Chef Chuck's Melon Salad

Insalata di Melone

A refreshing summer fruit salad consisting of sweet juicy melon, ripe strawberries, plump blueberries, mellow mango, colorful kiwi and crisp pears. I added nothing to enhance the flavors since it is the season of fresh fruit.

Melon Salad
1 ripe melon
1 kiwi
1 pear
1 mango

Cut melon in half discard seeds and hollow out some of the melon. Cut up all fruit combine and pile up inside melon, serve or wrap tight and refrigerate.

Chef Chuck's Zucchini Frittata

Frittata di Zucchine al Forno

A zucchini frittata, filled with delicate zucchini, fresh eggs, parmigiano cheese, soft ricotta, and basil. A perfect vegetarian frittata to serve as an antipasti or as a vegetable side dish. This recipe can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Zucchini Frittata
4 medium zucchini
2 1/4 cups, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped fine
6 eggs
1 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
1/4 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Wash and dry zucchini, use a mandolin or slice thin, fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry onions till soft. Line an 8 or 9 inch pan with parchment paper, oil lightly, spread zucchini in pan top with onions. In a bowl whisk eggs, both cheeses, salt and pepper and pour over zucchini. Sprinkle chopped basil on top and grate parmigiana over the frittata. Bake at 400 degrees on bottom rack for 20 - 25 minutes or until top is golden.

Chef Chuck's Spaghetti with Zucchini and Mint

Spaghetti con Zucchine e Menta

A spaghetti dish that suits the season, freshly picked zucchini, red peppers and fragrant mint tossed gently in spaghetti. This light and quick recipe is always satisfying on these hot summer days. Growing your own produce or buying local is guaranteed to be fresh and flavorful.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Mint

1/2 pound spaghetti
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium zucchini
small red hot peppers
fresh mint, finely chopped

Slice zucchini thin and salt, set aside. Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Meanwhile in a large frying pan heat olive oil add garlic and peppers and cook for 1 minute. Add zucchini and lightly fry on both sides. Drain pasta add to zucchini pan, toss gently. Plate up then and sprinkle on mint and drizzle with olive oil. Serves 2.

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Mint Biscotti

Biscotti di Cioccolato alla Menta

Biscotti with a new twist, mint cookie that is coated with a chocolate mint ganache. A cool and refreshing minty biscotti, one of my favorites.

Chocolate Mint Biscotti
2/3 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake nuts 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees, cool and chop, set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, vanilla, mint extract, flour, baking powder, salt and nuts. Grease a baking pan, divide dough in half, place on pan 1/2" high and about 3 1/2" wide. Bake at 325 degrees about 25 minutes, cool 5 - 10 minutes, cut 1" thick, and bake another 5 minutes. Remove cookies and cool on rack.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

In a double boiler combine all ingredients, stirring. 
 Pour over cookies and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Makes about 18 biscotti.

Chef Chucks Stuffed Shells

Conchiglie Ripiene

Conchiglie are pasta shaped like seashells, I fill them with creamy ricotta, fresh spinach, garlic and pancetta, an Italian bacon, which gives it the saltiness I like. Topped off with my marinara sauce, this is a real comfort meal.

Stuffed Shells
1 pound shells
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
2 eggs
1 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
3 slices pancetta, 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh organic spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
marinara sauce

Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Rinse to stop cooking, set aside. Meanwhile chop pancetta and fry in a small pan. Cook spinach in a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 garlic cloves, stirring, till wilted. Squeeze spinach dry then chop. In a bowl combine ricotta, eggs, parmigiana, pancetta, spinach, salt and pepper. Using a teaspoon spoon fill each shell, place in a baking dish coated with sauce and add more sauce on top of shells. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Chef Chuck's Mediterranean Stuffed Bread

Pane Farcito alla Mediterranea
A wonderful appetizer filled with cream cheese, olive oil, salami, fresh vegetables, capers and basil. Use your favorite crusty loaf then hollow out and stuff with all these garden colors.
Get creative and add what pleases your palate. This recipe travels well and will be the hit at your next party or picnic.

Mediterranean Stuffed Bread
1 long loaf of bread
2 packages cream cheese, 16 oz.
room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 pound hard salami, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
3 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh basil
salt and pepper

Cut bread to measure about 12 inches, carefully hollow out inside using a knife and then a fork to pull out bread. Using a mixer blend the cream cheese, then by hand combine all other ingredients to the cream cheese and gently mix. Stuff the bread, keep pressing the mixture down till your bread is filled. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then slice and serve.

Chef Chuck's Lemon Ricotta Pie

Torta di Ricotta al Limone

A delicate and soft ricotta pie with fresh lemon, melted chocolate and a buttery crust. A perfect dessert for a summer evening that will surely stimulate your taste buds. The texture was like a fluffy cheesecake.

Lemon Ricotta Pie
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
rind of 1/2 a lemon
pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
rind of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate
powdered sugar for dusting

Prepare dough in a mixer or by hand. Blend butter and flour then add sugar and pinch of salt. Add 1 egg and 1 egg yolk reserving egg white to brush on pastry strips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a mixer blend ricotta till smooth, add sugar, flour, 2 egg yolks, rind and juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of salt. Beat egg whites till stiff, gently fold in batter.
Roll dough out on a floured board, it may break but once in the 8 or 9 inch pan it can be patched easily using your fingers! Add chocolate on top of dough, then fill with ricotta mixture. Add pastry strips and brush with remaining egg white. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, till golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, refrigerate then serve.