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.

Chef Chuck's Pancetta Pasta with Gorgonzola

Pasta con Pancetta e Gorgonzola

A very quick and simply delicious pasta dish full of flavors, from the pancetta to the Gorgonzola. The extra virgin olive oil coats each piece of pasta, while the Gorgonzola releases it's buttery, salty bite.

Pancetta Pasta with Gorgonzola
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
4 tablespoons olive oil

2 slices pancetta, diced
3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup pasta water
salt and pepper

Cook pasta in salted water till al dente, drain pasta reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Meanwhile in a large frying pan heat olive oil and saute pancetta for about 5 minutes. Stir pasta into the pancetta pan along with the pasta water, Gorgonzola chunks, salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Chef Chuck's Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Ananas alla Griglia

A refreshing dessert, grilled pineapple, with your favorite vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of nutella. A perfect summer dish, so sweet with the honey vanilla glaze and the creamy cool gelato.

Grilled Pineapple
1 ripe juicy pineapple
2 tablespoons sweet honey
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons nutella
vanilla ice cream or gelato
fresh mint for garnish

Cut both ends of pineapple and peel, slice pineapple and cut core out. In a small bowl mix honey and vanilla and brush on pineapple slices. Grill on medium heat about 2-3 minutes on each side, brushing both sides with the honey mixture. Place on serving plate add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle chocolate and add a sprig of mint.

Chef Chuck's Grilled Swordfish

Pesce Spada alla Siciliana

Today's catch of the day, was swordfish, fresh from the fish market. I first marinated the swordfish, and then grilled it. So simple yet so delightful for a summer dish, served with garden picked tomatoes and a wedge of lemon.  Swordfish is quite popular in Sicily, and this is one of the many ways to prepare this fish.  

Grilled Swordfish
1 swordfish steak
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges

Wash and pat dry fish salt and pepper both sides.  Combine all ingredients and marinate the fish for at least 30 minutes.  Remove and place on oiled hot grill, cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Spoon marinade over fish and serve.  Serves 2

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Nut Salami

Salame al Cioccolato

A very rich dessert, this chocolate nut salami, is very decadent. This salami shaped roll is creamy yet crunchy. Adding the crumbled butter cookies to the melted chocolate gives a great texture to this chocolate dessert. The espresso grounds always compliments any chocolate recipe.

Chocolate Nut Salami
24 butter cookies, 1 cup
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon espresso, finely grind-ed
1/4 cup almonds, ground
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

Place cookies in a food processor and blend, set aside. Place chocolate in a double boiler with 1 tablespoon butter simmer till chocolate melts. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes, then stir in egg yolks, coffee, vanilla and the remaining butter. Pour in 3/4 cup of crushed cookies, add almond flour, almonds, and pistachios. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour. Lightly oil wax paper, then shape into a 14 inch roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours. Spread remaining cookies and roll salami until the entire surface is covered. Let stand 1 hour, slice and serve.

Butter Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 egg slightly beaten

Mix all ingredients together and spread on a cookie sheet about 1/4 inch high, bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Chef Chuck's Summer Chicken Salad

Estate Insalata di Pollo

A wonderful summer chicken salad with organic chicken breasts, fresh garden vegetables, a sweet and savoy dressing and Gorgonzola cheese. The chicken is delicate and juicy, and the red and yellow peppers are so sweet they add bright colors to this salad.

Summer Chicken Salad
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1 zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup black olives, halved

juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Wash and pat dry chicken, salt and pepper both sides. In a small frying pan heat olive oil and cook chicken, till internal temperature is 160 degrees, cool and cut in slices. In a large bowl combine the zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, and olives, add cooked chicken. In a small separate bowl combine lemon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper whisk together and pour over salad. Toss and marinate in refrigerator for half an hour. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.
Serves 4

Chef Chuck's Zucchini Soup

Zuppa di Zucchine

This zucchini soup has a creamy texture, and is full of flavor and nutrients. With all the zucchini so plentiful in the gardens, I thought I would share this soup recipe.

Zucchini Soup

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds zucchini
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth,
or chicken
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup light cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter in a large pot, add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Trim ends off zucchini, leave skins on and slice thin. Add zucchini, oregano, salt and pepper simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in stock and bring to a boil, lower heat, half cover pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in cheese, carefully pour in blender and mix until smooth. Pour back in pot add cream and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Chef Chuck's Fried Zucchini Flowers

Fiori di Zucca

Fried zucchini flowers are best when picked early in the morning so we always have them for breakfast. A delicate delight that we look forward to every season. Filled with 3 cheeses, this recipe has a creamy inside and a light crunch on the outside.

Fried Zucchini Flowers
6 zucchini flowers
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons mozzarella, shredded
2 tablespoons parmigiano, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon flour
olive oil for frying

Pick zucchini flowers early in the morning when they are partially open. Carefully remove stamen, inner part, wash and pat dry. Combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano, salt and pepper. In a flat bowl mix egg, milk and flour beat with a fork till smooth. Put cheese in a pastry bag or plastic bag and snip a corner, fill flowers, gently squezze cheese to fill flower. Dip in egg then fry in a small frying pan with olive oil. I fry 2 at a time then place on paper towels and salt. Serve hot.

Chef Chuck's Stuffed Eggs

Uova Farcite

Stuffed eggs is a sign of the summer season served over a bed of lettuce, with sliced garden tomatoes on the side. These eggs are filled with a creamy mixture of yolks, mayo, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Topped off with a caper or two gives a tang of saltiness to these stuffed eggs.

Stuffed Eggs
8 eggs, boiled and peeled
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
tomatoes, sliced

In a medium size pot, place 8 eggs, fill with water just till eggs are covered. Salt and boil the water then turn heat off, put lid on and wait 15 minutes. Drain and run cold water over eggs to cool, peel and cut in half. Put yolks in a bowl and mix together the mayo, mustard, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Fill yolk mixture in a pastry bag or a small plastic bag cut a small hole in one corner and pipe in yolk. Place a caper or two on each egg, sprinkle paprika and pepper on top.

Chef Chuck's Lobster Risotto

Risotto Aragosta

Lobster risotto is creamy and full of flavors including the flavors from the sea, the succlent lobster, makes this rice dish a perfect meal. Cooking risotto slow and easy is an enjoyable way to relax and then we get to savor every fork full.

Lobster Risotto
2 lobster tails, cooked
2 cups arborio rice
3 shallots, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups lobster water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook lobsters in 4 cups of well salted boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and place in a bowl with ice water, set aside, save water. In a large frying pan heat olive oil and saute onions for about 3 minutes. Add rice and coat with oil, toast for 2 minutes. Slowly add about a 1/2 cup of lobster water at a time, stirring often, when liquid is absorbed add more broth. Continue adding broth till all 4 cups are used this takes about 20 minutes. Remove lobster from shell and cut in small chunks. Add lobster back in rice dish along with the butter, parsley, salt, and pepper, and cook on low for 2 or 3 more minutes. Drizzle olive oil over risotto and serve.

Chef Chuck Fried Spinach Balls

Palline di Spinaci Fritti

Fried spinach balls are a wonderful appetizer, creamy and crunchy, full of flavors. Fresh spinach from the garden, the best ricotta you can purchase, parmigiano cheese from Italy and pungent garlic, all these ingredients together are quite tasty.

Fried Spinach Balls
5 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
light olive oil for frying

Wash and dry spinach leaves, chop and set aside. In a large bowl mix ricotta, parmigiano, garlic, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Add spinach and mix well, form in small balls. Dip in beaten egg then breadcrumbs. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry 3 at at time till golden brown. Drain on cloth or paper towels, salt and serve.

Chef Chuck's Black and White Ricotta Torta

Bianco e Nero, Torta di Ricotta

This black and white ricotta torta, is an Italian classic dessert with a twist, I incorporated a touch of vanilla chocolate. Simply delicious with the walnut crust and the sweet smooth chocolaty goodness.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
pinch of salt
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons water

Toast walnuts in a small frying pan for a few minutes. In a food processor combine flour, cornmeal, salt, walnuts and sugar till well blended. Slowly add butter, if needed add 1-2 tablespoons cold water to bring dough together. Form in an 11 inch torta pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees with foil and beans on dough for 30 minutes, remove beans and foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.


1/2 cup water

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate

1/3 cup white chocolate

3/4 cup ricotta
3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg
4 egg yolks

In a small sauce pan heat water and dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, cool. In a double boiler slowly melt both chocolates separately. In a food processor combine ricotta and cream cheese till smooth. Add eggs one at a time, slowly stream in chocolate, then the sugar water. Save white chocolate. Pour chocolate mixture in torta pan then pour in white chocolate in a swirl. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.