Italian Cuisine

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Baked Rice with Sausage

Post  justmecookin on Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:39 pm

Baked Rice with Sausage

2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
4-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dry chicken noodle soup mix
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large skillet, cook the sausage, celery, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil; add dry soup mix. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Stir in canned soup, rice and sausage mixture; mix well.

Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Toss bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over rice mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until rice is tender. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12-14 servings.

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Stuffed Pizza Pockets

Post  justmecookin on Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:17 pm

Stuffed Pizza Pockets

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce, divided
12 slices pepperoni
1 package (2-1/2 ounces) thinly sliced deli pastrami, chopped
1 package (2-1/2 ounces) thinly sliced deli ham, chopped
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, butter, salt and 2-1/4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Roll dough into a 14-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Cut with a 3-in. round cookie cutter. Reroll scraps to cut a total of 24 circles. Place 1 teaspoon pizza sauce and a slice of pepperoni in the centers of 12 circles.

Combine the pastrami, ham and cheese; place equal amounts over pepperoni. Top each with 1/2 teaspoon pizza sauce. Cover with remaining circles; press edges with a fork to seal.

Place on greased baking sheets. Brush with egg. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Warm remaining pizza sauce; serve with pizza pockets. Makes 1 dozen.

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Brownie Biscotti

Post  justmecookin on Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:21 am

Brownie Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unblanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Drizzle:
1/2 cup vanilla or white chips
1-1/2 teaspoons shortening
In a large bowl, combine the butter, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture just until combined (dough will be crumbly).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead in almonds and chocolate chips. Divide dough in half. On an ungreased baking sheet, shape each portion into a 12-in. x 3-in. log, leaving 3 in. between the logs.

Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until set and tops are cracked. Cool for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm and dry. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For drizzle, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt vanilla chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti. Makes 3 dozen.

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Shrimp Arrabbiata

Post  justmecookin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:24 pm

Shrimp Arrabbiata

6 ounces fresh linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt; add shrimp to pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done.

Transfer shrimp to a bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion, minced garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or just until sauce begins to thicken. Return shrimp to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add parsley to the pan, stirring well to combine. Serve over pasta. Makes 4 servings

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Creamy Onion Garlic Bread

Post  justmecookin on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:33 am

Creamy Onion Garlic Bread

2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 green onions, chopped
1 loaf (1 pound) unsliced Italian bread, halved lengthwise

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder until smooth. Beat in onions. Spread over cut sides of bread. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Makes 6-8 servings.

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Pepperoni Roll-Ups

Post  justmecookin on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:34 am

Pepperoni Roll-Ups

1 tube (8 ounces) Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
16 slices pepperoni, cut into quarters
2 pieces string cheese (1 ounce each), cut into quarters
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Unroll crescent dough; separate into eight triangles. Place eight pepperoni pieces on each. Place a piece of cheese on the long side of each triangle; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Roll up each, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Sprinkle with garlic salt and remaining Italian seasoning. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 8 appetizers.

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Fresh Tomato Pasta Toss

Post  justmecookin on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:34 am

Fresh Tomato Pasta Toss

3 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes
1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

To remove peels from tomatoes, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place tomatoes, one at a time, in boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately plunge in ice water. Peel skins with a sharp paring knife and discard. Chop pulp; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet, cook garlic in oil over medium heat until golden. Add the parsley, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and reserved tomato pulp; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add cream; heat through. Drain pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour tomato sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 8 servings.

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Feta Tomato-Basil Fish

Post  justmecookin on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:35 am

Feta Tomato-Basil Fish

1/3 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pound walleye, bass or other whitefish fillets
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, broil fish 4-6 in. from the heat for 5-6 minutes. Top each fillet with tomato mixture and cheese. Broil 5-7 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

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Pecan Parmesan Chicken

Post  justmecookin on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:35 am

Pecan Parmesan Chicken

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup ground pecans
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

Flatten chicken to 1/2-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pecans, oregano, salt, basil and pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk egg whites and cornstarch until smooth. Dip chicken into egg white mixture, then roll in crumb mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken over medium heat in oil for 3-5 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer to an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 8-10 minutes or until juices run clear. Makes 6 servings.

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Baked Orecchiette with Pork Sugo

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:38 pm

Baked Orecchiette with Pork Sugo

3 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs
5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds orecchiette
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (7 ounces)

Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the pork in a single layer and cook over moderately high heat until the pieces are golden brown all over, about 12 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened and browned in spots, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer. Add the red wine and thyme sprigs and cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and vegetables to a food processor; discard the thyme sprigs. Pulse just until the pork is shredded. Scrape the shredded pork and vegetables back into the casserole. Stir in the chopped parsley, oregano and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until it is still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes; drain well. Add the orecchiette to the casserole and toss with the pork sauce. Scrape the pasta into a very large baking dish and sprinkle all over with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake the casserole in the upper third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling. Let the baked pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings

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Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:45 pm

Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound penne
3 cups Creamy Ricotta
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomato puree, water, sugar, bay leaf and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic, mash it to a paste and stir it back into the sauce; discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage to the pasta, then add 1 cup of the tomato sauce and toss to coat the penne.

Spoon the pasta into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the pasta and dollop large spoonfuls of the Creamy Ricotta on top. Gently fold some of the ricotta into the pasta; don’t overmix—you should have pockets of ricotta.

Scatter the mozzarella on top and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake the pasta for about 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden on top. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings

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Parmigiano-Crusted Rigatoni

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:46 pm

Parmigiano-Crusted Rigatoni

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound rigatoni
One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons

Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the rigatoni until al dente; about 6 minutes before the rigatoni is done, add the cauliflower florets to the pot. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the panko with the Parmigiano cheese and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Return the rigatoni and cauliflower to the pot. Add the garlic cream, the prosciutto and the reserved pasta water and toss until the pasta is coated. Scrape the pasta into a large shallow baking dish and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Broil for about 2 minutes, rotating constantly, until the topping is evenly browned. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings

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Ziti, Eggplant, and Fontina Gratin

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:57 pm

Ziti, Eggplant, and Fontina Gratin

7 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound ziti or penne
1/2 pound fontina, grated (about 2 cups)

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the eggplant and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and cook 3 minutes longer.

Heat the broiler. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain. Toss the pasta with the eggplant, the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Add the cheese and toss again. Transfer the pasta to a shallow baking dish or gratin dish. Broil until the cheese melts and starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 4 servings

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Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Ricotta, and Fontina

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:03 pm

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Ricotta, and Fontina

1 pound rigatoni
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups (about 1 pound) ricotta
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
6 ounces fontina, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Heat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rigatoni until almost done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Put the pasta in the prepared baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

Meanwhile, squeeze as much of the water as possible from the spinach. Put the spinach in a food processor and puree with the ricotta, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir in half the fontina.

Stir the spinach mixture into the pasta. Top with the remaining fontina and Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the top. Bake the pasta until the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings

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Baked Ziti with Pesto

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:08 pm

Baked Ziti with Pesto

1/2 pound ziti
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups grated, packaged mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup store-bought or homemade pesto

Heat the oven to 350°. Oil an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes. It will be partially cooked. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again thoroughly.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt, and bay leaf.

Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Remove the bay leaf. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, about half the Parmesan, the pesto, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with about a third of the tomato sauce. Spread the ricotta mixture on the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce.

Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 4 servings

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Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:12 pm

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes, drained (from one 28-ounce can)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
3/4 pound medium pasta shells
6 ounces mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oven to 400°. Oil a large baking dish (about 9 by 13 inches). In a large stainless-steel frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.

Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the shells until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce. Put half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half the mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings

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Spinach Pasta

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:42 pm

Spinach Pasta

2 bunches spinach, washed and trimmed
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Put 1/4 cup of water into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and cook until completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze out water. Finely chop spinach and set aside.

Sift flour into a mound on a clean surface. Use your hand to make a well in the center. Add spinach to well, then add eggs and lightly beat together with a fork. Continue beating, gradually incorporating flour from the inside edge of the well into spinach mixture.

When dough becomes too stiff to work with the fork, knead flour into spinach mixture with both hands until dough is no longer sticky. Form dough into a ball and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Clean work surface, then dust with more flour. Uncover dough and knead with the heel of your hand until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cut dough into 4 pieces and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, flatten dough so it will fit through the rollers of a hand-cranked pasta machine. Set rollers on widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine.

Decrease setting by 1 notch and feed narrow end of the pasta through rollers. Repeat, decreasing setting by 1 notch each time until you get to last notch. (Don't roll pasta through last setting or it will be too thin.) Cover pasta sheets with damp kitchen towels to keep from drying out until ready to use, or cut into other pasta shapes. Makes 4 6" × 22" sheets

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Bolognese Meat Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:44 pm

Bolognese Meat Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 rib celery, trimmed and minced
1/2 medium carrot, peeled, trimmed, and minced
2–3 slices prosciutto di Parma (about 1 oz.), finely chopped
2 chicken livers, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup hot milk
1 cup beef, veal, or chicken broth
1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomato purée

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft and translucent but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more.

Add prosciutto and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until livers are just cooked and still a little pink, about 1 minute. Add ground chuck, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up meat with the back of the spoon, until just cooked and still a little pink, about 5 minutes more. (To keep meat tender, do not fry or brown.)

Add wine to pot and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add hot milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat broth and tomato purée together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, then add to meat mixture in pot. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 5 cups

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Béchamel Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:56 pm

Béchamel Sauce

3 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. sifted flour
2 cups hot milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk for 1 1/2 minutes (do not allow to brown). Gradually add hot milk, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce is the consistency of thick cream, about 15 minutes. Makes 2 cups

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Bagna Cauda

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:47 pm

Bagna Cauda

6 sun-dried tomato halves
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 canned anchovy fillets, finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Combine boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and mince; set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, minced onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add anchovies; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Add sun-dried tomatoes and capers; cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, mustard, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in remaining oil, and remove from heat. Add green onions and vinegar. Serve warm. Makes 1 1/2 cups

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Pistachio-Encrusted Rack of Lamb

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:49 pm

Pistachio-Encrusted Rack of Lamb

3 (1-ounce) slices day-old white bread
1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
1 1/4 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (1 1/2-pound) French-cut racks of lamb (8 ribs each), trimmed
Cooking spray
Mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure about 1 1/4 cups. Combine the breadcrumbs, nuts, rind, parsley, juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Combine chives, mint, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.

Sprinkle lamb with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add lamb racks; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Spread half of the mustard mixture over meaty portion of each lamb rack. Carefully pat half of the breadcrumb mixture into mustard mixture on each lamb rack.

Place the lamb on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 140° (medium-rare) to 155° (medium). Place lamb on platter; cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving (temperature will increase 5° upon standing). Slice each rack into 4 pieces (2 ribs per piece). Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired. Makes 8 servings

justmecookin

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Creamy Polenta with Warm Tomato Compote

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:45 pm

Creamy Polenta with Warm Tomato Compote

6 cups cherry tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced shallots (about 3 medium)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup dry polenta
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut several slits in the bottom of each tomato; place, stem sides down, in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove tomatoes from oven); bake 45 minutes or until browned. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add sugar; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes. Cover; set aside.

Combine the milk and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and gradually add the polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt; cover and let stand 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Top the polenta with the tomato compote and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings

justmecookin

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Braised Zucchini and Leeks

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:47 pm

Braised Zucchini and Leeks

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups finely chopped leek (about 2 large)
6 cups finely chopped zucchini (about 5 small)
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek; sauté for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, salt, and garlic. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings

justmecookin

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Fresh Berry Pavlovas

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:50 pm

Fresh Berry Pavlovas

4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 (8-ounce) carton plain yogurt
3/4 cup commercial crème fraîche
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 250°. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 8 (3-inch) circles on paper. Turn the paper over; secure with masking tape. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not underbeat).

Divide egg white mixture evenly among 8 drawn circles on baking sheet. Shape the meringues into nests with 1-inch sides using the back of a spoon. Bake at 250° for 1 hour. Turn oven off; cool meringues in closed oven for at least 2 hours or until completely dry. Carefully remove the meringues from paper.

Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, and spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand for 5 minutes. Scrape into a bowl using a rubber spatula.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, drained yogurt, and crème fraîche. Spoon the yogurt mixture evenly into the meringues. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons each of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Makes 8 servings

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Beef Barola

Post  justmecookin on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:59 am

Beef Barola

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
2-1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast
3 cups Barola or Barberesco wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 Bay Leaves
Freshly ground Sea Salt Adjustable Grinder and Black Pepper Adjustable Grinder
Generous shaving whole nutmeg

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Move vegetables to the sides; brown all sides of chuck roast. Add wine, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer 2-1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is fork tender. Place roast on serving platter; cover and keep warm. Puree vegetables and cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Add freshly ground nutmeg. Serve with the pan juices.

For a thicker pan sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon corn starch in 2 tablespoons cold water. Return pureed juices to pan and add corn starch mixture. Bring to a boil and heat for 1 minute. Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Re: Italian Cuisine

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