ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meatless Monday- Herbed Pasta, Beets in Jackets, and Cornbread Tartlets!

Happy Meatless Monday Everyone!

We JUST got back from Oak Island at the beautiful Carolina coast 

and between unpacking, laundry, antsy kids, and work, I almost forgot what day it was! Fortunately, my wonderful friend came through again and delivered a bounty from this weekend's farmer's market. I have a LOT to tell you all in the coming days, but this post is going to have to be a bit short and to the point.

And the point is.....

Meatless Monday and quick delicious foods from locally grown sources.

One of my very favorite side dishes is roasted beets- golden or red- oven caramelized with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Tonight, I decided to make a dish that my aunt used to call "Barbabietola in Giacca" or Beets in a Jacket. Sweet roasted beets in a crispy batter with a bit of heat. She always paired them with some form of homemade aioli- tonight it's a citrusy mint one since I'm drowning in mint! She made her batter with wine and I had this dish in a NYC restaurant where the chef told me he also used wine. I'm not sure if this is a regional Italian thing, but it's so good! You'll also find fresh mint in the pasta tonight- hot pasta tossed with chopped fresh herbs, raw and roasted tomatoes, and salty, creamy ricotta salata cheese (Feta or goat cheese are delectable substitutes here). For dessert I flipped through a wonderful new book I found at our local Harris Teeter- the Farmer's Market Cookbook from Vegetarian Times. Blackberry Cornbread Tartlets with Ricotta Cream were a hit! The only change I made to their recipe was the addition of a bit of fresh chopped basil to the cornbread batter since basil pairs so beautifully with citrus and fruits.

Pasta with Herbs, Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

1/2- 3/4 lb ricotta salata (you can use Feta too)
2-3 TBLS each chopped basil and chives
2 TBLSP chopped mint
1 TBLSP each chopped oregano and thyme

1/2 cup olive oil plus more if necessary
1/4 cup or slightly more balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 1/2- 2 pounds cherry, grape, or heirloom tomatoes (or a mix), roasted (see note) ( I used a combination of roasted and fresh raw tomatoes tonight- just cut the raw ones in half)

1 pound pasta- a short pasta such as a shell or penne works well here

Crumble the cheese in a bowl and mix well with the herbs. Set aside in the fridge. Pour olive oil and vinegar over tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and set aside on the counter while the pasta cooks.
Put a large pot of well salted water on to boil and cook the pasta till al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately toss with the cheese mixture and tomatoes

** NOTE- to roast cherry or grape tomatoes: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place halved tomatoes cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 3 hours 

Barbabietola in Giacca

1 bunch red beets
1 bunch yellow beets
olive oil

2 rounded cups flour
salt and pepper
 good pinch of cayenne
2 eggs
2 cups white wine

Canola oil for deep frying

Your favorite aioli- see below for Lemony Mint Aioli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the beets in a baking dish in a single layer- use separate dishes for red and yellow beets. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and cover with foil. Roast for about an hour till tender when pierced. remove foil and cool. When cool enough to handle, slip off peels and slice beets in thick (at least 1/4 inch) slices. While they're cooling, make your aioli

Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix eggs and wine and whisk into flour mix. Whisk till smooth. If you're using 2 colors of beets, divide batter between 2 bowls. Put beet slices into bater and stir to coat- keep red and yellow separate. Heat about 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in electric fry pan. Fry beets in batches- yellow first- till crisp and golden on both sides flipping once. Drain on a rack and serve hot with aioli

**NOTE-  Mint Aioli: In a food processor, put 4 egg yolks, 2 cloves crushed garlic, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper. In a measuring cup combine 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup canola oil. Process egg mixture till well blended, then with motor running, dribble in oil very slowly. When 2/4 of oil has been added and mixture has begun to emulsify, add 2 good handfuls of torn mint leaves. Start processor again and finish adding oil slowly. Stir in the zest of 1 lemon and refrigerate till ready to serve.

Blackberry Cornbread Tartlets with Ricotta Cream
adapted from the Farmer's Market Cookbook` the Vegetarian Times

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3 TBLSP sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup low fat milk (I used 2%)
1 large egg
2 TBLSP unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 TBLSP chopped fresh basil

2 6 ounce containers blackberries
6 TBLSP sugar

1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1/2 an orange

Toss blackberries with sugar in a bowl and set aside stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cup pan with cooking spray. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk and egg. Fold milk mixture into flour mixture till moistened. Stir in corn, and basil. Divide among muffin cups (about 2 TBLSP each)  and bake for 14 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan and remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Whisk together ricotta, sugar, vanilla and orange zest till creamy.
To assemble, slice tops off muffins to form a flat base. (I saved the cut off tops to use in a panzanella salad tomorrow). Top each cornbread tart with a spoonful of ricotta cream and top with a few of the berries. Serve immediately

Be sure to join us on Facebook and get our Bonus Recipes for Facebook Friends!

Stay tuned and join us on our journey as Casa Bramasole gets ready for a new chapter

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Welcome home!
    My cherry tomatoes are beginning to ripen on the vine,so I anticipate making a pasta dish like this very soon :)
    Beets are wonderfully nutritious so this is a wonderful side dish, Pattie. The cornmeal tarts look so pretty!
    ♥ Pat

  2. There is no way anyone would miss the meat in that meal. What a great combination of flavors!!

    PS~do you think that the cutest blog on the block realizes the panic that they caused for NOTHING?? I am so glad you were able to keep your background, too.

  3. Beautiful and elegant array of dishes and photography. Glad you all had wonderful weekend at beach to beat the relentless heat. I love your personal food stories about your beloved family. God Bless and take care~Emelia~

  4. May I please just come move in with you??? I am up for adoption. I can pack all of my china and be on your doorstep in a day! Mr. Magpie would have to come, too, but we will wash dishes and bring our own dishes as well as enough for the whole tribe!


    Sheila :-)

  5. Oh gosh Pattie, everything looks gorgeous, but those beets are especially making my tastebuds tingle! I have beets ready to pull as well!! Glad to have you back and to BE back also! Holidays are lovely, but there truly is NO place like home! xxoo

  6. Yum yum, the beets sound delicious.
    I love the idea of a meatless Monday post...I dont actually eat meat on Mondays either!

  7. It all looks so delicious but those beets will be on our table in the next few days. I have never heard of doing beets this way but can't wait to try it!! Your mention of Harris-Teeter took me on a nostalgia trip. That was my store when we lived in Charleston. Sometimes the "Pig" but mostly H-T. I did run into a Piggly Wiggly on a trip to Fond du Lac, WI recently. Thought for a moment that I'd driven in the wrong direction!!


  8. I'm not sure which recipe I want to try first, they all sound so delicious, Pattie, but it could very well be the beets. I love roasted beets and the extra 'jacket' step sounds delicious! I may need to plan a trip to the Farmers' Market today!

  9. Another lovely meal and a triple play at that.
    The beets sound really interesting and beg to be tried. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. Everything looks so usual!! I love the beets, how ingenious the jacket just changes everything...and what vegetable is better roasted! but that dessert just grabbed me...I do love cornbread and that little tartlete with the blackberries and ricotta cream sounds delicious!

  11. Oh yum! that salad looks real close to one I make on a regular basis. I love it! I never thought of making a cornbread tart. What the heck have I been thinking? LOL

  12. Oh gosh Pattie, everything looks gorgeous, but those beets are especially making my tastebuds tingle! I have beets ready to pull as well!! Glad to have you back and to BE back also! Holidays are lovely, but there truly is NO place like home! xxoocondo listings torontolocation de salle marseille


We LOVE comments and it's a great way to lead us to your home! Thanks for visiting!