Tag Archives: Easter

Oretiko – Chilled Cheese Appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Preparation:

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.

Tortino con gli Asparagi – Asparagus Flan

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB  Asparagus (fresh)
  • 2  Eggs
  • .5 C   Milk (whole or 2% – use high quality milk as it is a key ingredient)
  • 2 TB  Lucini Organic Stravvechio Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 TB  Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus enough to oil your small pan)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (just a pinch)
  • Breadcrumbs to line the pan

Preparation:

Wash the asparagus spears and trim away the fibrous white section at the bottom with a peeler, then boil in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes, or until they soften but retain some crispness. Remove them to a plate, and, as soon as they’re cool enough to handle cut them into inch-long lengths, setting the tips aside.

Preheat your oven to 375.  Liberally oil a small pan and then coat the insides with the breadcrumbs.

Beat the milk, eggs, nutmeg, oil and grated cheese in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the pan and add the asparagus stalks (they’ll float).  Bake the mixture for about 10 minutes, then add the tips, sprinkling them over the top, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up throughout.  Cool in the pan and then serve warm.

New Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 New Potatoes (small, unpeeled)
  • 1 TB  Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TB  Flour
  • .5 C   Milk
  • .5 tsp Salt
  • .13 tsp  Nutmeg (optional; fresh, ground)
  • .25 C  Lucini Organic Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)

Preparation:

Cover the potatoes with water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until tender, about 8-12 minutes.  Drain and keep warm.

In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk the flour into the olive oil.  Whisk in milk, stirring constantly until thickened.  Season the sauce with salt and nutmeg.  Stir in cheese.  Pour sauce over potatoes and stir to coat.

Campari Glaze for Ham.

Ingredients:

  • .25 C  Lucini Pinot Grigio Vinegar
  • .5 C    Campari
  • .5 C    Apricot Preserves (Peach Preserves and Orange Marmalade will also work)
  • 1 TB   Brown Sugar

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Taste for preserves, sugar and salt.  Spread glaze on ham during the last 30 minutes of baking. Tent ham with foil to avoid scorching the glaze. Apply glaze again, if desired, during the last 15 minutes of baking.  Serve extra glaze as an additional topping for the ham.

Lamb Rack Roast – Easy Recipe

This simple rack of lamb recipe uses a thick marinade and a flavorful paste before roasting, which creates a more consistent crust than recipes I have used with only a paste.  Finishing the lamb with a drizzle of Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and/or Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic adds a gourmet touch and is guaranteed to wow even the most foodie of your friends.  To show off the beautiful lamb, set it on your table for the 10-15 minute resting period before carving.

lamb
Do not forget to show off the full rack of lamb before carving!!

Ingredients:

  • 1            Lamb rack, Frenched and excess fat removed
  • 2 TB     Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB     Ketchup
  • 1 tsp    Chili powder
  • 10        Oregano leaves, chopped fine  (or 1 tsp dried Oregano, crushed)
  • 4 TB    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TB     fresh Garlic, minced
  • 1 TB     prepared Horseradish
  • 1 TB     fresh Basil, minced (Oregano, Thyme or Rosemary can be substituted here)
  • 1 tsp    Salt
  • 1/4 C  Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 C  White wine
  • 8           Parsley sprigs, including stems

Preparation:

Combine mustard, ketchup, chili powder and oregano in a bowl and mix well.   Coat lamb evenly with mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 – 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in the roasting pan and brown the rack of lamb on all sides.  Remove the lamb to a plate.  Deglaze the pan with the wine.

While browning the lamb, heat the other 2 TB oil in a small pan.  Add garlic, horseradish, basil and salt and saute until garlic turns light gold.  Remove pan from heat and mix in bread crumbs until a paste is achieved and the bread crumbs are fully integrated.

Coat the meat side of the lamb with the garlic/bread crumb mixture.  Set the parsley (and other fresh herbs such as bay leaves or thyme if you are so inclined) in the bottom of the roasting pan, place a backing rack on top and then return the lamb to the pan.  Roast the lamb in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 125-130 degrees (for medium rare).   Remove from the oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice the rack of lamb into ‘chops’ and serve 2 per person.  I top 1 chop with 1 tsp of Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the other chop with Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic and both chops with a bit of minced parsley leaves chopped fine.

Pizza Rustica – Italian Easter Pie

Pizza rustica is traditionally served in many parts of Italy, such as Sicily, Naples and Liguria, as the first course on Easter Saturday to break the Lenten fast or to begin an Easter Sunday feast.   The meats and cheeses utilized vary by region and even family, so feel free to substitute in your favorites as long as the flavor profile and consistency are similar.  I have not found any versions of this recipe without prosciutto.  A few add hard-boiled eggs, which is a nice touch as eggs are often utilized to represent rebirth.

The pizza rustica is VERY filling – many people (not me) are sated by a small slice.

When dicing the ham be sure to cut it into small cubes – you don’t want the filling to be ridden with large, clumsy chunks.  If you use fresh mozzarella, cut that into small cubes as well.  If, on the other hand, you opt for the drier and relatively taste-free packaged mozzarella, you should shred it on the large holes of a cheese grater, likewise the asiago.  The Parmesan should be finely grated rather than shredded.

Lastly, I realize the use of a store bought crust is a sign of serious weakness of will (laziness) on my part, but when I make my own I end up with: dough and flour all over my apartment, dozens of extra dirty dishes and an inferior crust.  If you enjoy making your own, don’t let this crust-challenged corner cutter stand in your way.  Most recipes call for Pasta Frolla for the dough, often with a hint of lemon peel added.

Meat Pie!!

Meat Pie!!

Ingredients:

2             Pie Crusts (one for the bottom and one for the top)
2 TB       Lucini Lemon – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1  C         Ricotta salata or Italian Basket cheese (shredded)
1/2 Ball  Fresh Mozzarella cheese (cubed small)
1 C          Fresh soft Ricotta cheese
1 C          Asiago or aged Provolone (shredded)
1/2 C     Lucini 3 Year Organic Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
3             Eggs
1/4 LB  Mortadella or italian ham (1 piece diced small)
1/4 LB  Prosciutto (1 piece diced small; NOT sliced)
1/4 LB  Spicy salami (1 piece calabrese or soppressata; diced small)
2 TB       Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil over the bottom of the pie crust and massage the oil into the crust.

Break up the ricotta salata or basket cheese into a large mixing bowl.  Add the meats, fresh mozzarella, Asiago and Parmigiano Reggiano and stir until evenly distributed.   Season with pepper and/or paprika to taste.  Beat the three eggs, mix in the soft ricotta and pour over the mixture.  Stir well until the filling is dense and thick enough to stand a spatula or wooden spoon in, but it not so thick that you can’t incorporate the ingredients evenly.

Pour the filling into the bottom crust and use the back of a wooden spoon or your fingers to spread it evenly. Top carefully with the other crust – do not tear this crust.   Gently press it directly against the surface of the filling.  Trim the top and bottom crusts that hang beyond the pan so that only 1 inch of overhang remains, then press them together and fold them in toward the center of the dough to form an edge.  Press down on the rolled edge with the tines of a fork to seal and form the crust.  If desired, use the leftover dough to make Easter cutouts (bunnies or eggs, for example) to decorate the top of the pie.  (This is a great way for children to help out in the kitchen!)  Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the top crust.  (This is NOT a great way for children to help out in the kitchen!!)

Bake, for about an hour, until the top is golden.  Remove and check to see if the sides of the crust are golden.  If not, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and return the pie to the oven until the crusts are golden – this should be less than 5 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes or until the sides of the pan are not too hot to touch.  If using a premade crust or traditional rectangular/square/round pan do not attempt to unmold – simply present in the cook vessel.  If using a springform pan, remove the sides and carefully transfer the pie to a large plate or platter.  The presentation will be improved with the latter and everyone will know you labored over your own crust!

Easter: Sicily’s Holiday

Easter in Sicily is like no other holiday: pageants, processions, historic icons, age-old societies, and food food food!

Torta Pasqualina

Torta Pasqualina

In a country that relishes its traditions and bountiful harvests, Sicilian tables feature a combination of seasonal and symbolic ingredients that welcome in spring as much as celebrate Easter.

Farfalle Saporite con Asparagi

Farfalle Saporite con Asparagi

Tender green vegetables play an important role whether they appear in delicate savory tarts as starters or in the form of sauces or stuffing for first courses. The most classic tart is the Torta Pasqualina, layers of puff pastry covering a ricotta and artichoke mixture with the added surprise of whole eggs baked into the filling. Asparagus – both cultivated and wild – is a favorite in pasta as well as a side dish.

The main course will almost inevitably be lamb, at its most tender and succulent at this time of year.

Agnello Arrosto

Agnello Arrosto

Whether it’s the traditional arrosto di agnello (roast leg of lamb marinated in white wine and roasted with rosemary, garlic and extra virgin olive oil), or the impressive corona di carré d’agnello (rack of lamb shaped into a guard of honor),

Corona di Carre' d'agnello

Corona di Carre' d'agnello

or a mouthwatering casserole with artichokes, lamb provides a delicious highpoint for an extremely important holiday.

Colomba

Colomba

For dessert you’ll find an assortment of mignon dolce (bite-sized pastries) and Colomba, a delicate dove-shaped sweet cake that originally came from Lombardy. This yeast dough-based dessert is filled with fragrant candied fruit and topped with a crunchy topping of almonds and sugar.

Uova di Pasqua

Uova di Pasqua

And please don’t forget the chocolate Easter eggs!