Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chef Chuck's Bean and Farro Soup




Zuppa di Fagioli e Farro


This bean and farro soup is fit for a Roman, packed with flavors to warm you up! Farro is an ancient grain popular in Italy. Sometimes hard to find, you can substitute with spelt or even barley. A healthy and hearty soup to enjoy with crusty Italian bread and red wine.


Bean and Farro Soup


1 cup farro, whole grain
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice pancetta, 1/2 inch, diced
1 hot Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
6 cups chicken broth
2 cans white beans
grana padano, grated
red hot pepper flakes, optional


Wash and rinse farro, cook in plenty of salted water for 1 hour, drain. In a large pot heat olive oil, remove sausage from casings and break up, cook along with the pancetta for about 5 minutes. Add all vegetables and saute another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and brown for a few minutes, add tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, farro and broth. Simmer with lid on for 1 hour, stirring and checking that there is enough liquid. You can add broth or even a little water if needed. Add beans and simmer an additional 1/2 hour. This is a thick soup! Grate grana padano, or parmigiana over the soup and red hot flakes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chef Chuck's Crumb Torta " Sbrisolona ''






Sbrisolona


A torta so delicious with coffee or tea, sbrisolona meaning crumbly, explains the texture of this almond flavored dessert. Sbrisolona, is popular in northern Italy, a sweet recipe from the Lombardy region. A quick and inexpensive dessert to make and enjoy with your family.


Crumb Torta

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups almonds, ground
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
16 tablespoons butter, 2 sticks
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


In a food processor or blender grind almonds to a fine consistency. In a bowl whisk almonds, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg yolks together. The mixture will be dry, cut butter in small chunks and using your hands squeeze with the dry ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Generously butter a 9" or 10 " round pan, place half the mixture in and press down lightly, then crumble on the rest, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chef Chuck's Filascetta

Filascetta


A unique bread, filascetta, is a northern Italian specialty, made of bread dough, red onions and a soft cheese. Sugar is sprinkled on top before baking and gives the bread a sweet caramelized flavor. The shape of the dough is a ciambelle or donut shape. An antipasti that makes an impressive centerpiece on any dinner table.


Filascetta


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water, 110 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt


Using a measuring cup add water, then yeast and sugar, let rest 7 minutes. Add olive oil and salt to yeast mixture. Mound the flour on a board make a well in center then pour liquid in the center of flour. Slowly combine and knead till you get a smooth dough. Place in a oiled bowl and let rise for 2 hours in a warm location.


Topping


2 red onions, sliced thin
4 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
1 cup soft cheese, grated
taleggio or fontina
1 tablespoon sugar


Melt butter and saute onions with a pinch of salt for about 30 minutes.
When dough has risen roll out into a large round shape place cheese on top and then onions. Sprinkle sugar on top of onions, bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Ricette by Chef Chuck's Cucina