Chef Chuck's Pistachio Pasta

This pasta recipe was flavored with a soft crunchy texture from the pistachios. The salty prosciutto was so tender. This simple pasta dish had only six ingredients with each one prominently distinct. A recipe I created when in Sicily, due to the pistachio fame!

Pistachio Pasta
1/2 pound fettuccine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, whole
1/2 cup pistachio's
4 slices of prosciutto di Parma, chopped
parmigiana cheese, grated

pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzle

In a large pot, boil water, add a generous amount of salt and cook pasta till al dente. Meanwhile in a large frying pan, heat olive oil, add garlic clove and cook for 1 minute. Remove and discard, add pistachio's and stir for 2 minutes. Add pasta into pan, toss then plate, add prosciutto, cheese, pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Chef Chuck's Chocolate Cinnamon Brownies

Brownies al Cioccolato Cannella

These chocolate brownies had a little twist with the added cinnamon spice. I like to keep these brownies in the refrigerator it seems to enhance the flavors. A great pick me up anytime of the day or night!

Chocolate Cinnamon Brownies
1/2 cup sugar
13 tablespoons butter, 1 stick
plus 5 tablespoons
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup chocolate, chopped
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
optional: walnuts, chopped

Melt chocolate in double boiler, in a mixer beat sugar, butter and a pinch of salt. Slowly add melted chocolate then add 4 egg yolks one at a time. With mixer on low add flour and cinnamon. In a separate bowl whip egg whites and add another pinch of salt, till stiff peaks form, fold into batter. Butter or spray an 9 inch pan, put parchment paper on the bottom, pour in the batter, top with nuts and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Chef Chuck's Pappardelle with Ragù

Pappardelle al Ragù

Pappardelle is a large ribbon pasta perfect for this hearty ragu sauce, that cooked all afternoon. There is nothing better than homemade pasta it cooks quickly and tastes like no other! The aromas were so inviting. This special ragu sauce was delicious due to the terracotta cookware I used, it is the best choice for superior slow cooking. It also holds heat evenly throughout.

Pappardelle with Ragù
1 pound pappardelle pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
12 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon thyme
parmigiano cheese, grated or shaved

In a large pot heat olive oil and butter then saute onions, celery, carrots, salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and brown five minutes then add beef, pork and pancetta season again with salt and pepper, cook till browned. Pour in tomatoes, broth, only 3/4 cup of wine and thyme let simmer with lid off for 15 minutes, then put lid on for 1 hour. Stirring occasionally, remove lid for remaining 45 minutes, during the last half hour add 3/4 cup of wine. Total cooking time 2 hours.
In a large pot heat salted water to a rapid boil add pasta, cook till al dente add to sauce stir gently and serve with parmigiano cheese.

Chef Chuck's Creamy Mushroom Soup

Zuppa di Funghi

Creamy mushroom soup has such a concentrated earthy flavor. A healthy recipe with just a few ingredients, blended to a smooth consistency. This funghi delight soup is sure to satisfy.

Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, whole
2 shallots, diced
2 cups baby bell mushrooms, chopped
1 cup white or porcini mushrooms,chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped fine
4 cups organic beef or mushroom broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 slices of rustic bread

Wipe mushrooms clean with a cloth or paper towel, do not wash, chop. In a pot heat butter and olive oil add garlic clove and saute for one minute, remove and discard. Add shallots and mushrooms with salt and pepper for about 12-15 minutes, with the lid on. Add thyme and warm broth, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream and blend to a creamy consistency either in the blender or with a hand blender. Place a slice of bread in bowl pour in soup top with black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Serves 4.

Chef Chuck's Pot Roast

Pot roast with vegetables is a hearty and rustic dinner, a comforting meal for a chilly evening.
The gravy was loaded with brilliant flavors. The roast was so tender due to the slow and low stove top cooking.

Pot Roast
1 large pot roast (eye round)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 onion, thick slices
3 carrots, large pieces
3 celery stalks, large pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped fine
3 potatoes, cut large

Bring meat to room temperature, combine flour, salt and pepper and coat all sides. In a large pot heat olive oil and butter and brown well on all sides of roast. Remove, cover and set aside. Saute onions, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes, add garlic. Pour in wine, tomato sauce, broth and rosemary. Cover and let simmer for 2 hours, add potatoes and leave lid off for an additional half hour.

Chef Chuck's Italian Onion Rings

Anelli di Cipolla

Italian onion rings are light and fluffy yet crunchy. I prefer to use a large sweet onion, like a Vidalia or a Walla Walla. The batter becomes thick and sticks well to the sweet onion. The red hot pepper flakes gives a touch of heat.

Italian Onion Rings
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup beer
canola oil

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients including cheese then add oil, eggs and beer to batter, mix well. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Cut onions into 1/2 inch slices, separate carefully. In a small pot heat about 2 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees. Dip 1 onion ring at a time into batter, coat well, drain a bit, place in oil. Fry 2 or 3 onion rings at a time and maintain a 350 degree oil. Fry both sides until golden brown, drain on paper towels, season with salt.

Chef Chuck's Sausage and Red Pepper Risotto

Salsiccia e Peperoni Risotto

Sausage and red pepper risotto, is a supreme comfort food on a chilly evening. Pull up a chair and sit for 20-25 minutes to make this meal in one pan. Risotto needs your constant attention to achieve a creamy smooth consistency. The wait is well worth it.

Sausage and Red Pepper Risotto
1 cup arborio rice

3 hot Italian sausage links

4 cups beef broth
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated

2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut open the sausage to remove the meat, in a large frying pan heat olive oil and butter add onions and peppers for about 3 minutes. Add sausage and brown the meat. If needed add a little olive oil then add rice and toast for 2 minutes, stirring. Slowly add broth a little at a time till all is absorbed, add oregano. Sprinkle the cheese over the risotto and salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Torte Recipe Available on iPhone app

Check out my Strawberry Torte recipe on the new iPhone Strawberries application! Click here to download:

“STRAWBERRIES” iPhone App Shares 50 Strawberry Recipes from Top Food Bloggers and Chefs
Watsonville, CA – The California Strawberry Commission today announced the availability of the free “STRAWBERRIES” mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch users featuring more than 50 mouth-watering strawberry recipes from some of the most popular food bloggers and chefs from around the web. Individually selected for that “wow” factor, these recipes will inspire families, foodies, cooks, the health conscious and strawberry lovers everywhere to get even more creative with strawberries.

Chef Chuck's Chicken Marsala

Pollo al Marsala

This famous chicken Marsala dish has simple flavors we can all enjoy. The chicken was fork tender, with just a few key ingredients this recipe was quick and enjoyable. The combination of the Marsala wine and the mushrooms makes a rich dark gravy.

Chicken Marsala

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
flour for dredging
1 teaspoon dry oregano
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Marsala wine
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Bring chicken to room temperature, wash and pat dry. Place plastic wrap on cutting board place chicken down and cover with more plastic wrap, using a mallet flatten to 1/4-1/2 inch. Dredge in flour, oregano, salt and pepper. In a frying pan heat butter and olive oil brown chicken for 3 minutes, turn over and add mushrooms and Marsala. Simmer with lid on for 12 minutes, add fresh parsley. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Chef Chuck's Marble Cake

Torta Marmo

A marble cake brings back childhood memories, vanilla cake with rich dark chocolate swirled in a very moist cake. This is a dessert for any occasion even Sunday dinner!

Marble Cake
1 cup dark chocolate, melted and cooled
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
11 tablespoons butter, room temperature
7 ounces sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a 9 inch round pan with parchment paper and butter both bottom and sides. Melt chocolate in a double boiler with 3 tablespoons of milk, from the 3/4 cup of milk, set aside to cool. Sift flour, baking powder and salt twice, set aside. In a mixer beat butter for 2 minutes, then slowly add sugar and vanilla. Add one egg at a time till well blended. Scrape bowl down and with mixer on low alternate flour and milk. Pour 2/3 of this mixture in a prepared pan. With remaining batter add it to the cooled and melted chocolate. Carefully pour the chocolate in a swirl design run a knife through the entire cake to mix the vanilla and chocolate. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack, when completely cooled dust with powered sugar.

Chef Chuck's Conchiglie with Anchovies and Chickpeas

Conchiglie con Acciughe e Ceci

Conchiglie, is a superb pasta to capture the anchovy and garlic flavored olive oil, tender chickpeas, capers and tomatoes. The anchovies pungency was a dominant taste to my enjoyment. This pasta dish was quick to prepare and had reminiscing flavors of a Mediterranean seaside restaurant.

Conchiglie with Anchovies and Chickpeas

1/2 pound conchiglie, pasta
2-4 ounces anchovies, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dry oregano
1 can chickpeas
pepper to taste
optional: red hot pepper flakes

Cook pasta in salted water till al dente, about 9 minutes. Chop anchovies and garlic together then in a large frying pan heat olive oil add anchovies and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add in capers for 30 seconds then tomatoes, oregano and pepper. Put pasta right into the anchovy pot, you can add a ladle of pasta water, stir in chickpeas and serve with red hot pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil.