Farro and Tuna Salad

Farro, Tuna, Tomatoes, Capers

Farro and Tuna Salad
This is a great any time meal that is healthy, hearty, and delicious. This recipe is easy to make and packs a lot of nutrition. Farro is my favorite whole grain. It has a nutty flavor with a nice bite to it. Not only is it delicious, but it is also high in fiber and protein and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup farro
6 oz. can Italian tuna in olive oil
1/3 cup diced shallot
1/3 cup diced celery
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 tbls. capers
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tbls. fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
salt
ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of salt, and cook the farro according to package directions. Do not over cook. It should be al dente. In the meantime, dice the shallot, celery and set aside. Chop the parsley and thyme, and slice the tomatoes in half.

When the farro is ready, drain it and place it in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and set aside to cool for about 15-20 minutes.

When the farro is cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and another 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Taste it to see if it needs salt. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Buon appetito!

Farro, Tuna, Salad, Capers, Tomatoes




Linguine with Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in a Light Cream Sauce

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Two of my favorite things put together….pasta and shrimp. I created this recipe a few years ago when I was having some friends over for dinner. I wanted to create a recipe with a nice balance of sweet tomato and savory capers enhanced by a light cream sauce. I find that the half and half adds just the right amount of richness without being too heavy. Give it a try. It is easy and quick to make.

Ingredients:
1 – lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. tomato paste
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 – cup white wine (use a good dry table wine that you like to drink)
2 – tbls. capers
1 – cup grape tomatoes (cut in half)
3/4 – cup half and half
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 – lb. linguine
1 – tbls. chopped fresh parsley
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Heat a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp. salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente (a little bite) or according to the package directions.

In the meantime, prepare the shrimp and sauce. It does not take long to make, so the sauce should be ready by the time the pasta is cooked. Rinse off the shelled and deveined shrimp in cold water (I buy the shrimp already deveined; this saves a lot of time). Dry them off on paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium flame. Peel the garlic and smash it with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add it to the hot oil and sauté about 2 minutes, then add the shrimp. Stir often and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Now add the crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste and let cook about 1 minute before adding the wine. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan and incorporate the tomato paste. Turn the flame down to low and let cook until the wine is reduced by half. This takes about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir often and watch so that it does not all evaporate. Remove just the shrimp and set aside.

Add to the skillet the grape tomatoes and capers and cook about 2 minutes. If the capers are the large variety, chopped them before adding. Next add the half and half. Stir and let cook about 2 minutes more. Return the shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook about 1 minute more to finish cooking the shrimp. Add about 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper and salt to taste. Taste the sauce before adding salt because the capers are salty. Before you add the pasta remove the garlic cloves from the sauce.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the skillet with the shrimp and sauce. Mix through and top off with one teaspoons chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Note: In the Italian tradition, cheese is not served with seafood; however, if you want to add grated pecorino or parmesan cheese then please do.




Chicken Scallopini with Tomatoes and Capers

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Scaloppine di pollo con pomodorini e capperi

Scallopini refers to the way the meat is thinly sliced.  Scallopini is made with chicken, veal, or pork and the meat is pounded into thin slices then coated with flour and sautéed with wine and a variety of vegetables.  The dish I am presenting here is made with grape tomatoes, capers, and fresh sage leaves.  Other options, for example, are mushrooms or peppers.

Once you make it you will see how easy it is to do, and you can get creative with the ingredients that you use to make a variety of meals.

Ingredients:

8 – pieces of thinly sliced chicken cutlet (If you have a butcher you like to use, they will cut it for you)
3 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. capers
8 – fresh sage leaves
15 – grape tomatoes
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 – cup all purpose flour
1 – cup white wine
1 – tbls. butter
2 – tbls. fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Directions:

Rinse the chicken and dry off with paper towel.  If you did not have a butcher slice the chicken for the scallopini, then place plastic wrap over the chicken and use a mallet to pound out the chicken until about 1/4 inch thick.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken to taste.  Place some flour on a plate and dredge the chicken pieces on both sides coating it lightly.  In a large skillet pour enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and heat over a medium-high flame.  Peel the garlic gloves and smash them with the side of a heavy kitchen knife.  Once the oil is hot add the garlic and 4 sage leaves.  Add half of the chicken to the skillet and brown lightly on each side.  Remove the chicken and put aside.

Add the rest of the sage leaves to the skillet and more oil if needed.  Place the remaining 4 pieces of chicken in the skillet and brown lightly on both sides.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Deglaze the skillet by pouring  in the white wine (use a good table wine), and scrape the bottom of the skillet.  Cook for about 45 seconds to burn off the alcohol.  Add the grape tomatoes (cut in half) and the capers.  Cook about 1 minute, then place the chicken back in the skillet, lower the flame to a simmer and cover.  Cook about 5 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.  Watch that the liquid does not dry out completely.  You can add a little more wine if necessary.

Remove the cover and add 1 tbls. butter to the pan to enrich the sauce. Remove the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce, tomatoes, and capers over the chicken.  Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over top.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!