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This savory and saucy shakshuka is MB at its finest, friends! Made in 1 pot with simple ingredients, it’s the perfect quick and satisfying meal suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s subtly spicy, super comforting, and pairs well with toasted b…

Easy Shakshuka (with Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

This savory and saucy shakshuka is MB at its finest, friends! Made in 1 pot with simple ingredients, it’s the perfect quick and satisfying meal suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s subtly spicy, super comforting, and pairs well with toasted bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, roasted potatoes, and beyond. 

It’s especially perfect for tomato season (we see you, summer gardeners drowning in tomatoes!) but can be enjoyed any time of year by subbing canned tomatoes.

Easy Shakshuka (with Fresh or Canned Tomatoes) from Minimalist Baker →

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They come together with 9 simple ingredien…

Spicy Stir-Fried Green Beans

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They come together with 9 simple ingredients in 20 minutes and are delicious paired with grains and protein for a satisfying, plant-based meal.

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Caprese Flatbread

Caprese flatbread is a quick dinner or easy appetizer recipe, staring the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil! Is…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Caprese flatbread is a quick dinner or easy appetizer recipe, staring the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil!

Caprese Flatbread

Is there anything better than that classic combination of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella? Here’s a fun dinner idea or easy appetizer that riffs on the classic Italian salad: Caprese Flatbread! It’s a flatbread pizza that uses naan bread as a base: or any type of flatbread you can find. Layer it up with mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil, and the key ingredient: a drizzle of balsamic glaze. It’s heavenly for dinner, or we served it as a fun summer appetizer (it works room temperature on a platter!).

What you need for Caprese flatbread

Caprese flatbread is essentially a pizza based on the popular Italian salad, Caprese salad (aka, “salad from Capri” in Italian). This Italian combination of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and a sprinkle of fresh basil stems back to the 1920’s, and today it’s known around the world. Chefs and home cooks have made endless spins on these ingredient combinations: like a Caprese Sandwich, Caprese Pasta Salad, Caprese Skewers and more. Here’s what you’ll need for this simple pizza topping:

  • Naan breads (or other purchased flatbread)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Easy Pizza Sauce or purchased pizza sauce
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Balsamic reduction or glaze (purchased or homemade)
Caprese Flatbread

For the flatbread: use naan or other

A flatbread pizza is a pizza made with a dough base that’s already baked (like naan or another type of flatbread) instead of pizza dough. The easiest way to make Caprese flatbread is with purchased bread, but of course you can use homemade flatbread if you prefer! The difference with a standard pizza is that the pizza dough is raw when you make a pizza, but with flatbread pizza the dough is already cooked. Here are some favorite options for the flatbread base:

  • Purchased naan is the easiest! It should be easy to find in the bread aisle at your local grocery store. We also have a homemade naan recipe if you’d like to make it homemade.
  • Or, look for other types of purchased flatbread. You’ll want it to be roughly as thick as naan (about 1 inch). You can also use homemade flatbread.
  • Update the “pre-toasting” timing accordingly. You’ll toast the naan or flatbread in the oven first until it’s lightly crisp. The timing for another type of flatbread might be slightly different than naan, so keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly.

Tips for working with fresh mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella cheese is ooey, gooey and stretchy: perfect for topping a margherita pizza or Caprese flatbread. But keep in mind: this type of cheese contains a lot of water: much more than a typical shredded mozzarella cheese! Here are a few tips for working with this kind of cheese:

  • Cut into pieces and allow to sit 15 minutes on a paper towel. Slice the mozzarella cheese into ¼-inch thick pieces and let it sit on a paper towel to remove moisture while you prepare the pizzas. Dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture before using it.
  • After baking, dab the flatbread with a paper towel if necessary. Sometimes fresh mozzarella can be watery after baking, depending on the brand. If necessary, use the corner of a paper towel to dab at the moisture.
Caprese Flatbread

For the balsamic reduction

Take Caprese flatbread over the top with a balsamic reduction or glaze! This is simply balsamic vinegar that’s been cooked (or reduced) until it forms a shiny, sweet tart liquid that’s ideal for drizzling on salads and pizza. Caprese salad is often served with a balsamic reduction in America, though that’s not the classic Italian way to do it. But it’s a fun way to serve this pizza as it looks stunning and gives it a nice tangy boost in flavor.

It’s easiest to buy balsamic reduction or balsamic glaze: several brands sell it in a tall bottle that you can use to squeeze right onto the flatbread. Typically we buy it, since there’s not much of a flavor difference with homemade. But if you like, try making balsamic reduction at home: it’s fun and satisfying!

How to serve Caprese flatbread

This Caprese flatbread is all about presentation! We served it as an easy appetizer recipe and it worked great. A few things to note about serving:

  • Add basil after baking. Never cook a pizza with basil in the oven: it turns brown! Add the basil afterwards.
  • Slice into triangle shapes, if possible. We like the way that naan looks when sliced into triangles: it’s more appetizing than the squares you get on an oval base (like this).
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. This Caprese flatbread tastes great at room temperature, making it a great appetizer to set out on a platter.

More Caprese-inspired recipes

Looking for more with this powerhouse trio of ingredients? Try the following recipes:

This Caprese flatbread recipe is…

Vegetarian.

Print
Caprese Flatbread

Caprese Flatbread


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pizzas (4 main dish or 20 appetizer servings)

Description

Caprese flatbread is a quick dinner or easy appetizer recipe, staring the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil!


Ingredients

  • 4 purchased naan breads (or other purchased flatbread*)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Easy Pizza Sauce or purchased pizza sauce (or omit for a simpler flatbread)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 large handful basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Balsamic reduction or glaze (purchased or homemade)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the mozzarella cheese into ¼ inch thick pieces. Allow it to sit on a paper towel to remove moisture for about 15 minutes while you prepare the pizzas, then dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
  3. Make the pizza sauce (time saving tip: you can also stir together the ingredients in a bowl instead of blending them!).
  4. Place the naan bread directly on the oven grates. Bake 3 minutes. Flip and bake another 2 minutes until lightly crisped on the outside and toasted.
  5. Carefully remove the naan from the oven grates and place them on 2 baking sheets. Spread each with a thin layer of pizza sauce, then add the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.
  6. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. (You may notice some extra moisture after baking: you can dab lightly with a paper towel as necessary.) Slice the flatbread into pieces and top with thinly sliced basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve. This works as a main dish or an appetizer (can be served room temperature on a platter).

Notes

*Use purchased naan or any other type of flatbread you can find (roughly as thick as naan, about 1-inch thick). The timing for toasting the flatbread in Step 4 will vary based on the brand, so adjust accordingly. You can also use homemade naan or homemade flatbread.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Caprese flatbread

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

This zucchini pasta recipe is lusciously creamy, flavored with Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, basil and lemon zest. A tasty simple…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This zucchini pasta recipe is lusciously creamy, flavored with Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, basil and lemon zest. A tasty simple dinner!

Zucchini Pasta

Got a bit of zucchini on hand? Here’s one way to turn it into dinner: this Creamy Zucchini Pasta recipe! It’s luxuriously creamy, coating the noodles in a silky Parmesan and Pecorino sauce. Add rounds of savory sautéed zucchini, garlic, lemon zest and a pop of herbaceous basil, and each bite is a symphony of flavor. We like to garnish with crunchy breadcrumbs for a pop of texture. This one was so satisfying, we couldn’t stop sneaking bites from the skillet before serving! Here’s how to whip up this summery recipe at home.

Ingredients for this zucchini pasta recipe

There are loads of ways to make a zucchini pasta dish, ranging from classic to creative spins. Of course, you can spiralize this green veggie into those popular noodles (yep, zoodles!). But for our spin, we prefer a more classic Italian-inspired vibe. This zucchini pasta recipe features thin rounds of zucchini, sautéed until juicy and savory, combined with a silky creamy sauce flavored with Parmesan and Pecorino. Toss in basil, garlic and lemon zest and it’s a party with the VIP ingredients of summer. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Pasta noodles: We like long noodles like spaghetti or bucatini here. But it also works with short noodles like rigatoni or penne!
  • Zucchini: Look for medium thin zucchini, which makes easy-to-eat rounds. If all you have is large zucchini, slice them into half moons.
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Onion powder and salt
  • All purpose flour
  • Milk
  • Lemon zest
  • Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Basil leaves, for garnish
  • Italian panko, for garnish (optional)
Pasta with zucchini

For the pasta: use short or long

This zucchini pasta works with any type of pasta noodle, making it endlessly versatile! We like it with a long noodle like spaghetti or bucatini because it gives a more elegant feel. But that’s not to say it’s not delicious with a short noodle. What not to choose? Don’t use angel hair: it absorbs too much of the sauce and gets clumpy. Here are some top choices for noodles for this zucchini pasta:

  • Spaghetti
  • Bucatini (hollow spaghetti: a top choice!)
  • Fettucine
  • Linguine
  • Rigatoni (our top choice for short pasta)
  • Gemelli
  • Penne
  • Medium shells
  • Fusilli (spirals)
  • Farfalle (bowties)

Tips on making zucchini pasta

Ready to make this zucchini pasta? Jump down to the recipe below. Or, here are a few notes on the process to keep in mind while you’re making it:

  • This recipe uses 3 pots: a large pasta pot, large skillet for the zucchini, and small or medium saucepan for the cream sauce. Don’t worry: it’s worth dirtying the 3 for the amount of flavor here!
  • When sautéing the zucchini, flip the slices often so they all get evenly brown. It takes a little patience because you’ll have a few layers of zucchini. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Try not to overcook them or it can become mushy.
  • The cream sauce comes together quickly. Plan to spend 5 minutes of undivided attention at the stove for the sauce.
Zucchini Pasta Recipe

Don’t forget the garnish

Keep in mind: this zucchini pasta recipe looks a little plain without the garnish! So don’t leave it out! It adds both flavor and visual style. Here’s what to do:

  • Load the pasta onto a plate. Try to get a good mix of pasta and zucchini (which can be hard with long noodles!).
  • Add chopped basil. This brings in the final fresh, herby flavoring to the dish. Bonus side note: basil turns brown in the fridge, so keeping it as a garnish helps the look of leftovers.
  • Sprinkle with Italian panko if desired (or Parmesan cheese). We love the crunch of a little breadcrumbs on top! Italian panko are seasoned with Italian herbs: you can also use plain panko or breadcrumbs. Or, use some additional grated or shredded cheese.
  • Add fresh ground black pepper and/or red pepper flakes. A hint of spice adds the final seasoning.
  • If desired, add extra lemon zest. It looks nice and punchy, but it’s not required.
Zucchini Pasta

Ways to serve zucchini pasta (and a note on portion size)

This zucchini pasta is a tasty summer dinner recipe! Keep in mind: the portion size is modest at 8 ounces pasta for 4 servings. If you’re serving as a main dish, add some additional protein or side dishes to make it a filling meal. Got very hungry eaters? Make sure to add protein, have filling sides or double it and use 1 pound of pasta. Here are a few serving suggestions:

More zucchini recipes

Love this summery green veggie? Here are some of our favorite zucchini recipes for using it:

This zucchini pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Print
Zucchini pasta

Creamy Zucchini Pasta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

This zucchini pasta recipe is deliciously creamy, flavored with Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, basil and lemon zest. A pure and simple dinner!


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti or bucatini*
  • 1 pound zucchini (2 medium thin zucchini), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
  • ¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Drain and toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the zucchini and mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini slices. Cover the skillet and cook for 1 minute, then uncover and stir, moving the bottom slices as necessary. Cover again for 1 minute then uncover and stir in ½ teaspoon kosher salt and onion powder, moving slices to the bottom layer as necessary so that they can get browned. Reduce the heat slightly. Keep the pan uncovered and cook about 6 to 8 more minutes until most of the zucchini are tender and browned, continuing to flip the zucchini and move them to the bottom layer so they cook evenly. Add the minced garlic in the last 1 minute. Then remove from the heat.
  3. In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add a splash of milk and whisk it in: the sauce will instantly turn chunky. Constantly whisking, continue to add splashes of milk until the entire quantity is incorporated and smooth. Increase the heat and continue whisking until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the zucchini and stir in the sauce. If the sauce is sticky, add a splash of milk and stir it in to form a creamy sauce, heating it over medium low heat if necessary. Taste and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.
  5. To serve, add the garnish (do not omit!): top with chopped basil, breadcrumbs or more grated Parmesan, fresh ground black pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Leftovers store well refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Notes

*This recipe also works with short pasta noodles like rigatoni or penne.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Zucchini pasta, pasta with zucchini, zucchini pasta recipe, zucchini pasta recipes

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

PORK AND CABBADGE

Comfort food that can be prepared in advance. After all, it only gets better the next day. Very popular dish in Ukraine.

Comfort food that can be prepared in advance. After all, it only gets better the next day. Very popular dish in Ukraine.


Braised Cabbage with Pork Ribs

Recipe

Braised Cabbage with Pork Ribs
Braised Cabbage and Pork Ribs
PREP TIME COOK TIME MAKES
10-15 minutes 70-80 minutes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1 kg (2,2 lbs) pork ribs
  • 1.6 kg (3,5 lbs) cabbage
  • 2 big onions
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon (2.5 tbsp lemon juice)
  • Vegetable oil (~7 tbsp, 100 ml)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed pot or use a deep skillet. Cover and roast the ribs until dark.
  2. Cut the onion into half rings. Add to the ribs and braise over low heat for about 30 minutes until soft.
  3. Shred the cabbage. Salt and lightly knead with your hands. Add to the meat and onions. Sprinkle in the cumin. Stir the cabbage to evenly distribute the fat. Braise for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally. The cabbage should be cooked, but remain slightly crispy.
  4. Add sugar, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Mix well and braise for another 10 minutes.

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