Everyday Italian Recipes

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Penne a la Carbonara

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:36 am

Penne a la Carbonara

1 pound pancetta, diced into 1-inch cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound dried penne
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat a large saute pan, until hot. Add pancetta and saute until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Season with black pepper and remove pan from heat. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish.

In a large pot, boil 6 quarts of salted boiling water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse with water; you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will stick. While the pasta is still hot, return it back to the pot.

Add the browned pancetta and mix well. Add the cream mixture and coat the pasta completely. It's important to work quickly while the pasta is still warm so that the cream mixture will cook, but not curdle. Add remaining Parmesan and chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:39 am

Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly.

Transfer half of the sauce to a blender. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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. Makes 8 to 10 servings

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Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:47 am

Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey sausage, removed from casing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted slightly
1 pound dried farfalle pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Add turkey and saute breaking any large lumps until golden brown. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat.

Add chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and saute for 4 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the pot of water has come to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. Return pasta to the pot and add the meat mixture. Combine thoroughly and gently cook over medium

heat for 5 minutes. Drizzle in remaining olive oil. If the mixture is dry, do not hesitate to use more olive oil if necessary. Check the seasoning. Turn off the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir well and serve in large bowl. Makes 4 servings

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Ravioli

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:53 am

Chocolate-Hazelnut Ravioli

16 wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
Vegetable oil, for frying
16 fresh mint leaves
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Granulated sugar, for dredging
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place 1 wonton wrapper on the work surface. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with egg. Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate-hazelnut spread into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally in half over the filling and press the edges of the wrapper to seal.

Place the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers, egg, and chocolate-hazelnut spread. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees.

Working in batches, carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining ravioli. (The fried ravioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool them completely, then cover and refrigerate. Before serving, place them on a baking sheet and rewarm in a preheated 375 degrees oven just until they are heated through, about 7 minutes.)

Spray the top side of the mint leaves very lightly with nonstick spray. Working with 1 leaf at a time, dredge the coated side of the leaves in sugar to coat lightly. Arrange 2 fried ravioli on each plate. Dust the ravioli with powdered sugar. Garnish with the sugared mint leaves and serve. Makes 8 servings

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Garlic and Citrus Chicken

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:58 am

Garlic and Citrus Chicken

1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken, neck and giblets discarded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Kitchen string or butcher twine

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon, and garlic halves. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting occasionally and adding some chicken broth to the pan, if necessary, to prevent the pan drippings from burning. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, oil, oregano, and chopped garlic in a medium bowl to blend.

Brush some of the juice mixture over the chicken, after it has baked 1 hour. Continue roasting the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh registers 170 degrees, basting occasionally with the juice mixture and adding broth to the pan, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Tent with foil while making the sauce (do not clean the pan).

Place the same roasting pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in any remaining broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Strain into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the sauce. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce. Makes 6 servings

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Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:02 am

Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound purchased cheese tortellini
2 ounces thinly sliced smoked mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the sauce, mascarpone cheese, parsley and thyme in a large bowl to blend. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain.

Add the tortellini to the sauce and toss to coat. Transfer the tortellini mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top the mixture with the smoked mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheeses on top melt, about 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Balsamic Chicken Drumettes

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:04 am

Balsamic Chicken Drumettes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves, halved
10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves, in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar.

Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the chicken drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes. Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Reserve.

Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.

Cook's note: I like the rosemary and garlic flavors in the background. Brushing the cooked drumettes with the reduced marinade helps the flavors along. Also, re-moistening helps the parsley and the seeds to adhere. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Linguine with Chicken Ragu

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:28 am

Linguine with Chicken Ragu

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the juices evaporate and the chicken is golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the rosemary and mix well.

Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the linguine to the ragu and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. Makes 6 servings

Marinara Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.) Makes 2 quarts

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Spicy Chicken

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:31 am

Spicy Chicken

4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
2 chicken breasts with skin and bones, halved crosswise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Chili Oil, recipe follows
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped green olives
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
2/3 cup dry white wine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the garlic, olives, 3 tablespoons of parsley and capers.

Add the wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken mixture to a platter. Spoon the sauce over. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings

Chili Oil:
2 cups olive oil
4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-ounce bottle. Seal the lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month. Makes 2 cups

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Italian Chicken Salad

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:41 am

Italian Chicken Salad

10 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from about 3 purchased roasted whole chickens)
2 cups roasted red and yellow bell peppers, drained, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups paper-thin slices red onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup drained capers
1 1/2 cups (about) Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 butter lettuce leaves (from about 3 large heads)
1 (4-ounce) piece Parmesan, shaved with vegetable peeler

Toss the chicken, bell peppers, onion, parsley, almonds, and capers in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Season the chicken salad with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange 1 large lettuce cup and 1 small lettuce cup on each plate, overlapping slightly. Spoon the chicken salad into the lettuce cups. Drizzle more vinaigrette over the salads. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve. Makes 12 servings

Do-Ahead Tip: The chicken salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Just before serving, spoon the salad into the lettuce cups.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the oil and blend until emulsified. Makes 1 3/4 cups

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Fresh Fettuccine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Rabe

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:54 am

Fresh Fettuccine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Rabe

1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
1 (9-ounce) container fresh fettuccine pasta
1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups shredded roasted chicken (from 1 roasted chicken)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water.

Once cooled, drain broccoli rabe and set aside. Add the fettuccine to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, bring the broth and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until the broth reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe to the chicken broth and stir to combine.

Add the pasta, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, pine nuts, parsley, oil, and lemon zest. Toss to coat, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Mound the pasta into bowls and serve. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:57 am

Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken or steak:
4 pieces chicken or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the BBQ sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak: Place a grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush.

Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.

Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees for medium rare, 135 degrees for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees for well done (about 9 minutes per side).

Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings

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Chicken Stew

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:03 pm

Chicken Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast with ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)

Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.

Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite- size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta.

Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings

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Pizza Pot Pies

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:36 pm

Pizza Pot Pies

Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary leaves
2 ounces diced pancetta
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza Pot Pies:
3 cups Tomato Sauce
2 cups diced roasted chicken
2 cups broccoli cut into small, bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds pizza dough
1/3 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Special equipment: 6 (10-ounce) ramekins

For the Tomato Sauce: Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pancetta. Saute until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the Tomato Sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the ramekins. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a pairing knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin.

Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a pairing knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Makes 6 servings

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Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:39 pm

Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Romano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

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.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine. Using a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure), form the chicken mixture into 3/4-inch pieces. With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.

In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta.

Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Ravioli Caprese

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:51 pm

Ravioli Caprese

Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup very hot water

Filling:
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1 egg
1/2 cup finely shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the dough: In a large bowl combine the flour and the water. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine into a large ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

For the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

To form the ravioli, cut the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces. The dough should be slightly sticky. Add extra flour as necessary for rolling, but use only a little as necessary. Form each piece into a 2 by 6-inch rectangle. Recover the dough with the plastic wrap.

Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 4 by 19-inch rectangle. Place 9 rounded teaspoons of filling about 1-inch apart down the center of the dough.

Fold the dough over the filling. Press down around the edges of each of the ravioli with your fingertips. Cut the ravioli into small squares and press down around the edges again with your fingertips to seal. Place the finished ravioli on a baking tray and continue forming the remaining ravioli.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half the ravioli and cook until the ravioli float stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain into a large bowl and cook the remaining ravioli.

Pour the olive oil over the cooked ravioli. Add the basil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Gently toss to coat and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Chicken Piccata

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:45 pm

Chicken Piccata

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. In a large 10 or 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes.

When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings

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Chicken Scallopine with Sage and Fontina Cheese

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:48 pm

Chicken Scallopine with Sage and Fontina Cheese

6 (4 1/2 to 5 1/2-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sage leaves
3 ounces grated fontina cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the chicken cutlets on a clean work surface, narrow end facing you. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place one sage leaf crosswise on each of the pieces of chicken. Sprinkle each of the pieces of chicken with 1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of fontina cheese. Roll up the chicken and seal with one or two toothpicks.

Warm the olive oil and halved garlic clove in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken from the pan and remove and discard the garlic. Add the wine and simmer for 2 minutes while scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the reduced wine in the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors marry.

Return the chicken to the pan. Simmer the chicken in the tomato sauce for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and simmer until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Season the tomato sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato sauce onto serving plates or a serving platter. Slice the chicken into 1-inch rounds. Remove the toothpicks. Place the chicken over the sauce and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Chicken and Orzo Frittata

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:50 pm

Chicken and Orzo Frittata

3/4 cup orzo pasta
6 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (about 2 cups)
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and creme fraiche and stir until the eggs are beaten and the ingredients are combined. Add the cooked orzo, chicken, scallions, parsley, red bell peppers, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler until golden on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a side salad. Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Pollo Frito

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:54 pm

Pollo Frito

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 to3 lemons, depending on size)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (3 1/2-pound) whole frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups olive oil (approximate amount)
1 cup all-purpose flour (approximate amount)
Lemon wedges, for garnish
6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

In a large casserole dish, whisk the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to blend. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day, turning the chicken pieces occasionally.

In a large cast iron frying pan or other heavy frying pan, add enough oil to come 1/3-inch up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, drain the marinade from the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with pepper. Working in 2 batches, dredge the chicken in the flour to coat completely.

Shake off the excess flour and then carefully add the chicken to the hot oil. Fry until the chicken is golden brown and just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil. Arrange the fried chicken on a warm platter and serve with the lemon wedges and parsley. Makes 4 servings

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Grilled Meats and Vegetables over Saffron Orzo

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Grilled Meats and Vegetables over Saffron Orzo

For marinade:
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 5 lemons
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked salt, or kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

For grill:
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 ears corn, husked and cut into thirds
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean
1 red bell pepper, halved and cored
1 yellow bell pepper, halved and cored
1 orange bell pepper, halved and cored

Saffron Orzo, recipe follows

In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. In a large bowl, combine half the marinade with the chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and shrimp. Toss to combine. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour. If marinating for longer than 1 hour, make sure to refrigerate.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush the corn with reserved unused marinade and wrap in foil. Toss the mushrooms with 1/4 cup of the reserved unused marinade. Grill the chicken breasts and thighs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 7 minutes a side.

Grill the corn inside the foil, for about 5 minutes a side. Grill the peppers for about 5 minutes a side. Grill the shrimp and the mushrooms, about 2 minutes a side. Brush the grilled peppers with the last of the reserved unused marinade. Slice the peppers and mushrooms before serving, if desired. Arrange grilled meats and vegetables over the saffron orzo on a large platter and serve immediately.

Saffron Orzo:
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound dried orzo
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the stock to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir, and allow the saffron to bloom, about 5 minutes.

Return the heat to medium and the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to combine. Makes 6 servings

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Chicken Vesuvio

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:00 pm

Chicken Vesuvio

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches if necessary, cook the chicken in the pot until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Carefully add the potatoes to the same pot and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Arrange the potatoes around chicken. Add the artichoke hearts to the sauce in the pot. Cover and simmer over high heat until the artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the butter. Pour the sauce over chicken and potatoes, and serve. Makes 4 servings

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Salmon Baked in Foil

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:09 pm

Salmon Baked in Foil

4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed.

Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve. Makes 4 servings

justmecookin

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Stuffed Meatloaf

Post  justmecookin on Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:12 pm

Stuffed Meatloaf

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl.

Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley.

Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

Meatloaf
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 large eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground veal
2 cups (packed) Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta
1/2 cup marinara sauce
3/4 cup grated provolone

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Mix in the beef, pork, and veal. Pack half of the meat mixture into a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan.

Spoon the stuffing over the meat in the pan, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Top with the remaining meat mixture, enclosing the stuffing completely and pressing firmly. Spoon the marinara sauce over the meatloaf, then sprinkle with the provolone cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until the meat loaf is firm to the touch in the center and has pulled away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Cut crosswise into slices and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings

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Re: Everyday Italian Recipes

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