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Posts Tagged ‘basil’

Once again, you can see the colors of the italian flag in this dish. Insalata Caprese is one of my all time favorite salads.  I like to serve it over a bed of fresh spinach.  Refreshing and light!

The word mozzarella comes from the italian verb “mozzare” which means to cut.  Mozzarella di bufala is made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo, a bovine which has it origins in Asia but is now found in southern Europe, South America, Northern Africa and India among others.  Mozzarella di bufala is a bit saltier and softer than regular cow’s milk mozzarella.  The best quality is considered by many Mozzarella di Bufala di Campania made in the geographical areas of Lazio (near Rome) and Campania (Naples, Salerno, Paestum, Pompeii, including Capri) Regions which became protected by the European Union under Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC like in wines) in the 1990’s. It literally melts in your mouth!  In short, mozzarella is made by heating the milk (to separate the whey form the curds), resting, spinning and pulling the cheese curds to shape into balls. The cheese maker will knead the curds like bread by hand, pull-out and cut the mozzarella balls once the cheese curds have reached the desired consistency. This is a semisoft cheese and has a high moisture content. That is why it is sold in specialty food shops in brine and vacuum sealed.  On the other hand, good quality mozzarella di bufala is made in many other countries in Europe and the Americas.

Insalata Caprese (salad made in the style of Capri) can also be called Tricolore Salad which also includes avocado.  If you want to splurge (it is more expensive than regular mozzarella) and the best flavor and quality, use mozzarella di bufala when you make homemade pizza. Use it as a topping or make Insalata Caprese Pizza.  It is amazing!

Buon Appetito!

Insalata Caprese

about 6 servings

Ingredients

2   7 ounce mozzarella di bufala balls

2-3 roma tomatoes

2 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

drizzle of good quality aged balsamic vinegar (optional)

Procedure



1.  Slice mozzarella and tomatoes.  In a plate, alternate placing one slice of tomato over each slice of mozzarella.

2.  In a small bowl, place the chopped basil with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir with a spoon.

3.  Spoon mixture over mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

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I love pasta!  Capellini is very thin spaghetti sometimes called angel hair pasta.  My favorite way to make it is short and simple; with olive oil, tomato, garlic and basil. Fresh, light and satisfying!  May be served as a side dish or as a light meal.  I also like to serve it cold from the fridge with salad. Yum!

Buon Appetito!

Capellini with tomato, garlic and basil

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound capellini (8 oz.)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

2 roma tomatoes (diced)

about 6 fresh basil leaves chopped

2 tsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

1.  In a medium sauce pan, bring water (about 6 cups) to a boil.  Add generous pinch of salt  and olive oil and start cooking capellini according to package instructions.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil (medium heat) and add minced garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes (do not  brown).

3.  Add tomato, basil and salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes.

4.  Turn off the heat. Add drained capellini to saute pan and stir until well mixed. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

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