Wednesday, February 13, 2019

CREAMY SCALLOPS & SHRIMP

Sometimes I can't make up my mind if I want scallops or shrimp over pasta. I love sun-dried tomatoes in anything and this was a hit with my husband.



6 sea scallops
12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T avocado oil or light olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ t red pepper flakes
1 cup clam nectar
1 cup cream or half-and-half
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Rinse scallops and shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel.
Season them generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook the scallops on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
Remove to a plate and set aside.
Cook the shrimp on each side for 2 minutes, until pink.
Remove to the plate with the scallops.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook about 1 minute.
Add the clam nectar, cream or half-and-half, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmigiano.
Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return scallops and shrimp to skillet and gently stir to combine and simmer another minute.

Serve with pasta or with crusty bread and a green salad.


Serves 2 as a main course

Sunday, February 3, 2019

SALMON FINGER SANDWICHES

Everyone has heard of bagels and lox...well this is an Italian version of that breakfast or brunch entree.


4 oz package of thinly sliced brined salmon
Thinly sliced multi-grain bread
½ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 T minced red onion
3 T rinsed, drained, and minced capers
2 scallions, minced
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Fresh chives or dill
Lemon slices or wedges for garnish

Toast bread in a toaster and then cut into finger-size sandwiches. Set aside on a cutting board.

In a bowl add the mascarpone and mix in the red onion, capers, scallions, zest, and lemon juice.
Spread on the bread slices, add a slice of salmon, garnish with chives or dill and serve with lemon slices or wedges.

Makes 9 finger sandwiches





Tuesday, January 15, 2019

VINCENZIO GRECO & TERESA LAPETINA GRECO


22 April 1935
Portsmouth, Virginia
Wedding day for their daughter, Mary Geraldine Greco to Francis Boccardi.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

CHICKEN CACCIATORE WITH POLENTA

This hearty meal was introduced to me by my mother-in-law, Marie Noviello Casazza.
Pollo alla Cacciatora in Italy actually means “chicken of the hunter's wife”. When the hunter came home his wife had a backyard chicken stew waiting for him but he would have hunted for a rabbit if he were successful. Cacciatore means “Hunter”. 
Chicken Cacciatore (with an e on the end), as it is called in North America, is standard of Italian-American home cooking.




2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
¼ cup extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, bones and skin left intact
1 ½ cups white or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced 

2 medium onions, cut in half and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes

½ cup dry red wine
3 T tomato paste
1 t freeze-dried or chopped fresh oregano 2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing the hard center cores. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them on both sides in two batches. 
Transfer to a platter and set aside.

Add the mushrooms and onions; cook for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.

Add the wine, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in the reserved chicken, cover and slowly simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender but not falling off the bones.
While the chicken is cooking, make the polenta.


Polenta

4 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
2 t sea salt
2 cups polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal
3 T unsalted butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring the water and chicken stock to a boil, then add the sea salt.

Add the polenta to the saucepan in a gentle stream, whisking as you pour.
Reduce the heat and let the polenta simmer, whisking constantly for about one minute.
Reduce heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from sticking.
Remove from stove, add the butter and grated Parmigiano cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside to keep warm.


To Serve

Add the fresh basil to the sauce. Spoon some polenta on plates, place 1 to 2 pieces of chicken on top and spoon on some sauce. Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese at the table.

Serves 4 to 6 

Friday, December 28, 2018

PASTA & BEANS - Pasta e Fagioli

This is the classic soup of pasta and beans from Southern Italy, especially popular in Napoli and the Amalfi coast. Don't be a fool...eat pasta fazool! It is truly amore!



2 oz pancetta, diced
2 T extra-light olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
2 T tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (3-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind 

2 (14 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ditalini or ditali pasta

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


In a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the pancetta over medium heat until golden.
Add the oil to the pot and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté another minute.
Add wine and simmer 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste, chicken stock, sprig of thyme, bay leaf, and cheese rind.
Simmer 20 minutes. 

Add beans and simmer 10 more minutes.
Remove the sprig of thyme, bay leaf, and cheese rind; season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Add pasta and simmer another 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some grated Parmigiano cheese. 


Serves 4 to 6 




Saturday, December 22, 2018

ITALIAN SNOWBALL COOKIES

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe. I make them every Christmas. My husband, son, and daughter would be very disappointed if I didn't make them every year.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Confectioners’ sugar for coating cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until fluffy. 
Add vanilla and sugar and beat to combine. 
Add flour and salt and continue to beat.
Mix in pecans with a spoon.
Form into small balls and place on two cookie sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool and roll in additional confectioners' sugar. You can also pour confectioners' sugar into a paper bag and gently toss cookies until well coated.

Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen (depending on the size you make them)



DELMONICO POTATOES

Delmonico Potatoes originated in the famous Delmonico Hotel restaurant in lower Manhattan, New York City, in the mid 19th century. I serve these potatoes with Delmonico steaks and sautéed mushrooms.



5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 T avocado oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T unsalted butter
1 T avocado oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ t grated nutmeg
½ cup chicken stock or broth
¼ cup half-and-half
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a food processor, fitted with a coarse grater, grate the potatoes.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the tablespoon of oil until soft, about 5 minutes. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute. 
Spoon into a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet add the two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of avocado oil. Cook the potatoes over medium heat for about 10 minutes until a little golden.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the onion and garlic mixture to the potatoes and mix through. 
Add the nutmeg and chicken stock and cook another couple of minutes. 
Add the half-and-half and half of the grated cheese and mix through.

Pour into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. 




Serves 4 to 6