Easy Italian!

These two appetizers, one side dish and one main dish exemplify what's so great about Italian food: It's fresh, varied, simple, delicious and healthy. Make any one of them or try them all for an Italian menu that is sure to become a popular favorite. These also taste great as leftovers.

Marinated Mushrooms
Serves 2-3

  • 10-ounce container mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Combine ingredients and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator in a covered container. Serve as an hors-d'oeuvre or on a bed of lettuce as a first course.

Bocconcini with Tomatoes and Anchovies
Serves 4

  • 9-ounce container of 1/3-ounce mozzarella balls (27 in all)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2-ounce container of anchovies with capers
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes

Combine ingredients in a bowl and serve as an hors-d'oeuvre or as a first course on a bed of mixed greens. May also be served with the marinated mushrooms as a first course.

Sauteed Cauliflower with Raisins
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • florets from 1 head cauliflower
  • 14 1/2-ounce can peeled diced tomatoes with onions
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat and add cauliflower. Stir cauliflower while sauteing for 5 minutes and then add garlic. Continue to stir cauliflower and garlic for 3 minutes or until garlic turns translucent. (Do not let garlic brown.) Add tomatoes and raisins, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 7 minutes. Serve as a side dish or over large-noodle pasta for a main course.

Pasta with Mixed Greens and Olives
Serves 3-4

  • radicchio
  • arugula
  • escarole
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olives with pimentos
  • 1 pound linguini or spaghetti, cooked and drained

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat and add radicchio, arugula and escarole. Saute greens while stirring for 3 minutes or until greens are wilted and piping hot. While greens are cooking, finely chop olives by hand or in a food processor. Serve greens over the pasta and garnish with chopped olives.

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