Tuesday, May 30, 2017


1947 Portsmouth, Virginia


Twice a month we have pizza night. Tonight I made this white pizza with four different cheeses and also a Margherita pizza.
We always have enough left over for lunch a couple of days.

1 recipe for pizza dough
Olive oil
Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Freeze-dried or dried oregano
Torn or freshly shredded provolone cheese
Torn or freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
1 bunch sautéed spinach, seasoned with sea salt and pepper
Mounds of pureed and drained ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the top rack.

Drizzle some olive oil all over the plain pizza dough.
Add some grated Pecorino Romano Cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Scatter on the minced garlic and oregano.
Add the provolone and mozzarella cheeses.
Add the spinach and finally the ricotta cheese.

Bake pizza on the bottom rack for 7 minutes, then slide onto the pizza stone and bake another 10 minutes.

Monday, May 22, 2017

CHICKEN LOMBARDY - Pollo al Marsala Lombardo

In Italy this dish is called Pollo al Marsala Lombardo (Chicken Marsala) and made without cheese. With the addition of cheese and green onions, it is an Italian-American version. The capital of Lombardia is Milan. The regional cuisine is based on butter, lard, pork, veal and of course Risotto alla Milanese. 
If you want to serve this for company, prepare it in the morning, refrigerate, and let sit on your counter for 30 minutes before baking.
Serve with risotto, or pasta, or even roasted potatoes and a green salad.

4 T avocado or extra-light olive oil, divided
10 cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 boneless chicken breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup marsala wine
¾ cup chicken stock
2 T unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup shredded asiago cheese
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Lower heat to medium and add the onion and cook another 2 minutes.
Add garlic and cook another minute.
Spoon half of this mixture into a baking dish and the rest in a bowl and set aside.

Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise.
Pour flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off the excess.

In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil and brown half of the chicken on both sides until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
Place cooked chicken on top of mushroom mixture in baking dish.
Add the final tablespoon of oil to the skillet and brown the rest of the chicken on both sides until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
Spoon the rest of the mushroom mixture on top of the chicken.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the wine and chicken stock to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
Add the butter and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over the chicken in the baking dish.

Combine the cheeses with the scallions and sprinkle over chicken.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Philadelphia has its Philly cheese steak sandwich and Brooklyn has its pizzaiola steak sandwich.
They are similar but the pizzaiola has three cheeses and one extra ingredient—tomato sauce “gravy.” This sandwich is truly a meal in itself. Panino Grande!

2 (6 oz) boneless New York strip steaks or any steaks of your choice
1 T unsalted butter
2 T extra-light olive oil
1 (14 oz) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press or finely minced
½ t red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T tomato paste
1 t  freeze-dried or chopped fresh basil
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced, any color you prefer
1 large loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into four (8-inch) pieces
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices mozzarella cheese

Slice both steaks in half lengthwise to make 4 thin pieces.
Place one of the pieces between layers of plastic wrap and pound it until it is about
¼-inch thick. Repeat with the other 3 pieces.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil and brown each piece of beef about 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile pour the tomatoes in a bowl and hand-crush them. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to coarsely chop the tomatoes
Add the onion to the large pan and sauté for 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, and water; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the beef to the pan and cover completely with sauce. 
Simmer on very low heat, covered, for
 2 hours. The sauce will be thick.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, add a little oil and sauté the sliced onion and bell peppers until soft, about 15 minutes; set aside.

To make the sandwiches:

Slice bread in half lengthwise and brush with some olive oil.

Place under a broiler for a couple of minutes, until light golden.

Place steak slices on bottom halves of the rolls, spoon on some gravy, add some of the
onions and bell peppers, and sprinkle with some Parmigiano cheese.

Top with the provolone.

Place the mozzarella cheese on the top half of bread.
Keep sandwich open and place under the broiler again, broiling until the cheeses are
melted but not browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Serves 4

Friday, May 19, 2017


Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread. This is similar to a Margherita Pizza but instead of a thin pizza crust, it is made with focaccia bread. Serve this with soup or a salad and you have a complete meal. The ingredients used are my Uncooked Tomato Sauce along with Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses.

1 recipe for pizza dough
½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
Casa Uncooked Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
Fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Lightly oil a 8 to 9-inch square pan and let dough rise in a warm spot, covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 45 minutes to an hour.
Lightly make dimples with your finger tip on the surface of the dough.

Sprinkle with the cheeses, red onion, and tomato slices.
Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Then place pizza directly on a pizza stone and bake another 5 minutes.

Add dollops of the Casa Uncooked Tomato Sauce, add a few torn basil leaves and drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and cut into 9 squares.

Casa Uncooked Tomato Sauce
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
1 T extra-light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
1 t freezed dried or chopped fresh oregano
2 t chopped fresh basil
½ t red pepper flakes

Pour tomatoes into a bowl and hand-crush them.
Pour into a fine mesh strainer, set over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes. 
Discard the liquid and pour the drained tomatoes back into the bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Stir and let sit on counter, covered, for 1 hour, for flavors to develop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


A butterflied chicken roasts faster than a regular whole chicken. If you don't want to cut the backbone out and flatten the breast, ask your butcher to do this for you. I use very sharp 'kitchen-only' shears to remove the backbone. Then I take a knife and cut through the breast bone, also known as keel bone, and then turn it over and flatten the chicken slightly. If you don't have fresh herbs, use freeze-dried or dried. What's not to like about roasting a chicken with herbs, lemon juice, and wine!

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
There is a difference between a butterflied chicken and a spatchcock chicken. There is one more stop in preparing a spatchcock chicken . . .you make two slits at the bottom of each breast and tuck the ends of the drumsticks through the slits. This holds the chicken together in one nice package, perfect for grilling on both sides.

1 t fresh thyme leaves
1 t fresh oregano leaves
1 t fresh basil leaves
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup extra-light olive oil or avocado oil

1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 whole butterflied chicken
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon

Place the thyme, oregano, and basil on a cutting board and mince.
Transfer to a small bowl and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. 
Whisk in the oil and set aside. 
In a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet or baking pan, add the onion, and lemon slices in one layer in the center.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place chicken on top of the onion, lemon mixture.
Brush the herb-oil mixture all over the chicken.

Roast in oven for 45 minutes.
Add the wine to the pan and roast another 15 minutes.

Add the lemon juice to the top of the chicken, cut into pieces, and serve.

Serve with roasted potatoes and carrots and a green vegetable or salad.

Serves 4

Friday, May 12, 2017


I have been making these marinated mushrooms for such a long time. Make the mushrooms at least 2 days before you want to serve them. I serve them in a little bowl on an antipasti platter with cocktail picks next to them. Adjust the red pepper flakes according to your taste. If you can find small or button mushrooms, leave them whole.

1 lb cremini or white mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and cut in half 
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ to ½ t red pepper flakes
½ t chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 t fresh thyme leaves
2 T minced fresh Italian parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

In a large skillet add the tablespoon of oil and over medium-high heat, cook the mushrooms until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and let mushrooms cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, and parsley.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms and bay leaves and gently stir to combine.
Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 days.

Serve at room temperature.