Tag Archives: Italian Food Writer in California

Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Stuffing peppers with nutrients: Protein-rich wild rice in peppers makes a powerful, tasty and colorful everyday meal

Shake up your routine this school year with a healthy and delicious weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy.

All too often, a family’s busy routine doesn’t allow for much time to create a meal the kids will enjoy, especially if the meal involves a vegetable. I’ve created an affordable recipe of fresh green peppers stuffed with a wild rice mixture that’s topped with marinara sauce. It is a colorful dish that’s also a real time saver in the kitchen.

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Visit Bencotto in Little Italy

Located in the new “Q” building in the heart of Little Italy, a young generation of Italians, motivated from their experiences from the restaurant business in Milan, Modena, New York, and San Diego, succeeded in creating a modish, relaxed, and appealing kitchen-restaurant. “Bencotto” means and refers to a meal “done well,” or perfectly cooked, and that is exactly what you’ll get. Read more in the Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego and San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City.

Visit Bencotto in Little Italy
Fiori Di Zucca Ripieni: Lightly fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and smoked mozzarella cheese (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Visit Bencotto in Little Italy
Pasta E Fagioli Alla Toscana: Tuscan Bean Soup and Homemade Pasta (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Paccheri (Large Tube Pasta) with Salsiccia (Sausage in Spicy Tomato Sauce) with a side of meatballs (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Paccheri (Large Tube Pasta) with Salsiccia (Sausage in Spicy Tomato Sauce) with a side of meatballs (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Tiramisu (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Tiramisu (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Bencotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rosemary Biscuits Recipe

Rosemary Biscuits Recipe
Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Springtime recipe takes advantage of the season’s strawberry crop

With spring in the air, I’m yearning for strawberries hand-picked from a local farm or fresh from the farmers market. These luscious strawberries taste even sweeter when roasted with balsamic vinegar and paired with a creamy mascarpone filling.

Thinking about strawberries always makes me think about warm biscuits, the kind that lures my family into the kitchen on Sunday mornings. Even if you’ve never made a homemade biscuit in your life, I urge you to give my recipe a try.

I’ve added fresh chopped rosemary and orange zest to these biscuits, but in the past I’ve added anything from chocolate chips and walnuts to crumbly pieces of bacon and cheddar cheese. Be adventurous, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite ingredients.

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Tantalizing Tender Greens

Tender Greens is a cafeteria-style first come, first serve organic restaurant where you order your food at one end and pay at the other end and seat yourself. One of nine in California, Tender Greens relies on fresh-picked produce from small local farms. Read more in the Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego.

Roasted Roma Tomato Soup with basil oil and ciabatta croutons (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Assorted Roasted Vegetables (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Tuna Nicoise Salad with tender greens, tomato, potato, capers, green beans, quail egg, olives and sherry vinaigrette (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)


Tender Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Perfect Pasta Salad

Pancetta, olives, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts add zing to a bow-tie pasta salad that is just right for a barbecue

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Two-Tomato Farfalle Salad With Pancetta may look too good to eat, but by all means dig in!

I believe we eat with our eyes first, and this farfalle pasta salad looks too good to eat, but do it anyway! In this recipe, the festive pasta shape, reminiscent of little bow ties, is paired with fresh and colorful ingredients. It will definitely please your friends and family.

Instead of a traditional cream- or mayonnaise-based pasta salad, I’ve created a healthy Italian version using extra-virgin olive oil as the dressing. Pancetta, Pecorino-Romano cheese and green olives lend the subtle taste of salt naturally. The addition of in-season orange tomatoes along with sun-dried tomatoes adds a ripe sweetness, while marinated artichoke hearts give a tangy flavor.

All of these ingredients can be enjoyed alone, but when tossed together in one big bowl, every bite packs a zesty punch.

This is the perfect summertime salad to bring to a backyard barbecue. Enjoy alone or as a side dish with grilled fish, chicken, steak or pork.

Two-Tomato Farfalle Pasta Salad With Pancetta

16 ounces farfalle pasta, cooked according to package instructions

2 slices of pancetta

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 medium-size orange tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cup artichoke hearts marinated in oil and vinegar, drained, and roughly chopped

1 cup whole, pitted green olives

1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn

1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, cubed

1) Cook pasta according to package instructions (remove from heat a little earlier than the stated cooking time if you like your pasta al dente).

2) Drain in a colander, then place pasta back in its original pan and add cold water. Once the pasta is cool, drain, put in a large bowl and set aside.

3) Slice the pancetta into small pieces. In a small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and crushed garlic. When temperature reaches medium-low heat (take care that garlic doesn’t burn), add pancetta. Stir constantly until the pancetta is cooked through. Add to the pasta bowl.

4) Chop orange tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Cut Pecorino-Romano cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain green olives.

5) Add tomatoes, artichokes, cheese and olives to the pasta bowl. Add torn basil. Lightly drizzle salad with 4 tablespoons olive oil and gently toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to set. Plate and serve.

*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.