Fresh veggies make spring dinners a treat

Forget the freezer section in the supermarket. With spring here and summer around the corner, you can do much of your food shopping in the produce section. The Scotto family of New York's Fresco restaurant were invited on "Today" to share their hit vegetable dishes that you can easily re-create in your kitchen. Here are the recipes.

Spring Vegetable Cannelloni Stuffed With Robiola Cheese, Spinach, Carrots, Leeks, Toasted Bread Crumbs, and Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup carrots, diced small
    • 1/2 cup leeks, julienne
    • 2 bunches fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
    • 1 pound Robiola cheese
    • 1/4 cup mixed chopped herbs (parsley, chives and chervil)
    • 4 fresh pasta sheets (store bought)
    • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
    • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 1-1/2 sticks of butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1/2 cup olive oil and simmer carrots and leeks for about 5 minutes, then add spinach and cook for another 3 minutes. Put aside and let cool down. In a mixing bowl, combine Robiola cheese, cooked vegetables, salt and pepper. Add a half portion of the herbs and mix well. Cut pasta sheets into 6-inch squares. Add cheese vegetable filling and roll. Repeat until all the filling is used.In another sauté pan over medium heat, toss together bread crumbs, remaining chopped herbs, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1 stick melted butter. When bread crumbs are golden brown, remove from heat and cool down, then mix in Parmesan cheese and set aside. Place cannelloni in baking dish, brush with remaining 1/2 stick of melted butter, and sprinkle with bread crumb cheese mixture. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F until golden brown.

Marinated and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Servings:

Serves 4

Ingredients

    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh chive, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely diced
    • 8 Portobello mushrooms
    • 3 red onions, medium size, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pound Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, cut in 4 pieces
    • roasted peppers (see recipe that follows)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Combine extra virgin olive oil and chopped herbs; mix well. In a large mixing bowl, add mushrooms and onions; toss with the olive oil and herb mixture. Let mushrooms and onions marinate for 1 hour before grilling. Cook mushrooms and onions on a hot grill for about 4 minutes on each side. Layer 1 Portobello mushroom with grilled onions, roasted peppers, and cheese then top with another Portobello mushroom (to form a sandwich). Place each sandwich in a baking pan at 350 degrees F and cook until Gorgonzola cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Roasted Sweet Peppers
Servings:

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

    • 3 firm sweet red bell peppers
    • 3 firm sweet yellow bell peppers
    • 3 firm sweet green bell peppers
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, and sliced very thin
    • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh oregano, leaves only, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Prepare the peppers by roasting them over a charcoal or gas flame; set the peppers on a grill about 4-inches above the hot, glowing coals. Turn peppers frequently until skins are thoroughly blackened and blistered. Use a long handled fork if roasting over a gas flame. Once the peppers are black, place them in a paper bag or cover them with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest until they're cool enough to handle. Peel the peppers by pulling and rubbing away the blackened skin, using your fingers or a sharp knife if necessary to get rid of stubborn bits. Do not do this under running water as it washes away much of the flavor. Cut the pepper in half, discarding seeds and white membranes, and slice the pepper halves into long strips about 1-inch thick. Place peppers in a small bowl and layer with garlic, oregano and a little salt. Cover with olive oil and marinate.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Servings:

Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

    • 1 9-inch pie shell (store-bought or your favorite pie shell recipe)
    • 2 cups 1-inch thick rhubarb slices
    • 2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned, and cut in half
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Crumb topping (see recipe that follows)
  • Crumb Topping

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour, lemon and salt. (Rhubarb is tart. Depending on your taste, you might want to add more sugar.) Turn into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle crumbs on top.  Bake for 15 minutes more or until crumbs are brown and pie is bubbly.  Set aside and cool on rack. Crumb Topping Combine ingredients; mix with hands until large crumbs form.

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