Eggplant Bolognese (Vegetarian)

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A vegetarian version of this traditional meaty dish. It still packs a lot of flavor because the garlic and eggplants are roasted in the oven. And besides the red wine, I also added a bit of port. If you want to save time, you can also roast the garlic and eggplant the day before.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 head of garlic

2 eggplants (medium sized) cut into small cubes

1 red onion, chopped

3 tablespoons of olive oil

500gr of tomato pure

1 shot of port

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup of red wine

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Extras:

350grs of dried pasta, I used Armoniche pasta

Grated Grana Padano for serving

Fresh basil for decoration

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

Trim the top off the head of the garlic to expose the top of the garlic cloves. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and wrap it in foil.

Place the chopped eggplants in the prepared tray with the garlic. Drizzle some olive oil over the eggplant and add some salt. Roast for 1 hour. Stir the eggplant half way.

Once the garlic is roasted, press it to push out the garlic cloves. Chop them.

Place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the roasted garlic, eggplants, port and red wine.  Let it cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Then add the tomato puree, stock, oregano, basil, bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to mix it and let it cook for about 20 minutes until it becomes a sauce. Taste for salt and pepper, and remove the bay leaves.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package. Then place the drained pasta in the pan with the sauce and mix it until well combined.

Serve with some grated Grana Padano and fresh basil leaves.

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Beet & Barley Salad with Black Radish, Brussels Sprouts, Arugula, Kumquat & Grana Padano

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This past Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I got some beautiful black radishes. I had never seen them before so I was very excited to give them a try. They are stronger in flavor than the average radish. They are a bit spicy. I wanted to keep things simple so I just thinly sliced one radish (they are quite big) and added it to a simple beet & barley salad. This one is a bit different since I cooked the barley in a mixture of vegetable stock and beet juice. A delicious and filling salad for these colder months.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the barley:

2 cups of barley

1 ½ cups of beet juice

4 ½ cups of vegetable stock

For the salad:

75 grs of arugula

1 black radish, thinly sliced

9 kumquats, thinly sliced

30 grs of thinly sliced Grana Padano cheese

12 Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved and leaves separated

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the balsamic dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the barley with the stock and beet juice over medium heat for about 40 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Once it is cooked, let it stand for 5 minutes with the heat off. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down for a bit.

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar and close it with a lid. Shake it until it emulsifies. Set it aside.

To cook the Brussels sprouts, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves, salt and pepper. Cook them for about 20 seconds. Set them aside.

To plate the salad, mix the arugula with the barley. Divide it over 3 plates. Top with the radish, kumquats, Grana Padano and Brussels sprouts. Serve he salad with the dressing on the side.

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Spring Frittata with a Salad of Shaved Asparagus and Grana Padano

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This dish makes a great breakfast, lunch or light dinner. I added a few potatoes to have a bit more sustenance. Every time the word sustenance comes to mind, it reminds me of the first Thor movie (Nerd Alert!). In the movie, Thor says he needs sustenance because his mortal form is growing weak. My hubby and I always joke about it. Whenever one of us is hungry, we say: “I need sustenance” in a commanding voice. It is just something that stuck with us.

Even though most people cook their asparagus before they eat them, you can also just eat them raw. In this salad, I prepared them raw but you can also sauté them in a pan.

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This recipe is enough for a 23cm skillet and serves 4.

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Ingredients:

For the Frittata:

4 small potatoes, (boiled, peeled and diced)

10 radishes, sliced into quarters

1 yellow zucchini, chopped

½ cup of frozen peas

9 eggs, beaten

¼ cup of milk

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

Pinch of cayenne

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

For the salad:

1 bunch of asparagus

30grs of Grana Padano, shaved

Juice of ½ a lemon

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Boil the potatoes until tender, peel them and dice them. Chop the radishes and zucchini.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the milk, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a cast iron skillet. Add the zucchini and radishes. Cook for about 4 minutes. Then add the boiled potatoes and frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper. Stir so everything is mixed. Pour the egg mixture and let it cook for another 4 minutes without stirring. Then transfer the skillet to the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the frittata is in the oven, start preparing the salad. Wash the asparagus and snap off the hard ends. Then shave each asparagus into thin ribbons using a potato peeler, cheese slicer or mandolin.

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Shave the Grana Padano.

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar, close it and shake it.

Place the shave asparagus on a plate; add the shaved Grana Padano and the dressing. Mix well.

Once the frittata is cooked, slice it into 4 pieces and serve with some of the salad on top.