Recipe n. 17

In one of our recent trips to Ireland we went to visit some friends of ours who live in a lovely little village in the middle of the countryside. They have two great kids and their mum Lynn besides being a beautiful mom, is also a great cook. She cooked lunch for us and I totally fell in love with this dish. It was so tasty, fresh and different from the Irish cuisine, that I am prepared for when in Ireland. I almost felt at home, in Sicily. The way all these ingredients and colors complement each other is absolutely great! As soon as I came back to the States I started to make this dish over and over again. Unfortunately I never wrote down the recipe and the ingredients, so it might not be exactly the same. This version is what is left in my mind from the memory of the flavors, which inspired me so much.

As I said in my last post, I made pesto and cooked extra roasted vegetables to be added to this dish, which looks elaborate but if you  roast your vegetables  as well as making pesto a day in advance,  at the end it’s all  about ‘assembling’  and it’s all well worth while!


  • 1 fresh bunch of basil (about 2 cups)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb chicken breast cubed
  • 10 shallots roasted
  • 1 yellow or red roasted bell pepper
  • Mesclun salad
  • Edible flowers for garnish or thyme flowers  (optional)
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Roast the pepper and shallots according to my previous post ‘ROASTED VEGETABLES – Recipe n.16 ‘. In a food processor place 1 garlic clove and pulse until chopped. Add the basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper and pulse a few more times. Add the olive oil slowly until you obtain a creamy pesto. Transfer to a bowl and mix with Parmesan cheese.  Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet and cook the chicken through until crispy brown on the outside.  Transfer the chicken to a dish with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. In a large salad bowl place the mesclun salad, chopped roasted shallots and bell peeper and dress with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Mix the chicken with a ¼ cup of pesto sauce and transfer to the salad bowl. Add the flowers for garnish and you can enjoy your salad!


Recipe n. 16

Yesterday I went for a nice walk to the Farmers market. It’s such a pleasure walking around the market, especially this time of the year. The weather is perfect and the farmers have started to bring fresh and colorful fruit and vegetables to the market for the new season. I bought my first bunch of fresh organic basil, which I used later that day to make a delicious pesto sauce. I ‘m also going to use it for my next recipe. The smell was so strong it kept me happy all the way home. I also bought zucchini, shallots and bell peppers to roast and pour over a great dressing from ‘la cucina di mia madre’.


  • 3 medium sized zucchini
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 10 shallots peeled
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint chopped
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium sized pot bring water to a boil and blanch the shallots for about 3 minutes. Place the bell peppers and the shallots on 2 different baking dishes.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle the onions with some olive oil.  Roast the peppers and the onions for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool down before peeling.  Slice the zucchini lengthwise to half an inch thick or less.  Preheat the grill (I use a cast iron roasting pan on my stove top) and place the zucchini and grill each side for about 4 minutes. Prepare the dressing in a large mixing bowl with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mint, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients and dip the zucchini slices one at a time ensuring each piece absorbs the dressing well. Transfer the zucchini into a serving dish and pour the remaining dressing and garnish with mint on top.

Serve the vegetables with grilled rustic bread sprinkled with olive oil.

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