Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chicken Cacciatore


Pollo alla Cacciatora


Chicken Cacciatore, is a real country dish with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, capers, Marsala wine and garden fresh herbs. Cacciatore, meaning hunter, was made with either chicken or rabbit. This fork tender chicken melted in my mouth.


Chicken Cacciatora 3 pounds organic chicken
legs and thighs
flour for dredging
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
14 ounces diced tomatoes

2 ounces capers, drained
1/4 cup Marsala wine

1 cup organic chicken broth
8 ounces mushrooms
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 cups white rice

Wash chicken, salt and pepper and dredge through flour. In a large frying pan heat olive oil and brown chicken for about 5-10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside, in same pan saute peppers, celery and onions for 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, capers, Marsala wine, chicken broth, chicken and all the fresh herbs. Cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours during the last 15 minutes add mushrooms. Serve over rice or pasta.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chef Chuck's Homemade Lasagna


Homemade Lasagna


marinara sauce
homemade pasta sheets
2 cups ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated

2 eggs
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Pasta
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine by hand or in a food processor then knead till smooth, wrap in plastic and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide in 4 pieces roll out enough to fit in pasta machine. Start at number 1 and continue till number 8 so the pasta sheets are thin. Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Tip: If dough is not soft and smooth add a little more olive oil!



Lasagna

Combine ricotta, mozzarella and parmigiano, eggs, salt, pepper and parsley. In a large baking dish add a little sauce, layer pasta, then cheese mixture and top with more sauce. Continue making 3 more layers top with pasta, sauce, parmigiano and mozzarella on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees, for 40 minutes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Almond Baci Cookies

Kisses for you!


Soft and delicate, a chocolate lovers dream, we have sweet chocolate, almonds and a chocolate hazelnut filling. This cookie can be eaten without the filling, they are just plain scrumptious. Baci, means kisses in Italian, I know you will fall in love with this recipe.



Chocolate Almond Baci Cookies
2/3 butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons organic milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
nutella for topping
almonds, halved


Cream together butter and sugar, scrape bowl add egg yolk, milk, and almond extract. Scrape bowl and slowly add flour, ground almonds, cocoa and salt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Heat oven to 325 degrees, roll a ball of dough, about 1 teaspoon, place on parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes. Let rest on baking pan 10 minutes then transfer to a rack. When completely cooled, place a small amount of nutella on cookie and an almond in the middle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Potatoes and Mushrooms

Funghi e Patate al Forno

This potato and mushroom dish is first steamed then baked with fresh herbs, white wine and parmigiano cheese.
The combination of fresh herbs from the greenhouse gave my recipe an earthy flavor. Use your favorite mushrooms, I used baby portabellas. The aroma of white wine filled the kitchen, inviting me back for more.


Baked Potatoes and Mushrooms
4 large organic potatoes, sliced thin
8 ounces organic mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter plus

butter for coating dish
2 tablespoons extra
virgin
olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste



In a large pan heat butter and olive oil add onion, mushrooms, potatoes, salt and pepper cover and on medium heat steam for 10 minutes. Butter a baking dish and layer potatoes, then onions, mushrooms, herbs and a little cheese. Last layer arrange potatoes, pour wine over top and sprinkle grated parmigiano cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, serve hot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Seaweed Puffs


These seaweed puffs have a light delicate crunch. A fantastic appetizer to serve before any meal. Seaweed is a very healthy vegetable, this recipe is fun to make with the whole family.


Seaweed Puffs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup seaweed
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
canola oil for frying
lemon wedges


In a bowl mix flour, yeast, olive oil, sugar, salt and water and let rest 1 hour. Soak seaweed for 5 minutes, gently add to flour mixture then add parmigiano. Heat oil to 350 degrees and drop 1 tablespoon of mixture, can fry 3 at a time. Fry and turn till golden brown place on towel and salt. Serve with lemon. Makes about 12 puffs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chef Chuck's Homemade Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Pasta

Pasta broccoli e salsiccia

Homemade sausage made with pork butt, Chianti wine, fennel and a plethora of spices is a wonderful addition to this pasta dish. I used strozzapreti pasta which grabs all the flavors. The broccoli rabe is similar to broccoli, it is an Italian green leafy vegetable, slightly bitter and so healthy. The combination of all these flavors makes Sunday pasta night a real treat.

Homemade Sausage 5 pounds pork butt
1 cup of your favorite Chianti wine

2 1/4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons fennel
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3 teaspoon red pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups pecorino cheese, grated


Mix all spices together add wine. Ground meat then mix in spice mixture and then ground again, put in casings. Makes about 12 to 16 links.


Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Pasta

3 sausage
links
1 pound broccoli rabe

1/2 pound pasta

1/2 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated
red hot pepper flakes, optional


In a large pot of salted boiling water cook pasta al dente. In a large frying pan heat olive oil and brown sausage, remove and slice. To the same pan add onions and cook till translucent, then add garlic for 1 minute, add sausage. Steam broccoli rabe then add to onions and sausage. When pasta is done add to onion mixture along with salt, pepper, and cheese.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chef Chuck's Orange Torta


Dolce all'Arancia

A refreshing torta, orange and chocolate is always delicious together. Kept in the refrigerator seems to bring out the orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice.

OrangeTorta


1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons whole milk
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 egg

Ganache Icing 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate

3 ounces heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in mixer on low speed, add olive oil, orange juice and milk. Add zest and egg combine on high for 30 seconds. Grease a 9 inch pan, pour cake batter in pan, place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. In a small heavy pot heat heavy cream, to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in chocolate till smooth. Spread icing on cake when fully cooled.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Potato Soup


Minestra di Patate

A hot bowl of fresh organic vegetables, tomato sauce, parmigiano and mashed potatoes makes this soup so enjoyable on a cool evening. By mashing the potatoes and then adding them to the soup makes this soup thick and so comforting. I serve this with my homemade bread, this is one of our favorite soups to make, enjoy.

Italian Potato Soup

4 large potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic butter
2 celery stalks diced
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup broccoli, small florets
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
4 cups organic vegetable broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

salt and pepper to taste
parmigiano cheese



Peel, cut and boil potatoes in salted water, drain and mash with a ricer or masher. Melt butter and olive oil in a large pot saute celery, carrots, onion, broccoli and garlic about 5 minutes. Add broth, sauce, sage, mashed potatoes, salt and pepper and bring to boil then simmer for 25 minutes. Grate cheese on top of each bowl and serve with hard crusty bread.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Tilapia

Filetto di Pesce


Tilapia, first steamed in garlic butter and fresh squeezed lemon juice then baked with seasoned breadcrumbs, it's fish Friday. A moist and lemon flavored tilapia, served with a delicate salad. This is a treasured family recipe from Mom's kitchen to yours.


Tilapia
1 pound Tilapia or Cod fish
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
Italian breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and pat dry fish, salt and pepper both sides. Heat butter, saute garlic 30 seconds,add fish, lemon juice, salt and pepper. With lid on, reduce heat to a simmer, and steam for 5 minutes. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of fish and broil in oven till golden brown, about 1 minute.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chef Chuck's Taralli

Taralli

Taralli, are Italian biscuit rings, great for snacking anytime of the day. They are made of fresh dough, boiled and then baked. Hard, crunchy and hot with red hot pepper flakes, garlic and fennel. Great for dipping in a glass of wine. Plain taralli can be made for teething babies.


Taralli
2 teaspoons yeast

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fennel
red hot pepper flakes
garlic cloves, minced


Combine yeast, water and sugar and let rest for 5 minutes. In a mixer add yeast mixture, slowly add flour and salt till combined. Work dough on a floured board for just a minute or two, divide into 24 pieces. Roll into rope shapes and add fennel, pepper flakes and or garlic then make a circle and pinch ends, lay on a floured baking sheet. I make them this way so I can please everyone, some hot and some just with salt. Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Bring a pot of water to boil add 1 or 2 taralli at a time and cook for a few seconds or until they float. Remove and place on a kitchen towel continue boiling the rest. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chef Chuck's Vegetable Frittata

Frittata di Verdure

A Frittata is an Italian omelet, mine is thick and fluffy and filled with vegetables, cheese and herbs. Sometimes filled with meats and or pasta. It is partially cooked in a skillet and then broiled in the oven to give it that golden color. A great way to use any vegetables or cheeses that you might have around. This is a wonderful recipe when you have company for breakfast or for next days lunch.

Frittata
12 organic eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

1 cup parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste


In a 12" skillet heat olive oil, saute peppers and onions for about 5 minutes add mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Whisk eggs, salt and pepper and milk together in electric mixer for 1 minute, add to pan. Add 1/2 cup cheese, lift egg edges to allow uncooked egg mixture to cook. When the frittata is almost set, sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in 425 degree oven till golden brown about 4 minutes. Slide knife around edge of pan to release frittata, let rest a few minutes. Cut in wedges.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Pasta

Pasta al Forno


A pasta dish baked with all that cheesy goodness and my favorite part, the crunchy top. Having all the fresh herbs in the marinara sauce enhanced this dish. I used penne pasta you could use rigatoni or mostaccioli or a similiar pasta.

Baked Pasta

1 pound penne pasta
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
2 cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


In a saucepan heat olive oil add tomato paste and brown for 2 minutes. Add garlic stirring for 30 seconds then add sauce, all fresh organic herbs, salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Heat a large pot of salted water and cook pasta al dente, drain and place in a baking dish. Pour sauce over pasta and mix with mozzarella and parmigiano cheese. Top with a sprinkling of parmigiano cheese on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chef Chuck's Fennel Blood Orange Salad

Insalata di Finocchio


A popular vegetable in Italy, fennel contains an anise and licorice flavor. The texture is similar
to celery, and is high in vitamin C. The blood oranges have a crimson colored flesh, and a sweet taste. Great for a spring salad, quite refreshing.


Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 blood orange, sliced thin


Vinaigrette


1/4 cup blood orange juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper


In a bowl or on a plate combine fennel and orange. Mix together orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over salad.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pork Chops and Peppers

Braciole di Maiale

Fork tender pork chops, just like Mom used to make. I gave Mom a call this morning to let her know that her recipe was going to be my next post. She was excited and went over the whole recipe again, wow, I'm so lucky to have her! The vinegar flavors released from the peppers complimented the pork chops and the potatoes so well.
Another simple, yet fantastic, Italian dish.

Pork Chops and Peppers
2 organic pork chops, bone in
1 jar, 16 ounce sweet cherry peppers,
drained, remove seeds, cut in half
2 potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Let meat rest till room temperature. Wash and pat dry chops, salt and pepper both sides. In a large frying pan heat butter and olive oil brown pork chops 3 minutes on each side. Add sliced potatoes over top cover with lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add vinegar peppers and simmer an additional 15 minutes with lid on.
Buon Appetito