Tag Archives: cooking

Torta di Pasta

This has got to be the most creative way to use left over pasta. As I pack up my life in NYC and prepare for my San Francisco departure, I have been trying to find ways to finish my left over food that I can’t ship. Alas, I found this crispy, cheesy gem. Enjoy!

Danielle Faletra Torta Di Pasta Recipe

What You Need:

– 8oz spaghetti

– 1/2 cup oil packed roasted red peppers

– 4 large eggs

– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 3/4 cup grated parmesan

– 3/4 cup grated fontina

– 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook your pasta, using a little salt in your boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain your pasta completely, adding roasted red peppers into the mixture.

Danielle Faletra Torta Di Pasta Recipe

Set the pasta aside to cool completely (this is incredibly important, otherwise you could curdle the eggs when you add them later)

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, salt and pepper together until well blended. Mix in cheeses to blend. Once the spaghetti is cooled, add egg mixture and toss the pasta until coated.

Preheat your broiler. Melt butter and oil in a large 9 1/2-inch diameter skillet on medium heat. Once the skillet is heated, add the pasta mixture and press down evenly with a spatula. Cook the pasta until the bottom is brown (depending on your stove this can be 3-10 minutes). Once the bottom is browned, transfer skillet to the broiler. Broil until the top is a golden brown, about 5-10minutes.

Cool the skillet to room temperature and place torta onto a platter to cut.

Things to consider:

The original recipe calls for sun dried tomatoes, but I had a jar of roasted red peppers and substited. I also made this with elbow pasta, edemame and black olives. Be creative and try different additives.

The first time I made this, I used parmesan and Romano cheese. It came out very rich, but was still tasty. As long as your cheeses are grated you really can substitute anything. Make sure whatever you are using, melts well with oils so your torta doesn’t fall apart.

Baked Zucchini Chips

Danielle Faletra Baked Zucchini ChipsI have wanted to try these chips ever since I spotted them on Pinterest a few months ago. This healthy alternative is incredibly easy to make and will satisfy those cheesy, salty cravings without the guilt of downing half a bag of Cheez-Its (as if that ever stopped me).

What You Need:

– 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

– 1.4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 teaspoon garlic power

– 1/8 freshly ground black pepper

– 1/4 cup skim milk (unsweetened almond milk can be an alternative)

– 2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (1/4-inch-thick)

– Cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 425*F. Spray a wire, oven safe cooking rack and place it on top of a baking sheet.

Danielle Faletra Baked Zucchini Chips

Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together to evenly mix. Pour milk into a separate, shallow bowl.

Coat zucchini slices in milk. Then, dip them into the breadcrumb mixture coating them completely.

Place the chips onto the wire rack and place into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chips are browned and crisped.

Danielle Faletra Baked Zucchini Chips

Things to keep in mind:

The thinner your zucchini sliced, the crispier they will stay over time. My first batch was a little too thick, so they became less “chip” like about an hour after pulling them from the oven.

Next time I make these, I will add some cajun to spice them up a bit. They are great as is but I am a sucker for heat.

What are some healthy alternative snacks you’ve made lately?

Mom’s Homemade Fall Chili

Mom's Homemade Fall ChiliThis week was crazy to say the least. Hurricane Sandy hit the metro north region a few days ago and she left Manhattan and surrounding boroughs/states in shambles. A few friends and I evacuated to Harlem and were incredibly lucky to have water, power and heat post storm. My heart breaks for those who lost their homes to flooding, fires and the harsh winds. An entire neighborhood in Queens burnt to the ground, people are in desperate need of supplies and some are still being rescued. As our city starts to take steps to rebuild and find normalcy again, I thought some comfort food was in order.

Mom’s Homemade Fall Chili

– 1.5lb ground meat (at least 80% lean)

– 2 fresh garlic cloves

– 1 medium white onion

– 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5-15oz)

– 1 can tomatoe sauce (14.5-15oz)

– 2 cans kidney beans (14.5oz)

– Cayenne pepper, chili pepper, salt, basil

– 2 Bay leaves

Mince garlic cloves and dice onion into small pieces.

Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once oil is heated, add the onion and garlic. Cover with a lid and sauté until onion turns transparent.

Add ground beef to the pot, chopping with a spatula until it’s broken into smaller chunks. Simmer until beef has turned brown. Once the meat has cooked, strain the mixture to remove excess fat and oil (the leaner the meat, the less fat you will have to drain).

Place the mixture back into the pot and add remaining ingredients (Including beans and tomatoes.)

Give the chili a good stir to make sure you have mixed everything well. Heat on low for 45minutes. The Cayenne will become more potent the longer the chili sits so if you prefer a spicier palette, taste after 45minutes adding small amounts until desired spiciness. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t remove it once added.

The chili can sit on low for a few hours, so this recipe works well in slow cookers if that is your preferred method. Toast whole grain bread for dipping. Enjoy!

Provolone, prosciutto and peppers! Oh my!

Provolone and Prosciutto Stuffed Cherry PeppersI spent this past weekend with my family back home in Boston. There are a lot of things I miss living in a city (one of them being nature) but my mothers cooking is the hardest being away from. As an honorary italian, she sure can whip up a mean everything.

With a more than plentiful stock of peppers from the garden, and a recent trip from the north end packed with fresh cuts of provolone and prosciutto, it would be against our heritage to not make stuffed peppers.

Side bar: The peppers sit in a solution for 2 weeks so this isn’t a recipe that comes quickly however, totally worth the time it takes and you will not be disappointed with the results.

Plate of Cherry Peppers

Here is what you will need:

– 3lb fresh cherry peppers (about 30 peppers)

– 4 cups white vinegar

– 4 cups water

– 6 Tbsp pickling salt

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

– 2 bay leaves

– 1lb sharp provolone (950 g), cut into ¾ inch cubes

– Prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut in half lengthwise, and then across to make 30 strips

– 2 cups olive oil

Wash the peppers and drain in a colander. Using a pairing knife, cut a ring around the top of the peppers. This will allow the pickling solution to enter the peppers, and make it easy to remove the cores before stuffing them. Pack the peppers into a gallon glass, ceramic or plastic container.

Put all the other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the peppers. The peppers need to be completely covered in liquid. If you need more liquid, add a mixture of half water and half vinegar with the same proportion of salt to the jar—that is 2 teaspoons salt per cup of liquid.

Cool to room temperature, and keep refrigerated for about 2 weeks. Drain the pickled peppers in a colander set in a sink. Remove the cores from the peppers with tomato shark and discard. Drain the peppers well on absorbent toweling.

Cherry peppers, cheese, prosciutto cutting board

Cut the provolone into pieces that will fit in the peppers, ¾ inch is a good size for large peppers, ½ inch for smaller peppers. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around a cube of provolone and stuff into each pepper.

Pack the stuffed peppers into quart Mason jars. Use a wooden spoon to help arrange them so that the open ends face outward. Depending on the size of your peppers, pack them 3 or 4 to a layer. Pour the olive oil over the stuffed peppers. As air bubbles float to the surface add more oil until the peppers are completely covered. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for a week. Refrigerate after that.

Cherry peppers and olive oil

Remove peppers from refrigerator several hours before you wish to serve them to bring them to room temperature. Serve the peppers with hunks of sourdough bread to help sop up the olive oil.