Recipe of the Week: Mouthwatering Ways to Create Italian Dishes

(Family Features) While activities and events seem to rule most people’s schedules, time spent sharing a home-cooked meal is an important way to keep up with loved ones.

Busy calendars may pull families in different directions during the day, but making time to come together over dinner can help keep everyone connected. Exploring cuisines from around the world can make for delicious mealtimes, but it can also be time-consuming. However, there still are ways to serve up quality, satisfying, Italian-inspired dishes made with wholesome ingredients without spending hours over a hot stove.

Whether you fancy yourself a wunderkind of all things Italian or are a novice in the kitchen, you can make your family meals memorable with these tips from Chef Stjepan Kadic of Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods.

Rely on fresh ingredients. Garden-fresh veggies are perfect for savory sauces and lighter dishes, too. The flavors of a classic Italian tomato sauce are created best with tomatoes fresh out of the garden. A sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes crushed with peels provides lycopene for added health benefits and pectin for natural thickening.

Pay attention to the pasta. Quality pasta is the foundation of many favorite Italian dishes. For example, Michael Angelo’s Three Cheese Baked Ziti relies on a simple two-ingredient pasta (grade A semolina and water). The special extrusion process through bronze inserts and a low and slow drying process create a one-of-a-kind, robust bronze-cut pasta with rough texture that, when cooked al dente, enables the pasta to stick to the sauce. The ziti pasta is smothered in a delicate cream sauce with a hint of garlic, Parmesan and white wine, topped with mozzarella and Romano.

Experiment with cheeses. Mozzarella and Parmesan are two of the more popular Italian cheeses, but there are plenty of other options to create classic Italian flavors and textures. One choice to consider is traditional Italian-style whole milk ricotta cheese. Typically, artisan-made with just three simple ingredients (milk, vinegar and salt), it has a creamy texture that’s just right for both savory meals and desserts. Lasagna is a popular dish featuring ricotta; a recipe like lasagna with meat sauce features layers of homestyle meat sauce and creamy ricotta cheese smothered between layers of pasta then topped with mozzarella cheese can be a fan-favorite for gatherings – small and large.

Grow your own herbs. A healthy garden is even better when you add herbs to pair with the bounty of veggies you have grown. Herbs are a natural way to infuse flavors and even layer different kinds of flavors in a single dish. When it comes to Italian cooking, basil is one of the basics. Adding fresh basil to a sauce and letting it seep in delivers a traditional elevated flavor commonly found in many favorite Italian dishes.

Elevate meals with good spirits. If you’re entertaining or simply want to step up your menu, make an easy upgrade by adding vodka. The alcohol evaporates when heated, leaving behind a hint of sharp flavor that complements the other ingredients. One popular preparation is a blend of tomato sauce, cream, Calabrese peppers and vodka over pasta, often penne rigate.

Introduce kids to new flavors. The familiar taste of Italian sauces and rich, creamy cheese can provide a non-threatening context for trying new dishes. A classic Italian dish like Michael Angelo’s Eggplant Parmigiana features freshly sliced eggplant that is lightly breaded then smothered in vine-ripened tomato sauce and three cheeses. The dish is available in family and large family portions so you can quickly prepare and serve a family meal with next to no preparation time.

If you’re looking to dish up an authentic Italian feast tonight, visit michaelangelos.com for more tips and a store locator.

SOURCE:
Michael Angelo’s

The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at davidhiggins@southernmarylandchronicle.com

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II




© 2019 The Southern Maryland Chronicle. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.