recipes

Meal Ideas 27 October 2022

Master the Art of Italian Comfort Cuisine

(Family Features) Cool, crisp days call for comfort foods, like the classic flavors of traditional Italian cooking. Whether you’re Italian by heritage or simply by heart, learning the art of Italian cuisine may be easier than you may think.

Perfect your pasta game. Limp, mushy, overcooked pasta can ruin an otherwise delicious Italian dish. Aim for al dente pasta, which is soft but still firm. It’s important to note variables like the type of pasta, size of your pot and amount of water can all affect cooking time. Treat the package instructions as a guide and start taste testing 1-2 minutes before you expect it to be done.

Be choosy about your ingredients. Many of the best Italian dishes are incredibly simple, so it’s important to select quality ingredients that allow the flavors to really stand out. Made in Italy, Bertolli d’Italia sauces are available in premium red and white varieties to elevate the at-home culinary experience and bring the authentic and delicious flavors of Italy to your table. Every jar reflects more than 150 years of authentic Italian culinary tradition using high-quality ingredients like tomatoes vine-ripened under the Italian sun, finely aged Italian cheeses, fresh cream and Mediterranean olive oil.

Give seasonings time to simmer. Great things come to those who wait. That’s why the best Italian chefs sample their sauces along the way, adding and adjusting until the taste is just right. Then, they allow the ingredients to simmer together to create a perfectly balanced harmony of flavors.

Experiment with proteins and veggies. For many Italian recipes, you can create an entirely new dish by adding or swapping the protein and adding fresh produce. Try introducing juicy strips of grilled chicken and fresh, steamed broccoli to an alfredo pasta like this Cavatelli with Cacio e Pepe Sauce. Or, if you’re a seafood lover, reimagine this Fresh Tomato Bruschetta Chicken by swapping in a mild white fish like halibut, cod or snapper.

Get cozy in your kitchen this fall with more comforting recipes at Bertolli.com.

Cavatelli with Cacio e Pepe Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Salt, to taste
  • 1          box dry Cavatelli pasta
  • 1          jar (16.9 ounces) Bertolli d’Italia Cacio e Pepe Sauce
  • 1          cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring large pot of cold water to boil. Salt water heavily.
  2. Cook dry pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Strain pasta, reserving pasta water.
  3. In large saucepan over low heat, warm pasta sauce 3-5 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons pasta water.
  4. Transfer cooked pasta to saucepan.
  5. Stir and toss pasta approximately 30 seconds over medium heat to integrate it with sauce. Add pasta water as needed for creamier texture.
  6. Plate pasta and top with finely grated Pecorino Romano and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta Chicken

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1/3       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3          tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, plus additional, for garnish
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6          thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1          large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1          jar (24.7 ounces) Bertolli d’Italia Marinara Sauce
  • 2          cups multi-colored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2          stems cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 1/2       cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2          tablespoons balsamic glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In small bowl, whisk olive oil, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano until combined. Combine 2 tablespoons oil mixture and chicken in resealable plastic bag. Let stand 5-10 minutes at room temperature to marinate.
  3. In medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil mixture over medium heat. Add onions; cook 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in marinara sauce. Pour mixture into lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Arrange chicken breasts in dish, overlapping if necessary. Top with grape tomatoes and cherry tomato stems. Spoon remaining oil mixture over tomatoes.
  4. Bake, covered, 25 minutes, or until chicken is done (165 F) and tomatoes start to burst. Sprinkle with Parmesan, drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.
Meal Ideas 18 May 2020

Breaking Bread

(Family Features) As families spend more time at home, Americans are finding comfort in a surprising source: bread. In fact, a 20-year trend of declining grain food consumption has been reversed.

A national study by the Grain Food Foundation suggests that the turnaround is more than a one-time sales blip due to pantry loading. In reality, consumers count bread among their top comfort foods. The study revealed one-third of Americans named pasta and bread as foods that are comforting during a stressful time.

In addition to the comforting flavor, this trend provides valuable nutritional benefits. As a part of many healthy eating plans, bread and pasta are nutritionist approved and provide nutrients needed for healthy aging such as B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, iron, folate and fiber.

“For years, we’ve been telling consumers that grain foods are the foods we love that love us back,” said Christine Cochran, executive director of the Grain Foods Foundation. “The stress has given us permission to enjoy bread and pasta again, but unlike most comfort foods, consumers recognize that grains have nutritional value.”

The highest-ranking comfort foods were ice cream; baked goods like cakes, cookies and pastries; salty snacks; candy; and fast food. However, when asked to identify comfort foods with nutritional advantages, consumers identified bread and pasta as the top two.

Beyond identifying comfort foods and their nutritional value, consumers also expressed worry that bread is in short supply right now.

“We can all rest assured that there is enough supply of grain food products in this country,” Cochran said. “Shoppers may be experiencing some sporadic unavailability of certain high-demand items. However, manufacturers are working closely with retailers to make sure that out-of-stocks are short lived. Consumers will be able to buy their favorite grain-food products and eat them, too.”

To learn more about the role of grain foods in a healthful diet, visit GrainFoodsFoundation.org.

Avocado Veggie Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2       ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • 4          slices bread
  • 4          slices tomato
  • 8          slices cucumber
  • 12        slices sweet bell pepper
  • 2          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and salt. Spread mixture evenly over two bread slices.
  2. Place tomatoes, cucumber and peppers on covered surface. Drizzle with vinegar.
  3. Layer lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and peppers evenly between slices of bread, creating two sandwiches.

Panzanella Bagel Salad

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          medium Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/4    cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4       cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4       cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2          tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 2          tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional (optional)
  • 1          tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2          bagels (4 ounces each) cut into 2-inch pieces, toasted
  • assorted greens (optional)

In medium bowl, mix tomatoes, canned tomatoes with juice, green pepper, cucumber, onion, cheese, vinegar and basil.

Add toasted bagel pieces; toss gently. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator 1 hour. Serve within 1 hour after marinating. Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve on bed of assorted greens, if desired.

Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          box (13 1/4 ounces) whole-grain rotini
  • 1          tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1          pound chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1          cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2          cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1          cup chicken stock
  • 1/4       cup parsley chopped
  • 6          leaves from tarragon sprigs, chopped
  • 1          cup Romano cheese grated
  • Parmesan-Romano cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare rotini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook sausage 2-3 minutes, or until well browned. Add leeks, onions and mushrooms; cook until tender. Add chicken stock and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until hot. Fold sausage mixture into warm pasta. Add parsley, tarragon and Romano cheese; toss again. Top with Parmesan-Romano cheese, if desired.

Cheesy Black Bean Toast with Pico de Gallo

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 6          Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1⁄2       medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1          clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2          serrano or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3          tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          lime, juice only
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon oregano, finely crushed
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon pepper
  • 1⁄2       Hass avocado, diced
  • 4          bolillos (6 inches) or large Kaiser rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1          can (16 ounces) seasoned low-fat refried black beans
  • 2          cups shredded Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine tomatoes; onion; garlic; peppers; cilantro; lime juice; oregano; salt, if desired; pepper; and avocado; set aside.
  3. On medium platter, split rolls. With medium spatula, spread refried beans onto each bread half; sprinkle cheese among bread.
  4. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and hot.

Source:  Grain Foods Foundation

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