Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Recipe of the Week (June 15, 2015)

Posted by William Abruzzo on June 16, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Sauteed Okra with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Basil & Chilies


       This week's recipe takes us to the hills of Calabria, where fresh vegetables are sauteed with olive oil, vibrant cherry tomatoes and plenty of spice.  In Calabria, a few generous pinches of crushed red chili flakes are tossed into all sorts of dishes for added flavor. The Calabrese are known for their bold cuisine, and this dish is typical of the regional cooking style.  Use any vegetable you like -even fresh okra! 



 Okra (1 1/2 lbs)

 Cherry Tomatoes (1 1/2 dry pint)

 Spanish Onion (½ small)

 Garlic (4 cloves)

 Basil (2 tbs chopped, packed firm)

 Paprika (to taste)

 Crushed Red Pepper (to taste)

 Black Pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)


        Chop the onion and basil, and slice the garlic. Slice the okra into 1 inch pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Coat the bottom of a deep frying pan with olive and set it on a medium low burner. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the okra and season with salt and spices. Continue sautéing for 3 minutes or until the okra is tender but still quite firm. Then, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes pucker and release their juices. Serves 4 to 6 adults.

Categories: Vegetable Dishes

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Reply Jack P.
11:52 AM on June 26, 2015 
Awesome dish!
Reply Alex
1:57 PM on June 24, 2015 
I agree it is great
Reply Sandra
11:21 AM on June 19, 2015 
This recipe was delicious. I will make it again with okra from my vegetable garden. Thank you very much for your generous nature to share recipes.

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Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

Just Picked From My Italian Vegetable Garden!

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My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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