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Category Archives: Italian Cuisine

Pork Ragu Lasagna with Pesto Bechamel

October 16, 2018

Pork Ragu and Pesto Bechamel Lasagna

Pork Ragu

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • Salt

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the pork and cook on high heat and separate the meat with a wooden spoon. Saute for a 3 to 4 minutes on medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Saute for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato sauce and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add salt if necessary and turn heat off and keep aside.

Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup fresh or store bought pesto

Heat a medium saucepan and add the flour and butter. Melt the butter on medium high heat. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Slowly add the milk and whisk to make sure all the lumps are taken out. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the nutmeg and salt. Turn the heat off and keep aside. Add the pesto and mix well.

Lasagna

  • 1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano
  • 12 lasagna sheets (I used no boil pasta)

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

Line a 9 X 11 glass pan with a quarter cup of béchamel sauce. Cover the bottom and add four pasta sheets. Spread one cup of meat sauce on top. Sprinkle ¼ cup shredded Pecorino. Place another 4 sheets on top. Pour about ¾ cup of béchamel sauce- spreading it all over the pasta. Add another cup of meat sauce. Add ¼ cup of shredded Pecorino. Place another 4 sheets on top and cover with the remaining béchamel sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take the cover off, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for another 15. Serve hot with salad and garlic bread.

Morel Mushroom Risotto

October 2, 2018

Mushroom Risotto
I served the risotto with lamb chops- yum!

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pack wild mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 to 4 cups mushroom broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 to 4 dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino cheese, grated

Soak the mushrooms in the warm water for 3 to 4 hours. Take the mushrooms out and strain the water of any sand/impurities. Keep the water aside. Chop the mushrooms and add the wild mushroom heap.

Heat the morel broth and the packaged mushroom broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm (use 3 cups of packaged broth in addition to the morel broth; use 4 cups of packaged broth if not using morels).
Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wild and morel mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium high heat. Add the rice and sauté for a minute. Add a half cup of warmed broth to the rice mix and stir on medium low heat. As soon as the liquid is cooked off, add the next half-cup. Stir and cook till the rice grains are cooked through- it should take about 20 minutes. Add half and half, butter, cheese and salt. Mix well and check for seasonings. Add pepper and serve hot.

Spinach Polenta

September 25, 2018
  • Shrimp in Poblano Sauce and Spinach Polenta2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped and thawed (frozen) spinach, excess water squeezed
  • 1 cup fine polenta
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 cups broth
  • ½ cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • Salt

Heat a medium saucepan with olive oil. Add the pine nuts and raisins and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the milk and the broth and bring to a boil. Slowly add the polenta while stirring constantly. Cook according to box instructions. Add the cheese and check for seasonings. Serve with shrimp.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

September 17, 2018

Tomato and Mozzarells Sandwich

Eat them while the tomatoes are still around…

  • Sliced baguette or a piece of garlic bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 3 to 4 slices fresh mozzarella (1/4 inch thick)
  • 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
  • One medium tomato or several grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Salt

Cut a big enough piece of the garlic bread and slice and toast. Spread the mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Place the mozzarella slices on one side of bread and sprinkle some salt. Place the tomatoes and basil leaves. Place the other piece of bread on top and serve.

Sicilian Caponata

August 19, 2018

1 cup mix of black and green olives, pitted

1 tablespoon capers

2 garlic cloves, peeled

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Juice on half a lemon

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

½ cup fresh parsley

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Puree all the ingredients, except the olive oil, salt and pepper, in a food processor until a paste is formed.

With the motor still running, stream in the oil until a smooth consistency if formed. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti

July 17, 2018

I would highly recommend this recipe for bolognese sauce- it is easy to make and really delicious! The pancetta and sausage flavor it amazing.. definitely worth a try…

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large Italian sausage links, meat taken out of the casings
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ pound spaghetti, cooked al dente

Heat a heavy saucepan with the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary and thyme. Stir and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add one teaspoon of salt. Add the pancetta and sauté on medium heat till the vegetables are soft and pancetta is crispy. Add the beef and sausage and separate vigorously with the back of a wooden spoon while stirring. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes on medium high heat. Add the white wine and scrape off all the golden brown bits from the bottom. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium low heat with lid on for 2 hours. Stir every 15 minutes or so to check the consistency. Once the consistency is according to taste, check for seasonings and serve with spaghetti.

Herbed Ricotta and Potato Gnocchi

July 15, 2018

This is my first try at making gnocchi at home. I am not a big fan of the potato variety.. so I decided to make them with ricotta and potato. I also added herbs and some Romano cheese. The result was absolutely delicious. I paired it with a simple marinara sauce….The trick to fluffy gnocchi is not over mixing and over kneading the dough…

  • 1 one pound russet potato
  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup freshly ground Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup plus more flour

Cook the potato till soft to the fork. Take the skin off and put the potato through a potato ricer into a bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, chives, egg and cheese. Mix well. Gradually add the flour, one tablespoon at a time till the dough comes together and not sticky- try not to over knead the dough. Separate into four sections and roll each into ½ inch thick logs on a floured surface. With a knife, cut bite-sized gnocchis. Place on a floured cookie sheet and let sit for an hour. Make the sauce in the meantime.

Gnocchi1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (chopped or whole, if whole, crush them with fingers)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi for 2 to 3 minutes or till they float to the surface. Serve with marinara sauce and freshly grated cheese