Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

What's a simple, beautiful and healthy appetizer to make for any party? Roasted red pepper hummus! Don't bother buying the pre-made stuff, it is so easy and so much more delicious to make hummus yourself! Serve with fresh crudité such as bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and baked pita bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika and salt. Be sure to make extra hummus to enjoy on sandwiches and in wraps.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
An easy and healthy appetizer or snack!
Makes 3 cups

3 cups drained cooked chickpeas
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons water
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground black pepper, to taste                                                                    
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
In the bowl of a food processor, place the chickpeas and red bell pepper. Add the garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, tahini, water, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, and pepper and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and additional lemon juice, if necessary, to taste. Transfer to a wide shallow bowl for serving and use the back of a serving spoon to form a well in the center of the hummus. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the top with the parsley, and paprika. Serve at room temperature, with pita chips and fresh veggies for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

In honor of my upcoming trip to Italy, I'm sharing one of my new favorite Italian recipes- Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi. What is gnudi, you ask? Well, it's naked ravioli! Imagine ravioli without the pasta, and that's gnudi (pronounced "nudie"). Ricotta and parmesan cheese combine with spinach and herbs to make a delectable, creamy bite atop a fresh tomato-basil sauce. Served with a big salad and crusty bread, this is a fantastic Italian meal. Don't forget the chianti!

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi
Ravioli "undressed" this creamy, cheesy baked Italian dish is delicious!
Serves 4

1 large bunch raw spinach, washed, dried, trimmed and chopped
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for smearing hands
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
All-purpose flour, if needed
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute the spinach with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 the quantity of the garlic for a few minutes until soft. Let cool. Then in a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmigiano and salt to taste. Add a small amount of flour, a little at a time, only if ricotta if filled with too much moisture. Combine the mixture thoroughly and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat up the remaining olive oil, then add the remaining garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil and cook for 5-10 minutes. Spoon the sauce into a baking dish. 
Smear some olive oil on your hands. Scoop ricotta mixture, in the amount of an egg , onto the palm of your hands and form into a compact ball.  Add the "gnudi" balls on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.