Category — Recipes
1,000 ITALIAN RECIPES has a new look! First published in 2004 by Wiley Publishing, this book is the culmination of my many years of cooking, eating, and researching Italian food and now it sports a jaunty red cover. Comprehensive and far ranging, 1,000 ITALIAN RECIPES really does contain 1,000 recipes. Believe me, I counted them. Inside you will find old family favorites that I grew up with, such as Struffoli (Honey Balls), Neapolitan Lasagna as my mom and grandma made it, plus recipes I learned in my travels around Italy, like Crispy Pasta with Chickpeas (Ceci e Tria) from Puglia and Roman Style Braised Oxtails (Coda alla Vaccinara).
Too many zucchini? There are more than a dozen recipes to choose from. In the mood for a chocolatey dessert but don’t want to turn on the oven? Try the no-bake Chocolate Salami. No matter what you are looking for, chances are you will find it in 1,000 ITALIAN RECIPES. The recipes range from the simple to the complex so it’s an ideal gift for new brides and graduates, as well as experienced cooks. But don’t take my word for it–Mario Batali called the book “a masterpiece,” and Lidia Bastianich said that it is “A must have for any serious Italian cook.”
Here is a recipe from the book. This was my dad’s Sunday special, a traditional recipe that he learned from his mother. In Naples it is called Gatto’ di Patate, but we just called it Dad’s Potato Pie.
Dad’s Neapolitan Potato Pie
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, such as Yukon gold
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup warm milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
4 ounces salame or imported Italian prosciutto, chopped
1. Scrub the potatoes with a brush under cold running water. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with cold water to cover. Add salt to taste. Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
2. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
3. Peel the potatoes, put them in a large bowl, and mash them with a masher or fork until smooth. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the butter, the milk, 1 cup of the Parmigiano, the egg, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the mozzarella and salame.
4. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano. Dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is browned. Let stand briefly at room temperature before serving.
© 1,000 ITALIAN RECIPES by Michele Scicolone 2004 Wiley Publishing
June 26, 2012 2 Comments
Everybody wants to do something special for their mom on Mother’s Day. Flowers are a possibility, or perfume, or some other gift, or take her to dinner in a restaurant, but I say forget it. Flowers don’t last, she doesn’t need another perfume, and her favorite restaurants will be too crowded on Mother’s Day. What your Mom, if she is anything like the other moms I know, wants more than anything is to spend the day with you and the rest of the family. I suggest you stay home and make Mom a great lunch instead.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, if you put your slow cooker to work, you can make a great meal in practically no time. Think of something with a little flair that everyone will enjoy. My suggestion is Chicken Bouillabaisse, a recipe from The French Slow Cooker. You may know bouillabaisse as a fish stew, but in Provence it is also made with chicken and I have adapted the recipe to the slow cooker. Together with some seasonings, the chicken goes into the cooker with some white wine, and tomatoes. They all cook together until the chicken is fork tender. Serve it as they do in France with toasted bread and Rouille, a spicy garlic sauce.
For starters, a great salad would be my choice, perhaps with a slice of goat cheese. And for dessert, buy a cake from the bakery, or make the flourless chocolate cake published on this website about a year ago. You can make it a day or two ahead and serve it proudly with some fresh strawberries.
Serves 4 to 8
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chopped canned or fresh tomato
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 3-inch strips orange zest
- Big pinch saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Pinch of piment d’Espelette or cayenne
- 8 chicken thighs, skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 1/2 -inch thick slices toasted French or Italian bread
- Rouille (see page 00)
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture into a large slow cooker. Stir in the tomato, puree, orange zest, saffron and fennel.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the pieces in the slow cooker, spooning some of the sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or until the chicken is tender and coming away from the bone.
- Serve the chicken and sauce in shallow bowls with the toast and Rouille.
You could make this luscious rosy red pepper sauce from scratch by first making a mayonnaise and then adding roasted peppers, but I like this convenient shortcut method just as well. Serve it with a fish or vegetable bouillabaisse, grilled fish, as a dip for raw vegetables or as a spread for sandwiches.
Makes 1-3/4 cups
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, either homemade or from a jar
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of cayenne or Espelette pepper
- In a blender or food processor, finely chop the peppers and garlic. Add the mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice and cayenne and process until smooth. Store the sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
May 6, 2012 1 Comment
“Cut a deep cross into the top of the bread. Then prick each quarter with a fork to let the fairies out,” explained Darina Allen, as she demonstrated how to make Irish Soda Bread. Darina is the founder of the renowned Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ballymaloe, Ireland where she teaches and lives on an organic farm. Often called the Julia Child of Ireland, Darina was in New York recently as a representative of Kerrygold butter and cheese, which is the brand name for the Irish Dairy Board, a cooperative of small farmer co-ops and creameries.
Darina hosted a cooking demonstration and tasting at The Tenement Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We toured a typical 19th century Irish apartment, then met Darina in the kitchen at the visitors’ center. Darina told us that Soda Bread, which is leavened with baking soda and buttermilk, is a staple in Irish homes and at one time was baked fresh daily in a heavy iron pot on the hearth. The bread took only 2 to 3 minutes to mix and shape. After about 30 minutes in the oven, it was ready to eat. My favorite way was slathered with golden Kerrygold butter, or topped with Cashel Blue, an artisanal cow’s milk cheese hand made exclusively by the Grubb family on their farm near Cashel in County Tipperary. Luscious and creamy, semi-soft Cashel Blue has a round, buttery flavor.
Darina had a host of suggestions for varying the basic soda bread formula, such as adding a handful of chopped fresh herbs, or raisins to make the colorfully named Spotted Dog. The dough can also be cut into wedges for scones, and served with clotted cream and jam. Another idea was to cut the dough into pieces, brush the tops with beaten egg, and sprinkle them with grated Kerrygold Dubliner cheese before baking. Small pieces would be perfect for appetizers, while larger ones could be served like dinner rolls.
Here is Darina’s recipe in her own words. If you don’t have store bought buttermilk, make your own by putting, for every cup needed, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring cup and filling it to 1 cup with milk. Let stand 5 minutes until slightly curdled.
White Soda Bread (Makes 1 loaf)
450 grams (1 pound/4cups) white flour, preferably unbleached
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon baking soda
sour milk or buttermilk to mix — 350 to 450 ml (12 to 14 fluid ounces/1-1/2 to 1/3/4 cups) approximately
Preheat the oven to 230°C or 450°F.
Seive the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. Tidy it up and flip over gently. Pat the dough into a round about 1-1/2 inches deep and cut a cross on it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this.
Place the dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F for 8 to 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200°C/400°F for 30 minutes or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.
Variation: Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese Scones — Make the dough as above but flatten the dough into a round 2.5cm (1 inch) deep approx. Cut into wedges. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with 1 cup grated Dubliner Cheese. Bake for 20 minutes approx. in a hot oven, 230°C/450°F.
Darina sent everyone home with a gift copy of her new book Irish Traditional Cooking (Kyle Books 2012) and a wheel of Kerrygold Cashel Blue. I’m captivated by the beautiful photos and charming stories in the book. As for the cheese, we’ve been enjoying it with fruit for dessert and with nuts for a snack.
March 31, 2012 5 Comments
Winter or summer, I like to eat a salad at least once a day. In the summer it’s easy to slice up a perfect tomato and toss it with some fresh picked greens, sweet radishes and a sweet onion, but in the dead of winter, it can be challenging. Packaged greens are tasteless and lacking in crunch and the tomatoes are cottony and not worth buying.
It’s time to look to other ingredients that are at their best in winter. My favorites are radicchio, either the round Chioggia variety or the elongated Trevisano. Other members of the endive family, like escarole and frisee, can be substituted, though they don’t have the gorgeous burgundy wine color that adds to radicchio’s appeal. Tossed with a flavorful
dressing and a handful of fruit to contrast and sweeten the flavor, this lively salad is a perfect starter to a winter meal.
Radicchio and Grape Salad
If the grapes don’t look so good, try substituting an apple, pear or even orange wedges.
1-1/2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced scallion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces radicchio, torn into bite size pieces
1 cup green seedless grapes, halved
In a salad bowl, whisk together the parsley, scallion, oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving bowl, toss together the radicchio and grapes. Add the dressing and toss well. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.
February 12, 2012 3 Comments
After weeks of eating and drinking far too much and too often, Charles and I decided that a little austerity would be a good thing for a change. Since January 2, we’ve been eating very simply. Poule au Pot might sound elegant, but it’s just the French way of saying Chicken in the Pot, a recipe in The French Slow Cooker. I decided to make it the other night when the sudden cold snap had us craving something comforting.
Basically, Chicken in the Pot is a one-dish dinner with chicken and vegetables steaming in a bit of broth. I bought a nice fat chicken and put it in my slow cooker on a bed of leeks, carrots, celery and rosemary, added some chicken broth and turned on the heat. That’s about it.
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January 6, 2012 1 Comment
Several years ago, I was signing my book A Fresh Taste of Italy at the Greenmarket in New York’s Union Square. A man stopped by and told me he was looking for a recipe for vecchiarelle, meaning little old ladies. He explained that they were something like struffoli, only shaped like gnocchi and flavored with red wine. As he described them, I began to remember the struffoli my godmother Jean would bring us every Christmas. Somehow, I had forgotten all about them, even though my family loved them. We always called them Red Wine Struffoli.
As soon as I could, I called my mom to ask her if she had a recipe. She’d forgotten all about them, and she might have had a recipe at one time, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Disappointed, I mentioned the incident to my sister, who thought she had once had it, but couldn’t find the recipe either. One day, she was visiting our Aunt Millie and mentioned that she was looking for the recipe. Aunt Millie remembered them too, looked in her recipe book and there was the recipe, carefully handwritten by my mother on pink notepaper more than 30 years ago. When I finally got the recipe I knew how lucky I was since I hear stories all the time about family recipes that are lost because no one took the time to write down.
So here’s the recipe for Vecchiarelle, Little Old Ladies, or Red Wine Struffoli. Copy it, put it in a safe place, and I hope it inspires you to write down your family’s treasured recipes for future generations to enjoy and think of you.
LITTLE OLD LADIES
Serves 8 – 10
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup robust red wine
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for frying
1 cup honey
Colored candy confetti
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, wine and 1/4 cup oil until blended. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until the flour is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth.
- Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into 3/4 inch thick ropes. Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch lengths.
- Holding a cheese grater in one hand, use the thumb of your other hand to press and roll each piece of dough over the medium holes to roughen the surface on one side and form an indentation on the other side.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot until the temperature reaches 370° F. on a deep frying thermometer or use an electric deep fryer.
- Carefully lower just enough of the pieces into the pot so that they form a single layer and are not crowded. Cool, stirring occasionally, until they brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Heat the honey in a large pot just until it warms and thins out. Remove from the heat. Add the fried pieces and stir well until the honey is cooled and the struffoli are coated. When completely cold, scrape the struffoli into a cookie tin and seal tightly. Sprinkle with the candy confetti just before serving.
December 20, 2011 3 Comments