Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Sausage and Bread


Salsicce con Pane al Forno


An Italian sausage and bread dish baked with soffritto, herbs, eggs and chicken broth. I made my own hot Italian sausage for this recipe, sweet sausage works well too. The bread seems to harbor all the flavors. A great meal for this cool evening!


Baked Sausage and Bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 1/4 pound hot Italian sausage
2 cups focaccia bread, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
2 eggs, beat
1 cup organic chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter


In a large frying pan brown the soffritto ( onion, celery and carrot), for about 5 minutes. Add sausage till golden then remove and slice into pieces. Put back in pan with bread cubes, parsley, sage, salt, pepper and butter. Add broth over the dish then beat eggs and pour over entire dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chef Chuck's Fresh Garden Pea Soup

Crema di Piselli


Freshly picked organic peas make this recipe healthy and so flavorful. A real springtime delight, so smooth and creamy. Green goodness!


Fresh Garden Pea Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small red onion, minced
2 cups fresh organic pea's
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper


Besciamella
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper


Saute onions in butter then add fresh pea's, broth, salt and pepper simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce, (besciamella). In a separate small heavy pot, melt butter add flour and whisk till smooth, about 2 minutes. Add hot milk, salt and pepper and continuously whisk for 5 minutes, till it thickens and turns a light golden color. In a food processor or blender add pea mixture and blend till smooth. Strain peas and pour back into the same sauce pan stir in besciamella and simmer for 5 minutes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chef Chuck's Homemade Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce

Ravioli con salsa di burro e salvia


Homemade Ravioli filled with ricotta cheese, and served with butter sage sauce. A light and flavorful recipe, what a wonderful dinner. Picking the fresh young sage leafs from the garden made a flavorful impression to remember!


Pasta
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons water


Cheese Filling
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 egg

1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, grated

salt and pepper



In a mixer combine all ingredients together to get a smooth dough. Roll into a ball on a floured board and wrap in plastic for 15 minutes. 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 cheese mixture every 1 1/2 inches, fold dough over and use a pastry cutter to seal and make decorative edges. Place on a board or baking pan and cover while making the rest of dough.
Makes 3 dozen


Sauce
12 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

parmigiano cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, gently place ravioli in and simmer for 3 minutes. In a large frying pan melt butter, sage, parmigiano, salt and pepper. Drain ravioli and put into frying pan with the sauce. Top with cheese.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chef Chuck's Stuffed Tomato with Orzo


Pomodori di Riso


Stuffed tomatoes is an excellent summer appetizer, stuffed with orzo and vegetables. Today we drove down the road to our local farmer, who grows wonderful produce. These are Sunshines tomatoes, and spinach. If no one is home, she has an honor system at her family farm, take what you want and leave cash in the box! Isn't the farm life great. Orzo is sometimes called Italian rice, but it is a pasta, also great for soups. I stuff the hot orzo mixture into the tomato which allows the inside of the tomato to cook.


Stuffed Tomato with Orzo
4 large tomatoes
1/4 pound orzo
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
8 Kalamata olives, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup mushrooms, diced
6 large spinach leaves, cut up
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
olive oil, drizzle


Cut off tops of tomato and use a teaspoon to hollow out. In a frying pan saute onions and olives in olive oil, add garlic, mushrooms, spinach, salt, pepper and parmigiano cheese. Gently stuff each tomato then drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chef Chuck's Baked Orange Cod and Capers









Merluzzo Arancione al Forno


A perfect spring time cod recipe with oranges, capers and shallots. While baking this dish the aromas were delightful. The cod was moist and the orange flavors plus fresh herbs really came through. Any white fillet will work with this recipe.


Baked Orange Cod and Capers1 pound cod fillets, 1 inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, diced
juice of 1 orange

zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon capers, drained

1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and salt and pepper both sides of fish, set aside. In an oven proof frying pan heat olive oil and saute shallots for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh orange juice, capers then fish. Sprinkle herbs, orange zest, and drizzle olive oil over fish, cover, and bake for 12-15 minutes. If you don't have an oven proof pan a baking dish will work.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Almond Blueberry Muffins


Chocolate almond blueberry muffins are so moist and full of flavors. The addition of almonds give these muffins a nutty texture. Great as a breakfast muffin with your coffee or tea.


Chocolate Almond Blueberry Muffins
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup chocolate
10 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 cup almonds, finely chopped
2/3 cup blueberries


Combine and sift sugar and flour, set aside. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
Using a mixer beat eggs, slowly add melted chocolate, on low speed add sugar and flour and yeast. Mix in almonds then fold in blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes 15 muffins.

Chef Chuck's Mostaccioli and Artichokes

Pennette con i cariofi

Mostaccioli with red sauce, artichokes and kalamata olives is a fantastic weekend pasta dish. The artichokes add a nice texture and taste, as the olives add a special brightness. I used pecorino cheese to add yet another enticing flavor. This is an easy pasta recipe anyone can make it.
Pennette and Artichokes1 pound pennette
3 tablespoons extra virgin
olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 large cans tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups artichoke hearts, sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pecorino cheese, grated
red hot pepper flakes, optional

Heat olive oil add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, add garlic for 30 seconds and pour in tomato sauce bring to a boil. Lower heat and add artichokes, olives, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile heat a large pot of salted water and cook pasta al dente. Combine pasta to sauce, add cheese and pepper flakes and enjoy. You will have left over sauce.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chef Chuck's Roasted Vegetables

Verdure Arrosto


Roasted vegetables are a colorful dish packed with vitamins that are good for our bodies. Any variety of organic vegetables will do including eggplant, squash or asparagus. Use a quality olive oil and just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to make these veggies a wonderful spring time dish.


Roasted Vegetables
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, quartered
4 red potatoes, sliced
2 zucchini's, sliced
12 baby bella mushrooms
8 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup broccoli, florets
1/2 cup baby carrots
5 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Cut vegetables and arrange on a baking sheet generously add olive oil, drizzle balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let marinate for 1 hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees and broil for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chef Chuck's Risotto Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese


Risotto Milanese is a rich and creamy rice dish with lots of saffron. Making risotto is a very relaxing cooking experience, to make it properly, it will take up to half an hour. A great meal in itself or a delicious side dish.

1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup extra virgin
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
4 cups organic chicken broth
salt to taste


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 wine. Place saffron threads in the warm chicken broth and ladle in a little at a time and allow the rice to absorb it before adding more. This will take about 25 minutes. Add grated cheese, salt and butter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chef Chuck's Mussels and Brushetta


Cozze al Limone


Mussels, are black beauties from the sea, so easy to prepare and a delight to eat.
An inexpensive seafood appetizer, along with brushetta. Brushetta, which is a toasted bread rubbed with garden fresh organic garlic, tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, pairs well with the mussels.

Mussels
1 pound mussels
2 tablespoons extra

virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup white wine

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


Wash and scrub mussels, set aside, in a large frying pan heat olive oil, add garlic and simmer for 30 seconds add mussels, wine, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer till mussels open then add juice of half a lemon and sprinkle parsley on top, serve. Serves 2


Bruschetta

4 slices of rustic Italian bread
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

fresh parsley, chopped

Broil slices of bread till golden brown, rub with garlic, top with tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley and drizzle olive oil on top. Broil again for 1 minute or less.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chef Chuck's Strawberries and Chocolate Mascarpone Cream

Fragole

Summer is near and the strawberries are a wonderful sign of the season. Sliced organic strawberries, sweetened with reduced balsamic vinegar and chocolate mascarpone cream, what a refreshing dessert.


Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream
1 pound fresh organic strawberries

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar


In a small pot on medium heat reduce balsamic vinegar to a 1/4 cup, this takes about 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare cream in a mixer, beat whipping cream with sugar till firm peaks form. In another bowl whip the mascarpone cheese till soft add cocoa, then fold in whipped cream. Layer in a glass, cream, strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic. If balsamic thickens too much, reheat.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chef Chuck's Green Bean and Potato Salad

Insalata di Patate

Green beans and potato salad has been a summer time staple my whole life. My Mom made this salad a lot, during our back yard barbecues. I like a light coat of dressing because you are able to enjoy the flavors of these fresh organic vegetables.


Green Bean and Potato Salad

1 pound fresh green beans
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1 red onion, sliced

extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar or
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper


Place whole potatoes in a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes, drain, cool and cut in quarters. Trim and snap green beans, steam and cool. Combine potatoes and beans in a large bowl add onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to your desire.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chef Chuck's Fried Calamari


Calamari Fritti


Calamari, is a delicious fried squid appetizer, served with a marinara sauce and fresh lemon wedges. The corn starch adheres well to the squid therefore resulting in a crunchier bite. Maintaining the correct frying temperature insures a tender calamari. Our family loves these treats as soon as they are fried, they disappear!


Fried Calamari
2 pounds squid
corn starch
canola oil for frying
salt
marinara sauce
lemon wedges


Wash squid and cut into 1/2 inch rings, leave tentacles whole, dredge in corn starch. Heat oil in a small pot to 350 degrees and only fry 4 - 5 tubes at a time so you maintain the right temperature. Fry 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Place on a kitchen or paper towel, salt and serve. Serves 2 - 4.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chef Chuck's Barbecue Pork Ribs

Rosticciana


Italian style barbecue pork ribs, cooked slow on the grill over a low heat with homemade barbecue sauce. This is the perfect weekend recipe to enjoy with your family. Served over a bed of rice.


Pork Ribs
2 pounds pork baby back ribs
salt and pepper

Wash and pat dry ribs, remove any white skin on the back of ribs. Lay on a baking sheet and season heavily with salt and pepper on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 1 hour, this will bring meat to room temperature.
Prepare grill on low heat 225 degrees to 250 degrees. Place ribs on aluminum foil on the top rack for 1 1/2 hours. Turn over and cook ribs another 1 1/2 hours. Baste the last 15 minutes with barbecue sauce. This recipe can also be cooked in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours then turning ribs over and cook another 1 1/2 hours.

Sauce

8 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste



In a small pot, combine all ingredients and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Makes about 1 cup and will cover 2 pounds of ribs.

Chef Chuck's Homemade Manicotti

Crespelle

Homemade crespelle makes my recipe for manicotti, irresistible. Crespelle, meaning crepes in Italian, is the only way to make the best manicotti. Inside are three cheese's, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Always use your favorite marinara sauce. It's a very easy recipe and so worth it ,you will never buy store bought shells again!

Crespelle
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

3 eggs
1 tablespoon butter

extra virgin olive oil


Mix all ingredients together, lightly oil pan and pour about 3 tablespoons of mixture into a 6 inch non stick frying pan. Slowly swirl in pan and cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over and cook another 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove and continue cooking until the rest of the batter is used. Can make a day ahead, refrigerate.


Filling


2 pounds ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, grated

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese,grated

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

marinara sauce


Combine all ingredients, using a 11x7 pan or similar, coat bottom of pan with sauce. Fill each crespelle with the cheese mixture and roll up, place in pan add more sauce over manicotti and sprinkle with parmigiano cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Buon Appetito!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Walnut Torta

Torta alle Noci

An Italian chocolate torta filled with walnuts is a delicious dessert.

Chocolate Walnut Torta
11 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup semi sweet chocolate, melted

In a mixer blend the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, then the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly drizzle in melted chocolate and fold in walnuts. In a 9 inch pan lightly grease and use parchment paper on bottom, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Slowly melt ingredients in a double boiler. Cool for 15 minutes and ice a cool cake.

Whip Cream


1/4 cup whip cream
1/4 inch vanilla bean, scraped or

1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar



In a clean bowl whip cream, and vanilla and slowly add sugar, beat till stiff peaks form.