Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation: 100 Full-Flavored Vegetarian Dishes That Prove You Can Stay Slim While Eating Pasta and Bread

Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation: 100 Full-Flavored Vegetarian Dishes That Prove You Can Stay Slim While Eating Pasta and Bread

by Alexandra Caspero

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624142604
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 07/19/2016
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 444,546
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

ALEXANDRA CASPERO LENZ is a registered dietitian and founder of the blog, www.delishknowledge.com. Her work has appeared on FoodNetwork.com, the Huffington Post, and in Forbes and Women's Health, among others. Alexandra lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Read an Excerpt

Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation


By Alexandra Caspero Lenz, Jennifer Blume

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2016 Alexandra Caspero
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-266-6



CHAPTER 1

LIGHT AND LEAN WEEKNIGHT PASTA


These are the recipes I turn to almost daily. They're fast, simple dishes that highlight in-season produce. Pasta, vegetables and a sprinkle of herbs and grated cheese create a filling meal and further prove that delicious food doesn't have to be complicated. My Pasta Checca with Burrata is probably one of the quickest dishes you can prepare, while Butternut Mac and Cheese will quickly become your favorite stovetop version.

All of these recipes are paired with plenty of vegetables, allowing you to enjoy a healthy serving of pasta and vegetables in one dish. If you're looking for fast and fresh, you'll find it here.


GNOCCHI WITH FRESH CORN AND ZUCCHINI SAUCE

— SERVES 4 —

To me, this dish is a celebration of summer. I make it almost weekly when my basil and zucchini plants are overflowing. Freshly shucked corn, zucchini and lots of fresh basil transform ordinary gnocchi into this height-of-summer staple. I know that removing corn kernels can be a pain, but don't be tempted to swap in frozen corn instead. The secret to this sauce is the lightly browned butter combined with silky, fresh corn and Parmesan cheese. While gnocchi is my favorite pasta to use here, you can substitute in cooked tortellini or penne, or forgo the pasta altogether for a vegetable side dish.

FRESH CORN AND ZUCCHINI SAUCE

¼ cup (60 g) butter
½ cup (45 g) white or yellow onion, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups (460 g) zucchini (about 3 zucchini), diced
2½ cups (450 g) fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears corn)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (17.5-oz [500-g]) package vacuum-packed gnocchi
½ cup (20 g) fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup (25 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and slightly browned. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3–5 minutes. Add in a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the garlic, zucchini, corn kernels and oregano. Cook for 5–8 minutes until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the zucchini and corn are cooking, add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until gnocchi start to float to the top. As soon as the gnocchi float to the surface, scoop out and place in a large bowl. Add the cooked zucchini and corn mixture to the gnocchi. Stir in chopped basil leaves and Parmesan cheese.

VEGAN VERSION: Replace butter with non-dairy butter, same amount. Replace Parmesan cheese with Vegan Parmesan Cheese, same amount.


MEDITERRANEAN ZUCCHINI LINGUINE

— SERVES 6–8 —


Even though I will always love a big bowl of pasta, I was quickly suckered into the spiralized noodle trend, creating endless recipes out of zucchini and squash noodles. I loved the lighter take on my Italian favorites, and am using a similar technique for this dish. Since not everyone owns a spiralizer, this recipe calls for ribbons of zucchini quickly made with an old-fashioned vegetable peeler. Simply shave the zucchini into long, wide strips that resemble sheets of freshly made pasta. Of course, you could forgo the linguine entirely, but this recipe is a perfect example of the fact that pasta doesn't have to be indulgent to be delicious. By combining whole-wheat linguine and zucchini noodles, you save calories without sacrificing flavor. Since it's a crowd pleaser, I'm suggesting a 6 to 8 person serving size, but this dish can easily be halved or doubled, depending on who is coming for dinner. The sauce is just as effortless; briny and fresh thanks to the generous use of herbs, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

3 medium zucchini
8 oz (225 g) linguine (whole-wheat if desired)
¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 pint (300 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup (100 g) kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
½ cup (25 g) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup (15 g) fresh basil, chopped
1 cup (115 g) feta cheese, crumbled

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into long, wide strips. Place into a colander and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup (188 ml) pasta water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the cherry tomatoes, zucchini strips, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic cloves, kalamata olives and red wine vinegar, and cook another minute. Add the linguine to the saucepan and stir to combine. If the mixture is too thick, add in 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of reserved pasta water to thin. You may not need the pasta water — it will depend on how watery your zucchini is.

Add the parsley, basil and feta cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and serve immediately.

VEGAN VERSION: Omit the feta cheese.


— VEGAN WITH VEGETARIAN OPTION —

BALSAMIC MUSHROOM PASTA

— SERVES 4 —


This pasta can be vegan or vegetarian, depending on if you want to use cashew cream or heavy cream. I love cashew cream and tend to use it in any recipe that calls for heavy cream. It's simple to make and only requires three ingredients plus a high-powered blender or food processor. Once you start making it, you may never stop. Since it keeps in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and frozen for up to 6 months, I almost always have a small container on hand to dress up pasta, grain bowls and salad dressings. If your blender or food processor is large, you may need to double the cashew recipe so that there is enough in the blender to make it creamy. If not, it will just get stuck on the underside of the blade. Once pureed, the cream should be creamy and very smooth.


CASHEW CREAM

¼ cup (35 g) raw cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes
1/8 cup (30 ml) water
2 tsp (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
Salt

(Or, instead of Cashew Cream, 1/8 cup [30 ml] heavy cream)

8 oz (225 g) fettuccine
1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (60 g) shallot, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz (285 g) baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (5 g) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If not making Cashew Cream, skip this paragraph and begin with making the pasta. Place the cashews in a bowl and fill with water at least an inch (2.5 cm) above the cashews. Allow the cashews to soak for 30 minutes or up to overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews. Place the cashews, water, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until very creamy and smooth. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes until just softened.

Add the mushrooms to the shallots and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5–8 minutes. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and scrape up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

Remove the mushroom mix from the heat and stir in the reserved cashew cream or heavy cream. Add in the cooked fettuccine and toss to combine. Add in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.


SPICY BROCCOLI RABE AND GEMELLI PASTA

— SERVES 4 —


I can't say enough good things about this simple dish. Growing up, the only way I would eat bitter broccoli rabe was with lots of grated Parmesan cheese and spicy crushed red pepper flakes. As I've gotten older, I appreciate the adult flavor, and seek it out over more readily available broccoli or broccolini.

As I've learned with my recipe testers, spicy is a variable. If you tend to prefer spicy food, start with ¾ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and go from there. For a milder version, use a smaller pinch, roughly ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon.

10 oz (285 g) gemelli pasta (about 2½ cups dried)
2 bunches broccoli rabe, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
½–¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15.5-oz [435-g]) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (35 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gemelli pasta and cook until al dente. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta and place in a large bowl. Remove ½ cup (118 ml) of the pasta cooking water and set aside.

Bring the remaining pasta water back to a boil and add the broccoli rabe. Cook for 2 minutes and then drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds–1 minute until the crushed red pepper flakes are slightly toasted but not burnt. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic. Add the chickpeas, reserved broccoli rabe and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until rabe is tender, about 3–4 minutes.

Add in the pasta to the skillet. If the pasta sticks together, add a little bit of reserved pasta water to thin the sauce. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

NOTE: If you can't find broccoli rabe, substitute broccolini or broccoli florets.

VEGAN VERSION: Replace Parmesan cheese with Vegan Parmesan Cheese, same amount.


PASTA ALLA NORMA

— SERVES 6–8 —


I love cooking with eggplant but despise the excess oil that's often needed to transform eggplant from bitter to meaty and rich. To cut down on the excess oil, I've roasted the eggplant instead of sautéing it. This technique keeps the rich, delicate flavor of the dish with a fraction of the calories. While it sounds similar, ricotta salata isn't the same as creamy ricotta; I often find it in well-stocked grocery stores in the specialty cheese section. If you have a hard time locating the salty, sheep's milk cheese, substitute with shaved Parmesan or feta cheese instead.

1½ lb (125 g) eggplant, cut Into ½–¾-inch
(1.5–2-cm) cubes
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 (28-oz [795-g]) can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (455 g) penne pasta
½ cup (5 g) fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ cup (55 g) ricotta salata, grated

Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C).

Toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 10–12 minutes or under tender, turning halfway through.

Place the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and oregano. Cook until hot, 10 minutes, stirring often so that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt. Add in the eggplant. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you make the pasta.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until just al dente. Drain.

Add the drained pasta to the eggplant and tomato sauce and stir together. I like to add my pasta when it's almost finished and then let it cook in the sauce for maximum flavor. Once the pasta is done, remove from heat and stir in basil. Garnish with ricotta salata and serve.

NOTE: I'm fairly lazy when it comes to peeling vegetables, so I leave the eggplant peel on. If you find eggplant with peel too bitter, feel free to peel the vegetable before cubing.

VEGAN VERSION: Omit the ricotta salata.


ROASTED VEGETABLE PASTA

— SERVES 6–8 —


One of my most beloved kitchen tools is my roasting pan. It's my preferred way for introducing vegetable dishes and my go-to when I don't know what to cook for dinner. Typically, I just cut up whatever vegetables I have lying around in the fridge, toss with olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast to perfection. A stir or two later and I am rewarded with caramelized bites of vegetables that encourage me to enjoy cup after cup. It was after one of these evenings that this recipe was born: roasted vegetables tossed with hot linguine, a quick tomato sauce and a little bit of cheese. It's simple and a must on days you want to eat healthy but don't feel like a salad.

Caramelized vegetables taste miles away from steamed or boiled so even if you don't think you love vegetables, you will love them in this dish. While roasting doesn't require much technique, here are my secrets to perfect vegetables every time. The vegetables should be cut into equal-sized pieces so they will cook at a relatively even rate. Similarly, they need to be spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, sometimes two, depending on how many vegetables you are roasting. If the vegetables are mounded on top of one another, they will steam in the pan and not roast. Lastly, make sure to stir them once or twice while cooking so the vegetables get nicely browned on all sides. From there, the possibilities are endless.

1 lb (455 g), zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
1 tbsp (15 ml) plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ tsp plus 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small white onion, diced
½ tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (28-oz [825-g]) can crushed tomatoes
12 oz (340 g) linguine
½ cup (10 g) fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup (25 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, optional
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

Toss the zucchini, red bell pepper and asparagus with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 25–35 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add another pinch of salt, pepper, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano and garlic cloves and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes, increasing heat to medium, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente per package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup (118 ml) pasta water.

Add the hot pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Add the roasted vegetables and reserved cooking water to thin. Stir in the basil and Parmesan cheese, if using.

VEGAN VERSION: Forgo Parmesan cheese or replace with Vegan Parmesan, same amount.


BUTTERNUT MAC AND CHEESE

— SERVES 4 —


This is my answer to everyone's favorite blue box: creamy butternut squash puree with a hint of spice and cheddar cheese, tossed with hot shells. It's rich, flavorful and half the fat and calories of traditional mac and cheese. I could eat this as a main or side dish almost every night.

2 cups (800 g) elbow noodles or mini shells
2 cups (280 g) butternut squash, cubed
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth
1 garlic clove
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (85 g) shredded cheddar cheese
Salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While the water is boiling, fill a saucepan with butternut squash and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10–15 minutes until squash is fork tender. Drain.

Add the drained butternut squash to a high-powered blender or food processor, along with the vegetable broth, garlic clove, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano and a pinch of pepper. Puree until very smooth and creamy.

Place the butternut squash puree back in the saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese until just melted. Add the cooked noodles and season to taste with salt and pepper. Depending on your vegetable broth, you may not need any additional salt. Enjoy hot!


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation by Alexandra Caspero Lenz, Jennifer Blume. Copyright © 2016 Alexandra Caspero. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 10

Light and Lean Weeknight Pasta 13

Gnocchi with Fresh Corn and Zucchini Sauce 15

Mediterranean Zucchini Linguine 16

Balsamic Mushroom Pasta 19

Spicy Broccoli Rabe and Gemelli Pasta 20

Pasta alla Norma 23

Roasted Vegetable Pasta 24

Butternut Mac and Cheese 25

Perfect Pomodoro Sauce with Capellini 26

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Capellini 28

Casarecce with Lemon Pesto and Vegetables 29

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Bow Ties 31

Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Walnut Brown Butter Sauce 32

Popeye's Spaghetti with Mushrooms 34

Linguine with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese 35

Lemon and Asparagus Spaghetti 37

Easy Brussels Sprouts Penne 38

Artichoke Risotto with Orzo 39

Pasta Checca with Burrata 40

Pasta alla Puttanesca 43

Healthy Indulgences 45

Lentil Bolognese with Rigatoni 47

Rainbow Peppers with Capellini 48

Tortellini with Zucchini and Tempeh Sausage 51

Penne alla Vodka 52

Portobello Carbonara 53

Tofu Piccata 54

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo 57

Chickpea and Mushroom Marsala 58

Stuffed Peppers 61

Beet Butter Linguine 62

Caramelized Onion Fettuccine 65

Vegan Carbonara with Tempeh Bacon 66

Linguine with Artichoke Pesto 67

Baked Pastas 69

Roasted Vegetable Ziti 71

Triple Cheese Baked Vegetable Macaroni 72

Wild Mushroom Lasagna 75

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese 76

Garden Patch Lasagna 77

Cheesy Lasagna for Four 78

Manicotti with Lentil Ragù 79

Eggplant Rollatini 80

Mini Eggplant Timbales 83

Stuffed Shells with Peas and Asparagus in Pesto Cream Sauce 84

Spinach Lasagna Rolls 87

Real Italians Eat Grains 89

Wild Mushroom Ragu with Creamy Polenta 91

Quinoa Caprese Salad 92

Farrotto Primavera 94

Goat Cheese Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes 95

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Pea Coulis 96

Butternut Squash Risotto 99

Summer Farro Salad 100

Brunch Polenta 103

Vegan White Wine Risotto with Mushrooms and Leeks 104

Yes! You Can Have Bread (And Pasta Salad) 107

Balsamic and Basil Pasta Salad 109

Italian Niçoise Salad 110

Cherry, Strawberry and Balsamic Panzanella Salad 111

Thanksgiving Panzanella Salad 112

Sicilian Kale Salad with Orzo 115

All Hail Kale Caesar Salad 116

Couscous, Arugula and Mushroom Salad 118

Tortellini Pasta Salad 119

Simple Summer Pasta Salad (Italian Flag Salad) 121

Grilled Ratatouille Panzanella Salad with Basil Dressing 122

Broccoli Orzo Salad 125

Skinny Soups and Stews 127

Pasta e Ceci 129

Italian Wonton Soup 130

Ribollita Toscana (Tuscan Bread Soup) 131

Lentil and Barley Soup 132

Zuppa di Pomodoro 135

Pasta and Lentil Soup 136

Simmered White Beans with Crusty Bread 137

White Bean, Tortellini and Kale Soup 138

Lemon Chickpea Soup 141

Italian Wedding Soup 142

Pasta e Fagioli 143

Spinach and White Bean Soup 144

Weeknight Noodle Soup 145

Vegetables, Antipasti, Salads and Go-Withs 147

Roasted Beet and Mozzarella Salad 149

Parmesan Asparagus 150

Garlicky Broccoli Rabe 151

Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper Salad 152

Baked Summer Squash Gratin 153

Simple Broccoli Salad 154

Chickpea Salad 156

Arugula and Parmesan Salad 157

Zucchini Caprese Saiad 159

Grandma's Green Salad 160

Homemade Pasta 162

Homemade Manicotti 165

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter and Sage Sauce 166

Fresh Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli 169

Homemade Pasta 171

Homemade Gnocchi 172

Homemade Ravioli with Mushroom Filling 174

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto 177

The Basics 179

Sunday Red Sauce 181

Vegan Parmesan Cheese 182

Quick Marinara 182

Cashew Cream 184

Tofu Ricotta 187

Cauliflower Béchamel 185

"Fresh" Tomato Sauce 188

Protein-Packed Pesto 189

Roasted Tomato Sauce 190

The Italian Pantry 192

Acknowledgments 197

About the Author 198

Index 199

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Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation: 100 Full-Flavored Vegetarian Dishes That Prove You Can Stay Slim While Eating Pasta and Bread 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I love this book! As an Italian, I am thrilled to see delicious recipes brought to life with a fresh twist! The polenta in here is amazing. Plus, I appreciate the attention to offering vegetarians and vegans great options that aren't filled with meat!