Tag Archives: parmigiano reggiano

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.

Scrambled Egg ‘Bruschetta’

This is is a simple recipe for children to help Mom (or another adult) prepare for Mother’s Day (or any other time).   They will feel like they are finishing up a special treat when they spoon the egg – ricotta mixture onto the toasted bread!  Removing 2 of the yolks provides the start for homemade mayonnaise and also cuts down the cholesterol in this dish significantly.  If you happen to have some extra tomato confitcherry tomato chutney or even tasty tomato sauce lying around, it can be spooned onto the bruschetta before the eggs.  Finish with a touch of Lucini Tuscan Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil and dig in!

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Toast (or grill, if so inclined) your baguette slices and then brushed with a small amount of olive oil.  Whisk together the eggs, onions, turmeric and salt in medium bowl until well combined.  Pour the olive oil to a nonstick skillet and heat for 1 minute at your medium setting.  Add the egg mixture and stir constantly until the eggs  are mostly cooked through, but a bit runny in parts – about 2 minutes.   Remove the eggs from heat, mix in the ricotta and stir just until incorporated, but the ricotta remains distinct.

Plate your toasts and spoon the egg – ricotta combination on top.   Grate the parmesan cheese onto the egg and season with more salt and freshly ground pepper.

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.

Ingredients:

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)
Salt
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

Preparation:
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.

Sardine and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

I have been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of sardines and trying to work them (and similar fish such as mackerel) into my cooking repertoire.  This recipe utilizes sun-dried tomatoes; their sweetness stands up well to the oils (omega-3!) and saltiness of the fish.  If you do not have any vegetable or poultry stock available try orange juice for a fresh citrus twist.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz        dried Pasta (i use fusili or penne, but choose your favorite)
  • 2 TB        Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1               small red Onion, chopped
  • 2 TB        Garlic, minced fine
  • 3 TB        Pine Nuts (or Flax Seeds)
  • 1 can       Sardines in olive oil (3.75 oz), chopped large
  • 1/2 C      Vegetable Stock (Chicken Stock will also work)
  • 1              dried Chili pepper, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp  Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp  dried Oregano
  • 1/4 C      Sun-Dried Tomatoes (dried or olive oil-packed)
  • 1/3 C      Lucini Organic 3 Year • Parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

Boil a large pot of well salted water.

As the pasta is reaching boil, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and pine nuts; cook for two more minutes.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until almost tender (‘al dente’).

Stir in the stock, chili pepper and oregano.  Bring to a boil and reduce stock by a half.  Add the sardines and sun-dried tomatoes and when they heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is  ready.

When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the sardines.  Turn the heat off and mix well in the pan.  Let stand for 2 minutes to absorb the flavors of the sauce.  Add the parmesan and mix again.  Divide onto serving plates, and top with more grated Parmesan cheese, if so desired.

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.

Spring Break – Yes, it’s that time again!

Weather Channel predictions aside, Spring Break is only five weeks away. Are you ready? Whether you’re headed for Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, or points beyond, shorts, sleeveless dresses, flip-flops and sandals will definitely be the attire of the week.

So, I ask again – are you ready? I know I’m not! This winter has been just a bit much and the weight seemed to just appear out of nowhere. Cold winter nights just go too well with Lucini’s Umbrian Lentil or Rustic Minestrone soups, carbonara con coniglio, risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera,

carbonara con coniglio

carbonara con coniglio


risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera

risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera

and all the other heavy taste treats of winter.

All good things must come to an end, though, and my winter eating has ended! Luckily, oranges, grapefruit, clementines, and all the other delicious citrus are in season and better than ever. Paired with a traditional basil-tomato sauce over pasta and presto! you have the perfect ‘get in shape’ meal.

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

One of my personal favorites is insalata di arancia alla siciliana (recipe follows) served with Lucini tomato-basil sauce over spinach and ricotto ravioli with grated Lucini stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano

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Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Lucini Tomato-Basil sauce

Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Lucini Tomato-Basil sauce

Another preference of mine is insalata di pomodoro con mozzarella (recipe follows) and a pan-fried chicken breast (I use just a teaspoon of Lucini’s extra virgin olive oil to ‘fry’ the breast). Or try pasta al dente – any type – drizzled with Lucini’s extra virgin oil olive and dusted with Lucini’s stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano and mixed baby greens with a drab of Lucini Tuscan Balsamic vinaigrette. The ‘light’ possibilities are endless…..and delicious, too! And don’t forget to exercise….

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

3-4 large navel oranges peeled and sliced in thirds

1-2 large pink grapefruit peeled and sliced in thirds

2 green onions chopped

1/4 cup Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teasp salt

1/4 teasp red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together and toss. Leave standing at room temperature until served. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Insalata di pomodoro con mozzarella

1-2lbs cherry or sweet grape tomatoes

fresh mozzarella in water (boccincini)

2-3 fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces

1 1/2 teasp dried oregano

1/4 cup Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and toss. Leave standing at room temperature until served. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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!