Temple’s Sformatini di zucchine e ricotta con coulis di pomodori

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1-2 medium zucchine chiare
300g ricotta
50g diced cooked ham
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 egg
1tbsp flour
Olive oil
For the coulis:
canned tomatoes
Olive oil
Using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, slice the raw zucchini very thinly—they should be pretty pliable. In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients evenly.
Lightly oil 4 ramekins and carefully drape the zucchini slices so there is a bit of overhang. Use about 3-4 slices per ramekin to almost cover the bottom and sides. Fill with the ricotta mixture up to the top and gently fold the “tails” over the top.
Bake in a 200° oven for about 30 minutes, until the sformati have puffed up and any ricotta showing is golden.
Meanwhile make the coulis: press the canned tomatoes through a sieve using the back of a spoon, so you have just thin tomato puree (do not substitute paste). Cook over a low heat with a little oil and S&P until slightly thickened, enough to coat a spoon generously.
Unmold the sformatini onto plates and pour a little coulis over them. Serve hot.

Maureen’s Steamed Mussels with Fennel, Tomato, Grappa & Cream

1 tblsp EVOO 1/4 cup grappa

2 shallots minced 4 cloves garlic finely minced

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 bulb fennel trimmed and sliced thin

1 large tomato cubed 2 Kg mussels cleaned

1/2 cup white wine

1/3 cup basil leaves

salt & pepper to taste

Heat EVOO in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel and cubed tomato and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Mix the white wine, grappa and heavy cream together. Add to the pot and bring to a hard simmer. Add the mussels and the 1/2 the basil leaves. Cover and cook for 7 minutes or until all mussels have opened. Serve immediately garnished with remaining basil leaves and crusty bread.


Here’s my trial and error (and what I have in the fridge) recipe for Melanzane Parmigiana (Parmesan Aubergine/Eggplant) –


My own version – I KNOW it’s not a traditional version, before the purists slate me!!

You’ll need – A large plump fresh aubergine sliced into 1cm rounds

Grated parmigiano – a nice little mountain of it!

Chopped or coarsely grated ball of mozzarella.

Tomato sauce


Finely chopped onion

Couple cloves finely chopped (or crushed) garlic

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Tablespoon tomato concentrate

Big handful of basil leaves, ripped up.

Salt and freshly ground pepper.

(Glug of red wine, if you want to make it richer)

About 200-250ml of beschamel sauce – if no time, the little tetra packs are a reasonable substitute for making it yourself!

What you need to do …

Heat the oven to a med-hot heat. I use about 180°c (I’m doubting myself now – is it °C or °F? You’ll know!)

Get a griddle pan nice and hot – no oil.

Cook the aubergine slices until tender and very slightly charred along the lines of the griddle. Put them to one side as you cook them, you’ll need to do the slices in batches, I doubt if you have a griddle pan big enough to do them all in one go!

While they are cooking, get your tomato sauce sorted …. In a saucepan, add a good glug of EVO and warm up – add the onion and stir a little to coat in the oil.

After the onion has softened slightly, add the garlic and stir that around too, coating it in the oil. Cook gently for about 5 minutes stirring frequently to stop the onion and garlic browning.

When they are nice and soft add the tin of tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato concentrate. (You can add your glug of wine at this stage if you want!)

Stir everything well and bring back to a simmer.

Add the ripped basil leaves & seasoning.

Stir, simmer for 15/ 20 minutes or so until the onions are really soft and the sauce has thickened.

When the sauce is done to your liking and the aubergines are cooked, start layering!

Start with a bottom layer of a bit of the tomato sauce.

Then aubergine

Then some blobs of beschamel dotted over

Then a hefty sprinkling of parmigiano

Then tomato sauce…

Then start again.

Finish with a layer of aubergine.

Absolutely finish with a mix of parmigiano and mozzarella.

Into the oven for about 30 minutes.

You want it to be browned a little on top and bubbling away – and of course for the tomato sauce to have soaked into the aubergines!

Leave it to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

It is a fairly ‘saucy’ dish, but REALLY tasty!

Now, silly me, I was so taken with eating this, I forgot to get a picture of it when it was on my plate! Rest assured, it was pretty damned good!

Tomato Mozarella with Quinoa Salad by Ingrid Christensen

Tomato Mozarella with Quinoa Salad by Ingrid Christensen

This is easily adapted for any number of guests so I’ll give approximate per person measures.

1 large Tomato (big enough to fit your mozarella inside)
1 Mozarella di Buffola (approx 80-125g)
1 medium sized Capsicum/Red Bell Pepper (cut in 1 cm dice)
1/2 medium sized Eggplant/Aubergine (cut in 1cm dice)
15grams uncooked Quinoa
Salad leaves & Lemon for garnish, Oil for cooking

Step 1: Boil 1 litre of water to be used to skin the tomato and cook the quinoa

Step 2: Add Quinoa and 300ml boiling water to a pot and boil for approximately 15 minutes until cooked. Remove from heat and drain in a sieve.

Step 3: Core Tomato and cut a small cross in the top and cover with boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Drain and cover with cold water.

Step 4: Heat a fry pan (medium-high heat) big enough to hold your Capsicum & Eggplant. Add your oil or choice and any spices or herbs you may like – I used olive oil with a dash of sesame oil to accentuate the nuttiness of the quinoa. Once heated add Capsicum and Eggplant. Cook until done – stirring gently occasionally – don’t overcook your vegetables should keep their shape! Allow to cool.

Step 5: Peel & discard the skin from your tomato, then hollow out the interior keeping the trimmings. You may need to trim the base to do this. Cut a design from your tomato – I used a simple triangular design – don’t cut away too much or it will lose the shape! Insert the mozarella.

Step 6: To make the salad chop up the tomato trimmings and add to the cooled veges along with the quinoa and mix gently.

Step 7: Dress your serving plate with salad leaves, put your quinoa salad in the middle and top with the tomato mozarella. Garnish with lemon.

Step 8: Serve with a squeeze of lemon and your favourite salad oil – I used olive oil but a nutty flavoured oil might be rather nice too.

Buon apetito!

Pasta alla Trapanese by Michelle Schoenung

Pasta alla Trapanese by Michelle Schoenung

I know there are many different variations on “Trapanese” sauce – sometimes it’s more like an almond pesto with a few cherry tomatoes added in while this is a tomato-based sauce with a bit of basil thrown in – but this is one my in-laws learned on the island of Marettimo when they used to spend summer vacations there. It’s an original recipe, and reminds me of summer. Excuse the unappetizing photo. I’m no food photographer.

Ingredients for four people:
About 400 grams of pasta (I like casarecce siciliane, shells or penne for this recipe)
About 500 grams of cherry tomatoes (we make it very “sauce-y” but you could use less)
Peeled whole almonds (a large handful – about 25)
1-2 garlic cloves you can regulate it depending on your tastes.
Olive oil
A handful of basil leaves

Clean and pierce each of the cherry tomatoes and squeeze out the little seeds in the sink. Put the squeezed cherry tomatoes aside in a large bowl. In the meantime, using a hand mixer/processor, chop up the almonds and garlic cloves with about 1/2 cup of olive oil. You may need to add more oil. Don’t blend too much – it should be a very thick oil with plenty of chopped almond bits in it and NOT have the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Add the almond-garlic-oil mixture to the tomatoes. Here you’ve got two options. You can try to smash it all together by hand with something, such as a pestle, or you can take your hand mixer and quickly blend (maybe two or three short pulses) but making sure to maintain the form of most of the cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes should not be pulverized but should maintain a general smashed cherry-tomato shape. Cut up your basil leaves into small slivers and add the basil to the sauce. Add salt and more oil to taste. Cook your pasta in salted water. When it’s ready add the pasta to the sauce. The pasta and sauce mixture does not get heated up over the flame. The sauce goes on cold. It’s a somewhat lukewarm pasta dish nice for a spring or summer day. The sauce is even better if made a few hours before making the pasta and let sit.

Warm Puttanesca Tart with Balsamic Vinaigrette by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Warm Puttanesca Tart with Balsamic Vinaigrette

by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen


1 pkg pasta sfoglia or puff pastry
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp EVOO
Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
2 Tbsp salt packed capers, soaked, rinsed and drained
1 salt packed anchovy, rinsed cleaned, deboned and minced fine
3 med cloves garlic, minced
1 lb datterini or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 shallot, minced

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Place pasta sfoglia in a 10″ tart pan, or form a free form tart. Pierce with a fork, and prebake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Put 1 Tbsp of the EVOO in a medium hot pan, add the the sliced onions and saute until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

In the same pan, add the remaining olive oil, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the minced anchovy, and saute gently with the garlic, smashing them together, for about 3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Then add the mixture to the sliced tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.

To make the tart:

Spread the sauteed onions over the bottom of the tart shell. Sprinkle the onions with the chopped olives, then the drained capers. Finally add the tomato, anchovy, garlic mixture arranging the tomatoes in an attractive pattern, cut sides down. Bake for 20″ covering the exposed edges with aluminum foil if necessary to keep from over browning. Allow to cool slightly.

To make the Vinaigrette:

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil and whisk together. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture emulsifies.

To serve:

Slice the warm tart into serving size pieces. Top with 1-2 Tbsp of vinaigrette.

Asparagus with tomatoes and onion by Tina Ferrari

Asparagus with tomatoes and onion by Tina Ferrari

I just made this as a small lunch today, though it would also make a good side dish.


1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small bunch of asparagus
1 onion, chopped
5 or 6 plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, to taste

Heat oil in a skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Brown the onion, then sauté the asparagus for a few minutes. If you think you need more moisture, a splash of water or even white wine will do the trick. Add the tomatoes, cover the skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. Add salt according to your preferences. Serve drizzled with olive oil and enjoy with some good crusty bread and maybe a glass of white wine.

Tagliatelle Strapazzate by Amber

Tagliatelle Strapazzate by Amber

500 grams fresh tagliatelle (can be made with dry as well, but watch quantity)
800 grams of canned, whole tomatoes (much better with fresh) crushed by hand or with blender
Handful of basil, torn, or cut into ribbons
100 grams of prosciutto cotto or ham
200 grams of fresh mozzarella
50 grams of grated parmigiano
2-3 large or 4 small cloves of garlic
Salt, pepper, hot red pepper, sugar to taste.

Olive oil for sautéing
Put a pot of water on to boil. Heat oil in a pan large enough to hold 500 grams of fresh pasta. Saute garlic and hot pepper if using until golden and add tomatoes. Bring to boil and add salt and sugar TO TASTE. (I did not use sugar this time but you should never use more than a pinch.) Continue cooking until cooked through-about 20 minutes. (add basil about half way through.)
In the mean time, chop prosciutto into squares or slivers. And cut mozzarella into tiny pieces. Grate parmigiano.
Prep is done.
Boil pasta and drain completely. Add to tomato sauce. Completely coat. Add prosciutto and mozzarella and thoroughly combine. Mozzarella will start to melt. Add parmigiano to taste.

Millefoglie of ripe tomatoes with ricotta quenelles by Temple Perrotta

Millefoglie of ripe tomatoes with ricotta quenelles by Temple Perrotta

ripe red tomatoes of the meaty variety: either beefsteak or cuore di bue
prepared puff pastry, preferable rectangular
1 egg
your favorite pesto, room temperature
salt and pepper, q.b.
slice the tomatoes very thinly; with a muffin cutter, cut circles in the pastry (you need 3 per person);
bake the pastry until lightly golden, set aside; mix the ricotta and egg, adding a little parmesan; bake until a toothpick comes out clean (depending on the amount, about 20’ in a preheated 200° oven); assemble the pastry rounds, alternating with 1 or 2 slices of tomato drizzled with a little pesto; finish with a pastry round and a few drizzles of pesto; top the millefoglie with a large spoonful of the warm ricotta
garnish with a fresh basil leaf (optional) and serve

Warm tomato vinaigrette by Temple Perrotta

Warm tomato vinaigrette by Temple Perrotta

Sammarzano tomatoes
½ cup EVO
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper q.b.
peel and seed the tomatoes, dicing the filets; finely chop the garlic; in a small saucepan, heat the oil with the garlic until the garlic starts to change color; remove from heat and add the chopped tomatoes, the vinegar and salt and pepper and whisk. Toss over fresh tender salad leaves and eat while still warm.