RSS Feed

Tag Archives: parmigiano-reggiano

Warm White Bean and Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad Ready to Serve

Spinach Salad Topped With Parmesan Crumble


Spinach Salad Before Adding the Baked Crumble

Spinach Salad Before Adding the Amazing Crumble

Dave and I have been enjoying delicious food and friendship with our Dinner Club for many years. The four couples meet every 2 to 4 months for a dinner which the host plans. They then assign the other 3 couples one recipe to make. This past weekend our assigned recipe was one the host experienced at a cooking class in Bay City, Michigan at Fusion 1 Café.

This spinach salad is reminiscent of the 1970s version which includes red onion, chopped egg, bacon pieces and a red wine vinaigrette. The Fusion 1 Café recipe goes beyond this, adding northern beans to the dressing. Bacon is substituted with a crumbly mix of toasted whole grain bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. I used a very hearty whole grain bread which is my favorite choice Kroger Private Selections Artisian Multi- Grain Boule.

This is a hearty salad which can be a nice lunch or light dinner.

2 slices multi-grain bread (the larger middle slices of a round boule)(dry overnight on a rack on the counter)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, high quality such as Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (use generous size cloves)

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary

1 pound great northern beans, (I used 1-15 ounce can, slightly drained.)

4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 pound baby spinach (I used 10 ounces for 8 people)

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 5 minutes

1 yellow bell pepper, thin julienned sliced

Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as needed

2 hard boiled eggs

  • In a food processor place the dried bread, parmesan, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until ground and combined.
  • Toast the mixture in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  • Place a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the 3/4 cup olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and rosemary.
  • Cook only 1 minute or less. Do not brown.
  • Add beans and cook on low for 7 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes, vinegar and Dijon. Remove from heat.
  • In a large salad bowl place spinach, onion and sliced pepper.
  • Pour bean mixture over all. Add the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Shred the eggs over all and top with bread crumb mixture.
  • Present at the table and toss slightly to serve.

Genoese Basil Sauce/Pesto

All the ingredients you need to make pesto!

All the ingredients you need to make pesto!


IMG_7265

Take a stem of leaves in one hand and wipe the leaves with the other using a damp paper towel


IMG_7275

Add to the food processor the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and olive oil


IMG_7271

Pureed ingredients before adding the cheese. You can freeze the sauce at this point and add the cheeses at a later date when you are ready to serve the Pesto.


IMG_7282

Pour the pureed mixture into a mixing bowl


IMG_7285

Add the Parmesan and Romano cheeses


IMG_7289

Pesto ready for freezing in the ice cube trays and mini muffin tins. When frozen, pop them out and store in Ziploc freezer bags or cartons in the freezer

Pesto ready for the frig!

Pesto ready for the frig!

Dave’s basil was bountiful this year. He filled two large garden pots with 4 plants each. The leaves were not huge and since the plant was beginning to flower, I cut it all down and made five batches of pesto today. That’s about 20 cups of fresh basil leaves!

I have two other Pesto recipes posted on my blog. Today’s recipe is closest to the traditional Genoese Basil Sauce. Genoa is the city where Pesto originates. Christopher Columbus was Genovese and he carried pesto on his ships to the New World, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. I wonder why I remember all this?

This recipe is to be made in a standard size food processor. It is an adaption of Marcella Hazan’s from her cookbook, The Classical Italian Cookbook. A well-rounded pesto is never made with all Parmesan or all Romano. Marcella and I use 4 parts Parmesan to 1 part Romano in this recipe.

4 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly wiping the leaves with a damp paper towel to clean. Basil does not like to be wet and will brown quickly. I grab a stalk with one hand and then with a damp paper towel wipe the leaves. Then gently tear leaves into two or more small pieces. Be careful not to crush the basil. The purpose is to make fairly even sized pieces for uniform measuring. I prefer the traditional green leaf basil. It makes a nice bright green pesto. The purple basil produces a darker brown-green pesto.

1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife and peeled (don’t over do the garlic; a very large clove counts as 2 cloves)

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1/4 cup pine nuts, (about 1-1.5 ounces)

1/4 cup freshly grated Locatelli brand Romano cheese (other brands are fine, but this is my favorite)

1 cup (about 1/4 pound) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a food processor place the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves and salt. Process with the knife blade till well blended. Do not overprocess or allow the basil to heat up. Scrape the sides of the bowl during processing.

Pour the sauce into a medium size bowl and stir in the cheeses. Freeze pesto in ice cube trays  or tiny muffin tins and when frozen, place the cubes in a freezer carton or bag for storage in the freezer. You can also store the pesto in a jar in the refrigerator by keeping a layer of olive oil on the surface and covering with a lid. Presto! Serve with pasta as the original recipe. Use as a spread on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or sandwiches and bruschetta. Add as a flavoring to soups, sauces and stews. Use as a marinade for chicken.

OPTIONAL: Instead of freezing with the cheese, omit the cheese and add it instead after thawing the cubes. This will give a fresher flavor, but is another step in your preparations.