lunedì 28 novembre 2011


Meat entree

Liliana is one of my best friends in Montepulciano, and this is her recipe (I made it succesfully several times).

1.1 lb ground mixed meats (pork, beef, chicken, turkey, veal: whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup ricotta
2 cups boiled vegetables (diced zucchine or carrots, peas and more)
1 big slice of ham or 2-3 slices of prosciutto (depending on size)
4 tbsp parmigiano, grated
2 tbsp chopped parsley or basil (or both)
1 egg
2 slices of bread, crust removed
Breadcrumbs (real Italian ones), nutmeg, salt, milk or broth, pepper if you like it.

Soak bread slices in milk or broth for a couple minutes, then squeeze it.

In a big bowl arrange ground meats, soaked bread, ricotta, egg, 3 tbsp of parmigiano, herbs and mix well until all ingredients are combined.

Preheat oven to 375.

Lightly grease a pound cake baking pan and dust it with breadcrumbs; transfer half of the meat mixture into the pan and press it, line with ham or prosciutto, top with boiled vegetables and finish with the remaining meat mixture.

Mix 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs and the remaining parmigiano and sprinkle meatloaf with it.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and finish baking for 10-15 more minutes, until golden on top; total baking time should be 45-45 minutes.

Serve with fresh salad.

This recipe serves about 6 people.

- You can chop ham or prosciutto and mix it to meats, as well as vegetables.
- You can steam vegetables, instead of boiling them; you can also use jarred small and sweet Italian peas (drain and rinse them).
- A friend from Reno added about half jar of the artichoke bruschetta topping we sell here saying it was unbelievably good: thanks Karin!!
- You can make a fast tomato sauce: sautee garlic or onion (or both) in extravirgin olive oil, add one 24-oz bottle of Italian crushed San Marzano, season with salt and basil; cook for about 10 minutes and serve your meatloaf with it. If you have leftover of the sauce use it the day after or freeze it for future use.
- You can make a bigger meatloaf, slice it in portion-size slices and freeze them separately: they'll be a perfect last minute dinner or a take-to-work lunch.

lunedì 21 novembre 2011


Appetizer - Entree - Vegetarian

For the dough:
2 2/3 cup 00 flour
6 tbsp butter, diced really cold
2 eggs

For the stuffing:
1 1/2 jar Italian marinated artichokes, draine
3 tbsp plain Italian breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1 8oz mozzarella diced
1/2 cup Parmigiano, grated
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped

First of all, prepare the dough: in a bowl mix flour and a pinch of salt; add butter and eggs; mix quickly to combine all ingredients but not too long otherwise the butter warms up and the crust will become hard.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it the refrigerator for 30 minutes, at least.

Prepare the stuffing: in a skillet over medium-high heat, sautee garlic in olive oil until lightly golden, then add artichokes and sautee for about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in 2 parts, one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger one over a flour-dusted table, thick about 1/4".

Repeat with the smaller part.

Put the bigger disk you obtained in a pie-pan (buttered and dusted with flour or with parchment paper) and poke it with a fork.

Sprinkle the bottom with breadcrumbs and spoon artichokes in it; in a separate bowl beat eggs with salt, parmigiano and mozzarella.

Cover with the smaller disk, pinch edges tighly, and make 5-6 cuts in order to let steam escape.

Bake for about 10 minutes, then lower to 350 and bake for about 30 more minutes (or until golden).

This recipe serves 6

- This recipe can me made also with unsweetened frozen puff pastry, which will save time, just defrost it and follow recipe.

- It's a vegetarian dish that can be served as appetizer or entree.

- You can add shredded prosciutto, but it would no longer be vegetarian; also, in this case, you need to adjust the quantity of salt.

lunedì 14 novembre 2011


Soup - Vegetarian - Lactose intolerants safe

2/5 cup Italian farro
2/5 cup Italian barley
3/4 cup Italian dried cannellini beans
1 can Italian borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup crushed Italian San Marzano
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 sage leaves and 1 rosemary sprig (leves only), finely minced
6 cups hot vegetable broth
6 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Soak cannellini beans for 12 hours (overnight). Remove from soaking water and cook in water for about 45 minutes; then add salt and cook for 15 more minutes. Set aside.

In the mentime, in a big saucepan over medium heat, sautee chopped vegetables and herbs in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, when onion starts becoming translucent, add farro and barley, stir for 2-3 minutes then add hot broth and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Drain cannellini from cookin water and add them, along with borlotti and crushed tomatoes, in the saucepan where farro and barley are cooking; stir, cover and cook for 15 more minutes, season with salt, if necessary.

Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil (it's good served at room temperature, too).

This recipe serves 4

- It is a vegetarian dish, safe for lactose intolerants but not gluten free (both barley and farro are actually grains).
- It's a dish that's very rich in fibers.
- It is considered a complete meal. You can serve some salad, if you like.
- Orzo is the actual translation for barley (keep this in mind if you go to a restaurant in Italy).

lunedì 7 novembre 2011


Fish entree - lactose intolerants and celiacs safe

4 slices of sword fish, 1/2" thick
20 Italian capers, packed in salt, rinsed and finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice
1 garlic clove, not peeled
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, warm olive oil and sautee garlic and capers for about 2 minutes, then discard garlic.

Arrange sword fish in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Pour wine and let alcohol evaporate, then add lemon juice.

Season with salt, sprinkle with parsley and cook for another minute.

Serve immediately with salad or sauteed (or steamed) vegetables or both.

This recipe serves 4.

- Use Italian salted capers for a few reasons: they're better, they are bigger and being salted and rinsed means that they won't release other tastes in the dish you're preparing.
- You can use tuna fish or cod or swai fish.
- You can add 2-3 peeled San Marzano and a few Italian dry cured black olives.