Vegan Italian Meal

Thursday, May 16, 2019

On Friday, April 26, 2019, the second day for the Spring Garden Show event, I had attended a cooking demonstration at the Macys Home Store. Proprietor Antonio Cagnolo and Restauranteur Domenico Grillo demonstrated three recipes. They are with Antonello Ristorante and Quattro Caffe in South Coast Plaza. The three recipes they cooked and passed out samples include Antipasto, Secondi, and Dolce. Since some of these recipes might have meat, I decided to veganize them here. I might also use vegetarian alternatives.

The 1st recipe is Scampi al Vino Bianco, which is Appetizer. 

But I won’t use any shrimp. You might also want to add olives, capers, basil and oregano. Instead of shrimp, I am likely to use firm tofu.

Ingredients include 1 ounce of freshly minced garlic, 1 ounce of extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 ounce of butter or vegan butter, 1.5 ounce of white wine, 1 ounce of chopped Italian parsley, some salt and pepper as well as lemon wedges.

Chop tofu into cubes. Then, in a medium-sized sautee pan, add extra virgin olive oil. Heat on medium heat. Add tofu cubes and quickly cook, turning over once until tofu has a golden color. Do not overcook. Add the minced garlic and cook until it is a lightly golden color. Don’t let it become too brown. Pour in the white wine. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper, then butter or vegan butter, until mixture thickens to a glossy sauce. Add the chopped parsley. Serve on a pre-heated small plate. You can also garnish with some chopped parsley and serve with crostini. And, maybe, add a lemon wedge on top.

Some added notes: it is best to do this recipe during the last minute so you can use fresh ingredients. Use 1st Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lots of garlic, and little bit of salt. You can use any alcohol you want, whether white wine, cognac, beer, brandy, champagne, or any liquor. Squeeze half of a lemon on top.

The 2nd recipe is Spaghetti alla Segerstrom.

(Restauranteur Antonio Cagnolo made this pasta recipe for South Coast Plaza co-founder Henry Segerstrom who had loved it when he was in Rome). Moreover, to make a classic Italian dish, it is important to use quality ingredients. Shallots and European butter are used because they add more robust flavor to the tomatoes.

Ingredients include ¼ cup of high quality extra virgin olive oil, 1 medium-sized shallot—peeled and minced, 32-ounce can of imported San Marzano tomatoes—whole, peeled, and diced, 3 large basil leaves—hand-torn, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 pound of Italian spaghetti pasta—DeCecco or any other artisan brand, 1 tablespoon of unsalted European-style butter or European-style vegan butter, and ¼ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Use a large pot, and heat oil on medium heat. Add shallots and cook until it is soft and golden. Don’t let it burn. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn down the heat to low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir tomatoes. Then, add basil toward the end. Season to taste.

In another large pot, boil salt water. Then, add pasta and stir for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain but keep a few tablespoons of pasta water.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce in the first pot. Take it off the heat, and slowly add the butter and Parmigiano until it dissolves into the pasta. Add a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Serve immediately on warm plates.  Garnish with chiffonade of fresh basil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Some added notes: Use Italian cherry tomato can, olive oil, shallots, salt, pepper, and Italian parsley for the sauce. Cook in a pan for 10 minutes. Add spaghetti to sauce in pan. Add butter. Spaghetti normally cooks in 8 minutes. It should be cooked in salty water. At the end, place on a plate, add basil leaves, Parmigiano Reggiano, and some olive oil on top.

The 3rd recipe is Flambe ai Frutti di Bosco, which is an Italian dessert. You can use any fruit.

Ingredients include 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 2 ounces of unsalted butter or unsalted vegan butter, ½ of an orange—juiced, 1 teaspoon of good quality brandy. ½ ounce of Grand Marnier, 1 cup of berries of your choice, 2 scoops of vanilla gelato or vegan vanilla ice cream, ½ lemon—juiced, and bit of water.

In a medium-sized saute pan, melt butter and sugar. Add orange juice. Stir mixture. Add berries and toss gently. Flambe with brandy, and then finish with Grand Marnier. Pour sauce and berries over vanilla gelato or vegan vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately with an Italian-style cookie.

Some added notes: Cook water, berries, lemon juice, orange juice, and butter. Add Grand Marnier, Brandy, and sugar. Then, in a dessert cup, add 2 scoops of vanilla gelato or vegan vanilla ice cream. Pour sauce on top.


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