Insalata di pasta ai tonno

Delicious, portable, healthy – pasta salads are perfect dishes for versatility, because they are easily portable and can be served in a myriad of ways. The ingredients used vary widely by region, season, and/or preference of the cook. Pasta salads can be very simple, or as elaborate as several short pastas tossed together with a variety of fresh, preserved or cooked ingredients. These can include vegetables, legumes, cheeses, nuts, herbs, spices, meats, poultry, or seafood. Even though pasta salad is often regarded as a spring or summertime meal, it can be easily served year-round. Here, penne pasta is combined with fresh tasty tomatoes, tuna, anchovies, and hard-boiled eggs. By avoiding fattening and calorie rich dressings, you can enjoy the true taste of the ingredients with a touch of raw olive oil.

Insalata di pasta con tonno

Ingredients: 

100 grams/ 3.5 oz penne rigate or penne pasta

100 grams/ 3.5  oz green beans

280 grams/ 10 oz tomatoes

fresh basil leaves

2 tins of Rio Mare tuna

2 hard-boiled eggs

8 anchovies fillets

a handful of capers

back olives (optional)

olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool down.

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise.

Cook the trimmed green beans in salted boiling water for ca. 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

On a large platter, arrange the tomatoes side by side. Mix the cooked pasta together with the drained tuna and shredded basil leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Put the pasta mix in the middle of the platter, and add the green beans and anchovies fillets. Set the halved eggs right in the middle of the salad. Drizzle some olive oil and season with black pepper. Garnish with capers and basil leaves. Serve as a lunch or dinner.

Insalata di pasta ai tonno

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Strawberry Salad

Strawberry Salad

Strawberry, or garden strawberry, is a hybrid species first bred in France during the late 18th century via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis from Chile. Prior to that, this red, juicy and conically shaped fruit had been growing wild for centuries. The fruit, which botanically speaking is not a berry, is widely appreciated for its aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. Strawberries are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are a good source of folate and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and manganese. Choose brightly colored, plump berries that still have the caps attached to them and avoid soft or moldy berries. Strawberries can be combined with practically anything, from bananas and basil to lemon and lime. Here the sweet strawberries go well together with the creamy mozzarella and compliment the peppery and pungent taste of the rocket salad.

Ingredients: 

rocket salad, lollo rosso, Swiss chard etc.

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced

200 gr/ 7 oz shrimp

6-8 strawberries, halved

Dressing 1:

6 strawberries

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

salt and black pepper to taste

Dressing 2:

olive oil

black pepper

Instructions: 

Arrange the rocket, lollo rosso and Swiss chard leaves on the plate. Put the raw and untreated shrimp in the middle. Arrange the mozzarella slices around the shrimp, and decorate with the halved strawberries.

Prepare the dressing by crushing the strawberries with a fork. Then, mix with all the other ingredients. Alternatively, just drizzle some good quality olive oil over the salad and season with freshly ground black pepper. This is an excellent recipe for this summer.

Strawberry Salad

Insalata di pasta

Insalata di pasta

Balsamic vinegar – or aceto balsamico – comes from the Latin word balsamum, meaning restorative or curative.  Genuine balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. It is made from a reduction of cooked grape juice which is allowed to ferment and then, for a minimum of 12 years, matured in barrels. The result is dark, rich and syrupy condiment that is used very sparingly. For the real deal, always look for the marking ‘tradizionale’ or DOC, and these products tend to be very expensive. You can also buy the more affordable, industrially made ‘aceto balsamico di Modena’, which isn’t aged for so long. Very cheap balsamic vinegars have been colored and flavored with caramel, and don’t have the authentic intensity of flavor. Together with oil, balsamic vinegar is an excellent dressing, but you can also drizzle some over roasted chicken and duck, or tuna steaks.

Ingredients: 

penne rigate pasta

3-5 tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

200 gr/7 oz mozzarella, in cubes

a bunch of fresh basil leaves

1 can of tuna fish (in water)

6-8 anchovies

Dressing: 

5 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 

Cook the penne rigate, or some other pasta of your choice, al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, slice all the vegetables and the mozzarella. Mix the already cooled down pasta with the vegetables, mozzarella, fresh basil, the drained tuna and the anchovies. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle some over each plate.

Insalata di pasta

Refreshing salad with gravad lax

Refreshing salad with gravad lax

Refreshing and easy to prepare, this salad is an excellent option for lunch. If you want to prepare your own gravad lax – and subsequently cut the costs – you will find my recipe here. If you are feeling less adventurous you can also use store-bought salmon for equally good results. Bear in mind that curing salmon takes about 2 to 3 days.

Salmon has high omega-3 fatty acids and a lot of protein, but smoking, salting and curing makes salmon lose about 1/3 to 2/3 of its original omega-3 content. But some Atlantic and farmed salmon are raised on special omega-3 feed, and therefore make up for the loss of nutrients.

Ingredients: 

4 tomatoes

0.5 cucumber

200 gr green beans

Iceberg lettuce

4 boiled potatoes

300 gr gravad lax

3 hard-boiled eggs

Olive oil

Instructions:

Boil the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Trim and cut the green beans and boil them in salted water for about 10-15 minutes. Slice the tomatoes and the cucumber. Shred the iceberg lettuce leaves and cut the gravad lax into 1 inch/2.54 cm cubes. Boil the eggs for about 10-12 minutes and cut them into four pieces. Combine all the ingredients and avoid excessive mixing. Drizzle some olive oil over the salad and serve.

Refreshing salad with gravad lax

Cajun chicken salad

Whether you are shedding some extra pounds after Thanksgiving or just too busy planning your Christmas, this is a recipe for you. Easy to prepare but yet delicious, this Cajun chicken salad is a wonderful lunch option. The marinade can be used for other meats and dishes, too.

Ingredients:

Cajun marinade:

Cajun chicken salad4 tsp salt

4 tsp paprika powder

3 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2.5 tsp onion powder

1.5 tsp cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp thyme

1.5 tsp oregano

oil

Chicken salad:

Cajun chicken saladoil for frying

400 gr Cajun marinated chicken, in 1 inch/2.54 cm cubes

75 gr rocket salad, Swiss chard, lollo rosso

250 gr cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cucumber, in slices

200 gr mozzarella, in cubes

pine nuts

Instructions:

Cajun chicken saladMarinade: Mix the spices in a bowl. Add a little bit of oil and the chicken cubes. Mix well and let the mixture marinade in the fridge for an hour.

Cajun chicken salad: Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chicken cubes on a medium heat until they are golden. Slice the cucumber and cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mix with rocket salad, Swiss chard and lollo rosso. Add the mozzarella and arrange the chicken cubes on top of the salad. Garnish with pine nuts. Serve with a freshly baked ciabatta or baguette.