Archive for italian food
Today we use the rest of the spicy shrimp salad, but with a twist, a doughy twist. The spicy shrimp salad is used as a ravioli filling, topped with a lovely red sauce and served up with some from scratch French bread-which if served with a hunk of roasted garlic could be a meal on its own!
- 2 cups flour (about 9 ounces)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs water
- ½ tsp. salt
Combine all the ingredients of a stand mixer, or make a well with the dry ingredients on a working surface, and add the eggs, water and oil. Gently start the mixer on low, mixing until the dough appears crumbly and binds together when squeezed in your hand. If mixing by hand, add the water to achieve the same consistency. The exact amount of water required may vary by the flour, ambient humidity, and other factors, so you need to go by the look and feel versus specific amounts. Next, knead the dough, if working by hand or use the dough hook attachment if using a stand mixer. Knead until the dough takes on a shiny appearance or pulls away from the ball. Rest at least one hour, wrapped in the refrigerator. Once the dough is rested, use the settings on your pasta rollers or measure out to about 1/32 of an inch for linguine or fettuccine. Cut the pasta with a sharp knife, or use the pasta cutting mechanism of your mixer. For raviolis, use a mold or cut out squares or circles, (size as you prefer), drop in a little filling and top with another piece of pasta. Seal the edges well. Dust the pasta with a little flour to prevent sticking. Bring salted water with a few drops of olive oil added to a boil, add the pasta, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it is out al dente. The pasta can be made ahead of time and keep for several days in the refrigerator.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 ounce tomato paste
- ½ pound fresh tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs basil
- 1 Tbs oregano
- 1Tbs thyme
- 1 tsp. red pepper
- ¼ cup madeira or wine
- 1 can (35 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 35 oz. water
- 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- Staples: oil, herbs, wine, salt, spices
In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pork and brown. Add the onion and cook about 4 minutes, until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add the fresh tomatoes, garlic, herbs and pepper. Add the wine and cook until almost all the liquid is gone. Add the tomatoes and water. Simmer for 2-3 hours. Using an immersion blender, or in small batches in a food processor or blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Today’s treat can be found on page 233; osso buco. To add a touch of fall flavors it was served over roasted pumpkin risotto. A tremendous dish tempting in taste and hearty in nature.
Here’s a sneak peek for all our readers. This will air on The Daily Buzz national morning show on Valentine’s Day, but here’s the scoop. We did a lovely fresh pasta dish using our basic pasta recipe. We then added some garlic, shallots, wine, olive oil, roasted tomatoes, fresh bay scallops and herbs. A little fresh grated Romano later and you have some food of love; great for your heart and delicious on the taste buds.
- 9 oz. (roughly 1½ c.) No. 1 durum wheat semolina flour , plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp. salt, plus extra for cooking
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- 2 tbsp. water, plus extra for cooking
Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer, or make a well with the dry ingredients on a working surface, and add the eggs, water and oil. Gently start the mixer on low, mixing until the dough appears crumbly and binds together when squeezed in your hand. If mixing by hand, add the water to achieve the same consistency. The exact amount of water required may vary by the flour, ambient humidity and other factors, so you need to go by the look and feel versus specific amounts. Next, knead the dough, if working by hand, or use the dough hook attachment, if using a stand mixer. Knead until the dough takes on a shiny appearance and pulls away from the bowl. Rest at least 1 hour, wrapped, in the refrigerator. Once the dough is rested, use the settings on your pasta rollers or measure out to about 1/32nd of an inch for linguini or fettuccine. Cut the pasta with a sharp knife, or use the pasta cutting attachment for your mixer. Dust the pasta with a little flour to prevent sticking. Bring salted water with a few drops of olive oil added to a boil, add the pasta, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is al dente. The pasta can be made ahead and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
To make the sweet heart pasta dish add:
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 pound bay scallops
- 1 Tbs capers
- 1 Tbs each fresh oregano, thyme
- 1 pound roasted grape tomatoes
- Good quality olive oil for drizzling
- Fresh Pecorino-Romano cheese for grating
- 1 tsp. fresh parsley for garnish
Add the regular olive oil to a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add the tomatoes, capers, and scallops, cooking for several minutes. Add the pasta and toss in the pan with the good quality olive oil and the remaining ingredients. Serve topped with cheese and parsley; serves 6.
Here’s an upscale twist on an old classic!
Here’s a pasta dish that works great with just about any protein you want to toss in. We cut the fresh pasta a little narrower than typical fettuccine, hence the fettucelle designation. Cooked simply in a pan with olive oil, spices, lemon zest. capers and sun dried tomatoes it was topped of with a lemon butter champagne sauce and some fresh grated cheese (and a little steak thrown in for good measure). An easy, fresh holiday meal in less than 30 minutes.
Hhhmmmm….what to do with leftovers? When it was some of our fantastic cedar smoked prime rib roast, the answer was simplicity itself. Add a little Stilton cheese and roasted pear, wrap it all up in a pillowy tender ravioli and top it with a porcini mushroom and tarragon alfredo sauce. In a word, delicious.
- Basic Pasta Dough recipe (off to the right under “Recipes” header)
- Basic Alfredo sauce recipe (see above )
- 8 oz trimmed beef (I used nicely rare leftover prime rib roast)
- 1/2 roasted Bosc pear
- 2-3 oz blue cheese like Stilton
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 oz dried porcini, rehydrated in hot water-liquid reserved)
- 8oz fresh mushroom like cremini
- 2 Tbs fresh tarragon
Allow the cheese to soften and combine the meat (cut into small bits), lemon zest and the cheese. To roast the pear, remove the core and lightly (~1/2 tsp) top with some demerara sugar. Cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool, remove the skin and finely chop 1/2 pear. Add that to the meat mixture. Use this to fill the raviolis. Add the reserved liquid from the rehydrated mushrooms to the water to cook the pasta. Fold in the mushrooms and tarrgon into the alfredo sauce.
Clams with White Wine Sauce
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One of my favorite dishes; pure, simple and delicious like so much Italian cuisine. The key is fresh, fresh, fresh! I also like to drizzle about a tablespoon of Alfredo sauce on top for a little extra creamy goodness.
- Fresh pasta (see basic pasta dough recipe)
- 1 dozen top neck or other fresh hard-shell clams, rinsed
- 1 cup clam broth (or seafood stock)
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 Tbs fresh chopped oregano
- 1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme
- 1 Tbs piri-piri or other hot sauce
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup red pepper, small dice
- Fresh grated parmesan for garnish
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Place the herbs, wine, broth or seafood stock, hot sauce, onion and garlic in a medium sautoir or saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the clams and cover. Cook for about 6-8 minutes; at this point discard any clams that have not opened. Remove the clams and reserve.
Heat the sauce to high and reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta in salted water, drain and plate. About 1-2 minutes before the sauce is done, add the red pepper. Place the clams over the pasta and ladle the thickened sauce on top. Garnish and enjoy.
It’s back to the menu after our radio break with Fennel and Leek Saffron Risotto.
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Fennel and Leek Saffron Risotto
- 1 cup Arborio (or other short grain risotto rice) Rice
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 leeks, thinly cut-white parts only (about ½ cup)
- ½ bulb thinly sliced fennel (about ¾ cup)
- 2 Tbs finely chopped shallots
- 1 clove finely chopped garlic
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp mascarpone cheese
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 ¾ cup warmed chicken stock (light)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Warm 1 cup of the chicken stock and dissolve the saffron threads in the stock. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute over medium heat to sweat. Add the rice and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add fennel and leek and cook another minute. Add the wine (at room temperature) and enough broth (if needed) to wet the rice mixture. Continue to add the saffron broth a little at a time and cook, stirring frequently and allowing the liquid to reduce between additions. Add just enough liquid to keep the rice wet. It is important to add the stock in small increments. Too much stock at once boils the rice, resulting in a mushy risotto. Add more saffron stock and then plain chicken stock as needed. Stir frequently over the next 18-twenty minutes. When the rice is done add the cheese to the risotto. Garnish and serve immediately.
There is no denying the popularity of Italian cuisine. But why do we love it? I think because true Italian cuisine is, very simply put, real food. It is about getting the freshest ingredients and preparing them as you need them; insuring their vibrancy and flavor. No heavy sauces or overly strong spices, the flavors of the ingredients must speak for themselves. True Italian cuisine blends those disparate voices into a harmony. A meal is like a fine Italian opera, many singers of differing range coalesce into a beautiful entertaining story and a memorable experience. And like wandering upon some street corner virtuoso in New Orleans, you may fortuitously stumble upon such a talent. That is exactly what happened when I wandered into The Chefs of Napoli. Having been to Italy and particularly to Naples several times, I know the real deal. Chefs Luigi Barile and Antonio Cacace are the real deal.
Both hail from the hometown of Sophia Loren, Pozzuoli, Italy. A small seaside town nestled in the outskirts of Naples about twenty minutes drive from the big city. Both their fathers were fishermen. Childhood friends, they grew up together and were introduced to the cucina at an early age. Learning how to make gnocchi from Grandmother led to working in family restaurants and eventually here to America. Arriving together almost a decade ago, they struggled on opposite shores of Florida. Antonio eventually made his way to the Gulf Coast with Amber where Luigi was waiting with his new bride, Roseann. Together they built their dream. “It’s a labor of love” Luigi says as he recalls the construction of their restaurant; the long days ending at 4am, laying tile, assembling the frame of the restaurant to come and the preparation of their menu. Only things they would eat themselves were allowed to be included on the menu. With that ingrained sense of Neapolitan hospitality, in a small strip mall in Spring Hill, they have been transporting patrons back to the old world with meals like saltimbocca di vitello for almost 4 years now. They may be here, but their roots still bleed green, white and red. Asking Chef Luigi, a bear of a man, what his last meal would be he answers definitively: roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella, fresh bread and a big Osso Bucco with a real saffron risotto. Chef Antonio, the slighter and quieter of the two behind his glasses, replies with a simple whole grilled sea bass and farmers’ market fresh salad-with real balsamic, he adds emphatically. In dining out, this is what we should seek; in dining in this is what we should strive to. With a fierce pride, they continue the old ways: everything made fresh from scratch and cooked to order. The breads and dough, the pasta and fillings, the antipasto to desserts; all are made fresh with quality ingredients-even the wine is imported from the specific region of Italy from where they hail. Perhaps most importantly, they add that indispensible Italian ingredient –amore. And maybe that is why we really love great Italian food, because it loves us back.
Visit Chefs Luigi and Antonio at Chefs of Napoli located at 14277 Powell Road, Spring Hill, Florida, 34609; telephone: 352.544.1234.