Sunday, April 30, 2017

SEAFOOD AU GRATIN

This dish is very much like a seafood chowder or stew but it does not contain potatoes and is not soupy. You can put this together in the afternoon, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake in the oven. You may have to bake it 5 minutes longer, if it comes out of the refrigerator. If you love seafood in a sherry sauce with crispy bacon on top, you'll love this!




2 slices bacon, chopped
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1 small leek, diced
½ carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry sherry
½ cup clam juice or seafood broth
¼ t saffron threads (optional)
6 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut in half crosswise
6 sea scallops
4 oz cod or haddock, cut into bite-size chunks
½ cup half-and-half
4 oz cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-size chunks, (a lobster tail is perfect)
½ cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 t dhopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a saucepan cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
Drain off the bacon grease but leave the brown bits in the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the leek, carrot, and celery for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the flour and cook a couple of minutes.
Add the sherry and cook a couple of seconds, then add the clam juice and saffron, if using.
Add shrimp, scallops, and fish and cook 2 minutes.
Evenly divide between 2 gratin dishes and add the cooked lobster meat to the top.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmigiano, parsley, and tarragon.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and mix into the crumbs.

Spoon the crumbs on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 2







Friday, April 28, 2017

EGGS IN PURGATORY WITH ARUGULA & PARMIGIANO

Eggs in purgatory is a traditional Italian-American breakfast dish. I added some arugula and shaved Parmigiano to make it even more delicious! Add a slice of toasted Italian bread and a cup of cappuccino for a perfect Sunday morning breakfast.



1 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press
½ t red pepper flakes
1 (24 oz) jar pureed and strained tomatoes (passata)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T minced basil

4 eggs
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 bunches fresh arugula
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.
Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the pureed tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper and simmer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir in the minced basil and spoon some sauce into two small cast-iron skillets or two oven-proof baking dishes.

Nestle two eggs into the sauce in each skillet or baking dish.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmigiano.

Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

Add a handful of arugula to each skillet and a few shaved pieces of Parmigiano.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Serves 2

* You will have tomato sauce left over for another breakfast or use for pizza.






Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TWICE BAKED STUFFED POTATOES

Who doesn't love twice baked potatoes with cheese and pancetta or bacon? My son and daughter love these at Christmas with a prime rib roast and Yorkshire Pudding. I served these with steaks on the grill and a big green salad. Choose medium size potatoes, because these are whole potatoes with the tops cut off instead of large potatoes, cut in half.


6 medium size baking potatoes
6 slices bacon or thin slices pancetta, diced
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola or grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
6 T unsalted butter
6 scallions, chopped
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Chives, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes with a brush under cold running water.
Dry potatoes with paper towels and brush with a little avocado oil
Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Let potatoes cool for 15 minutes then place potatoes on a cutting board and cut a horizontal slice off the top of each potato.
Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl.
Mash with a potato masher then add the bacon, cheese, sour cream or yogurt, butter, and scallions.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon back into the potato skins and bake in oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Garnish with a few chives, if desired.


Serves 6

Friday, April 21, 2017

PENNE ALL'ARRABBIATA

All'Arrabbiata sauce is a Roman favorite and it translates to 'angry'. You can make it as spicy hot as you desire by adjusting the red pepper flakes. Traditionally this tomato sauce is served with penne pasta. You can also leave out the pancetta if you prefer.



4 oz pancetta, diced
2 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 T red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press or minced
3 cans (28 oz) whole peeled Italian tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 cup water
1 T chopped fresh basil
½ cup dry red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the pancetta and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the fat is rendered. 
Add the oil and sauté the onion and red pepper flakes for 5 minutes, until translucent. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.
To the saucepan add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, and wine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil penne in salted water until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes.
Save ½ cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce.
Stir pasta water into the sauce.
Pour drained penne back into the pot and add some of the tomato sauce, as needed.

Spoon penne into warm pasta bowls, sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with basil.
This makes enough sauce for 3 lbs of pasta.










Wednesday, April 19, 2017

STUFFED TOMAHAWK PORK CHOPS

Who doesn't like stuffed pork chops? I think almost everyone does and this is a simple recipe with a delicious sauce. Get your butcher to cut a pocket in each thick chop or you can do it yourself with a small paring knife. If you don't want to use wine, double up on the chicken broth. USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 degrees F to 145 degrees F with the addition of a three-minute rest. 



Stuffing
2 T (30 ml) avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t (1 ml) dry thyme
2 T (30 ml) parsley, minced
2 T (30 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup (250 ml) bread cubes or plain stuffing croutons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pork Chops
2 thick tomahawk pork chops, trimmed of excess fat, and a pocket cut into each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
½ cup (125 ml) onion, minced
¼ t (1 ml) dry thyme
1 T (15 ml) flour
½ cup (125 ml) Marsala wine
1 cup (250 ml) chicken broth

Melt the butter in olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. 
Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic for 10 minutes. 
Add the thyme, parsley, rosemary, and bread cubes. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Spoon into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 325 F (170 C) degrees.

Pack as much of the stuffing into each pork chop and secure with toothpicks.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  

Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the pork chops and brown on each side for about 3 minutes.
Remove and set aside on a platter.  
Pour out most of the grease from the skillet and add the minced onion and thyme.  
Sauté for about 5 minutes then mix in the flour and cook another 2 minutes.  
Add the wine and chicken broth.
Simmer until it thickens slightly.  
Place the browned chops and any liquid that has accumulated on the platter into the skillet.

Cover with a lid or with parchment paper and then aluminum foil.
Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until internal temperature of stuffing is 145 F (63 C).

To serve, arrange the chops on a heated platter or plates and pour the sauce through a strainer over them. 
Let rest 3 minutes before serving.


THE BLUE GROTTO - GROTTA AZZURRA - CAPRI

Ernest and Elizabeth Novello with friends in 1966 waiting to be rowed into the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri. On one of our trips to the Amalfi Coast, our daughter swam through the less touristy Green Grotto (Grotta Verde) located closer to Marina Piccola at the Faraglioni rocks. Kayaks and swimmers are only allowed to go through the Green Grotto. We met her on the other side and she didn't want to get back in the boat. There is another green grotto about 3 miles (5 km) west of the town of Amalfi called Emerald Grotto (Grotta di Smeraldo). It is the jewel of the Amalfi coast. Italy is truly a magical place.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

LINGUINE WITH WHITE CLAM SAUCE

Sometimes, recipes with the simplest ingredients are the best . . . clams, olive oil, peperoncini (red pepper flakes), garlic, white wine, and Italian parsley. You really taste the wonderful fresh clams this way. If you live on the east coast of the USA, littleneck clams are the best for this recipe. If you live on the west coast of the USA, manila clams are the best and are prized for their sweetness. Linguine alle Vongole.


3 dozen (36) large manila clams or littlenecks

½ lb (250 g) linguine
2 t (10 ml) sea salt

½ cup (125 ml) water

2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil or avocado oil                                                                       
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T (30 ml) unsalted butter
2 T (30 ml) minced Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil for finishing

Place clams in a bowl, uncovered, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
This lets the clams relax and open up, in the cold environment of your refrigerate.
Remove from refrigerator and pour cold water into the bowl. This will purge the clams of any sand. Drain and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sea salt and boil the linguine until al dente (about 6 to 7 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Separate about 12 of the largest clams that will be placed around the edge of your two pasta bowls and set aside.

In a saucepan, add the ½ cup water and the rest of the smaller clams. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, partially cover, and let clams steam until opened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove clams with a large slotted spoon to a cutting board and let cool.
When cool enough to handle, remove clams from shells and roughly chop. 
Set aside in a small bowl and pour the clam broth into another bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, add the oil and sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat for about 1 minute.
Add the wine and reserved clam broth.
Add the larger clams, partially cover and let the clams steam until opened, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the clams and set aside in a bowl; cover to keep warm.
Add the reserved chopped clams to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, add the butter and parsley. Simmer one minute then add the drained pasta and heat through for another minute.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and nest the pasta between each bowl.
Arrange the larger clams in their shells around the pasta. 
Equally pour the juice and chopped clams from the skillet over the pasta in the bowls and serve.

Serves 2

CHOPPED ROMA SALAD

Here is my version of a Chopped Roma Salad, with shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and cannellini beans.



1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 small head radicchio, chopped 
½ cup (125 ml) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese, for garnish

Vinaigrette 
¼ cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
1 t (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed
½ t (2 ml) freeze-dried or dried oregano
½ t (2 ml) freeze-dried or dried basil
½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and spin dry the lettuces.
Place in a salad bowl and add the beans and sun-dried tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, oregano, and basil.
While whisking, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.
Top with a few pieces of shaved Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

Serves 2