RSS Feed

Category Archives: italian

Cantuccini, the Classic Almond Biscotti

     


  
“All Italian cookies are called biscotti, but these are what we think of as classic biscotti. Twice baked cookies, these are first baked in a log shape, then sliced and baked again until they are dry and very crunchy. They are meant to be dunked in coffee, tea, wine, Vin Santo (an Italian dessert wine) or what ever you like.” Nick Malgieri from Baking With Julia.

Biscotti refers to twice baked biscuits. “Bi” means two. Cantuccini are the classic almond biscuits that are baked twice.
  
In a large bowl combine and whisk together:

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

  
 
 
Add and combine 1 1/2 cups unblanched whole almonds 

  
In a small bowl whisk together:

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

  
Add the eggs to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly  with a spatula or large spoon.

  
The dough will seem dry, but it will come together as it is kneaded. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes. Fold it over and turn it a quarter turn, then fold it again. Keep enough flour on your surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. But don’t add too much flour which will make the dough too crumbly. Repeat for 1-2 minutes only.

   

Use a bread knife to cut the dough in 2  

 
Roll and shape into 2 logs about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch high.

  
Flatten them and place on baking pans covered in parchment 

  
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on racks until cool, about an hour. Don’t let sit much more than this or they become too hard to slice evenly.

  
Slice with a serrated knife on an angle about 1/4 inch wide.

  
Place cookies cut side down on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on the pans.

  
These are done, but you can take it a step further. Brush one end with dark chocolate and then sprinkle with gold dust or black pepper or cayenne pepper or coarse salt! 

Easy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or with a stick emersion blender in a medium bowl. Process until smooth. Serve warm as a sauce over pasta or quinoa and cold as a condiment as you would use ketchup. Quinoa is a seed which is similar to couscous. Cook as you would rice. Rinse well before cooking to remove any bitter taste. It is pronounced Keen-wah and originates in South America.  Yield: 2 cups

1 -12 oz jar or 1 1/2 cups bottled roasted & peeled red peppers, drained (packed without oil)

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 Tablespoon aged thick and flavorful balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic

Nutrition Notes: Red peppers and tomatoes are rich in the antioxidants Vitamins C and A, other carotenoids and other antioxidants which help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals which attack healthy cells. Weakened cells are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Quinoa is rich in fiber and gluten free.

 

Mac n Cheese Meets Ravioli n Pumpkin

Creamy Mac n Cheese, Ferrara-Styl

This is so similar to the pumpkin filled ravioli of Ferrara, Italy “cappallacci con la zucca”, but so much easier to make! Delicioso! Ferrara is located near Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of north central Italy, the culinary capital.

www.cookinglight.com

We squashed out half the calories and three-fourths of the sat fat in traditional mac and cheese by using a new trick in the sauce. Learn more.

Basil Pesto

This recipe can be made in a standard size food processor. It is an adaption of Marcella Hazan’s from her cookbook, The Classical Italian Cookbook. The food/travel author, Fred Plotkin, also influenced my recipe.

4 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly wiping the leaves with a damp paper towel to clean. Basil does not like to be wet and will brown quickly. Then gently tare into two or more small pieces. Be careful not to crush the basil. The purpose is to make fairly even sized pieces for uniform measuring. I prefer the traditional green leaf basil. It makes a nice bright green pesto. The purple basil produces a darker brown-green pesto.

You can also skip the cheese and pine nuts to make a BASIL SAUCE which is a delicious sauce to serve with vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese ….. Also you can add it to soups and tomato sauces for extra flavor.

 1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

4 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped, but not too fine

1 cup freshly grated Locatelli brand romano cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese (or any combination of the romano and parmesan reggiano cheese. Most traditional is the parmesan reggiano with possibly a tiny bit of romano)

In a food processor place the basil, olive oil, garlic cloves and salt. Process with the knife blade till basil is finely minced. Do not overprocess or allow the basil to heat up. Scrape the sides of the bowl often during processing.

Remove knife blade and stir in the pine nuts and cheeses. Freeze pesto in ice cube trays and when frozen, place in a freezer carton or bag for storage in the freezer. You can also store the pesto in a jar in the refrigerator by keeping a layer of olive oil on the surface and covering with a lid. Presto! Serve with pasta as the original recipe. Use as a spread on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or sandwiches and bruschetta. Add as a flavoring to soups, sauces and stews. Use as a marinade for chicken.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Voted most delicious & most easy to prepare salad worldwide!

  • 2 cups mini or Ciliegine or cherry size fresh mozzarella balls
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons julienne strips of fresh basil or fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar, optional to taste

This is so easy to put together for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks! In a serving platter or bowl place mozzarella and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil and vinegar. Toss. Layer basil strips on top and voila! This is a favorite at breakfast brunches! It is also the national salad of Italy, representing the three colors of their flag!

Nina Sanders Frurip 6/2010

Tiramisú

  • Savoiardi cookies
  • Coffee
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Sugar
  • Egg white
  • Ground unsweetened chocolate

Mix in a pot with a whisk using the following proportion: 1 white egg + 1 spoon of sugar + 1 spoon of mascarpone till the mixture becomes uniform and creamy (it’ll take 10-15 minutes). Now wet the Savoiardi cookies in the coffee (it must me cold), better if only from one side for a couple of second (otherwise it’d become too wet). Start to make a layer of wet cookies followed by a layer of cream you’ve already prepared. After 2-3 layers (it depends from the depth of pot you’re using), finish with a last layer of cream and put on the top some ground chocolate (you can even put the chocolate on the top of each layer, as you want). Let tiramisú rest in the fridge for half day, serve cold.

This recipe is from Marco, our friend from Italy. His mother is a chef in Milan. Marco orchestrated an authentic Italian dinner at our home for friends.