Monday, December 28, 2009

Chef Chuck's Mushroom Bruschetta

Bruschetta ai Funghi


Mushroom bruschetta, is an appetizer made with crusty Italian bread, meaty flavored portobello mushrooms, caramelized sweet onions, creamy mozzarella and thyme. Nubian garlic from Sicily rubbed on the toasted bread just melts in the nooks and crannies. Finger food is very festive for the New Years parties, this bruschetta is the perfect choice.


Mushroom Bruschetta
4 thick slices of crusty bread
3 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
4 slices mozzarella
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water


In a pan over medium heat, saute butter and olive oil add onions, salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of water, cook 5 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, till there are a deep golden brown. In a separate pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add sliced mushrooms and cook on medium heat, don't stir, flip, add thyme and cook on other side till golden edges appear. Cut bread in thick slices either broil or grill over charcoal till a hard crust appears. Remove and rub garlic clove on bread, top each bread slice with mozzarella. Return to oven or grill to melt cheese. Add onions, mushrooms and a drizzle of olive oil, enjoy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lobster Ravioli

Ravioli di Aragosta


Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy and Healthy 2010. Lobster ravioli, is our specialty dish for this holiday. Light and delicate, with a sweet lobster filling accompanied with the creamy ricotta. The homemade pasta was so tender, and the sauce was brewed with all the shells from our seven seafood's we enjoyed on Christmas Eve. We are all so lucky to have family, friends, good health, happiness and fantastic foods.


Lobster Ravioli
2 lobster tails, 2 cups
1 cup whole milk ricotta
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Ravioli Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water


In a mixer or food processor, combine all ingredients for the dough together to get a smooth dough. Roll into a ball on a floured board and wrap in plastic for 15 minutes. Meanwhile remove lobster meat carefully from their shell, cut in small chunks. Saute butter and olive oil add chunks of lobster, parsley, salt and pepper cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then combine ricotta and pepper with the lobster. Cut dough in 4 sections and work with 1 section, keeping the other 3 sections wrapped. Roll out with rolling pin or use a pasta machine to make long pieces. Place a 1/2 teaspoon of lobster mixture every 1 1/2 inches, fold dough over or top with another pasta sheet and use an egg wash to seal and trim with cutter to make decorative edges. Place on a baking pan with flour or semolini and cover while making the rest of the ravioli.
Makes 2 dozen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chef Chuck's Hazelnut and Pistachio Torrone


Torrone Morbido

An ancient confection that is quite popular in Italy, especially around the holiday season. Torrone, meaning tower, and morbido meaning soft is a sweet and nutty nougat, that dates back to the 14th century. Simple ingredients with an extraordinary outcome.

Hazelnut and Pistachio Torrone
7 ounces honey
3/4 cup water
2 1/3 cups sugar
3 egg whites
3 cups hazelnuts
1 cup pistachios
wax paper or rice paper

Melt honey in a double boiler till it reaches 225 degrees, check water level. Heat sugar and water till 250 degrees stirring constantly. Toast nuts in an 300 degree oven for 10 minutes, but keep nuts hot. Using a mixer whisk egg whites till soft peaks appear, trickle in sugar and water syrup. Then slowly add honey, whisk 5 minutes. Replace whisk with beater paddle add hot nuts and mix for 2 minutes. While mixing the nougat you should maintain a temperature of 200 degrees, this can be obtained by using a torch! Carefully heat the metal bowl. Pour nougat on paper place another sheet of paper on top. Using a rolling pin gently press to get out any air bubbles, nougat should be 3/4 to 1 inch high. Let set out at room temperature for a couple of hours. Cut with paper on and store in an airtight container. Keeps for two weeks.
For chocolate covered torrone, melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate, 3/4 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons butter. Heat over a double boiler and pour over candy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Grilled Eggplant Panini


Panini con Melanzane alla Griglia


A delicate round panini composed of homemade focaccia, grilled eggplant, soft mozzarella, prosciutto and fried sage leaves. All these flavors combined together spell, Italian.


Grilled Eggplant Panini
focaccia bread
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
mozzarella, thinly sliced
prosciutto
sage leaves, chopped


Make focaccia bread and cut into small circles. Peel eggplant and slice to a 1/4 inch thickness, lay out on paper towels then cover with paper towels and let sit for 30 minutes, this takes out the bitterness. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper, grill. Flip over and place 1 slice of mozzarella and 1 slice of prosciutto on top of half the eggplant slices. Sandwich with the remaining eggplant slices. Make panini and top with chopped sage leaves.

Chef Chuck's Lemon Coconut Bars


A refreshing dessert with a buttery short bread crust and a bright lemony filling. Lightly dusted with coconut, gives these bars a little different texture. Always choose organic lemons that are firm.

Lemon Coconut Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup flour
pinch of salt

Filling 4 egg yolks
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk

coconut

Beat butter and sugar till creamy, slowly add flour and salt, the dough is dry and crumbly. Press into an 8 inch pan covered with parchment paper and buttered. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile make filling, in a mixer using the whisk attachment, beat yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Add flour, salt and milk. Pour over hot crust and bake an additional 30-35 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, put in refrigerator for 3 hours, cut and sprinkle coconut over top.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chef Chuck's Shrimp Diavolo


Gamberi alla Diavola


A spicy hot shrimp recipe served over campanelle pasta ready in less then a half an hour. The fresh succulent shrimps released their wonderful flavor throughout the savory tomato based sauce.


Shrimp Diavolo
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons red hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large can tomato sauce, plus 14oz. can crushed tomato
1 tablespoon oregano
salt to taste
1 pound pasta
1 or 2 ladles of pasta water


Heat a large pot of water, salt well and cook pasta till al dente. Meanwhile in a large frying pan heat olive oil and saute onions about 5 minutes add pepper flakes. Then add roasted red peppers and garlic cook for 30 seconds or so, add tomatoes, oregano, and salt. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, add shrimp cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add cooked pasta to shrimp pan, ladle pasta water on top then toss. Drizzle olive oil over finished dish.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chef Chuck's Holiday Roll


A holiday roll made with white sponge cake and a chocolate espresso whipped cream. A wonderful treat for the whole family to enjoy. Sprinkle white chocolate to create a snowy
feeling during this festive season.


Holiday Roll


Cake
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon crushed walnuts


Filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder,
finely grinded


Ganache
1/2 cup chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter


white chocolate, grated for topping


Heat oven to 350, in a small bowl combine flour, sugar and cornstarch. In a separate bowl whisk eggs and honey add this to flour. Beat ingredients till smooth, spread in a 10 x 14 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle walnuts over dough. Bake 8-10 minutes or till golden brown. Dust a board or work space with powdered sugar and flip cake onto the sugar, let cool.
Prepare filling using a cold bowl, whip cream 1 minute then add sugar, cocoa and espresso powder, beat till firm peaks. Chill in refrigerator. When cake is cooled spread a thin layer of filling and begin rolling up using parchment paper to help to roll. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Melt chocolate, cream and butter in a double boiler. Place cake on a grill with a baking pan underneath and ladle melted chocolate over the log. Refrigerate again till chocolate hardens, grate white chocolate on top and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chef Chuck's Stuffed Pork Chops


Braciole di Maiale Farcito


A succulent pork chop with focaccia apple stuffing is a heart warming meal. Cooked to perfection this chop remains moist and tender. I brown the chop in butter and olive oil and transfer to a heated oven to finish the cooking.


Stuffed Pork Chops
2 pounds bone in pork chops
2 cups stuffing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste


Wash and make a cut to form a pocket in the pork chop. Bring chop to room temperature about 1 hour. Make your stuffing and gently place in pocket of chop. Heat frying pan add oil and butter and brown both sides of pork chop. Continue cooking in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. The internal temperature should be 160, I remove from oven at 155 because it still cooks when out of the oven. Let rest a few minutes and serve with a green vegetable.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Almond Sweet Pastry



Bensone alla Mandorla


A sweet pastry with crushed almonds gently rolled within the soft dough and a hint of fresh lemon is a wonderful dessert. The vanilla lemony icing enhances this pastry and adds a finishing touch to this sweet delight. Tasty anytime of the day with a cup of tea or coffee. Warm out of the oven and the melting icing dripping down I can hardly wait to taste.


Dough
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
zest of 1 lemon


Filling
1/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups almonds chopped
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of salt


Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg white for brushing


Heat milk until 105 degrees, in an electric mixer dissolve yeast in the warm milk until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups flour, butter, salt, sugar, egg, and lemon zest, mix using the dough hook until the dough comes together. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if needed, the dough should form a ball. Turn it out on a floured board and knead until smooth,about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubles in size about 1 hour. Turn out dough onto a floured surface roll out to 12x18 inches. Spread the butter all over. In a small bowl mix the cinnamon, sugar, salt and almonds. Spread mixture over buttered dough, roll up gently and place the seam down. Place on a parchment lined baking pan. Using a sharp knife or scissors make cuts every inch cutting only three quarters of the way through. Cover the roll with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Brush egg whites on dough. Bake at 375 degrees 20 to 35 minutes, till golden brown. Let cool on rack, when cooled drizzle icing all over the ring.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chicken with Peppers


Pollo con Peperoni


A hearty chicken dinner the whole family will love. The smells are making my mouth water from the roasted peppers to the chicken and onions simmering in the pot. The chicken comes out moist, tender and flavorful. I made this dish with couscous, you can use rice or orzo. A classic Roman dish usually served with rustic bread.


Chicken with Peppers
1 1/2 pounds organic chicken breasts
2 bell peppers, roasted and sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole tomatoes,
cut in large slices

1 cup organic chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste
2 cups couscous


Roast peppers over open flame till charred, place in a brown bag for 15 minutes, then peel remove seeds and slice. Wash chicken, cut in large pieces, cover with wrap and pound. Salt and pepper the chicken and toss in a bowl with flour. Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot brown chicken pieces on both sides. Add garlic, peppers, onions and celery. Pour in tomatoes, chicken broth, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Truffles


Tartufi al Cioccolato


Chocolate Truffles are rich creamy and smooth, they are a special holiday treat. So many ways to decorate these chocolate wonders. Happy Holidays!


Chocolate Truffles
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean or
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
cocoa powder for dusting


In a double boiler melt chocolate. In a mixer beat butter and sugar till creamy, add 1 yolk at a time. Bring cream and vanilla to a boil and pour into the butter and sugar. Slowly add melted chocolate. Pour into a shallow pan and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Scrape with a teaspoon and roll into a ball, about 10 grams. Roll in cocoa powder, pistachios, hazelnuts, coconut, powdered sugar or just be creative. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate. Makes great holiday gifts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chef Chuck's Mini Pecan Pies

Torta di Noci


A mini pecan pie is the perfect dessert, sweet and nutty with a flaky crust. Who needs the whole pie when these bite size goodies are just the right size.


Mini Pecan Pies


Dough


3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour


Filling


1 cup pecans, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
confectioners sugar, for dusting


Dough: In a mixer blend together cream cheese, butter and flour to make a dough. Place on floured board and kneed to make a smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap. Either take 1 teaspoon of dough and form each cup with your fingers, or roll out and cut out 1 1/2 inch circles to form in each cup. It is a sticky dough, use just a little flour when rolling out.
Filling: Combine all ingredients, fill each cup half full, using about 1 teaspoon of filling. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on rack, freezes well in air tight containers. When cooled sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Makes 24

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chef Chuck's Sweet Pumpkin Bread


Pane di Zucca


An old recipe, this pumpkin bread is always good this time of year. All the scents of the season, this sweet bread makes a wonderful gift to share with your family or friends. This recipe makes three small loaves and freezes well.


Sweet Pumpkin Bread 
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup olive oil

2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup raisins
chopped walnuts, optional


In a mixer combine all dry ingredients, add eggs, olive oil, water, pumpkin, and raisins. Beat till combined. Prepare 3 loaf pans with spray or butter and lightly flour, fill 3/4 full, top with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 3 loaves.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chef Chuck's Coconut Cake


Torta di Cocco


A different kind of coconut cake, this recipe calls for coconut flour which intensifies the flavor. Topped with a chocolate ganache icing and sprinkled with coconut. This cake can be served anytime of day, with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Coconut Cake
3 eggs
7 ounces sugar
1 cup flour
6 ounces plain yogurt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt


Beat room temperature eggs with the sugar for 3 minutes. Alternately add 1 cup flour, yogurt and melted butter, starting with the flour and ending with flour. Sift together coconut flour, salt and baking powder add to batter, just till all incorporated. It is a thick batter scrape into a buttered and floured 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and ice with melted chocolate and coconut.
Ganache icing: 1/2 cup dark chocolate 1/4 cup heavy cream, heat in a double boiler.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pasta with Anchovies


Pasta con le Acciughe

The delicate angel hair pasta paired with the hidden flavor of anchovies, the sweet cherry tomatoes and the melting mozzarella makes this recipe so delicious. Added with the soft crunch of the almonds and the capers this dish is ready as soon as the pasta is al dente. A strong flavored fish the anchovy gives a wonderful taste of the sea to this pasta.


Pasta with Anchovies
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovies
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
6 ounces mozzarella, cut in pieces
1/4 cup sliced almonds


Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Meanwhile in a large frying pan on heat olive oil and saute garlic a minute add anchovies, stir and crush till they dissolve. Add tomatoes, capers, and almonds, cook on low for 3-4 minutes. Toss pasta into the pan with a little pasta water remove from heat and stir in mozzarella.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chef Chuck's Focaccia Stuffing


Focaccia Ripieno


Homemade stuffing, made with focaccia bread, celery, onions, carrots and mushrooms is the perfect side dish to share with your family. The stuffing could be used to stuff your favorite bird, serve it with pork or bake in the oven for a vegetarian stuffing. If you don't make the homemade focaccia, use your favorite bread.


Focaccia
2 cups warm water, 110 degrees
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

Add 1 tablespoon of yeast to warm water and sugar, stir. Let sit for 7 minutes (until foamy). Pour into mixer bowl, set to a medium speed, add olive oil. Mix in one cup of flour at a time with salt until it forms into a ball of dough. Dust a cutting board with flour and knead dough for 3 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil, transfer dough and cover with plastic wrap and lay kitchen towel on top. Let rise in a warm area for 1 to 2 hours. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to fit a baking pan. Transfer to an oiled baking pan cook at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Cool and cut in small cubes, let sit out overnight to air dry or bake in the oven at 200 degrees till bread is dried out, about 1 hour.
Focaccia Stuffing

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
black ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

5-6 cups focaccia bread, cubed


In a large frying pan heat olive oil and butter and saute onion, celery, and mushrooms. Add cubes of bread, fresh parsley, sage, and pour vegetable broth over, stir, add pepper to taste. Place in bird or in a covered baking dish and heat up 30 minutes in an 375 degree oven.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chef Chuck's Ricotta Cheese Omelet


Frittata Con La Ricotta


A breakfast favorite, a ricotta cheese omelet with farm fresh eggs, ricotta cheese and Italy's bacon, pancetta. These creamy fluffy light eggs were a perfect breakfast to begin a Saturday morning !


Ricotta Cheese Omelet
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
2 slices pancetta, chopped small
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil


In a nonstick pan heat olive oil and cook pancetta till crispy. Remove and set aside wipe pan clean, add a little olive oil and fry ricotta for a few minutes add scrambled eggs over the cheese, and sprinkle pancetta over eggs. Using a spatula pull sides of egg away from pan to allow raw egg in middle to cook turn over and cook a few more minutes. Serve with toast.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Apples

Mele al Forno

The sweet smell lofting from the hot oven is irresistible, the baked apples are ready to be savored. A delectable recipe for this season, apples are in abundance, time to heat up the oven, and have a fruit dessert. The best apples to use are Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious or Jonogold.



Baked Apples
4 Rome apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/3 cup apple cider or juice

drizzle of honey
pinch of salt

Wash and core apples then peel skin one inch down. In a bowl mix brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and a pinch of salt. Place apples in a baking dish fill each apple with filling. Place one or two small cubes of butter on each apple, pour cider or juice over apples then drizzle with honey. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy while
warm.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chef Chuck's Grilled Salmon

Salmone alla Griglia


Simply cooked to perfection, grilled salmon with seasonings, is light and satisfying. Grilled indoors or outdoors this recipe is as easy as it gets. Salmon is a healthy meal, served with a green leafy salad, or your favorite vegetable.


Grilled Salmon
1 pound fresh salmon
olive oil
salt and pepper
thyme
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Wash and pat dry salmon, rub olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme on the fillet. Heat grill, brush grill with olive oil and place salmon skin side down, squeeze lemon juice on fish. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chef Chuck's Cod Fish Soup

Zuppa di Pesce di Merluzzo

Cod Fish Soup

A wonderful combination of Pacific cod fish, green olives, capers, potatoes and San Marzano tomatoes makes this a tasty soup. Every bite has a delicious flavor of the Pacific waters. You could substitute a variety of white fish in place of the cod.

Cod Fish Soup
1 pound cod fish
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, sliced
3 potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup green olives
1/4 cup capers
1 cup vegetable broth
1 large can whole tomatoes,
crushed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
flour

Wash and lightly pat dry fish, cut into 4 inch chunks. Season the flour with salt and pepper, dredge fish set aside. In a large pot heat olive oil add onions and saute for 1 minute add fish
cook 1 minute on each side. Stir in potatoes, olives, capers moisten with the broth, then add tomatoes. Season with oregano salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes with lid on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chickpea Soup

Zuppa di Ceci


A hearty soup with chickpea's, sausage, vegetables, kale and more. Packed with so many good flavors it warms your soul on a chilly evening.


Chickpea Soup
2 cans chickpea's or
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2-3 sausage links, mild or hot
6 cups beef broth
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch of kale, chopped
sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
parmigiano cheese, grated


Heat large pot add 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown sausage for a few minutes, remove and set aside. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and saute onion, celery and carrots for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked sausage, broth, tomatoes, kale, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer with lid on for 20 minutes, add beans. Top with parmigiano cheese.
Serves 6 - 8 people.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chef Chuck's Fettuccine alla Carbonara

Fettuccine alla Carbonara

Pasta with pancetta, onions, eggs and pecorino is a classic and rustic pasta dish from Italy. The flavors combined is quite delicious, this would be great served at a brunch, lunch or for dinner. I made this with fettuccine, any ribbon pasta will work you can also use bacon instead of pancetta. I added my wonderful focaccia with olives, salt and rosemary. Enjoy!

Fettuccine alla Carbonara

1 pound fettuccine
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated

salt and pepper
1/4 cup pasta water

Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Meanwhile in a large frying pan, heat olive oil and cook pancetta, drain most of the fat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes, add garlic, salt and pepper, add cooked pasta and a little (1/4 cup) pasta water. Then stir in egg mixture, season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chef Chuck's Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Filetto di Maiale Piccante


The aroma in the house was so inviting, this spicy pork dish is definitely a favorite. The pork was fork tender, and the heat from the peppers combined with the sweet honey and cinnamon makes this recipe delicious.


Spicy Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin, cubed
1 red onion, sliced
2 small hot chili peppers, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
salt to taste
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
rice


Cut pork in small chunks, heat olive oil in pot and brown meat, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in onions, peppers, cinnamon, honey, red wine vinegar, oregano and salt. Add vegetable broth cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Serve over a bed of rice.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Baked Shrimp


Limone Gamberetti al Forno


Lemon baked shrimp, has a fresh taste of the sea with a burst of lemon flavor. A light and delicious shrimp recipe, serve as a appetizer or as a main meal.




Lemon Baked Shrimp
1 pound medium shrimp
peeled and deveined
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil


Peel shrimp and devein, rinse, pat dry and set aside. Mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl beat eggs, dip shrimp in eggs, then into breadcrumb mixture and place in an oiled baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees, 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chicken Pot Pie



Torta di Pollo

A hearty and healthy chicken pot pie, is the perfect comfort food. Flaky butter crust, lots of vegetables, chunks of chicken and a light flavorful gravy makes this recipe satisfying.

Chicken Pot Pie
Filling
2 organic chicken breasts
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
2 potatoes, diced
8 mushrooms, diced
4 small garlic cloves, minced
1 cup peas
1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Crust
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks cold butter
8 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, beaten

Wash and pat dry chicken breasts place on a baking pan, coat with olive oil and salt and pepper both sides. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut chicken into small chunks, set aside. In a large frying pan heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and butter saute carrots, celery, onions, potatoes and salt for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, peas and pepper, saute 5 minutes. Add cooked chicken, pour in chicken broth, heavy cream and oregano, slowly add flour to make a gravy. Add more broth if too thick.
Using a food processor combine flour, salt and baking powder, pulse. Add cold butter in small chunks, add 1 tablespoon water at a time. Knead on floured board for a minute, cut in half, and roll out one half to fit your pie pan. Pour in chicken mixture and roll out the rest of the dough for the top. Make a few air holes in dough then brush with egg whites and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chef Chuck's Coconut Almond Cookies


Cocco Biscotti di Mandorle

A cloud of coconut, almonds and fluffy egg whites makes these cookies light, and tasty. Dipped in melted dark chocolate gives them an extra sweetness.

Coconut Almond Cookies
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
6 ounces powdered sugar
6 ounces unsweetened organic
coconut
1 cup almonds, chopped fine
1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted

Beat egg whites for 30 seconds, then add pinch of salt and gradually add powdered sugar till soft peaks form. Fold in coconut and almonds. On a greased cookie pan carefully use a tablespoon and drop batter to your desired form. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, cookies should be golden brown. Cool and dip in melted chocolate, store in refrigerator. Makes 16-20 cookies depending on the size.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chianti Chili Con Carne



A hot and spicy ground beef dish with Chianti, fresh vegetables, red sauce, beans and hot peppers. I used chili peppers from the island of Stromboli, in this extraordinary dish. The hotter the pepper the better and this dish is sure to warm you up this evening.

Chianti Chili Con Carne

1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Chianti
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water

1 can cannellini beans
2 hot chili peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt to taste


In a large pot heat olive oil add onions, carrots, celery and chili peppers cook on medium heat 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add beef and chili powder, brown beef then add red wine. Pour in tomato sauce, water, oregano and salt, simmer for 30 minutes, add beans and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve over toasted bread or rice.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Torta alle Nocciole


Chocolate hazelnut cake is a divine recipe so chocolaty and creamy. The combination of the hazelnuts and chocolate is one of my favorites.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
11 tablespoons butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup flour, sifted
2 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted

and finely chopped

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt


Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar


Ganache Frosting

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/4 cup heavy cream


Melt chocolate in a double boiler, set aside. Toast hazelnuts in a small pan on low for about 5 minutes, in a food processor chop nuts till fine. In a mixer beat butter and sugar on high for 3 minutes. Lower mixer and add yolks one at a time, sift flour and yeast together add to batter. Mix hazelnuts and melted chocolate together, pour in batter. In a separate bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter till all is incorporated. Pour into a buttered and floured 8 inch pan, bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool on rack, remove from pan and cut in half. When cake is completely cooled prepare whip cream. Use a cold mixing bowl, add cream and beat 30 seconds then add vanilla and sugar whisk till firm peaks. Spread on one layer and place other half of cake on top. Melt chocolate and heavy cream over a double boiler, stirring occasionally, till melted, cool a few minutes. Pour frosting on cake and spread, refrigerate cake.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chef Chuck's Egg Drop Soup

Stracciatella

We are celebrating the first evening of Autumn, with a warm bowl of egg soup. An Italian classic, with just a few ingredients, it's inexpensive and packed with flavors.


Egg Soup
3 eggs, beaten
6 cups organic chicken broth
or beef broth
3 tablespoons semolina flour
3 tablespoons parmigiana
cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl beat eggs with 1 cup chicken broth, semolina, parmigiana, parsley, salt and pepper. In a medium size pot heat 5 cups chicken broth to a boil, slowly whisk in egg mixture and continue to whisk for 3 minutes.
Ricette by Chef Chuck's Cucina

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Shrimp Piccanti

Gamberi Piccanti

A baked shrimp recipe that is loaded with flavors. The heat from the peppers along with the onions, lime juice and wine, makes this shrimp dish delicious.


Baked Shrimp Piccanti
8 medium shrimp
2 hot chili peppers,
sliced thin with seeds
1/2 small onion, minced
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 heaping tablespoon
fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste

Wash shrimp leave shell on and place in baking dish. In a bowl combine all the other ingredients and pour over shrimp. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pork Medallions

Medaglioni di Maiale


Tender breaded pork medallions, sweet basil, garden tomatoes and soft mozzarella all together is a symphony. The tenderloin is a lean cut so the juice from the yellow cherry tomatoes and the smooth mozzarella gives moisture to the medallions.


Pork Medallions
1 small pork tenderloin
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tablespoons flour
1 egg, beaten with salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, panko
cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
fresh basil leaves
mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste


Bring pork to room temperature this takes about half an hour, cut pork in 3/4 inch slices. Lightly dip in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil and saute garlic for 1 minute, discard garlic. Brown pork 3 minutes on each side place on a broiler pan. Top with a slice of tomato a basil leave and a slice of mozzarella. Broil on top rack till cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Salt when warm and serve. Makes 8 medallions.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chef Chuck's Linguine with Anchovies and Walnuts

Linguine alle Acciughe


Pasta with anchovies and walnuts is a pasta dish filled with many flavors. The smell in our kitchen reminded me of being in Sicily. When using just a few ingredients, always use the finest anchovies, garden fresh garlic and oregano, and quality olive oil that you can obtain. Another quick, inexpensive and tasty recipe to enjoy with your family.


Linguine with Anchovies and Walnuts
1 pound linguine
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 ounces anchovies in oil,
chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
parmigiana cheese, grated


Toast walnuts in a small pan on low heat for 7-10 minutes, toss occasionally. Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. In a large pan heat olive oil saute anchovies for 1 minute add garlic and walnuts for 30 seconds. Add pasta with a ladle of pasta water, salt, pepper and oregano. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and parmigiana cheese on top.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chef Chuck's Roasted Lemon Sage Chicken

Pollo al Limone Salvia Arrosto


This succulent roasted lemon sage chicken, left an inviting aroma in our home. It was a gift from our neighbor, a free range organic plump chicken. We surrounded the chicken with potatoes, onions, artichokes, olives, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. This juicy choice chicken was a dinner to remember.


Roasted Lemon Sage Chicken
2-4 pound whole organic chicken
4 stems of fresh sage leaves, about 1/3 cup
4-5 red russet potatoes, quartered
4 small onions, halved
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, quartered
1/4 cup kalamati olives, halved
2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper


Rub


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper


Soak whole chicken in a salt bath for 30 minutes, rinse and place in roasting pan. Place 2 stems of sage inside chicken along with 1 lemon quartered and squeezed and half a lemon in opening. Arrange potatoes, onions, artichokes, olives, around the chicken, drizzle olive oil, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. Combine ingredients of the rub and rub all over the chicken. Bake at 400 degrees, uncovered for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chef Chuck's Marinated Eggplant

Melanzane a Scapece

Marinated eggplant picked from the garden, makes this a summertime recipe tucked in a jar waiting to be opened and relished. The eggplant absorbs all the flavors from the olive oil to our oregano, garlic and hot peppers also grown in the garden. With a touch of vinegar to bring it all together, grab some homemade crusty bread and indulge in some eggplant antipasto.



Marinated Eggplant
2 large eggplants or 4 small eggplants
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 hot chili peppers, diced
or
1 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste



Cut ends off eggplants and peel, cut in half and place in salted boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove, drain and cool, press with a cloth to remove a lot of the excess liquid. Slice eggplant and place in a bowl. Combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Pour marinate over eggplant ,cover and chill for at least 24 hours.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chef Chuck's Sausage Pepper Poppers

Peperoni Salsiccia Piccola

The tiny italian palumbo peppers just picked from the garden stuffed with my homemade Italian sausage, sauted onions and parmigiano cheese are a one bite popper. Packed with many intense flavors
this recipe is the perfect appetizer. These particular peppers are grown from seeds we bought in Italy, easy to grow and are not hot, similar to a baby bell pepper.


Sausage Pepper Peppers
12 Palumbo peppers or
any small pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin
olive oil
3 Italian sausage links
1/2 onion, diced small
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 tablespoon parmigiano cheese, grated


Wash and cut tops off peppers clean out insides. Boil for 15 minutes, set aside. In a large frying pan heat olive oil and remove sausage from it's casing and brown. Cook onions in same pan with the sausage for a few minutes, add oregano and cheese. Stuff each pepper, place in a pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parmigiano cheese and serve.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chef Chuck's Roasted Tomato Soup


Zuppa di Pomodori Arrosto


A bowl of roasted tomato soup is the perfect way to end the summer. Fresh picked from the garden and roasted makes this soup extremely flavorful. A wonderful warm season soup served with crusty bread and a salad.


Roasted Tomato Soup
2 pounds ripe garden fresh tomatoes
1 yellow onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
, lightly packed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup organic chicken broth or vegetable

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
red hot pepper flakes, optional


Wash and core tomatoes, cut in half place cut side up on a baking pan. Place four garlic cloves on pan and sliced onions. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Turn onions during roasting and remove onions and garlic before they turn brown. Depending on the size of your tomatoes it could take a bit longer. Remove from pan and pour into a blender or food processor along with the onions, garlic, basil leaves, broth, cream and sugar. Blend till smooth season with salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil or heavy cream. Serves 4 hot or cold.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chef Chuck's Strawberry Crepe Torta

Torta di Crepes


Strawberry Crepe Torta, is a layer cake made with soft thin crepes, creamy flavored ricotta, and sweet juicy strawberries. The cream is blended with ricotta, whipped cream, sugar and vanilla, and is delicious. This is the season for fresh organic strawberries so get creative.

Strawberry Crepe Torta

1 cup flour
1 cup milk

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt


Filling

1 cup strawberries, sliced

6 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup whipped cream, firm peaks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
powdered sugar for dusting


Whisk together all ingredients for the crepes, cover and let rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a mixer combine ricotta,1 tablespoon heavy cream, vanilla and sugar beat till soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Fold in whipped cream cover and refrigerate. In a 6 inch non stick pan on medium heat pour about 3 tablespoons of batter in center of pan and twirl around to make a round crepe. Cook for about 1 minute then carefully flip and cook another 30 seconds or until golden brown. Cool crepes, lay one in center of plate spread filling lightly then add sliced strawberries. Place another crepe on top and repeat process till the fifth layer. Decorate top layer with whip cream, sliced strawberries and powdered sugar.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Pork Chops

Arrosto di Maiale al Limone


The aromas from the lemon pork chops was intoxicating. The potatoes were so lemony and the pork chops were tender and moist. A great combination of flavors for a lovely dinner.


Lemon Pork Chops
2 pork chops
flour
zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
a sprig of rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth


Wash and pat dry the chops, flour both sides. Heat oil in a large pan and brown both sides. Add potatoes, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf, zest of one lemon and the juice, garlic, salt and pepper and broth. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 2

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chef Chuck's Caprese Salad

Caprese Insalada


A popular summer dish prepared in Italy, Caprese Insalada, is a salad prepared with fresh mozzarella, garden picked tomatoes, fragrant genovese basil, olive oil and a pinch of fresh earthy oregano. Mozzarella di bufala (from buffalo) is Italy's best choice for a quality cheese, and can be found in the states. Use the finest ingredients possible to truly indulge in another simple and tasty salad. Serve with your favorite bread and a glass of white wine, that's a meal in itself.

Caprese Salad

fresh mozzarella cheese

2 large ripe tomatoes
a sprig of fresh basil
pinch of fresh oregano
arugula or lettuce leaves
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil



Cut tomatoes in 6 quarters and place on a platter covered with arugula or lettuce leaves. Arrange sliced mozzarella in between tomatoes, spread basil leaves and fresh oregano over entire dish. Salt and pepper the salad and drizzle with olive oil.