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Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Pesto Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. About 3 minutes before the cooking time is over add the green beans.
  2. At the end of the cooking time drain the pasta and beans and rinse well with cold water. Pour the beans and pasta into a large bowl.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl.
  4. Whisk the pesto, stock, and vinegar together until well blended. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and toss to coat well. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if needed.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Overnight is better.
  6. When you are ready to serve, toss well and check for seasoning. If the salad seems dry add a little more vegetable stock or a splash of olive oil. Sprinkle the Romano cheese on top and serve.
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Fully Loaded Minestrone

Fully Loaded Minestrone
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Fully Loaded Minestrone
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Warm a large soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the chopped onions, carrots and garlic to the pan alond with the pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and cook stirring occasionally 5 minutes. The vegetables should begin to soften and become fragrant.
  2. Add the stock and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  3. While the stock simmers cook the meatballs and sausage. This can be done in the oven at 350 degrees. It will take about 20 minutes. Set aside when cooked.
  4. In a large fry pan heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the peppers, zucchini and the remianing Italian Herb Blend. Cook for 5 minutes just until the vegetables are slightly soft.
  5. Add the meats and sauteed vegetables to the simmering soup pot. Cook for 5 minutes or so. Add the drained cannelinni and the green beans. Simmer 5 minutes more or until everything is heated through.
  6. Taste and make any adjustments to the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and serve with a bit of shaved Romano Cheese.
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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Stuffed Peppers
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the 1-3/4 cups of vegetable stock to boiling in a small sauce pan. Add the rice and stir. Return to boil and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 - 45 minutes. Stock should be absorbed and rice should be fairly tender. Cool slightly and place in a large bowl.
  2. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and slice thinly. Coarsely chop onion and mushrooms. Set aside with the minced garlic.
  3. Heat a medium fry pan and add the olive oil. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and cook and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the zucchini and garlic to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or so. The vegetables should be slightly soft and just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and add to the rice in the bowl.
  5. Slice the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. Roughly chop or crumble the meatloaf and add to the bowl. If you are using another protein, chop it into small bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl. Stir the ingredients to mix. Add the 1/2 cup of stock and stir once more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and white membranes. Spray a medium casserole with non-stick spray. Place the pepper halves in the pan cut side up. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Divide the mixture between the 4 pepper halves, packing lightly. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the marinara on top of each filled pepper. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil. Add another tablespoon or so of the marinara to each pepper and sprinkle with the cheese. Spoon any remaining marinara into the pan to coat the bottom,
  10. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are a little brown. Serve.
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Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)

Easter is a time for re-birth and new beginnings. Spring is here for the most part and life begins to move outdoors…finally. When I was growing up, Easter was a special time. that was steeped in religious as well as food traditions. Lent ended and with it all the fasting, abstaining and giving things up. To say there was a food frenzy may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely a time for enjoying eating.DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved the Calzone.  We sometimes called it Easter Pie and it was baked on Holy Saturday, not be eaten until after Easter Sunday mass. It was filled with ricotta and sausage, with egg in every part of it. My mother and my aunt both made it and I couldn’t wait for Easter morning to have it. If I timed it right, I could have my mom’s and then go upstairs and have my aunt’s, too. They each had their own version, my aunt’s often having ham and hard-boiled eggs in it.

This is my mother’s recipe.  She would make it every Easter. If I was lucky, I’d have it again at Christmas when her side of the family served it as Egg Pie. Whenever it was made, it was one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve ever had.

Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Calzone (a.k.a. Easter Pie)
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Servings:
Instructions
  1. To make the Crust: Sift the dry ingredients together cut in shortening or butter, blending well.
  2. Beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk together and add to the dough mixture. Blend well. turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or so.
  3. To make the filling: Cook the sausage and drain on paper towel. Allow to cool. Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs, cheese, parsley, and cooled sausage. Stir to gently blend.
  4. Divide dough in half. Roll one half out on floured surface. roll to an even thickness that will fit in a 9 inch pie pan with some overlap. Place in glass pie pan that has been lightly greased.
  5. Spoon the filling into the crust. Roll out the second half of the crust and fit it over the top. Crimp edges to seal well. cut several slashes in the crust.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. Brush top with beaten egg yolk about 15 minutes before pie is done. crust should be golden brown. remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve for Easter breakfast or any time you'd like.
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Migliaccio di Polenta

file0002009660239When we think about Fat Tuesday, New Orleans’  Mardi Gras is the first event that comes to mind. The Big Easy seems to grab most of the attention, but many countries and cultures celebrate the last day before Lent and spend several days or even a week or two to get ready to tighten their belts for the forty days until Easter.

imagescarnevale okItaly is no exception. Carnevale is celebrated throughout Italy. It shares many of the same trappings as Mardi Gras, but as with many things Italian, with a little more elegance. The exquisite maschere  (masks) and fancy balls lend a more sophisticated air to the celebration. Carnevale is not just fancy clothes, it has its share of merrymaking and tomfoolery. In fact, the prevalent attitude, “A carnevale ogni sherzo vale” (anything goes at carnevale) is easily aligned with “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (let the good times roll) in New Orleans.

Food and eating is a large part of every celebration and there are certain foods that are traditionally served. These foods tend to be rich, hearty and meat laden, again to make going into the Lenten season of fasting and abstinence from meat less painful. This recipe from Naples is typical of Carnevale celebration food. It has a Fat and Sodium content that will likely require the next forty days for your system to recover. The ingredients are simple;

DIGITAL CAMERAPolenta, Salami, Italian Cheeses, and Lard.

Yes, lard. It is responsible for the almost creamy texture of this savory cake. I made a large round, thick cake, but baking it in a small sheet pan would allow cutting into bite-size squares that would be perfect for a Fat Tuesday Party. Just remember to adjust the baking time by a few minutes so it doesn’t dry out.

 

 

Migliaccio di Polenta
Print Recipe
Traditional food for Italian Carnevale. Super rich and tasty. Just the thing to have before the Lenten season.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Migliaccio di Polenta
Print Recipe
Traditional food for Italian Carnevale. Super rich and tasty. Just the thing to have before the Lenten season.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water up to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the lard. Stir until the lard melts.
  2. Add the polenta a little at a time, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Once all of the polenta has been added continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is very thick. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the polenta is cool, add the salame and cheeses. Mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Use a very sturdy spoon or your hands.
  4. Spray or brush a 10 inch spring-form pan with olive oil. Pack the polenta mixture firmly into the pan.
  5. Melt butter in a small pan and add the bread crumbs. toss to moisten the crumbs. Lightly sprinkle over the cake.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. The cake should be lightly browned with slightly darker brown edges.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes or so. Remove the sides of the pan and place on a large platter.
  8. This can be served warm or at room temperature.
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