Buddy’s Ratatouille

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups chopped zucchini

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar

1 chopped basil

1 cup diced tomatoes




¼- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sauté pan heat the oil and cook the garlic and onion until the onions are translucent.  Add the zucchini, oregano, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until zucchini is tender.  Add basil and Balsamic vinegar.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.

Very Easy Tomato Sauce

I just quarter the tomatoes (any that don’t get eaten within four or five days), cherry and sungold tomatoes I leave whole, quarter an onion or two and place these in a baking dish. Then I peel and add four or five garlic cloves, fresh basil, rosemary, etc. and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil all over everything. Then I roast it all in allow oven – 300 to 325 degrees, for three or four hours or until everything is mushy. Once it’s cooled, I dump it all in the food processor and voila! thick rich roasted tomato sauce. The most recent batch included a smallish fennel bulb and a coarsely chopped eggplant. The roasting seems to bring out the natural sweetness of those delicious tomatoes.

Tarragon or Basil Green Beans

  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 36 black peppercorns
  • 3 lbs young, tender snap beans, trimmed, if necessary, to 4 inches
  • 6 tarragon sprigs or 12 basil sprigs
  • 3 ½ cups white wine vinegar
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 2 Tbs. pickling salt

Into each of 6 sterile pint mason jars, put 1 sliced garlic and 6 peppercorns.  Pack the beans vertically into the jars, adding 1 tarragon sprig or 2 basil sprigs to each jar.  In a non-reactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water and salt.  Pour the hot liquid over the beans, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Close the jars with hot two-piece caps.  Process the jars for 5 minutes in a boiling-water bath, or pasteurize them for 30 minutes in water heated to 180-185 degrees, F.  Store the cooled jars in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month before eating the beans.

Summer Corn Chowder

  • 6 ears sweet corn
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic, bruised
  • 1 russet potato cut in ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of bacon diced
  • 4 medium tomatoes cubed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Strip corn from ears and set aside.  Simmer the cobs and garlic in the broth for 10 minutes.  Remove the cobs and garlic, stir in the potatoes and half of the corn kernels and simmer for 10-12 minutes.  Puree and set aside in a bowl after stirring in the milk, salt and pepper.  Cook the bacon in the original pot until fully cooked (approx 6 minutes).  Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes.  Add the reserved pureed soup and the remaining corn then simmer for 8 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and basil and serve.

From Culinate.com

Sautéed Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce

  • 1/2 cup cashews, roasted
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 7 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. mint, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lb. bok choy, washed and dried
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil

Puree the cashews, vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, Tabasco, basil and mint in a blender. Separate bok choy leaves from stalks, and cut stalks into 1-inch long pieces. Sauté bok choy in a large pan over high heat (oil should not be smoking). Stir briskly for 1 – 2 minutes until it is bright green and well seared. Remove from heat and drape with cashew sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.


  • 4 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½  c pine nuts
  • ½  c. olive oil
  • ¼ c. melted butter
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Put basil leaves, garlic and nuts in bowl of food processor.  Process until finely chopped.  With machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil and melted butter.  With a spoon stir in the cheese, salt and pepper.  This can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks.  We have also had good luck freezing pesto in ice cube trays, which gives you quick easy pre-portioned pesto cubes.

Peppercorn Ranch Dip

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon (2 Tbs.)
  • 1 tsp. coarsly ground peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. minced, fresh chives
  • 2 Tbs. fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste

In a food processor combine all ingredients except salt.  Process until a creamy dip is formed.  Season to taste with salt.  Transfer to a bowl and chill.

From Chips and Dips by Claudia McQuillan.

Nonna’s Sneaky Greens Soup

This was how my Tuscan grandmother got me to eat the greens I detested. They said I was a bright child, but I didn’t catch up to what she was doing until I was well into my teens.

  • 8 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole canned tomatoes, crushed with your hands (do not use canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium to large onion, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tight-packed cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tiny pasta (anice, orzo, stars or alphabets)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Working Ahead: Soup can be done a day ahead up to point of adding the pasta.

1. In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, wine and tomatoes. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, chickpeas, greens and basil. Simmer partially covered 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the pasta and simmer, partially covered, 8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Taste soup for seasoning. Serve hot, passing the cheese to be sprinkled on the soup as its final seasoning.   Serves 6 to 8 as a first course; 4 to 6 as a light main dish.

Copyright 2004 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Insalata Caprese

  • 2 med. cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 pt. Cherry tomatoes, halved or 3-4 slicing tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 fresh mozzarella balls, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

On a plate, layer cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and top with ribbons of sliced basil.  For added tang, sprinkle lightly with balsamic vinegar.

Green Bean Salad with Prosciutto

  • 1 Lb. green beans
  • 4 Oz. prosciutto cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • 1 Tbs. fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shavings of Parmesan cheese

Cook beans in a pot of salted water until tender; approx. 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Allow to dry.  In a large non-stick skillet add prosciutto and onion.  Cook over high heat until onions are translucent and prosciutto starts to crisp.  In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, kosher salt and white pepper.  Whisk in the oil.  Add the prosciutto mixture and the basil and mix well.  Add the beans and cheese shavings and toss gently.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from 1999 Food and Wine Recipes.