Stuffed zucchini, bell peppers and eggplants

I love stuffed vegetables either filled with ground beef or ricotta or other vegetables. They are best eaten lightly cooled when the flavours have had time to set.

prep time 15 min     cook time 50 min
ingredients for 4
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 bell peppers (red or yellow)
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 200 g mozzarella (provola is ok too)
  • 4-5 Tbls bread crumbs
  • 3-4 Tbls grated Parmigiano
    1. Preheat oven to 180 C
    2. Wash and pat dry eggplants, zucchinis and peppers. Cut them in halves and empty the eggplants and zucchini of their flesh trying not to poke holes to the skin.

3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the vegetables on the tray. Cut the eggplant and zucchini halves just slightly and sprinkle some salt on all the vegetables.

4. Bake for 15 minutes.

5. In the meantime heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onion. Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini flesh to the pan.

6. Cook for another 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool.

7. Add the mozzarella cut into cubes, 2-3 Tbls of bread crumbs and fill the eggplants, zucchini and peppers sprinkling some more breadcrumbs and grated Parmigiano on top.

8. Cook for abut 50 minutes and let them cool on the tray.

9. Serve with crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.


Pomodorini confit (slow cooked cherry tomatoes)

These pomodorini confit, the slow cooked cherry tomatoes are used to accompany pasta dishes or to garnish many main courses. They can be offered also as an appetiser or a side dish or in panini or on bruschetta. You can also store them in the fridge in a glass jar, totally covered with extra virgin olive oil for about 2 weeks. Pomodorini confit are deliciously caramelized cherry tomatoes. The secret is to evaporate the water out of the tomatoes, without making them too dry. So you need to cook them at low temperature for 2 hrs.

prep time 10 min    cook time 90-120 min
ingredients for 1 normal size oven tray
  • 1 kg cherry tomatoes, or date or piccadilly or any kind of baby tomatoes as ripe as possible
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram
  • oregano fresh or dried
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (280°F). Set baking rack to middle position.

2. Wash the tomatoes,  pat dry and cut in half.

3. Place them cut side up onto a large baking tray, on top of parchment paper.

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, the herbs and a little bit of sugar on top of each one. Add the garlic cloves here and there, no need to peel them.

5. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven. (don’t mind the glass jars underneath the tray, I was sterilising them)

6. Bake for 2 hrs. The time depends on your oven and the size of the tomatoes.

This is after 90 minutes in my oven.

This is how they look after 2 hrs in the oven. NOW they are ready.


Easy cheesy roasted asparagus

Asparagus is in season now so we eat it a lot. Usually boiled and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice, but I wanted to try a new recipe. It was a hit in my house. You don’t need to peel the green asparagus or trim any other part. To remove the woody ends simply line them up and slice 2-3 cm or bend and snap. The choice is yours.

prep time  5-10 min     cook time 15-20 min

  • 500 g asparagus, ends snapped
  • 250 g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 100 g mozzarella or Gruyere cheese
  • 3-4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried origano
  • handful of olives
    1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Spread the asparagus, evenly, in a single layer on a baking tray and place the cheese on top. Add the tomatoes and oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lastly add the olives and some origano.

3. Pop in the oven at 200c for about 15 min, or until just starting to wrinkle and soften. I like my asparagus have a little bite, but if you prefer them thoroughly cooked, bake a couple of more minutes. The cooking time depends also on the size of the asparagus.


Roasted winter vegetables

This is a mixture of comforting winter veggies that can be served on its own, as a side dish or as a component of a frittata or pasta. Add chickpeas and it becomes a whole dish.

prep time 30 min     cook time 35 min
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1-2 red onions
  • 1 radicchio (red chicory) head
  • 350g big button mushrooms
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • salt and pepper
  • rosemary and marjoram (or other herbs)
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C and line a baking sheet or a roasting pan with parchment paper.

2. Cut the fennels into slices, the carrots into rounds and quarter the mushrooms. Wash, dry and cut the the radicchio into strips and slice the onions.

3. Toss the veggies in a large salad bow, add salt and pepper and spread the vegetables in an even layer on the baking sheet.

4. Rinse the chickpeas and scatter them on top of the veggie mix. Add a lug of olive oil and sprinkle the herbs on top.

5. Bake about 30 minutes.


Zucchini parmesan

This is a light version of zucchini parmesan, no frying or grilling and no tomato sauce. Maybe we should call it zucchini casserole. In any case it is very easy to make with just 4 main ingredients.

prep time  10 min     cook time 35-40 min
  • 500g (3 medium) zucchini
  • 300g mozzarella or scamorza cheese, diced or coarsely grated
  • 100g ham, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp grated Parmigiano
  • salt
  • bread crumbs
  • parsley, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. Slice thinly the zucchini with a mandolin or a knife.

2. Mix the parsley, a little bit of salt and the grated Parmigiano into the breadcrumbs. Coat the zucchini slices on both sides with the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Put some oil in a baking dish and start with the zucchini slices then add ham and mozzarella. Make two more layers. Sprinkle a little bit of the remaining breadcrumbs and some Parmigiano on top.

4. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and cook at 180C for 25 minutes. Take the foil off and keep cooking for another 10-15 minutes until golden.



Briam, Greek roasted vegetables, is an example of how you can transform the simplest ingredients with no effort into a mouthwatering dish. Briam falls under the category of Greek dishes called ‘ladera’ meaning dishes prepared with only olive oil, no addition of other fat. Make sure to use some good quality extra virgin olive oil.

prep time 15 min     cook time 90 min
ingredients 5-6
  • 1/2 kg zucchini
  • 1/2 kg eggplant
  • 1/2 kg potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1/2 kg ripe tomatoes or a can (400g) of peeled tomatoes
  • 100g extra virgin olive oil
  • parsley, mint and/or oregano
  • salt and pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. Wash and cut the zucchini and eggplant into 1,5cm rounds. Then quarter the eggplant rounds.

3. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 cm rounds and quarter, or cut into chunks.

4. Peel and quarter the onions. Peel and cut the carrots into thick rounds.

5. Wash and halve the tomatoes if using ripe ones.

6. Place the veggies into a  large baking pan so the veggies are not layered too deep. Or use two pans. Season with salt, herbs and pour the oil on top. Mix with a wooden spoon or use your hands.

7. Place the pan in the oven covered with an aluminum foil for the first 45 min.

8. Uncover and let cook for the remaining 45 min. If need be, you can raise the oven temperature to 200 C for the last 10 minutes. If using two baking pans, change their place about half way through.

9. Serve as a side dish or a main with a chunk of feta and some good crusty bread.


Grilled eggplant

Grilled eggplant or aubergine is a fabulous dish, serve it warm as a side dish, cold as an antipasto or chopped in a salad. Eggplants are in season in summer but you can find them all year round in most places. Eggplants can be tricky, using too much oil they become slimey, leaving them too thick gives them an unpleasant texture. The key is salting which draws out the bitterness and leaves them less “spongy” hence they absorb less oil.

prep time 5 min + salting time     cook time 20 min
  • 2 medium size eggplants
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parsley

1. Cut the eggplants crosswise into about 0,5cm thick slices, place them in a colander and sprinkle some salt on them. Put a plate and a weigh on top and let sweat/degorge for 20-30 minutes. Rinse them quickly and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

2. In the meantime prepare a mix of oil and parsley in a serving dish.

3.  Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill eggplant slices until tender and slightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Grill a small patch at a time and place the grilled slices directly in the dish with the oil and parsley mix or you can brush the slices with the mix.

Tip: you can add thinly sliced garlic into the mix


Roasted Roman broccoli

One of Rome’s most beautiful and distinctive winter vegetables is the broccolo romanesco. A cousin of broccoli and cauliflower, its bright green, pointy spiral florets are bound to catch your eye at local food markets, while the flavor is pleasingly sweet, nutty and delicate.

It is often served as a side dish by simply boiling it and dressing it in a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. But today I made it in the oven.

prep time 5 min     cook time 25 min
  • 1 broccolo romanesco
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • bread crumbs
  • grated Parmigiano or Grana

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with slightly oiled parchment paper.

2. Wash the romanesco, take off the leaves and cut into 1cm slices. Place on the the baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and black pepper and other herbs to your liking. Sprinkle bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese on top.

3.  Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until tender.

Tip: feel free to use normal broccoli or cauliflower if you can’t find romanesco.



Ajapsandali is a traditional Azerbaijani, Georgian and Armenian dish consisting of onions, eggplant, tomato, bell peppers and herbs. Ajapsandali will have a better look if you use peppers of various colours. To preserve vitamins and colour, do not stew vegetables for a long time. Some variations include also potatoes and chili peppers. This is a fabulous hearty one-pot meal. You can pair this with good salty feta unless you want to keep it strictly vegetarian.

prep time 25 min     cook time 45 min
ingredients for 6-7
  • 3 large eggplants
  • 2-3 sweet peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 onions
  • 4 big potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 4-5 big tomatoes (or a can of peeled or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • chili pepper or peperoncino
  • fresh dill
  • fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • optional: feta cheese

1. Cut the eggplant into cubes, sprinkle salt on them and let sweat while you prepare the other vegetables.

2. Cut the peppers into long strips, the carrots into large rounds and the potatoes into chunks. Slice the onions, chop the garlic and the herbs.

3. Pat dry the eggplant cubes and fry them in olive oil for a few minutes. Turn the heat on low.

4. Add the potatoes, sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Keep adding in layers the onions and tomatoes, then the peppers and garlic. Add some salt and at the end 1-2dl of water.

5. Turn up the heat to a boil and  then simmer on medium for 35-40 minutes without the lid until the vegetables are cooked and some liquid has evaporated. At the end add the chopped herbs.

6. Serve with crusty bread and some feta cheese.


Fried friggitelli peppers in tomato sauce

Friggitelli peppers are small, slender, mild flavoured southern Italian peppers which are great for frying.

They can be just fried adding a fair amount of salt on top which is the way I usually serve them. But this time I wanted something a little different so I made them southern Italian style with tomato sauce.

prep time 10 min     cook time 15-20 min
ingredients for 4-5
  • 500g friggitelli peppers
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 200g (small can) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • peperoncino optional
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • peanut oil for frying

1.  Wash and dry well the peppers one by one. The authentic way to cook these is to leave the stem and seeds on.

2. Pour peanut oil until it covers the bottom of a large skillet and heat it over high heat. Fry the peppers in two batches until they are turning brown (about 3-4 min) on all sides.

3. Remove them and add a fair amount of salt.

4. Clean the skillet and heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and after a few minutes add cherry tomatoes cut in half. After a few more minutes add crushed tomatoes and some salt and let cook on low for 15 minutes.

5. Add peppers to the pan and let simmer for a few minutes more.

6. Serve with crusty bread and be sure to wipe up all the sauce. I make this always as a main but if served as a side dish, this amount yields more.

FOR GLUTEN-FREE option, leave out the bread or use appropriate bread.