Friday, October 23, 2009

Frittata with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks, Scallions & Smoked Trout

This is an example of what Italians might make if they were living in Wisconsin. You also might find this in some of the northern regions of Italy. It is a frittata made with some delicious seasonal vegetables from the farmer's market and topped with rushing waters smoked trout.

TT = to taste

3T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
1 cup Fingerling potatoes, 1/4" sliced
1/2 Leek thinly sliced
1/4 cup scallions thinly sliced, plus extra green parts
6 Eggs, whisked together
TT sea salt
TT fresh ground black pepper
1 fillet of smoked trout broken into pieces

Heat olive oil in medium sized non stick saute pan over med-high heat
once smoking add potatoes and saute until nice and caramelized, about 5 minutes
lower heat to low setting
add leeks and scallions and saute for another 3 minutes until onions are softened
season with salt and pepper
raise heat to med-high
add the eggs to pan and stir with rubber scraper until omelet starts to set
remove pan from heat and place under broiler for a couple minutes until to just sets
remove from broiler and turn out on to plate
garnish with some of the green parts of the scallions and the pieces of the smoked trout
drizzle with a little drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil
serve immediately

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bistecca con Verdure Grigliati en Cartoccio

This is a great dish for two that you can do on the charcoal grill just before it starts to get too cold outside. It is a nice and simple recipe that combines a great piece of steak with some delicious grilled vegetables. This would go delicious with a glass of red wine or a nice beer.

TT = to taste

for Steak:
1 1/2# Prime Bone-In Ribeye (Cowboy Steak)
TT Coarse Sea Salt
TT Coarsely smashed Black Pepper
1T chopped fresh rosemary

For vegetables:
3 med. Yukon Gold Potatoes, 1/4" slice
1/2 yellow onion, julienne
4oz, pancetta, 1/3" dice
4oz, Black Trumpet mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic in skin, smashed
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 sprig rosemary, leaves only
2T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
TT sea salt
TT fresh ground black pepper

Pull steak out, and allow to come to room temperature
Pre-heat charcoal grill with chimney
In saute pan heat pancetta over med-low heat until crispy and fat has rendered.
remove pancetta, and reserve
add julienne onions and garlic to pan and saute in rendered fat for a few minutes
add mushrooms to pan and saute for a few minutes
remove from heat and reserve
toss together the pancetta, vegetables and aromatics with the olive oil, salt, and pepper
get out 2 large pieces of aluminum foil
brush the foil with some olive oil
divide the vegetable evenly among the two pieces of foil
wrap up vegetables in foil so they are fully closed
season steak with olive oil, salt, pepper and the rosemary
brush the grill with a little olive oil
place steak and vegetables on the grill (sometimes I like to cook the vegetable right in the coals
Grill steak until nice and caramelized on each side
cook until medium rare (120-125F)
remove steak and allow to rest for 10 minutes
cook vegetables until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes)
Once steak has rested and vegetables are done
Remove the vegetables from the foil and serve alongside the steak
drizzle steak and potatoes with a dab of some extra virgin olive oil and finish steak with a pinch of coarse sea salt
serve immediately

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Corzetti with Short Rib Ragu

This is a very special type of pasta that is from Liguria (NW Italy). These corzetti or croxetti in local dialect, are stamped pasta that traditionally embosses the family crest. They are rather rare but can be found on the internet if you look. It is traditionally served with walnut pesto or pesto genovese. It is also commonly made with potatoes in the dough. In this dish, I have made the dough slightly different and served it with a very rich ragu that is great to warm up with now that we are entering the cold weather.

TT = to taste

Pasta Dough:
2 1/2 cups Semolina flour
1 cup AP Flour
1 1/4 cup water
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2t fine sea salt

For Short Ribs:
1/2# good quality pancetta, cut into matchsticks (substitute guanciale or bacon)
2# good quality beef short ribs
2 red onions, med dice
3 grocery store size carrots, sliced into discs
3 celery stalks, med dice
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh sage
10 juniper berries
3 parmigiano reggiano cheese rinds (2"X2" each)
2 cups red wine
3 1/2 - 4 cups veal stock
1 - 2 1/2 oz pkg of veal demi glace
TT salt
TT black pepper

In 6qt dutch oven, heat pancetta over medium-low
cook until pancetta is nice and crispy and fat has rendered
remove pancetta and reserve
turn heat up to high
Season beef short ribs with salt and pepper
When fat is just smoking, add short ribs and sear until nice and caramelized all over
remove short ribs from pan and reserve
lower heat to med-low
add onions to dutch oven and cook stirring often until softened and well caramelized (about 20 minutes)
add carrots, garlic, celery, the fresh herbs and the juniper berries and saute until softened (about 5-10 minutes)
return short ribs and pancetta to the pot
add the wine, the stock, the demi glace and the cheese rinds and bring to a boil
reduce heat to simmer and cover
Either cook on stove top stirring & skimming fat occasionally for about 2 1/2-3 hours or until meat is tender or in a 250F oven for about the same amount of time.
While short ribs are braising, combine ingredients for dough together
mix until dough forms
knead for 5-10 minutes
wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes
cut dough into 4 parts
wrap the other 3 pieces
roll the first piece of dough out enough to be able to run through thickest setting of hand-cranked pasta machine
knead through pasta machine 10 times on thickest setting dusting pasta with flour as needed
then roll pasta through thickest setting 3 times
place on floured surface
cut out rounds with corzetti stamp
dredge rounds in flour and press between stamp to make imprint
transfer all stamped pasta to sheet trays lined with parchment and dusted with flour
repeat the process with remaining dough
Allow corzetti to dry out before cooking so the imprint holds better.
When short ribs are tender remove them from pot
trim off their bones, excess fat and cut them into bite size pieces
return the pieces to the braising put and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has completely absorbed into meat. (Should be nice & thick in consistency
Remove the cheese rinds & the fresh herb stems
taste for seasoning & adjust if necessary
Keep warm
Bring 6 qts of water to a boil with 2T of coarse sea salt
Drop pasta in batches into boiling water and cook until they float
transfer corzetti to large non stick pan and spoon in some of the ragu along with a little pasta water to form a sauce
Once all the pasta has been cooked and sauced, transfer to serving plates
garnish with some grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
serve immediately

Corzetti on Foodista

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Strudel

This is a classic apple strudel from Friuli (NE Italy). It is a great simple dessert to make that looks rather elegant. The combination of the apples, raisins & hazelnuts make a really delicious treat when combined with the rum. Next time you head to the farmer's market this time of year, grab some apples to make this special dessert. I love a slice of this strudel with a scoop of vanilla gelato.

for strudel dough:
1 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 t olive oil
pinch of salt
2/3 cup of water
1/4 stick butter
Turbinado sugar for dusting

For raisins:
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup rum

For Apples:
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 courtland apples, peeled, cored and slices
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2T ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
6 cloves
1 lemon, zested
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled, chopped
1/3 cup bread crumbs, fresh or panko

Make strudel dough:
combine flour, water, salt & oil in food processor
blend until dough forms
Knead dough for a couple of minutes
wrap dough and leave to sit at room temp for at least an hour

Hydrate raisins:
Heat rum until hot!!!
add raisins and allow to soak for an hour

Make apples:
combine butter and brown sugar in large non stick saute pan
heat until butter starts to brown
add apples and saute for 1 minute
add apple cider
add cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves
cook until cider reduces and apples are soft
remove apples and place in mixing bowl keep juices in pan
add raisins to apples
add rum & lemon juice to the cooking liquid and reduce to syrup
toss syrup over apples
fold bread crumbs in with apples
fold in 1/4 of hazelnuts
fold in lemon zest
taste for seasoning
allow to cool

dust surface with flour
roll out pastry to rectangle about 2 ft X 1 1/2 ft
pastry should be thin enough to see through
scatter hazelnuts all over rolled out pastry
add apple filling in log shape along side the 2ft long end by about 3-4 inches wide
starting at the apple end, roll pastry over apples, & continue rolling up pastry like a jelly roll
Turn one end inside and around to form pinwheel shape
grease spring form pan with butter and dust with flour
places strudel into pan
melt 1/4 stick of butter
brush the top of strudel with the melted butter and sprinkle top of strudel with turbinado sugar
cut little slits into top of strudel to help prevent filling from getting to moist and making dough soggy
place strudel into preheated oven at 450F for about 30-35 minutes
remove from even and allow to cool for 20 minutes
slice and serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Orecchiette with Wild Mushrooms

This is a dish that is indicative of the Puglia region. Puglia is the heel of Italy, and the home of orecchiette (ear shaped) pasta. This is something that you would find in the fall there when fresh wild mushrooms are an abundant source of goodness. I used oyster, chanterelle and enoki mushrooms here, but you can mix and match any other mushrooms you like. I also use marsala wine which is from Sicily, yet I like how it works with mushrooms. You can easily substitute a Puglian red wine or sherry wine, or even a nice pinot noir.

TT = to taste

For Pasta:

1# Semolina Flour (3 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups water
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1T sea salt

For the Mushrooms:

2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4# Oyster Mushrooms, pulled into individual pieces
1/4# Chanterelle Mushrooms
1/4# Enoki Mushrooms, pulled into individual pieces
4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup water
1/2c. - 1c. Marsala wine, you can also use a Puglian red as well
half stick of butter
TT Sea Salt
TT Black Pepper
Grated Cacciocavallo Cheese for garnish, substitute parmigiano reggiano cheese


Combine semolina, water, oil & salt together
mix until tough has come together
continue to knead for 10 minutes
let rest covered at room temperature for a half hour
once rested cut into 4 pieces
roll each piece into uniform 1/2 inch thick rope
cut each rope into 1 inch pieces
press your thumb down into cut side making a ear shape
place orecchiette on a sheet tray lined with parchment and dusted with flour
set aside

heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat
add oyster mushrooms to pan
saute for a couple minutes
add chanterelles to pan
saute for a couple minutes
add enoki mushrooms to pan
saute for a couple minutes
add garlic and saute for a couple minutes, add a little more olive oil if needed
add wine, rosemary & thyme and cook until liquid has reduced about 90% - about 15-20 minutes
season with salt & pepper and keep warm

bring 6qts of water to boil
add 2 T of salt to water
heat butter in large pan & cook until browned
add mushrooms to brown butter
add orecchiette in batches and cook until floating, about 2-3 minutes
transfer cooked pasta to large pan with the mushrooms & toss together
grate around a 1/4 cup of the cheese over the mushrooms and toss.
taste for seasoning
transfer to serving plates and garnish with some more fresh thyme and a little bit more of the grated cheese
serve immediately

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cardoon Gratin (Roman Style)

Cardoons are a very interesting vegetable that you don't tend to see that often. It looks like a rather large celery, yet the flavor is more comparable to an artichoke. Cardoons are a very classical Italian ingredient that would be nice to see more often in the U.S.A. Cardoon stems are also one of the classic tools used to make ricotta cheese. This is a classic Roman recipe for the contorno or "side dish" to the main entree. I add a little bit of chopped preserved lemons to give the dish a little interesting counterpoint.

TT = to taste

1. One large cardoon plant - about 5 1/2 lbs (peeled)
2. 1 1/4 qts Whole milk
3. 2 1/2 oz AP flour
4. 2 1/2 oz butter
5. 2 - 1/4 rinds of preserved lemons, chopped
6. 4 garlic cloves
7. TT freshly grated grated nutmeg
8. TT sea salt
9. TT fresh ground black pepper
10. 5 sprigs fresh thyme
11. 2 cups bread crumbs
12. 1 1/2 cups grated parmiggiano reggiano

1. Boil cardoons in water for 45 minutes until tender
2. Heat butter and flour together to make roux
3. cook for 4-5 minutes until blond color
4. Temper roux with warm milk whisking constantly
5. Add rest of milk whisking constantly until fully combined
6. Add grated nutmeg to bechamel
7. Cook until a little thicker than sauce consistency
8. Season with salt, pepper, thyme & lemon
9. Cut cardoons into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper
10. transfer cardoons to 9x13 pan
11. Pour bechamel over cardoons
12. Top with half of parmigiano reggiano cheese
13. Cover with bread crumbs
14. top with rest of cheese
15. Place pan into 350F oven for 30 minutes until heated through and crust is golden brown
16. Let rest for a few minutes to cool slightly
17. Serve immediately