A little Italian grill from the comforts of home

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First of all, we found out I’m having a boy! Collyn Wayne Clements will be joining us around the first of August.

A house full of men!

Thankfully, I have been craving healthy foods with the occasional sugary treat, which will make weight loss afterwards much easier.

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Now that it’s the time of year to get outside and grill, I decided to take my favorite Italian dishes and add a little backyard flavor.

I’m even giving you a vegetarian choice for my favorite healthy culinary columnist. It still has cheese but you can omit that if you want. I can’t go that healthy!

Grilled Chicken or Eggplant Parmigiana

I like to make both at the same time. I’m also not giving you exact measurements so you can make as much as you like for you and your family or even company.

For the chicken:

Chicken Breast, Skinless and Boneless

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for coating. Good oil does make a difference.

Italian Spices

salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder or garlic cloves, peeled and halved I like using the cloves

Directions: Coat the chicken breast with olive oil, rub with the halved garlic clove, and sprinkle with spices, salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill at med-high heat for about five minutes. Turn Chicken over for another 5 to 6 minutes until cooked thoroughly. Set aside for assembling.

For the eggplant:

Nice size Eggplant cut length ways. You’ll get about 4 slices out of 1 eggplant.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for coating

Italian Spices

salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder or garlic cloves, peeled and halved

Directions: Do the same as above chicken for coating. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once in the middle of time, until tender and lightly browned.

For the pasta:

Your favorite pasta (I like penne because it holds in the sauce)



1 tsp olive oil

Cook noodles per directions on box, adding salt and olive oil to the water. Al dente cooking is best. Drain and set aside.

For the Sauce:

You can either buy your favorite jar of sauce or follow this easy recipe. This gives you about four cups, so adjust your amounts accordingly.

one-fourth cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Spanish onion diced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tbs dried

1 medium carrot, finely grated

2 (28 oz.) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed

salt to taste

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot. Cook 5 minutes more until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Add sauce to the blender and blitz until smooth. Return sauce to pan, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt.

To assemble: On each serving plate lay pasta first. Then add sauce, chicken or eggplant, more sauce, a thin slice of Mozzarella cheese and, finally, lots of grated Parmesan Cheese.

You can place this under a broiler for about 3 minutes to get that restaurant look as long as the plate is oven safe.

Until next time, have fun in the kitchen, experiment and indulge your cravings.

Laura Clements is the pastry chef at Napoleon’s.