Italian Cuisine

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Ricotta Nut Torte

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 1:31 pm

Ricotta Nut Torte

2 cartons (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 milk chocolate candy bar (7 ounces), grated

Batter:
2/3 cup shortening
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk

Frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whole hazelnuts and chocolate curls, optional

For filling, in a small bowl, beat ricotta cheese and sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla. Fold in pecans and chocolate. Cover and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Pour into three waxed paper-lined 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Cut each cake in half. Place one bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat layers four times. Top with remaining cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a bowl, beat cream until thickened. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over top and sides of cake. Garnish with hazelnuts and chocolate curls if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

justmecookin

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Ricotta Cheesecake

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 1:36 pm

Ricotta Cheesecake

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 cartons (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hot Cherry Sauce, optional

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes or until crust is lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat ricotta cheese on medium speed for 1 minute. Add sugar; beat for 1 minute. Add eggs; beat just until combined. Beat in flour and vanilla. Pour into crust.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Serve with Hot Cherry Sauce if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Hot Cherry Sauce
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) pitted tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 to 2 drops red food coloring, optional

Drain cherries, reserving juice; set cherries aside. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cloves; whisk in reserved cherry juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cherries and food coloring if desired. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

justmecookin

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Spumoni Slices

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 1:46 pm

Spumoni Slices

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 to 5 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup finely chopped candied red cherries
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 to 5 drops red food coloring

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour and mix well. Divide dough in three portions. Stir chocolate into one portion; mix well. Add pecans and green food coloring to the second portion. Add cherries, almond extract and red food coloring to the third.

Roll each portion between two pieces of waxed paper into an 8-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Remove waxed paper. Place chocolate rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap. Top with the green and pink rectangles; press together lightly. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Cut chilled dough in half lengthwise. Return one rectangle to the refrigerator. Cut remaining rectangle into 1/8-in. slices. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375° for 5-7 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 7 dozen.

justmecookin

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Strawberry Tiramisu Trifle

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 1:51 pm

Strawberry Tiramisu Trifle

1 quart fresh strawberries
1-1/4 cups cold milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, room temperature, divided
2 cups whipped topping
1 package (3 ounces) ladyfingers, split
6 squares (1 ounce each) bittersweet chocolate, grated

Set aside three strawberries for garnish; slice the remaining strawberries. In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in 2 tablespoons coffee. Beat in pudding. Fold in whipped topping.

Brush remaining coffee over ladyfingers. Line the bottom of a 3-qt. trifle or glass serving bowl with half of the ladyfingers. Top with half of the sliced berries, grated chocolate and pudding mixture; repeat layers. Cut reserved berries in half; place on trifle. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Makes 12 servings.

justmecookin

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Spumoni Loaf

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 2:22 pm

Spumoni Loaf

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 jars (7 ounces each) marshmallow creme
4 plain milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

In a saucepan, combine milk and vanilla; stir in marshmallow creme. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool. Stir in candy bars, almonds and cherries. Fold in whipped cream.

Transfer to an ungreased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Unmold and slice. Makes 10-12 servings.

justmecookin

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Italian Sugar Cookies

Post  justmecookin on Sun May 31, 2009 2:24 pm

Italian Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Icing:
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Food coloring and colored sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape dough into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For icing, in a small bowl, combine the milk, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired. Dip the tops of cookies in icing. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Place on waxed paper until set. Makes 3 dozen.

justmecookin

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Italian Brunch Casserole

Post  justmecookin on Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:24 am

Italian Brunch Casserole

1 (8-ounce) package sweet Italian sausage
8 green onions, sliced (1 cup)
2 zucchini, diced (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 (16-ounce) Italian bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

Remove and discard casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Add green onions and next 3 ingredients to skillet. Sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in roasted bell peppers. Drain and cool.

Spread 4 cups of bread cubes in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half each of the sausage mixture and cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, sausage, and cheese. Whisk together eggs and milk. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and chill 8 hours. Bake, covered, at 325° for 1 hour or until bubbly and hot. Makes 8 servings

justmecookin

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Conchiglie with Tomato & Basil

Post  justmecookin on Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:08 pm

Conchiglie with Tomato & Basil

1 1/2 lbs ripe vine tomatoes, peeled, seeded & coarsely diced
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cups fresh basil, coarse chopped + leaves for garnish
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz medium-size shell pasta
Imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to sprinkle

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet. Add sliced garlic and onions. Saute over low heat until onions and garlic turn a light golden brown. Add diced tomatoes and cook together with garlic and onions for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped basil and stir.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Serve pasta in a soup plate or bowl and top with tomato mixture and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and shredded mozzarella. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

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