Italian Cuisine

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:55 pm

Sardinian Flat Bread

Pane Carasau ~ An Italian flat bread with a crisp, cracker-like texture that is seasoned with aromatic rosemary and coarse sea salt. I have also heard it nicknamed "piano paper" or carta di musica which describes it's thinness. It is said to have been first made by the shepherds in Sardinia who took it with them into the pastures as it keeps so well. You might need a little more water or a little less depending on the blends of flours used. The trick to this "bread" is to roll it out as thinly as you can. It does not matter if it is a perfect circle or if it wrinkles a bit as you roll it as it's imperfections are part of it's charm. Once you break it into large pieces no one will notice it's original shape anyways!

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (approximate)
Salt

To Serve:
Fresh chopped rosemary
Coarse sea salt
Olive Oil

Combine the two flours with about a teaspoon of salt. In a small cup, dissolve the yeast and a few about 1/4 cup of the warm water. Let sit until bubbly. Add the yeast mixture to the flour with the rest of the water. Mix until you have a smooth dough. Cover and let sit 1 hour. Knead for 5 minutes and cover for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Spray two flat baking sheets with oil spray. Knead the dough once more and divide into 8 equal balls. Roll each ball out as thinly as you can to fit the baking sheets, and bake each for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. The breads should blister but not yet brown. Remove from the oven and pile one on top of the other.

Place a board or flat tray on top and let sit until cool. To prepare for serving, return each bread to the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary and salt and return to the oven for a few minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then break into large pieces. Serve warm. Makes 8

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:00 pm

Onion Schiacciata

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Onion Topping:
2 - 3 large onions peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for final drizzling before baking
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
16 pitted black olives such as kalamata olives
2 teaspoons capers
Sea salt & Cracked Black Pepper

Mix together the yeast with the warm water and let sit until bubbly. Place the flour in a large bowl, and add the olive oil, salt, yeast mixture and oregano. Mix well with a spoon, then remove the dough to a hard surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to let rise 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.

Heat the oil and butter until sizzling. Add the onions and stir well to coat with the oil mixture. Cook over low heat until the onions are very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes or so. Stir the fresh rosemary into the onion mixture.

Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees. Punch down the dough and place onto an oiled baking sheet. Shape into either a circle or rectangle about 14 inches across. Spread the onion mixture evenly across the dough and then add the olives and capers. Sprinkle on some sea salt and cracked black pepper and then drizzle with a little additional olive oil. Bake about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Cut into slices and serve warm. Serves 6 to 8

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:07 pm

Ciambelle with Wine

2 cups of sugar
3 cups of white wine
1 cup of oil
3 tablespoons anise seeds
4 teaspoons baking powder
8 cups of all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar

On a large board or counter top, start by making a large mound using 8 cups of flour, the sugar, anise seeds, and baking powder. Make a well in the center, and begin to add the wine and the oil, mixing as you go along. Continue in this manner, adding more flour as needed until all the liquid ingredients have been used. Knead for a few minutes until smooth. The dough should resemble stiff bread dough.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and begin to shape the cookies. Break off a small piece, and roll it into a 1-1/2 inch thick rope about 7-8 inches long. Join the ends to form a ring shape. The cookies should be about 3-4 inches across. Dip the tops in the sugar, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool well before storing. These cookies keep well in a tightly closed container. Makes 24

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:15 pm

Soft Amaretti

2 cups blanched almonds
1 cup superfine or powdered sugar
2-3 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract

Grind the almond to a fine powder with the sugar in a food processor. Add the almond extract to the almonds. Slowly add the egg whites, one at a time until the dough comes together. Use only as much of the egg whites as it takes to moisten the dough. Using moist hands, take small pieces and form into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Place these on a parchment or lightly greased baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the cookies for about 25 to 30 minutes. or until lightly golden in color. Let cool thoroughly, and store in airtight containers. Makes 20

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:25 pm

Agnello Scottadita

Red meat is most often cooked rare or medium rare in Italy, but if you prefer your meat cooked more than that just leave it on the grill a little longer.

16 lamb rib chops
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt & cracked black pepper

To Serve:
Lemon Wedges

Place all the ingredients except the lamb in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped together. Rub the mixture into the lamb chops and refrigerate them for 2 hours. Bring the lamb to room temperature.

Preheat the grill, and then grill the chops until they are medium rare, or about 2 minutes on each side. Place the chops on a serving platter with the lemon wedges and serve hot. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:41 pm

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca alla Romana ~ This dish originated in Rome, and translates as "jump in the mouth". Thin cutlets of tender veal topped with prosciutto and sage make this Roman classic an elegant, yet simple meal that can be prepared in minutes. Selecting an accompaniment for this versatile dish is just as easy as its preparation. From pasta and polenta to potatoes, veal saltimbocca pairs well with a variety of side dishes.

4 pieces thinly sliced prosciutto cut in half crossways
8 slices thin veal scaloppine
8 large fresh sage leaves washed carefully and patted dry
4 tablespoons butter dived in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white wine

Place a half slice of prosciutto on each veal slice, and then place a sage leaf on top of that. Thread a toothpick through the three layers, holding the sage and prosciutto onto the veal.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter, and the oil in a heavy frying pan until hot but not smoking. Add the meat in a single layer, prosciutto side down. Cook in batches if your pan isn't large enough to fit all the meat in at once. Saute until the prosciutto is slightly crisp and brown, around two minutes. Turn, and cook on the other side for an additional minute. Remove from the pan, and keep warm and covered.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, and add the wine. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom, and cook until it has reduced by half. If adding the stock, add this in now, and cook over high heat until once again the mixture has reduced by half. Wisk in the remaining butter, and then return the saltimbocca to the pan to rewarm. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer to a serving plate, prosciutto side up. Pour the pan juices over the meat, and serve immediately. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:18 am

Chicken Calabrese

1 boiler/fryer, cut into 8 pieces (about 3-4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 large baking potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 (14 oz) can whole tomatoes, or 6 large ripe plum tomatoes
10 tasty black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt & pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse the chicken pieces, and then pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown the chicken pieces well on all sides. Add the garlic, and sauté for a minute or two. Add the garlic, and cook another minute or two. In an ovenproof casserole dish, lightly oil the bottom, and then layer the potatoe slices to cover, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper.

Place the browned chicken pieces over the potatoes. If using canned tomatoes, squeeze the whole tomatoes and place on the chicken pieces with the remaining juice from the can. Season with more salt and pepper, as well as the dried pepper flakes.

If using whole plum tomatoes, slice them thinly, and layer over the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the casserole with the olives, capers, and parsley, and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. To serve, place a bed of tender potato slices on each plate, and place a couple of the chicken pieces on top. Spoon some of the tomato sauce on top, and serve hot. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:22 am

Risotto Parmesan

6 cups chicken broth, heated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat the 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter. Add the white wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed. Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth, stirring as it is absorbed.

Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth. Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Serve, offering additional cheese if desired. Serves 4-6

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:19 am

Bbq Pot Au Feu

For the roast
2 pounds beef ribs or brisket
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
5 thyme leaves
5 whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
2 1/2 quarts of beef demi glace
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup harissa (available in middle eastern supermarkets)
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup worchestire sauce

For the Garnish
1 shallot diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh string beans, tips removed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced

For the roast: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan, large enough hold the beef and sear on both sides. Set aside. In the same pan, add the extra-virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Then add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until soft, approximately 5-10 minutes.

In a large braising pan, add the seared beef, sautéed vegetables, thyme leaves, peppercorns, bbq sauce, beef demiglace, molasses, harissa, red wine and worchestire sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Slow roast for about 5-6 hours or until the meat is extremely tender. Remove the meat from the pan; strain the juices while pushing down on the vegetables to extract their flavors and reserve.

To garnish: Sauté the shallot and garlic in a pan with the olive oil. Add the string beans and carrots and cook until crisp-tender. Toss with the sliced meat and use the reserved juices as a dipping sauce. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:36 am

Almond Crusted Veal Fillet with Onion Sauce

For the veal:
2 1/2 pounds veal fillet
2 ounces "00" flour
3 eggs
6 ounces sliced almonds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, julienned
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup white wine
4 ounces vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the veal: Clean and trim the veal of any fat, and cut into small medallions of approimately 2 ounces each (for a total of 18 medallions). Dip each medallion into the flour, then the eggs (seasoned with salt and pepper), then the sliced almonds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over moderately high heat, add 1/2 of the olive oil, and saute the medallions until golden on both sides, working in batches. Remove from heat, and place on a sheet pan, and finish in the oven, about 6 more minutes.

For the sauce: In a large pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, and let them soften and cook, trying not to brown them for at least 30 minutes. Add the garlic clove and white wine. When the wine has evaporated, add vegetable stock and let it cook for another half an hour on a very low flame. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the heavy cream. Keep warm. Serve the veal with the sauce, and garnished with fried potatoes. Serves 6

Note - In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00, and refers to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. You can use all purpose flour

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:40 am

Romeo and Juliet's Pasta Cake from Verona

For the tagliatelle:
11/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk (if needed)

For the nut crumble:
1 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
To layer:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup sweet Marsala
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Make the tagliatelle: Preheat the oven to 350°. On a pastry board, form a well with the flour. In the center of the well, place the butter, eggs, and salt. Work the liquid ingredients into the flour until a dough forms; you may need to add a splash of milk if the mixture is too dry, or a little additional flour if it is too moist.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin on a floured counter or with a pasta machine until it is 1/12" thick; dust it with flour and roll it up jelly roll-style. Set aside, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut into 1/4"-wide strips; unroll and toss with flour to prevent sticking. Butter a 10" cake pan (preferably springform) and dust it with flour. Make the nut crumble: Combine the almonds, sugar, and lemon zest thoroughly in a medium bowl.

To layer: Arrange one-third of the strips of pasta in the cake pan, sprinkle them with half of the nut crumble, top them with half of the butter, and splash them with half of the Marsala; repeat the procedure until all the ingredients have been used up. (The final layer should be a layer of pasta.)

Cut a buttered sheet of parchment paper into a 10" disk, place it over the cake, and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is golden and crisp. Remove the cake from the oven, drizzle with the lemon juice, and cool on a rack. Unmold the cake gently on a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature, accompanied by a bottle of chilled Prosecco. Serves 8

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:56 pm

Chicken Broth

Small stewing chicken (or equivalent in chicken pieces, about 2 to 3 pounds)
Salt & pepper to taste
3 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tomato, quartered
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot, just cover with water and simmer on low for about 3 hours. Periodically, as the soup simmers, skim off the foam with a ladle. Drain the broth from the other ingredients, and strain the broth through cheesecloth. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Use as desired. Serves 6

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:59 pm

Pancetta Zucchini Breakfast Tart

1 (8 ounce) package puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
8 medium eggs
1/ 2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

For Garnish:
Thinly Sliced Roasted Red Pepper Strips (Optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring-form pan with removable bottom. Roll out the puff pastry until fairly thin. Place the spring-form pan on the pastry and cut out a circle three inches larger than the pan's bottom diameter. Place the pastry in the pan carefully pressing it onto the bottom of the pan but leaving the sides free.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the pancetta cubes. Cook until lightly brown. Add the onion and zucchini and continue to cook until tender. Cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream until light and fluffy. Fold in the zucchini mixture and cheese. Stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pour the eggs into the prepared pan, making sure the pastry stays put along the sides.

After the eggs are in the pan, carefully bring the pastry from the sides of the pan over the egg mixture just covering the top edges. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned and the eggs are set. Cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove from spring-form pan and place on a large plate, garnish with pepper strips, and serve. Serves 6 to 8

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:01 pm

Piadini Caprese

4 piadini breads
2 balls mozzarella, sliced
2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Freshly washed and dried arugula
2 tablespoons fresh basil pesto
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Lay the piadini side by side opened flat. On one half of each lay down some arugula leaves, a row of mozzarella, then the tomatoes. Mix together the pesto and olive oil, and then drizzle this over the mozzarella and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, fold each sandwich in half and serve. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:10 pm

Potato Gnocchi

This is a basic potato gnocchi that can be topped with almost any sauce. Making Gnocchi is really much easier than most people would imagine, and it is always amazing that something created with a few simple ingredients can taste so good! This is a basic potato gnocchi that can be topped with almost any sauce you choose.

The trick to gnocchi is to not over knead the dough, and to use only as much flour as is needed to create a soft, workable dough. Knead your gnocchi dough only as long as it takes for the ingredients to come together into a smooth dough. The longer you knead, the more flour you will use, resulting in a heavier gnocchi.

It is a good idea if you are new to gnocchi making to test your gnocchi before you prepare the whole batch. Drop a couple of gnocchi into boiling water and remove as soon as they come to the surface. If they fall apart, knead in a little more flour. If they hold up well, continue cutting the rest of your gnocchi.

To cook gnocchi, always use a large pot of boiling, salted water, and remove them as soon as they float to the surface. If you overcook gnocchi they will turn to mush. Gnocchi doesn’t keep well at room temperature; so if you are not cooking them right away, place them on a lightly floured baking sheet in the refrigerator. I would not keep any type in the refrigerator longer than a few hours. You can precook gnocchi made with potatoes and reheat by dropping back into boiling water. Generally gnocchi don’t freeze well unless they have a good deal of flour added. Since you can prepare them so quickly, it is easier to make them fresh each time.

Baking the potatoes instead of boiling them adds a lot of flavor to the gnocchi and keeps them dry which reduces the amount of flour needed. Also use a fine mesh potato ricer which creates a more delicate textured gnocchi.

2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 potatoes)
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt

Bake your potatoes in their skins until fork tender. Place on a plate until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes in half, and scoop out the potato and press through a potato ricer into a bowl. Add the egg, and slowly start adding the flour a little at a time, mixing well with your hands and continue until you have created a soft workable dough. Knead gently only briefly until you have achieved a smooth, pliable if slightly sticky dough.

To shape the gnocchi, first break the dough into fist sized pieces, and roll each piece into a log about the thickness of your thumb on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1 inch pieces. If desired, take a fork and place it against your work board. With it's back towards you, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly up the length of the fork tines.

Let the gnocchi fall back onto the board and continue with the remaining pieces in this manner. Place the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and keep refrigerated until ready to use. To cook, drop carefully into salted boiling water and remove immediately as they have all floated to the surface. Drain and top with your sauce of choice. Serves 6

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:14 pm

Spinach Potato Frittata

Frittatas are the Italian equivalent to an omelette. Often chock full of vegetables and cheese, they make a great quick, mid-week entree or sliced into wedges, a perfect appetizer. They are also a great way to make use of leftover cooked vegetables and meat sitting in your refrigerator.

1 medium potatoes, cooked and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 onion, chopped finely
4 tablespoons butter
6 eggs
Salt & pepper
12 sausage links removed from casings
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
2 cups sauteed spinach squeezed dry
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat the butter in a large oven proof skillet, and cook the sausage until browned, breaking the meat up into tiny pieces with a fork while it cooks. Add the onions and continue cooking until they are golden and soft. Add the potatoes and continue cooking until the potatoes begin to take on color. Add the basil, spinach, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs together, and then pour this mixture into the saucepan.

Turn the heat to low and watch carefully. Once the eggs have set on the bottom, and the only remaining moistness is in the center, place the skillet under the broiler until the top is set and golden. Serves 4

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:56 pm

Tomato Sauce

1 28 ounce can imported diced italian tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (decrease to 1 tablespoon if wanting to make a lower fat version)
Salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the garlic. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, but before it takes on color, add the tomatoes. Turn the heat to high, and as soon as the sauce begins to bubble, turn back down to medium low.

Season with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes if you are using them, and add the basil. Cook for another minute of two and remove from the heat. Use for any purpose that you would use your usual tomato sauce, whether it is to top pasta, in baked casseroles or for vegetables.

Note: If you are wanting to make the low fat version, simply cut the amount of oil used in half. This makes a nice low fat sauce to top vegetables, grilled meats or to use to bake seafood for a healthy meal. Makes 4 Cups

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:58 pm

Italian Style Meatloaf

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound frozen spinach, cooked, squeezed and chopped fine
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup provolone cheese, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked ham, cut into dice
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon basil
Salt & Pepper

Sauté the mushrooms in the oil until golden. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the remaining ingredients together, then place in two 9 X 5 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, covering with foil if needed the last 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, slice serve. If desired, you can top this meatloaf with a spoonful tomato sauce.

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:05 pm

Flavored Vinegars

Basic Herb Vinegar:

1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil or parsley are good choices)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed slightly
2 cups white wine vinegar

Place everything in a sterile bottle, and cap tightly. Place in a cool dark place and allow the flavors to meld for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain before using, and place in a clean, sterilized jar.

Berry Vinegar:

1 cup crushed berries (raspberries, strawberries or blackberries are good choices)
2 cups white wine vinegar

Heat the vinegar until almost boiling. Place in a sterilized jar with the berries, and cap. Place in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. Strain well through cheesecloth, and place in a sterilized jar to store.

Lemon Vinegar:

Remove the peel only from 2 medium lemons
2 cups white wine vinegar

Heat the vinegar until almost boiling. Place in a clean, sterilized jar with the lemon peel, cap tightly and store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. Strain well and use. Store in a clean, sterilized jar.

Dill Peppercorn Vinegar:

1 cup red wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh dill
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

In a clean, sterilized jar, add the listed ingredients, cap tightly and store in a cool, dark place for at least three
weeks. Strain and store in a sterilized bottle.

Spicy Chili Vinegar:

1 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 whole jalapeno peppers

In a clean, sterilized bottle, add the chilies to the vinegar. Cap tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. Strain, and store in a sterilized jar.

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:09 pm

Olive Oil Dip

A simple recipe for making an herbed olive oil dip for Italian bread.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tablespoon each: chopped fresh basil & parsley
1 tablespoon chopped dried oregano
1 to 2 minced fresh garlic cloves (depending on your preference)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground coarse black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit to allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour or two before serving. Serve in a shallow bowl with crusty Italian bread cut into thick slices. Makes 1 Cup

Note - Do not keep this mixture for longer than 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator.

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:12 pm

Cured Fresh Olives

At harvest time, many Italian women cure bright green, bitter olives in salt water, to be eaten later throughout the winter. This is a simple recipe that yields about 10 large jars of olives.

Basic Curing:

Salt
Water
1 Case Green Olives

Crack the olives, and place in an old, clean pillow case. Drop the olive filled case into a pail filled with cold water, ensuring the water covers the olives. Change the water twice daily for three days. Measure 10 large jars of water into a large pot. Add 30 tablespoons of salt to this pot, and stir to combine. Bring the water to a boil, and then let it cool. Drain the olives from the pail, and fill the jars with the olives, adding an additional tablespoon of salt to each jar. Add the salt water to each jar, covering the olives. Seal the jars, and let them sit for one month.

To Serve:

1 Jar Of Cured Olives
2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Sliced
1 Teaspoon Oregano
Dash Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Drain the olives, and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and mix with the remaining ingredients. Makes 10 Jars

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:33 am

Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Garlic, and Parmesan

3/4 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed
1 (16-ounce) box vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water 4 minutes. Remove broccoli rabe with a slotted spoon, and place in a colander; drain. Add gnocchi to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add broccoli rabe, gnocchi, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Place 1 1/4 cups gnocchi mixture in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Makes 4 servings

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:36 am

Sautéed Asparagus and Shrimp with Gremolata

Gremolata:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced

Shrimp:
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 cups (1 1/2-inch) slices asparagus (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare gremolata, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside. To prepare shrimp, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan, swirling to coat; heat 20 seconds. Add asparagus to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove asparagus from pan; keep warm.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan, swirling to coat; heat 20 seconds. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle evenly with gremolata. Makes 4 servings

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:45 am

Steamed Clams and Tomatoes with Angel Hair Pasta

1 (9-ounce) package fresh angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 tablespoon butter
4 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomato, garlic, and pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in wine and juice; bring to a boil. Add clams. Cover and cook 7 minutes or until shells open.

Discard any unopened shells. Remove clams from pan with a slotted spoon; add butter to pan, stirring until butter melts. Place 1 cup pasta in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 6 clams, 1/2 cup broth, and 1 teaspoon parsley. Makes 4 servings

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Re: Italian Cuisine

Post  justmecookin on Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:06 am

Tuscan Pasta With Tomato-Basil Cream

1 (20-oz.) package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli
1 (16-oz.) jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
2 medium-size fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh basil strips

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan.

Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Re: Italian Cuisine

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