Rachael Ray’s path from gourmet market manager to syndicated TV host and America’s prized food personality has been paved with mouthwatering recipes that — although made from scratch with fresh, whole ingredients — are always straightforward and easy to recreate at home.

Here, the master of the 30-minute meal shares some of her favourite holiday recipes inspired by her Italian heritage.

Fava Bean Spread

Rachael says: Serve this spread on small charred toasts.

1½ to 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans
½ to ¾ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup combined fresh flat-leaf parsley and mint leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the fava beans and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain
and let cool.

2. Peel the skins off the favas; the beans will split into 2 bright green pieces as you pop them out of their skins.

3. In a food processor, combine the peeled favas, pecorino, garlic, parsley/mint mixture, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and EVOO. Pulse into a thick spread. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Drunken Spaghetti With Sweet Roasted Beets And Ricotta Salata

Rachael says: This is a dish I often make for friends because of its colour, but it’s the flavours that make return guests request it again and again. If you love the combination of sweet and salty, this dish is for you.

1 bunch beets with large leaf tops
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the beets
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 (750ml) bottle red Zinfandel or Barolo wine
4 large shallots, or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, finely chopped
½ pound ricotta salata cheese, crumbled or grated

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim the beet greens, wash well, and cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons. Trim the beets, but leave unpeeled. Rub the beets with oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in a baking dish. Cover with foil and roast until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, rub off the skins with a paper towel. (Rub your hands with a little oil to keep them from being stained.) Chop into small bite-size pieces (use a plastic cutting board so you don’t stain your wooden board).

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta for 5 minutes, then drain. Return the empty pot to the stove, add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce. Add the parcooked pasta and cook over medium-high heat, tossing frequently with tongs, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pasta is al dente. Add the beet greens when the pasta is just about al dente.

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil (3 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar. Add the vinegar and some of the wine sauce from the pasta pot and stir to deglaze the pan. Scrape the onion mixture into the pasta pot and toss to combine with the pasta. Add the beets and parsley and toss well. Serve topped with ricotta salata.

Pork Chops In The Style Of Porchetta

Rachael says: “In the style of porchetta” means with fennel, rosemary, garlic, and, for me, lemon. Many Italian recipes refer to this manner of flavouring, including recipes for roast chicken, rabbit, pork chops, and roasts. If you crave porchetta but don’t have four days to plan your meal, these chops are a great idea for dinner.

1 organic lemon
4 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
(about 1½ inches thick)
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic: 2 chopped, 4 smashed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Coarsely ground pepper
Kosher salt
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges each
8 large shallots, quartered lengthwise
4 medium potatoes, cut into wedges
½ cup dry white wine or chicken stock

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grate the zest from the lemon. Halve the lemon and set aside. Place the chops in a shallow dish with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the chopped garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, lemon zest, and about 1½ teaspoons pepper. Season the chops liberally with salt and slather the porchetta seasoning evenly all over the chops, turning to coat both sides. Let stand for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the fresh fennel, shallots, potatoes, smashed garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat, then arrange on baking sheets. Place the lemon halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until the potatoes are crispy and the fennel and shallots are caramelised at the edges, about 35 minutes.

3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops to the hot pan and brown for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and douse the skillet with the wine. Squeeze the juice from the roasted lemon halves over the top. Serve the chops with the roasted vegetables alongside.

Photos and recipes copyright © 2015 by Rachael Ray from EVERYONE IS ITALIAN ON SUNDAY published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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