This week's cookbook review had me walking out of the grocery store with bags full of artichokes, tomatoes, cured meat, and mushrooms. I could tell it was going to be a delicious week.
I have Sarah Fragoso's first book, Everyday Paleo, which I have enjoyed making several recipes from. But Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine steps up her game. The photography is far improved, and the recipes all seem more polished.
I dove in, flipping through the book, jotting down page numbers and recipe titles, then asked my husband about what appealed to him and made a grocery list.
Our first dinner from the book was steak and artichokes. This was actually Anneliese's request. I think she had heard me mention some ingredients as I skimmed the book, and when I asked her what she thought we should have for dinner, she announced, “Artichokes!” (she really does love them)… she expanded to steak and artichokes which happened to be a recipe in the book.
I haven't ever prepared artichokes this way, and it was mostly easy and good, but using “large artichokes” as the book suggested (and following directions for cutting them up and such) I think I ended up with some much tougher parts than was necessary. If I had used the little baby ones (just more of them) I think the result would've been a bit nicer. Still, the flavors were good, and there were no complaints from husband or kids.
The second meal from the book was the stuffed mushrooms. Please excuse the wonky photo… it was like 9pm. These were easy enough to make, and I'm embarrassed to say my husband and I ate them ALL. There were no. Leftovers. At. All. (Kids were in bed so they didn't get any. Poor kids.)
The mushrooms in this recipe made the meatballs super tender and juicy, but somehow they still held together perfectly.
The next recipe just took a few minutes to whip up…that is, after I made the mayonnaise. For some reason (I tried twice!) I failed at making the mayonnaise in the book… I've made mayo several times and never had a failure so it was about time I did I guess. It might be a fine recipe but I was just having bad luck. Anyway, I switched to a different mayo recipe and then tossed together this artichoke bruschetta.
I decided to serve it on “sandwich” slices of hard salami, but in the book it is on the smaller thicker pieces (as if they were crackers or slices of crostini). The smaller ones would be great for party appetizers, but since this was dinner, I thought these “tacos” would be good.
Sarah gave me permission to share this awesome recipe (which my husband especially LOVED) from her book. I'm writing it in my own words, with my own method… instead of chopping everything finely and mixing, I used my food processor to cut out some steps.
- 1 cup artichoke hearts from a jar or can, drained
- 1 tablespoon red onion
- 3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise of your choice
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil
- 1 garlic clove
- In your food processor, pulse together onion, basil, and garlic until finely minced.
- Add bell pepper (roughly chopped is fine), artichoke hearts, and mayonnaise. Pulse a few times until chopped and combined with the rest. Don't make it into mush.
- Serve on hard salami or slices of cucumber.
The last recipe we tried from the book was the paleo pizza. The recipe is actually originally from Tammy Credicott's Paleo Indulgences (which is a FANTASTIC book I already reviewed), but we used the “pizza 2” topping suggestions in Italian Cuisine.
Can you tell it's been a long time since I've dealt with yeast? I kind of forgot about the expanding… I thought “Oh my it smells nice and yeasty in here! Like fresh bread dough!” and then saw it.
The dough was easy to make, but I think Sarah maybe left out a step… or she is made of fairy dust and pegasus wings. Because there is NO WAY I could have spread out the sticky sticky dough with a spatula as the book suggests.
Instead, I sprinkled a little extra arrowroot flour around, lightly coated my dough balls with it, and pressed out the circles in that… which made it super easy to manage, and simple to get the pizzas nicely round and flat.
The toppings we used were tomato sauce, kalamata olives, thinly sliced ham, artichoke hearts, and oregano.
My husband especially liked this pizza, and has commented several times after it was all gone about how he liked the dough. Again, tonight, as he saw the pictures for this post over my shoulder, he said, “That was really good pizza dough.” I think it's clear he approves… and no one even mentioned the lack of cheese.
Anneliese snuck over to smell the pizzas as I photographed them for the blog, and Joey gives an enthusiastic thumbs up.
There are tons of other types of recipes in this book... a lot of sauces and soups I would have been more inclined to try if it were cooler here. And some things I probably in all honesty will never make (seafood stuff)… But all in all a great resource for “home cooking” comfort food that fits right into a paleo/grain-free/dairy-free diet.
Maybe it won't feel like “home cooking” to you if you're not from an Italian family like I am…. but you'll probably enjoy the recipes!
What Italian meal is your favorite already-paleo food? What non-paleo Italian meal would you love to try a paleo version of?