Category Archives: Italian food

Antipasto Pasta Salad

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As Morg and I chatted today about a blog she reads called Sarcastic Cooking (which is awesome despite the fact they clearly stole my name), I realized how much I’ve been denying this blog in the name of work. Let’s abruptly put a stop to that shall we?

I made this recipe a month or so ago to take to the lake, and as any meat-laced pasta salad is sure to be, it was a winner. This is a recipe from Giada de Laurentis, who, I’d like to reiterate, cannot possibly be eating the food she cooks on TV. She should look like Paula Deen with all the butter and sugar that goes into everything, yet she’s one bikini and dye-job away from being a Playmate. I do not buy it, Giada. Just know that.

Anyway, a pasta salad recipe that uses salami and olives is a slam dunk with me in any capacity; however I have modified this recipe slightly because our Italian sister went ape crazy with the oil. Seriously, I had to strain the pasta salad after I made it because it was swimming in extra virgin. But fear not – proportions have been corrected accordingly, so whip up with confidence.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more later if too dry)
1 lemon, juiced

Antipasto Salad:
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons green olives, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. 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.
  2. In a blender, add the basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Add lemon juice to taste for acidity purposes. Serve.

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Filed under Comfort food, Italian food, Pasta, Side dishes

Chicken Florentine Soup

Merry New Year, Nummy!

I was thinking of making some sweeping New Year’s Resolution about posting more interesting things than soup in 2012, but then I realized I hate resolutions and I still love soup, so everyone can deal.

Seriously though – I wonder what percentage of people actually follow through with resolutions. Because I’m betting 90% of us just end up hating ourselves for not being able to cut it and the other 10% are overachievers who the rest of us hate.

Anyway, the soup: Not only is this delicious, but it’s also a good alternative when you’re looking to strap on the Italian feedbag but don’t want to pile on the calories. The tastes are the same, but because it’s mainly broth and veggies, it could be construed as mildly good for you. And it has a 2 full servings of veggies! (I made that up, but it could be true.)

Also, because this is not cream- or roux-based, all of you clichés who have resolved to eat more healthily in the new year can keep the dream for one more day.

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1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
6 cups (or more) chicken broth
1 cup pasta sauce
2 cans stewed/diced tomatoes with juice (if stewed, chop those suckers)
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, barely chopped
1 bag spinach, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, chopped evenly
1 package refrigerated tortellini (tri-color for the fun)
1 cup parmesan cheese + extra for garnish

Seasonings to taste:
Italian seasoning + extra basil/oregano/thyme (fresh would be the bomb)

Cavendar’s
Cayenne
Garlic powder

  1. Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
  2. Add the next four ingredients and all of the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil. Add chicken, zucchini, and tortellini.
  4. Cook under zucchini and tortellini are tender. Stir in parmesan. Serve.

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Filed under Italian food, Pasta, Soups

Carciofi alla romana (Roman style artichoke)

I know it is not artichoke season, but I love them.  If I can still find them at my market, I will make them.  In Rome I had the best artichoke I have ever eaten at Il Matriciano restaurant near the Vatican.  It was addicting, and I could have eaten about 10 of them. Below is a traditional Roman artichoke recipe from Mario Batali.  -ts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 artichokes, halved and trimmed outer leaves, choke removed, held in acidulated water (fancy talk for lemon water)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup boiling water

  1. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. In the cavity of the artichoke from which the choke was removed, place 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture. Repeat this procedure with the remaining chokes.
  3. Arrange all chokes in a deep pan that keeps them close together, in other words, one that doesn’t give them room to fall over.
  4. Add the wine, boiling water, remaining oil and a pinch of salt.
  5. Cover and simmer on the stovetop 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Filed under Appetizers, Italian food, Side dishes, Veggies

Cacio e Pepe

One of my favorite Italian pastas is also the simplest, Cacio e Pepe.  Traditionally it is spaghetti (cooked al dente), with cheese and a good amount of freshly ground good quality pepper.  I must have had this three times during my trip to Rome.  When you are expected to consume multiple courses (pasta being your first), this is the perfect starter dish to your meal.   It is my go to meal if I am in a lazy cooking mood and maybe also borderline ready to just order Thai food.  Normally I have all the ingredients, so it is hard to justify not making it.  If I cook this as my main meal, I will also make an arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil on the side.  Buon Appetito! – ts
Chef’s note:  since this is a simple dish, the better the ingredients the better the dish.  Try using the best fresh pepper you can find and good quality cheese.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound bavette, speghetti or linguini fine
2 tablespoons butter
Cacio di Roma, for grating (pecorino is fine to use)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is almost smoking.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking liquid, and add to the saute pan with the oil. Add the butter and toss over high heat 1 minute.
  4. Grate plenty of cheese and black pepper over, add salt if necessary and serve immediately.

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Filed under Italian food, Main Course, Pasta

ROMA food

I know I am not good about posting to this blog, but this time I had an excuse!  I have been vacationing in Rome the past 7 days and am now inspired to post a few recipes later this week (always the procrastinator).  Obviously Rome is an amazing city for carb and wine indulging, but more important is their LOVE of pork.  I think I consumed more pig in Rome then I did in Barcelona, which is hard to do.  It was awesome, but the next few days I am only eating iceberg lettuce and drinking coffee, recent pics of Christina Aguilera should inspire me to do this.
Here are a few noteworthy food pictures from the trip along with the restaurant name in case you are planning a trip. I suggest asking Chef Morgan as well, girl has a great list from her abroad days. – ts

L’Enoteca Cul de Sac (near Piazza Navona)- small plates great wine list  http://www.enotecaculdesac.com/

 

 

 

 

Pastificio San Lorenzo- you MUST go here.  It is in an up and coming artsy area behind the termini called San Lorenzo, fun live music venue bars as well around the area; incredible meats and cheese; http://www.pastificiocerere.com/ristorante/index.php

 

 

 

 

 

Il Matriciano- Roman fare by the Vatican; the BEST artichokes I have ever had

 

Pork stand in Marino, a small hill side wine town just outside of Rome- 

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Filed under Italian food, Links, Pasta, Pork, Seafood, Uncategorized

Ina Garten’s Pesto

I was clicking around on the Nums the other day, and I noticed an unfulfilled promise I made back on St. Patty’s Day about a pesto recipe. As a person who places unreasonable stock in that holiday, my “luck of the Irish” will be totally whacked if I don’t rectify this, so that’s what I’m doing here.

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As the title would imply, this is Ina Garten’s recipe, and aside from the usual seasoning to taste, it needs no modification. It’s a great basic pesto recipe, and The Chef can attest to the fact that I waxed dramatic about how easy and completely worth it it is to make this rather than buying the jarred stuff. (I know that’s supposed to be obvious, but sometimes you need something like this or Batali’s Basic Marinara Sauce to reteach you that fact.)

Also, this freezes incredibly well, so make a bunch for your long-term carbo needs.

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts*
3 tbsp chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups good olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

  1. Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.

  2. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.

  3. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

*The time I made this, I was too lazy to brave the psychofest that is the parking situation at midtown Schnuck’s, and I couldn’t find pine nuts at Miss Cordelia’s, so I used all walnuts. It may not feel as fancy, but it tastes just as good.

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Filed under Italian food, Pasta, Sauces

Peperonata ~ Italian Pepper Relish

It’s spicy up in here, y’all.

I feel like everywhere I look these days, there is a different colored bell pepper staring up at me, like a little edible Oompa Loompa. (Sometimes I like to imagine veggies are little people.. but then that brings up the distasteful idea of murdering them just so I can have salsa or whatever, and that’s a little more unseemly. Except for those Veggie Tales effers. Those creepy little things can burn.)

Anywho, there’s nothing better to do with these ripe little suckers than bathe them in a little olive oil, dress ’em up in garlic and send them out on the town.

The Chef tells me that “peperonata” is an Italian condiment for meats, but it can also be a great fish-topper and is yummy served cold as part of an antipasta course. I just think it’s fun to say.

As long as you don’t take it too far like Giada de Laurentiis (You’re Italian! We get it!). If I hear her over-pronounce “spahhh-gihhh-ti” or mohhh-zah-reh-lllla” one more time, I’m gonna smack the perky right off of her face.

Buon apetito!

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1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1.5 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

  1. Slice peppers and onions thin.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium low heat.
  3. Add onions and peppers and salt.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Then add garlic, rosemary, and vinegar.  Cook for  about 15 minutes. Voila.

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Filed under Appetizers, Italian food, Relishes, Sauces, Toppings, Veggies