Ricotta Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon Herb Oil

The other day I found four of the most beautiful artichokes, they were huge and flawless, I was smitten as soon as I saw them and knew exactly how I was going to cook them.
This is a lighter take on the classic stuffed artichoke, no breading here but equally, if not more delicious. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish. Fresh herb and cheese flavored ricotta fills the cavity of your prepared artichokes, baked til golden and set, then while still warm you drizzle your herb olive oil all over and use that as your dipping sauce! Have I convinced you yet?

I told you they were beautiful! Who could resist these gems!

ricotta stuffed artichokericotta stuffed artichoke My advice would be to prepare and cook your artichokes the day before by steaming or boiling til tender, (but of course you can do it the same day as well.)
Then let them cool completely in a strainer to drain out any excess water, gently cut them right down the middle and remove the fuzzy center with a spoon, refrigerate in a container with some paper towels to soak up the moisture, it will be so much easier the next day when you want to eat them, especially if you’re making a bunch.
I used 2 very large artichokes for this recipe. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, in a bowl combine about a 1 cup of ricotta, a hand full of Parmesan or grated romano cheese, fresh snipped basil and parsley, 1 egg, 1/2 grated garlic clove, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Brush the center and cut side of artichokes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon ricotta into the artichoke halves, and then sprinkle more grated cheese on top.
Place in your oven for about 15-20 minutes till golden brown, you might want to stick it under the broiler for a quick minute to get it more golden but don’t leave and keep checking!
The herb olive oil was made by mincing 1/2 of a garlic clove along with fresh basil, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place in a small bowl and drizzle in some good olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.
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All you artichoke lovers out there, you’re gonna love this!

Italian Style Portobello Burgers!

We all get pressed for time and need something we can cook fast every now and then. This is my idea of fast food!! Something I can take out of the frig, it doesn’t have to be defrosted, I don’t have to mix it with anything, it can all be cooked on the grill, with no pots or pans to clean, and it just takes minutes to cook!

Not only is this super fast, the flavors going on here are so good together, believe me you won’t even miss the meat!

I take everything out to my grill on a baking sheet all sliced and ready to go, cut fairly thick slices of the tomato and onion so it stands up to the grill when you flip it. With the portobello’s I usually clean the gills out, that’s just my personal preference, you don’t have to.

Everything is brushed with an herb flavored olive oil which takes a couple seconds to make by mixing some fresh or dry basil, with a clove of crushed fresh garlic into some olive oil with some salt and pepper. You can tell the portobello’s are done when they shrink and flatten. Be sure to add your cheese so it has time to melt, here I used provolone.

When everything is done toast up your buns, we like ciabatta rolls so that’s what I used, but use whatever you like, just get them a nice and golden color.

To assemble the “burger” :

Spread some leftover warmed marinara or pizza sauce on the grilled bread.

Layer with some arugula

Place portobello, grilled onions, provolone cheese, and the grilled tomatoes on top and serve immediately!

Buon Appetito!



Gorgonzola is one of those cheese’s that you either like, or you don’t like, you know,it’s a blue cheese thing! it has a little bite to it, along with a very rich and creamy taste.Well I happen to love Gorgonzola, and if your like me, you’ll love this recipe.
Lightly dust chicken in flour, salt &Pepper,and saute in some butter and olive oil till golden. Remove chicken. Add a couple of shallots and deglaze with 1/2 cup of white wine. Return chicken to the pan on low heat turning them once or twice. Place Gorgonzola on top, cover till melted. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. A simple concept, that gives you a delicious result!! Adapted from 1,000 Italian Recipes

Sometimes Chicken Parm tends to be heavy with all that breading and frying, this is a much lighter version,that I saw Giada do, it’s a fresh approach with mega flavor!! The key element to this dish is brushing the chicken with a fresh herb oil, yes, make your own, chop up some fresh herbs and place them in a small bowl with some extra virgin olive oil. I used rosemary,thyme, and parsley but you can use whatever you like. Make sure you have a homemade sauce with good tomatoes, I always use San Marzzano, the flavor is fantastic with no bitterness. Squish your tomatoes in some olive oil and garlic, and add some fresh basil thats it!Simple!
Brush both sides of the chicken with the herb oil and saute in pan, till almost cooked. Place fresh mozzarella on top along with sauce and place in oven till melted and cooked through.Top with shaved parm. I’m sure you will love this if you give it a try!

Again, this is a little lighter version I like to make when I’m trying to watch the carbs! There are no bread crumbs in this, just chicken lightly dipped in egg and then into Romano, parm or a mixture of both, some fresh chopped parsley, and a little lemon peel, salt & pepper.Saute in olive oil till crispy. Believe me you won’t miss the breadcrumbs!!