Sausage & Rapini Pizza (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo)

Sausage & Rapini Pizza (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo)

DID YOU KNOW? Cassava flour is a good choice for those with gluten intolerance symptoms and sensitive digestive systems or disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Cassava flour is derived from cassava root (also known as yuca or manioc), a starchy, high-carbohydrate tuber – similar to yam, taro, plantains and potato.

Starchy tubers tend to be safer for people with gut issues since they contain more soluble fiber and less insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, whereas consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed can aggravate IBS symptoms.

Once a month (OK fine, every two weeks ?) the BF and I experiment with different pizza toppings for this cassava flour pizza crust. You can find the original pizza crust recipe created by Otto’s Naturals, here.

We’ve nailed down another great recipe which was inspired by my little Jen days. I could always count on a sausage & rapini pizza from Caruso’s Pizza when I would visit my dad on the weekends. This pizza put all others to shame! Looking back, I’m truly grateful my dad was hopeless in the kitchen or else I wouldn’t have got my weekly dose of this pizza ?

So, if you’re looking for a gut friendly pizza with a whole lot of Italian love, this is the one for you!

Love this recipe?! Then you’ve got to try this Classic Margherita Pizza and Mediterranean Tuna Pizza.

gluten free sausage and rapini pizza

Sausage & Rapini Pizza

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-4)
½ cup warm water (roughly 105-110 F)
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 cup cassava flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
5 tbsp arrowroot flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1 egg
¼ cup avocado oil

TOPPINGS: 
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
20 whole mushrooms, sautéed
1 bunch rapini, boiled & sautéed
1 cured Italian sausage, sliced
Sea salt to taste (mix into tomatoes)

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. Prepare yeast mix: In a small bowl, add warm water and honey. Mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate. It will get foamy on top.

2. Mix dry: Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl to combine.

3. Mix wet: Lightly whisk eggs and olive oil together in a small bowl.

4. Mix together and form a dough ball: Add egg mixture and activated yeast to the dry ingredients and form a dough ball. Transfer ball to an oiled bowl, cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm place (70-80 F is ideal) to rise for 1 hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise a little.

5. Prep toppings while dough rises: Remove stems from rapini, boil until tender and drain. Grab two stove-top pans and saute 1 sliced garlic clove in 2 tbsp avocado oil, in each pan. Add rapini to one pan and mushrooms to the other. Season each with sea salt and coat in oil and garlic. After a few minutes remove rapini and set aside. Add some red or white wine (other liquids work too) to the mushrooms and cover for a few minutes. Remove when liquid evaporates and mushrooms are cooked. Set aside.

6. Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 550 F. Preheat pizza stone, baking sheet or metal pan.

7. Roll and shape dough: Place the dough on parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (if necessary) and shape dough with your hands by pushing down (on top of parchment, so it doesn’t stick) and roll with rolling pin. Flatten your pizza about 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Roll the crust thick or thin (to your liking) by shaping with your fingers and rolling the edges. Use extra cassava flour if dough is sticking. NOTE: Split the dough in half before rolling it out to make two smaller pizzas. 

8. Add toppings: Add tomatoes, rapini, mushrooms and sausage onto the dough. Lift the whole piece of parchment paper with pizza on top and transfer to the preheated baking sheet.

9. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden, pulling out halfway and removing parchment paper. For a crispier golden crust, allow a few more minutes. Allow more time if cooking at lower temperature.

Sausage & Rapini Pizza with Cassava Flour Crust

“Spaghetti” alla Vodka (Low-Carb, Gluten & Dairy Free)

“Spaghetti” alla Vodka (Low-Carb, Gluten & Dairy Free)

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish traditionally made with penne pasta, vodka, heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and bacon or pancetta.

This dish became very popular in Italy and in the US around the 1980s, but the origin of the Penne alla Vodka recipe has been disputed between Italy and the United States: both claim the creation of this recipe.

According to The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented in the 70s at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.

The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.

To support the creation of this dish in the United States, we have two tales: Luigi Franzese, the Italian American chef of Orsini Restaurant in New York and James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University.

As you can see, it’s not clear whether or not Penne alla Vodka is an authentic Italian recipe. BUT based on the ingredients, the technique, and the mark it left on Italian cuisine, the answer should be yes!

Since this dish is liked by many (including me), I decided to put a gluten & dairy free spin on it so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy these amazing flavours of Italy (or the US ?‍♀️).

This recipe is also great for those following a low-carb, keto or paleo diet.

If you love this recipe then you’ve got to try:

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“Spaghetti” alla Vodka

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 large spaghetti squash
200 g pastured bacon or pancetta
1/2 cup vodka
1 shallot or small onion
12 oz tomato passata
7 oz full fat coconut milk , canned
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the spaghetti squash:

1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.

2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’.

3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.

Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.

For the vodka sauce:

1. Finely slice the shallot or onion and place in large frying pan with olive oil. Saute for 2-minutes over medium heat.

2. Slice bacon into small chunks and add it to the pan. Cook over low heat until the bacon becomes slightly crispy.

3. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in vodka. Let the alcohol evaporate. This may take a few minutes.

4. When alcohol is completely evaporated, add tomato passata. Season with salt, stir and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat without a lid, stirring occasionally.

5. When the sauce is cooked, add the coconut milk and cook until you get a fairly thick and creamy vodka sauce. Turn off the heat and let it rest.

6. You can add spaghetti squash strands into the pan with vodka sauce and coat OR place spaghetti squash strands into a bowl and top with vodka sauce.

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Ciabotta – Italian Vegetable Stew (Plant-Based, Paleo)

Ciabotta – Italian Vegetable Stew (Plant-Based, Paleo)

Ciabotta (also known as ciambotta or giambotta) is an Italian vegetable stew that is a common summer dish throughout southern Italy.

Similar to the French ratatouille, this vegetable stew is made up of seasonal Mediterranean vegetables slowly cooked down with tomatoes and finished with fresh basil.

My Nonna (a.k.a. Ma) made this dish every Summer for as long as I can remember. Although she called it peperonata (which is predominately peppers and onions), she prepared it more like ciabotta with the addition of other vegetables like eggplant and zucchini.

BUT, we won’t tell Ma that I changed the name of her famous Summer dish.

My family could always rely on Ma for containers filled with this vegetable stew, especially when the garden was overflowing with zucchini and eggplant.

She’d send my Nonno out to the garden to pick all the good stuff, while she spent hours in the kitchen (a place she truly loved to be) preparing this dish and many more. Basically, my Nonno was the gardener and Ma was the chef (and not a day passed where Ma didn’t yell at Nonno for bugging her while she was trying to cook).

Ciabotta Italian Vegetable Stew

Here’s what you need for Ciabotta (Italian vegetable stew)

Zucchini
Eggplant
Pepper (any colour works)
Onion
Garlic
Canned tomatoes (I like fire roasted tomatoes)
Olive oil
Basil

Ciabotta Italian Vegetable Stew

Give this simple and delicious ciabotta a try. It’s the perfect summer time dish and works well with meat or fish.

Pair Ciabotta with …

Ciabotta Italian Vegetable Stew

Ciabotta - Italian Vegetable Stew

Ciabotta (also known as ciambotta or giambotta) is an Italian vegetable stew that is a common summer dish in Abruzzo, as well as all throughout southern Italy. Similar to the French ratatouille, this vegetable stew is made up of seasonal Mediterranean vegetables slowly cooked down with tomatoes and finished with fresh basil.
Give this simple and delicious ciabotta a try. It's a wonderful side to meat or fish.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, Plant-Based
Servings: 4

Ingredients
 

  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 large eggplant, diced
  • 1 orange/red/yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 796 ml can fire roasted tomatoes, or other canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt, add more if desired
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook at medium heat until the onions are translucent. Keep stirring to prevent the garlic from burning.
  • Add in chopped vegetables along with the canned tomatoes and salt. Simmer on low for 1 hour. If the liquid reduces too much, add a little water.
  • Taste and season with more salt if needed and black pepper.
  • Add a handful of torn basil, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, mix and serve.
Keyword eggplant, Italian, peppers, stew, summer, tomatoes, zucchini

Ciabotta Italian Vegetable Stew

This dish is dedicated to my Ma... Thank you for passing on your love of cooking to me and inspiring me to create traditional Italian dishes that bring back fun family memories.

“Spaghetti” Bolognese (Gluten Free, Low-Carb, IBS Friendly)

“Spaghetti” Bolognese (Gluten Free, Low-Carb, IBS Friendly)

One of the dishes I missed most after going gluten free was a nice big bowl of spaghetti. It truly was a heartbreaking moment in my life and it took every ounce of willpower I had to turn down pasta of any kind – especially when Nonna had anything to do with it!

Life got a little easier when I wrapped my head around this thing called a “spaghetti squash” – and eventually I saw the light again once I mastered this pale yellow oval vegetable/fruit!

I’m no longer deprived of one of my favourite childhood dishes – and can eat a giant bowl of this “spaghetti” without feeling “heavy” or bloated. ‘Spaghetti Sundays’ is officially back!

Nutrition facts: spaghetti squash vs. real spaghetti …

Spaghetti squash – 10 grams of carbs/cup & 42 calories/cup & mother nature’s nutrients

Real spaghetti – 43 grams of carbs/cup & 220 calories/cup

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative if;

  • you want to lose weight (lower carbs & calories + more nutrients = weight loss)
  • you have IBS or gut issues (since gluten and grains can aggravate symptoms)
  • you have diabetes (lower carb foods = better blood sugar levels)
  • you’re following a paleo, keto or low-carb diet

Give this light, satisfying and delicious “Spaghetti” Bolognese recipe a try. It’s a ‘kiss your finger tips then toss them away from your lips’ kind of dish!

“Spaghetti” Bolognese

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 spaghetti squash
1 can/jar tomatoes (600-700 ml), pureed
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tsp. dried basil or 2-3 fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the spaghetti squash:

1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.

2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’. 

3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.

Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.

For the Bolognese Sauce:

1. In a sauce pan, sauté garlic and dried basil in olive oil over medium heat (2 min). If you are using fresh basil, add basil leaves in after step 2.

2. Add tomatoes and bring to a light boil for 5 min. Add salt to taste.

3. Bring to medium-low heat and let simmer for 45 min.

4. In a separate pan, cook ground beef over medium heat (10-15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Add tomato sauce into pan with beef and let ingredients cook together over medium-low heat for a few minutes.

6. Place bolognese sauce on top of spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Leave me a comment below if you love this dish as much as I do!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus (Keto, Paleo)

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus (Keto, Paleo)

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus is the perfect appetizer for your next dinner party.

The fresh flavours of asparagus wrapped in thinly sliced, lightly salted prosciutto is a mouthwatering pair.

If you want to take this appetizer a step further – pair with a sparkling white wine. It’s a match made in appetizer heaven!

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
1 bunch of asparagus
10-15 prosciutto slices (thinly sliced)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut off ends/bottoms of asparagus then cut the stalks into three even lengths.

2. Steam or boil until stalks are firm but tender.

3. Drain and let cool (you can store the asparagus in the fridge until you are ready to prepare and serve)

4. Tightly wrap 3-4 pieces of asparagus in a prosciutto slice. Keep on wrapping until you run out of asparagus or prosciutto.

Epic Antipasto Board

Epic Antipasto Board

I love preparing antipasto boards! They are fun and easy to put together – and the list of healthy whole foods that can be added to the board is endless!

This antipasto board has a variety of different flavours and textures – from sweet and salty to soft and crunchy. There’s something for everyone.

So, whether you’re looking for a delicious and healthy appetizer board for your next dinner party or just need some snacks to accompany a glass of wine – this antipasto board will not disappoint.

Epic Antipasto Board 

ITEMS: (serves 4-6)
Prosciutto
Cured sausage
Cherry tomatoes
Asiago cheese
Goat cheese
Raw mixed nuts
Olives (green and kalamata)
Grapes
Bosc pear
Fennel
Tangerines

INSTRUCTIONS:

Grab a glass of wine and let your inner artist have fun with laying out these foods on a wood board or large platter. Don’t forget to brag about your food art when company arrives 😉