Light, Quick, and Delicious: Zucchini and Red Pepper Frittata

This time of year, it’s great to have a quick yet light dish in your back pocket for those evenings when either you’re running late or you’re just not that hungry. Frittatas are a wonderful way to get your protein and vegetables; think a quiche without the crust, making it edible for those who are gluten-intolerant. Saute some veggies together, mix up some eggs, milk, and cheese, pour into a pan, and pop it into the oven. Dinner is ready in about 20 minutes!

I made this one lazy Tuesday night and served it with some steamed baby beet greens with butter and vinegar (my favorite way to have them) . It was the perfect meal; I wasn’t that hungry, but needed to eat something. I realized the red pepper was supposed to be roasted when I started. I already was running late, so I skipped that step, and sautéed them with the zucchini. I’m sure a roasted red pepper would be delicious, but if you need to save time, sauteing it was just fine.

With the basic egg and milk mixture, I thought of different vegetable combinations that could be delicious: chard, yellow squash, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, young onions, maybe goat cheese instead of cheddar. Basically, a trip to the farmer’s market!

frittata

Zucchini and Red Pepper Frittata
This recipe originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Yield: Serves 6|

1 large red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until blackened. Wrap ­pepper in foil; let stand 15 minutes. Peel and slice.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.
4. Heat a 9-inch nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add zucchini; cook 6 minutes. Stir in bell pepper; reduce heat to medium.
5. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add to zucchini mixture; cook 2 minutes or until edges are set. Bake at 350° for 16 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut into 6 wedges.

MVK’s Endorsement of the Week: Try a Solo Lunch!
amuseIt has been years since I took myself out to lunch, but that’s what happened last week when I was in town for a seminar. I went to the bookstore to buy a novel I’ve been wanting to read and then walked around looking for a spot where I could have an al fresco lunch since the day was picture perfect: not too hot, a cool breeze, and low humidity. Being noon and a Friday, my first destination didn’t have outside tables available and I was pressed for time, but decided to continue my search. On a side street, away from the hustle and bustle and foot traffic, I found a lovely café with plenty of outdoor seating. The menu was small, but I decided on a favorite, Asparagus Risotto.

Either they give this to every diner, it was slow and the chef was experimenting, or they felt sorry for me because I was by myself, but I was treated first to an amuse-bouche. A crostini with caramelized onions and thyme, a slice of brie, a Granny Smith apple, and topped with a drizzle of maple syrup. (I wrote this down, so I can make it at home some day!). It was delicious and was just the right amount to tide me over until my entree.

risotto2The risotto was a dish of heaven. Creamy, with wild mushrooms and asparagus, lemon zest, and what I think was spicy paprika, since it was red and had a bit heat to it. It was just the right portion, total comfort food, and was absolutely delicious!

I checked in with my friends in London and Seattle, started my book, and thoroughly enjoyed having someone wait on me and do the cooking! If you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t be afraid to ask for a table for one; enjoy and meditate on the quietness and delicious food all by yourself. It put me in a good mood for the rest of the day!

One Skillet Pasta

DSCN0321A note to all non-cooks or those who think they can’t cook: this recipe requires no cooking skills other than slicing some tomatoes and onions, chopping some garlic, and putting everything in a pan!

A few weeks ago, I stopped by my friend, Richard’s, home on a cold and very wet Saturday afternoon. He had the latest issue of Martha Stewart’s Living magazine (June 2013) and he wanted to cook lunch together. But honestly, there wasn’t much for me to do, he put some pasta, sliced onions, minced garlic, and basil in a skillet, added some water, brought it to a boil, and I stirred it occasionally. It was delicious, and lunch for four on that cold afternoon was perfect, it was warm and filled us all up.

So I decided to go home and recreate this with a few twists of my own. First off, I had three very sad-looking zucchinis that either needed to be eaten that night or tossed, so I sliced them and added them to the pan. I upped the garlic and basil, and added a half-cup of white wine and a parmesan rind that I pulled out of the freezer. If you don’t have that, don’t worry, just top the finished pasta with cheese (I discovered as I was about to serve I didn’t have any). This dish is first off easy, but it’s also a nice blend of the vegetables in a flavorful sauce. On yet another cold and rainy evening, served with a nice green salad, this was a quick meal that is perfect for a weeknight dinner!

DSCN0323One Skillet Pasta

Inspired by the June 2013 recipe “One Pan Pasta” published in Martha Stewart Living.

Serves 4-5 eaters.

¾ of a box of linguine, or 12 ounces
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
A big handful of basil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
3 small zucchini, sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ½ cups water
½ cup white wine (optional. If you aren’t using the wine, add 4 cups water total)
1 big skillet

To the pan, add the linguine, tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, zucchini, and olive oil. Add water and wine, if using. Bring to a boil then turn to simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes or so. Serve in large bowls and top with parmesan cheese.