Friday Cookbook Review: “The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook”

“The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health”, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Bantam, 2009

Part cookbook, part travelogue, part history lesson, this newly revised and updated edition of Jenkins’ work is a www.randomhouse.calighted path on the road to a healthier lifestyle…if your particular road is set in the Mediterranean coastline from Spain west to Lebanon and east across North Africa.  Given the region’s reputation for being the home of one of  the world’s healthiest cuisines, perhaps more of us should be taking this road. read the complete review here

Healthy eating doesn’t automatically mean giving up everything you love to eat, like pasta. This classic southern Italian dish comes together in a matter of minutes. If you can’t find broccoli/rapini, substitute regular broccoli for a close approximation. If your local markets don’t carry orecchiette (Italian for “little ears”), fry farfalle, small shells or fusilli instead.

Orecchiette alla Barese
Little Ears with Broccoli Rabe
Serves 6

2 bunches of broccoli rabe
Sea salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3T extra-virgin olive oil
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, or to taste
1t red hot pepper flakes or 1 small dried red chili, chopped, seeds and all
1 pound orecchiette or other
5 quarts water
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Clean and coarsely chop the broccoli rabe. Bring about 1″ of lightly salted water to boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until it’s tender and only a few tablespoons of water remain, about 5-10 minutes, depending on how finely the vegetable is chopped. Set the pan aside but keep warm.

In a separate skillet or saute pan, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil until it is soft, then melt in the anchovy fillets by crushing them against the garlicky oil with a fork. Add the red pepper and stir to mix well. Turn the garlic-pepper oil into the broccoli rabe and mix.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until more or less al dente. Drain in a colander and immediately combine with the broccoli rabe mixture. Turn it into a warm serving bowl, add pepper and serve immediately. Do not add, nor pass grated cheese with this dish.

I’d pair this simple, delicious dish with a side salad with a home made lemon vinaigrette and fresh fruit for dessert.

Your body with thank you for it.

Cookbook pic courtesy of
Broccoli rabe pic courtesy of
Pasta pic courtesy of

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved, 2009

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