For Antonella (Toni) Caporello, multiple guiding forces uphold her approach to cooking, including her family history and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Her recently published cookbook, “Add a Place at Your Table,” exudes Italian hospitality. “Since I grew up in Italy, it’s an integral part of my cultural heritage,” she says. Toni spent the first 39 years of her life Italy, with her family hailing from Padova, 24 miles inland from Venice. She and her husband moved to Bend in 2015. Her cookbook draws on life experience, her own health journey, and inspiration from Saint-Exupéry who wrote, “Perfection is achieved not where there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” For Toni, simplicity in the kitchen is key.
Her philosophy is summarized in what she terms Biological Cuisine. As the name implies, Toni’s recipes are thoughtfully in harmony with the needs of our bodies. “I cannot claim to have invented anything new,” she says. “I have given a logical name to a way of cooking that already existed when we had no other choice than to make our food from scratch with naturally wholesome ingredients.” Toni focuses on the essential elements of fresh, organic, wholesome, unprocessed and seasonal ingredients that she says lead to healthy well-being and weight, plus prevent illnesses. To start the new year, she suggests planning ahead and eating at home as much as possible. Here, she shares a few health-forward recipes to create and serve at your own table. BiologicalCuisine.com
“Add a Place at Your Table” is available locally at Big Story Books, Dudley’s Bookstore Café, Roundabout Books, and Tara’s Kitchenware. Proceeds from all sales benefit Bethlehem Inn.
ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI RABE
10 oz. Orecchiette pasta
1 lb. Broccoli rabe (rapini)
4-6 quarts Cold Water
6 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
10 Anchovies, canned
1 oz. Pecorino cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. Bread crumbs
2 tsp. Salt
A few flakes of Red pepper
1.) Start the water to boil, in a pot big enough to cook the first two ingredients. Don’t be deceived by the amount of broccoli rabe as they will significantly decrease after cooking.
2.) Cut off and discard the tough ends of the broccoli rabe, wash them thoroughly, and cut them into two-inch pieces. As soon as the water reaches a full boil, add first the salt and then the pasta. Gently stir, and after three minutes add the broccoli rabe.
3.) While the pasta is cooking, warm up four tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and cook the anchovies until they melt.
4.) In a separate pan, toast the bread crumbs with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
5.) When the pasta is cooled al dente (follow package directions for cooking time), drain the pasta and broccoli rabe, transfer them into a serving bowl, dress with the anchovies and oil mix, grated Pecorino cheese, red pepper, toasted breadcrumbs. Toss and serve hot.
CELERY AND MACADAMIA PESTO
1 oz. Fresh celery leaves
1 oz. Spinach leaves
1 oz. Macadamia nuts
1 oz. Pecorino cheese
6 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1.) Wash the celery leaves and the spinach.
2.) Put the first four ingredients in a blender with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Blend on low and slowly increase the speed.
3.) Add two more tablespoons of olive oil and blend for a few more seconds. If the ingredients don’t blend well, add one tablespoon of water.
4.) Taste and adjust for salt. The result should be a smooth, light-green sauce.
HALIBUT ‘EN PAPILLOTTE”
2 Halibut filets, about 6 oz. each
16 Green olives (like picholine), pits removed
3-4 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Green pepper berries (capers)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh basil, parsley, thyme
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) Cover a baking pan with a big piece of parchment paper approximately three feet long. You must have enough paper to close it loosely around the halibut.
3.) Grease the center part of the parchment paper with oil and layout the halibut on it. Scatter olives, capers and herbs on the halibut fillets, and add the remaining oil.
4.) Grind sea salt on the fish and close the paper loosely around the halibut, but tightly at the seams so that the heat cannot escape while the fish is cooking.
5.) Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully open the paper, starting from the top, to let the steam inside the wrap evaporate for a few seconds before plating. You can also wrap the fillets individually and place each open wrap directly on the serving plate.
1 lb. mixed ground meat (veal, pork, beef)
1 Stalk of celery
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 sprig Rosemary
1 cup Water, hot
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce* preferably Toni’s homemade recipe, found in her book “Add A Place at the Table”)
1 cup milk
1.) Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and sauté in olive oil, together with the garlic.
2.) Add the rosemary, and the meat, then brown the meat for five minutes on high heat.
3.) Add salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 60-90 minutes. If the sauce gets too dry, add some hot water.
4.) Uncover, add the hot milk and let it evaporate for five minutes, stirring often the milk will balance the acidity of the tomato sauce.