Tag Archives: la cucina italiana

Sicilian Shrimp (Gamberoni Siciliana) – Feast of the Seven Fishes

This dish is often served as of the attractions in the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB    Shrimp (peeled, de-veined, large shrimp – 20count – are best)
  • 1/4 C  Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1           Red Onion (medium, diced)
  • 1           Bell Pepper (medium, diced)
  • 1/2 jar  Lucini Organic Diced Tomatoes (12-14 ounces)
  • 1 TB     Pine Nuts
  • 1 TB     Raisins (golden are preferrable)
  • 1 TB     Capers (rinsed well)
  • 1/2 C   White Wine (your favorite Sicilian white or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 tsp    Orange Juice (fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin (fresh, ground)
  • 2            Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper (dried)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper (freshly ground)

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened.  Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, capers, wine, juice, cumin, bay leaf and red pepper and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and add the shrimp.  Cover and cook the shrimp for 5-7 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from the heat and season with orange juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Anna Tosca Lanza

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Caramelized Pears with Parmigiano

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Cut each pear into 8 equal pieces.  Toss the pears and sugar together gently in a bowl.

Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the pears and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar just begins to caramelize (turns to an amber color). Do not let the sugar turn brown.  Add the cherry balsamic, salt and orange zest.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the sauce starts to reduce.

Transfer the pears to serving dishes and top with the sauce, parmigiano and chopped mint.

Ravioli with Fig Balsamic Reduction, Pumpkin Seeds and Brown Butter

Ingredients:

  • 16-24 oz  Ravioli (homemade or purchased, best with cheese or vegetarian ravioli)
  • 6 TB          Butter (unsalted, high quality)
  • 3 TB          Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp    Salt
  • 1/4 tsp    Black Pepper (fresh, ground)
  • 1/3 C        Pumpkin Seeds (roasted – pine nuts, walnuts and even pecans work well)
  • 1/4 C        Lucini Parmigiano Reggiano (fresh, grated)

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally.  Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 1 minute.  Stir in the salt and pepper.

Reduce the fig balsamic in a skillet over medium heat.  Do not let the balsamic bubble wildly, as it will reduce too quickly and lose its liquidity.  Remove when it thickens by half.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the brown butter, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and Parmesan and toss.  Add to serving bowls, then finish with the reduced fig balsamic.

Pesto

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.

pesto

Ingredients:

Preparation:

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.

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.

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!

Vegetarian? No Problem!

There’s never been a better time to be a vegetarian. Mediterranean cuisine – especially Italian cuisine – is ‘the’ cuisine. Various fusion styles have evolved giving us a plethora of mouth-watering selections to choose from.

Orzo, green bean and fennel salad with dill pesto

Orzo, green bean and fennel salad with dill pesto

From orzo, green bean, and fennel salad with dill pesto to caponata ai capperi, the choices are endless. Want something with a bit more ‘umph’? How about homemade ricotta ravioli with black truffles? Use Lucini Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano in the filling and finish with a drizzle of lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped fresh sage.

caponata ai capperi

caponata ai capperi

All are heart-healthy and help prevent various types of cancer. Use Lucini garlic infused extra virgin olive oil to add that ‘special touch’.

Ricotta Ravioli with Black Truffles

Ricotta Ravioli with Black Truffles

Best part is they’re all super yummy!