Everyday Italian Recipes

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Everyday Italian Recipes

Post  justmecookin on Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:06 pm

Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds spinach ravioli or tortelloni
1 cup purchased marinara sauce
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil to the water to help prevent pasta from sticking. Add the ravioli and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain the ravioli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the ravioli with the remaining oil to coat.

Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking often. Whisk in the ricotta and enough reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, use less pasta water; for a thinner sauce, add more water. Return the sauce to a simmer. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of sauce over the bottom of each of 6 bowls. Arrange the ravioli over the sauce. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the basil, and serve. Makes 6 servings


Last edited by justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:17 am

Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese

1 pound fusilli pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 ounces (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes.

Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine. Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:20 am

Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Sea salt
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Add the pancetta to a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato puree. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, boil the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the linguine with the sauce in the skillet, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid until the pasta is moist but being careful not to dilute the sauce. Toss with the cheese. Season with salt, to taste. Makes 6 servings

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Pasta e Fagioli

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:25 am

Pasta e Fagioli

4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Wrap the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and secure closed with kitchen twine. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the sachet. Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before serving. Makes 6 servings

When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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Chicken Tetrazzini

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:28 am

Chicken Tetrazzini

9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Chicken Parmesan

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:30 am

Chicken Parmesan

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 (3-ounces each) chicken cutlets
1 1/2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce, or purchased marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
16 teaspoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil. Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Sprinkle the butter pieces atop the cutlets. Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors. Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months. Makes 6 cups

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Linguine with Butter, Pecorino, Arugula and Black Pepper

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:38 am

Linguine with Butter, Pecorino, Arugula and Black Pepper

Salt
1 pound linguine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups very finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped arugula

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook until it is al dente, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat. While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the linguine to moisten. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt. Divide the pasta among 6 plates and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Cinnamon-Pancetta Carbonara

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:40 am

Cinnamon-Pancetta Carbonara

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 slices pancetta, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
6 large egg yolks
18 ounces fresh fettuccine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Saute the bacon and pancetta in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the bacon and pancetta and saute until the bacon is crisp and golden, about 2 minutes longer. Cool. Whisk in the cream, cheese, and yolks to blend.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fettuccine and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Add the fettuccine to the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives and serve. Makes 6 servings

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Roman-style Chicken

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:43 am

Roman-style Chicken

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings

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Chicken Cacciatore

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:45 am

Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly. In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Chicken Saltimbocca

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:47 am

Chicken Saltimbocca

6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet. Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.

Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach atop the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet as for a jellyroll. Secure with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium.

Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings

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Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:51 am

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 bunches Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 14 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the chard and saute until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, wine, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the chard is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season the chard mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the spaghetti. Add the spaghetti to the chard mixture and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta to serving bowls. Sprinkle the olives, cheese, and pine nuts and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:53 am

Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds spinach ravioli or tortelloni
1 cup purchased marinara sauce
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil to the water to help prevent pasta from sticking. Add the ravioli and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain the ravioli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the ravioli with the remaining oil to coat.

Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking often. Whisk in the ricotta and enough reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, use less pasta water; for a thinner sauce, add more water. Return the sauce to a simmer. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of sauce over the bottom of each of 6 bowls. Arrange the ravioli over the sauce. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the basil, and serve. Makes 6 servings

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Spicy Baked Macaroni

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:55 am

Spicy Baked Macaroni

Salt
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound assorted mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup
1/4 cup Romano, plus 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons
12 ounces mozzarella cubed (about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the onion is golden, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup Romano. Spread the softened butter in a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle half of the bread crumb mixture inside the dish to coat.

In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture with the cooked macaroni, cubed mozzarella, the remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and the nutmeg. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, top with the remaining bread crumb mixture, and dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings

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Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:58 am

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (giblets, neck and backbone reserved for another use)
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.

Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve. Makes 6 servings

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Individual Vegetable Lasagnas

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:04 am

Individual Vegetable Lasagnas

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
1 medium summer squash, finely chopped
8 asparagus spears, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound fresh plain lasagna sheets
2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a saute pan over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash cook for 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat when all vegetables are completely cooked but still have a good crunch. Allow to cool.

Using a 6-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the lasagna sheets. You will need 18 circles. Coat the bottom of 6 (6-inch) gratin dishes with a teaspoon of tomato sauce in each. Place a circle of pasta on the bottom of each ramekin.

Rinse the beans with water and season with salt and pepper. Divide the beans between each ramekin. Next, divide the spinach between the ramekins. Place a second layer of pasta on top and gently press down. Divide the sauteed vegetables among the ramekins and top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce in each.

Place the third layer of pasta in each ramekin and coat with a tablespoon of tomato sauce. Sprinkle ramekins with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and top each with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place gratin dishes on top. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Makes 6 servings

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot or Dutch over, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper.

Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months. Makes 6 cups

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Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:05 am

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces dried fettuccine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly. While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccine with 3 tablespoons of butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Chicken Florentine Style

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:07 am

Chicken Florentine Style

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed, drained

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly. Shake off any excess flour. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute. Add the wine. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and boil until the sauce reduces by half, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the sauce, and turn the chicken to coat in the sauce.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and saute until heated through. Season the spinach, to taste, with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach over a platter. Place the chicken atop the spinach. Pour the sauce over and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Pepper Flakes

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:17 am

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Pepper Flakes

1 pound dried spaghetti
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta water. The reserved pasta water will help create the sauce. Do not rinse pasta with water -- you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will stick.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until light brown and fragrant. It's important not too burn the garlic or else it will become bitter. Remove and discard the browned garlic.

Add the red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Carefully add the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Place the spaghetti into the pan and mix well for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and top with fresh herbs. Makes 4 servings

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Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:19 am

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

4 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 18)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over each of 2 heavy large lined baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the garlic with the salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and then the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with pepper. Transfer the vinaigrette to a small serving bowl.

Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a pie dish. Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly.

Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken tenders and bake until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken tenders to a platter and serve the vinaigrette alongside for dipping. Makes 6 servings

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Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:22 am

Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces chopped pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 pounds short ribs
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup red wine
1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle
4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside.

Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the pancetta to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and simmer for another hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta and 2 to 3 minutes for fresh. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta. Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Penne with Beef and Arugula

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:25 am

Penne with Beef and Arugula

1 (1-pound) New York strip steak
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for steak and pasta water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for steak
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups chopped arugula

Season the steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and minced garlic. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook steak about 7 minutes per side. Remove the meat from pan and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the steak. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fresh herbs, and 3/4 cup olive oil. In a large bowl toss the pasta with half of the salad dressing and the reserved pasta water. Add the arugula and steak, more dressing, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Toss, pack for the picnic, or serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Creamy Orzo

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:28 am

Creamy Orzo

1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings

justmecookin

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Spaghettini with Checca Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:31 am

Spaghettini with Checca Sauce

8 ounces spaghettini or angel hair pasta
4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (12-ounce container) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan, coarsely chopped
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (do not puree).

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce looks dry. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings

justmecookin

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Pasta Primavera

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:33 am

Pasta Primavera

3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat.

Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings

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Re: Everyday Italian Recipes

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