Ziti with broccoli rabe and sausage √

Serves 4.

Note: Ziti are thin tubes of pasta. Broccoli rabe (a leafy vegetable with some clusters of broccoli-like buds) and sausage go well together with pasta or on a loaf of Italian bread. From “Lidia’s Favorite Recipes,” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

• 1/4 c. olive oil

• 3 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

• 1/4 tsp. salt, plus 1 tbsp. for the pasta water

• 1 lb. ziti (see Note)

• 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, meat removed from casings and crumbled

• 2 lb. broccoli rabe, cleaned and cut

• 1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes

• 1/2 c. grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, heavy skillet with a fitted lid, then toss in the garlic and sauté, uncovered, until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the ziti to the pot and cook until tender (al dente).

Meanwhile, add the sausage meat to the oil and garlic, and cook until golden, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, 1 cup pasta-boiling water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper flakes; cover and steam 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the sauce uncovered over high heat for about 3 minutes, until the liquids are slightly reduced. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce, and toss gently. Sprinkle on half of the cheese, toss again, and distribute the remaining cheese over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 866 Fat 32 g Sodium 1,430 mg Saturated fat 9 g

Carbohydrates 107 g Calcium 450 mg

Protein 38 g Cholesterol 33 mg Dietary fiber 12 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 6 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 3 medium-fat meat, 3½ fat.



Rice Balls √

Makes about 2 dozen.

Note: Kids love this appetizer from Italy, with the hidden treasure at the center being savory prosciutto and oozing cheese. Arborio rice is recommended, but this dish can be made with brown rice, as well, although make sure you cook it long enough with a little extra stock. From “Lidia’s Favorite Recipes,” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped

• 1 c. finely diced ham or prosciutto (about 3 oz.)

• 2 c. arborio rice

• 1 c. dry white wine

• 5 c. chicken stock, divided

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

• 1 c. frozen peas, thawed

• 1 c. grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

• 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

• 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you’ll need about 24 cubes)

• 1 c. flour

• 2 c. fine dry breadcrumbs

• 2 eggs

• Vegetable oil for frying


Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan; when the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ham or prosciutto, and cook a few minutes, until the meat begins to render its fat.

Add the rice, and cook to coat the rice in the oil and fat. Pour in the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine is almost reduced away. Add 3 cups hot chicken stock and the salt; cover and simmer until the chicken stock is absorbed by the rice, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups stock, and cover, letting the rice cook until tender (al dente) about 6 to 7 minutes more. Stir in peas toward the end, and mix well; spread the rice on a rimmed sheet pan to cool.

When the rice is cool, put it in a bowl and stir in the grated cheese and chopped basil. Scoop out about 1/3 cup rice, roll into a loose ball, then poke a cube of mozzarella into the center. Pat firmly to form a tight ball around the cheese.

Spread the flour and breadcrumbs separately on 2 rimmed plates, and beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Dredge the rice balls in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip them one by one in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Roll in the breadcrumbs to coat thoroughly.

Pour an inch of vegetable oil into a large straight-sided skillet set over medium heat. Fry in batches, taking care not to crowd the skillet, turning on all sides, until golden, about 3 minutes per batch. Drain the rice balls on paper towels, and season with salt while still warm.

Nutrition information per each of 24:

Calories 190 Fat 8 g Sodium 265 mg

Carbohydrates 22 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 96 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 20 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1½ bread/starch, ½ medium-fat meat, 1 fat.