Tag Archives: Italian

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous with Goat Cheese

An Italian, Middle-Eastern mash-up if you will. In a twist, this version of Sicilian eggplant dish is roasted on a sheet pan in the oven, so you don’t have to bother with any deep- or pan-frying. The tomato paste and cinnamon give it depth, the sherry vinegar lends brightness, and the raisins and brown sugar offer balance.

This variation on Italian caponata becomes a main course atop fluffy couscous and creamy goat cheese. Buy the freshest eggplant you can find, it should feel heavy and have no soft spots, and you won’t need to peel or salt it to pull out any bitterness. Because pine nuts are traditional in caponata, they’re the first choice, but they can be pricey so pepitas or chopped walnuts make fine substitutions. Finally, if you don’t like goat cheese, substitute ricotta or farmer cheese. But the cheese adds a welcome component, so don’t omit it.

Under the couscous, the goat cheese melts into a creamy, salty, tangy puddle.

G. Daniela galarza

NOTE: Leftovers may be refrigerated in covered containers for up to 4 days.

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous with Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Caponata

  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. Japanese or globe eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion (8 to 10 oz.), chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato (6 to 8 oz.), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar or honey, or to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt or table salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup raisins (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, pepitas or chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or to taste

For the Couscous

  • 1 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 9 oz.) couscous

For Serving

  • 3 oz. soft goat cheese, or more if desired
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil, mint or parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  2. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic, and use your hands to toss everything together. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top, followed by the brown sugar or honey, salt, cinnamon and black pepper. Toss again, then spread into an even layer.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using tongs or a spatula, flip and redistribute vegetables so they cook evenly. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
  4. Transfer the pan to a heatproof surface. Mash the garlic cloves into a paste. Push the vegetables aside to expose a small area of the hot metal and place the tomato paste on it. Using a wooden spoon, stir the tomato paste into the vegetables, followed by the raisins, nuts or seeds, water and vinegar; stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with more vinegar, sugar, salt and/or pepper as desired.
  5. Make the couscous: About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, in a medium lidded saucepan over high heat, bring the water or stock, olive oil and salt to a rolling boil. Immediately pour in the couscous, ensuring it’s moistened throughout, then cover, remove from the heat and let it steam for about 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. To serve, portion about a quarter of the goat cheese into the center of each plate. Top with a pile of couscous and some of the caponata. Garnish with the torn herbs and more goat cheese, if desired.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by G. Daniela Galarza from the Eat Voraciously newsletter

Hearty Beef Braciole

If you’re not familiar with Beef Braciole (I had never heard of it until I moved out East in my early twenties), it’s a classic Italian dish with many variations. It can be made with thin, individual slices of beef such as round or as one large roll using flank steak. It can also be made with pork and it always has a savory filling. But first, get the pronunciation right: [brah-chee-oh-ley, brah-choh-; Italian brah-chaw-le].

For this take on stuffed beef rolls, Cook’s Illustrated chose flank steak rather than top or bottom round because its loose grain makes it easier to pound thin and its higher fat content means that it emerges from the oven tender and moist. And that it did!

This filling is on the bold side, with the inclusion of umami-rich ingredients such as prosciutto; anchovies; and fontina, a good melter that also brings much-needed fat to the dish. In addition, a gremolata-inspired mix added to the filling provides a jolt of flavor and freshness. Right up our alley! Finally, beef broth is added to the tomato sauce to integrate the beef and the sauce into a unified whole.

This is not your quick weeknight meal. It takes the better part of 4 to 5 hours before you will be serving it on the dinner table, so plan accordingly.

And below is a bonus Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipe to accompany the main dish; this recipe hailing from Milk Street. It takes about 30 minutes max, so you can make it just as the braciole is getting done.

NOTES: Before you begin, cut sixteen 10-inch lengths of kitchen twine. You can substitute sharp provolone for the fontina, if desired. For the most tender braciole, be sure to roll the meat so that the grain runs parallel to the length of the roll. Serve the braciole and sauce together, with pasta or polenta, or separately, as a pasta course with the sauce followed by the meat.

Hearty Beef Braciole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, divided
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
  • ⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (3⁄4 cup)
  • (2- to 2½-pound) flank steak
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Your choice of pasta, optional

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Stir 3 tablespoons oil, half of garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup basil, parsley, Pecorino, and bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Stir in fontina until evenly distributed and set aside filling.
  3. Halve steak against grain to create 2 smaller steaks. Lay 1 steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Holding blade of chef’s knife parallel to counter, halve steak horizontally to create 2 thin pieces. Repeat with remaining steak.
  4. Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and, using meat pounder, flatten into rough rectangle measuring no more than ¼ inch thick. Repeat pounding with remaining 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half, with grain, to create total of 8 pieces.
  5. Lay 4 pieces on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge (if 1 side is shorter than the other, place shorter side closer to you). Distribute half of filling evenly over pieces. Top filling on each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto, folding to fit, and press firmly. Keeping filling in place, roll each piece away from you to form tight log. Tie each roll with 2 pieces kitchen twine to secure. Repeat process with remaining steak pieces, filling, and prosciutto. Sprinkle rolls on both sides with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown rolls on 2 sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rolls to plate.
  7. Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return rolls to pot; bring to simmer. Add parchment paper to cover the entire pot opening, then cover tightly and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours, using tongs to flip rolls halfway through braising.
  9. Transfer braciole to serving dish and discard twine. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim off as much as you can with a large spoon.
  10. Meanwhile, if serving pasta, cook according to package directions.
  11. TIP: If your sauce reduced too much (ours did), add up to a cup of the pasta water to thin it. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons basil into tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over braciole and serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated

Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes

The high heat renders the stems and florets tender while the leaves crisp around the edges, like kale chips with a spicy broccoli bite. Make sure not crowd the pan or everything will steam rather than roast. In the end, they may not look real pretty, but they are fantastic in the taste category!

If possible, use whole toasted fennel seed then grind it down yourself either with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. There was a sweet-and-sour mint dressing that was also part of this recipe, but we omitted it. And in a word, the rabe was “Delish!”

Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, well dried
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 500°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss broccoli rabe with olive oil, fennel, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  3. Transfer the broccoli rabe to the baking sheet and roast until just beginning to brown, stirring halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes total.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe courtesy of Milk Street