Italian Vegetarian Fusilli


You all know by now that I love my vegetarian pastas and with a recipe like this you’re sure to always have the ingredients on hand. This little dish may look plain but it’s packed with delicate flavors and is a truly authentic Italian dish. When you’re busy you need to have some great go to recipes on hand and ready and this is one of mine. You can easily whip it up, toss a salad, brown some bread and there you go you have a fast and still very filling meal. Trust me ladies you do not have to slave in a hot kitchen every night to have a good meal and why should you?

2 white onions, chopped
1 small chili pepper, slit and seeds removed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
2 tomatoes, diced

1. In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and the chili pepper, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes, until the liquid starts to evaporate.

3. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender.

4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and basil, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well, and serve.

Yields: 4

Quick Arabic Bread



Quick Arabic bread is one of the recipes that I make the most in my house. You can pretty much start and finish this bread in 20 minutes or less and that includes the baking time. This recipe will make 5 rounds and they should each be about 6 inch rounds. You really have to stay by the oven and watch to see how long it takes to finish because of all the various oven temperatures. My last oven baked these in 2 minutes and my oven now takes about 5 minutes. Some of them will puff but do not worry if they all do not, that’s normal. Some do and others don’t.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 500F.

2. In a small bowl add yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 cup of warm water and salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

3. In a large mixing bowl add flour, oil and remaining sugar, mix. Add a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture then mix. Carefully pour a small amount of the water until a dough like consistency has formed.

4. Divide the dough into 5 even balls then shape into 6-inch rounds (use a bit more flour in needed in rolling). On a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat add 2 rounds at a time and bake for about 4-5 minutes until bread browns and puffs.

Yields: 5

Vegetarian Carbonara


My husband is always at work or at our store so that means I get to make more of the meals that I enjoy. I am much more into eating salads, pastas and vegetarian dishes. I love the real Italian pasta and I promise you will not even notice that this is a meat free dish. Fresh arugula on top of pasta just is the perfect ending in my book. Also make sure that you follow the directions because you do not want to end up scrambling your sauce.

sea salt
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1-1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
2-1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup arugula

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1-1/2 tablespoons cold water. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil, then whisk in cornstarch mixture. Whisking constantly, cook milk mixture until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Whisking, pour about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into bowl with eggs. Repeat twice, then, whisking, add the egg mixture back to remaining milk mixture. Whisk in cheese and 1 teaspoon salt.

3. In a non-stick skillet on medium heat add tomatoes, cook until tender. Add garlic and basil, cook a remaining minute.

3. Drain pasta, then return to pot. Add egg mixture to hot pasta; toss to combine. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes (pasta will absorb some of the sauce), then toss again. Add tomatoes. Adjust seasoning, if desired, then divide among serving bowls. Spoon extra sauce over the top. Add a handful of fresh arugula on top of each bowl. Serve immediately.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Homemade Pickles


I always make sure that I have a jar of homemade pickles in the refrigerator. The homemade version is much more crisp plus just knowing what goes into my food gives me a great piece of mind. You can cut the cucumbers very thin and they will be ready in a day or two or rather thick like I do then leave them for about a week to sit and marinate. If you have a few large jars around the house then its best to use those. I actually just use my old pickle jars since they are the perfect size.

1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
5 cup cucumber slices
4 teaspoons dill seeds (or fresh dill)
1 cup sweet onion, sliced

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

2. Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 8 cups