Tag Archives: cheese

Oretiko – Chilled Cheese Appetizer


  • 1 C  Feta Cheese
  • .5 C  Lucini Organic Stravecchio Pamigiano Reggiano (grated)
  • 12   Kalamata olives (sliced, pitted)
  • .5 C  Onion (rinsed well in cold water)
  • .25 C Lucini Extra Virgin olive Oil
  • 1      Green Pepper (chopped small)
  • .5 tsp Black Pepper (fresh, ground)
  • .25 tsp Paprika (optional)


In electric mixer, beat the olive oil and cheese until they reach the consistency of whipped cream.  Remove from mixer and add black pepper, paprika, olives, onion and green pepper. Taste for salt, paprika and pepper.  Pack mixture solidly in small bowl or oiled mold. Refrigerate until firm.  Serve sliced.


Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Parmesan



Preheat you oven to 425.  Careful cut a hole (as long as the pit) into the date (lengthwise).  Remove the pit.

Slide a parmesan slice into each pit, through the hole, then wrap each date in a bacon slice.  Place dates on an oiled baking pan.

Bake until the bacon is crisp – 4-6 minutes.  Then flip the dates and bake until the other side is crisp – 3-5 minutes.  Drain excess grease on paper towels and serve.

Wild Mushroom Quesadillas



Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until light brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown and all of their liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.

Divide the cheese mixture and mushrooms evenly among eight tortillas and season each with salt and pepper.  Stack the tortillas to make four double-layer tortillas and cover each with one of the remaining tortillas.  Brush the top of each quesadilla with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 8-11 minutes, .

Top each quesadilla with the chili oil, cut into quarters and serve.


Why flax seeds?  I have been reading a lot about omega 3 lately and trying to work it into my diet more often (rather than relying solely on supplements).  One of the best sources of omega 3 is ground flax seeds and thinking about the groundness of the seeds led me to pesto – the root of the word is the same as pestle and both derive from the Latinpestâ” (to pound or crush).  It seems that many people have negative connotations for flax seeds – that the texture is weird or flavor will be unpleasant.  But, i’ve tested this recipe on some discerning palates and everyone thought that the nuts used were either 100% walnuts or a mixture of walnuts and pine nuts.  Be sure to taste before and after adding the salt – I usually avoid salt in pesto recipes, but because the Lucini Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano is so rich and flavorful and has less of a salty profile than generic Parmigiano Reggiano, I do add salt to this preparation.  As always find it better to start with a little less – you can add more, but if you start with too much, fixing the taste is difficult.




Grind the flax seeds.  Combine the garlic, flax seeds, walnuts and salt in a food processor (or a mortar and pestle, for a more ‘authentic’ consistency) and blend until the mixture forms a paste.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, blending slowly.  Add the Parmigiano 1 tablespoon at a time, blending for short beats until the mixture forms a thick paste.  The pesto can be put in a container, topped with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil and then stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.  Without this preservation layer, the pesto discolors very quickly and the garlic flavor will turn bitter in a matter of days.

Macaroni and Cheese

This macaroni and cheese recipe is quite simple to prepare, but full of wonderful complex flavor.  This is a fun dish to prepare with children, especially cheese lovers, who can help out by mixing together the different cheeses.  (Here is a great article and a video with tips for getting kids interested in the kitchen.)  The spices are optional and are excellent candidates for replacement. Using basil, oregano and parsley instead of those listed below provides an Italian twist, while chili powder, oregano and cumin make a Mexican mac and cheese.  Almost any short pasta will work, but tubes and options with ridges will ‘grab’ more of the cheesy goodness.  Cavatappi, cavatelli, farfalle, fusilli, gemelli, orecchiette, penne, rotini and, of course, macaroni/maccheroni are all excellent choices.


1 lb      dry Pasta (see the list above or just use your favorite) macncheese
4 TB    Unsalted Butter
1/3 C  all-purpose Flour
4 C       Milk , heated
8 oz    Extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated large
4 oz    American Cheese, grated large or chopped
4 oz    Asiago cheese (fontina and gruyere work in a pinch)
Black Pepper, ground
1 tsp   Mustard Powder (aka dry mustard and mustard flour – do not use ‘wet’ prepared mustard)
1 tsp   Smoked Paprika (optional)
1 tsp   Hot sauce (or more, optional)
1/4 C  Parmesan cheese, grated fine
1/4 C  Bread Crumbs, preferably homemade

Boil a large pot of well salted water. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Grease a deep casserole (3 or 4 quart) with olive oil (or butter).

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Bring sauce to a simmer and continue to whisk until it thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 more minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of the American cheese and 1/2 cup of the Asiago (or Fontina). Add the paprika and hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the remaining cheddar, American and Asiago cheeses. Spread one third of the pasta over the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the shredded cheese and a third of the sauce. Repeat, using another third of the pasta with the remaining cheese and half of the sauce. Finish with the remaining pasta and sauce. Sprinkle parmesan and bread crumbs over the top.

Bake until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving for a consistent presentation.

A splash of Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin or Lucini Chili – Infused Extra Virgin olive oils on the plated mac and cheese before serving adds yet another dimension of great flavor and aroma.

Every Crown Jewel Deserves a Box

Cheese is my chocolate. Many a late night I have pillaged the fridge looking for some last scrap of my favorite gooey french cheese or tried to shave into thin slices the last bit of Irish cheddar to be laid carefully over Swedish hard bread. My latest sensation is the rare and very hard to find Lucini 36month Parmigiano Reggiano drizzled with my favorite honey from Hawaii.

This cheese is so special it deserves the box it comes in. Each 8oz wedge arrives from Italy pre-cut by the artisan cheesemakers at location (ReggioEmilia D.O.P) to protect its integrity and flavor. Something that took 3 years to carefully craft is owed more respect than a bit of saran wrap.

It is now available for everyone to enjoy thanks to ZABARS in New York who is selling the product online.