 3 tbsp and adding more as necessary. Season with a little salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands or a silicone spatula, then spread the fennel out on the baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes. Toss and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is golden and lightly caramelized with some brown edges.

Riccioli With Peas & Porcini

1oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed if frozen
1 cup boiling water
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb dried riccioli or fusilli pasta
3 red spring onions, thinly sliced
4oz fresh ricotta cheese
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup/60g freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Put the dried porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain the porcini in a fine-mesh sieve lined with a damp paper towel, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and place mushrooms and liquid aside separately.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter begins to foam. Stir in the onions and thyme and cook 7 to 8 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent but not browned. Add the reserved porcini mushrooms and their liquid and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and peas and cook until the peas are bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove the thyme sprigs, and stir in the parsley.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and spoon about two-thirds of the pea and porcini sauce over it. Add the ricotta and Parmigiano and 1 to 2 tbsp of the pasta water, if necessary, to loosen the sauce.

Transfer the dressed pasta to a warmed serving bowl or individual bowls. Serve immediately, with additional Parmigiano, and the remaining sauce passed at table.


  1. Wow Theresa, you've been cooking up a storm. Your pics look delicious, especially the balsamic-roasted carrots. I haven't made that one in awhile. With cooler evenings here in Virginia, seems like a good time. Thanks for your kind words about the book. I'm thrilled you like it. Cheers, D

  2. I just got my copy of her book today and plan to make dinner from it tonight. I love all her books. You really did choose some delicious recipes to make for your post.

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