Tag Archives: sicilian

Cauliflower & Broccoli Pasta

Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Boil a large pot of salted water.   Saute the cauliflower and broccoli in olive oil in a large saute pan.  When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the onion.   Saute over medium high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender.   The cauliflower and broccoli should still be slightly crunchy and should not look steamed.  Add the garlic and rosemary and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water.  Add the chili oil, vinegar and the pine nuts.  Taste and correct the seasoning for salt, chili oil and vinegar.  When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, then add the parsley and cheese, toss together and serve.

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Caponata – Eggplant recipe

This is a simple recipe that takes great advantage of fresh eggplant.  It has complex flavor and will be sure to wow any party or get together!

caponata

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan (medium heat).  Saute the onions, pine nuts, raisins and hot pepper for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions have softened, but have not turned dark gold.  Add the eggplant and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the chili infused oil and cherry balsamic.  Taste the caponata and adjust flavor with salt, pepper, cherry vinegar and chili infused oil.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

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!

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.