Marinara Worth Mastering

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: To make it a meal, toss with pasta and top with some grated Parmesan cheese. From Lidia Bastianich, in the New York Times.

• 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes

• 1/2 c. good olive oil

• 7 garlic cloves cut into slivers, not minced

• 1 small whole dried chile or pinch of red pepper flakes

• 1/4 tsp. dried oregano or 1 large fresh basil sprig with stem (about 4 to 5 leaves on it); more added to taste

• Pinch kosher salt


Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into the tomato can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.

In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot, you want a lot of surface area so it will cook down quickly and get thick) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the garlic.

As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add the whole chile or red pepper flakes, the oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.

If using basil sprig, place on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Cook sauce at a vigorous simmer until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chile.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 190 Fat 18 g Sodium 220 mg

Carbohydrates 7 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 48 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 3½ fat.


Chickpea and Butternut Squash Stew

Serves 6.

Note: Make it a weeknight meal by preparing the squash and chickpeas on the weekend; then the stew will only take about 30 minutes to come together. From

• 1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2-in. irregularly shaped pieces (about 6 c.)

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• Sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 c.)

• 8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley stems, finely chopped (reserve the leaves)

• 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 tsp. paprika

• 3 medium carrots, cut into 3/4-in. cubes or irregular shapes

• 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

• 2 (15-oz.) cans cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or prepare 3/4 c. dry chickpeas to make 2 1/2 c. cooked)

• 4 tsp. harissa (a Middle Eastern seasoning; recipe below. Or substitute curry powder and a pinch of cayenne for heat)

• 1/2 c. flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped


To prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss well and roast until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. You can also do this in the microwave: Cut squash in half lengthwise and then half again and pierce many times with a fork and microwave 5 minutes at a time until it is soft enough to cut into 1-inch pieces. Stop microwaving before it gets too mushy because you want the squash cubes to stand up and be seen, not blend in. Scoop out the seeds and cut the cooked squash into uneven squares, cutting the peel away as you do.

For the stew: In a large pot, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley stems, cumin and paprika, and cook for 1 minute. Add carrots and 1 cup water to onion mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add tomatoes and chickpeas. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in harissa (or curry powder), about 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves (reserving some for garnish), roasted squash and 1/2 cup water. Simmer, uncovered, until flavors meld, another 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh parsley leaves.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 340 Fat 13 g Sodium 640 mg

Carbohydrates 51 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 175 mg

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 14 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 3 bread/starch, 2½ fat.



Makes 1/3 cup.

Note: This can be refrigerated in a sealed glass jar for 1 month. From

• 1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds

• 1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds

• 1 tbsp. whole caraway seeds

• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1 garlic clove, crushed in garlic press

• 2 tbsp. lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

• Large pinch sea salt

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil


Warm a skillet over a medium flame. Add cumin, coriander and caraway seeds. Toast, shaking pan, until seeds are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder until fine.

Place ground spices in a bowl, and add cayenne, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir in olive oil until smooth.





Refried Beans

Serves 6.

Note: To make it a meal, serve beans in taco shells or tortillas with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and guacamole. Or use refried beans as a dip and spoon mixture into a small casserole dish, cover with shredded Cheddar cheese and place in a 300-degree oven 10 to 15 minutes to melt the cheese; serve with chips. From

• 1/2 large sweet red pepper, diced

• 1/2 sweet onion, diced

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 tsp. chili powder

• 1/2 tsp. adobo seasoning (found in the Mexican food aisle; can substitute garlic salt)

• 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce, finely chopped

• 2 (14-oz.) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

• 1/2 c. vegetable stock or water


Sauté the peppers and onions in olive oil, adding the garlic after a few minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and adobo seasoning, giving them a few minutes to toast. Add the chipotles (use one for mild, two or more for spicy) and simmer for 1 minute. Allow chipotles to incorporate flavors.

Stir in the beans. Add stock or water, partly cover and leave on medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid has mostly absorbed. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture until it is almost smooth but leaves the appearance of crushed beans.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 130 Fat 3 g Sodium 420 mg

Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 70 mg

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, ½ fat.