No. 1 : Quick Recipe

Artichokes and Peppers with  Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 Boxes (or two large bags)Frozen Artichoke Hearts, Defrosted

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tsp Each Sea Salt and Pepper

3 Red, Yellow or Orange Peppers, Roasted and Cut into Thin Strips

*Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

¾ Cup (¼”)Cubed Asiago, Fontina

or other Semi Soft Italian Cheese

¼ Cup Capers, Drained

¼ Cup Kalamata Olives,Chopped

¼ Cup Chopped Basil

Step One

Toss the artichoke hearts, olive oil and salt and pepper together.  Place on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes at 400F.

Step Two

Allow the soup to come to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the lentils and veggies are completely softened). Puree using an immersion blender. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of parsnips.

*Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

2 TB Dry Red Wine

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Basil Leaves, (Packed)

¼ – ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients in a

food processor or blender and process well. Drizzle in the olive oil,

and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the peppers and roasted artichoke hearts with about half of the dressing  Place on a large platter and top with the cheese, capers, & olives and basil.

No.2 : Kitchen Smidgen

Fontina is a classic Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. With a 45% milk fat content, the cheese is creamy and rich with a nutty flavor, which gets stronger with aging. Not only is it good as a slicing cheese – but luscious and smooth when melted. Make sure you buy Italian Fontina for this recipe – Danish Fontina has a much milder taste that may be overwhelmed by the other stronger flavored ingredients in this dish. How to tell if it is Danish Fontina? Look for the red rind.

No.3 : Get Creative

Asiago, pronounced ah-SYAH-goh, is a delicious mild cheese is named for the region in the Italian Alps where it was first produced. There are two types: pressato (fresh) and d’allevo (mature). The cheese, made with whole milk from grass fed cows  is matured for 20 to 40 days. The fresh is smooth and creamy and the mature is crumbly and tangy.

No.4 : Wine FIND of the Week

Viettti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne
Piedmont Italy
Total Wine around  $20.00

Did you know that there are over 350 grape varieties growing in Italy? One you shouldn’t miss is Barbera (bar-BEH-ra). Barbera is a black (red) grape with cherry flavors, soft tannins, and medium to high acidity. Its often said that wine can’t go with salad or artichokes – but this pairing proves the pundits wrong – the cheese and peppers balance other strong ingredients.

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