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.