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Marco’s Fuscilli
Sep 21st, 2012 by

This dish takes only about 15-20 minutes to make: as long as it takes for you to boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta.

This dish takes only about 20 minutes to make: as long as it takes for you to boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta.

This is a quick, easy pasta dish I created several years ago (probably 10 or more). It’s an old favorite around the RootsLiving kitchen. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to make its way to the website. But good things come to those who wait.

Ingredients:

  • Fuscilli (1 pound box)
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes (1 pint, chopped)
  • Fresh oregano (About 1 tablespoon; or 1/2 teaspoon if using dried oregano)
  • Dried basil (About 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Wine (A healthy splash, about 1/4 cup. I usually use red wine, but white would be fine too.)
  • Olive oil (About 1/4 cup)
  • Butter (About 1/4 - 1/2 stick)
  • Marinated mozzarella cheese (8 oz.; I use the one at the top of this page made with garlic and red pepper. It’s available at most supermarkets, including Johnnies Foodmaster and Stop & Shop).

What I did:

Cook fuscilli in a large pot of salted water. Drain, put in a bowl and add butter, oil (about 1/8 cup), salt and pepper (to taste).

Chop up tomatoes, put in a small bowl. Add olive oil (about 1/8 cup), salt, pepper, fresh oregano, and a healthy splash of wine. Mix it up.

Add mozzarella pieces to pasta and stir, letting it melt evenly.

Pour tomato mixture over fuscilli. Add dried basil and stir. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a salad.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Chicken Basilico
Apr 17th, 2010 by

I found this recipe stashed away in the deep recesses of the RootsLiving library.

The details of how I created it are sketchy. The last time I made this was probably 10 years ago. And I’m guessing I created it by working with ingredients I already had in the house.

This dish is great when you have fresh tomatoes and basil from your garden, but you don't have to wait until then to try it.

This dish is great when you have fresh tomatoes and basil from your garden, but you don't have to wait until then to try it.

I knew it would be good because I took the time later to type it up and file it away.

I made this last night for dinner and it is a winner. It’s a fresh take on chicken cacciatore. And following in the tradition of many Italian dishes, it tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Chicken breasts, pounded flat or chicken cutlets (6)
  • Mushrooms, quartered or sliced (16 oz)
  • Nepitella (Or  a combination of basil and mint), fresh or dried. (About 2 tbsp.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tomatoes, chopped up and chunky (4)
  • Olive oil
  • Italian bread or Sourdough bread
  • Sun-dried tomato paste
  • Butter
  • Garlic, crushed but kept whole (1 or 2 cloves)
  • Basil, fresh. (About 3 or 4 tbsp. sliced and chopped)

What I did:

Fry mushrooms in olive oil. Add salt and pepper and nepitella and cook until brown and done. Set aside.

Saute chicken over medium-high heat. When one side finishes cooking, turn over and spread dabs of sun-dried tomato paste over it. Then turn chicken over, and do the same to the other side. Cook chicken in batches like this.

Add all chicken back into the frying pan. Add mushrooms and chopped tomatoes and basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and cook until done. Place in a serving dish.

Take slices of bread and cook in a little olive oil. Spread some sun-dried tomato paste on the bread as it cooks and add a dab of butter to taste.

Serve a slice of bread with each chicken plate. Chicken can be placed on top of the bread too. Be sure to spoon on some sauce and serve.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Easy Weeknight Pasta
Nov 17th, 2009 by

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

Sometimes you need a recipe like this to remind you how easy perfection can be. This is a simple tomato and pasta dish that dates back to the classic Italian cookbook, “The Art of Eating Well,” published in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi. Artusi travelled throughout Italy collecting the best family recipes from each region.

This one is from Naples and is called, “Neapolitan-Style Macaroni II.”

Ingredients:

  • One pound of macaroni (Penne can be used as it absorbs the sauce well)
  • Two large slices of onions
  • 1 1/4 pounds of peeled, seeded tomatoes (4 or 5 will do)
  • Fresh basil (a bunch minced)
  • Butter (1/2 stick, plus two tablespoons)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (about a 1/4 - 1/2 cup)

What I did:

Saute onion in two tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The onion will split into rings as it cooks. When it browns, press it down with a spoon and then discard.

Stir in the tomatoes; add basil, salt and pepper.

Simmer until done. About 1/2 hour or until it’s not watery.

Cook pasta until al dente. Add sauce; 1/2 stick of butter; and grated parmesan cheese.

Serve with garlic bread and a salad, if you like.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Work Night Dinner
Sep 12th, 2009 by

These recipes bring soup and sandwich dinners to another level.

These recipes bring soup and sandwich dinners to another level.

Here’s something to kick off a weeknight in the late summer: two quick and easy recipes, perfect to make and eat after a long day of work or to enjoy while you’re working through dinner.

An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho with Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

BEWARE: This Octopus's Gazpacho may attract a puss or two.

BEWARE: This Octopus's Gazpacho may attract a puss or two.

(Tip: Gazpacho should sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating, so you could make this the night before. This soup is also very low in calories. For you Weight Watchers, it’s about 4 points per serving with the shrimp — or only 3 points without.)

An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho

This recipe came from Parade Magaziine via Epicurious. The original name was Farmstand Gazpacho, but my brother Peter (who first made this for me) had the brilliant idea of adding shrimp to it, so I changed the name.

Eating this is like eating a bowl of nature and combined with the shrimp, you may feel like a playful sea otter surfacing from the deep with a fresh morsel in his mouth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups, about 1 large, peeled and diced (1/4 inch) cucumber
  • 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
  • 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
  • 1/2 cup, about one small, diced (1/4 inch) red onion
  • 2 cups of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (You can add more if you like it more spicy. I added four dashes and found that suited my taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shrimp (about 16 whole, medium-sized cooked shrimp. More or less to suit your taste.)

What I did:

Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl. Add tomato juice, vinegar, oil and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the ingredients. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Add eight of the shrimp to the soup. Save and refrigerate the other shrimp to use as garnish around the cup or bowl. Refrigerate gazpacho for 4-6 hours. I put it in the refrigerator for only three hours before eating it and it was fine.

Put soup in bowls or cups and hook a few shrimp around the rim. Serve with your favorite sandwich.

I made the following sandwiches with some leftover fried chicken and what I had hanging around my icebox. (The tomato and cucumber in the sandwich echoed some of the main ingredients of the soup making this a perfect combination.)

Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Good, real, Italian bread (I used a loaf of pane francese)
  • Leftover chicken, sliced thin
  • Tomato slices
  • Cucumber slices
  • Hummus

What I did:

Cover one bread slice with chicken. Put slices of tomato on top and add salt and pepper. Put slices of cucumber on top. Spread hummus on the other slice of bread and make a sandwich.

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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