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Sicilian Caponata

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This eggplant/aubergine based dish has different varieties throughout Italy, most popular in the regions of Sicily, Naples, and Genoa. This recipe is for the vegan-friendly Sicilian Caponata. It can be served as an appetizer on top of bread, on pasta, or as a main dish.
Serves 3-4
What you need:
4 tbsp olive oil 2 eggplants/aubergines, chopped 1 large onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced 6-8 plum tomatoes, diced 1 carrot, diced (optional) 2 tsp fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 cup green olives, chopped 1-2 tbsp capers 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar raisins (optional)
In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add everything to the pot and simmer on medium heat for about an hour. Serve!

Spanish Croquetas

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You can order croquetas at pretty much every bar in Spain, though they are usually made of ham and cheese or fish. A vegetable variety is rare, but the most common types include mushroom, spinach, and eggplant/aubergine. This recipe is for spinach croquetas, but you can replace the spinach with whichever vegetable you fancy! Note: this recipe requires around 2 1/2 hours of refrigeration.
Makes 10 croquetas
What you need:
2 tbsp olive oil 3 tbsp margarine (or 2 tbsp more olive oil) 4 tablespoons flour 1.5 tsp salt 1.5 cups soy milk 2 cups fresh spinach or other vegetable 1 cup water 1 cup breadcrumbs
Spanish croquetas are made of béchamel sauce mixed with filling. So first you will need to make your béchamel. In a medium sized pan, add the olive oil and butter until hot. Add the flour and salt and mix until a smooth paste forms. Add the soy milk and whisk on medium heat until it thickens (around 15 minutes). Then add the spinach and cook for another 5-7 minutes. If using another vegetable, light…

Andalusian Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup from the region of Andalusia in the south of Spain, though it is consumed throughout the Spanish state. It is primarily served in the summer as a refreshing meal during hot months. Some people consume it with a spoon and others drink it from a cup. Many also add pieces of bread into the soup upon eating.
Serves 4-5
What you need:
10-12 ripe tomatoes, peeled 1/2 cucumber, peeled 1/2 red bell pepper 2 cloves garlic 1/3 baguette bread (soaked in water) 1.5 tsp salt 1/2 cup olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the whole tomatoes for 5 minutes and remove. This makes it very easy to peel the tomatoes. The skin will come right off. In a blender or food processor, add all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. After blending, you are going to need to run all of the gazpacho through a strainer (ideally a bouillon strainer). Get a big bowl or jar ready and strain all of the soup into the bowl. You can serve immediately but usually people like to refrigerate…

Sicilian Broccoli Affogati

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Broccoli Affogati comes from the island of Siciliy in Italy. It means "drowned broccoli" because the broccoli is cooked in red wine. It can be served as a side dish or on top of pasta.
Serves 3-4
What you need:
3 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, sliced 3 cups broccoli, florets 1/3 cup black olives, sliced (optional) 1 cup water 1 cup red wine 1 tsp salt
In a pot on medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add in the sliced onion. Cook until the onions are soft and add the broccoli. Stir for a few minutes and add the one cup water and salt. Cook, stirring the broccoli until the water evaporates and then add the wine. Stir for another 15 or until the broccoli reaches desired texture.

Pasta alla Norma

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Pasta alla norma is a traditional Sicilian dish, most popular in the city of Catania, Italy. There are various theories as to its name, meaning "standard or normal pasta" in English. One revolves around playwright Nino Catania Martoglio, who when referring to the quality of the dish and its ingredients, stated "è una norma!". I must give credit to my Italian friend Francesco for creating this recipe, though he refuses to claim it without the essential ingredient of ricotta cheese that is normally present in the dish.
Serves 5
What you need:
1/2 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp olive oil 2 eggplants/aubergines, sliced 10 tomatoes, diced 2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper fresh basil 1 box tubular pasta
Prepare the eggplants by slicing them and rubbing them with salt. Lay the slices flat between two cutting boards or plates and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Press down on the cutting board, squeezing any excess liquid out of the eggplants, and rinse. After rinsing, dice the eggpl…

Risi e Bisi

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Risi e bisi is a pea risotto from the Venetian region of Italy. The dish is traditionally prepared on April 25th, the feast day of Venice's patron saint, St. Mark.
Serves 4
What you need:
1 onion, diced 4 tbsp margarine 1 tbsp parsley 1.5 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 2 cups fresh or frozen peas 1/2 cup white wine 2 cups short grain rice, dry 7 cups vegetable broth, hot
In a large pan on medium heat, melt 3 tbsp margarine and add the diced onion. Sauté for around 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the salt, pepper, spices, and peas and sauté for another 5 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan and stir for around 3 minutes. Add the dry rice and stir until it has soaked up all of the liquid. Add the broth, cup by cup, while continuously stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add 1 tbsp of margarine after removing the risotto from heat and serve immediately.

Catalan Escalivada

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This is a very typical and easy Catalan dish. Escalivar in Catalan means to "cook in hot ashes" and refers to its traditional method of preparation, where it is grilled on an open fire. While this method is still in use, many people now make it in the oven. You can find escalivada in pretty much every bar and restaurant in Catalonia. It is usually served as a tapa on top of bread.

What you need:
Eggplants/Aubergines Red bell peppers Sweet onions Tomatoes Olive Oil Salt
Preheat the oven to 500 F (260 C). Brush the whole vegetables with olive oil and set them on an oven tray. Place in oven for 35-40 minutes, turning twice while baking. The vegetables should be charred when you take them out. Let them cool and remove the skin and seeds of all the vegetables. Slice into strips, drizzle with a lot of olive oil and salt and serve.