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Pancetta and Beans with Spinach

December 13, 2016 Entrees, Menu No Comments

With the cold winter weather rolling in, now’s the time to start planning some good, old fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meals. The dish that I’m sharing with you today is one of my all time favorites. The simple, yet classic ingredients make for a wonderfully tasty and hearty comfort dish. Old-school Italian soul food at its best!






Pancetta and Beans with Spinach

4 oz pancetta, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes, drained
1 15 oz can cannellini or garbanzo beans (I use a mixture of both)
1 bag spinach
olive oil (if needed)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth (if needed)
salt and pepper

Sauté pancetta in a large pan over medium heat until crispy and fat is rendered, about 7-10 minutes. Remove pancetta and set aside.

Add onion to rendered fat in the pan, sauté until soft and translucent (you can add some olive oil if needed). Add tomatoes and beans, stir together, cook until heated.

Add the spinach, stir together. You can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chick broth if needed, to help cook down the spinach.

Once the spinach is cooked down, add the pancetta back to the pan. Stir together, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy with a loaf of crispy Italian bread!




Green Olive Crusted Salmon

January 25, 2015 Entrees, Menu, Salads No Comments

Yesterday I made an impulse purchase while shopping at my local Italian specialty shop. I’m a big fan of Spanish green olives, whether pitted or stuffed with sharp provolone or creamy gorgonzola cheese. When I saw the jar of San Giuliano Green Olive Spread, I was quickly sold. This is basically a green olive tapenade spread, which is traditional made with pureed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil, and used as a topping on hors d’oeuvres, breads or meats. This particular brand had simple ingredients of olives, sea salt and olive oil, but still made for a nice jarred condiment to keep on hand.

I had planned to bake some salmon for dinner, and occasionally stuff it with pesto (which is a popular recipe on this blog, by the way…you can find it y clicking here). Since I had no pesto on hand, this was a perfect opportunity to put the olive spread to good use. I did a basic preparation of the salmon (olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice and some fresh thyme that I had on hand), and placed it in a high-heat oven. About half-way through baking, I added a thin coating of the olive spread to the salmon and let it bake through. It was a great addition to the salmon, adding a nice, zesty tang to the lightly seasoned fish. I also made a warm spinach salad with cannellini beans and grape tomatoes, which was a beautiful complement to the salmon. You can find recipes for both the salmon and the warm spinach salad below.

I have seen other brand jars of olive spread on the market, and although I haven’t tried any of them, I’m sure they would all work well with this dish or as a condiment spread. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, search out a tapenade spread on line and give it a go!


Green Olive Crusted Salmon

2 salmon filets
olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tbspns green olive spread (to your liking)

Preheat oven to 450˚. Lightly drizzle salmon with olive oil, season lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Squirt juice of 1/2 lemon on salmon. Place salmon, skin side down, on a lightly sprayed baking sheet or a non-stick pan. Bake 5-7 minutes, or until salmon starts to turn a light pink. Remove from oven, spread a light coating of olive spread on top of salmon, return to oven. Bake another 10-12 minutes, or until salmon is completely cooked through and flaky.


Warm Spinach Salad with Cannellini Beans and Grape Tomatoes

1/2 bag fresh spinach leaves
1 tbspn olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
juice plus zest of one lemon
1/2 cup cannellini beans
handful of grape tomatoes
salt and pepper

Pre-heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic, heat until garlic starts to become fragrant. Add spinach leaves, stir to coat. Add juice and zest of lemon, stir to coat. Add beans and tomatoes, continue to stir. Once spinach begins to wilt, remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

olive salmon


Bow Tie Pasta with Spinach and Salmon in White Wine Sauce

August 16, 2011 Menu, Pasta No Comments

Heavy winds, nasty rain and a bit of Sunday laziness kept me from my usual summer grilling this past weekend. The trade-off was that I was able to spend some quality time in the kitchen preparing a couple of meals for the week. We were in the mood for fish, but I wanted to get a little pasta going as well. I decided to saute some spinach and salmon in white wine sauce, and mix it with bow tie pasta. The dish was quick and delicious…the perfect cure for a blah-zy Sunday afternoon!

Bow Tie Pasta with Salmon And Spinach in White Wine Sauce

1 lb bow tie pasta
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and strained
2 6-oz salmon fillets
4 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
olive oil (to drizzle on salmon)
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
reserved pasta water (about a half cup or so)
breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese for topping

1. Season the salmon with some salt. pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Place salmon in a foil-lined baking dish, bake at 375º for about 30-35 minutes, until flaky. Remove from oven, flake and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Just before you’re ready to add the pasta to the boiling water, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water.

3. Add the shallots to the butter, stir. Let simmer until translucent, for about a minute. Next, add the wine to the butter and shallots, stir. Let simmer for a few minutes, to allow the alcohol to burn off.

4. Add the chopped spinach and flaked salmon to the wine sauce, mix well. Most of the wine sauce will be absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm in pan until pasta is al dente.

5. Remove pasta from water, reserving about a half cup or so of pasta water. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the salmon and spinach mixture. Slowly add a bit of the pasta water, one ladle at a time, to your liking.

6. Plate the pasta, top with some breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Serve with crusty Italian bread and white wine!


Spinach Quiche

September 8, 2010 Entrees, Menu No Comments

Another summer has come and gone, but we still have a few good weeks left to enjoy a nice outdoor meal under slightly cool skies. Whether you call it spinach quiche or spinach egg pie (because real men don’t eat quiche, right?), this is the perfect dish to enjoy on your outdoor patio or deck with friends, a nice glass of white wine, and a late summer, early fall breeze. Of course you can serve this any time of the year. I first started to make it around Easter time along with my Easter Ham and Rice pies, but I felt that this pie holds up as its own meal, so I started making it during the late spring/summer/early fall. And if you prefer beer over white wine, try serving an American Wheat Ale, Blonde Ale or a Belgian Witbier. Their refreshing, subtle citrus flavors are the perfect complement!

1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (6 oz) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 (8 oz) package shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
In a medium skillet melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, feta and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pie crust, allowing the egg mixture to thoroughly combine with the spinach cheese mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake an additional 35-40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve room temperature or chilled.

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