Summer Seafood Giambotta

May 24, 2013 Entrees, Menu, Soup No Comments

When I started planning to make this dish earlier this week, my original intentions were to simply sauté some vegetables and serve them over sliced polenta. Apparently my creative juices were in high gear that day. I found myself inspired and started reaching for additional complimentary ingredients. Before I knew it, I had a beautiful pan of giambotta (the classic stewed vegetable dish) simmering away on our new stovetop.Within a half an hour, my wife and I were enjoying a fresh, hearty and flavorful meal!

A traditional giambotta would normally include ingredients such as potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. For this version, I used zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, onion, diced tomatoes and spinach. These are all quick-cooking ingredients, which made for the ideal weekday meal. I like to keep a bag of frozen raw shrimp and frozen scallops on hand for impromptu dishes, and this was the perfect opportunity to put them to use. Letting the shrimp and scallops simmer in the sauce during the last few minutes of cooking guaranteed the perfect, tender texture and taste. We did serve this over sliced polenta, which worked perfectly. But next time I make this, I’m going all out and will be serving it up with a nice crusty loaf of Italian bread to scoop up every last drop of sauce!

SUMMER SEAFOOD GIAMBOTTA

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbspn olive oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced into circles, then circles sliced in half
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into circles, then circles sliced in half
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 dozen raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup raw small sea scallops

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chopped onions, stir, sauté for 30-45 seconds or until translucent.

Add diced zucchini and squash, stir and sauté until zucchini and squash start to soften up. Add diced tomatoes and their juices, lower heat to simmer. Add spinach, stir. Add shrimp and scallops. Stir together, cover with lid and let simmer until shrimp and scallops are done, about 5-7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper (you can add some crushed red pepper for additional heat). Serve it over sliced polenta or along with crusty Italian bread.

Makes approximately 2-4 servings

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Baked Arancini Casserole

May 10, 2013 Appetizer, Entrees 1 Comment

Last summer, I had a wonderfully unique opportunity handed to me, when I was asked to make a dish for the Philadelphia Phillies. I put together Whole Grain Baked Arancini Rice Balls, which went over very well with the team. Ever since, arancini has been on my regular ‘craving’ list, but it’s tough to find the time needed to roll and prepare them. To satisfy my urge, and to save prep time, I put together a baked casserole version that no doubt holds up to the original!

Arancini, the popular stuffed and fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, are no doubt a well-loved Italian treat. This updated version of the classic dish incorporates all of the ingredients and flavors into a convenient and easy to make baked casserole. You can use any form of ground meat in this recipe (I went with ground turkey, along with peas and diced tomatoes), or you can get creative with other fillings, such as cheese, chicken, shrimp or asparagus (next time I will be trying a shrimp, asparagus and lemon version). Baking this dish is not only a healthier option, but it also frees up some time that you would normally spend rolling and frying, if you were making the traditional arancini balls.

 

BAKED ARANCINI CASSEROLE

Ingredients
1lb ground meat (beef, sausage or turkey would all work well)
1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
1lb part skim ricotta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups cooked long grain white rice or multi grain brown rice
breadcrumbs
spices (onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper)

Directions
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground meat. Use spices to season meat to your liking and taste. Add the peas and tomatoes, stir until heated. Drain excess liquid, then set meat filling aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan and cooked rice. Add the meat mixture, mix well.

Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Add the mixture to the dish. Lightly coat the top of the mixture with breadcrumbs, then lightly spray the breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 350º for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve!

You can add additional tomato sauce to each serving for extra flavor.

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