Tag Archives: Italian

Creamy Basil Zucchini “Pasta”

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I’ve made my share of spaghetti squash dishes in place of pasta which is so easy, but I had yet to do anything with zucchini since I didn’t have a spiralizer and was honestly too lazy to julienne zucchini noodles by hand. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I decided it was time to invest in a veggie spiralizer and I am so glad I did! I bought this GEFU Spiralizer on Amazon and it is super easy to use and makes beautiful zucchini spirals. I definitely recommend it! I also recommend this creamy, raw, paleo dish to go with an Italian Summer meal. It went wonderfully with my Paleo Shrimp Scampi.

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Creamy Basil Zucchini Pasta (Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

  • 4 small zucchini, ends trimmed and spiralized with a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ an organic cucumber, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
  • about 8 leaves of organic basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • halved cherry tomatoes for garnish

Place zucchini spirals in a large bowl. In a mini food processor, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Toss the zucchini with the avocado sauce until fully coated. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, season with more salt & pepper to taste.

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Paleo Shrimp Scampi

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I saw this incredibly simple paleo shrimp scampi recipe that I had to make to go along with my raw paleo creamy basil zucchini pasta dish–it just seemed like the right thing to do. This dish literally takes less than 10 minutes to throw together and is full of delicious lemony, herby white wine flavor. The best part is the obligatory glass of wine while you’re cooking. A little dash in the pan and a little dash in your glass!

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Paleo Shrimp Scampi (Adapted from Naomi Siegel on Pinterest) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. wild-caught shrimp, rinsed, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. organic parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. almond meal
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 an organic lemon
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Place olive oil in a baking dish and set oven to broil. Place the shrimp in the baking dish, season with salt and cover with fresh squeezed lemon juice and white wine.

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Place the remaining ingredients in a small food processor or chopper and pulse to combine. The resulting mixture will be a little more moist if you use fresh garlic and parsley, which I did, and think is well worth taking an extra minute to distribute the seasoning over the shrimp than if you had used dried herbs. Lastly, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the shrimp and place in the oven. Broil until pink, about 3-4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and return to the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve with creamy basil zucchini pasta and generously spoon the extra sauce from the pan over the shrimp.  

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Chocolate & Olive Oil Fig Cakes

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I have been holding onto this recipe since last summer and I am so glad I finally got around to making it! The fig season is so short that by the time I went to make it last year, I couldn’t find fresh figs anywhere. So do yourself a favor and try this while you still can. Fresh figs are like a completely different food than their dried counterpart that we usually find in salads. Don’t get me wrong I love dried figs too, but fresh figs are a summer delicacy to savour! Their sweet juicy flesh pairs perfectly with the rich chocolate and olive oil in the cake. And the sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the chocolate topping perfectly finish off this decadent treat. I know what you’re thinking…ground black pepper on chocolate cake?!? Believe me! It heightens the lemon zest and pairs with the sea salt to balance the chocolate, olive oil, and figs. Chocolate Perfection! A great Italian dessert to follow up my Salmon Florentine.

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Chocolate & Olive Oil Fig Cakes (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 6-7 mini cakes)

For the cakes:

  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 c. almond meal, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 1 large cage-free organic egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 3-6 fresh figs, halved

For the glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for topping

Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the cakes: Brush a 6-cup muffin pan (I used a mini bundt pan) with olive oil and dust with almond meal. Whisk the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let cool slightly. Combine the almond meal, salt and baking soda in another bowl.

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Combine the honey, egg and egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until pale and slightly thick, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the almond meal mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake 8 minutes, then top each cake with a fig half and continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, 8 to 10 more minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack, 20 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.

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Make the glaze: Place a small saucepan of water on the stove to boil, then turn off the heat. Put the chocolate, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a metal bowl and place over boiling water, stirring, until smooth.

Top the cakes with the glaze and more fresh ground pepper. You can add additional fig slices to the top of the glaze if desired.

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Salmon Florentine

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I’ve been enjoying a lot of Mediterranean dishes lately and dreaming of lying on a beach off the coast of Italy. When I saw that Sprouts (our local “farmer’s market”) had wild sockeye salmon on sale I knew it was time to make this Salmon Florentine recipe I had been eye-balling. Now I know sockeye salmon is mostly found in the Northern Pacific, and Florence is slightly far-off from the Mediterranean, but Tuscany is still teeming with those fresh local flavors like sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and this is a nice twist on the classic Chicken Florentine. It is the perfect summer dish, packed with flavor, yet still light and fresh. I served mine with parsley and lemon quinoa with pine nuts and a sprinkle of pecorino cheese. And if you’re looking for a grain-free, yet indulgent dessert, check out my Chocolate and Olive Oil Fig Cakes here! Ahh what I wouldn’t give to be sitting outside a Tuscan cafe right now…

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Salmon Florentine (Adapted from SELF) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 2) 

  • 5 oz.  organic spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 c. cottage cheese
  • 2-3 wild-caught skinless salmon fillets (4-6 oz each), rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes and pepper; cook, stirring until spinach is cooked through, 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat; let cool about 15 minutes. Add cottage cheese; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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Pack about 1/2 cup spinach mixture on top of each fillet, matching the shape of the fillet. Place fillets in a glass baking dish; bake until cooked through, 15 minutes. 

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Zucchini Parmesan

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I had more zucchini left over after making my heavenly Chocolate Zucchini Cake so I decided to “Primal-ize” another dish I had seen in the Food Network Magazine. I had never thought of making Zucchini Parmesan but it was a delicious seasonal alternative to Eggplant Parm, which is one of my favorites. And actually it was the perfect opportunity for me to test arrow root powder as a flour alternative in the traditional dredging process, and best of all, it was a success! The zucchini had a nice golden brown crispy exterior while it remained tender and flavorful in the center. This is a perfect way to use up zucchini before it goes bad, especially if you’re growing it in your garden and have a lot on hand. This is a meal that could be easily frozen for later convenience.

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Zucchini Parmesan (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4-6)

  • One recipe Amy’s Traditional Tomato Sauce
  • 2-3 organic zucchini
  • 1/2 c. arrow root powder
  • 2 organic free-range eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk (whichever variety you prefer)
  • 2 c. almond meal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. prosciutto (optional)
  • 1/2 c. pecorino cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Make the Zucchini: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Trim the zucchini and halve crosswise, then slice lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick. Put the arrow root powder in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another bowl. Place the almond meal in a third shallow dish. Working in batches, dredge the zucchini in the arrow root and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, turning to coat; let the excess drip off, then dredge in the almond meal, pressing to help it stick. Set aside.IMAG0896

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the zucchini in a single layer and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels; season with salt.

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Assemble: In a medium skillet, cook prosciutto until slightly crispy, 2-3 minutes per side. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce to a baking dish (I used a pie dish) and lay enough zucchini strips to cover the bottom. Top with another layer of the tomato sauce,  crispy prosciutto, mozzarella and a sprinkle of grated pecorino cheese. Repeat the layering (zucchini, sauce, prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino). Top with a little more sauce, the remaining mozzarella and pecorino cheeses. Bake until heated through and bubbling, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool before serving.

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