lunedì 30 marzo 2015


Entree - Can be Gluten free (read notes at bottom)

1 lb sliced pork loin, 1/8" thick
1 cup milk
3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup brandy
00 flour to dredge
1 cup frozen peas

Dredge your pork slices in flour and shake away any excess. Warm up the olive oil, in a non-stick skillet, over high heat.

Sautee meat slices until lighty golden on both sides. Season with salt, deglaze with brandy, then add milk. Lower to medium heat and add peas.

Cover with a lid and cook until peas are tender.

Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4

- Milk is great in keeping meats moist and tender. Also, given the flour, your milk will thicken nicely.
- If you're gluten intolerant or alleric, use corn starch, instead of flour.
- Serve this dish with salad, fruit and bread to have a complete meal.
- If you have leftover meat (I always prepare more than I need), you can freeze it in portions, so you'll have a quick meal ready in the freezer.
- With the sauce, you can prepare a great risotto!!!

lunedì 23 marzo 2015


Side dish or pasta sauce - Vegan/vegetarian - Lactose and Gluten free

1 small onion
2-3 mini carrots
2-3 zucchini
1 bunch Swiss chards
3-4 tomatoes, ripe but firm
4 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
Freshly chopped basil or parsley

Roughly chop onion.

Thinly slice, carrots and zucchini, but keep them separate.

Divide chards' stems from leaves; cut stems in pieces and leaves in strips, again, keeping them separate.

Dice tomatoes and put them in a bowl with a pinch od salt and 1 tbsp of Italian extra virgin olive oil

In a big skillet, over medium-high heat, warm up the remaining olive oil.

Sautee onions and carrots, stirring, for about 2 minutes, the add chards' stems and sautee another minute.

At this point add zucchini, and sautee for about 2 minutes more.

Stir in the tomatoes with all their juice, lower heat to simmer and cook util vegetables are done.

A couple minutes before turning the heat off, stir in the chards' leaves (that will cook in a very short time) and check if more salt is needed.

At the end, sprinkle with freshly chopped basil or parsley.

- This dish can be used as a side dish or pasta sauce.
- If you can't find flavorful fresh tomatoes, use Italian San Marzano peeled tomatoes.
- All the vegetables I used (that you can see in the picture) were from our garden, therefore rather small in size.
- It's great even at room temperature.
- You can also sprinkle with a mix of parsley and basil or oregano
- It's vegan/vegetarian, lactose and gluten free!

lunedì 16 marzo 2015


Entree - Lactose-free (read notes at bottom)

I got the idea combing to recipes I already tried and liked.

For the patties:
10 oz ground beef
7 oz bratwurst, 2 links
1 1/2 14-oz cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, grated
1 or 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
A few tbsp broth, chicken or vegetable

For the "buns"
250 gr Italian 00 flour (approx 2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Italian sea salt
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
130 ml lukewarm water (approx 1/2 cup)
A little sage and rosemary, finely chopped.

Mayonnese and cheese

Prepare the patties. Blend the beans with broth until you obtain a smooth cream and put it in a bowl; add meats, cheese, parsley, salt and mix well to combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until you prepare your "buns", this will help all the flavors to combine.

Prepare the "buns" (mini "focaccia"-like buns). In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, herbs and salt, the add oil and water. Mix to combine, then transfer on a working surface and knead until smooth. It won't take long.

Divide in even parts, shape as a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Shape as hamburger patties and cook over high heat in a non-stick skillet, on the bbq or on a cast-iron griddle.

While they're cooking, flatten your dough balls a little until you reach about 1/2" thick. 

Warm a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat (with lid) and cook the mini focaccia flipping them often, until golden on both sides; at this thickness, it will take at least 6-8 minutes.

Cut the "buns" in half and proceed as usual (I used some mayo on the "buns" and a little cheese on top of the patties) . If it seems that the "buns" are a little undercooked, place them in the skillet cut-side down for a couple minutes.

Serve immediately.

- If you don't like the idea of chopped herbs, you can use a good infused olive oil (such as our Barbera Mediterranean herbs Extra virgin olive oil from Sicily), instead of the plain one.
- For a lactose free version, leave both Parmigiano AND final cheese out!
- If you have some patties left, you can freeze them separate and use them when you need.
- You'll see that the beans give a different moist to the patties. I used butter beans, this time, instead of the borlotti you'll see in the video here.
- The cheese will make your patties stick, regardless. But they are good!!!
- The video for the "buns" is the original one I made as dessert, so just take a look at how to prepare them. You can find it here.

martedì 10 marzo 2015


Entree - Lactose free - Can be gluten free (READ notes at bottom)

1 lb Italian long pasta (spaghetti, linguine, spaghettini...)
3 bratwurst, casing removed and crumbled
1 big yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1 28-oz can Italian peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt

First of all, prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan with lid warm up the olive oil and sautee, briefly, onion and bell pepper slices, then add the crumbled bratwurst.

Sautee until bratwurst crumbles are golden, then pour wine and stir until all alcohol has evaporated. At this point, you can stir in the San Marzano tomatoes, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.

While sauce cooks, put a tall pot with water on the stove. As soon as it boils, add salt and pasta and cook until al dente.

Drain pasta, reserving some cooking water, and transfer it in the saucepan with sauce. Sautee a couple minutes over high heat, tossing to coat evenly.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 depending on what else is served.

- You can either crush or blend your San Marzano tomatoes or leave them whole, they will crush anyway during cooking.
- Use the reserved water, when sauteeing pasta with sauce, in case sauce thickens too much.
- You can add a few hot pepper flakes, if you like an extra kick
- It's lactose free, can be gluten free if you use GF pasta.

martedì 3 marzo 2015


Pasta entree - Can be a complete meal 

Sunday I wanted something different so I tried this recipe. I was fabulous! Another good recipe for Lent.

1 lb Italian pasta (I used a cut called cavatappi here in the US)
8 1 cup peas
4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
Italian sea salt
Italian extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot with water and peas to a boil.

In a big skillet over medium heat warm the olive oil and sautee shrimp until they become pink on both sides. Season with salt and set aside.

In the meantime, in a bowl, beat eggs with salt and then add the parmesan; mix well to combine. Set aside.

When water boils, add salt and then pasta, stir often for the first couple of minutes and cook until "al dente", uncovered, with water rapidly boiling.

Drain pasta and peas and transfer to the skillet with shrimp. Sautee for a couple of minutes then transfer everything in the bowl with the eggs; mix quickly. The warmth from the pasta will set the eggs enough.

Serve immediately sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

This recipe serves 4.

- You can add hot pepper flakes when sauteeing your shrimp, if you like them.
- If you are preparing just half of the quantities, you won't have enough pasta to set the eggs, so you may need to sautee the pasta and then add the eggs in the same skillet.
- If I need vegetables with the recipe (peas, green beans and similar) I always cook them in the same pot with pasta. This way, pasta will absorb part of the nutrients released by veggies in the water.
- Just before draining pasta, retain some water: it will be useful if you need to sautee the eggs mixture in the skillet. It will work as well as cream, with way less fattening outcome ;-)