Italian home cooking doesn't have to take hours. We've chosen some recipes that are economical, fairly simple and, with the microwave, quick to prepare.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 1 cup diced peeled potato 1/2 cup sliced carrot 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery 1 cup shredded cabbage 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes, undrained 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained 1 cup vegetable, beef or chicken stock or water 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried Freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup small pasta Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine oil, garlic and onion in 2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap turned back slightly. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 1 minute. Add potato, carrot, celery and cabbage. Drain juice from tomatoes into casserole. Cover and microwave on HIGH until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add tomatoes, beans, stock, parsley, basil and season to taste with pepper. Cover and microwave on HIGH until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.
In saucepan, heat 2 cups water to boiling. Add pasta and cook until al dente, following package instructions. Drain pasta and stir into soup at end of cooking time. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese when serving. Makes 8 appetizer or 4 main-course servings.
1 teaspoon olive oil 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 green pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped 1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained 1/4 cup dry white wine, optional 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon crushed dried 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine olive oil, onion, garlic and green pepper in 3-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap turned back slightly. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) until vegetables are tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, carrot, tomatoes with juice, white wine, basil, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in casserole, with thicker pieces on outside.
Cover and microwave on HIGH 10 minutes. Turn chicken over and reposition pieces to allow thicker portions to cook more evenly. Cover and continue to microwave on HIGH until chicken is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.
\o7 Note:\f7 For smoother sauce, pour canned tomatoes and juice into bowl of food processor and pulse on and off few times to chop coarsely.
1 cup white or yellow cornmeal 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional 3 1/2 cups water
Combine cornmeal, salt and water in 3-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap turned back slightly. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 5 minutes, then stir.
Cover again and microwave on HIGH until all water has been absorbed, 4 to 7 minutes. Stir once more. Makes 4 to 6 servings.