Wednesday, March 28, 2018

OVEN ROASTED COD 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 cod, but you can use haddock, red snapper, halibut, or any firm white fish you prefer. 




4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces.
1 T avocado oil
1 shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced
¼ t red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 T chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 T chopped fresh basil
½ cup pitted and coarsely chopped Italian black olives (I use Gaeta olives)
2 T capers
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
A splash or two of dry white wine, (I use Pinot Grigio)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

2 fish fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each

Lemon slices, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 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, garlic, and anchovies. 
Sauté another minute while breaking up the anchovies with a spoon.
Add the chopped tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, basil, olives, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and wine.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let simmer for 5 to 7 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 the oven along with fish and bake both for 8 to 10 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 the sauce and spoon some over each fillet.

Serve with a green salad.

Serves 2





Thursday, March 22, 2018

PORK CHOPS MARSALA WITH PROSCIUTTO & MOZZARELLA

If you love chicken or veal marsala, I think you will love this recipe made with pork chops and topped with Prosciutto di Parma and mozzarella.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
In 2011 the new guidelines from the National Pork Board and the USDA recommends cooking pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius). That's 15 degrees less than what was recommended for years and...that's a good thing because your pork chops will not be dried out and tough. I removed the pork chops to a baking sheet when they registered 140 degrees F. The temperature will rise and they will also go under the broiler for a minute or two.



¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 T avocado or extra-light olive oil, divided
12 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 t fresh or dried thyme
½ cup dry Marsala wine
¼ cup chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices Prosciutto di Parma
2 slices mozzarella cheese
2 T Italian parsley, for garnish

Pour flour into a shallow bowl and dredge pork chops in flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the pork chops and cook about 8 to 9  minutes, per side and internal temperature is 140 degrees F.
Transfer to a baking sheet and set aside.

Turn on broiler and place rack in the middle of the oven.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the mushrooms until lightly browned.
Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the wine and bring to a simmer, stirring up any brown bit from the bottom of the skillet.
Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper.
Keep warm on the stove.

Place a slice of Prosciutto on top of each pork chop and top with a slice of mozzarella.

Place under broiler and broil until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place pork chops over steamed spinach, buttered noodles, or mashed potatoes.

Serves 2



Monday, March 19, 2018

FENNEL RAGÙ OVER TAGLIATELLE

Here is a different pasta sauce using a ragù recipe with fennel. Ragù is a meat-based sauce.



2 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
1 large fennel, finely diced, plus chopped fronds, for garnish
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ cup dry white wine
1 lb lean ground beef
½ t red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can whole peeled, Italian tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 lb tagliatelle or fettuccine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, for serving

In a large skillet, big enough to hold the pasta and sauce, add the oil and over medium heat, sauté the fennel and onion for 5 minutes. 

Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine and let cook a couple of minutes to almost evaporate.
Add ground beef and red pepper flakes and cook until meat turns brown, about 10 minutes.
Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the skillet with the beef mixture.
Simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Boil your pasta until al dente. Save a ladle full of the pasta cooking water and add to the skillet with the beef.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and add to the skillet and mix to combine..


Divide between 4 warm pasta bowls, sprinkle with a few fronds, and Parmigiano cheese.


Serves 4











Thursday, March 15, 2018

LINGUINE WITH SPICY SHRIMP FRA DIAVOLO

Linguine with shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce is one of my husband's favorite dishes.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

You may wonder what the difference is between Fra Diavolo, Arrabbiata, and Amatriciana sauces are.
Fra Diavolo (translates to Brother Devil) is an Italian-American invention made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, and hot red pepper flakes. It is usually served with lobster or shrimp.
Arrabbiata (translates to Angry) is an Italian invention made with tomatoes, sometimes onion, garlic, basil, and hot red pepper flakes. It is usually served without any meat or seafood and over penne or other short pasta.
All'Amatriciana (translates to Amatrice way) is an Italian sauce typically made with guanciale (pork jowl or cheeks), tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, hot red pepper flakes, and Pecorino Romano cheese. In Italy, they do not add shrimp to this dish. 



12 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 T extra-light olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
½ cup dry white wine
½ to 1 t red pepper flakes (optional, of course)
1 can (28-oz) whole peeled Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 T chopped fresh basil

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a large skillet, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Remove shrimp to a bowl and set aside.
Add the onion to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.

Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.


Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a couple of teaspoons of sea salt and boil the linguine for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente.


Ladle out some of the salted pasta water and reserve.

Drain pasta and set aside.

Add about ¼ cup of the pasta water to the tomato sauce and simmer another minute or two. 

Stir in the basil and shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, just to heat the shrimp through.

Remove the shrimp to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

Add the linguine to the sauce and heat through.

Spoon into two warm pasta bowls, equally divide the shrimp between each bowl of pasta and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.


Serves 2

LA BOURGOGNE, 4 JULY 1898 - SEA DISASTER

You probably haven’t heard about this passenger shipwreck. It happened off of Sable Island, Nova Scotia, on July 4th, 1898, in dense fog at dawn’s early light. It occurred 14 years before the infamous Titanic disaster. No Hollywood movies were ever made about this disaster and 584 souls were drowned. Three were from the Casazza family: Luigi (Louis), his young daughter, Rose and his brother James (Giacomo). Only one woman survived (Mrs. Adrian LaCasse), and she was saved by her husband. This newspaper article was about my husband's great-grandmother Catherine (Catarina), the wife of Louis. She was Thirty-two years of age at the time of the accident, a wife and mother of five children. When she lost her husband and daughter on that fateful morning, she was left to raise her other children, ranging in age from one to fourteen. It is likely that other Italian-American descendants today may have had ancestors on that doomed ship.  It was a horrific tragedy.



Saturday, March 3, 2018

RIGATONI WITH SPICY SAUSAGE SAUCE

In my Italian-American cookbook, I have this recipe but with pappardelle. I made the sauce but served it with rigatoni. 
I like it even more because the sauce gets inside the rigatoni.


1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages, about 5 to 6 links
1 cup good dry Italian white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, divided
2 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 (28-oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
1 t freeze-dried or dried oregano
1 t minced fresh basil or freeze-dried basil
1 t red pepper flakes, optional
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb rigatoni
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Remove sausage from casings and place in a large bowl.
Pour in some of the white wine and crush with hands until sausage is in small pieces.
The wine makes it easier to break up the sausage.

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.

Add the sausages and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon.
Add the rest of the wine and cook until wine has mostly evaporated.

In the same large bowl, pour in the tomatoes and hand-crush them, removing the hard center cores. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot along with the oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer 30 minutes.

Boil the rigatoni in salted water for about 9 to 10 minutes, until al dente.
Drain rigatoni and pour back into the pot.
Add a couple ladles of the sausage sauce and toss.
Spoon into warm pasta bowls and add a little more sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Serves 4