Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

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Some of the best things in life are the simplest things. A simple gesture of love, a simple word of appreciation, a simple day off, a simple meal.

What is it that makes simple, special? The intent, or quality behind the simpleness. A simple gesture of love done with purity of heart, a simple word of appreciation that is genuine, a simple day off with no stress to go and be, a simple meal with quality ingredients.

It’s this last idea that I’m honing in on today. A meal so simple it almost seems boring. Until you eat it, and all you want for dinner is the same thing. And lunch again the next day. This happened to me this past week with a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich on focaccia.

You know when you’re so hungry and everything tastes extra amazing? Then it keeps coming to mind, even if it was a humble meal, until you eat it again? One time, I think it was last summer, I unexpectedly had to go into the city center and didn’t have time to eat lunch beforehand. I live about a half-hour bus ride outside of the center, then when you add in the time spent waiting for a bus, walking all around the center to accomplish errands, then waiting and getting a bus back home, simple 1 or 2 errand runs can easily end up being 3+ hour ventures. Having missed lunch and still needing to go to the other side of town, my husband and I decided to get a quick sandwich from a bar. This is a very common lunch, with all the bars (where you eat breakfast, lunch, get a coffee) replacing their morning pastries with fresh sandwiches starting around 10:30am. These are a hot option for Italians on lunch break or as a quick snack. There are usually two sizes, and they often have just 2-3 ingredients each. Probably a slice of meat and cheese, like mortadella (which is the cooked prosciutto/ham) and mozzarella, or tuna and boiled egg, prosciutto and cheese, etc. They’re simple, and maybe because I’m used to the super stuffed American sandwiches they seemed a bit measly to me. (But much more affordable and realistic for a lunch on the go, costing between 2.5-4euro usually, where an American sandwich would probably run you $6-10.) Until this particular day, and it suddenly became the best tasting sandwich ever. Fresh mozzarella and tomato with a bit of dried oregano sandwiched between two fluffy piece of salty, oily focaccia. I immediately wanted another. Alas we were already on the bus to the other side of town.

So the other day I was thinking, what’s for lunch? And this tomato and mozzarella sandwich kept haunting my thoughts. A run to the grocery store produced all the necessary missing ingredients, and within a matter of minutes I was devouring this dream of a sandwich. And it was so much better than I remembered. I had it again the next day for lunch. And maybe again tomorrow, using up the last of the cheese and tomatoes.

In fact, it’s very similar to caprese, it's simply in sandwich form without the fresh basil. To read up on using the best ingredients for caprese salad (that also apply to today’s sandwich), click here.

I feel weird calling this a recipe because it’s so simple, so I shall say, here is the recreation of the Italian bar Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich!! Quality of ingredients is of utmost importance. Quantity and exact measurements are not.

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Inspired by the Italian bar sandwiches


Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia

  • 1 large heirloom tomato

  • 200g fresh mozzarella

  • dried oregano

  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.

  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.

  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home!

  • Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

sandwich, panino, mozzarella fresca, pomodoro cuore di bue, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella di bufala
lunch, sandwich
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

A sandwich inspired by the typical Italian bar: Thick slices of fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano stuffed between two soft slices of focaccia.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 200g fresh mozzarella
  • dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil

instructions:

How to cook Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.
  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.
  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.

NOTES:

I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home! Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

Calories

462.69

Fat (grams)

29.57

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.13

Carbs (grams)

26.07

Fiber (grams)

2.33

Net carbs

23.74

Sugar (grams)

4.25

Protein (grams)

23.83

Sodium (milligrams)

834.01

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Caprese Risotto

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You know risotto, right? That creamy Italian rice dish, usually cooked with a splash of wine? And you also know Caprese salad, the traditional Italian salad consisting of just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? (I gave you a nice preface to today’s recipe by sharing the recipe for Insalata Caprese Tradizionale last month on the blog.) Do you know what happens when you combine these two ideas into one dish?

You get a delicious creamy, rice dish with flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil! Risotto is usually a pretty hearty, comforting dish, better for cooler months, but this one has delicate summer flavors so you can have a risotto for every season. Because It’s mid September, my family back home in Michigan has been wearing jackets and pants for weeks, meanwhile it’s still in the mid 30’sC / 90’sF here in Florence. I’m dreaming of cooler weather, breaking out the sweaters and cozy socks, lighting candles, and making hearty chilis, soups, and everything pumpkin spice and nice. And risotto. So I compromise with a taste of summer, the remnants of summer Italian produce, and a comforting cooler month recipe.

This Caprese Risotto is a bit of a mix between Italian and American cuisines. It’s a risotto and involves all the ingredients from Caprese, but that doesn’t necessarily make it Italian. It’s one of those dishes stuck in the in between, and that’s ok. If it’s anything, it’s American. And I thought I should let you know that, so I don’t give you the false impression that I’m giving you some nonna’s recipe passed down for generations. Nope, this is me being American, taking one thing and combining it with another to create something that doesn’t fall into any category really. That’s one of my pet peeves actually, when I see recipes labeled Italian this or Tuscan that…just because something has oregano, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or parmesan, does not make it Italian. Especially if it’s a meat, usually chicken is what I see, mixed with pasta. That’s a big no-no in Italy. Pasta is a primo piatto, or first course, and chicken and proteins are always a secondo piatto. You will also never find chicken on pizza. Or pineapple. This doesn’t mean to say you can’t do these things, of course you can, but just keep in mind that it is not Italian. After that, call it as you wish. Oh, and hand me a nice slice of pizza with pineapple, ya? Thanks.

Back to this summery risotto. When I first was making this I wanted to make sure the tomato flavor was closer to a fresh, sun-ripened tomato as it would be for Caprese, and not pungent and salty/sweet like we associate with a lot of canned tomato soups. I love tomato soup, just not the flavor that I was going for here. By using fresh tomatoes and getting saltiness from just the low-sodium broth, this turned out quite nicely. Add the creamy, pull-apart cheesiness from the mozzarella and the sweet, nutty basil, you’ve got a winner summer dinner! If you like, although not traditional to the Italian Caprese salad, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end. This dish isn’t traditional, so I feel ok about adding it. ;)

Bonus, this dish is also effortlessly gluten-free.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Caprese Risotto

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked

  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried

  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano

  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks

  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.

  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.

  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.

  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.

  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. As you near the end of the broth, start checking the rice every minute or two. When it looks cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from heat. You may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (Thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. It should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)

  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.

  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • If using wine, try using a dry white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor.

    In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :)

  • If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water.

  • Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) is another ingredient typically used in risotto. It’s not used in caprese but it lends a cheesy hand to the mozzarella which is quite mild.

  • Another idea I’m drooling over right now, would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out. Oh yes. Oh yes please.

    If you don’t live in Italy chances are burrata and even fresh mozzarella will cost you, so you may opt for one or the other in this recipe. If your budget allows, go for both!! Here in Italy fresh mozzarella can be found easily for 2-3euro a pound.

gluten-free caprese, risotto, rice, tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parmigiano reggiano, burrata, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine, which wine to use in risotto
dinner, vegetarian
Italian, American
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Caprese Risotto

Creamy risotto playing off the classic Italian summer dish of caprese; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and a hint of oregano.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: total time: 45 M

ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks
  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

instructions:

How to cook Caprese Risotto

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.
  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.
  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.
  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing the broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. Keep an eye on the rice; when it starts to look cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from the heat. You may or may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (A thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. A correctly cooked risotto should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)
  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.
  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! If using wine, try using a light white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor. In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :) If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water. Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto. Another idea would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out.

Calories

423.93

Fat (grams)

21.69

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.54

Carbs (grams)

36.34

Fiber (grams)

2.31

Net carbs

34.03

Sugar (grams)

7.25

Protein (grams)

16.20

Sodium (milligrams)

714.71

Cholesterol (grams)

42.80
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Insalata Caprese Tradizionale - Traditional Caprese Salad

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Insalata Caprese, often just referred to as Caprese, is by now known the world over and has been adapted into many different dishes and styles. In today’s post we are going to cover the traditional Italian Insalata Caprese, unaltered and in its purest form. How the Italians make it. Leave aside the Caprese grilled cheeses and Caprese pasta for just one second.

Insalata Caprese (EEN-sah-lah-ta cuh-PRAY-zay), or Caprese Salad is an Italian dish consisting of merely 5 ingredients: fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of salt, maybe pepper. Oregano is also added sometimes. That’s it, simple and fresh.

Because there are so few ingredients, no cooking required, and little spice, the quality and freshness of the ingredients are of upmost importance. This is one of the golden rules of the Italian kitchen. In fact, I would say that any caprese salad you’ve eaten in the States is probably a far cry from the shining beacon that it is here in Italy. This is not through any fault of your own, but Italy has certain protected regions and methods for making foods, with rigorous control checks and rules, which holds the product to high standards.

You may be familiar with some of these rules, especially if you seen some Italian wine bottles. You might have noticed special seals that read DOC or DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita), which basically act as a quality seal. One such wine, considered one of the kings of Italian wine, Brunello di Montalcino, will always have the DOCG seal because it can only be grown in the Montalcino region near Siena which has ideal soil and climate for this particular wine. If it doesn’t have the seal, don’t buy it. Hazelnuts, mozzarella, how to make a Neopolitan pizza, and many other food items and processes, sometimes connected to a specific region, are protected by law in Italy.

I just mentioned mozzarella, so you may be understanding how I managed to go on that long spiel and still connect it today’s subject matter. :) Suffice to say, Italian mozzarella, the good stuff, is in a class of its own.

That’s the beauty of Italian summers, where lunches are made up of ripe tomatoes, a slab of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil. Maybe with a hunk of fresh, salty focaccia. Or maybe just prosciutto and melon.

But maybe you aren’t IN Italy, and you’re wondering how you can make the best Insalata Caprese possible? Let’s dissect the ingredients real quick before getting into the recipe.

Suggestions for selecting ingredients for the Insalata Caprese

  • Tomatoes. You want the freshest, tastiest tomatoes available. The most widely used in Italy would probably be the tomato variety “cuore di bue” or literally, “ox heart,” which originated in America. There are two prinicipal varieties of cuore di bue, Arawak and Albenga. These tomatoes are ideal for salads because they have a thin skin, great flavor, and very few seeds and water inside. They are not usually very round, but fall into the ugly tomato category with lots of ridges. As they say, the uglier the tomato, the more delicious it will be. If you can’t get your hands on a cuore di bue, use your favorite, fresh tomatoes.

  • Mozzarella. You’ll want the freshest mozzarella possible, which might not be that easy to find unless you know a cheese producer. Traditionally the mozzarella di fiordilatte is used (normal cow’s milk mozzarella), but if you want to up your game, go for the more expensive mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) which can also be protected by one of the laws we were talking about earlier, this time the DOP.

  • Basil. Fresh basil, torn into pieces if desired and ideally added just before serving so it can’t even think about wilting.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of having a good bottle of olive oil on hand. In Italy there are usually two kinds of olive oil, those used for cooking, and those use for drizzling just before serving. Select your oil carefully, paying attention to where it is produced, when, and when it expires. Olive oil generally has a best if used by date of two years from being bottled. So if you find a bottle that expires in a year or less, you know that bottle has already been sitting on the shelf for too long and is best used for cooking. Also pay attention to wording like “produced in” or “bottled in.” The latter may mean that olives were brought in from elsewhere and merely bottled in Italy so they could write that on the bottle. No really, there are so many shady practices when it comes to olive oil, it can be hard to decipher the great ones, especially when dealing with imported bottles. My mom used to order bottles straight from Italy to get some of the high quality stuff. Basically, you don’t want to pay less than $15 for a bottle in the States. Frantoio Franci and Laudemia are two very high quality brands. If you know your EVOO’s, select a light and fruity oil.

  • Salt and Pepper. Usually just the tomatoes are salted, and pepper is completely optional.

  • Oregano. Oregano is also optional, but a bit of fresh or dried is a nice touch!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Insalata Caprese

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

Directions:

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.

  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.

  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired.

  • You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet.

  • Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Gluten-free, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh oregano, Italian recipe
Side, Lunch
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Traditional Caprese Salad

This classic Caprese Insalata is bursting with summer flavors. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, just as the Italians would make it.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

instructions:

How to cook Traditional Caprese Salad

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.
  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

NOTES:

It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired. You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet. Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Calories

326.94

Fat (grams)

25.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.64

Carbs (grams)

7.00

Fiber (grams)

1.73

Net carbs

5.27

Sugar (grams)

4.09

Protein (grams)

19.14

Sodium (milligrams)

663.60

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

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This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Aglio, olio, peperoncino is a pasta found often throughout Tuscany, and even more often on my table for lunch. It originally hails from Napoli but has become beloved throughout Italy.

It’s simple, so simple, with the classic version requiring just 4 ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, and a hot pepper. It’s great to whip up in a pinch because it’s quick and the ingredients are those you probably have in your pantry. It can be on the table in about as long as it takes to boil and cook pasta, plus 2 minutes for mixing. Because of its simplicity, as many Italian dishes are, attention to the quality and freshness of your ingredients will really make this dish shine. (Especially with that olive oil, nice and shiny. :)

There are many slight variations, but they hardly vary more than an ingredient or two. Some use fresh hot peppers, some use chili flakes; some versions call for bread crumbs, others a bit of fresh parsley added at the end, some say to mince the garlic, others slice. Based on these variances, you can always decide to play a bit to find exactly how you like to eat your aglio, olio, e peperoncino pasta.

The version that follows I learned from my husband, the fresh pasta expert. We usually use fresh hot peppers, but will also use chili flakes if we don’t feel like running to the store. It’s pretty close to the classic recipe, with one exception. We add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it catapults the pasta to the next level. OH YES, cheese!

A note about using fresh peppers: I’m not actually sure what kind of peppers I use here in Italy. At the supermarket there are usually bell peppers “peperoni” and hot peppers “peperoncini” with no indication what variety they might be. Bell peppers come in red and green, but not always at the same time, and the hot peppers are usually red OR green, depending on the season. I suppose they’re jalapeños or a similar variety because they’re spicy but not overly so. Apparently Italians are not pepper connoisseurs, you certainly won’t find jalapeño, habanero, serrano, and other pepper types readily available year round! If I were writing this recipe in Italian I would just put “peperoncino,” and everyone would know to get the only kind of peperoncino available from the store. In English recipes we are used to being told more specifics, and writing “1 hot pepper” would not be as helpful. So I wrote jalapeño on the recipe, but just be aware that you can play around with the kind you use if you want, especially if you try a jalapeño and decide you want spicier, like serrano!

Recipe from my husband


Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Serves about 6

IMG_1093.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti

  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper

  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.

  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.

  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.

  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.

  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.

  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe!

  • For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end.

  • Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano.

  • Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

  • One of the great things about making this is that even if you add too much pasta water, it will eventually evaporate out while mixing. One of the first times I ever made this solo, I added way too much and had a good inch or so sitting in the bottom of my pan. I had already added the oil and cheese and it was too late to dump the extra out. So I tossed and mixed for several minutes, and what do you know, the water eventually evaporated and mixed in, and I ended up with a wonderfully creamy and cheesy sauce.

aglio, olio, peperoncino, garlic, olive oil, hot pepper, spaghetti, Napoli, pasta, Italian pasta dish,
Italian
Yield: 6
Author:

Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

A simple and classic pasta dish served throughout Italy with plenty of garlic, olive oil, spicy pepper, and a bit of parmigiano reggiano.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: total time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti
  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper
  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

instructions:

How to cook Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.
  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.
  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.
  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.
  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.
  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe! For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end. Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano. Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

Calories

257.59

Fat (grams)

15.37

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.72

Carbs (grams)

24.37

Fiber (grams)

1.09

Net carbs

23.28

Sugar (grams)

0.94

Protein (grams)

5.56

Sodium (milligrams)

94.52

Cholesterol (grams)

4.30
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_1100.jpg

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

IMG_0896.jpg

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Spaghetti with tuna; It’s like spaghetti, but instead of meatballs you add tuna to the tomato sauce!

Now, that might sound kinda weird at first to my American friends, just like Italians think we’re weird for putting meatballs on our spaghetti in the first place. But let me tell you. It’s really delicious and I find it strangely comforting. Italian comfort food.

If you haven’t noticed, July is pasta month here at Jennyblogs! What, you couldn’t tell from the 1 other pasta recipe I’ve posted so far this month that this whole month is going to be pasta? I’m so offended. (I’m just kidding you guyssss.) But now you know! So be sure to stay tuned (you can sign up for updates) for the rest of the month where I will share with you various recipes, some Italian, some American, and last week was Thai inspired! Everyone should have some quick and delicious pasta recipes in their repertoire that don’t need store-bought sauce! Homemade is always better, if you can manage it. That way you control exactly what goes into your and your loved ones bodies. No more excess sugar, preservatives, and high levels of salt and fat that can be hidden away in the store-bought jars of sauce.

Today, a recipe for Italian spaghetti al tonno, or spaghetti with tuna. Homemade sauce and all this can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!

Recipe by my husband, the pasta master


Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

Serves 6-8

IMG_0899.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.

  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.

  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.

  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.

  6. Serve and eat!


Jenny’s Notes:

  • As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making.

  • If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil.

  • Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end.

  • In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Italian
Yield: 6-8 servings
Author:

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

A classic Italian pasta dish with spaghetti, homemade tomato sauce, and tuna.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M

ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

instructions:

How to cook Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.
  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.
  6. Serve and eat!

NOTES:

As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making. If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil. Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end. In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Calories

216.63

Fat (grams)

6.08

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.62

Carbs (grams)

29.31

Fiber (grams)

2.14

Net carbs

27.17

Sugar (grams)

3.19

Protein (grams)

11.05

Sodium (milligrams)

151.14

Cholesterol (grams)

10.36
Nutritional Information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0897.jpg

Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

2019-05-13+15.18.28.jpg

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Paste alle mandorle, or almond cookies, are one of the simplest and most delicious cookie recipes you could ask for, requiring only 4 ingredients and an overnight refrigeration, so you can make the dough one day and bake the next. And because they only use almond flour, they are gluten-free friendly!

These cookies and many variations of them hail from Sicily, where the land is full of sunshine and Mediterranean breezes, charming towns, and has the perfect climate for some of the most succulent citrus fruits and almonds. Or so I’ve heard, I have yet to actually go there! The first time I found a bag of Sicilian almonds in Italy I snatched them up, hoping for a taste experience like never before. Basically setting myself up for disappointment. They were good, yes, but I think it would be best to eat them fresh, in Sicily. Until that day when I go to Sicily, I will content myself with tastes of their culture, like the occasional good arancini (fried pyramids of rice stuffed with cheese and veggies or meat) that you can find around Florence, granita ( a slushy type drink), brioche stuffed with gelato, and cannoli. And of course, these almond cookies. And they’re so simple to make. Dangerous.

Original recipe adapted and translated from GialloZafferano


Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2018-12-22 12.26.58.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups / 250g almond flour

  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar

  • 2 / 60g egg whites

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Garnishes (optional)

  • powdered sugar

  • whole, sliced, or slivered almonds

Directions:

Oven 350F / 180C

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and the sugar.

  2. Mix in the egg whites and the almond extract until thoroughly combined. This can be done with a spoon, a hand mixer, stand mixer, or even in a food processor.

  3. Cover dough and place in fridge overnight or for at least 7 hours.

  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll into balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Flatten cookies a bit, as they will not spread much in the oven. Press in a few almond slices on top. Alternately, shape them as you wish, as they hold their shape well after the overnight refrigeration.

  5. Place cookies on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 1” between cookies.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until just lightly golden. Be careful no to overbake, cookies should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • If you have almonds and a method to grind them, such as a food processor, go ahead and make fresh almond flour! Be careful not to overgrind, you don’t want the almonds to heat up and the oil to start to escape, resulting in almond butter.

  • If you prefer other extracts, go ahead and play around with other flavors; vanilla, orange, lemon, coconut, etc.

  • This recipe, if you go by weight instead of imperial measurements, is very easy to modify or double, triple, halve, etc.! You can see that the ratio of almond flour to sugar is 1:1: essentially all you have to do is mix together equal weights of almond flour and sugar, with just enough egg whites to bind them together easily and a touch of extract for flavor. Voila.

  • These cookies have many variants and shapes and are often piped with candied cherries on top. I’m not a huge candied fruit person, and so I found a simple recipe and omitted the piping for one of the simpler almond cookie methods, rolling in powdered sugar and decorating with almonds.

Italian
Yield: 24
Author:

Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

A classic Italian cookie originating in Sicily with a soft center and crunchy exterior. 4 ingredients and gluten-free.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 42 M

ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups / 250g almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar
  • 2 / 60g egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
Garnishes (optional)
  • powdered sugar
  • whole, sliced, or slivered almonds

instructions:

How to cook Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and the sugar.
  2. Mix in the egg whites and the almond extract until thoroughly combined. This can be done with a spoon, a hand mixer, stand mixer, or even in a food processor.
  3. Cover dough and place in fridge overnight or for at least 7 hours.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll into balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Flatten cookies a bit, as they will not spread much in the oven. Press in a few almond slices on top. Alternately, shape them as you wish, as they hold their shape well after the overnight refrigeration.
  5. Place cookies on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 1” between cookies.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until just lightly golden. Be careful no to overbake, cookies should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

NOTES:

If you have almonds and a method to grind them, such as a food processor, go ahead and make fresh almond flour! Be careful not to overgrind, you don’t want the almonds to heat up and the oil to start to escape, resulting in almond butter. If you prefer other extracts, go ahead and play around with other flavors; vanilla, orange, lemon, coconut, etc. This recipe, if you go by weight instead of imperial measurements, is very easy to modify or double, triple, halve, etc.! You can see that the ratio of almond flour to sugar is 1:1: essentially all you have to do is mix together equal weights of almond flour and sugar, with just enough egg whites to bind them together easily and a touch of extract for flavor. Voila. These cookies have many variants and shapes and are often piped with candied cherries on top. I’m not a huge candied fruit person, and so I found a simple recipe and omitted the piping for one of the simpler almond cookie methods, rolling in powdered sugar and decorating with almonds.

Calories

110.04

Fat (grams)

5.24

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.40

Carbs (grams)

14.38

Fiber (grams)

1.31

Net carbs

13.07

Sugar (grams)

12.51

Protein (grams)

2.76

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
2019-05-13+15.17.27-2.jpg

Pappa al Pomodoro

IMG_4924.jpg

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I remember clearly the first time I ate Pappa al Pomodoro.  It was DELICIOUS, and at the time I had absolutely no idea what it was.  I had recently arrived in Italy for the second time in my life, and my friends took me to a local pizzeria.  The owner, who knew my friends by sight, brought us each a little plate of this red...mush...with olive oil drizzled on top.  I took one bite, might have closed my eyes and had a Ratatouille moment, then wasted no time in devouring the rest. The flavors seemed such ordinary everyday ingredients, but each took their turn on the tongue, twirling and waltzing together in such harmony as to become a dish not quickly forgotten, and leaving the palate wanting more.  One of my friends can't have gluten, and asked if any of us wanted her mush.  "Really, there's gluten in this?  That stinks, I'm sorry you can't try it...I'll TAKE IT."  Actually, the rest of us probably split it, I don't really remember.  

After this first encounter, I needed to know what that magical substance was.  What is it called?  What are the ingredients? How do you make it?  I'll save you all my searching and wondering: Pappa al pomodoro has a base of bread, tomatoes, and broth, and where there are tomatoes there is usually basil, and round it out with some garlic and good extra virgin olive oil.  That's it!  And I bet, you probably have all or most of those ingredients on hand.  

Pappa al Pomodoro is a traditional Tuscan "poor" dish, and once I knew what it was, saw it everywhere on restaurant menus around Florence.  It's normally eaten as a primo piatto, or first course, but I like to make it the MAIN course.  At home, of course, away from the overly inquisitive eyes of the Italians.  The genius of it is, it uses stale bread, reducing food waste.  Hence it being a "poor" dish, in which the Tuscans back in the day found tasty ways to recycle every food bit. 

If you've been to Tuscany and tried Pappa al Pomodoro, hopefully this recipe will bring a bit of its exuberance back into your life.  If you've never tried it, give this recipe a go for a taste of Tuscany!  Because the ingredients are simple and each flavor really shines through, I recommend being a little extra picky on the quality and freshness of ingredients you use.  (But, I'll give you some cheats, see "Jenny's Notes" below.)

Pro tip:  As you're pronouncing "pappa" really lay on those p's.  If you say it too quickly, your Italian friends or Italian wanna-be friends might think you're talking about the Pope, whom they call "Papa."  And a tomato Pope, at that, because, ya know, pomodoro means "tomato."  :)

Recipe adapted from the cookbook "Toscana in Cucina The Flavours of Tuscany."  Click on the link to the right for more delicious Tuscan dishes, with recipes in both English and Italian!  


Pappa al Pomodoro

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

IMG_4931.jpg
  • 6 Tbsp / 84g olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

  • 1 lb. / 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 1 pint / 1 liter vegetable broth

  • 10 oz / 300g stale, crusted white bread, sliced thinly

  • several basil leaves, plus more for the garnish

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Sauté the garlic and oil in a large pan over medium-low heat, until sizzling and fragrant, ensuring it doesn't burn.  Add a bit of crushed red pepper, then the tomatoes and basil.  

  2. Bring to a simmer; after a few minutes add the broth.  

  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the bread.  

  4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

  5. Remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for about an hour.  

  6. When ready to serve, stir gently and drizzle with olive oil, dust with pepper, and top with a basil leaf or two.  

Buon appetito! 

*Wine Pairing from Toscana in Cucina: Muraccio - Parrina DOC Rosso - La Parrina, Albinia (Grosseto) 

Jenny's Notes:

  • I know the bread description is a little vague, but you probably won't find the 1 kg hunk of unsalted Tuscan bread in your local grocery store in the States. You want a bread with a nice crust, if possible. You could look for a good ciabatta, or, that bread labeled "Italian" at the grocery store could always make do.

  • You could also use chicken or beef broth, but vegetable seems to be most commonly called for in the Italian recipes I've seen.

  • This freezes well for quick meals, simply bring to room temperature and heat before serving!

  • I do confess I've made this once very much modifying the freshness rule, and to my surprise it didn't turn out half shabby. Just promise me one thing. Make this the real way before going for the modified version. What follows is for emergency situations only. ;)

  1. 1/2 tsp garlic powder instead of garlic cloves

2. 16 oz jar tomato sauce instead of 1 lb. tomatoes (I've used sauces with grilled eggplant and even olives added to them for a satisfying twist.)

3. Plain ol' water instead of broth. You'll probably need to add extra salt and pepper, though.

Italian
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Pappa al Pomodoro

A classic Tuscan "poor man's" dish that utilizes stale bread, tomatoes, basil, and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve as a main dish or side.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M

ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp / 84g olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 lb. / 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint / 1 liter vegetable broth
  • 10 oz / 300g stale, crusted white bread, sliced thinly
  • several basil leaves, plus more for the garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste

instructions:

How to cook Pappa al Pomodoro

  1. Sauté the garlic and oil in a large pan over medium-low heat, until sizzling and fragrant, ensuring it doesn't burn. Add a bit of crushed red pepper, then the tomatoes and basil.
  2. Bring to a simmer; after a few minutes add the broth.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the bread.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for about an hour.
  6. When ready to serve, stir gently and drizzle with olive oil, dust with pepper, and top with a basil leaf or two.

NOTES:

I know the bread description is a little vague, but you probably won't find the 1 kg hunk of unsalted Tuscan bread in your local grocery store in the States. You want a bread with a nice crust, if possible. You could look for a good ciabatta, or, that bread labeled "Italian" at the grocery store could always make do. You could also use chicken or beef broth, but vegetable seems to be most commonly called for in the Italian recipes I've seen. This freezes well for quick meals, simply bring to room temperature and heat before serving!

Calories

456.41

Fat (grams)

27.38

Sat. Fat (grams)

4.01

Carbs (grams)

45.34

Fiber (grams)

3.71

Net carbs

41.63

Sugar (grams)

8.94

Protein (grams)

8.48

Sodium (milligrams)

1153.02

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate; based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4928.jpg

Classic Tiramisù: The Real Deal.

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This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

As in, I could just copy and paste the original recipe in Italian, and we could all follow the pretty pictures to make it.  That doesn't sound very reliable to me, so I shall do my best to translate it.  Maybe also not very reliable.  My point is, this is a good, sound, Italian written recipe of Tiramisù.  Raw eggs, real mascarpone (pronounced mas-car-pohn-AY no matter what those chefs on Food Network say.  I cry a little on the inside when people insist on saying mars-cah-pone.  There is no R before the C. Mas-car-pone is acceptable, as that would be how to say it in English.  But deep down we all want to be a bit more Italian, no?) no cream cheese involved.  It's so simple, and the ingredients are few.  Mascarpone can be quite expensive in the States, which is why many substitute cream cheese, but it is so worth the splurge.  If you do feel the need to use cream cheese, (I don't know, maybe your 3 year-old wants tiramisù for a birthday party of 50??) then maybe don't call it tiramisù, call it something else.  Tiramigiù, maybe.  :)

Just like any replication, it will never be as good as in the place where it was founded and crafted and came to fame.  Some of the best mascarpone will be found here in Italy, and at much cheaper costs.  In fact, it's cheaper than cream cheese. Even if you take the exact same method and make mascarpone in another country, those cows will be different cows, who eat different sustenance, and produce milk that tastes different .  Not to mention if the first time you ever tried tiramisù was on your first trip to Italy, surrounded by cobblestone streets, freshly hung laundry on the corner, magnificent old buildings, and the too-loud Italian conversations and even louder hand gestures whirling about, that is something very hard to replicate in anywhere but Italy.  

That said, this is the best recipe for Tiramisù I have yet found.  No, it's not from a wonderful Italian nonna (grandma) I know from down the street or a recipe handed down for generations in one of my friend's families, but I did listen to a podcast once in Italian where a girl was making tiramisù with a nonna and it was essentially the same as the one I'm about to share with you.  That counts, right? Ok, andiamo! (Let's go!) 

Original recipe in Italian, with video and step by step photos, on GialloZafferano.


Tiramisù

Serves 12-15

Ingredients:

  • 220g / about 4 medium eggs, as fresh as you can get them

  • 100g / 1/2 cup sugar

  • 500g mascarpone

  • 300g / about 1 medium package Savoiardi (lady fingers)

  • 300g / 1 1/4 cup brewed coffee from a Moka pot or very strong coffee, sweetened to taste and cooled

  • Cocoa powder for dusting the top

Directions:

IMG_4520.JPG
  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer and setting aside the egg whites, or placing them in two medium bowls if you plan on using an electric hand mixer. 

  2. Beat the yolks, slowly adding half the sugar.  

  3. When the mixture becomes light and frothy, beat in the mascarpone, a little at a time.  Once all the mascarpone is beat in, you should have a dense and creamy mixture.  

  4. Clean the beaters well or transfer mascarpone mixture to another bowl and clean the stand mixer bowl and beater.  Beat the egg whites, slowly adding in the rest of the sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

  5. Add one spoonful of the beaten whites to the mascarpone mixture, stirring energetically with a spatula, to begin to lighten it.  Then continue adding the egg whites, folding in delicately one spoonful at a time, until all has been incorporated. 

  6. In a 30x20cm / 8x11in pan, spoon about 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bottom and spread evenly.  Place your cold coffee in a shallow bowl or dish.  Dip your savoiardi in the coffee for a few seconds and place in rows over the cream until an even layer has been established.  

  7. Spoon another third of cream evenly over the savoiardi and repeat another layer of coffee soaked savoiardi.  Top with the remaining cream and smooth evenly.  

  8. Dust with cocoa powder using a sieve and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.             

Buon Appetito!

Jenny's Notes:

IMG_4524.jpg
  • Most grocery stores and supermarkets carry mascarpone and lady fingers in the States, mascarpone being with the cheese or special cheese, lady fingers I had to look in the "imported" section.

  • Remember that in order to beat egg whites there must not be any trace of egg yolk or grease or they won't beat up properly.

  • One way to tell if your egg whites have been properly beaten is to hold the bowl upside down. The egg whites shouldn't move. Of course, at this point you should already be confident that your whites are stiff enough so you don't end up with, um, egg whites everywhere. It is possible to overbeat egg whites, so don't over do it or they become dry.

  • The Italians making this recipe said they added only 1 tsp of sugar to the coffee, I don't usually add any. If you prefer sweeter desserts, you may decide to add more.

  • If you don't have a 30x20cm / 8x11in pan on hand, you can use a 9x13in. Or halve the recipe and use an 8x8in / 20x20cm or 9x9in.

  • When dipping the Savoiardi I found 4-5 seconds to be ideal. Any less and the coffee didn't soak all the way through, any more and the cookies became over-saturated and broke. When you start running out of coffee you may need to dip one side of the cookie and then the other to get an even soak.

  • Some say it's almost a sin if you cut into the tiramisù if it has been in the fridge for any less than 24 hours. I think it's optimal after just a few hours, and best if eaten within a few days.

  • Can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Italian
Yield: 12-15
Author:

Classic Tiramisù

Recipe for the classic Italian tiramisù with savoiardi (ladyfingers), mascarpone, raw eggs, and not too much sugar. Translated from Italian.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: total time: 45 M

ingredients:

  • 220g / about 4 medium eggs, as fresh as you can get them
  • 100g / 1/2 cup sugar
  • 500g mascarpone
  • 300g / about 1 medium package Savoiardi (lady fingers)
  • 300g / 1 1/4 cup brewed coffee from a Moka pot or very strong coffee, sweetened to taste and cooled
  • Cocoa powder for dusting the top

instructions:

How to cook Classic Tiramisù

  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer and setting aside the egg whites, or placing them in two medium bowls if you plan on using an electric hand mixer.
  2. Beat the yolks, slowly adding half the sugar.
  3. When the mixture becomes light and frothy, beat in the mascarpone, a little at a time. Once all the mascarpone is beat in, you should have a dense and creamy mixture.
  4. Clean the beaters well or transfer mascarpone mixture to another bowl and clean the stand mixer bowl and beater. Beat the egg whites, slowly adding in the rest of the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add one spoonful of the beaten whites to the mascarpone mixture, stirring energetically with a spatula, to begin to lighten it. Then continue adding the egg whites, folding in delicately one spoonful at a time, until all has been incorporated.
  6. In a 30x20cm / 8x11in pan, spoon about 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bottom and spread evenly. Place your cold coffee in a shallow bowl or dish. Dip your savoiardi in the coffee for a few seconds and place in rows over the cream until an even layer has been established.
  7. Spoon another third of cream evenly over the savoiardi and repeat another layer of coffee soaked savoiardi. Top with the remaining cream and smooth evenly.
  8. Dust with cocoa powder using a sieve and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

NOTES:

Remember that in order to beat egg whites there must not be any trace of egg yolk or grease or they won't beat up properly. One way to tell if your egg whites have been properly beaten is to hold the bowl upside down. The egg whites shouldn't move. Of course, at this point you should already be confident that your whites are stiff enough so you don't end up with, um, egg whites everywhere. It is possible to overbeat egg whites, so don't over do it or they become dry. The Italians making this recipe said they added only 1 tsp of sugar to the coffee, I don't usually add any. If you prefer sweeter desserts, you may decide to add more. If you don't have a 30x20cm / 8x11in pan on hand, you can use a 9x13in. Or halve the recipe and use an 8x8in / 20x20cm or 9x9in. When dipping the Savoiardi I found 4-5 seconds to be ideal. Any less and the coffee didn't soak all the way through, any more and the cookies became over-saturated and broke. When you start running out of coffee you may need to dip one side of the cookie and then the other to get an even soak. Some say it's almost a sin if you cut into the tiramisù if it has been in the fridge for any less than 24 hours. I think it's optimal after just a few hours, and best if eaten within a few days. Can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Calories

327.99

Fat (grams)

20.59

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.84

Carbs (grams)

9.97

Fiber (grams)

0.08

Net carbs

9.88

Sugar (grams)

9.38

Protein (grams)

3.90

Sodium (milligrams)

202.45

Cholesterol (grams)

111.33
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 12 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
I have somehow never managed to get a photo after it has been dug into. And I couldn't take photos before, because, well, Christmas and other events. "Who broke into the dessert early?!?!" I never would've hear the end of it.

I have somehow never managed to get a photo after it has been dug into. And I couldn't take photos before, because, well, Christmas and other events. "Who broke into the dessert early?!?!" I never would've hear the end of it.


Tourte Milanese

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Tourte Milanese, also known as Tourte Milanaise.  No, the second version does not include mayonnaise.  Part of the family en croute, or encased in dough.  Who doesn't want to eat food, soup, and anything edible wrapped in flaky, buttery dough?  In this case, roasted peppers, herbed scrambled eggs, cheese, spinach, and meat.  

You will feel quite accomplished pulling this out of the oven, and taking your first bite into the explosion of hot, flaky layers, melty cheese, herbs, sweet peppers, smoky meat, and garlicky spinach.  It may look intimidating, but you can adjust this recipe to how much time and effort you want to put into it.  For example, you can make your own puff pastry, or you can pick it up at the store.  You could roast your own peppers, or buy a jar of already roasted peppers.  Of course, I enjoy making everything as home-made and from scratch as possible...clearly don't have kids yet.  I recommend reading through the recipe once or twice and taking a peek at my notes at the bottom to make your game plan.  For example, puff pastry can easily be a two day recipe, so you'll want to make that a day ahead, or way ahead, and freeze it until you have the urge to make a recipe like this.  

Want some inspiration?  Watch this fun video of Julia Child and Michel Richard making Puff Pastry and Tourte Milanese!


Tourte Milanese

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 1 lb. / 450g puff pastry, home-made or store bought

  • Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water

For the Eggs

  • 10 eggs

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onion

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or basil

  • 2 tsp snipped fresh tarragon or fresh or dried oregano

  • salt and ground pepper, to taste

  • 3 Tbsp / 42g butter

For the Rest of the Filling

  • 6 large red bell peppers (or use a 16oz jar or two of roasted red peppers)

  • 1 1/2 lbs / 680g spinach

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 8 oz / 225g Swiss cheese

  • 8 oz / 225g smoked turkey or ham

Directions:

Generously grease an 8in / 20cm springform pan.  

Make the Crust

  1. Cut off 1/4 of the puff pastry, cover, and set aside.  

  2. Roll out the remaining pastry to 1/4" thick round.  Be sure to roll it thin enough so it will have a chance to be baked all the way through in the oven.  It should be big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your springform pan with an overhang.  Carefully press into pan, being sure to press all the way into the corners.  Cover and refrigerate.

  3. Roll out the remaining 1/4 of puff pastry until it is 1/4" thick.  Cut out an 8 in / 20cm circle, using an 8 in / 20cm pie plate or cake tin as a template.  Place on a plate or baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.  

Make the Eggs

  1. Whisk eggs, herbs, salt and pepper together.  Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and pour in eggs.  Gently stir, continuously moving the setting eggs towards the center and allowing runny eggs to reach the bottom of the pan.  When the whole mixture has started to thicken, but still a bit runny, remove from heat and pour onto a plate. Cover and refrigerate and until ready to use.  

Roast the Peppers

Skip this step if you bought roasted red peppers.  

Method 1: Place peppers over an open flame on your stove top until blackened.  Flip and allow second side to roast.  Repeat until all peppers have been roasted.  

Method 2: Place all peppers onto a tinfoil lined sheet pan.  Place under broiler in your oven, checking every few minutes, until peppers are blackened.  Turn peppers over and roast second side.  

Once peppers have been roasted, place in an airtight container or ziploc bag for about 20 minutes to steam.  

Remove peppers and rub the skin off.  Cut out the stems and slice from top to bottom, laying them flat.  Remove seeds and trim away any inside veins.  

Place peppers on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess liquid, cover, and refrigerate.  

Blanch and Sauté the Spinach

  1. Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil.  Add spinach and blanch for 1 minute.  Drain in a colander and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking.  Press the spinach to remove excess liquid.  

  2. Place oil, butter, and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When garlic starts to sizzle, add blanched spinach and sauté for 3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Remove from heat and transfer spinach to a plate lined with paper towels.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  

Assemble the Tourte

Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.  

Remove the pastry lined pan from the fridge, along with your eggs, peppers, spinach, cheese, and turkey/ham.  Layer your ingredients in this order, laying them flat and spreading to the edge:

  1. Half of eggs

  2. Half of spinach

  3. Half of turkey/ham

  4. Half of cheese

  5. All the peppers

  6. Other half of cheese

  7. Other half of turkey/ham

  8. Other half of spinach

  9. Other half of eggs

Trim the pastry overhang to within 1 in / 2.5cm of the pan.  Brush the inner side with egg wash and fold over filling.  Brush the other side with more egg wash. 

Remove the round pastry top from fridge, re-rolling if it has shrunk any.  Place over the folded edges of the tourte, pressing down to seal it.  Brush with more egg wash.  Cut a vent in the center of the dough, or use a knife to trace a design.  Or, you can cut out shapes form the puff pastry scraps and decorate the top.  Brush shapes with more egg wash.  Chill assembled tourte in fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking.  

Place tourte on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and a deep golden brown.  

Cool for 30 minutes before releasing from pan and serving.

Can be assembled a day ahead.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.  To reheat, place in an oven preheated to 350°F / 177°C for 20-30 minutes. 

Jenny's Notes:

The recipe above is pretty traditional, however, it can easily be adjusted to your tastes.  

No soggy bottoms here!

No soggy bottoms here!

  • Before layering in the filling, I suggest sprinkling the bottom with a grated hard cheese, such as parmesan, or bread crumbs, to avoid the soggy-bottom syndrome. I did a combo of cheese and bread crumbs.

  • For the herbed scrambled eggs, chives, parsley, and tarragon combo is more traditional, but I prefer green onion, basil, and oregano. To be completely honest I've never had tarragon, but from what I've read I can't say I have a real desire to.

  • Feel free to use whichever color peppers you like! I roasted multi-colored mini sweet peppers. The white from the eggs (ish), green from the spinach, and red from the peppers is supposed to resemble the colors of the Italian flag, but hey. I'm just making Italy more colorful than it already it is.

  • 1 1/2 lbs of spinach may seem outrageous, but it really cooks down. I have used a scant pound before when that’s all I had, but the spinach is surprisingly delicious and I wouldn’t modify the recipe down if I had a choice.

  • Play around with cheeses! You'll want softer cheeses, ones that melt well. Think cheddar, gruyere, havarti, gouda, brie...I opted for half Swiss and half dill havarti. Two beautiful melting cheeses.

  • I pulled the tourte out of the oven after 1 hour 10 minutes, but it could have used more time to bake the pastry all the way through. It can be difficult to tell as your only clue is the color of the pastry.

Tourte Milanese, Julia Child, Michel Richard, spinach, roasted red peppers, en croute, scrambled eggs, cheese, puff pastry,turkey, Italian flag
breakfast, dinner
Italian, French
Yield: 8-12 Servings
Author:

Tourte Milanese

Layers of turkey, cheese, spinach, roasted red peppers, and eggs encased in flaky puff pastry.
prep time: 1 H & 35 Mcook time: 1 H & 30 Mtotal time: 2 H & 65 M

ingredients:

For the Crust
  • 1 lb. / 450g puff pastry, home-made or store bought
  • Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
For the Eggs
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 2 tsp snipped fresh tarragon or fresh or dried oregano
  • salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp / 42g butter
For the Rest of the Filling
  • 6 large red bell peppers (or a 16oz jar or two of roasted red peppers)
  • 1 1/2 lbs / 680g spinach
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz / 225g Swiss cheese
  • 8 oz / 225g smoked turkey or ham

instructions:

How to cook Tourte Milanese

Make the Crust
  1. Generously grease an 8in / 20cm springform pan.
  2. Cut off 1/4 of the puff pastry, cover, and set aside.
  3. Roll out the remaining pastry to 1/4" thick round. Be sure to roll it thin enough so it will have a chance to be baked all the way through in the oven. It should be big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your springform pan with an overhang. Carefully press into pan, being sure to press all the way into the corners. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Roll out the remaining 1/4 of puff pastry until it is 1/4" thick. Cut out an 8 in / 20cm circle, using an 8 in / 20cm pie plate or cake tin as a template. Place on a plate or baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.
Make the Eggs
  1. Whisk eggs, herbs, salt and pepper together. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and pour in eggs. Gently stir, continuously moving the setting eggs towards the center and allowing runny eggs to reach the bottom of the pan. When the whole mixture has started to thicken, but still a bit runny, remove from heat and pour onto a plate. Cover and refrigerate and until ready to use.
Roast the Peppers
  1. Skip this step if you bought roasted red peppers.
  2. Method 1: Place peppers over an open flame on your stove top until blackened. Flip and allow second side to roast. Repeat until all peppers have been roasted.
  3. Method 2: Place all peppers onto a tinfoil lined sheet pan. Place under broiler in your oven, checking every few minutes, until peppers are blackened. Turn peppers over and roast second side.
  4. Once peppers have been roasted, place in an airtight container or ziploc bag for about 20 minutes to steam.
  5. Remove peppers and rub the skin off. Cut out the stems and slice from top to bottom, laying them flat. Remove seeds and trim away any inside veins.
  6. Place peppers on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess liquid, cover, and refrigerate.
Blanch and Sauté the Spinach
  1. Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil. Add spinach and blanch for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking. Press the spinach to remove excess liquid.
  2. Place oil, butter, and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat. When garlic starts to sizzle, add blanched spinach and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and transfer spinach to a plate lined with paper towels. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Assemble the Tourte
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
  2. Remove the pastry lined pan from the fridge, along with your eggs, peppers, spinach, cheese, and turkey/ham. Layer your ingredients in this order, laying them flat and spreading to the edge:
  3. Half of eggs
  4. Half of spinach
  5. Half of turkey/ham
  6. Half of cheese
  7. All the peppers
  8. Other half of cheese
  9. Other half of turkey/ham
  10. Other half of spinach
  11. Other half of eggs
  12. Trim the pastry overhang to within 1 in / 2.5cm of the pan. Brush the inner side with egg wash and fold over filling. Brush the other side with more egg wash.
  13. Remove the round pastry top from fridge, re-rolling if it has shrunk any. Place over the folded edges of the tourte, pressing down to seal it. Brush with more egg wash. Cut a vent in the center of the dough, or use a knife to trace a design. Or, you can cut out shapes form the puff pastry scraps and decorate the top. Brush shapes with more egg wash. Chill assembled tourte in fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  14. Place tourte on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and a deep golden brown.
  15. Cool for 30 minutes before releasing from pan and serving.
  16. Can be assembled a day ahead. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, place in an oven preheated to 350°F / 177°C for 20-30 minutes.

NOTES:

Before layering in the filling, I suggest sprinkling the bottom with a grated hard cheese, such as parmesan, or bread crumbs, to avoid the soggy-bottom syndrome. I did a combo of cheese and bread crumbs. For the herbed scrambled eggs, chives, parsley, and tarragon combo is more traditional, but I prefer green onion, basil, and oregano. To be completely honest I've never had tarragon, but from what I've read I can't say I have a real desire to. Feel free to use whichever color peppers you like! I roasted multi-colored mini sweet peppers. The white from the eggs (ish), green from the spinach, and red from the peppers is supposed to resemble the colors of the Italian flag, but hey. I'm just making Italy more colorful than it already it is. 1 1/2 lbs of spinach may seem like a lot, but it really cooks down. Play around with cheeses! You'll want softer cheeses, ones that melt well. Think cheddar, gruyere, havarti, gouda, brie...I opted for half Swiss and half dill havarti. Two beautiful melting cheeses. I pulled the tourte from the oven after 1 hour 10 minutes, but it could have used more time to bake the pastry all the way through. It can be difficult to tell as your only clue is the color of the pastry.

Calories

653.54

Fat (grams)

44.19

Sat. Fat (grams)

13.43

Carbs (grams)

38.20

Fiber (grams)

4.08

Net carbs

34.12

Sugar (grams)

5.94

Protein (grams)

27.68

Sodium (milligrams)

762.57

Cholesterol (grams)

308.66
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 8 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator