Sunday, March 6, 2011


We had an Italian dinner party last night. The chicken lasagna I made was very rich and unhealthy - loads of mozza cheese, parmesan cheese and hollandaise sauce, but the sides were pretty good. I made White Beans with Roasted Vegetables. Beans are a crucial element of the Italian diet. Cannellini are probably the best known Italian white bean but if you can't find them, substitute other varieties of white beans.

White Bean and Roasted Vegetables
1 lb dried cannellini beans (to save some steps you can use canned white beans)
1 lb small boiling onions (use chopped leeks to save steps)

1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes
1 yellow pepper, sliced
3 small zucchini, sliced
1 tsp salt (preferably sea salt)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Generously cover beans with water and soak at least 8 hours. Drain well.
Blanch onion in salted boiling water 1 minute, then drain and peel.
Cover beans with water and bring to boil. Add onions and simmer, partially covered, skimming froth as necessary, until beans and onions are tender. (1 hour) You can save these steps by using canned beans and sliced leeks)

Toss vegetables with salt, sugar and oil.
Put beans and onions in shallow baking dish, then arrange vegetables on top.
Roast, uncovered until tomatoes are falling apart. (45 minutes) YUMM!

Brussels sprouts, sliced very thin, result in an unbelievably delectable slaw. They are much tastier this way rather than baked, boiled or steamed. Costco sells bags of Brussel sprouts for next to nothing.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
1 lb Brussel sprouts, discard colored leaves and stems left intact
1 cup pecan, lightly toasted
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese (parmesan will do)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Holding Brussel sprout by stem end, cut very thin slices. Toss in a bowl to separate layers.
Lightly crush pecans with you hands and ad to Brussels sprouts along with cheese, oil and lemon juice, then toss to combine. Season with pepper.

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