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Author Topic: Side dish for Italian meal?  (Read 6785 times)

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Side dish for Italian meal?
« on: December 15, 2006, 12:19:43 PM »
Does anyone have any good ideas for a cooked side dish - preferably some kind of vegetable - for an Italian meal (lasagna and Italian soup)? Someone else is bringing green salad and Caesar salad, so I'd like to bring something warm.

This is for a potluck-based Christmas party with my co-workers.

Thanks in advance!

Bob Ducca

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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2006, 12:24:41 PM »
I like to combine a regular green vegetable (green beans, or broccoli) with red pepper and onion.  Saute the pepper and onion in a little butter and olive oil, steam the veggies until just tender, then combine and season to taste.  Put a little bit of parmesean cheese on top as garnish.  Works with fresh or frozen veggies


Oven-roasted asparagus is really yummy, but you have to use fresh and it can get expensive if you need to bring enough to feed a group.  Wash and trim the asparagus, then place on a cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil or butter (or mixture of the two- that's what I like) and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest- whatever. Put in a hot oven (I usually use 450 or low broil) and roast until tender and slightly browned.  This doesn't stay hot for long, so it won't travel as well.  Once it cools, though, it makes a great salad with vinegar and oil dressing, parmasean cheese, and some diced tomato or cucumber.

Good luck!!


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2006, 12:31:55 PM »
How about roasted fennel?  Just slice, toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in hot oven (about 400 degrees or so) until soft and carmalized...maybe 25-30 minutes.  Or you could do stuffed tomatos.  I take Roma tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise, clean out the center.  Then I stuff them with a mixture of cooked spinach, shallots, garlic, Parm. cheese and a little bread crumbs to bind it.  Stuff the tomatoes, top with a little more cheese, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 375 oven until the tomatoes are soft...maybe 25 minutes.  Both of these always go over in my family.  Good Luck!  :)


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2006, 01:03:45 PM »
Eggplant, polenta... or how about some kind of roasted zucchini thing?


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2006, 01:05:43 PM »
I would say eggplant rollatini - but I'm obsessed with anything with cheese in it :)


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2006, 02:37:39 PM »

The first time I ate this recipe was at an Easter lunch at the Billheimer’s.  Sarah and Bekkah were standing over the pan almost like vultures drooling at the prospect of getting to eat this and I thought, “Man, this must be a really good dish so I’ll have to get this recipe.”

2 ¼ cups water
¾ cup cornmeal
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons snipped Parsley
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
½ tsp. Salt
1 slightly beaten egg
1 Tablespoon margarine or butter, melted

 In a medium saucepan bring 1 ¼ cups water to boiling.  Combine remaining 1 cup water, cornmeal, Parmesan cheese, parsley, Italian Seasoning, and salt; slowly pour mixture into boiling water.  Cook and stir till thick and bubbly.  Cook over low heat 5 minutes more, stirring mixture frequently.  Stir ¼ cup of the polenta mixture into egg.  Return to saucepan; stir to combine.  Pour into greased 13X9 –inch pan. Cover and chill 1 hour or till polenta is firm.

Cut polenta into 24 equal portions. Shape portions into smooth balls; return to pan.  Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes till heated polenta nuggets are heated through.   Makes 6 appetizer or 4 main-dish servings. 

Tip: You do not need to cut androll this polenta into balls.  Just leave it as is in the pan, drizzle with butter and bake as directed. 


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2006, 03:07:56 PM »
Roast until crisp/tender:

Sliced zuchinni
and whole garlic cloves

Drizzle olive oil over it before cooking and pepper well.

This is so simple and so good.  My husband and I took an entire pan to a potluck.  What's best is that it will take maybe 30 minutes in a slow oven and there isn't much prep work because you slice the veggies chunky.  The whole garlic cloves cook up soft and sweet.



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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2006, 10:32:02 PM »

Sauted zucchini or other summer squash in olive oil with a bit of chopped garlic, some herbs, and fresh ground pepper.  Works well with some onion added, too.

Saute mixed vegetables (whole snow peas, sliced red and yellow pepper, onion, mushrooms, asparagus, etc) and some garlic in olive oil until cooked but still slightly crunchy.  Add a bit of lemon juice and some  herbs (dried dill works well, as does fresh thyme) and salt and pepper to taste.

Do the same as above but toss with pesto instead.

Steamed asparagus tossed with a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly grated parmesan.

If you don't mind another salad, slice ripe tomatoes and layer with fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella (the kind that's sold in balls in liquid) and drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt.

Or thinly slice a good sized cucumber or two and a halved onion. Toss with a table spoon of salt and leave for an hour to draw out the juices.  Rinse thorougly in cold water and dress with the juice of a lemon and a table spoon of white vinegar and a table spoon of dried dill - it makes a sort of quick pickle that's very refreshing.

I like braised fennel with onion.  Slice the fennel width wise into inch thick slices and cut the onion into 1/2 wedges.  Saute in a big pot in butter on medium heat for a few minutes until it begins to soften.    Add a mixture of chicken stock, white wine and lemon juice (about 1/4 c, 1/2 c, 1/2 a lemon) and turn the heat down to low, and let cook until all the liquid is gone. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.


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Re: Side dish for Italian meal?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2007, 11:37:59 AM »
I know I'm too late, but my favorite Italian vegetable is rapini (aka broccoli rabe, Chinese broccoli, or Italian broccoli).  It's very bitter, so not everyone likes it, but I just love it.

Toast some pine nuts, mince some garlic, cut the rapini into 3 inch long sections, blanch the rapini in boiling water, put some extra virgin olive oil in a pan, sautee the garlic and broccoli, add some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, squeeze half a lemon on top, and serve mixed with the toasted pine nuts.