Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Fusilli

Lemon Fusilli


I was in the mood for something light, delicate, and healthy, with my pasta this evening. The lemon never fails! A bit tangy with all that lovely lemon and a hint of spring with my fresh parsley. The fusilli, is perfect for this recipe as it soaks up the lemony essence inside the pasta curls. The sheeps cheese, pecorino, has a distinct sharpness that complemented the pasta very well. A simple dinner to remind us, Spring is in the air!!




Lemon Fusilli
1/2 pound fusilli
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon
about 1/4 cup pasta water
rind of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
pecorino cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot heat water to boiling add a generous amount of salt and pasta, cook al dente.
In a large fry pan heat olive oil and simmer garlic about 1 minute, stirring often. Add in broth
juice of lemon, rind, parsley, salt and pepper. Add in drained pasta plus pasta water mix and
grate cheese on top. Drizzle olive oil over finished dish.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chef Chuck's Carrot Cake

Torta di Carote

This is my Italian version of a carrot cake! I added a coconut marscapone icing, and it's so
creamy. The cake is packed with healthy ingredients, organic carrots, walnuts, raisins and
pineapple. A very moist and delicious cake to enjoy anytime.


Carrot Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups carrots shredded
1 cup crushed pineapples, drained
coconut optional


Combine dry ingredients. Add liquid ingredients be sure to drain pineapples very well. Bake 350 degrees in a bundt pan for 50 minutes. If you prefer a 9x13 bake for 35 minutes, or for cupcakes bake 20 minutes.


Icing


8 ounces mascarpone
1/4 pound butter, softened
3 tablespoons coconut, shredded
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Softened butter and mascarpone to room temperature. In a mixer combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Frost cake when completely cooled. Sprinkle on coconut. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Ricette by Chef Chuck's Cucina

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pistachio Porketta

Porchetta 


An Italian roast pork dish that's moist, tender and full of flavor. A traditional Italian dinner served on special occasions and holidays. A porchetta usually is the whole pig slow roasted
this is my version. I use a pork tenderloin, by browning each side in olive oil it seals in all
the natural juices. The pistachio's saltiness and nutty flavor enhances this tenderloin. Along with the fennel, garlic, oregano and balsamic vinegar every bite is delicious. I like to serve this dish with roasted potatoes, spinach and bread.

Porchetta

1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup pistachio's, peeled
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black cracked pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth


In a food processor blend pistachio's, garlic, fennel, oregano, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Butterfly tenderloin to about 1/2 inch thick, coat mixture on top of pork and roll up. Tie with
string or toothpicks to hold it together.
In a large fry pan on medium high heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown pork on all sides.
Put lid on pan and cook in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150-155 degrees. If your pan can't go in the oven transfer pork to a baking dish cover with foil.
Cover and let pork rest for 15 minutes before carving. While meat is resting pour vegetable broth in hot pan to deglaze. Stir with wooden spoon to release bits on bottom and simmer about 3 minutes. Strain gravy to remove bits and pour over pork.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chef Chuck's Zeppoli Arancione

Zeppole all'Arancia


Zeppoli are light deep fried dough balls, tossed in cinnamon sugar. This fried dessert is an authentic international dessert with many different names and recipes. These tasty treats are
often found at carnivals and festivals. Zeppoli can be sweetened with zest of orange or lemon.
The orange zest seems to add a burst of flavor. When biting into these treats the center melts in your mouth while the outer shell is crunchy. It's so light, crispy, and sweet altogether this brings happiness. Sometimes served with sprinkled powdered sugar instead of cinnamon and sugar or even drizzled with honey. Serve warm with a sweet glass of red or white wine.


Zeppole
1 cup flour
8 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 eggs
olive oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat add butter,
3 tablespoons sugar, salt and water bring to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once and stir with wooden spoon till it forms a ball. Place in mixer wait 1 minute for dough to cool then add 1 egg at a time, add zest and combine, until smooth. Heat 2 inches of olive oil in small saucepan till temperature is 375 degrees. Using two teaspoons try to form a ball and carefully drop dough into oil, fry 3 at a time. Turn zeppoli and maintain temperature and fry for 3-4 minutes so the inside will cook. Put on towels and then mix in bowl of cinnamon sugar.
Makes about 24

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chicken and Artichokes


Pollo e Carciofi

This is one of our favorite chicken dishes, from my, Mom. Our family has enjoyed this recipe for a long time. The chicken is very moist and tender if cooked at the right internal temperature. The marinated artichokes release a concentrated flavor when baked. The plump whole mushrooms also add more moisture. The homegrown carrots we picked from the greenhouse add color and sweetness. Recipe below.

Chicken and Artichokes
2 organic boneless chicken breasts
1 egg beaten
panko breadcrumbs
12 fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup marinated artichokes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
3 tablespoons pecorino cheese
salt and pepper to taste


In one bowl beat egg add 1 tablespoon grated pecorino, salt and pepper. In another bowl pour in breadcrumbs. Wash and pat dry chicken, wash hands, dip chicken in egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs. In a large fry pan add 3 tablespoons olive oil and brown chicken for about 3 minutes on both sides. Add artichokes, mushrooms, and broth put lid on and bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Internal temperature should be about 170 degrees. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of pecorino over finished dish.
Serves 2


Walnut Carrots


Steam carrots, set aside. In a small fry pan heat olive oil add chopped walnuts and stir for 1 minute. Add sliced garlic and simmer 1 more minute. Add carrots, parsley salt and pepper stir and enjoy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Asparagus

Asparagi

Asparagus sprouting is a sign that spring is near something we all want to hear. A healthy vegetable low in calories, rich in vitamins A and B. I like the thin stalks they seem to be more tender and more enjoyable to eat. I used small red nubian garlic from Sicily that I grew last year any good quality garlic will do. This dish is a meal in itself it has everything you desire bread, meats, cheese, and vegetables. Served with a glass of wine we have a well balanced dinner!


Italian Asparagus
1 pound organic asparagus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
7 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 eggs
1/4 cup water

2 slices Italian bread

8 thin slices prosciutto
parmigano shavings
salt and pepper to taste


Wash stems, holding one stalk at each end bend and where it breaks is where you want to cut the rest. In a frying pan add olive oil and garlic and simmer 30 seconds. Add asparagus, water, salt and pepper simmer for 5 minutes with lid on. In a separate frying pan cook egg sunny side up! Place 1 thin slice of bread on serving plate wrap some of the asparagus with proscuitto and place on top of bread. Then put egg on top of stalks, drizzle oil, garlic, shaved parmigiano, salt and pepper on top of dish.
Serves 2

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chef Chuck's Bolognese

Sugo alla Bolognese

Bolognese is a meat sauce with many complex flavors. It originated in Bologna, Italy also known as the (fat city). Bologna is known for having some of the best meats around the world. This meat sauce is very rich and hearty, a perfect winter night dinner with the family. The aroma in the whole house was so inviting, I love bolognese. This particular sauce should be served with ribbon pasta like tagliatelle or fettuccine, we used tripoline. It also should be served with a good Chianti and of course bread. Freezes well.

Bolognese
10 ounces ground beef
1 thick slice pancetta, chopped
1 carrot, small cubes
1 celery , small cubes

1/2 onion, small cubes

6 tablespoons tomato sauce
6 ounces red dry wine
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black cracked pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound ribbon pasta

In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil and saute' carrots, celery and onions for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally then set aside. Add beef and pancetta and brown for 3 minutes add wine and simmer 1 minute then slowly add milk. Then stir in tomato sauce, vegetables, salt and pepper simmer very gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir often keep lid almost shut. Serve over a ribbon pasta. Serves 4

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Tuna Salad

Insalata di Tonno e Fagioli

This is an easy salad to fix with all fresh and organic produce. It can also be made with fresh seared tuna. When adding balsamic vinegar to tuna it gives it a splendid new sweet flavor! I like this variety of veggies, because they are full of textures and color. It's a very healthy and delicious salad for the entire family to enjoy. Serve with thick crusty Italian bread.

Italian Tuna Salad
1 can solid white tuna
2 potatoes, roasted

1 large tomato, quartered

1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Peel and cut potatoes in 1 inch cubes, place on a small baking sheet coat all sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees about 15 minutes or till golden brown, let cool. In a large bowl combine tuna, tomato, cucumber, onions, beans, potatoes, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Toss lightly and serve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lobster and Spaghetti




Spaghetti con aragosta

This lobster recipe is an elegant and light dish. A very simple Italian feast
with sweet and succulent lobster. Lobsters are found all over the world in many different colors. They are a deep water crustacean, that is a gift from the sea. Roasting the whole garlic releases a mild nutty flavor. The fresh basil adds to the delicate taste.

Lobster and Spaghetti
1 lobster 1/2 pound cut in half
1/2 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves whole
2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in salted water till al dente. In a separate frying pan on medium heat
add olive oil and garlic cloves for 2 minutes. Cut lobster in half and add a third of the basil, salt, pepper. Turn pan on high heat with lid and cook for 3 minutes then add pasta, pepper flakes and the remaining basil.
Buon Appetito

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baklava

Baklava

Baklava is a sweet dessert, originated in Turkey during the 8th century. It was a simple bread dough with nuts and served with honey. The Greeks changed it by using dough much like the way we make it today. Baklava has many layers of phyllo and each layer is brushed with butter topped with healthy walnuts and sweet honey. Using the best ingredients insures that you will achieve a perfect piece of desirable sweetness. Different nuts can be used but walnuts is what I prefer. Walnuts are high in omega 3 known to be good for your heart. This dessert actually cures and improves in flavor as days go by! Enjoy

Baklava
4 cups walnuts chopped fine
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
17 phyllo sheets cut in half
2 sticks butter melted and cooled
Syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup honey

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl mix walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. When
working with phyllo use 1 sheet at a time and keep the other sheets wrapped in a damp kitchen towel. Arrange 1 phyllo in a 13x9 pan brush with butter and top with 5 more layers, butter each layer then sprinkle 1/2 cup walnuts over phyllo then top with 2 more sheets of phyllo buttering each layer. Repeat layering with 1/2 cup nuts and 2 phyllo sheets till all mixture is used. Top baklava with remaining sheets then using a sharp knife carefully cut in 1 or 2 inch squares or make diagonal cuts for triangles. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake 40 minutes to 1 hour till golden brown.
Make syrup while baklava is baking.
In a saucepan bring water, honey, sugar and lemon juice to a boil stirring often,
simmer for 5 minutes. Pour warm syrup over hot baklava and cool on a rack. Let baklava rest covered for 12 hours for flavors to develop. Then wrap and refrigerate.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Onion Soup

Zuppa Di Cipolle

Italian onion soup is the answer to a cold snowy winter evening. The entire house is filled with a wonderful aroma, my appetite is growing. This is a very simple and inexpensive answer to a great dinner. As the onions caramelize they release their sugars and become so sweet. The sage gives an earthy taste and the wine gives it a richness. I also enjoy how the bread soaks up all that enriched flavorful broth! The fontina has an Italian origin, dating back to the 12th century. This creamy smooth cheese is from cow's milk so it has a mellow taste, and being a soft cheese it melts well.

Italian Onion Soup
3 large white or yellow onions sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
4 cups organic chicken broth
thick crusty bread
fontina thick slices

In a pot heat olive oil and butter add onions and saute 15-20 minutes stirring often. Add wine, sage, vinegar, and chicken broth then simmer with lid on for about 20 minutes. In separate bowls (oven proof) place bread then soup and top with cheese. Broil till cheese melts, around 1 minute. Can substitute chicken broth for vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chef Chuck's Blueberry Torta

Torta ai mirtilli

I enjoy this refreshing Blueberry Torta after dinner or even with Sunday morning coffee. This fresh fruit tart is especially delightful when warm, with a hint of cool silky whip cream on top or vanilla ice cream. I have always loved these plump blue beauties and the fact that they're high in Vitamin C is an extra bonus.

Blueberry Torta

Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter chilled,
cut in 1/4 inch pieces
5-6 tablespoons cold water


In a food processor pulse flour, sugar and salt to mix. Add butter and mix and add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn on to a floured board knead to form a ball wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let dough rest on board for 15 minutes
and roll out to form pie shell.

Filling
4 cups fresh blueberries or
4 cups frozen blueberries thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1" vanilla bean scraped or

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter
Gently combine all ingredients and pour in pie shell. Fold over edges of crust and brush with egg whites and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and make whip cream for the topping.

Whip Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Beat on high till firm peaks form.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chef Chuck's Penne and Artichoke

Penne con carciofi

We have a family dinner every Sunday, when we look forward to having our children, significant others and dogs coming for dinner. Our tradition is to have a pasta dish. This elegant and light penne dish is sure to please any pasta lover. Each ingredient comes together to create a blend that is delicious. The artichokes marinated in olive oil have a soft texture and great taste. By simmering the pistachio's in olive oil, it allows the nuts to release it's nutty flavor and gives the penne some crunch. Any pasta dish with peppers, olives, garlic and of course parmigiano is always fantastic.

Penne and Artichoke
1/2 pound penne pasta
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup artichoke hearts halved

3 tablespoons red roasted peppers chopped
2 tablespoons salted whole pistachio's
1 garlic clove minced
10 large black olives halved
1 cup parmigiano cheese grated
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot to boil add a generous amount of salt and cook pasta to al dente.
In a large sauce pan on medium heat add 4 tablespoons olive oil and simmer pistachio's 2 minutes. Add peppers, olives, and artichokes and mix together. Stir in salt, pepper and garlic. Drain pasta and add to artichoke mixture stir in parmigiano cheese and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top.
Buon Appetito

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chef Chuck's Cannoli Ravioli

Cannoli Ravioli

Nutella Nutella! Who doesn't like nutella. I came up with another brainstorm in food inventions! This seems to be a good time to post this creation of goodness! A few days ago I had left over cannoli dough and I began to roll it out to a thin sheet. I made squares and added a wonderful dollop of NUTELLA in the middle. Then proceeded to fold the dough over as I would do a RAVIOLI, guess what we have a Cannoli Ravioli. This new dessert will have you jumping for joy!! I am working on a new chocolate spread that will be much healthier and tastier! This new creamy delight will have less sweetners in it. I will add more complex flavors plus a much more friendlier combo then the nutella filling, plus a new ravioli shell dough too is in the making. Soon to Come!! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pork Stew

Spezzatino di maiale

Pork is a popular meat in Italy as well as America and a great choice for a robust stew. This tender white meat is a good choice for stews. Chianti adds the warmth and aroma to this stew and my kitchen. All these ingredients combined with the fresh sprig of rosemary truly enhances this dish. A quick and nutritious dinner for the whole family. Serve with a salad, bread and finish the Chianti!

Pork Stew
1 pound boneless cubed
3 celery stalks chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 onion sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Chianti wine
1 large can San Marzano tomatoes
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 potato peeled whole
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown pork for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and saute' onions, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add garlic, deglaze pot with wine then pour in chicken broth, tomatoes and meat. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then simmer 1/2 hour. Turn heat off add beans and mash whole potato.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chef Chuck's Risotto

Risotto ai funghi

Risotto, is a rice dish from Italy. It is made from Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano these are the best to use. I use Arborio because it is available in my area. Arborio is a pearly white rice it has a short grain and is high in starch. The slow cooking method gives my rice dish a smooth and creamy texture. The rice has an al dente taste meaning it is tender on the outside and firm in the center. This is my favorite risotto recipe but there are countless ways to prepare risotto with many different ingredients you can use.

Mushroom Risotto
1 cup aborio rice
4 cups hot mushroom broth,
chicken or vegetable

6 ounces mushrooms quartered

1/2 onion diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese grated
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and saute' onions for 2 minutes. Then add mushrooms and cook an additional 3 minutes. Lower heat and pour in rice and cook 2 minutes to coat each grain, stirring occasionally. Slowly add about 3 ounces of hot broth and gently stir till absorbed. Then continue to add a little more broth at a time and wait until each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes, so I pull up a chair, you can not rush risotto. After all broth has been added stir in pepper, cheese and parsley. Serve as a main dish or side dish best when eaten right away!
Buon Appetito

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Chicken with Potato


Pollo al Forno con Patate

Tonight I was in the mood for some good old chicken. This recipe has been around for a long time and very simple to make.You will find that I make many different chicken dishes, but this evening lemon with potatoes won! The lemon adds a light touch. The potatoes have a outer crunch, but a smooth creamy inside. We are achieving two things of greatness with one lemony potato! Lets not forget the main event the chicken that was tender and moist separated easily from the bone with full flavor, topped with fresh flat leaf parsley.
I find in my life and in cooking, the simpler the better!

Baked Lemon Chicken with Potatoes
Chicken thighs and drumsticks
flour to coat chicken
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable broth
juice of 1 fresh lemon
3 potatoes cubed
fresh flat leaf parsley

Wash chicken place in large bowl salt and pepper and coat with flour. In a large fry pan melt butter and 1 tablespoon oil and brown chicken on both sides. Place in a large baking dish with potatoes drizzle chicken and potatoes with oil and lemon juice, broth, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove chicken cover with foil and broil potatoes for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Serves 4

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chef Chuck's Cheesecake

Cheesecake Crust

This cheesecake recipe is different then most, I changed it up by making the biscotti crust instead of the graham cracker crust. It's a decadent dessert so rich and creamy. My wife and I enjoy baking together, we love exploring in the kitchen new and different recipes. Her baking abilities are proven time and time again, how fortunate am I. Plus the flavors are highly dangerous and addictive!!
 
Chocolate Biscotti Recipe
I make the whole recipe but only use half for my crust. The half that I use I skip the second baking and I cool the cookies a few minutes and crush the warm cookies to fit in my well buttered spring form pan. Recipe on January 16th post.

Filling
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese cut in 1 inch chunks,
room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup chocolate for drizzle
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a mixer beat cream cheese at medium speed
to break up and soften cheese. Scrape sides add salt and half of the sugar and beat, scrape bowl and add the remaining sugar. Scrape bowl add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla beat at low speed to combine. Scrape bowl add yolks beat till combined, scrape bowl and add whole eggs 2 at a time beating till thoroughly combined. Brush sides of spring form pan with butter. Set pan on a baking sheet, pour filling in and bake for 10 minutes without opening oven, reduce temperature to 200 degrees. Continue to bake about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cake registers 150 degrees. Transfer cake to wire rack, run a pairing knife between cake and sides of pan. Cool 2 hours, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
I melt my
favorite chocolate and drizzle over cheesecake. Let cheesecake allow to stand at room temperature before serving. When cutting cake dip knife into a tall glass of hot water then slice cake, wipe clean after each cut.