Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SHREDDED BEEF SANDWICHES WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS & PEPERONCINI

This sandwich makes a delicious dinner accompanied with a salad or soup. There is enough left over for another couple of dinners or lunches. They entire house had the amazing aroma of that chuck roast slowly roasting in my oven for hours.


2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil, divided
2 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
½ to 4 lb (1.75 to 2 kg) chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (1 litre) beef broth
1 T (15 ml) liquid beef bouillon concentrate
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 T fresh oregano sprigs or freeze-dried
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
Provolone cheese, sliced
Golden peperoncini in jar with juice
Buttered and toasted Italian hoagie rolls

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, for about 20 minutes until caramelized; stirring often.
Remove and set aside in a bowl and cover.

Season the roast on both sides with salt and pepper.
To the same pot, add the other tablespoon of oil and brown the roast on both sides.

When brown, add the beef broth or stock, beef concentrate, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and about 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the juice from the jar of peperoncini.
Cover with a lid and bake in a 275 F (140 C) degree oven for 6 hours.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer roast to a cutting board.
Cut away the string on the roast and let cool a few minutes.

While roast is cooling, pour the beef broth from the pot through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Keep warm on stove.

Using two forks, shred the beef completely and place in a medium saucepan and keep warm on stove. Discard any fat still left on the roast.

To Assemble
Place a generous amount of shredded beef on the bottoms of the toasted rolls.
Add some of the caramelized onions.
Top with cheese and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes; long enough to melt the cheese.
Top with a few peperoncini, trimmed of stems.
Serve with individual small bowls of the beef juice for dipping the sandwiches.


Serves 6 to 8

THE NOVIELLO FAMILY


Richmond, Virginia c1943

Monday, March 27, 2017

CAMPARI JASMINE COCKTAIL

This is now my favorite drink. It is so refreshing and delicious!



3 to 4 oz vodka
2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cointreau

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add the vodka, lemon juice, Campari, & Cointreau and shake well.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Makes 2 drinks

Sunday, March 26, 2017

CROSTINI WITH BLACK OLIVES & FENNEL

There is something wonderful about the combination of sautéed olives and fennel. Crostini con Olive Nere e Finocchio.


1 French baguette, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices
1 medium bulb fennel, fronds removed (save some for garnish), diced
2 T (30 ml) avocado oil
¼ medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) pitted and chopped Italian black olives
2 T (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Grill bread slices on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides.
In a skillet over low heat, sauté the fennel in oil for 10 minutes.
Add the onion and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sauté another couple of minutes.
Add the black olives and extra-virgin olive oil and heat through.

Spoon the olive-fennel mixture on top of each slice of bread and top with some fennel fronds.


Monday, March 20, 2017

CHICKEN & TORTELLINI SOUP

If you love chicken noodle soup and you love cheese tortellini, you will love this soup. Since the weather is still cold, this soup will warm you up on a crisp Spring evening.
I served it with garlic bread and a green salad.



2 boneless chicken breasts
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes, optional
3 qts (3 litres) chicken stock
1 t (5 ml) freeze-dried or dried basil
1 t (5 ml) freeze-dried or dried oregano
1 package fresh cheese tortellini
¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped Italian parsley
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover with water.
Simmer, partially covered until chicken is cooked through.
Drain and place chicken on a plastic cutting board to cool.
When cool, chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat, add the oil and sauté the carrots, celery, and onion for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two.
Add the chicken stock, water, chopped chicken, basil, and oregano.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the tortellini and simmer until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the parsley and ladle into warm soup bowls.
Sprinkle on some grated cheese and serve.

Serves 6 to 8


Saturday, March 18, 2017

OVEN ROASTED FISH ALLA PUTTANESCA

You can make this meal in 30 minutes. Chop up everything and place it on a platter so it is ready to add to the skillet. We love Spaghetti alla Puttanesca and this sauce is excellent over fish. I made this with halibut, but you can use haddock, cod, red snapper, or any firm fish you prefer. 


4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces.
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced
¼ t (1 ml) red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 anchovy fillets, mashed or about ½-inch (12 mm) anchovy paste (optional, but important)
1 T (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 T (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 T (15 ml) chopped fresh basil
½ cup (125 ml) pitted and coarsely chopped Italian black olives (I use gaeta olives)
2 T (30 ml) capers
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
A splash or two of dry white wine, (I use Pinot Grigio)
1 T (15 ml) unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped Italian parsley

2 fish fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each (185 to 250 g)

Lemon slices, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 (220 C) degrees F.
Place potatoes in a cast-iron skillet and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 15 minutes while you make the Puttanesca Sauce.

Puttanesca Sauce
In a skillet, add the oil and sauté the shallot for 2 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, basil, olives, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice. 
Next add the wine, and finally the butter.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let simmer for 2 minutes only.
Stir in parsley, turn off heat and set aside.

Place fish on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove potatoes from oven and scrape up any potatoes with a metal spatula that are stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Place back in oven along with fish and bake both for 12 to 15 minutes.
The fish should be flaky when pierced with a fork.

Using a spatula, add a fillet of fish to each plate and add a side of potatoes.

Briefly reheat sauce and spoon some over each fillet.

Serves 2




MY KITCHEN







Wednesday, March 15, 2017

APEROL-RED GRAPEFRUIT SPRITZ COCKTAIL

Aperol and Campari are known as Italian bitters and served as an aperitivo. Aperol is made with licorice, fennel, aniseed, popular buds, bitter clover, wormwood, valerian, gentian, bitter orange, cinchiona, and rhubarb. It became popular after the First World War. Aperol contains only 11 percent alcohol. This is a delicious and refreshing cocktail to have before an Italian dinner.



3 oz ruby red grapefruit juice (about 1 grapefruit)
½ cups Presecco sparkling white wine, chilled
¾ cup Aperol (Italian apéritif)
2 oz vodka (optional)
2 oz San Pellegrino water or other sparkling water
Ice cubes
Ruby red grapefruit slices, for garnish

Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit and pour into a pitcher.
Stir in the Prosecco, Aperol, vodka, and San Pelegrino.
Pour into 4 cocktail glasses ¾ filled with ice cubes.
Garnish with grapefruit slices and enjoy.

Makes 4 drinks 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SPAGHETTI, PIRATE STYLE - Spaghetti alla Bucaniera

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in southern Italy. Very ripe little tomatoes called pendolini (little hanging ones) are used in making fresh sauces. This pasta dish reminds me of the one I had in the small town of Praiano at the ristorante “Il Pirata” sitting above the emerald water of the Marina di Praia. This is very important: read through the recipe and have everything chopped and set aside, ready to add to the skillet. If you love seafood with pasta, this recipe is for you! You can choose any type of shellfish that you like . . . frutti di mare del giorno.


10 fresh mussels
½ lb (250 g) small fresh clams
6 T (90 ml) extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
½ lb (250 g) medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1 large shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2 t (5 to 10 ml) red pepper flakes
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ lb (250 g) spaghetti or linguine
½ lb. (250 g) squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch rings, including tentacles
1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped

If using wild mussels, remove the beards with a pair of “kitchen only” needle-nose pliers.
Scrub the mussels and clams with a brush under cold running water.

In a large skillet big enough to hole the pasta and sauce, heat half of the oil of medium heat.
Add the shrimp and sauté until the shrimp are pink, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet and sauté the shallot for 3 minutes, or until soft.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minutes.
Add the white wine and tomatoes and simmer for 3 more minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan fitted with a lid, add 1-inch (2.5 cm) of water and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels and clams, cover and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they open. Scoop the mussels and clams out of the pot with a large slotted spoon into a bowl (save the liquid), discarding any that failed to open. Cover with a plate to keep warm.

In the meantime, boil the pasta in salted water for about 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente.
Drain and set aside, saving about ½ cup (125 ml) of the pasta water to add to the sauce, if needed.

Add about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the shellfish water to the sauce in the skillet and cook another minute.
Add the squid and cook another 2 minutes and then add the arugula.
Add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix, adding the pasta water.
Divide between 2 warm pasta bowls, leaving a little sauce and juice in the skillet.
Arrange the shrimp, mussels, and clams around each bowl and pour the sauce and juice on top.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Serves 2



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ITALIAN SAUSAGE & PEPPERS GRINDER

Whether you call it a sub, hoagie, hero, or grinder, this is a delicious Italian-American sandwich. You can cook these in a skillet or outside on your BBQ grill.


4 good quality Italian sausages, hot or mild
1 T avocado or extra-light olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 hoagie or hot dog rolls
Mustard of your choice

Fire up your BBQ grill with coals on one side of the grill.
Add the sausages, close the top and let slowly grill for about 30 minutes or until, when pierced with a fork, juices run clear. You can also test with an instant meat thermometer for a temperature of 180 F (82 C) degrees.

Meanwhile, add oil to a large skillet and cook the peppers and onions over medium heat until soft and lightly golden. 
Just before peppers are done, add the garlic and cook another minute.

Place cooked sausages on hoagie rolls and add a little mustard and some of the peppers and onions.

Makes 4 grinders





Monday, March 6, 2017

ITALIAN BLOOD ORANGE SYRUP CAKE

Whenever I find blood oranges in my grocery store, I love to make a blood orange cocktail and a blood orange syrup cake. If you have a gluten intolerance, you can make this cake with fine ground cornmeal instead of the fine semolina flour. Buy 6 blood oranges so you will have enough for the syrup and to serve with your cake. 



½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
½ cup (125 ml) whole milk
Grated zest of an organic or carefully washed blood orange
1 cup (250 ml) ground almonds
¼ cups (310 ml) fine semolina flour
2 t (10 ml) baking powder, preferably aluminum free
¼ t (1 ml) fine sea salt
⅛ t (pinch) ground cinnamon
1 to 2 blood oranges for garnish

Blood Orange Syrup
½ cup (125 ml) blood orange juice (3 to 4 oranges)
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) degrees.

Grease a 7-inch (17.5 cm) springform pan and place on a baking sheet.

Cake
In a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with the milk.
Beat in the orange zest, almonds, semolina, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Save the skewer for making holes in cake.

Syrup
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, make the blood orange syrup.
In a small saucepan, bring the blood orange juice and sugar to a full boil.
Let gently boil for one minute while whisking.
While the cake is still warm, poke holes all around top of cake with the wooden skewer.

Spoon or carefully pour the syrup over the cake and let cool to room temperature before serving.
Serve with blood orange segments, on the side.