Recipes from Chef Jeanne Rafetto-Tentis

Last night we had a private cooking class focused on healthy and kid-friendly foods taught by Chef Jeanne Rafetto-Tentis. Here are the delicious recipes she cooked up for us last night:

CARROT HUMMUS                                                                        Serves 10 (2 ½ cups)

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis



¾- 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 can (15 ½ oz) garbanzo beans

1/3 c roasted tahini (sesame paste)

1-2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed

1/3 c fresh lemon juice

Salt to taste

Baby carrots, steamed for garnish or a dusting of ground sumac (optional)

Toasted pita bread or crackers

Steam carrots until very soft.  In a food processor, puree carrots, garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic and lemon juice until smooth.  Add salt to taste.  Serve immediately or chill up to one day.  Top with baby carrots and serve with wedges of pita for spreading.

SPICY GINGER PORK IN LETTUCE LEAVES  6 first course portions



¾ lb. ground pork (chicken or turkey can be substituted)

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1T Thai sweet chili sauce

1T Asian fish sauce or soy sauce

1t dark Asian sesame oil

1T +1t cooking oil

1 can (8oz.) water chestnuts, drained and diced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2T oyster sauce

2T fresh cilantro, chopped

24 Boston lettuce leaves

1c carrot, julienned

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and 1T of the oil.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1t of the oil until shimmering.  Add the pork mixture and stir-fry over high heat, breaking it up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro and remove from the heat.

Spoon the pork into bowls.  Stack the lettuce leaves on plates.

To eat, spoon the pork onto the lettuce leaves, tope with carrot, roll up and eat.

Note:  Romaine lettuce or Belgium endive can be substituted for Boston lettuce.  To eat, use them as more of a scoop than a roll.

KALE PESTO                                                                       Makes 1 cup

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis


½ c plus 2 T extra virgin olive oil

½ lb. kale, tough ribs removed and leaves chopped (either regular curly or Tuscan kale can be used, Tuscan being more tender)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ c pine nuts, toasted

¼- ½ c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or a mixture of Parmigiano & Pecorino Romano

¼ – ½ c chicken stock,warmed or hot pasta water (optional)

For garnish:  ¼ c proscuitto, chopped and fried until crisp, if desired

Heat 2 T of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped kale and salt and pepper to taste and stir to coat the kale with oil.  Add about 1/3c of water and cook until the kale is tender and the pan dry, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the kale to a blender.  Add the garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and the remaining ½ c oil.  Blend until pureed.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

If the pesto is to be used as a sauce over pasta, add enough warm stock or pasta water until you achieve your desired consistency.  Serve over spaghetti, linguine or ravioli.  Top with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano

NOTE:  Pesto can also be used as a spread or a topping for bruschetta or crostini.  Eliminate the stock if this is your plan.

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