A Look Back: Oggi Cucino Vegetariano

Angie Spitalieri Ianiro, Publisher Angie Spitalieri Ianiro, Publisher

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We hope you enjoy this article from Lee Laurino printed in a previous issue. Lee’s friend Ylenia Sambati owns and operates a cooking school in Puglia and was kind enough to share a wonderful vegetarian recipe (Ylenia’s specialty) with Lee. 

Often, I hear from my contacts in Italy that Americans do not eat Italian food. American favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken with pasta or anything with Alfredo sauce is often not how food is prepared in Italy. We tend to eat what our mothers learned to cook and that became our traditional Italian food.   

After meeting the owner of the Cook in Puglia cooking school, Ylenia Sambati, I learned about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The benefits of olive oil, fresh foods and seasonal products are practiced in the southeastern region of Italy known as Puglia. Ms. Sambati has been a vegetarian since childhood and within her cooking school she promotes creating and eating a vegetarian cuisine; one made with seasonal organic ingredients and a style described as cucina povera. She has studied the benefits of a diet rich in olive oil, fresh vegetables and natural grains, and perhaps a glass of red wine too.

Here, Ylenia share one of her favorite Italian vegetarian recipes using seasonal produce. Perhaps food cooked with a recipe written in Italian tastes better! 


Look Back2.  Look Back3

Pennette Fredde Allo Zenzero

Per 4 persone

Cottura:  15 minuti
350 gr di pennette integrali
250 gr di peperoni rossi (privati dei semi e tagliati in quattro)
250 gr di melanzane tagliate a fettine sottili
250 gr di zucchine tagliate a fettini sottili
1 cucchiaino di zenzero grattuggiato finemente
4 foglie di basilico fresco spezzettate
1 cucchiaio di menta tritata
6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d'oliva
sale e pepe nero

Lessate la pasta al dente in abbondante acqua salata. Scolatela e lasciatela raffreddare. Grigliate i peperoni finchè cominceranno ad ammorbidirsi. Disponete le melanzane e le zucchine su una griglia unta di olio e grigliate fino a quando compariranno le strisce nere della griglia. Tagliate grossolanamente tutte le verdure. Condite la pasta con tutte le verdure in un'insalatiera capiente. Unite il basilico, la menta, lo zenzero grattuggiato. Condite con olio, sale e pepe. Mescolate e lasciate riposare per 2 ore prima di servire. 


Cold Pennette with Ginger

4 people

Cook time: 15 minutes
350 gr. Whole pennette
250 gr. Red bell peppers (without seeds and sized in four parts)
250 gr. Sliced aubergines (eggplant)
250 gr. Sliced curgettes (zucchini)
1 tsp. Grated ginger
4 Fresh basil leaves divided into pieces
1 Tbsp. Grinded mint
6 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and black pepper

Boil the pasta al dente (should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of a bite and firmness) in plenty of salty water. Ladle out and let it cool down. Grill the bell peppers until they soften. Arrange aubergines and courgettes on an oiled grill and grill them until you can see the cooked stripes. Roughly chop all the vegetables. Season pasta with all the vegetables in a big bowl. Add basil, mint and grated ginger. Season with oil, salt and pepper. Stir and let cool for two hours before serving.