Guest Blogger: Madigan Naylor
copyright Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
(photo credits: marconero.com)
Why cook Italian cuisine? Each night, we are faced with decisions about dinner: what to cook, how to cook it, how to serve it. Our modern, interconnected world today allows us to embrace other cultural traditions, such as cuisine. We are able to try the many different foods our world has to offer. Italian cuisine is among the most popular, and some would argue, the best. When you eat good Italian cuisine, the food can bring you to the faded frescoes, the wine to the wild vineyards, the rolling, lush hills of the countryside. Why would anyone not want to be immersed into this wonderful culture? I even have planted herbs in little pots on my windowsill that I hope to use for cooking someday. Imagine that, a college student with basil and rosemary upon her tiny, narrow windowsill!
I’ve attached one of Maria’s recipes below that is simply divine. Not only is the finished product a delectable treat for my palate, but each ingredient is appreciated as well. Even before I began to cook it, I imagined each individual ingredient as I prepared it. The peppers burst with fragrant juices. The smell of the garlic cloves reminded me of every decent Italian dish I’ve ever had. I didn’t care if my fingers smelled like garlic for the days to follow! The sweet scent of fresh basil hints of mint, but is a savory herb. The extra virgin olive oil was so smooth I wanted to bathe in it. I thought of the olives on the trees in Italy, wishing I were there.
People in Italy are brought together by food, whether it be a family sitting down to dinner or a crowded marketplace in a piazza. Why not do this for your family? Italian food is approachable, even for a novice. Italian food evokes a sense of fun and friendship as well as being healthy at the same time! Normale.
(photo credit: acucinaemamma.blogspot.com)
Spaghetti Stuffed Peppers
1 lb of spaghetti
4 fresh red peppers
16 ounces canned tomatoes
2 garlic cloves- chopped
1 handful of fresh basil
¼ lb of fresh mozzarella- cut into small cubes
5 tbsp of freshly grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese
4 ounces of breadcrumbs
6 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of broth- can be vegetable or meat
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large shallow pan place 3 tblsps of olive oil and chopped garlic. Add in tomatoes, ½ of fresh basil and pinch of salt.. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes or until most of the juice has evaporated.
Begin to boil water and cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain spaghetti. Remove sauce from heat and add in spaghetti and freshly grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese and toss.
Wash peppers cut them in half vertically and remove seeds. Drizzle about two tablespoons of the olive oil on shallow baking dish and place in peppers (cut side up). Fill with spaghetti mixture and top with some cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese. Ladle the broth over the tomatoes. Sprinkle peppers with breadcrumbs and remaining basil. Drizzle remaining olive oil over peppers (about 2 tblsps). Cover casserole with baking paper or aluminum foil and bake in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove baking paper and cook for another 5 minutes. Place on broil for last minute to brown. Serve immediately.
You can find more recipes like these in the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition
You can grab your copy by ordering online or the ebook version exclusively on Kindle OR:
If you are in the Exton, Pa area, you can purchase a copy at (one of our favorite retail locations) Wendell August at 103 Woodcutter Drive, Exton, Pa
*April 28th-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm with Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati will be appearing at the Great Grapes Festival in Reston, Virginia. For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org