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If you have been to Greece, you cannot have missed the Classic Mussakàs made with eggplants and meat sauce, a one-course meal rich dish that I thought I would revisit to create a lighter, vegetarian version: here is my
Vegetarian Mussakàs
.

This Vegetarian Mussakàs is the perfect substitute for Lasagna for the warmer months when light recipes rich in seasonal vegetables are preferred, but it is also loved by everyone in the family, including the little ones. It is also very useful for those who have to organise family meals, as it can be prepared in advance and then cooked with 30 minutes to spare.

If you don’t like peppers or find them indigestible, replace them with courgettes!

Remember that you can also prepare this recipe lactose-free by replacing the milk in the béchamel with vegetable stock: all other ingredients are lactose-free!

When you have eggplants in season, this recipe will be a dinner-saving one-course meal for every family need: enjoy!

mussakas-vegetariano

Vegetarian Mussakàs

9.26g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 1kg eggplants
  • 450g potatoes
  • 300g red pepper (or courgettes)
  • 200g tomato sauce
  • 150g carrots
  • 120g onions
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • breadcrumbs*
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • basil
  • sage
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

  • 350g milk
  • 35g brown rice flour*
  • 35g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Slice the eggplants and place them on a baking tin lined with parchment paper,  bake in a convection oven preheated to 180°C for about 20 minutes.
  2. Boil the potatoes with their skins on until they are soft enough to be sliced.
  3. Prepare the vegetable ragout browning the garlic in a little oil, then add the diced carrots and peppers; season with chopped basil and sage, add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Prepare a béchamel sauce by mixing the rice flour with the oil, then gradually add the milk so that no lumps form and heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan cheese, mix well and add salt to taste.
  5. Take a rectangular oven dish, form a layer of vegetable ragout, cover it with the wilted eggplants, the sliced potatoes, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and start the layers again: you should have two layers of aubergines and ragout and only one layer of potatoes. Finish with a layer of béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake the Mussakàs in a convection oven preheated to 190°C for 20-30 minutes until crispy.

mussakas-vegetariano

Version with gluten of Vegetarian Mussakàs

Replace gluten free breadcrumbs with standard breadcrumbs; the rest of the recipe is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptation is needed for the version with gluten.

 

 

E’ pronto! Tutti a tavola means Lunch is ready! How many times have we heard this sentence? For me this is a marvellous memory of when I was a child, which I now live again with my children, but also on 12 TV Parma, every day before and after the TV news: many easy recipes for the whole family to prepare in few minutes.

The recipes for mums intended for children

How many times have we asked ourselves: what can I cook for lunch today? So, here are some ideas for quick recipes to prepare for the most demanding guests at home, i.e. our children.

The star ingredients in many of these recipes are the products of the Ortolina range, in particular Ortolina Kids, the tomato products containing only organic ingredients, plenty of vegetables and designed by the Rodolfi company for the wellbeing of our young family members.

è pronto tutti a tavola

Lunch is ready: Every day before and after the TV news

Are you ready to say: Lunch is ready! Then don’t miss my recipes. Every day, before and after the TV news on 12 TV Parma (channel 16 on digital TV, channel 5016 on Sky decoder), live streaming and on demand. Your children will be happy to taste something new every day and always with tasty and healthy recipes.

Would you like some spoilers? Spinach and ricotta gnocchi, Sicilian style rolls, Potato and courgette patties with tomato sauce  and much, much more.

Buon appetito!

 

Sometimes it is just an idea that gives a standard dish an extra touch, so a rice salad can turn into a colourful lunch to deal with the summer heat: here is a perfect summer recipe, my Venere rice salad in a glass.

The rule I am following these days with no air conditioning in my kitchen is just one: no oven, unless I have to bake bread. So, here is a one-course meal ready in 30 minutes, unless the cooking time for your rice takes longer.

Furthermore, if you like this summer recipe idea, use your creativity to invent many other rice salads layering them in a glass to make your table unique and fun for your table companions.  Have a look at these Venere rice towers  to find inspiration!

Summer recipe: Venere rice salad in a glass

9.5g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for the courgettes cream

  • 300g courgettes
  • 170g water or vegetable stock*
  • 100g leek
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • a bunch of basil
  • some mint leaves
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the mozzarella mousse

  • 400g cow’s milk mozzarella
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • water

Ingredients for assembling 4 glasses

  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 100g Venere rice
  • basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Cook the Venere rice in lightly salted water and drain it when it has the perfect texture to be eaten, then lay it out to cool quite quickly.
  2. In the meantime, chop the leek and sweat it in a pan with the extra virgin olive oil, add the chopped courgettes, allow them to gain flavour for a minute, then add the water, basil and mint and cook for 12-13 minutes.
  3. Pour everything in a blender, blend to a smooth cream and season with salt and pepper. Put aside.
  4. Place the chopped mozzarella in a large, tall glass, add 4-5 tablespoons of water and start blending with an immersion blender (ideal for the texture is to use a Bamix) while also pouring in the extra virgin olive oil in a trickle. If the mozzarella cream is too hard, add a few more tablespoons of water while continuing to blend until it is soft and creamy like a mousse. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the cherry tomatoes into 4 wedges, season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Now assemble the glasses: pour the courgette cream on the bottom, form a layer of Venere rice, a layer of mozzarella mousse, the chopped cherry tomatoes and finally decorate with a few basil leaves.

insalata di riso venere in bicchiere

Version with gluten of the summer recipe: Venere rice salad in a glass

This recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptations are necessary.

 

What could be more satisfying than a dessert prepared without the addition of sugar and with two of the most delicious ingredients par excellence, chocolate and cherries? The answer is: this Chocolate and cherry ganache, the pleasure of a dessert without the (or perhaps it is better to say ‘with very little’) guilt!!!

Yes, because while this fantastic recipe does not include added sugar and cream, it does not mean that it is calorie-free because it is made with avocado and chocolate, but at the same time, it is calories from nutritionally valuable foods.

Avocado is in fact rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (therefore good for our organism), antioxidants (it is no coincidence that it is used in many cosmetic products), vitamins, fibres and mineral salts, so much so that it has an anti-inflammatory function on our body: a true natural supplement. Moreover, for some years now, its cultivation has been spreading to Sicily and Sardinia, making its consumption much more environmentally sustainable for us Italians.

As far as chocolate is concerned, the choice you have at your disposal is very wide, so buy your favourite chocolate considering a cocoa percentage of no more than 55-60% (otherwise you will feel the need to add some sugar to the preparation) and perhaps lactose-free for those who are lactose intolerant: in short, Chocolate and Cherry Ganache is really the dessert for everyone, considering that with the right chocolate it is also suitable for vegans.

Also, since the cherry season is, alas, always too short for such a delicious fruit, indulge yourself with any other fruit to make the accompanying sauce, perhaps following the recipe for Panna cotta with berries.

Chocolate and cherry ganache with no added sugar

 18.83g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for chocolate ganache for 4 servings

  • 200g avocado pulp (approx. 1 avocado)
  • 120g chocolate with no added sugar*
  • 25g bitter cocoa*
  • water, if needed
  • edible flowers for decoration (optional)

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Ingredients for the cherry sauce

  • 400g cherries
  • the juice of 1/ 2 lemon
  • water

Preparation 

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or microwave, then let it cool down.
  2. Put the avocado pulp in the blender with the cocoa powder and melted chocolate: blend to obtain a smooth and fluffy cream adding a few tablespoons of cold water if it is too hard.
  3. Stone the cherries and place them in a non-stick pan with the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water over high heat so that the cherries release some of their juice: this will take about 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble the cups by placing a portion of chocolate ganache and the cherries with their cooking liquid as a complement: you can serve them cold or warm as you like.

ganache di cioccolato e ciliegie

Version with gluten of Chocolate and cherry ganache with no added sugar

This recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptations are necessary.

Have you already thought about what to prepare for Easter lunch? Do you have any family recipes that you prepare on this occasion? For Easter lunch at our house, the first course is the ever-present Anolini in meat stock, but we are always on the lookout for a new meat main course that everyone will agree on. So here’s an extra idea that you can cook with me as we watch the video recipe: White meat loaf.

This white meat loaf is very simple and can also be prepared the night before, then cooked at the last minute. The presence of hard-boiled eggs (symbol of new life) makes it nutritionally rich and beautiful to serve on the table with its lively colours.

If you are still looking for ideas for the Easter lunch menu, this meat main course could be a nice solution: naturally gluten-free and without carbohydrates. Happy Easter!

White meat loaf

negligible carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 600g ground turkey and chicken meat
  • 250g fresh or frozen spinach
  • 90g Speck slices*
  • 50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • Pecorino cheese, grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Cook the fresh or frozen spinach in a non-stick pan with a little oil; season with salt and leave to cool.
  2. Hard-boil 3 eggs by placing them in boiling water. Let boil for 8 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, shell them.
  3. Place the ground meat in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, grated Parmesan cheese and 1 egg. Mix to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
  4. Roll out a sheet of baking paper, grease it with a little oil and lay the minced meat on it; with the help of a sheet of cling film and a rolling pin, form a rectangle of about 35x25cm.
  5. Form a layer of bacon on top, cover with spinach, season with grated Pecorino cheese, then place the 3 hard-boiled eggs in the centre of the rectangle. Roll it up into a cylinder and seal it tightly at the ends. Wrap the cylinder in the baking paper.
  6. Heat the convection oven to 200°C and bake the meatloaf for 25 minutes, then remove it and brown it quickly in a non-stick frying pan with a little oil. Cut into slices and serve.

Polpettone di carni bianche

White Meatloaf ready to taste

Version with gluten of White meat loaf

This recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptations are necessary.

Finding a product that is perfect for both the needs of diabetes and celiac disease is a rather rare occurrence, so discovering Barilla Legumotti on supermarket shelves was more than a surprise: it was a real joy and I decided to cook Legumotti with vegetables.

In fact, the label of Legumotti with red lentils, chickpeas and peas shows only these three ingredients in the quantities of 60%, 20% and 20% respectively. The total carbohydrate value of Legumotti is 48.3g per 100g of dry product, which is then half as much once cooked, as they double their weight by absorbing some of the cooking water. By adding the vegetables, we then provide lots of fibre which will slow down the absorption of the complex carbohydrates from the pulses… and this is what made our day with perfect blood glucose levels!

But all with a truly unexpected treat for the palate: my children expressly asked us to unleash our creativity to bring this ‘mini-pasta‘ (which reminds us so much of the Sardinian fregola that we love, but have never found in a good gluten free version) to the table at least once a week.

I’d say we really like this challenge, since with the kids on summer holiday the need to prepare a midday meal as well needs an extra effort of organisation and imagination!

Legumotti with vegetables

14.94g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 350g courgettes
  • 300g Barilla Legumotti*
  • 200g carrots
  • 100g semi-hard cheese
  • 90g cherry tomatoes
  • 60g pitted black olives
  • 50g onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • basil, extra virgin olive oil and salt as needed

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Chop the onion finely and sauté it with the garlic clove over high heat in a wok or non-stick pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, stirring constantly. In the meantime, cut the carrots into rather small cubes and the courgettes into slightly larger cubes (so that the cooking time is the same, as the carrot generally takes a little longer) and add them to the onion.
  2. Always keep the heat fairly high and stir occasionally so that the vegetables cook quickly without burning. Once ready (they should remain crispy), season with salt, remove the garlic and set aside.
  3. Cook the Legumotti in salted water, drain them and stop cooking by running them under cold water for a few seconds.
  4. Pour the Legumotti into a bowl, add the sautéed vegetables, quartered cherry tomatoes, pitted olives, diced cheese and season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped basil to taste and a pinch of salt if required.
  5. Serve the Legumotti warm or cold.

legumotti-alle-verdure-barilla

Version with gluten of Legumotti with vegetables

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.