Feeding a love of Italian food

BOOKMARK

May 14, 2008|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

Panini Express

70 Delicious Recipes Hot Off the Press

Massimo's Italian Kitchen

Authentic One-Dish Meals From a Seasoned Chef

By Massimo Capra

Sellers Publishing / 2007 / $22.95

Both Maxine Clark and Food Network chef Massimo Capra highlight oodles of inventive risotto dishes in their tomes. Capra's Risotto With White Asparagus, Black Pepper and Wild Strawberries and the one with shrimp scampi and zucchini look delicious.

The Red-Beet Risotto I made was vivid in color but tasted bland. Extracting juice from the beets was a chore. And I couldn't find the carnaroli rice it called for, so I substituted arborio. I prefer my risotto with real chunks of roasted beets; this one used only the juice and greens.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

Baked Eggplant, Tomato, Mozzarella and Parmesan

Serves 4

4 medium eggplant (small Italian, if possible)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the eggplant

1 small onion, finely chopped

two 14 1/2 -ounce cans chopped tomatoes, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced, about 2 cups

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into strips 1/2 inch wide. Soak them for 30 minutes in a bowl of heavily salted water.

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it is softening, then add the tomatoes and basil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the eggplant, then rinse and pat dry. Saute them or brush with olive oil and roast in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until deep golden brown. Set aside.

Arrange the eggplant in a single layer in the oven dish, then add a layer of parmesan, followed by a layer of mozzarella and a layer of the tomato sauce. Continue layering in this order until all the ingredients have been used, ending with a sauce layer (this will keep the dish moist; if you want a crisp top, end with eggplant and parmesan).

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Remove and set aside for 10 minutes to settle before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From "Easy Italian: Simple Recipes for Every Occasion"

Per serving: 419 calories, 20 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams fiber, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 457 milligrams sodium

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