With spring in full swing, it is the perfect time to incorporate fresh seasonal greens into your meals. Many authentic Italian recipes utilize these veggies on their own or in dishes. Whether you sauté them in a pasta dish or use them in a salad, they are simply delicious. Specialty retailers like Sansone Market have a vast variety for you to try.
Here are some fantastic greens to add to your home spring menu:
Packed with nutrients, swiss chard makes for a great spring side dish or meal ingredient. Swiss chard is one of the most nutritious vegetables around today. It has distinctly large, dark green leaves, which are harvested at various stages of maturity. The whole plant with tender, young leaves can be used for salads, while the individual large-sized, mature leaves can be harvested for sautéing and cooking dishes. Both the stalks and the leaves can be consumed. Some varieties feature bright, colorful stalks – making for a beautiful looking dish.
For a standalone dish, try cooking the stalks and leaves in salted boiling water. The stalks should be tender and the leaves should be wilted. Be sure to drain it afterward. Then, throw it in a pan filled with heated olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Finally, you can add any other seasonings you desire.
Another option is whipping up a simple pasta dish with olive oil and garlic. To add additional flavor add in some capers and season with black pepper, salt and parmesan cheese.
Sick of traditional steamed broccoli? Italian cookbooks are filled with diverse recipes to make this standard vegetable into a star dish. One such meal is broccoli ripassati. This Italian staple is regarded as more of a technique than a recipe. Essentially it is twice-cooked broccoli. First the broccoli is boiled in water. Then it is added to a delicious mix of garlic, oil, and chili in a frying pan. For a complete meal, add in the pasta water followed by the pasta.
An option for a simple side dish is roasted broccoli. The caramelized flavor will have adults and kids alike scooping up a hearty helping. Simply place toss your fresh broccoli florets in oil. Then lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For the tastiest results, bake for 15 minutes and sprinkle as much parmesan cheese as you desire. Finally, bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. For extra flavor drizzle balsamic or lemon zest on top.
Just like broccoli, roasting asparagus brings out its full flavor. Tuscan-style asparagus is a favorite Italian dish brimming with flavor. With minimal ingredients, it’s a simple dish that will delight any guests at your outdoor potluck or barbeque. Many recipes incorporate grape tomatoes and pine nuts for optimal flavor.
All you have to do is place the asparagus, tomatoes, and pine nuts on a foiled lined baking sheet. Then mix in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Finally, bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. Any remaining oil can be drizzled on top with lemon juice.
Spinach is a great diverse vegetable for many dishes across various cultures. With that being said, it’s the perfect green to incorporate into your Italian dishes. Italy’s spinaci is a unique type of spinach that has a bitter, earthy flavor. You can saute it with strong flavors like pureed garlic and prosciutto to tone down the bitterness. Some recipes even call for raisins.
This vegetable is also a great addition to Italian sandwiches. Check out Sansone Foods’ chicken sandwich, which features sauteed spinach:
- 1 boneless chicken breast, browned and cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes, chopped
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- dash crushed red pepper
- 2 oz. BelGioioso Italico™ cheese, shredded
- 1/8 cup half and half or cream
- Sandwich roll
Brown chicken breast until cooked through, remove from heat and cut into bite-size cubes. Sauté the chopped garlic in olive oil until almost brown. Add the fresh spinach and sauté until wilted. Add the chopped roasted tomatoes and crushed red pepper and sauté until heated through.
In a separate pan, heat chicken and shredded BelGioioso Italico™ cheese with 1⁄8 cup cream until cheese makes a sauce when melted. Stir in tomato-spinach mixture and serve chicken mixture inside a sandwich roll.
You can find all the fresh seasonal greens you need at Sansone Market. Our staff is always happy to help you find exactly what you need to whip up authentic Italian cuisine in your kitchen!