martedì 29 ottobre 2013

Risotto with butternut squash, mushrooms and sausage

Here is another video recipe. How to prepare the perfect risotto!!! please forgive my mistakes!!


lunedì 28 ottobre 2013


Entree - Gluten free - Vegetarian (read notes below)

This recipe has been created during a chat with our Italian friend Renata, who lives in Wisconsin. Since we could not decide if making a butternut squash or a mushroom risotto, she offered to test a risotto with both (and pancetta) and texted me during the preparation!! I couldn't find a decent pancetta, so I used sausage.

3/4 cup Carnaroli rice
1 sausages, casing removed and crumbled
8 oz white mushrooms, diced
21/2 cup butternut squash, diced
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
8 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio)
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Bring broth to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.

In a large saucepan, warm the extra virgin olive oil and sautee onions and sausages until onions are translucent and sausages are lightly browned; now add mushrooms and butternut squash and sautee for 2 more minutes.

Stir in rice and, when translucent, deglaze pan with wine; when it's evaporated, start adding broth.

Cook for about 17-20 minutes (depending on your taste), adding simmering broth one ladle at a time and stirring frequently.

When risotto is almost ready, "smash" some butternut squash pieces with a fork and add cream cheese, stir until it's completely incorporated.

Remove from heat, stir in parmigiano and butter and serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh parsley.

This recipe serves 2 (or so I tought: if you use 1 cup rice it will easily serve 3 people!).

- I prefer to use sausage without fennel seeds (bratwurst) because they are overwhelming flavor.
- As said at the beginning, you can use pancetta instead of sausage, probably even prosciutto (next experiment)
- Carnaroli is the best rice for risotto, less starchy than arborio but easier to cook: it doesn't overcook too easily.
- I used fat free cream cheese, to give a creamier texture.
- You can deglaze your pan with 1/4 cup brandy, instead of wine, if you like it.
- For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and avoid sausage.
- COMING SOON: the video to prepare this recipe!!

martedì 22 ottobre 2013

Focaccia recipe

Here is our first video recipe: pardon the technical problems... next time will be better!!!

lunedì 21 ottobre 2013


Pizza - Vegetarian and lactose ree options included
(thank you to Vittorio of Viva La Focaccia for this recipe)

240 gr. lukewarm water (1 cup), in winter water should be warm, but not too much (you should be able to keep your hand in it without discomfort).
30 gr. Italian extra virgin olive oil (about 3 tbsp)
7 gr. dry active yeast (1 envelope or 1 tsp)
7 gr. salt (1 tsp scant)
345 gr. Italian 00 flour (2 1/2 cup, quantity estimated)
2 sausage, case removed and crumbled
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

In a bowl, where you'll prepare your dough, put the entire amount of water and dissolve the yeast, then add oil and half of the of the flour. It is very important that salt doesn't touch yeast. Start mixing until you obtain a smooth cream, then add salt and almost all the remaing flour (keep some of it for next phase). Mix and knead for about 4-5 minutes until your dough doesn't stick to the bowl anymore.

Sprinkle remaining flour onto your work surface and transfer your dough onto it, dust your hands with flour and knead for a few more minutes (if dough sticks too much, wait 3-5 minutes, then start again).

When you have a smooth dough, oil your pizza baking dish (mine was 16"). We like pizza a little thiner so we used 3/4 of the dough for pizza and the remaining dough for a small focaccia with onions.

Transfer your dough in the center, then turn upside down. This way, the dough surface will be covered with oil and won't dry out while leavening.

Let it rise for 45-60 minutes, at that point your dough should have doubled.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

With oiled hands, flatten pizza dough carefully without stretching it.

Arrange sausage on top and cover with mozzarella (for the onion focaccia, this is the time to spread raw onions on top).

Bake for 12-15 minutes and serve immediately

- With the exact same dough, last Sunday, I prepared a herb focaccia (that we like thick).

- You can make it with San Marzano Italian tomatoes and whichever toppings you may prefer.
- You can freeze it, before cooking it (I haven't tried that, I cooked ours right away): Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When you want to cook it, pre-heat oven and, when ready, remove pizza form freezer and transfer in the oven immediately (no plastic wrap, obviously ;-) ). It will take a little longer to cook (about 15-17 minutes)

lunedì 14 ottobre 2013


Rice entree - Gluten free 

1 1/2 cup Carnaroli rice
2 sausages, casing removed and crumbled
2 medium zucchini, diced
8 cups chicken broth, minimum
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cream cheese

Bring broth to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.

In a large non-stick skillet, warm up the extra virgin olive oil and sautee onions, zucchini and sausages until onions are translucent and sausages are browned.

Stir in rice, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, then add wine.

Cook for about 17-20 minutes (depepnding on your taste), adding simmering broth a ladle at a time and stirring frequently, to avoid sticking.

Remove from heat, stir in parmigiano and cream cheese and serve immediately!!

This recipe serves 4.

- I prefer to use bratwurst because it has no fennel seeds.
- I didn't have butter, reason why I used cream cheese. It's a good substitution, but risotto should be made with butter ;-)
- I didn't have white wine either, only red. So I used same amount of brandy, which gave it a light beige color, and a very good taste!!
- Carnaroli is the best rice for risotto, less starchy than arborio but easier to cook: it doesn't overcook too easily.

lunedì 7 ottobre 2013

Gluten intolerance and gluten free products

Just a little chat about gluten intolerance and gluten free products. You can find our gluten free recipes in this blog


Entree - Appetizer -  Can be vegetarian and gluten free (READ notes at bottom)

3 medium eggplant
8 oz mozzarella, roughly chopped
1 28-oz can of peeled Italian San Marzano tomatoes (pureed)
1/2 cup parmigiano, grated
3 tbsp breadcrumbs, not seasoned!
6 slices ham
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper (optional)

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4" slices (you can cut them crosswise, if you prefer)

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm up 2 tbsp of olive oil and sautee garlic in it, until golden, then add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, if you like it; let it boil for 15 minutes to thicken the sauce. Remove from heat and stir parsley in.

Meanwhile, heat a non- stick skillet and sautee the eggplant slices (or, as the original recipe suggests, fry them).

Preheat oven to 400F.

Lightly grease an ovensafe casserole with olive oil, spread the bottom with tomatoes, arrange sauteed eggplant slices in a layer, cover with ham sliced, tomato sauce and top with mozzarella.

Repeat layering until you finish all ingredients. Top with tomato sauce, mozzarella, breadcrumbs and parmigiano; drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese melts and top is golden.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before serving (about 5 minutes).

Quantities are for a 9x13" casserole (I made a smaller one).

- You can avoid ham, and you'll have a vegetarian dish.
- Avoid breadcrumbs in order to have a gluten free dish.
- You can use our mix of Italian parsley, garlic and hot pepper flakes (if you don't have fresh ingredients), in your sauce.
- If you have some parmigiana left, you can freeze it in individual portions, to be used when you need a quick dinner.
- I crumbled some bratwurst (I don't like fennel seeds that are in Italian sausages here in the US) on top. Sorry picture was taken when the dish was cold already... Bottom picture has been taken right after warming it up!!!