Feast Like an Italian!

Italian food is so much more than spaghetti and pizza.  Explore Italy through soups, desserts, and a great glass of wine.

Minestrone with White Beans and Italian Sausageminestrone-sausage-fw-651659-l

Ingredients:

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  pound  mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1  carrot, chopped
  • 1  rib celery, chopped
  • 1  clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 4  cups  drained and rinsed canned white beans, preferably cannellini (from two 19-ounce cans)
  • 10  cup  water
  • 1  cup  canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2  teaspoons  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2/3  pound  spinach, stems removed and leaves washed well (about 1 1/2 quarts)
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Preparation:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon.

2. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the beans and 2 cups of the water in a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Add the tomatoes, the bean puree, the remaining 8 cups water, the salt, and the pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the sausage, the remaining 2 cups beans, and the spinach. Simmer until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Serve the soup topped with grated Parmesan, and pass more Parmesan at the table.

Mama Luliucci’s Famous Meatballspic9ds2a8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 8-10 slices white bread, broken into small 1/2 inch pieces (or you can use rolls or any stale bread you have and want to use up)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Locatelli)
  • 1-2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil or vegetable oil (for frying)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients gently in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Roll meatballs 1 1/2- 1 3/4″ in diameter.
  3. Heat about 1/4″ of oil over medium heat in a large frying pan.
  4. Fry meatballs in oil, rolling frequently, until evenly browned and juices run clear.

Sicilian Cannolis

Ingredients:

For cannoli shells:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb cold lard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil

For filling:

  • 1 lb fresh ricotta (2 cups)
  • 2 oz soft mild goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water (also called orange-blossom water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (not dyed red), chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Special equipment: a pasta maker; a 4- to 4 1/4-inch round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer; 6 (roughly 5 5/8- by 5/8-inch) metal cannoli tubes; 2 heavy-duty oven mitts; a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch plain tip
  • Garnish: confectioners sugar

Directions:

Make dough for shells:
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add 2 tablespoons lard and blend in with your fingertips until combined. Add wine and yolk and stir until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Make filling while dough stands:
Beat together ricotta, goat cheese, confectioners sugar, orange peel, orange-flower water, and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed 1 minute (do not overbeat). Fold in nuts and chocolate until combined and chill.

Make shells:
Set smooth rollers of pasta maker at widest setting. Unwrap dough and cut in half, then lightly flour 1 piece (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Flatten floured dough into an oval and feed through rollers. Turn dial down 2 notches and feed dough through rollers again. Continue to feed dough through rollers, making space between rollers narrower by 2 notches each time, until narrowest setting is used.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Transfer rolled dough to a lightly floured surface and cut out 4 or 5 rounds with floured cutter. Transfer rounds to baking sheet and keep covered with more plastic wrap. Roll out remaining dough and cut rounds in same manner. Gather scraps and let stand 10 minutes. Roll out scraps and cut in same manner.

Heat remaining lard with 1 1/4 inches oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 350°F on thermometer.

Meanwhile, lightly oil cannoli tubes. Lightly beat egg white, then brush bottom edge of 1 dough round with egg white. Wrap dough around a tube, overlapping ends (egg-white edge should go on top), then press edges together to seal. Make 5 more shells in same manner (keep remaining rounds covered with plastic).

Fry dough on tubes 1 at a time, turning with metal tongs, until 1 shade darker, about 45 seconds. Wearing oven mitts, clamp end of hot tubes, 1 at a time, with tongs and, holding tube vertically, allow shell to slide off tube onto paper towels, gently shaking tube and wiggling shell as needed to loosen. (If you allow shell to cool it will stick to tube and shatter when you try to remove it.) Transfer shells to paper towels to drain and cool tubes before reusing. Wrap remaining dough around tubes and fry in same manner.

Spoon filling into pastry bag and pipe some into 1 end of a cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat with remaining shells.

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Epicurious

Butternut Squash… Oh My!

Butternut squash is a rich and versitile vegetable.  Try one of these recipes to incorporate butternut squash into your next meal.

Honey Butternut Squash Soup4348804687_5c57740ce9

(makes about 4 servings)

2 lbs butternut squash (1 medium squash)
3 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
4 tbsps honey
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Rinse seeds and pat dry completely. Coat in one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Toast until seeds are just darkened.

Place squash cut side down in a separate tray coated with oil and roast about 30 minutes until tender. Cool and scoop the flesh from the skin. Puree in a food processor or with a hand blender in a pot until smooth. Thin the soup with stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Garnish with toasted seeds.

Bulgur and Freekeh Pilaf with Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta and Parsley

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(makes about 6 servings)

1 cup bulgur
1 cup freekeh
5 cups water
about 1 lb butternut squash, skinned, seeded and chopped into about 1-inch chunks
about 6 oz. Greek feta, crumbled
half a bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
about 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cover the bulgur with 2 cups of water and place on medium-low in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low when it begins to bubble, and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until water is all soaked up. At the same time, do the same for the freekeh and 3 cups of water. Once cooked, fluff grains with a fork and let cool, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash pieces in about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a couple pinches of salt and pepper, and the optional cayenne pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes; flip and toss once with a spatula and roast for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how large your chunks are) until pieces are just golden and crisp on the outside. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the grains with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and season with generous dashes of salt and pepper. Add the crumbled feta, squash and parsley. Serve immediately to retain crispness of the squash pieces; mixture can also be made up to a couple days in advance.

Better Than Pumpkin Pie19285

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Directions

  1. Place squash in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine butternut squash, brown sugar, cornstarch, egg, milk, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until a table knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.

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Not Eating Out in New York

Not Eating Out in New York

Try Korean Cuisine for Dinner!

Korean food is more savory than sweet.  Finish you dinner with a refreshing glass of ginger tea.

Slow Cooked Korean-Style Short Rib Soupslow_cooked_koreanshortribs_med

Ingredients

Ribs:

  • 12 English-cut short ribs (about 6 pounds)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Korean red chili paste or sambal oelek, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts, separated), thinly sliced

Noodles and Garnishes:

  • 10 to 12 ounces medium-thick rice noodles (also called rice sticks or jantaboon)
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 small Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, torn
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

Remove any silver skin from the surface of the short ribs, and then make 2 cuts across the grain, through the meat down to the bone. (See how-to photo.) Put the ribs in the slow cooker.

Whisk together the broth, soy, sugar, ginger, chili paste, sesame oil, garlic, and scallion whites. Pour over the ribs. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, put the rice noodles in a bowl with hot water to cover. Soak until tender and pliable, about 30 minutes.

Skim any fat that may collect on top of the beef broth and discard.

Divide the noodles among 6 large shallow bowls and ladle the broth over top. (Cut the meat from the ribs if desired.) Divide the meat evenly among the bowls. Garnish as desired with the carrots, cucumber, cilantro, lime and the remaining green parts of the scallion and more chili paste, if desired.

Korean Glass Noodles

1/4 cup shitake mushrooms (rehydrated and rinsed if dried), sliced
1/4 cup wood ears (rehydrated and rinsed if dried), sliced
1/4 lb broad glass noodles (rehydrated in hot water for 15 minutes and drained)
1 carrot, shredded
2 stalks green onion, julienned
2 tbsp vegetable oil

korean-glass-noodles3

1/2 cup water

sauce

4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground pepper

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Heat oil in frying pan on high heat and stir fry the green onions until fragrant. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and wood ears and stir fry for 3 more minutes. Combine the sauce ingredients and add to the vegetables. Stir well. Add noodles and water and stir fry until noodles are soft. Serve at room temperature with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Korean Ginger Tea (Saengang Cha) Recipegingertea

Refreshing on a hot summer day or soothing on a cold winter one, this sweet ginger tea is full of nutrients and vitamins. Wonderful chilled, this tea has also been used for centuries as a natural cold remedy. If you are making a warm version during the winter and don’t have access to the pears, then you can use dried persimmons, a couple tablespoons of honey, and a dash of cinnamon. Ginger is also used in Asia to aid digestion and many other ailments.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup peeled and sliced ginger
  • 16 oz water
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced and 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 Asian pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • sliced strawberry (optional garnish)
  • pine nuts (optional garnish)

Preparation:

  1. In a medium pot, add zest, ginger, water and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer vigorously for 15 minutes.
  3. Take off heat and add oranges, pears, and sugar, making sure to mix until sugar is dissolved.
  4. If serving warm, let sit for at least an hour, strain, and then reheat as needed.
  5. If serving cold, cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. Strain and serve with strawberry slices and optional ice cubes and pine nuts.
    (Serves 4)

    *If serving hot as a cold remedy, you can omit the oranges and half the sugar and replace them with a splash of cinnamon and 2 Tbsp of honey.

Courtesy of:

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Use Real Butter

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Classic Comfort Food

When the weather gets cold, turn to classic comfort food to warm the soul.

French Onion Soup

Serves 6img-0632

Notes:

For the best flavor, make the soup a generic cialis day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
  • 6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Make sure you get Yellow)
  • Table salt
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (They recommend Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth )
  • 2 cups beef broth (They recommend Pacific Beef Broth)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ground black pepper

Cheese Croutons

  • 1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)

Directions:

For the soup:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with a nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
  3. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, roughly 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.)
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
  6. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

For the croutons:

  1. While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

To serve:

  1. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredientstop10_bakedmacaroniandche_s4x3_med

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients11305

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 bananas, sliced

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
  2. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.
  3. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour.

Courtesy of:

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