Recipes: Cooking with Summer Veggies

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To get those taste buds jazzed for Sassi restaurant’s August 14 Cooking with Summer Veggies class (part of the North Scottsdale restaurant’s Summer Food & Wine Series), Chef Nicosia shares three recipes using the tastiest summer vegetable bounty.

Eggplant Involtini
serves 4
large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices 3 each
extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup
ricotta, drained 1 cup
mozzarella di bufala, diced 1/2 cup
egg, beaten 1 each
chile flakes 1 tsp
parsley 1 Tbsp
parmesan, grated 1/4 cup
tomato sauce 2 cups
fresh marjoram, picked 1/4 cup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a parchment-lined sheet pan, lay eggplant slices side-by-side. Do not overlap. Bake in batches until edges of eggplant start to brown. Cool eggplant completely in a mixing bowl. Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, chile flakes, parsley, and parmesan together. Lay the eggplant on a work surface and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling at the base of each slice. Roll the eggplant around the filling. Continue until all eggplant slices and filling are used. Spoon the tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Lay eggplant involtini, seam side down, into the dish. Return to oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, scatter the fresh marjoram over the top and serve.

Cucumber and Tomato Panzanella
serves 4
fresh bread sliced into 1/2 inch pieces 4 slices
olive oil 1/2 cup
cucumbers, sliced into 1/2 moons 1/2 each
mint leaves, picked 1/2 cup, packed
fresno chiles, thinly sliced 2 each
red onion, thinly julienne 1/2 each
heirloom tomatoes, 1 lg or 2 sm-med
red wine and mint vinaigrette 1 1/2 cups
parmigiano reggiano, shaved 4 oz

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add bread slices and turn to coat both sides in oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy outside, but soft inside. Cut bread slices into 1″-1 1/2″ squares. In a mixing bowl, add croutons and 1/2 of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients, except shaved parmesan, and toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 salad plates, top each with shaved parmesan.

Red Wine and Mint Vinaigrette
red wine vinegar 1 cup
shallots, minced 1/3 cup
garlic, chopped 1 tbsp
dried oregano 2 tsp
fresh mint leaves, packed tightly .5 cup
Pecorino, grated .5 cup
Parmesan, grated 3 tbsp
olive/ canola oil blend 2 cup
sugar 1 tsp
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients, except oil, in a blender. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle oil in, and blend another 10 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. If too tart, add a bit more oil and blend again. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for no more than 1 week.

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