VERDURE E CONTORINI (VEGETABLES AND SIDE DISHES)

Eggplant Parmesan with Ricotta

This is the version of eggplant parmesan that I make often, adding ricotta to each layer for a creamier center. This is a truly delicious meal, and perfect for the vegetarian in your family.

Eggplant Rollatini

This is very similar to the eggplant parmesan recipe, but the eggplant is rolled and filled with ricotta for an individual presentation. I tend to prepare this dish for dinner parties. You can alter this recipe with varied fillings if desired. I often layer a slice of prosciutto on each eggplant slice along with the ricotta filling (for a non-vegetarian option). It makes this dish even more delicious!

Caramelized Eggplant with Pesto

I really enjoy eggplant dishes, and I’ve tried many different recipes over the years. I got creative this morning with ingredients I had in my refrigerator, and ended up with a delicious eggplant side dish. The key is to allow the diced eggplant to cook long enough to caramelize….then add the pesto at the end so the flavors are full bodied when served.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic

This is a great vegetable side dish, and can also be used to top any type of meat. I like to sauté a variety of vegetables over the weekend so I can enjoy them all week. This is a very simple preparation for sautéed mushrooms.

Sauteed Escarole with Pignoli & Golden Raisins

Sauteed escarole is the quintessential Italian peasant dish. This version is a little different, incorporating toasted pignoli nuts and golden raisins. The sweetness of the raisins really brings a delicious flavor to this dish, and adds a Sicilian flair. Feel free to omit if desired.

Grilled Vegetable Platter

This is a delicious vegetable side dish to serve any time of year. The vegetables look great on a buffet, especially when decoratively plated. I like to serve this dish with pesto sauce on the side.

Mom's Cauliflower Fritters

I remember Mom making these fritters throughout our childhood. These are really delicious, especially when served right out of the skillet. Mom was always creative, and would also use zucchini and other seasonal vegetables in place of the cauliflower. Feel free to improvise!

Artichokes Francais

This artichoke recipe is really delicious. The artichokes have a meaty texture, and the lemon, wine sauce really makes this dish savory. I have served this as a vegetable side dish for seated dinner parties, or as a side dish on a buffet. This is perfect for your vegetarian guests.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Basil

This is one of the simplest vegetable side dishes you will come across….and possibly the most flavorful. 

Asparagus & Prosciutto Rolls

I recently made this asparagus side dish for friends, Thea Berkhout and Paul Breitman.  The dish was easy to make, and had great depth of flavor with the prosciutto and provolone cheese.  This dish was inspired by a Soprano’s Cookbook recipe.

Sauteed Zucchini

This recipe is easy and delicious.  I make this often in the summer, when zucchini are in season and plentiful.  This recipe is good using any vegetable – feel free to change based on your preference. 

Green Beans with Parmesan Breadcrumbs

This is a great vegetable side dish.  This can accompany any meat dish, or can be served on its own.  The addition of the seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese really turn a normal vegetable into something outstanding.

Sauteed Escarole with Garlic & Oil

This dish is the quintessential Italian peasant dish.  It is easy, inexpensive, and delicious.  I like to add cannellini beans to make the dish heartier, and often serve this on my holiday buffet with my antipasto.  I first learned how to make this dish from Grandma Colombo.  I remember visiting her at home in Staten Island, specifically to watch her make this dish.  She told me many times that she combined the escarole with olive oil and garlic, which seemed incredibly simple, but I could not simulate the taste.  When I watched her, I knew why…she forgot to include a couple of steps, namely blanching the escarole first.  (Her response was…of course you blanch it first!)  She also had a heavy hand with the olive oil, and used the marinating liquid from a jar of green olives.  To this day, I still cannot simulate the taste exactly, but this recipe is pretty close.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese

This is a truly easy vegetable side dish.  It takes little preparation and very quick baking time.  Layer the baking dish with aluminum foil for an even quicker cleanup.  I have served this dish many times on a buffet, garnished with lemon slices. 

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta with Lentils & Porcini

We enjoyed this creamy polenta dish with lentils and sautéed mushrooms at a restaurant in central Italy.  It was so different, simple and truly delicious.

Eggplant Parmesan Balls

Since I love meatballs so much, I started experimenting with various vegetables so I would have options for guests.  This eggplant parmesan version is really good.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

We have enjoyed this dish for years, with slight modifications of ingredients.  Feel free to improvise and include your favorite ingredients.

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