Summer Rice Salad – Insalata di Riso

When the days are warm and sunny like today, I dont feel like staying indoors, even less to be cooking (or attempting to, as many of you pointed out my Aubergine Pie looked a bit burned….), so I open the fridge and proceed to empty its content in my version of a rice salad. My sisters laugh at it, but we quite enjoy it, it is very healthy with 6 or 7 different veggies, it can be vegan or vegetarian, just add only veggies and use Olive oil to dress. And let’s face it, very little cooking, minimum washing up, what’s there not to like….anyway try my “all goes in rice salad” , don’ t be put off by the long list of ingredients, it’s really very quick to do.

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Aubergine pie – Parmigiana di melanzane

I have to admit for someone who is learning to cook, an aubergine pie might sound very ambitious….but that’s the beauty of this dish, it is fairly simple, it uses basic ingredients: sliced aubergines, flour, eggs, tomato sauce, cheese. In the south of Italy they sprinkle salt on the slices of aubergines, which is supposed to help drain the water naturally present in this vegetable… need to say that I totally skip this step, I don’t have the time, and at least with the aubergines we find here, I can’t tell the difference.

I have already shared step 1 of this dish: toss the aubergines in flour then dip it in whisked egg and cheese and fry it (Golden fried Aubergines).

Step 2 is to prepare a quick tomato sauce and to then layer the fried slices with sauce and cheese: delicious!! It’s great for guests: you can fry the slices ahead and assemble it just before eating, serving it with a mixed salad or roast potatoes/ chips.

I leave you to this traditional Italian dish, let me know if you like it. I want to try a “diet” version, so I’ll keep you informed if I do (well, if it comes out nice that is)

- 3 sliced and fried aubergines
- tomato sauce
- olive oil
- grated parmesan enough to sprinkle on the layers
- 1 fresh mozzarella sliced or grated mozzarella
- fresh basil
- salt

1) make a quick tomato sauce by heating some olive oil and adding a jar of tomato sauce, season and  let it cook for approx. 20 mins on low heat.
2) take a large frying pan and start layering: olive oil, tomato sauce, salt, aubergines, sprinkle of parmesan cheese

3) I like to cover the last layer with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil
4) cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat just until it is piping hot and the mozzarella is melted
5) slice it and serve with a green salad, chips or roast potatoes
Buon appetito!

Quick Pasta with beans (Pasta e fagioli)

Pasta with beans is a very old and traditional Italian recipe. It’s a rustic, peasant dish, poor but incredibly tasty. There are many variations of this dish, depending on the geographic area: the recipe I am sharing now is originally from Campania, in the South of Italy.

The traditional recipe requires the use of dry beans, left to soak overnight, and then cooked on the stove for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I find it very hard to be so organized as to actually prepare the beans the night before, so this is my shortcut for those times in which I feel like eating a rustic, fulfilling, healthy pasta, but I am short on time: I use tinned beans, and I cut out the veggies!

This pasta makes also a great soup, especially if you use smaller pasta shape, it’s very budget friendly, AND it only uses one pot, a win/win really!

I will soon post also the traditional recipe of this dish, but for the moment I leave you to this super quick pasta with beans. If you try it let me know if you like it.


Tip: if you use rosemary, it’s worth buying fresh, better even if you have it in your garden. You can always freeze what you don’t’ use. I find dry rosemary doesn’t have much flavour, you end up using more of it.

Ingredients for 4 people:

350 gr Pasta Shell

1 tin cooked beans


A good dash of olive oil

A sprig of rosemary (optional)

chilli or pepper (optional)

Method . Cooking time 10 mins.

1) Empty the content of the tin of beans in a large pot, add some boiling water, salt, chilli and rosemary if using.

2)  When the water is back to the boil add the pasta, make sure the water covers all the pasta

3) When the pasta is cooked, drain excess water if you prefer it more “dry”, or leave it as it is for a soup version.

4) Add a very generous dash of olive oil, better if extra virgin

Pasta with beans soup

5) Dish out and enjoy.