Italian

tomato sauce

I’ve got nothing against using a store-bought tomato sauce, as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar, flavoring, preservatives, or the all-mysterious “spices.” If the list of ingredients is clean, I go ahead and use it – it’s a huge time saver, and I really enjoy Rao’s spicy tomato sauce.

Having said that, sometimes I like to make my own quick homemade tomato sauce. It’s ready in 10 minutes, it’s very flavorful, and you can use it in so many ways – the obvious are as pasta sauce or pizza sauce, but you can also use it as a base for shakshuka or for baked eggs; cook meatballs in it; or use it as a topping for bruschetta.

I use the Pomi brand of chopped tomatoes for this recipe. I like this brand because it’s BPA-free, has no added sugar or salt, and also because the Italian tomatoes are sweeter than American canned diced tomatoes. Click for the recipe

Low Carb Spinach Lasagna

This low carb spinach lasagna is delicious. Warm layers of seasoned spinach, ground beef and melted cheese – truly, you won’t miss the noodles at all. I have learned that quite often, the flavors we associate with grains are in fact the flavors of the fillings and toppings, while the grains are no more than a filler or a binder that absorbs the other flavors. It’s true for pizza, and it’s true for lasagna. Click for the recipe

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini slices replace the noodles in this low-carb, gluten-free zucchini lasagna. Of course, zucchini slices don’t work as well as noodles in terms of keeping the lasagna’s shape, so this zucchini lasagna is flimsier than traditional lasagna, but in terms of flavor, it’s another victory to low carb and another proof that the starches in many recipes merely absorb other flavors. This lasagna tastes amazing, so good in fact that I don’t plan on making it too often, since I found myself having THREE, yes three slices instead of the one I was planning to have – yes, it is that good.

Zucchini is very watery, so do go through the (admittedly annoying) extra step of grilling the zucchini slices before assembling the lasagna. Grilling will help dry them off and remove some of the water. Otherwise, they will release their water into the lasagna as it bakes – not good.

Needless to say, the flavor of your lasagna will greatly depend on the marinara sauce you use. I always use sugar-free spaghetti sauce, and my favorite is Rao’s – it has a clean list of ingredients and the spicy Arrabbiata sauce is especially amazing – this is the one I used in this recipe. Rao’s used to only be available at Whole Foods, but lately I’ve been seeing it in my supermarket too. Of course, just like everything else on earth, it’s also available on Amazon. Click for the recipe

pesto sauce

A simple recipe for pesto sauce. Wonderful on pasta, of course – just as wonderful as a topping for grilled meats, grilled or baked fish, and vegetables. Click for the recipe

pasta tomato basil

In the pantry: Barilla whole-grain penne pasta, olive oil, and a large can of whole peeled tomatoes. In the fridge: almost-past-its-prime-basil. The result: a delicious, fresh-tasting chunky tomato sauce that works great with short pasta. Click for the recipe

Focaccia Recipe

This is an unbelievably easy focaccia recipe, and the resulting bread is so tender, so delicious and fragrant, that you’ll have a hard time enjoying just one slice. (My solution? Immediately freeze the leftovers!) Click for the recipe