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Tomato Tart

This tart is pretty easy to make and is both elegant and tasty.
It’s great as an appetizer or paired with a hearty salad for a full meal.
Ingredients:
1 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and chilled
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (roasted garlic variation below)
13  cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp capers, drained (or 2 to 3 anchovies, drained and finely chopped)
2-3 lbs grape or cherry
Kosher or Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, optional
14 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
Egg wash (beaten egg with a little cold water)
Preparation:
Heat oven to 375°.
1. Fit pastry sheet into a parchment paper–lined, rimmed baking pan, pressing pastry against bottom and sides. Score the pastry all around by pricked interior with a fork.  If it puffs up a bit stab with a fork to release bubbles. Bake until edges of tart are golden, 25 minutes. Sprinkle parmigiano over tart shell, and bake until cheese is melted and tart shell is golden all over, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool.
2. Change oven to broil with the rack 4″ from the heat.
3. In a large bowl, mix together oil, minced garlic and capers (or anchovies); add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet, brush all sides with egg wash and broil until tomatoes blister, about 12–14 minutes. Shaking pan once or twice while cooking.  Let cool slightly.
4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato mixture to the prepared tart shell; distribute tomatoes evenly.
5. Increase oven heat to 425°. In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, chives, and oregano; sprinkle herb mixture evenly over the tomatoes. Return tart to oven and bake until hot, about 15 minutes.
Let tart cool slightly before serving.
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Stuffed Peppers (Lentil, Quinoa & Vegetables)

These peppers are full of flavor and stand as a meal on their own.  This is a dish that will appeal to both vegan and non-vegans.
Don’t get scared away by the long ingredient list…these peppers are worth the effort and you will have enough to freeze for future meals as well.

Ingredients:
4-5 Bell Peppers, cut in half, seeded and dry
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
2 med carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Lentils (rinsed well)
1 cup Quinoa (rinsed well)
3/4 cup rice (optional)
1-2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp coriander
1-2 tsp cayenne
1-2 tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp sweet paprika
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1-2 cups kale or spinach, chopped
1-2 jars Due Cellucci Tomato Basil, Traditional and/or Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce
3 tbsp of tomato paste
2-3 cups low sodium vegetable stock or water (as needed)
Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 450

2. Sauté onion in 4 tbsp olive oil for a couple of minutes and then add minced garlic. Sauté all until soft.

3. Add all spices: cumin, oregano, coriander, cayenne, chili powder, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, turmeric. Stir well.

4. Drop in the rinsed lentils and quinoa. Add 1-2 cups water or low sodium vegetable broth. Simmer. Stir occasionally.

5.  Add diced green red bell pepper, celery, carrots. Continue to simmer while adding water or stock as needed (liquid should not be above the grains)

6. When the quinoa, lentils, and vegetables begin to soften, add in tomato sauce (start with 1 jar and add as needed) and tomato paste.

7. Stir and continue to simmer, taste for spices. Add salt & pepper.

8. Cover and simmer low and add tomato sauce as absorbed.  Once lentils are just past al dente, turn off heat, add parsley and chopped kale or spinach. Mix well. Cooked filling should be thick when it’s done.  Taste along the way (you won’t be able to stop!).  Lentils and vegetables will continue to cook in the oven so don’t worry if they are still a bit hard when you taste.

Filling the peppers

9. Rub oil on the inside and outside of dry, halved peppers. Place on parchment paper in baking tray.

10. Scoop in filling. Pack it in…press into the nooks and crannies

11. Bake on high heat (450) for 10-15 minutes and then lower heat to 325 and continue to back another 40-45 mins or until peppers are nice and soft.

 

 

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Chicken Tinga Tacos

This shredded chicken is full of flavor and perfect in a taco, tostada or even over rice.  We loved making the hard shells using fresh tortillas and a muffin tin (

Ingredients:
4 lbs. skinless whole chicken legs (or a mix of thighs and drumsticks)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional heat)
2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil or Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce
1-2 tbsp of tomato paste
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
3-4 tbsp of white or apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Package of corn tortillas (or soft corn/wheat tortillas)
Chopped fresh cilantro & red or white onion for garnishing
Fresh lime wedges

Preparation (Use a large Le Creuset or enameled dutch oven):
1. Toast the cumin and coriander in the dry pot, using a wooden spatula to continually stir spices over medium-high heat until they are fragrant, being careful not to burn spices.
2. In the same pot, add the olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Sauté all until soft, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock, jar of Due Cellucci sauce, fresh oregano sprigs and bay leaves.
4. Add all chicken pieces, bring up to boil, stirring occasionally.
5. Reduce to simmer, cover partially and let cook for 45-55 minutes.
** (See below to begin making crispy taco shells while the Tinga cooks.)**
6. Check on chicken to see if meat easily falls off bones.  If so, use two forks to pull meat off the bones in the pot, or you can take meat out and debone with hands in a large dish, once cool enough to do so.  Then shred meat and return all and juices to the pot.)
7. Continue to simmer, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.  Add additional cumin and coriander if desired.  Remove bay leaves and oregano sprigs.
8. Stir in vinegar at end.  Taste for spices and desired tang.

While the sauce and meat are initially cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Take as many tortillas as you will be using, put them on a plate – using spray oil, spray each lightly and rub both sides with oil.  Stack them.  Using the back side of a muffin tin, fold and position the tortillas between the muffin cups (see photo) to get a rustic hard-shell shape.  Place entire tin into 400 degree oven and bake until crisp, 10-15 minutes.  Watch that they don’t burn.  You may need to work in batches.

Serve tacos freshly filled with Chicken Tinga and garnished with onions, cilantro, and lime.  Serve with a side of black beans and rice if desired.

 

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Skillet Italian Mac & Cheese (Finished in Oven!)

Ingredients

1 box of elbow macaroni pasta.
1 lb. of pork sausage or sweet Italian chicken sausage.
1-2 tbsp olive oil.
1/2 brown onion, fine dice.
1 each red and green bell peppers, diced.
1 8 oz carton of heavy cream.
1 8 oz package of shredded mozzarella.
1 32 ounce carton of low sodium chicken stock.
1 jar of Due Cellucci Traditional or Tomato Basil Sauce.
1 tsp Smoked paprika.
1 tsp Italian seasoning.
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp each salt and pepper, plus more if needed for taste before transferring to oven.
2 cups raw baby spinach.
1/2 cup each of panko and grated Parmigiano cheese.
Basil for garnish.

Preparation

1. Rough chop all sausage.
2. In a large skillet that is also transferable to oven, add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
3. Brown chopped sausage.  (Doesn’t have to be completely cooked through.)  Set aside.
4. Add diced bell peppers and diced onion to same pan, stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes. (*remove some oil if too much was left over from browning sausage.)
5. Add box of elbows, jar of Due Cellucci Sauce, half of the chicken stock and all of the browned sausage and juices, simmer medium low.
6. Make sure to stir occasionally to cover all pasta, and add in additional chicken stock as pasta begins to absorb the liquids.
7. Turn off heat (pasta should be al dente) and mix in heaping handfuls of raw baby spinach – keep adding, it really fades down.
8. Mix in the cheese and cream, taste for seasonings, salt & pepper – feel free to adjust as needed. Wipe sides of skillet above sauce line and place in pre-heated 375 degree oven, on middle rack.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, you may start to see a little bubbling action. Take out of oven and cover the top with a mix of panko and grated Parmigiano.  Return to oven and switch to broil to lightly brown the entire top of casserole.  Middle or lower rack, about 3-6 minutes.  Watch well, don’t burn!

Remove from oven and let cool and sit for a bit, garnish with chopped basil and scoop out big heaps onto everyone’s plates!

  

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Baked Spaghetti Pie

This is a baked version of my grandmother’s Spaghetti Pie, which is made from scratch, as opposed to using leftover spaghetti for a quicker version done on the stovetop. This recipe can have multiple variations by adding any any veggies or meat to the pasta mixture before baking it.

Ingredients

Butter for greasing a springform pan.
1 lb. of dried spaghetti.
1 jar of your preferred Due Cellucci Sauce.
1 1/2 cups of milk (with some fat is preferred but if you only have skim it will do)
3 large eggs.
1 tsp. each of salt & pepper (plus salt for the pasta water)
1 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese.
1/2 cup additional of grated Parmigiano cheese for topping the pie.

Pre-Preparation

– Heat oven to 425.
– Generously butter sides and bottom of 9″ springform pan, using room temperature butter.
– Very important: wrap the outside of pan tightly in aluminum foil, especially focusing on where the ring fits into the base – snugly crimp the foil well, all around the base area.
– Set pan aside.

Preparation

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil.
2. Add spaghetti to boiling water (break in half if desired) and cook to just al dente, about 2 minutes shy of being done.
3. Drain well and let cool slightly, then toss the spaghetti with a jar of your favorite Due Cellucci Sauce.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, add salt & pepper, then stir in 1 cup of Parmigiano cheese.
5. Pour mixture over the sauced spaghetti and mix well.
6. Pour everything into the buttered, prepped springform pan, and place pan on a baking sheet.
7. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano cheese over the top of the pie.  Bake for 35-45 minutes.
8. Check for doneness by gently pressing the middle of the pie, to see if there is some bounce in the center.
9. Change oven over to broil setting and carefully let the top of pie get nicely browned.  About 2-5 minutes depending on your broiler, use the middle or lower rack to not chance burning the top!

Once out of the oven, carefully loosen all sides around the pie, using a soft butter knife or thin spatula/flat dowel so as not to scratch springform pan.  Then carefully remove the ring, run a spatula underneath the pie to loosen from the base and slide onto a serving plate.

You can also add any veggies to the “pie” This one had kale and peas…

 

 

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Pan Fried Baby Artichokes (Carciofi Fritti)

Often, you’ll find this dish served with a side of lemony garlic aioli, but we love it drizzled with warmed Due Cellucci sauce!

Ingredients:
6 small (baby) artichokes, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise (see below).
6 cloves garlic, smashed or sliced.
4-6 tbsp olive oil.
Half a jar of Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce.
Salt to taste.

Preparation:
1. Trim all the outer tops of artichoke leaves and work inward, trimming off top half of all leaves, preserving the bottom meats.  Cut artichokes in half lengthwise, and with a spoon, carefully scoop/scrape out only the bristly choke. Rinse and dry well and set them aside.
2. In a skillet, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil over low/medium heat.
3. Add in garlic and sauté just to golden brown, being careful not to burn – garlic can brown very quickly.
4. Remove garlic and set aside.
5. Add rest of olive oil, add prepped artichoke halves (make sure they are dry!) and start to crisp them, turning until all sides are nicely browned and cooked.  About 10-12 minutes.  Remove artichokes.  Note: you can also transfer them to a small baking sheet and into a hot oven, letting them finish cooking while you move on to heating the sauce.
6. In the same skillet, with remaining oil still in pan, on very low heat, pour in sauce being careful not to splatter into hot oil. Warm and toss the sauce, plate your hot artichokes and drizzle sauce all over.  Sprinkle with salt and serve.

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Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu

This meaty sauce cooks itself while you’re away at work!  And gives you more than one option for an easy dinner (or two?!), with wide noodles, like pappardelle, on toasted crusty bread or over simple polenta.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
3 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 med/large yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 jar Due Cellucci Traditional Sauce
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
2-3 tbsp of tomato paste
2-3 sprigs oregano
Salt and pepper
Pappardelle pasta or polenta for serving

 

Preparation

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  Does not have to be cooked through.  Transfer ribs to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

2. Pour off oil, leaving about 1 tbsp in the skillet, add onion and carrots. Season with a little more salt and pepper and sauté, stirring until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker.

3. Add stock to pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, then pour all into slow cooker.

4. Pour jar of Due Cellucci Traditional Sauce into slow-cooker, add oregano sprigs, season with a little more salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high until meat is fork-tender, 6-8 hours.

3. With tongs, remove herb sprigs and let all settle.  With a spoon or ladle, carefully skim fat from cooking liquid (you’ll remove about a cup or so depending on meat.)

5. With two forks, shred meat while still in slow cooker, working through all the pieces.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately, or let cool in liquid and reheat over medium before serving.

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Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions

Sausage and Peppers can be done two ways: skillet on stovetop or sheet-pan roasted in oven.  Both are fabulous!  Below is our skillet version.

Ingredients:
4-6 fresh Italian sausage links.  Hot or sweet sausage, or a mix of both.
3-4 tbsp olive oil. (Some to grill sausages and the rest to sauté onions and peppers.)
1 large brown onion, chopped in half and sliced into 1/4″ half moons.
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced.
3 bell peppers: red, green and yellow or orange, sliced into 1/4″ long slices.
1 tsp oregano.
1 tsp cumin.
1 tsp smoked paprika.
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional heat).
3/4 cup of nice red wine.
1 jar Due Cellucci Traditional, Tomato Basil Sauce or Spicy Arrabbiata.
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Chopped fresh Basil for finishing dish and for garnish.
Some rustic bread of choice if you choose to make a hero sandwich.  Can also be served on top of polenta.

Preparation:
1. Pan brown the sausages in a little olive oil over medium heat.  Keep turning to brown all over.  They do not have to be cooked through yet. By browning them first, they’re a lot easier to cut into slices to add back into the onions and peppers later.  Remove browned sausages and set aside, you can cut them to bite-size pieces once cooled.
2. In same pan, add rest of olive oil, medium heat, and sauté onions and peppers for 2-3 minutes, add in the garlic and continue sautéing all.
3. Add in all dry spices and about 1/2 tsp. each of salt & pepper. Continue mixing throughout.
4. Add the cut sausages and any resting juice back to the skillet, mix well.
5. Lower heat a little and add red wine and stir well for a minute or two, then add Due Cellucci sauce of choice.  Stir all.
6. Cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, then taste dish for flavors.
7. Feel free to add additional salt & pepper to taste, chopped basil, additional heat, or a little more wine.
8. Simmer covered to desired doneness of onions and peppers.
9. Toast bread and slice open on one side and fill with peppers and onions!

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Eggplant “Pizza” Slices

Okay. Okay.  I know we don’t mess with pizza, but eggplant makes a great vessel for holding tomato, cheese and other toppings.  These make great side or main dish. 

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise – about 1 inch thick slices.
1 jar of Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce.
20 slices or so of fresh mozzarella cheese (cut as needed to fit onto eggplant slices.)
3-4 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
1-2 cups fresh baby spinach.
Salt for sprinkling on eggplant slices.

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 425 F.
On a large, lightly greased baking tray, arrange the sliced eggplants.
Sprinkle each with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Remove baked eggpant from the oven and turn on your broiler setting.
Spread Due Cellucci sauce over each slice, then slices of mozzarella, and then arrange spinach leaves and tomato halves over the cheese.
Put back in oven an broil for 3-5 minutes – making sure to keep an eye on not burning.
Remove and serve.
 
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Tacos

Taco Tuesday or any night! Tacos are a great choice for a quick dinner.  Adding tomato sauce at the end is a great way to add texture.

Ingredients

2 tbsp of olive oil.
1 lb ground turkey (or beef), at room temperature if possible.
1 med/large onion, fine dice.
2-3 cloves garlic, minced.
3 teaspoons taco seasoning.
1 tsp each additional of cumin and oregano.
1 can of your choice: Black, Kidney or Pinto Beans. Rinsed and drained.
2 cups of Due Cellucci TraditionalSauce.

Preparation

1. Heat oil and sauté onions for 2-3 minutes, until soft.  Add minced garlic

and sauté some more.
2. Add in ground meat and brown, crumbling meat as you cook, about 5-8 minutes.
3. Add in all dry seasonings and continue cooking and breaking meat apart.
4. Add in drained beans and mix well.
5. Add in Due Cellucci Sauce and stir well.

Cover and keep warm.
Serve in hard-shell tacos or soft warmed tortillas. Garnish as desired.  If not using taco meat right away, hold off adding in tomato sauce until you warm up meat on another night.