Tampilkan posting dengan label Italian Cuisine. Tampilkan semua posting
Tampilkan posting dengan label Italian Cuisine. Tampilkan semua posting
Tiramisu – It Will Pick You Up and Not Let You Down

Tiramisu – It Will Pick You Up and Not Let You Down

In addition to being an incredible tasting dessert, Tiramisu also offers the perfect segue when you’re trying to steer the Valentine’s dinner conversation towards spicier subjects. Please feel free to embellish the following history to further enhance the version your sweetheart hears.

Tiramisu was invented in an Italian brothel, where it was a popular snack with customers looking for a little restorative treat after certain strenuous activities. Tiramisu actually means “pick-me-up,” which of course makes it the best culinary double entendre in history.

Besides the great story, it really is the perfect romantic occasion dessert. This heady, mood-elevating concoction is a rich and deeply satisfying, yet remarkably light in texture. I know someone will ask, so yes you can use regular cream cheese, but mascarpone is far superior, and it is Valentine’s Day after all.

As far as the booze goes, I used Marsala, but it also works beautifully with amoretti, rum, brandy, or even Bailey’s. The other key liquid in this is the espresso, and I highly recommend that’s what you use. Regular coffee doesn’t have the same punch. You can use instant, but the last time I checked there was literally a café on every corner of every city.

I did these as two, rather large individual portions, but this could be easily stretched into four cups, or layered in a square baking dish, as is more traditional. Don’t over-think it; no matter what you use, it’s basically three layers of mascarpone mixture around two layers of coffee-dipped ladyfingers. 

They say you can tell how good your Valentine's dessert was, by whether or not you end up also having to cook breakfast. Which reminds me, if you make this, be sure to not use up the last of the eggs. I really hope you give this tiramisu a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
1/2 cup espresso with 2 tbsp Marsala wine for dipping cookies
10 or 12 ladyfinger cookies, broken in half if making cups
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese (6 oz)
2 large egg whites
cocoa for dusting
dark chocolate for shaving
That Other Meat Sauce

That Other Meat Sauce

We did a classic Italian bolognese sauce not too long ago, which reminded me that I’ve actually never posted a basic, Italian-American meat sauce. This sauce goes by many names, including Sunday sauce, since that’s the day it’s traditionally made, but for me growing up, this was just called “sauce.”

This is one of those primal recipes that always follows the same procedure, yet almost never contains exactly the same ingredients. I was raised on a blend of beef, pork, and chicken, but any and all leftover proteins can, and must, be added to the pot.

Meatballs are a great choice; as are things like pigs feet, neck bones, and other similar cuts. The tougher the meat, the better it’s going to be in this sauce. Besides playing meat roulette, I’ll also switch different herbs like basil in and out, as well as include the occasional season vegetable.

You can also vary your results here with different tomato products. I went old-school and hand-crushed whole plums, but you can also use crushed or pureed tomatoes as well. The finer and smoother the tomatoes are processed, the thicker your sauce will be, so keep that in mind. Speaking of tomatoes; yes, it is much better to caramelize the tomato paste with the onions before you add the San Marzanos, but I didn't because Grandma didn't, and also, I forgot. 

As long as you cook the meat long enough, and season thoughtfully, there’s really no way this sauce isn’t going to be great. So, while you may not have grown up in an Italian-American home, with this comforting sauce simmering on the stove every Sunday, your family still can. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 beef shank
2 pounds pork ribs
2 bone-in chicken thighs
1 diced onion
6 cloves garlic
3 (28-oz) cans San Marzano plum tomatoes, crushed or blended smooth
(Note - any canned tomato product will work. Try with pureed or already crushed tomatoes and save a step)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups water, more as needed
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Chicago Italian Beef “Stew Meat Edition” – The Deep Dish Pizza of Sandwiches

Chicago Italian Beef “Stew Meat Edition” – The Deep Dish Pizza of Sandwiches

I’ve always wondered how stewed beef would work instead of the traditional sliced roast beef for Chicago’s famous Italian Beef Sandwich, which is kind of weird, since I’ve only had the classic version a few times, and never actually made it myself. 

I figured if you’re going to roast a hunk of beef, then slice it and put it back in the juices, why not just cook the meat in a broth to begin with? How had the fine people of Chicago not thought of this obvious adaptation? Were the same people running the Cubs also in charge of civic recipe improvements? Was Kanye West somehow to blame? And another thing; why the hell would the Bears give Jay Cutler that new contract?

Anyway, once I finished my mad experiment, I realized that this wasn’t an improvement on an old sandwich at all; it was just a new sandwich. While the flavors are similar, the texture and overall mouthfeel of this sandwich is completely different. It’s much closer to pulled pork in that respect, but delicious nevertheless.

So, while this ended up not being the Chicago Italian beef breakthrough I had hoped for, it did make for a fine lunch, and if you’re looking for a manly hand-meal for your next shindig, I hope give this tasty, and very juicy sandwich a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large sandwiches:
1 1/2 or 2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover meat by an inch
4 crusty sandwich rolls
1 cup drained Giardiniera (pickled vegetables), chopped into a relish
- Brown meat and simmer covered in the remaining of ingredients until tender
Utica Greens and Beans – Finding Good Fortune in Upstate New York

Utica Greens and Beans – Finding Good Fortune in Upstate New York

As many of you hardcore foodies know, there’s a southern tradition of eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day to help bring good fortune in the coming year. 

By eating “poor” the first day of the year, you supposedly ensure prosperity and good luck the rest of the year. I think I speak for all superstitious, Italian-Americas when I say, that totally makes sense.

Whether you believe in such things or not, you should still try this year’s edible good luck charm, Utica Greens. This delicious Upstate New York vegetable casserole comes in many forms, but usually contains some combination of bitter greens, usually escarole, pancetta or prosciutto, hot fresh or pickled peppers, and bread crumbs.

I’m adding some cranberry beans, so you all get rich in 2014, but that’s totally fine since the locals often add chunks of potatoes, and once you start doing things like that, all bets are off. Whether side dish or main course, this is a perfect winter vegetable magnet, and I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy, Happy New Year, and most of all, good fortune!


Ingredients for 6 side dish servings:
2 heads escarole
2 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or prosciutto, diced (You can drain some of the rendered fat if it looks like it's going to be too much. You want about 2 tablespoons total rendered fat pancetta in the casserole)
handful of sliced fresh hot peppers, or jarred pickled peppers
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
12 ounce can cooked cranberry beans, or Cannellini beans, butter beans, white beans, etc., optional
salt and black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fine plain bread crumbs, plus more for the top
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
drizzle top with more olive oil
Focaccia di Recco – Treating Myself

Focaccia di Recco – Treating Myself

When I treat myself to a personal “food wish,” it’s usually something I’ve eaten out and become obsessed over, and this episode is a classic case. There’s a Ligurian restaurant called Farina near us, and I’ve become a full-blown focaccia di Recco stalker. 

After watching them make it in front of me so many times, I had to give it a try. It doesn’t look like the focaccia most of us are used to, but come to find out, “focaccia” simply means any flatbread cooked in a hearth, and varies region to region.


This particular example hails from Recco, and is nothing more than some Stracchino cheese trapped in between two, super-thin layers of dough. The dough is nothing more than flour, water, olive oil, and salt; but thanks to a very hot oven, and this probably ancient technique, some serious flatbread magic happens.

As I confess in the video, I was scared to use too much cheese, but I’ll use more next time. At Farina, you can see a thin layer of the molten Stracchino oozing out between the layers. My Crescenza cheesewas basically absorbed, but while you couldn’t see it, you could certainly taste it, and it was amazing.

The obvious question is, can you add other fillings to this? Yes, but don’t. It’s perfect…as long as you find the cheese. Please, find the cheese (no substitutions will be offered #toughlove). 

 By the way, I’m officially recommending the quarter sheet pan seen herein, which is what they use in the restaurant, but I think a round tart pan would work as well. In fact, from what I see online, the round pan seems to be the standard. I can’t wait to try this again, and sincerely hope you give it go as well. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 small or 1 large Focaccia di Recco (Tip for first timers: Make a double batch of dough so you have plenty to work with!)
*2 cups all-purpose flour (9.5 by weight)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water           
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp fine salt
*use enough flour to form a soft, but not too sticky dough. Knead for about 5-6 minutes to from a smooth, elastic dough. Let rest 1 hour at room temp.
12 oz Crescenza or Stracchino cheese (6 oz for each focaccia) 
extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, to taste for the top
Bake at 500 degrees F.for about 6-7 minutes, or until well-browned
Bolognese Sauce – Hip Hip Hazan!

Bolognese Sauce – Hip Hip Hazan!

This bolognese sauce is dedicated to the late, great Marcella Hazan, who passed away in September, at the age of 89. She was considered the Julia Child of Italian food, and at a time when most Americans though “bolognese” was spaghetti sauce with chunks of hamburger it, Marcella taught us just how magnificent this meat sauce could be.

One thing that always surprises people making this recipe for the first time is the absence of garlic. Hazan railed against the common belief that garlic should be added to any and all Italian recipes. She once wrote, “the unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking,” and “Garlic can be exciting when you turn to it sporadically, on impulse, but on a regular basis, it is tiresome.”

Would a few minced garlic cloves ruin this incredibly delicious pasta sauce? Probably not, but since this is supposed to be something of a tribute, I decided to remain true. Speaking of ingredients, I used ground beef here, but I’ve also done this with cubed chuck roast, which works wonderfully as well.

Anyway, I really hope you give this classic bolognese a try, and if you do, and there’s some extra wine around, please raise a glass, and toast the “Nonna” of Italian cuisine in America. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1 1/2  tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups white wine
1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes (28-oz), about 3 cups
2 cups water, or as needed
Perfect Polenta – Dedicated to Some Fun Girl

Perfect Polenta – Dedicated to Some Fun Girl

Not only is polenta one of the first foods I remember watching someone cook, but it’s probably also responsible for the first time I ever heard someone curse. 

I remember my grandfather standing at the stove, stirring a big pot of the stuff, and every once in a while some of the thick, bubbling polenta would burp out of the pot and on to his hand. He would jump back and yell something, which to my very young ears sounded sort of like, “hey, some fun girl!” 

Of course, years later I realized he was actually saying, “vaffanculo.” I’ll let you translate yourself. By the way, one way to avoid the wrath of the molten mush is to adjust your heat to maintain a nice gentle bubble.

Besides severe burns, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with this recipe. As long as you stir it in slowly, whisking constantly, and simmer it until it’s perfectly soft, you will have one of the world’s great comfort foods, and a beautiful base for any number of stews or braises. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Portions:
4 cups water or broth
1 cup polenta (you can use regular corn meal, but it’s not as easy to work with, and the texture isn’t as interesting)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2  cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Note: if your question is, “can you add [blank] to this recipe,” the answer is yes.
Pork “Al Latte” – Now 100% Milk Free!

Pork “Al Latte” – Now 100% Milk Free!

This comforting pork stew recipe is exactly the kind of homey dish you want waiting for you after a long, hard week…and maybe a 13-hour drive. Unfortunately, I made this last week, so I couldn’t actually enjoy it today, after a long, hard week and 13-hour drive, but just editing it made me feel better. It was that good.

This stew version is inspired by the classic Italian recipe, “maiale al latte,” or “pork in milk,” but instead of the usual moo juice, I decided to make my own with chicken broth and crème fraiche. I figured I’d get the same basic viscosity and fat content (okay, maybe a tad more), but also a little more flavor, and a better texture once reduced.

I topped it with some fried sage, which is an optional, messy, but delicious extra step, and makes this much more restauranty. Simply heat a 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a small pan, and toss in some (not wet!) whole sage leaves. Fry until crisp, about 10-15 seconds

The classic preparation involves braising and slicing a whole roast, but one taste and I think you’ll agree it translates beautifully to the stew delivery system. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes (note: I only had 1 pound, but the recipe will work with another half, which will make four nice portions)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 strips bacon
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage leaves, plus more for frying
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes to taste
*Simmer covered for 1 hour, and then uncovered until the meat is very tender, and the sauce is thickened. Adjust with more broth if needed.
Sorta Porchetta

Sorta Porchetta

One of my all-time favorite street foods in San Francisco is Roli Roti’s famous porchetta sandwich, served at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. For those of you not familiar with the perfection that is the porchetta, it's a loin, and possibly other cuts of heavily seasoned pig parts, wrapped inside a pork belly, which is then roasted until the inside is tender, and the outside is crispy and crackling. It’s then sliced and served on a crusty roll with salsa verde.

It’s insanely good, and something I've always wanted to try doing at home. Of course, a real porchetta feeds like 20 people, so I wanted a version that would be better suited for a smaller group. 

I decided to try using a small pork shoulder roast. The plan was to mimic the same flavors, but cook it more like pork loin, instead of the usual fork tender, falling apart state we associate with this cut. Pulled pork was not what I was after here.

It worked wonderfully, although you do need to slice it nice and thin. We’re only cooking this to 145 F. which is not high enough a temperature to break down all that connective tissue. All in all, I thought it was a very successful experiment, especially when you consider how much we scaled this down. 

What it didn’t feature however, was that crispy skin, also known as “the best part.” I wish I’d thought of it before I finished the video, but what I should have done was fried up some diced pancetta (un-smoked Italian bacon) until it was perfectly crispy, and topped the sandwich with that! That would have put this already fine faux-porchetta over the top! I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 very large portions:
2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, butterflied open, and slashes made all over the connective tissues
olive oil as needed
1 tbsp kosher salt (2 tsp for inside, and 1 for out)
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped sage leaves
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
6 cloves minced garlic
zest from a large orange
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- Stuff, tie, salt, and refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours
- Roast at 450 F. for 15 minutes
- Reduce heat to 250 F. and roast another hour, or until an internal temp of 145 F.

For the vinegar sauce:
1/2 anchovy fillet
1 tsp hot chili flakes or to taste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley

Bonus How to Butterfly Meat for Rolling Video! 

 

Focaccia – Surprisingly, Not Italian for “Fingers”

Focaccia – Surprisingly, Not Italian for “Fingers”

Some younger foodwishers may not realize this, but there was a time, before the Internet, when not everyone knew everything about everything. These days, if you’re wondering what “focaccia” means, you Google it, and all is revealed. In case you’re wondering, it comes from the Latin word for “hearth,” but that’s not what pre-Wikipedia Chef John thought.

Nope, I figured focaccia meant, “fingers.” Since the signature characteristic of the bread is the deeply dimpled surface, and those holes are created using well-oiled fingers, it made perfect sense. Plus, fingers starts with an “f,” as does focaccia, which reinforced my brilliant theory. Anyway, now we know.

This is such a fun and versatile bread to make. I went with a simple, but classic rosemary and sea salt topping, but a web search for focaccia will turn up more than just the definition. You'll see dozens of different and delicious toppings with which to accessorize your slab.

A few of my favorites would be chopped olives, caramelized onions, and sliced grapes. You can add pretty much anything to the top when you do the old finger poke, and proceed as demonstrated. Of course, depending on your garnishes, you may have to cook it a little longer, but I’m sure you’ll figure that out. No matter how you customize it, I hope you give this classic flat bread a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 large portions:

– Combine:
1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 F.)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup semolina flour
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 3/4 cups *bread flour (don’t mix in all the flour in this step; reserve about 1/4 cup for the kneading)
*As with all dough recipes, you may need a little less or little more flour. The total weight I added was about 12 oz.
*This will work with just all-purpose flour, but I prefer the bread flour and semolina

– Mix in bowl until a sticky dough forms, then knead with reserved flour and 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil, for about 7-8 minutes, until you have a smooth, elastic, but slightly sticky dough.

– Let rise until doubled, flatten on oiled pan, let rest 15 minutes, drizzle with olive oil, poke dough with finger tips, let rise 45 minutes or until doubled, brush lightly with olive oil, top with more rosemary and sea salt.

– Bake at 475 degrees F. for 14-15 minutes

View the complete recipe