Tag Archives: pecorino romano

Broccoli Pesto

28 Jun

So I wanted to see if I could find a way to eat a whole head of broccoli before it turns yellow, like it usually does in my fridge. How can I eat large quantities of broccoli just by myself??? I have seen how Food Network chefs can make a pesto out of anything… pestos are just “pastes”, right? So let’s make it out of broccoli…

This recipe rocks… it is simple and you do not need to pre-cook the broccoli. I do cook a few florets separately to give it a nice touch and for people to see what’s in the dish. But it certainly does not need it. You can do without the extra broccoli pieces, particularly if you’re giving these to proclaimed non-lovers of broccoli.

Go ahead… convert them with this dish. I dare them to say they do not like broccoli!!!











½ head of broccoli, florets separated
2 oz of cream cheese
¼ cup almonds
½ tbs horseradish
¼ cup of shredded cheese mix
¼ cup pecorino romano cheese
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup heavy cream
About ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ bag of whole wheat or brown rice pasta
  1. In a large pot bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Salt the water liberally and cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente.
  2. Reserve a few broccoli florets for the final dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor mix together the remainder raw broccoli, the cream cheese, almonds, horseradish, shredded cheeses, pecorino romano, garlic and heavy cream. Pulse a few times to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil thru the shoot of the food processor until the mixture is creamy and loose.
  4. Take the reserved broccoli florets and add them to a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain all water reserving about a cup and return the pasta to the same hot pot where it cooked. Add the creamy broccoli mixture to the pasta… add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Add the sautéed/cooked pieces of broccoli to the mix to add flavor and another layer of texture.

Potato Zucchini Gratin

4 Jul

I got the inspiration for this dish by a recent post from Heidi from 101 Cookbooks.  When I read her recipe I realized I had most the necessary ingredients waiting for me in my kitchen.  And what I didn’t have, I would substitute and improvise…

I had received a couple of great zucchinis from my CSA box that I was wondering how to cook…  Heidi and her recipe came to the rescue.  Thanks a lot.


 Potato Zucinni Gratin


3 medium russet potatoes, washed well and peeled
1 medium sized zucchini
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
About 1 ½ tbs of basil/parsley oil
About ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
About ¼ cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Canola Oil Spray
About 2 tbs of fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs
Some additional sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Spray a medium-sized pyrex dish with canola oil spray and sprinkle with about 1 tbs of breadcrumbs.  Shake the pyrex so the breadcrumbs coat the dish as much as possible… just as if you were flouring a pan to bake a cake…  Set aside.
  2. Using a mandoline, slice as thinly as possible the zucchini.  Place in a colander and sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and let them drain some if its moisture out. 
  3. Sliced Zuchinni
  4. Using the same mandoline, slice as thinly as possible the potatoes. 
  5. Sliced Potatoes
  6. Place in a bowl and add the basil/parsley oil, the grated parmesan cheese, the Pecorino Romano, some salt and pepper.  
  7.  After about 5 minutes after salting the zucchini, squeeze them to release as much moisture as possible.  Using a paper towel pat them dry.  And add them to the bowl with the potatoes.  Toss well to combine potatoes, zucchini and seasonings.
  8. Place the seasoned veggies into the breaded pyrex dish.  Place them with your hands trying to create layers after layers of potato and zucchini.  It does not need to be perfect, but try to lay them all flat.
  9. Potato Zuchinni Casserole - Prep
  10. Sprinkle some added breadcrumbs over the top and add a bit more parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese to create a nice crust on top.
  11. Because I do this in a toaster oven, I never preheat… but place it in a 400F oven for about 30-45 minutes – the perfect amount of time to allow you to take a shower and meditate.


I had this with some goat cheese toasts on the side… The potatoes cook well and the zucchini tastes perfect in it.  It was super good. 

Thanks again to Heidi at 101 Cookbooks… this will definitely be a go-to recipe from now on…

                Gratin and Goat Cheese 2

Re-creating the Pizzas at Co. Part 1 – The Popeye Pita Pizza

9 Apr

Recently, my friend AnnieMariel and I were bored and took a plane to spend a weekend in NYC…  during this visit we had lunch at Co., a new pizza restaurant in Chelsea

When we were talking about our travels and dining experiences to our French class friends, they asked us to please recreate for them the pizzas we had at Co.  They just though they sounded as delicious as we thought they tasted.  We described them in such detail they just could not be left out in the dark.

We gathered at the house of another friend, which meant I had to transport everything to her house to make the pizzas.  And since I am not dexterous in the bread-making department as you already know… I decided to make these pizzas on Pita bread.  Pita bread is perfect and super reliable t make quick pizzas at home and are in the round shape people expect.  You already saw the version I did for my “nieces” when we were traveling in Vermont.

Here is what you will need to make this spinach-lover pizza…



Makes 1 personal pizza

 1 whole-wheat pita bread, the larger the better
About 1 tsp olive oil
About 1 tbs gruyere cheese, grated
About 1 tbs pecorino romano cheese, grated
 3 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese – make sure it’s the fresh kind, not the part-skim processed kind
About 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, washed and dried in a salad spinner
Garlic salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 F.
  2. Place pita bread in a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle a bit of the olive oil and spread it all over the bread.  Grate the gruyere and the pecorino cheeses on top of the pita bread.  Place the slices of mozzarella on top.  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. Now place as much spinach as you can on top of the pizza.  Try to accommodate as much of those 2 handfuls of spinach as possible, because it will cook down a lot.  Drizzle with extra olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and fresh pepper.
  4. Place in the oven and bake until the edges of the pita bread start to toast.
  5. Take out of the oven and let it cool off a bit.  After about 3 minutes, cut into 4 slices using a pizza wheel slicer.


The girls could not believe how good this pizza was… they were raving all about it for days.  My mom had a chance to try it too the next day.  She was also impressed at the flavors and the look.

Caramelized Onions Fettuccini

22 Mar

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine December 2008 issue… 


This issue had a section that highlighted pantry staples and how they can shine and help you in many quick weekday dishes.  This recipe highlighted onions and I already has a batch of caramelized onions in the fridge from making my French Onion dip, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

I switched things a bit to accommodate what I had in MY pantry at the time, so this is my very own version of…



¼ pack of whole-grain fettuccini
2 tbs of butter
1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
Half of this caramelized onion recipe
Salt and Pepper to taste, optional


  1. Boil pasta according to package directions in a big pot with boiling salted water.
  2. When pasta is done, drain the pasta while reserving 1 cup of the water used to boil.  Return the pasta to the pot, add the butter and caramelized onions.  Mix well to combine and to warm up the onions if they were refrigerated.
  3. Add some of the pasta water to loosen the mix and create a “sauce”.  Add half of the cheese and continue combining it all. Continue adding pasta water until the sauce reaches your desired consistency… mine is that all the pasta is lightly coated with a medium thickness sauce.  Add some additional salt or pepper according to your taste… you might not even need to add anything else.
  4. Plate and sprinkle the remaining cheese onto your plated pasta.


If you do the onions ahead of time, this recipe will take you about the time it takes to boil the pasta… if you make the onions for this dish in particular, it should be ready in approximately 40 minutes according to Everyday Food. 

Make a large batch of the onions and see how many recipes you can incorporate them in… I can give you some others besides this one already:

French Onion Soup

French Quesadillas

Stuffed Brie

Pumpkin Risotto

21 Nov

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year.  It’s special to me because it marks the official start of the Holiday and Xmas season and because I was actually born on a Thanksgiving Day a few years ago. 

To me the rituals of Thanksgiving are most precious – the sharing with family, the cooking and wanting to please your loved ones and the action of giving thanks for all that we have today.  To give thanks without asking anything in return is one of the principles of YOGA and maybe, my connection to Thanksgiving and how much I enjoy this holiday are signs of me possibly practicing yoga before this life.

I always give thanks to the Supreme Being for everything I do have – my life, my family, my health, my ability to see, hear, speak, walk, communicate, my roof, my family, those who love me and those who I love.  But I also give thanks for all those things I do not have…  those things we might think we need in our lives, and the very fact we do not have them might very well be a blessing.  I always thank God for keeping those wishes away from me… because I must learn to appreciate that life is perfect just as it is and that we do not need anything else but the moment we are living.  The present is the only thing we need to continue evolving and growing as spiritual beings in this physical existence.

Ever since I became vegetarian, Thanksgiving has been a challenge in the sense that I was truly attached to the flavors and smells of the traditional omnivore menu.  But in recent years I’ve taken it upon myself to search and create recipes that are in tune with the season, but completely vegetarian and satisfying at the same time.  And when I say in tune with the season, I mean the seasons in the US, because in Puerto Rico, it’s hot and humid on Thanksgiving, just like any other summer day.

This year I decided to try a Pumpkin Risotto.  Something easy, yet delicious that I could make at my grandma’s house.  This year Thanksgiving will be only her, my mom and I, and I don’t want to carry stuff from my home to hers.   I did a test run of  this recipe first and here are the results…  Something you can make any time of the year, but resonates really well in Fall and Winter.  Here’s how I did it…




1 box of Archer Farms’ 4 cheese risotto mix
1 cup pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces Fontina cheese, cubed small
1 ounce Blue cheese, I use Danish blue, grated or in crumbles
¼ cup Pecorino Romano, grated
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


  1. First, we need to roast the pumpkin.  Place the cleaned pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and roast in a 350 F oven for about 20-30 minutes.  I do this in my toaster oven.
  2. When the pumpkin is about to be done, start preparing the risotto mixture according to the directions on the package.   I place 2 ½ cups of water to boil.  When the water starts to boil, mix contents of rice and season packets.  Mix together well and leave uncovered. 
  3. After the pumpkin is done, place in the pumpkin seeds another baking sheet and roast dry for about 10-12 minutes.  Watch them closely so they do not burn.  They’ll change color from green to brownish.
  4. When the rice is halfway done, add the pumpkin pieces, the Fontina cheese and the Blue cheese.  Mix well so the cheese pieces melt well.  If the pumpkin stays in big pieces, kind of crush them against the side of the saucepan.  The idea is for the pumpkin pieces to mix well with the rice sauce and make it kind of orangey.
  5. When the rice is done, about 17-20 minutes, turn off the stove, add the Pecorino Romano cheese and cover.  The sauce will thicken upon standing.  Leave it covered for about 15-20 minutes so the sauce thickens and the temperature lowers so you won’t burn the roof of your mouth and can taste the cheeses and pumpkin.  Do not skip the waiting step, no matter how hungry you might be… I speak from experience, and burning the roof of your mouth is not fun.
  6. When serving, sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds on top for a nice look and great crunchy bite.


I enjoyed this risotto with my sweet plantains and a side salad.

It’s super easy to make.  It’s great if you’re only cooking for a small group, but if you want to feed more than 2-3 with this, just double the recipe – no problem.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I hope my mom and grandma like it too.


Thanks to you for always touching base with me here at KarmaFree Cooking.  I definitely count you as part of my blessings.

%d bloggers like this: