Friday, August 11, 2017

ITALIAN ORZO PASTA SALAD

Summer is the perfect time for cool pasta salads. This salad transports perfectly for a picnic or just a nice barbecue in your own back yard. You can make this a Greek pasta salad by substituting the mozzarella for feta cheese and the Italian olives for Kalamata olives.


2 cups dried orzo pasta
½ cup Italian olives or other black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup deli pepper rings or mild banana pepper rings, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 oz fresh cherry bocconcini, drained or fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T champagne or white wine vinegar
1 t dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Cook orzo in salted water until al dente (about 9 minutes).
Drain in a colander and run cold water over pasta. Let drain again.
Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.

Add the olives, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
Lightly toss to combine.

In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and oregano.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour over the pasta and add the parsley, basil, and Parmigiano cheese.
Toss again to combine and let sit covered for at least 15 minutes, for flavors to develop.


Serves 6

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CHICKEN & LEMON SALTIMBOCCA

Saltimbocca translates to "jump in your mouth" in Italian. Most people are familiar to this dish made with veal. I try to stay away from veal as much as I can, although it is delicious.
My husband thinks this is equally as good as veal and doesn't miss it at all. You only need to buy about 2 ounces of Prosciutto for this recipe. 



4 boneless chicken breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh sage leaves
8 long slices Prosciutto di Parma
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil

½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
2 T unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon

On a clean work surface, cut each breast in half, lengthwise, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lay 3 sage leaves on top of each breast.
Wrap 2 slices Prosciutto around each breast.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Place chicken breasts, sage side down, in skillet and cook until Prosciutto is lightly crisp, about 3 minutes.
Carefully flip the breasts over, lower heat to medium, and cook another 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while making the sauce.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine. 
Add the chicken broth and reduce by half.
Add the butter and simmer another 2 minutes.
Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir to combine.

Place chicken breast on a platter or individual plates.
Pour the sauce over and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Serves 2






Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICHES

There has always been the debate over the type of cheese used on a Philly Cheese Steak. The three popular cheeses are Provolone, Swiss, White American, and the one I would never use - Cheez Whiz. Cheez Whiz was introduced because of convenience. I would say that the Provolone is my favorite cheese to use. I put slices on the bottom of the toasted roll and on top of the steak and caramelized onions. 


1 lb Strip Loin, T-Bone, or Rib Eye Steak
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
2 t extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Place steak in freezer for about 2 hours. 
Slice the steak as thin as you possibly can with a sharp knife and then chop the meat.
Place in a bowl with the above ingredients, toss to combine, and refrigerate for one hour, while caramelizing the onions.

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
12 thin slices Provolone cheese
2 Hoagie Rolls 

In a medium skillet sauté onions in oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring often.
Spoon onions into a bowl, set aside and cover to keep warm. 
In the same skillet cook steak on high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Open rolls and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown. 
Add 3 slices of Provolone to the bottom of each roll.

Divide the steak between the 2 rolls, then add the sautéed onions and top with the rest of the cheese slices.  
Heat under broiler for about one minute, or until cheese is melted but not burned.



Serves 2

Monday, July 31, 2017

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH GARLIC & PARMIGIANO CHEESE


Cauliflower is one of the super foods and is often an overlooked vegetable in our diets. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K which is critical in keeping your bones strong and arteries clear. Cauliflower is also an anti-inflammatory and important for brain health. One more thing—roasted cauliflower is delizioso!


1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
¼ cup avocado oil or extra-light olive oil 
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place cauliflower florets into a large bowl.
Mix in the oil, bread crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of the grated cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour into a casserole dish.
Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes.
Stir after 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.
  
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Serves 4

Sunday, July 30, 2017

ITALIAN-STYLE LEMON DROP MARTINI

The lemon drop is a vodka based cocktail that is sweet, sour, and lemony. It was invented in the 1970s in a bar in San Francisco. This is an Italian-Style Lemon Drop because in place of simple syrup or sugar, I added an ounce of Limoncello. It's not too sweet this way.


Juice of 1 medium lemon
2 oz Triple Sec or Contreau
1 oz Limoncello
4 oz vodka

Place two martini glasses in your freezer for at least one hour.

In a small pitcher or cocktail shaker, fill half way with ice cubes.
Add the lemon juice, Triple Sec or Contreau, Limoncello, and vodka.
Stir or shake to combine.

Remove martini glasses from freezer and rub the rims of each with a lemon wedge.
Dip in a saucer or bowl of granulated sugar.
Strain martini into the two glasses and garnish with a lemon peel or sliced lemon.

Makes 2 drinks




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

PROSCIUTTO & MOZZARELLA CROSTINI

Another delicious antipasto. . .and so easy to make. Make sure you buy fresh mozzarella, freshly sliced Prosciutto di Parma, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh basil. Italian food is all about the freshest ingredients. You or your guests will love this. It can also be served for a lunch for two. 


1 thin baguette, cut into 8 thin slices, save the rest for other uses
1 large clove garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
8 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma
Freshly ground black pepper
Basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Place sliced bread on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 2 minutes, per side.
Let cool slightly and then rub the top side of each with the clove of garlic.
Drizzle or brush on a little olive oil and place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top.
Return to the turned off oven and let cheese slightly melt, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Top each crostino with a slice of prosciutto and drizzle on a little olive oil.
Add a little freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle on some basil leaves.

Serves 2 to 4