Chef Chuck's Cheese Tortellini

Tortellini ai Formaggi

These velvety light cheese tortellini were the perfect meal on this cold winter day. Tortellini are homemade pasta filled with soft ricotta, parmigiana, and prosciutto. Tortellini take time to assemble so gather around the family and everyone can make these together. Gently cooked in salted boiling water then transferred to melted butter and fresh sage, delicious!

Cheese Tortellini

1 2/3 cups flour
3 eggs
pinch of salt

On a board mound up the flour and make a well in the middle, add eggs and salt to the center. Using a fork lightly scramble the eggs and slowly add about a quarter of the flour. Then start mixing with your hands till it's all incorporated. Knead for about 5 minutes, wrap in plastic and let rest on counter at least half an hour.

2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
1 egg
6 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

5 tablespoons butter
12 sage leaves

Cut dough in half, keep one half wrapped in plastic on the side. Roll out dough with a roller to its very thin or using a pasta machine go to number 8 for a thin sheet. Cut dough into squares about 1 1/2 inches, place a small amount of filling in center. Fold dough over corner to corner then seal sides with fingers, now you should have a triangle shape. Fold two ends under and connect, lay on baking sheet. Cook in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile heat butter and sage leaves, add tortellini, toss and serve with parmigiana cheese grated on top.
Ricette by Chef Chuck's Cucina

Chef Chuck's Sausage Strata

A strata for breakfast is the perfect way to start your day, assemble the night before and then bake in the morning. I use my focaccia recipe for the bread cubes and hot Italian sausage. Soaking all evening in eggs, whole milk and parmigiana, guarantees a fluffy light breakfast.

Sausage Strata

8 organic eggs
2-3 hot Italian sausage links
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
2 cups whole milk
2-3 cups bread cubes
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Open sausage links and break up, cook in olive oil till brown. Drain and set aside. In same pan saute onions, season with salt and pepper cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute, return sausage to pan. Whisk eggs, cheese and milk together. Use a 9x12 baking dish, butter bottom and sides. Place bread cubes in pan then sausage and onions, and pour egg mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cut in square servings.

Chef Chuck's Chicken Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca di Pollo

Chicken Saltimbocca is a simple classic recipe from northern Italy, it is usually prepared with veal, I prefer the chicken. Saltimbocca, means jump into the mouth, and that it did! The chicken was very moist, while the sage gave the dish an earthy flavor, and the prosciutto added a salty touch. A quick and easy recipe to enjoy with your family.

Chicken Saltimbocca

4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
fresh sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto, not too thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper

Place chicken between plastic wrap and pound with a mallet to about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper, lay a few sage leaves on one side and top with one slice of prosciutto. Fasten with a toothpick, dredge in flour. Heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat and fry each side for about 2 or 3 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil.

Chef Chuck's Lobster Soup

Zuppa di Aragosta

Lobster soup is an elegant soup to serve your guests for the holidays. The sweetness of the lobster, combined with the buttery pine nuts, and all the fresh organic vegetables, olives and herbs made this a superior soup. Served over orzo it was comforting recipe.

Lobster Soup

2 lobsters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts
a handful of black olives, halved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup orzo

Remove lobster meat from shell and cut in small pieces, reserve shell. In a large pot heat olive oil and cook tomato paste for 3-4 minutes. Add and saute onions, carrots, celery and red bell pepper for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir in 1 minute. Add pine nuts, olives, lemon juice, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Place lobster shell in the pot,cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add lobster meat and parsley turn off cover for 3 minutes and the lobster will cook from the heat of the soup. Remove lobster shell. Cook orzo in a separate pot and add to soup when serving it.

Chef Chuck's Beef Osso Buco

Osso Buco

A heart warming dinner for two, beef osso buco, is awakening all our senses. Served over creamy mash potatoes the beef, vegetables and gravy are so rich with a beefy flavor. Traditionally made with veal and white wine, I prefer preparing this dish with beef and red wine. A wonderful Milanese dish, that I love to prepare on these chilly evenings.

Beef Osso Buco

2 beef shanks, 1 pound
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine, Chianti
2 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Bring beef shanks to room temperature, wash and pat dry. Dredge in flour, shake off excess. In a large pot heat olive oil and brown shanks on both sides. Remove and set aside. Add vegetables and saute on medium for about 5 minutes, add garlic. Cook tomato paste for 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in wine and simmer a minute or two to deglaze and reduce, then add beef shanks, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer on low with lid on for 2 hours. Serves two.

Chef Chuck's Lentil and White Bean Soup

Zuppa di Lenticchie e Fagoli Bianchi

Fall is the perfect time of the year for a healthy bowl of hot soup. A medley of vegetables, lentils and beans makes this soup very hearty. The smokey bacon flavor added richness and warmth.

Lentil and White Bean Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 strips bacon, cut in small pieces
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5
6 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup white beans
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Wash lentils, simmer in a pot with 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a large pot add olive oil, cook bacon a few minutes. Add chopped vegetables and cook an additional 5 minutes, add garlic and tomatoes. Pour in red wine vinegar and 4 cups chicken broth, beans and cooked lentils. Cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Chef Chuck's Potato Pancakes with Pine Nuts

Frittatine Patate e Pinoli

Potato pancakes can be served as crispy appetizers or a vegetable side dish. Fried to a golden brown, these small pancakes are made with potatoes, sauteed onions, freshly grated parmigiana cheese, organic eggs and buttery pine nuts. A simple vegetarian recipe that you can enjoy making with the whole family.

Potato Pancakes

3 potatoes
1 onion, diced
4 eggs
1 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
olive oil

Boil potatoes till fork tender. Meanwhile brown onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Toast pine nuts in a small dry frying pan for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and mash potatoes, add all other ingredients and let rest for 10 minutes. Heat a frying pan, add a little olive oil and form small pancakes, fry on both sides till golden brown. Makes about a dozen. Serve with a marinara sauce or a hot sauce.

Chef Chuck's Puff Pastry with Mushrooms and Asiago

Sfoglia al Funghi e Asiago

A flaky buttery puff pastry baked to golden brown, filled with baby bella mushrooms and creamy Asiago cheese. Any soft cheese would work with this recipe but I love the combination of Asiago and mushrooms. The added touch of thyme gives this dish an earthy taste. A wonderful side dish or a great appetizer.

Puff Pastry with Mushrooms and Asiago

1 box puff pastry
olive oil
1 onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
5 ounces Asiago cheese, sliced
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 egg white

Thaw pastry and place on a baking sheet. Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil, season with salt and pepper add thyme. Place sliced cheese on pastry, add onion mixture and top with pastry. Seal edges with fingers or by using the end of a fork. Brush with egg whites and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Chef Chuck's Lemon Torta

Torta di Limone

A lovely lemon dessert, so cool and refreshing. Fresh organic lemon filling nestled in a shortbread crust, topped with a cool homemade whip cream. The whip cream accented the lemon flavors.

Lemon Torta

1 1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 egg yolks
zest of 1 lemon

Lemon Filling
juice of 5 lemons,
almost 1 cup
10 tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
powdered sugar or whip cream

Whip Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

To prepare pastry, I used a food processor and blended the flour, salt and sugar. Then added small chunks of butter then egg yolks and lemon zest. Knead on a lightly floured board to combine till smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Let dough rest on counter 15 minutes or so then start rolling to fit a 9 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Filling is prepared while dough is baking. Melt butter in a small pan, set aside. In a saucepan whisk eggs and sugar then cornstarch. Slowly pour in melted butter, and add lemon juice. Continue to whisk for 10 minutes till lemon filling has thickened. Pour in baked pastry and bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Top with powdered sugar or whip cream. Combine whip cream and powdered sugar in a mixer till stiff peaks form.

Chef Chuck's Baked Sausage and Potatoes

Salsiccia e Patate al Forno

A comfort dish for tonight, baked sausage, potatoes, onions and red roasted peppers, baked in just a half hour. The aromas were intriguing, the taste was sweet, spicy and hot, and those crispy potatoes were delicious.

Baked Sausage and Potatoes

2 hot sausage links
4 potatoes, sliced thin
2 large onions, sliced thin
red roasted peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
plus 1 tablespoon butter for pan
salt and pepper

parmigiana cheese, grated

Saute onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter until golden brown. Butter an oven proof pan, layer potatoes on bottom and sides overlapping . Remove casings, layer sausage on top of potatoes. Next layer is the onions, then slices of peppers. Arrange a top layer of potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a generous amount of cheese, salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 2

Chef Chuck's Pasta with Zucchini Cream Sauce

Pasta e Salsa di Panna Zucchini

A pasta dish made with creamy zucchini and onion sauce, crunchy pancetta and salty parmigiana cheese. A light and flavorful sauce was created with all these flavors combined. Any pasta would compliment this recipe and pancetta can be omitted to make this a vegetarian dish.

Pasta with Zucchini Cream Sauce

1/2 pound Rotini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 small zucchini, sliced
about 1 cup
2 whole garlic cloves
2 slices pancetta
1/2 cup parmigiana cheese, grated

Start boiling water for the pasta. Wash and slice zucchini leaving skin on. In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook onions for 3 minutes. Add whole garlic cloves and zucchini, cook an additional 3-4 minutes, add a ladle or two of pasta water. In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown pancetta. When zucchini is soft, add to a food processor discard garlic and pulse till creamy. Add zucchini back into pan along with pancetta, omit oil. Add al dente pasta and about 3 more ladles of pasta water. Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, sprinkle on cheese. Serves 2.