Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Easy Paleo/Primal Antipasto

Easy Paleo Antipasto

For most of my life, the only antipasto I’d ever had in a restaurant came atop a big bed of iceberg lettuce. Then one day my wife and I ordered the antipasto at a gourmet pizza restaurant and received a delicious, satisfying dish with not a lettuce leaf in sight. What a revelation!

An even bigger revelation came when we took most of it home in a to-go container and put it in the refrigerator. I snacked on it every day until it was gone, about a week later. And I was surprised at how it tasted every bit as good after seven days in the fridge as it had that first day.

It appeared so simple to prepare that I decided to try making it myself. The resulting dish was just as good as what they served in the restaurant. Try it yourself and see what you think.

Ingredients

12 oz. jar of quartered, marinated artichoke hearts
12-16 oz. assorted pitted green and black olives
3.5 oz jar garlic cloves
2 oz sliced salami (I recommend Applegate Farms Natural Genoa Salami)
4 oz feta, cubed (optional)

Drain the artichoke hearts and chop each quartered heart into bite-sized pieces. Drain the olives and slice. Drain the garlic cloves. You can include them whole or cut them in half if you prefer. (Yes, garlic cloves can be eaten whole, straight out of the jar. They are mild and yummy!) Cut the salami slices into quarters. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.

The menu in the restaurant stated that their dish included a “vinegar basil dressing” but I found that by using marinated artichoke hearts and olives packed in olive oil and herbs, no additional dressing was necessary.

I recommend this as an excellent dish to bring to a party or pot-luck — especially one where you may not be able to eat the food the other guests bring — because everyone will love it and because you can make a meal out of it if necessary.

Some paleo folks might wonder about the inclusion of salami, a processed meat, in this recipe. Personally, I think salami is just as paleo as bacon, but I do recommend getting the best quality salami you can find; one without added sugars and chemicals.

If you eat dairy, try adding a cheese such as sheep’s milk feta. If want something a little less salty (this is a pretty salty dish with all those olives and the salami), try a mild cheese such as fontina or non-smoked gouda. The restaurant’s recipe included fontina, not feta.

Other things I’m considering adding to the recipe include roasted red bell peppers and chopped fresh basil. After I try those out, I’ll add a note to this recipe and let you know how it went.

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Perfect Marinara

The paleo community has given so much to me over the year that I’ve been a part of it, that I feel it’s only right that I give something back, and that something is my very special “red sauce” recipe.

Whether you pour it over spaghetti squash for paleo “spaghetti” and meatballs, put it on grilled chicken and green beans for an amazing paleo Italian dinner, or used it as the sauce for a delicious primal “meatza,” this simple marinara is guaranteed to make your guests swoon.

I like to make marinara in large batches and freeze most of it in ball jars or Zip-loc storage containers to have it available as needed for several months. My wife tends to get very happy whenever I make this stuff. Try it yourself and you’ll see why.

Ingredients

18-20 medium tomatoes, blanched and diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced dried onion
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp Marmite*
1 tsp sugar** (optional, but highly recommended)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp powdered ginger

Start off with a bunch of tomatoes. I picked these from my garden today, plus another half-dozen more for this recipe.

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Blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. If you’ve never blanched a tomato, check out my Savory Paleo Chili recipe where there is a video on how to blanch tomatoes. It’s easy to do and beats having tomato skins in your sauce.

Once you’ve removed the skins from the tomatoes, add them to a heavy-bottomed pot along with all the other ingredients and stir everything together.

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Heat the mixture on the stove until it starts to bubble, then turn the heat down as low as you can and let it simmer for an hour or more.

I like to put a lid on the pot, slightly askew to let some of the heat escape while keeping the sauce from splattering all over the stove.

I also like to stir everything occasionally with a potato masher to help crush the tomatoes as they cook.

Once the sauce is done, you can put it on top of just about any kind of meat or vegetables (or both) for a delicious Italian-style dinner.

* If you can’t find Marmite, see if you can find some reasonably paleo-ish beef bouillon or beef base. These, however, are usually loaded with all kinds of non-paleo crap. For example, here’s what you’ll find in Herb-Ox beef bouillon cubes: “Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Flavor (Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soy Oil), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Fat Flavor (Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil, Flavoring), Natural Flavor (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Sugar, Whey Powder [from Milk], Lactic Acid), Spice, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Cooked Beef, Caramel Color, Dried Beef Stock, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Autolyzed Yeast, Flavoring. No MSG Added (Contains Naturally Occurring Glutamates).” Marmite gives you the same flavor without all the Frankenfood ingredients.

** I know sugar’s not paleo, but 1 tsp is very little in such big recipe, and it makes all the difference in the flavor. I’ve never tried honey or stevia, but they might work if you’re dead set against any refined sugar. If you find a good substitute, do let me know.