An Italian spring! Giada's herbed chicken, pizza rustica, more

With a new season comes new produce, and Giada De Laurentiis is sharing four Italian recipes that help transform spring vegetables into delicious Italian meals.

Pizza rustica
Servings:

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • For pizza:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 bunch fresh asparagus chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1 cup fresh peas, shelled and blanched
    • 1 15-ounce container whole milk ricotta
    • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
    • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
    • 4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
    • Pastry dough, recipe follows
    • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • For pastry dough:

    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
    • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

To make the pastry dough:Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.To make the pizza:Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring often, until cooked trough, about 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook until just warmed through, 1 minute longer. Cool to room temperature. Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the asparagus, peas and prosciutto to the mixture and stir to combine.Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly-floured work surface to a 17-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Pasta primavera
Servings:

6 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 bunches of asparagus
    • 1 cup of peas, shelled and blanched
    • 1 yellow bell pepper
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
    • 1 pound dried farfalle pasta (bow-tie pasta)
    • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the carrots, zucchini, squash and bell peppers into thin 2-inch long strips.  On a large heavy baking sheet, toss the vegetable strips, onion, oil, dried herbs and 2 teaspoons of each salt and pepper to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another large heavy baking sheet and arrange the vegetables evenly over both sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the other vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Stir the vegetables after the first 10 minutes of baking.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the cooked vegetables to combine. Add the cherry tomatoes and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste.Transfer the pasta to bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Halibut with artichoke and olive caponata
Servings:

6 servings

Ingredients

  • For the caponata:

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped
    • 8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
    • 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved
    • 3 tablespoons raisins
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • For the halibut:

    • 4 4 to 5-ounce center-cut halibut filets, about 1-inch thick
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For the caponata:In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and artichoke hearts and cook until soft and the artichokes are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives and raisins to the pan. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 25 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. For the halibut:Place a non-stick grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the halibut on both sides with olive oil. Season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes each side until the flesh flakes easily with a fork.Arrange the halibut on a serving platter and top with the caponata. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.Cook's Note: If not using a non-stick grill pan, lightly oil the pan before grilling the fish. The halibut can also be roasted for 10 to 12 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven.

Herbed chicken with spring vegetables
Servings:

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
    • 2 bone-in, skin-on thighs
    • 2 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon butter, plus 1 tablespoon
    • 6 cipolline onions, trimmed and peeled
    • 8 ounces baby carrots, peeled and trimmed, but leaving on a bit of green tip
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 6 ounces snap peas, trimmed
    • 4 ounces morel mushrooms

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl combine the thyme, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on a work surface. Gently loosen the skin of the chicken and push the herb mixture under the skin. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, when the oil is hot. Cook until the skin is crispy and golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook the same way on the other side. Turn the heat off the pan and reserve. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, skin side up again, and finish cooking in the oven, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, return the same pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted add the cipolline onions and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and golden in places, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the snap peas and mushrooms. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and toss with the vegetables until melted. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the vegetables onto a serving platter along with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.

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