Simple dishes, no need for recipes – even for the most untrustworthy cooks. Nancy just spent a week in a half discovering new finds in Italy and here are three that satisfy….1. Cherry tomatoes are big in Southern Italy. And they actually taste sweet and a little like a cherry there. Easy last minute side? Saute some onions in a little olive oil in a frying pan, then add some cherry tomatoes, turn down the heat, and stir occasionally as the pulp bursts from the skin, and the peel browns a bit. When you like how they look and taste, you’re done. (Try a little flavored salt to finish – and stay tuned for semi-dried cherry tomatoes and dried herbs from southern Italy comomg to Flavors From Afar later this fall!)2. White bean side dish: Soak beans overnight. Next day, drain and add water or stock to cover plus a few inches. Cook slowly, uncovered, so the water cooks down and the beans soften. When they’re good and mushy, they’re done. (Note: I would have cooked the beans, drained the water, and mashed with a potato ricer. Instead, here you’re keeping all the tasty liquid and vitamins in the dish.) Add whatever you like – sauteed onions and garlic, and drizzle with fresh olive oil, either the Novello, this year’s first-pressed new oil (coming in December) or Oliviers and Co. Basil Olive Oil.3. Nonna’s Pasta Baskets (pictured above): Easy as can be, you grate cheese onto a small, maybe 9″ skillet. Distribute evenly into one layer, turn the heat to low, and watch as the cheese melts and makes a lacy shape in the pan. Check by inserting a spatula underneath, and when it starts to get crusty, invert over a cup or bowl covered in aluminum foil that is the shape you want for the finished bowl. (This is similar in concept to the tortilla bowls used for fajita salads). When the shape is dry, invert again and fill with hot pasta. The pasta melts the bowl, and the fun begins.Enjoy, let us know how the recipes come out, and share some of your own!
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