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Foglie D’Ulivo with Browned Butter Pine Nut Sauce

Aren’t they cute? I was enchanted by this shape of pasta and learned to make it following a video by Rosetta Costantino on her excellent Instagram page. They’re called foglie d’ulivo (olive leaves). This pasta shape is widely known across Italy, but originally is from the Apulia region. It’s made similarly to orecchiette, another specialty of Apulia, but instead of forming round little “ears,” the leaf-like shape requires a different technique.

You can make this with plain white or whole wheat flour, but I added spinach to the dough to attain the bright green color, mimicking actual leaves. After making the dough, (and letting it rest at least a half hour), roll it out into snake-like shapes, then cut into small pieces, which you then roll into smaller “logs” that are slightly more lumpy in the center.

Here is a step by step demonstration of me shaping the pasta leaves.

It takes a little practice, but after a few minutes of trying, you’ll be an expert and these adorable little leaves will be the beautiful result of your labor.

I served them in two different ways – with a browned butter sauce and pine nuts, plus a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Another time I tossed them with a summer salsa verde that was featured in Food 52 and includes mint, parsley, basil and capers. We liked it, but thought we might like the salsa better over fish or vegetables.

We much preferred the browned butter/pine nut sauce over this pasta, or a traditional basil pesto. You might also like it with a red sauce, but I would keep it light and use fresh tomatoes (maybe even small cherry tomatoes) so the color and shape of the green leaves don’t disappear in the sauce.

If you’ve never made pasta at home before, foglie d’ulivo may seem a bit daunting. Want to increase your knowledge of making pasta, with a really comprehensive guide to everything pasta – from the ingredients to the techniques?  It’s an online cooking school run by two sisters in Rome, Benedetta and Valeria, who started their company, Local Aromas, to teach people about Italian food. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate about Italy and its food, they conduct food tours in Rome in addition to their online slate of classes.

They started with courses on pasta and gnocchi but plan to expand in the future to include other foods and wines too. In their classes, you’ll learn why certain flours are used for certain pastas, how to make the dough and shape it to specific types of pasta, from farfalle to fettuccine and much more. Especially during this pandemic, if you can’t get to Italy and are looking for a great way to learn a new skill, sign up for a class at Local Aromas.

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Spinach Foglie D'Ulivo with Browned Butter Pine Nut Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PASTA:
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups 00 flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • parmesan cheese, to taste
Instructions
  1. FOR THE PASTA:
  2. Drain the spinach thoroughly, squeezing out all the water you can with your hands.
  3. Then press it with paper towels to get out any remaining water.
  4. Place the spinach and the two eggs into the food processor to break down the spinach.
  5. Start adding the flour.
  6. You may need as little as a cup and a quarter of flour.
  7. It's easy to add more flour later, but much harder to work the dough if you place too much flour into the food processor.
  8. Add just enough flour and process until the dough comes together into a ball.
  9. It will be sticky.
  10. Place the dough onto a wooden work surface, add more flour until the stickiness disappears and the dough seems more "homogenized" and softer.
  11. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a bowl and let it sit for at least ½ hour.
  12. To make the foglie, take a piece of the dough and roll it out to a snake-like shape, about ½ inch thick and about 6 to 8 inches long.
  13. If you roll it too long, it's harder to handle.
  14. Cut off small bits of the snake-like roll.
  15. Roll the small bit so it is a bit thinner on the ends than in the middle,
  16. Holding one part of the dough with one hand, use a knife or spatula in the other hand and press down on the dough, sliding the knife or spatula along the dough.
  17. Shape with your fingers to make the ends more like a "point" of a leaf if you like.
  18. Cook the pasta in abundant salted water.
  19. If you let the pasta dry overnight, it will take longer to cook, maybe as long as 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  20. Meanwhile, take the butter and place it in a saucepan.
  21. Cook it on medium heat until it starts to turn tan.
  22. It can burn easily, so be careful not to let it get to that point.
  23. Add the toasted pine nuts, then the drained pasta and toss everything together.
  24. Place in a serving bowl, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
 

Brutti Ma Buoni

Do you ever make a recipe that calls for egg yolks only, leaving you with leftover egg whites? I sure do, and as a result, there are usually at least three containers in my freezer containing leftover egg whites. After thawing, they’re as good as using fresh egg whites, and they’re perfect for making these delicious cookies from Rosemary Molloy’s “Authentic Italian Desserts.” They’re also perfect for anyone on a gluten free diet, since no flour is involved. They’re called “brutti ma buoni,” or “ugly but good,” but I think that’s a misnomer. I wouldn’t call them ugly at all. Homely, maybe, but not ugly. And boy are they good. It’s hard to stop eating these, so make a double batch and watch them disappear.

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Brutti Ma Buoni
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a 10 x 14 inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and salt and beat on medium speed to combine.
  4. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into a medium pot over low heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, gently stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  6. The mixture is ready when it becomes a light brown color and has thickened.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat and place heaping tablespoons on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely before serving.
 

Everything Cheddar Tomato Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? And particularly one that elevates the pedestrian sandwich to sublime, oozing with cheeses, herbs, bacon and tomato. If that’s not enough to convince you, just wait till you crunch into the coating of parmesan cheese and “everything-bagel” seeds after crisping the sandwich in butter. After I saw this posted on Half Baked Harvest‘s Instagram page, I knew it was in my future. Bacon is not a staple in my house, but I bought it to make this sandwich, and have to confess, I’ve been enjoying bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an indulgence to be sure, but even if you make it only once a year, this sandwich is worth the calories.

I cooked the bacon a day ahead, to make things go more quickly when I prepared the sandwiches the next day. When you’re ready to get the sandwiches started, slice the tomatoes and salt them first, then let them rest on paper towels to drain off some of the water, so your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. Mix the cheeses with the herbs. I used a combination of sharp white cheddar and Havarti with dill.

Don’t add any salt to the cheese, since the “everything bagel” seasoning (bought at Trader Joe’s but you can make your own with the recipe below) is salty enough. Spread the butter on the outside bread slices, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese (which also is plenty salty) and the “everything bagel” seeds.

Assemble the interior of the sandwich, placing the cheese, tomatoes and bacon inside,

Top with the second slice of bread and sauté in butter.

Flip the sandwiches over and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Use a little more butter or olive oil if needed. (This is definitely NOT a low calorie meal).

Then get some napkins ready to keep your hands clean, and enjoy one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches you’ll ever eat.

To really complete the meal, make yourself some tomato soup, the traditional accompaniment to grilled cheese sandwiches. And don’t forget to take a photo before you eat, as the bowl says.Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Everything Cheddar Tomato Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-4 tablespoons everything bagel spice (recipe below)
  • 2-4 slices cooked crispy bacon
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil to cook the sandwiches
Instructions
  1. Arrange the tomatoes on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Let sit 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cheddar, Havarti, basil, thyme, and chives.
  4. Brush the outside of each slice of bread with butter.
  5. Sprinkle the parmesan and everything spice over both buttered sides of the bread, pressing the spice mix gently into the bread to adhere.
  6. On the inside of half of the slices of bread, evenly layer half of the cheese mix, the tomatoes, bacon, and the remaining cheese. Add the top piece of bread.
  7. Heat 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  9. Everything Spice: In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons toasted white or black sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 2 teaspoons dried onion., 2 teaspoons dried garlic, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Keep stored in a cool, dry place.
 

Summer Minestrone

It doesn’t matter whether it’s winter or summer, but for me, soup is always welcome at the table. And when you’ve got summer produce like zucchini, beans and corn at their freshest, why not make a minestrone soup and combine them all, adding some carrots and celery along the way? Don’t forget the pasta too, which in this case was some homemade pasta scraps I cut out and left to dry after a ravioli-making session a while ago. If I hadn’t used homemade pasta bits, I would have tossed in some store-bought ditalini or orzo pasta or maybe even elbow macaroni. I normally cook the pasta in a separate pot of water and add it to the soup when I’m doling it out into the bowl. Otherwise, if you’ve got leftover soup and have added too much pasta to start with, you’re likely to end up with hardly any broth. By the way, this soup is even better the second day, when it’s had more time for all the flavors to blend and the starch from the beans is released to make it a bit thicker.

There is no meat in this soup recipe, but feel free to use some chicken or beef broth if you like. But it’s got plenty of flavor without it, especially if you’ve added the corn cobs to the broth and a parmesan rind or two. Don’t forget to take them out before serving though, or someone could be in for a surprise! Also, the amounts and varieties of the vegetables are up to you. If you want more corn, add it. Or if you don’t like beans, leave them out. Mix and match with whatever suits your fancy.

By the way, I was so thrilled to post this soup using this bowl, which brought back memories of my mother and something she used to say quite often at the table when I was growing up.

For those of you who don’t speak Italian, here’s the translation: “Either eat this soup, or jump out the window.” Fortunately my mom was a great cook, hence we had no window jumpers in my family.

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Summer Minestrone
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1½ cups chopped green beans
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 8 cups water
  • a parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 cup pureed plum tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can red or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears of corn, stripped off the cob, but retain the cob to put in the pot
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • fresh basil, thyme and parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ditalini, elbows or orzo pasta
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
Instructions
  1. Place the olive oil in a large pot, and sauté the onion, garlic and celery until soft but not browned.
  2. Add the carrots, green beans, zucchini, water, parmesan cheese rind and tomatoes.
  3. Add the salt, pepper and fresh and dried herbs.
  4. Cook everything together at a low simmer for 45 minutes, adding the corn cobs.
  5. Remove the corn cobs from the pot and add the beans and the corn kernels.
  6. Cook for another ½ hour.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in water in a separate pot.
  8. When the vegetables are cooked, add some of the pasta to the soup and serve in bowls.
  9. If you're not serving all the soup at once, wait to add the pasta, otherwise the pasta will become overcooked and mushy when you reheat it.
 

Ottolenghi’s Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake

There are infinite cake recipes and infinite GOOD cake recipes. Then there are GREAT cake recipes. This one, from Yotam Ottolenghi, is one of those. It may not be the biggest cake out there — it doesn’t serve a ton of people. But it’s one you’ll want to make again and again. It has a really tender and moist texture, a lively lemon flavor and blueberries too. I love this cake so much I’ll be making this without the fruit when blueberry season is long gone. Many of the blueberries will sink to the bottom (sorry, even if you coat them first in flour, which I did) but if you follow the directions and reserve some to place on the top after the cake’s been baking for 15 minutes, they won’t sink. Scout’s honor.

Make sure to leave the cake in the oven for the entire time mentioned in the recipe to allow it to rise properly and not sink in the middle. Just cover with a tented piece of aluminum foil if it starts to get too browned. Let it cool and drizzle with a lemon glaze. You’ll find it hard to stop eating slice after slice, I promise.

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Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons/150 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 scant cup/190 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more juice as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ⅔ cup/90 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour), sifted
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup/110 grams almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 ½ cups/200 grams fresh blueberries
  • ⅔ cup/70 grams confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease a 9- or 8-inch/21-centimeter loaf pan with butter, line it with a parchment paper sling and butter the paper. (I didn't use the parchment paper but just buttered and floured the pan.)
  3. Set the pan aside.
  4. Place butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  5. Beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light, then lower speed to medium.
  6. Add eggs in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times as necessary.
  7. The mix may split a little but don’t worry: It’ll come back together once you add the dry ingredients.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and almond flour.
  9. With the stand mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until no white specks remain.
  10. Fold in about ¾ of the blueberries by hand, then scoop batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the cake.
  12. Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cake is golden brown but still uncooked.
  13. Cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 25 to 30 minutes (less for a 9-inch pan, more for an 8-inch pan), or until risen and cooked, and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  14. Remove from oven and set aside in its pan to cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  15. When cake is cool, make the icing: Add lemon juice and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together until smooth, adding a bit more juice if necessary, just until the icing moves when you tilt the bowl. Pour over the cake and gently spread out.
  16. The blueberries on the top of the cake may bleed into the icing a little, but this will add to the look. Let icing set (about 30 minutes), slice and serve.
 

 

 

Blueberry Tart

We’re in full blueberry season here in New Jersey and one of the most delicious ways to highlight this fruit is to give it a starring role in a tart. This one raises the bar even higher with an oatmeal crumb topping. I used an 8″ tart pan, since it was just for the two of us. But if you want to bake it in a standard 9″ tart pan, just increase the amounts as I’ve written in the recipe. Don’t forget to add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Without it, the blueberries just don’t have that “zing” that the citrus adds.

You’ll get four servings from this small tart pan and I guarantee you it won’t last long.

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Blueberry Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PASTRY (This makes enough for two 9" tart shells. I place the extra one in the freezer):
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • FOR THE FILLING - amounts are for an 8" tart. Measurements for a 9" tart are in parentheses:
  • 3 cups blueberries (4 cups)
  • ¼ cup white sugar (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (1/4 cup)
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • FOR THE TOPPING: amounts are for an 8" tart. Measurements for a 9" tart are in parentheses:
  • ½ cups old-fashioned oats (3/4 cup)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • ¼ cup flour (1/3 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (3/4 tsp.)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (6 tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt and pulse to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add the eggs and process just until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in half, and pat it into two disks.
  5. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another use.
  6. Wrap the second piece and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the pastry disk from the refrigerator.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll the disk into a 12-inch circle.
  9. Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  10. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  11. Trim the overhang.
  12. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  13. Preheat the oven to 475° F.
  14. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator.
  15. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.
  16. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes.
  17. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on but reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
  18. Mix the blueberries with the lemon zest, sugar, flour and lemon juice.
  19. In a separate bowl, mix the oatmeal with the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.
  20. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, blend everything together until it's crumbly.
  21. Gelntly place the blueberries into the pastry shell and top with the crumb mixture.
  22. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
 

 

Codfish and Corn

It’s only in summer when this perfect combination comes together in my part of the world. Fresh, sweet New Jersey corn and codfish caught off our coast are meant to snuggle next to each other when the warm weather finally arrives. You can cook everything in one pot and have it ready to eat in a half hour. I started with this piece of codfish, a little more than 1 pound. If you have a piece this long, cut it in two or three pieces, otherwise it will flake apart after it cooks, when you try to lift it from the pan in one large section.

Start by seasoning the pieces with salt and pepper, then give them a light dusting with flour. Place some olive oil and butter in a saucepan, place the fish into the pan and sear at high heat, but only on one side. You’ll finish the cooking after you’ve put the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Remove the seared pieces and flip over onto a platter. As you can see, they’re still partly raw inside.

Scrape the corn from the cobs. I used two ears of corn, but they were so sweet, we were wishing we had one or two more to join the party. Next time.

Place more butter into the pan and add the red pepper and shallots to the pan, stirring for a minute or two. Add the corn and seasonings, stirring for another minute, then push the corn to the side and make room for the fish, adding the pieces of cod in the center of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on a low heat for another 5 -8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Sprinkle it with more minced parsley and serve.

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Codfish and Corn
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb - 1¼ lb. codfish
  • salt, pepper to season
  • flour to lightly dust the fish
  • 2 or 3 ears of fresh corn
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • ¼ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 more tablespoons butter
  • minced parsley
Instructions
  1. Remove the corn from the cobs and set aside.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then lightly dust with flour.
  3. Place the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet and bring to high heat.
  4. Gently place the fish pieces into the pan and sear until browned on one side.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan, reserving them on a platter with the seared side facing up.
  6. Add the red pepper and shallot to the pan and cook for one minute.
  7. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan, along with the corn, the salt and pepper and minced parsley.
  8. Stir for one minute, then push the vegetables to the edges of the pan.
  9. Add the remaining butter to the center space of the pan, then place the fish in the center, with the seared side up.
  10. Turn the heat to low-medium and place a lid on top.
  11. Continue cooking for five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
 

Mozzarella In Carrozza

If you like grilled cheese, then you’ll love mozzarella in carrozza, Italy’s version of the iconic American sandwich. The dish — melted mozzarella cheese hugged by two slices of crunchy deep-fried bread — comes from the Campania region and is frequently found as street food in Naples. Mozzarella in carrozza translates to “mozzarella in a carriage” and the origins of the dish vary, depending on your source.

Some say it’s called that because the bread originally used was round, like the wheels of a carriage. Others say it’s because the  strands of melted mozzarella that pull from the sandwich resemble the reins of a horse and carriage. Still others claim that it was invented by housewives in Southern Italy as a means to use up leftover mozzarella and stale bread. Whichever version is true doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s delicious and that you try it. Lots of people use a loaf of square white bread, with the crusts removed, but for this recipe, I used a loaf of Italian bread that produced slices more oval than square.

I trimmed the crusts and placed a piece of mozzarella in the center, with enough room to seal the edges using a paste made with milk and flour. It helps in keeping the melted mozzarella from escaping when you’re frying it. Don’t worry about using the finest quality mozzarella either. Most bufala mozzarella will be almost too liquid, even though you can pat it dry it with paper towels first if that’s what you have or want to use. Regular fior di latte mozzarella is perfect for this recipe, whether freshly made by an Italian deli or purchased from a supermarket. Just don’t use that yellowish industrial stuff that’s been injected with additives that belong in a chemistry lab. I used a slice of cheese about 1/4″ thick. A little bit of anchovy inside the sandwich would be a perfect marriage too, if you like anchovies, but alas I didn’t have any when I was making this.

Generally when I deep fry foods, I use a three-step process – flour, egg wash, then bread crumbs. But for this recipe, you really need only the egg wash and bread crumbs. Use the coarse Japanese bread crumbs called panko if you have them. They’ll give even more crunch. I added some grated parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs and a little minced parsley and black pepper.

After you’ve sealed the edges of the bread with a little flour and milk mixture (use your fingers dipped in the slurry and spread it around the rim, then press the edges together), dip the sandwiches into the beaten eggs and then the bread crumbs. Coat all around the sides too, not just the front and back.

Deep fry in plenty of hot oil. You don’t need to use olive oil unless you don’t mind spending the extra money. Peanut oil works very well for deep frying.

Flip them over carefully when they get golden brown. Be careful not to have the temperature of the oil too hot, or they’ll likely brown before the cheese melts. But you don’t want the temperature of the oil to be too low either, or the bread will be greasy.

If you’ve got a bit of tomato sauce on hand, serve it on the side.

It makes a great dinner, served along with a salad on the side. It’s also addictive, and once you try it, you’ll find out why.

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Mozzarella In Carrozza
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of mozzarella cheese (1/4" thick each)
  • 8 slices of sturdy white bread, crusts removed
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour mixed with a little water
  • tomato sauce of preference
  • peanut oil or another vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Cut the slices of bread from a sturdy loaf and trim the crusts.
  2. Take one slice of mozzarella and place on each slice of bread.
  3. Cover with a second slice of bread.
  4. Mix the flour with the water until you have a loose slurry.
  5. Using your finger, spread a thin layer of the flour mixture all around the edges of the bread.
  6. This will help seal it when it fries.
  7. Press down on the sandwich with the palm of your hand.
  8. Beat the eggs with the milk.
  9. Dip the sandwiches in the eggs and coat thoroughly.
  10. Mix the panko with the parmesan or pecorino cheese and minced parsley.
  11. Dip the sandwiches into the panko mixture and press the coating firmly into the bread.
  12. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan to a medium temperature, and sample the temperature using a small piece of bread dropped into the oil.
  13. When the piece of bread sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
  14. Carefully place the sandwiches in the hot oil, cooking long enough to brown each side.
  15. If the heat is too high, it could brown the bread without melting the cheese inside.
  16. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  17. Serve with tomato sauce on the side.

Ricotta and Chocolate Crostata

As soon as I saw this recipe by Domenica Marchetti in Italy Magazine, I knew I had to make it. Domenica’s recipes are always sure-fire winners, from soups to stews to desserts. That chocolate topping! That ricotta base! It’s a seemingly simple recipe, with basic flavors that complement each other perfectly — from the slightly lemony tang of the crust to the sweetened ricotta and dark, bittersweet chocolate.

Yes, you can buy your own crust, and I sometimes do, but in this case, homemade is infinitely better. The recipe makes enough for two tarts — one of which went into the freezer — and with the trimmings, I eeked out enough for two mini tart tins as well.

Follow the directions exactly to make sure you don’t have a soggy bottom. That involves resting the dough in the refrigerator for a bit, then pricking the dough and “blind-baking” it for ten minutes or so.

Fill it with the ricotta/sugar mixture and bake some more.

Then cover it with a ganache of dark chocolate and heavy cream. It will be hard to resist cutting into this one right away, but refrigerate for an hour or two to firm up the chocolate.

Serve as is, with some strawberries on the side, or if you’ve got any growing in your yard, mince some pansy flowers for a confetti of edible color.

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Ricotta and Chocolate Crostata
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups (390g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup (115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pound (500g) fresh sheep’s milk or well-drained cow’s milk ricotta
  • ¼ cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250ml) plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (250g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the eggs and process just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in half, and pat it into two disks. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another use. Wrap the second piece and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the pastry disk from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the disk into a 12-inch (30-cm) circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch (25-cm) round tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the overhang. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons heavy cream and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the crust. Bake until the filling is set, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
  5. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a small saucepan and heat on medium until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and cocoa and stir until the mixture id dark, glossy, and smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Carefully spread the chocolate ganache over the cooled filling, starting in the middle and creating a thick layer that stops just short of the crust.
  6. Refrigerate the crostata until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours. Remove the sides from the pan and set the crostata on a serving plate. Let stand a few minutes, then cut into wedges and serve
 

 

Green Goddess Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

Ready for a succulent, flavorful roast chicken with crispy skin that’s ready in less than an hour? You’ll need to marinate it for six hours or overnight in this green goddess recipe, but it cooks in just a half hour to 45 minutes. The recipe was created by Melissa Clark for the New York Times and calls for a chicken cut in half and roasted at 500 degrees F.  Rather than cut it in half, I spatchcocked it, which is easily done in five minutes if you’ve got a good sturdy knife or kitchen shears. Cut down one side of the backbone.

Then cut down the other side of the backbone, flip the chicken over and press down hard to flatten the breastbone.

Place it in a pan (I used a disposable aluminum pan to make cleanup easy) and pour about 3/4 of the marinade all around the chicken. Save the rest of the marinade to serve with the chicken. The marinade is also delicious as a salad dressing or used as a sandwich spread (if you use yogurt rather than buttermilk). Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of six hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to roast it, pour out the marinade, rinse out the pan and wipe all the marinade off the chicken. Then drizzle with some olive oil and place skin back in the pan side up.

Roast the chicken at 500 degrees (F.) for a half hour to 45 minutes, until juices come out clear and the skin is crispy. Serve at once with the remaining green goddess dressing. 

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Green Goddess Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves (I used lemon balm and parsley)
  • ¼ cup packed chives
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional, but highly recommended to use)
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken, halved through the breast and back bones, patted dry with paper towels (I spatchcocked it - follow photos in blog post to show you how to do it - or ask your butcher to do it.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. In a blender, purée buttermilk, herbs, garlic, anchovies, scallion, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Put chicken halves (or the spatchcocked chicken) in a bowl or large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and cover with three-quarters of the Green Goddess marinade.
  3. (Save the rest to serve as a sauce.)
  4. I used a disposable aluminum foil pan and roasted it in the same pan, after I drained out the marinade and washed the pan.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  6. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  7. Remove chicken from the marinade, shaking off as much liquid as possible, and lay the halves (or the spatchcocked chicken) on a rimmed baking sheet.
  8. (Discard the used marinade.)
  9. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and drizzle with oil.
  10. Roast until cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  11. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving, with some of the reserved sauce if you like.