an italian mini picnic
last night tomas said he was craving italian and asked if i would make something for lunch today. one thing you have to understand about tomas and i… he always wants tacos or chinese, and i always want italian. so him asking specifically for italian was brilliant! since we first met, i have helped tomas expand his idea of what italian food really is. i guess he was thinking about some sort of pasta for lunch, but i had a different idea 😉
i took out one of my favorite italian cookbooks as a reference, jamie oliver’s jamie’s italy, and found a great recipe for mushrooms with melted mozzarella and thyme! this was the first course, and then i came up with a main dish with a bit of a twist… quinoa with a heirloom tomato, chickpea and basil sauce, with blanched broccoli for a little pop of color.
i’ve been trying to get tomas to eat a little healthier lately and this was his first experience with quinoa, thank goodness it was a successful one!! there is nothing better than simple, italian inspired food that focuses on fresh ingredients and not a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t allow the food to speak for itself!
here are the recipes…
jamie’s funghi tagliati a fettine sottili, con mozzarella fusa e timo
2 big handfuls of mushrooms, very thinly sliced;
2 x 150g balls of mozzarella or scamorza cheese, torn into small pieces;
a small sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked;
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
extra virgin olive oil
Get yourself a large ovenproof platter and spread your mushrooms on it in one layer. Scatter over the cheese and the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and place the plate under the grill.
Grill for a couple of minutes, checking frequently, until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden, and tuck in! Serve with some crusty bread.
Copyright Jamie Oliver 2005
note: make sure to serve it with some really good, crunchy bread so you can soak up all the yummy juices. and to add a different twist to the meal, try adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to the mushrooms before topping with the mozzarella.
quinoa with broccoli and a heirloom tomato, chickpea sauce
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1 pint small heirloom tomatoes
½ can chickpeas
2 cups broccoli florets
¼ cup chopped basil
½ t dry thyme
½ t red pepper flakes
start by rinsing off the chickpeas to remove the brine from the can. Cut the tomatoes in half and roughly chop the basil.
Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and bring to medium high heat. Add the quinoa and stir to coat. Allow the quinoa to toast a little, but don’t let it burn. Add 2 cups water and allow the water to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. All the quinoa to steam for about 20-30 minutes until all the water has been soaked up.
Drizzle some olive oil in a sauce pan and bring up to medium high heat. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, and add ¼ cup water. Add the basil and red pepper flakes and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the chickpeas and tomatoes to break down a bit. Mash it up with a potato masher, then add the basil and season with salt. Allow to simmer while you cook the broccoli and quinoa.
Bring one more pot of water to a boil. Toss in the broccoli and cook until the broccoli is bright green. Then strain out the broccoli and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil.
When the quinoa is done, toss everything together and serve.