Parmigiana in Bianco

•November 11, 2016 • 2 Comments

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Eggplant are a bit out of season, but we’re in ‘merica, so you can find most vegetables all year round. I can’t say that this is a good thing, they usually lack flavor since they were grown in a greenhouse, but certainly convenient, and we are a culture of convenience. These eggplant were bought in season and from a farm that isn’t too far from where we live. Needless to say I have been distracted with other things, right now I think doing things that bring joy to myself, and hopefully others is the only way to move forward. This parmigiana was such a great find, hidden away in one of my Italian cookbooks from Puglia.

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Dreaming of Puglia, we made this for the occasion of a dinner with friends who we met when we were living there. This was the first time we had invited them over for dinner and it was important that we made something Italian and specifically Pugliese. Instead of leaning on your typical primo, I decided to make a meal of antipasti, which were really special and abundant in Puglia.

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It was always a delicious surprise when going to a new restaurant to try the antipasti della casa, even if you knew that you would end up too full for the pasta course or the main course. For our feast I prepared this parmigiana, along with a number of other antipasti. I had never had a parmigiana in bianco before and was worried when I made it that it would be bland, or dry, I was completely mistaken, it was none of those things and it is a recipe that I will be making again.

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Parmigiana bianca

adapted and translated from Ricette di osterie della Puglia. Mare, erbe e fornelli Slow Food Editor

  • 2 eggplant
  • a few springs of Italian parsley, chopped
  • a fistful of bread crumbs
  • 2 mozzarella around 1 lb
  • 3.5 oz grated aged Pecorino
  • extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch medallions, sprinkle each slice with salt and set in a colander to sweat. The sweating not only releases the water, but takes away its bitterness. Leave the medallions to sweat for about 30 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, with a basting brush, brush each medallion with olive oil, this is the best way to apply it, let the medallions grill on both sides, pressing them to release their water and to cook evenly. Once they have been grilled on both sides, remove them to a plate and continue until you have grilled all of the eggplant. This can also be done on an outdoor grill.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Grease a small casserole with olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs to cover. Place part of the eggplant on the bottom of the casserole in a single layer, followed by a layer of mozzarella slices, sprinkle with the grated pecorino, breadcrumbs, salt, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat until you have used up all of the ingredients, layering them on top of each other and covering the top layer with the pecorino, bread crumbs and the parsley. Drizzle with additional olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes, serve the parmigiana hot.

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Two Years Ago: Polipo alla Pignata

Three Years Ago: Tagliatelle con speck, funghi e panna

Four Years Ago: Sweet Potato Biscuits & Pasta, Patate e Provola

Five Years Ago: Seed Crusted Pork Loin, Zucchini and Smoked Salmon Spaghetti & Carolina Gold Risotto with Pumpkin and Oil Cured Black Olives

Six Years Ago: Snapper alla Matalotta, Risotto with Snapper in a Saffron Broth & Farfalle with Calamari and Yellow Tomatoes

Seven Years Ago: Spanakopita

Eight Years Ago: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Renella, Pizza, Zucchine alla Scapece, Obama!!, Linguine with Artichokes, Cicoria Saltata in Padella, Lunch in Anzio & Mezze Maniche alla Checca

Chanterelle Toasts

•October 31, 2016 • 2 Comments

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I missed my 8 year anniversary of Italicious, it should feel like a great sense of accomplishment, 8 years is a long time to keep something like this going. I do feel that I have, at least in the past, accomplished something pretty cool. I have enjoyed writing about cooking so much over the years, all of these new flavors in the many different places that I have lived and visited. The Pacific Northwest shouldn’t bring all of this hard work and good eating to a standstill, but in the past year it really has. Despite that grey sky and the wet stuff falling from it I need to call my creative juices, please come forth and flow again.

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Mushrooms are such a great fall food, this recipe for chanterelles on toast was wonderful. I love mushrooms, but I have found, in my experience, that I am not an expert at cooking them. I thought it would be a shame to not let these beauties shine their brightest, so no trusting myself and ,my own devices, I went with a recipe from the New York Times, which rarely fails me. They were outstanding, I grilled some leftover crusty bread and my husband and I let the juices dribble down our cheeks, slurping up every bite.

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Chanterelles on Toast

from the New York Times

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh chanterelles
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices toasted sourdough, for serving
  • 4 tablespoons shaved vegetarian Parmesan

Heat your largest fry pan over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, add the chanterelles. Cook for 4 minutes without moving them around too much.

Add the sherry vinegar and the lemon juice and cook down until fully reduced. Add the stock and reduce by half (you are not exactly reducing so much as hydrating the mushrooms). Add the rosemary, thyme, parsley and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Evenly spoon the chanterelles over the 4 pieces of toasted bread and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

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One Year Ago: Asparagus With Anchovies and Capers, Spaghetti con polipetti, Farfalle with Roman Beans, Tomato Confit and Salmon & Ceci Neri con le Seppie

Two Years Ago: Ricotta and Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Acciughe Sotto Sale, Tiella Barese con Cozze, Riso e Patate, Vegetable Lasagna “in bianco”, Pomegranate Chicken, Spiced Brisket with Leeks and Dried Apricots, Risotto with Calamari and Zucchini Blossoms & Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

Three Years Ago: Acciughe al Finocchio, Orecchiette nelle ‘Nchiosce, Moscardini-Polipi agli Agrumi, Merenda Napoletana, Stuffed Eggplant, Ziti con le Sarde e Cicoria, Provençal Orecchiette al Forno, Lentil and Escarole Soup & Turkish Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt

Four Years Ago: Insalata di Seppie e Zucchine alla Scapece, Farfalle alla Primavera, Spaghetti alla Chittara con Cicoria e Paté di Olive, Spaghetti con le Cozze e Pomodori Freschi, Pranzo di Ferragosto, Fusilli Bucati alla Puttanesca, Casareccie with Green Beans and Ricotta, Holland, Cappelletti con Salmone Affumicato e Fagiolini, Chilled Zucchini-Yogurt Soup, Risotto with Sausages and Green Beans, Herb Baked Fish, Moroccan Beet Salad, Aunt Lois’s Challah, Zucchini in Israeli Tomato Sauce, Crunchy-Topped Whole-Wheat Plum Cake, Caprese Pasta Salad with Grilled Eggplant, Roma, Insalata di Seppie con Paté di Olive, Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, Fried Calamari, Alici Indorate e Fritte, Casareccie with grilled zucchini, pancetta and pine nuts, Orata al Cartoccio con i Finocchi Arrostiti & Risotto di Pesce a l’Aroma di Limone

Five Years Ago: Chickpeas With Baby Spinach, Grilled Bread Salad, Amatriciana with fresh tomatoes, Herb Marinated Kebabs, Cherry Clafouti, Blueberry Basil Vinegar, Pasta e Patate, Summer Squash with White Beans and Tomatoes, Ricotta, Tapenade and Cherry Tomato Pizza, Spaghetti con Acchiughe, Erbe e Limone, Mediterranean Green and White Bean Salad, Zucchini and Rice Tian, Pasta alla Norma di Zucchine, Salade Niçoise, Snapper al Sale, Risotto al Pesce, Farfalle alla Vodka, Flounder in Saffron-Tomato Sauce, Cold Asparagus Salad with Sesame Seeds, Spaghetti di Ettore & Roasted Figs

Six Years Ago: Pizza Bianca with Fresh Figs and Prosciutto Crudo, Sweet Pea Pesto, Greek Stewed Green Beans and Yellow Squash With Tomatoes, Gemelli with Grilled Sausage and Scamorza, Pan Seared Wahoo over Grits with Fresh Puttanesca, Porcini Trifolati, La Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco, Pizze Fritte, Luchin, Frittura di Funghi Porcini & Orecchiette

Seven Years Ago: Pasta e Lenticchie, Pasta all’Insalata Caprese, Grilled Lemon-Balsamic Asparagus, Zucchini and Ricotta Pie, Melanzane al Funghetto, Risotto with Zucchini and Saffron, Banana Blueberry Muffins, Lincoln Park Farmers Market, Chicago Il, Risotto agli Asparagi e Zafferano, Crochette di Riso, Parmigiana di Zucchine, Meat Tzimmes, Sweet Carrot Coins, Rice Pilaf with Golden Rasins and Pistachios, Challah, Apple Cake with Honey, Garganelli with Sausage Ragù, Lentil Pottage, Swiss Chard With Raisins and Pine Nuts, Supplì, Gnocchi with Sausage Fennel Ragù, Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake, Pasta e Ceci, Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies and Toasted Bread Crumbs, Kale and Potato Soup, Pumpkin and Kale Risotto, Apple Pancakes & Pasta e Zucca

Eight Years Ago: Cuttlefish over Spaghetti with a Tomato – Olive sauce, Pasta e Fagioli, Roasted Ricciola on a bed of Fennel, Pizza for Lunch and Pizza for Dinner, Marco’s in Riviera di Chiaia, Napoli, Fried Sole with Mache and Pear Salad, Babà, Melanzane alla Lina, Orata alla Ligure, Pizza Bianca Farcita, Ziti with a Seafood-Fennel Sauce, Fruit Tart with Crema Pasticciera and Shortbread Cookies & Farfalle alla Nerano

Skillet Chicken With Rhubarb

•July 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment
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My dear friend Angie offered to trim my baby’s bangs the other day and not only did she clean up her little head, I got to enjoy her company and she sent me home with rhubarb from her garden. I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with rhubarb and since I am not one to make desserts I sought out a savory recipe to use for these fresh red stalks. I love the tartness of the rhubarb, it is deliciously fruity and paired wonderfully with chicken thighs. The dish started out very pretty, but rhubarb unfortunately looses its pretty ruby hue when cooked and turn brownish. The flavors were delicious though and it was perfect paired with grits, a little shout out to my southern upbringing.  
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I have had a long hiatus from Italicious, life has been getting in the way of my joys in the kitchen. Two kids is 100 times more work than one and after a year in the Seattle area, I feel like I am finally (kind of) getting my bearings. My kitchen inspirations are still pretty nil, but I am going to try and muster up a bit more, at least for the sake of the blog and for my own creative needs.
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Skillet Chicken With Rhubarb

from the New York Times

  • 1 (5 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 5 sprigs thyme, preferably lemon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions or scallions, white and light green stalks thinly sliced (slice and reserve greens for garnish)
  • 2 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preparation

  1. Pat chicken dry and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place in a bowl with the thyme sprigs and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove thyme from bowl with chicken, reserving thyme. Add chicken pieces to skillet and sear, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a platter.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in onion (white and light green parts) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reserved thyme; cook 1 minute more. Stir in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of pan. Add rhubarb, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Return chicken pieces to pot in a single layer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes for breasts and 20 to 25 minutes for legs and thighs, transferring chicken pieces to a platter as they finish cooking.
  5. Whisk butter into rhubarb sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with sliced onion greens.
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One Year Ago: a new dish & Seppie arrostite con le zucchine crude, Casareccie with beets and walnuts & Orecchiette With Basil and Pistachio Pesto and Green Paesano Beans
Two Years Ago: Key West, Spaghettini with Asparagus, Orecchiette con le Cime di Rape, Fresh Shelled Pea Pate & Roasted Asparagus and Scallion Quiche, Insalata di Seppie e Patate, Octopus and Black Pepper Spaghetti, Mercato del Pesce, Chioggia – Veneto & Insalata di Farro
Three Years Ago: Risotto ai Cardoncelli e le Vongole, Torta di Carciofi e Fave, Insalata di Polipo, Baked Fettucine with Bechamel and Artichokes, Spaghetti con la Bottarga, Farfalle with Fresh Shelled Peas and Pancetta, Limoncello, Wine-Braised Brisket with Tart Cherries, Citrus Shrimp Salad & Orecchiette al ragu di polpo
Four Years Ago: strascinati con carciofi e panna, Fried Artichokes, Agretti, Parmigiana di Carciofi, Farfalle with Roasted Fennel and Swordfish, Risi e Bisi, Vitello Tonné, Mushroom Quiche, Cuttlefish and Zucchini Risotto alla Scapece, Alici alla Beccafico, Strawberry, Mulberry and Cherry Tatin, Linguine alla Beccafico e Albicocche, Torta di Riso, Sarago in Cartoccio, Spaghetti con Fagiolini Paesani, Panzanella Pugliese, Insalata Fredda di Seppioline, Cole Slaw, Sarde Incinte in Agrodolce, Carrot Coconut Cake, Fried Zucchini Flowers, Watermelon, Quinoa and Feta Cheese Salad & Casareccie con Triglie e Pesto di Acciughe alla Menta
Five Years Ago: Flounder Fillets in White Wine, Lasagna, Southern Style, Lamb Shanks with Oranges and Olives, Zucchini Flower Pizza, Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets, Green Tomato Summer Pasta, Stuffed Zucchini, Melanzane in Insalata alla Calabrese, Spinach and Ricotta Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Onion Blossoms, Tagliatelle with Yellow Zucchini and Olive Tapenade, Chicken Couscous Salad, Frittata di Zucchine Gialle e Provola, Farfalle with Yellow Zucchini and Tuna, Fried Flounder with Zucchini Straws over Grits, Beet and Beet Green Gratin, Tagliatelle with Rhubarb, Cranberry Bean Salad with Celery, Basil and Mint, Spaghetti Integrali con Zucchine Gratugiate e Fior di Zucca & Pizza with Ricotta, Zucchini, Olives and Provolone
Six Years Ago: Asparagus and Ham Risotto with a Fried Egg, Ragù with Fresh Egg Fetuccini, Black-Eyed Peas With Collard Greens, Linguine with Artichokes and Scallops, Pollo all’Arancia, Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market, Risotto with Artichokes, Saffron and Baby Shrimp, Cacio e Pepe della Scala, Summer Squash and Potato Torte, Pasta alla Norma, Asparagus Panzanella, Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Anchovies, Flounder in Cartoccio & Torta Caprese 
Seven Years Ago: Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce, Spinach and Sausage Lasagna, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Penne with Zucchini, Roasted Tomatoes and Pistachios, Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Lemon, Celery and Carrots, Red Beans and Rice, Ziti with Artichokes and Swordfish, Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, Mediterranean Beet and Yogurt Salad, Marion Square Farmers Market, Charleston, SC, Collard Greens alla Italiana, Baked Fish in Salsa di Agrumi, Gemelli with Tuna alla Siciliana, Fish Tacos, Pizza di Collards, Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs, Okra Masala Stew over Couscous, Refrigerator Noodle Creation, Grilled Sausages, Rigatoni with Sausages and Broccoli Rabe, Ligurian Stuffed Zucchini, Ziti with Asparagus and Flounder, Frittata di Patate, Butternut Squash Soup, Risotto with Sausage, Baby Bellas and Saffron, Fish Stew with Quinoa, Grilled Vermillion Snapper and Grilled Veggies, Farfalle with Grilled Zucchini and Sausages, Honeydew Melon and Green Tomato Salad, Grilled Sockeye Salmon Fillet, Sautéed Summer Squash, Okra Sautéed with Tomatoes and Garlic alla Napoletana, Carbonara with a Twist, Peach and Blueberry Cobbler, Morningside Farmers Market, Cheese Soufflè, Baby Artichokes and Scallops Risotto, Couscous Salad with Yellow Zucchini, Farfalle with Zucchini Flowers and Saffron, Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas, Casareccie with Pattypan Squash, Daniel Island Farmers Market, Boiled P-Nuts, Panzanella, Green Beans alla Napoletana, Chickpea and Vegetable Stew with Couscous

Frittatine di Pasta Napoletane

•April 13, 2016 • 4 Comments

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Bursts of inspiration, we haven’t had a lot of them, at least I haven’t. My husband, on the other hand, has been having a lot of fun in the kitchen, much of it is due to nostalgia for the tastes of home, but his inspiration hasn’t been limited to the Bay of Naples alone, this, however, is strictly napoletano and can be found in an Neapolitan pizzeria or friggitoria.

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We’ve always loved frittate di maccheroni, whenever there is pasta leftover it will always be made into a frittata, Napoli’s genius method of not letting any food go to waste. We spent a lot of time in Naples when we were living in Puglia, a lot more time than I had ever spent when we were living in Tuscany and Rome. On our trips I had the chance to get to know the city and the food in ways that I hadn’t had the chance to do before. One of my great discoveries were le frittatine di pasta, little fritters of pasta made with ham, peas and bechamel, so delicious. After a stroke of homesickness my husband made them one weekend and I’m hoping her will make them again sometime soon.

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There is a lot of process to this recipe, a lot of Neapolitan food involves process, but just like most things that take a little extra sweat, these were so worth the effort. The next time he makes them we will have to invite friends over to savour them with us.

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Frittatine di Pasta Napoletane

  • 350 g (3/4 lb) of bucatini
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) of ham cut into small cubes
  • 300 g (10 oz.) peas
  • 1 tbsp of onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 300 g (10 oz.) smoked mozzarella cut into small cubes
  • 50 g (2 oz.) grated parmigiano reggiano
  • pepper to taste

for the bechamel:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the batter:

  • 1/2 L (2 cups) of cold water
  • 300 g (around 3 cups) of flour
  • salt to taste
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

Break the bucatini into 4 pieces and boil them in salted water, removing them from the water when they are very al dente.

For the bechamel, heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw-flour taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan and saute the minced onion, add the peas and cook them for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat.

Combine the bucatini with the bechamel, ham, smoked mozzarella, peas, parmigiano and a pinch of pepper. Mix it together well and pour it into a shallow baking dish, distribute in a way to create an even level, cover and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

After the pasta has rested in the fridge start to heat up the oil for frying and start to make the timballini of pasta. Take a biscuit cutter or a small cup and cut the pasta into small round forms or timballini. Mix the batter together. Submerge the pasta rounds into the batter, covering them completely and fry in the hot oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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One Year Ago: Orecchiette With Grated Squash, Walnuts and Ricotta Salata

Two Years Ago: Insalata di Calamari, Cicoria Selvatica e le Polpettine, Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil, Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Marjoram, Tonarelli con Pesce Spada e Radicchio, Pork Chops with Cardoncelli Mushrooms, Carbonara with Roasted Cauliflower, Mormora & Cavatelli with Beets, Cacioricotta and Pistachios

Three Years Ago: Fancy Pasta with Grated Fennel, Lemon and Orata, Risotto with Orata, Leeks, Sundried Tomatoes and Saffron, Zuppa di Pesce, Risotto alla Zuppa di Pesce, Rape Selvatiche, Chicken with 28 Cloves of Garlic, Pickled Shrimp, Farfalle With Stewed Fennel, Artichokes and Peas, Risotto with sole, toasted almonds and roasted tomatoes, Cape Town, Kosher for Easter, Spaghetti con Seppie e Asparagelle, Pansotti al brasato e carciofi, Cime di Rape Affogate al Vino & Linguini with Fresh Shelled Peas and Calamari

Four Years Ago: Trattoria al Gambero, Porto Cesareo (LE), I Secondi della Lanternaia, L’Antro, Crispiano (TA), Mure delle Pietre Secche, Casa di Nonna, Signs of Spring, Catalogna, Puntarelle Pugliesi, Carciofi Carciofi Carciofi & Pasqua Napoletana

Five Years Ago: Reezy Peezy, Kale with Cannellini and Polenta, Shrimp and Grits alla Mediterranea, Spaghetti Squash all’Aglio e Olio, Agnolotti al Brasato, Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel, Pureed Potato and Broccoli Soup, Funghi Trifecta Risotto, Funghi Trifecta Risotto Croquettes, Flounder and Fennel filled Mezzelune with Salsa di Pistacchi, Mantecato of Flounder and Fennel over Gemelli with Pistachios, Cavolfiore alle Olive, Wahoo with Citrus and Pistachios & Ziti with Grilled Sausages and Ricotta

Six Years Ago: Herb Egg Salad, Lentil Tomato Soup, Spaghetti alla Gricia, Sweet Potatoes Wrapped in Sage and Prosciutto, Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew, Ziti alla Sorrentina, Chili and Honey Chicken Legs with Braised Collards, Mint, Spinach and Ricotta Frittata, Pastiera & Spaghetti alle Sarde con Erbette

Seven Years Ago: Farfalle with Portobello Mushrooms, Frittata di Maccheroni, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto, Chicken Tikka with Pomegranate Couscous Salad, Pot Stickers, La Carbonara, Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Green Olives & Mint, Tiramisu, Spaghetti with Scallops, Gumbo Ya Ya, Gemelli with Tuna, Raisins, Pine Nuts & Capers, Salsicce e Friarielli, Pizzette, Ravioli con Ragù Napoletano, Ragù Napoletano and Grits, Farfalle with Salmon and Fennel, Soba Noodles With Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms & Broccoli, Pesto, Gemelli with Fennel & Bacon, Salsa di Pistacchi, Tzatziki Potato Salad, Beet and Blood Orange Salad, Red Snapper alla Ligure, Pork Loin Stuffed with Figs, Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta GA, No-Knead Pizza Dough, Risotto with Scallops, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Cornbread Dressing, Collard Greens, Southern Cheese Biscuits, Macaroni and Cheese, Gemelli with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes, Insalata di Farro with Beets and Feta Cheese, Apricot, Fig and Pistachio Haroseth & Carciofi alla Romana

Lasagna in Bianco

•February 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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It’s martedì grasso, or Mardis Gras. Sadly they don’t celebrate around these parts, or if they do it isn’t something that children attend, it’s just another excuse to get crunk. My daughter, of course, is pretty disappointed, carnevale was always a very magical time, going to see the parades in Putignano, seeing children in costume on the streets in the weeks ahead and lots of fun at school with her friends. Not to mention le chiacchere, delicious fried treats sprinkled with powdered sugar that were everywhere.

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The Neapolitan tradition on martedì grasso is to eat lasagna, which, in the tradition, is usually made with tiny meatballs in the sauce, a little gluttony before the fast. This lasagna, aside from the decadence of being a lasagna, is magro, which translates as lean, but it is a term that Italians use to say that it is without meat. Magro or not, it was delicious.

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Lasagna in Bianco

  • pound no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 2 cups of spinach, parboiled and drained
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion or shallot, minced
  • 7.5 oz of creme fraiche
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of prepared pesto
  • a few leaves of basil

for the bechamel:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion
  • 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Bring a medium pot of water to a boil to blanch the spinach, blanche for about 2 minutes, drain and squeeze out all of the excess liquid. In the meantime heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add the minced onions, saute until translucent and add the mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to release their liquid, when that liquid has evaporated turn off the heat and remove from the pan to set aside.

Wisk the creme fraiche and the pesto together.

bechamel:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw-flour taste. Season with salt and pepper.

assembly:

Spread a thin layer of bechamel at the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, preferably glass. Place one layer of noodles on top, covering the entire dish. Spread another dollop of bechamel and put the spinach in the bechamel. Place the second layer of noodles on the spinach and spread on the creme fraiche and the pesto. Place the 3rd layer of noodles on the creme fraiche, and place the mushrooms on that third layer with some bechamel. The final layer of noodles will be topped with bechamel, mozzarella cheese, basil and some parmigiano-reggiano. Cover and let sit until you are ready to bake, it can be made 1 day ahead of time and chilled in the fridge. If you make it a day ahead, allow it to come to room temperature before putting it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bake the lasagna, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes, until it is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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One Year Ago: La Genovese

Two Years Ago: Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Three Years Ago: Stuffed Squid, Colcannon, Wild Mushroom Risotto & Fancy Pasta with Artichokes and Clams

Four Years Ago: Gli antipasti della Lanternaia, I Primi della Lanternaia & La Cantina di Papa Ggiru

Five Years Ago: Farfalle with Butternut Squash, Olives and Grapes & Gemelli with Cauliflower and Saffron

Six Years Ago: Brasato

Seven Years Ago: An interpretation of La Genovese, Genovese Sauce over Pasta, Farfalle With Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto & Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables,

 

Sweet Potato Tian

•January 29, 2016 • 1 Comment

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I’ve been a little harried since we moved to Washington, I will not lie. With all of the moves that I have experienced, back and forth from Italy, experiencing a new kind of culture shock each time, this may have been the worst. I can’t pinpoint what it is, our first move here as a couple was childless, so we could explore the world with a lot more freedom. Our move to Puglia came with a lot of perks, a fancy hotel for the first few months, a great preschool for our eldest and the joys of seasonal eating in southern Italy. Moving to the suburbs of Seattle has been the biggest culture shock of all, and I’m completely stunted by it. It doesn’t help that my 6 year old is constantly reminding us of how much she misses Italy, her friends, the food, “the old times”. She longs for it, in true Neapolitan fashion. She may be bi-cultural, but her heart is Italian, romantic, creative and melodramatic.

The introduction to this post has very little to do with the actual content, sweet potatoes, though the point is that this was a dish that I made for Thanksgiving, it is January 29th and I am just now getting around to posting it. Harried.

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Sweet Potato Tian

from Epicurious

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 6 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds
  • 2 pounds parsnips (about 3 extra-large), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds4 cups apple cider1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Special equipment: A 4-quart casserole dish or braiser, preferably round

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°F. Bring cider to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add butter, thyme, Aleppo, and 2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until butter is melted. Let cool slightly.

Place potatoes and parsnips in a large bowl. Pour cider mixture over and toss to coat. Stack a handful of slices about 3″ high, then place vertically in casserole dish. Using a measuring cup or small bowl, keep slices standing up as you go, working around the perimeter and then into the center, forming concentric circles. Continue arranging slices in pan until tightly packed (you may have some leftover). Pour in cider mixture to come halfway up sides of dish; discard remaining cider mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tsp. salt and cover tightly with foil.

Bake, covered, 1 hour. Remove foil and brush pan juices over tops of slices with a pastry brush. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top, 35–40 minutes more.

Do Ahead: After first round of baking at 325°F, let cool, then chill for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, then bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 40–50 minutes.

Cooks’ Note: If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the sweet potatoes and parsnips—it will help you get thinner, more even slices in less time than by hand. The number of potatoes and parsnips you need to fill your casserole dish will depend on their width, so buy extra just in case, and try to seek out parsnips that are as close as possible to the width of your sweet potatoes.

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One Year Ago: Il Gateau di Patate

Two Years Ago: frittelle di cavolfiori e baccalà & Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Three Years Ago: Baccala’ alla Vicentina con Polenta & Stuffed Squid

Four Years Ago: dalla nostra terra, a walk in the country & Gli antipasti della Lanternaia

Five Years Ago: Potato-Mushroom Cake with Braised Lentils, Meatloaf & Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, Saffron and Red Wine

Seven Years Ago: pesce all’acqua pazza & An interpretation of La Genovese

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

•January 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Late! Late by 21 days, or 2 months! I’ll let you be the judge. These are my New Years Day black eyed peas, because like any true Southern Girl, I have my hoppin john and my greens a stewin’ early New Years Day. The hoppin’ john was actually this gorgeous black eyed pea salad, because the truth of it is that I don’t really care for black eyed peas, but if they are dressed up with lots of herbs and spices they shine in a new way.

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I can’t say that I have stuck with this tradition throughout the years, I go back and forth between the Italian tradition of lentils and the traditions from my south. After a lovely Christmas vacation in my home city of Atlanta my southern roots needed to bring a little warmth to this dark and damp part of the world.

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad

from the New York Times

  • 1 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 3 large garlic cloves, 2 of them crushed and left in the skin, 1 of them minced
  • ½ onion, intact
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, in season only, diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound), trimmed, quartered, cored and sliced very thin across the grain
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • cup chopped fresh dill
  • cup chopped chives
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled

Place the black-eyed peas, whole crushed garlic cloves, halved onion and bay leaf in a large, heavy saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender but intact, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and allow the black-eyed peas to cool for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the onion. Remove the garlic cloves, squeeze the cooked garlic out of the skins and back into the black-eyed peas, and drain through a strainer set over a bowl.

Transfer the black-eyed peas to a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the beans. Add the remaining ingredients except the feta and toss together. If you want a bit more liquid with the beans, add back some of the broth (I found the dressing to be sufficient). Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve.

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One Year Ago: Umbria, Rugelach, Scarole Imbottite & Gamberoni al Vino Bianco

Two Years Ago: Merano / Meran, Alto Adige / Südtirol, Marketing for our Christmas Feasts, Panettone Gastronomico & Pollo alla Cacciatora

Three Years Ago: Francavilla Fontana Thanksgiving, Risotto with grated Fennel, Monkfish and Pistachios, Pranzo di Domenica, Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms, Latkes, Creamy Carrot Soup with Poppy Seeds, Rigatoni with Octopus and Artichokes, La Vigilia di Natale, Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives, Polipo al forno con le patate & Pasta al Forno con Funghi Pleurotus e Spinaci

Four Years Ago: Fettucine alla Crema di Carciofi, Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds and Couscous, Mushroom and Fig Risotto, Classic Meatloaf, Pasta al Forno with Collards and Baked Eggs, Risotto with Salmon, Chanterelles and Chives & Relais Histò

Five Years Ago: Cappuccino Cheesecake, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Apple Puree, Turkey Tetrizzini, Brasato alla Birra, Torta di Riso e Zucchine, Risotto ai Funghi Porcini, Spaghetti With Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Olives, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Risotto with Pumpkin and Olives, Lentil Stew With Pumpkin, Zuppa di Pesce, Farfalle with Portobello Mushrooms and Arugula & Herb Crusted Pork Loin,

Six Years Ago: Grilled Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pomegranate Glaze, Blackbean, Pumpkin and Leek Soup, Focaccia, Linguine con Finocchio e Sarde, Swedish Meatballs, Penne alla Boscaiola, What to do with Leftover Meatballs!, Maple Pear Upside-Down Cake, Nasi Goreng & Spaghetti e Vongole

Seven Years Ago: Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Anchovy Vinaigrette, La Sicilia I, La Sicilia II, La Sicilia III, Fusilli with Swordfish and Pistachios, Salsicce sulla Pietra Ollare, Sfogliatella, Cotolleta alla Milanese, Polpo alla Luciana, Calamarata with Octopus Heads and Clams, Ligurian Shop Windows, Puntarelle, Ristorante in Lavagna, Spaghetti with Calamari and Artichokes, Cornetto Salato with Prosciutto di San Daniele, Panettone, Alici Fritti, Roasted Fennel Gratin, Zucchini Quiche & Polpo Affogato

 
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