Posts filed under ‘Italian’

Polenta – A small batch

polenta

Things to know about making perfect polenta every time
1. polenta = cornmeal Any variety can be used
2. presoak the cornmeal before cooking
3. the best ratio is 5:1, water to cornmeal

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon butter
splash of cream

First, presoak the cornmeal
Pour the cornmeal and 1/2 cup of cold water into a bowl
whisk so there are no lumps
then allow to sit for a minimum 10 minutes (the longer the soak, the shorter the cooking time)

Next, pour the remaining 2 cups of water and salt into a pot, and bring to a boil

Now, gradually whisk in the cornmeal and cold water mixture

Let the cornmeal and water come to a boil
then let simmer gently

stir frequently, so there’s no sticking
cook until desired thickness is reached, about 20-30 minutes

At the end, stir in the butter and the cream

Leftover can be chilled, sliced, and fried, then served with maple syrup or a sprinkle of sugar.

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February 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce – A small batch

clam sauce

spaghetti for two, prepared
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red chili pepper flakes
2  6-ounce cans minced clams (Reserve the liquid)
1/2 cup chicken stock (or white wine)
a splash of lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste

As the spaghetti cooks…

Heat oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat
add garlic and chili flakes, heat through
add stock, lemon juice, and reserved clam liquid

Raise the burner to high to reduce the sauce

When pasta is done to desired doneness, drain
add clams to sauce, heat through
return spaghetti to the cooking pot
add sauce to pasta
toss well and heat through
season to taste with salt (if needed) and pepper

Sprinkle with parsley and serve

January 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Chicken Cacciatore – A small batch

cacciatore

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (or 4 thighs)
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced (or one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes)
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper

Cut chicken breasts into four large pieces
toss chicken with flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan
brown chicken on both sides
transfer to plate, set aside

In dirty pan sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper, and seasonings
(more oil may need to be added)
add tomatoes, mushrooms, stock, and tomato paste
stir to combine

Return chicken and any juices to pan
reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes

If the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove lid and continue to simmer until desired consistency is achieved.

May 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

Ciabatta

ciabatta

I’m just spreading the wealth. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour, no changes have been made.  A stand-up mixer and baking stone is recommended, but not required. These are not as airy and hole-filled as stated in some of the comments, but still light and tender with a great chewy texture.

Biga
1  1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon yeast

Mix all of the ingredients until well combined. Let rest in a covered bowl at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, the mixture will be wet and very bubbly.

Dough
biga (from above)
2  1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast

Mix the biga with the remaining ingredients for 2 to 4 minutes
increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes
the dough will be soft and slightly sticky
add additional water or flour if necessary

Let the dough rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface
shape it into a 9″ x 12″ rectangle (or 6 x 12 for larger rolls)
cut out twelve 3-inch square rolls (a pizza cutter works great)
place the rolls onto parchment paper
let rise for about 45 minutes or until they’re puffy, covered

Place baking stone in oven
preheat oven to 450° F

Bake the rolls for 13 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown
remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

February 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Manicotti – A smaller batch

Inspired by a recipe from Cook’s Country, but meatless and smaller in size.

1  15 ounce container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 to 10 ounces chopped spinach, cooked (I use frozen, thawed completely, with all the excess water squeezed out)
8-10 no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375°

Pour boiling water into 9 x 9-inch baking dish, enough to cover noodles
soak noodles until pliable, about 5 minutes
drain noodles and place on a kitchen towel
pour off water and dry baking dish

Combine ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, egg, spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Scoop out 1/4 cup measures of cheese in advance to make sure it’s divided equally

Pour 1/2 of the tomato sauce into baking dish

Top each soaked noodle with 1/4 cup cheese/spinach filling, roll, and arrange, seam-side down, over sauce in baking dish
spread remaining sauce over manicotti
sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella
cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes
remove foil and bake for about 5 minutes

Let cool 15 minutes and serve

May 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm 1 comment

Shrimp Scampi – A small batch

1/2 pound large shrimp, thawed, shelled, and deveined
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup white wine or stock
a pinch red pepper flakes
a splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper

Heat a sauté pan on high
reduce the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil and butter
once the butter melts, foams up and subsides, add the garlic and red pepper flakes
sauté for a minute, or until you see the edges of some of the garlic just beginning to brown

As the garlic begins to brown, add the shrimp to the pan
then add the white wine and stir to combine and coat the shrimp with the butter, oil, and wine
spread the shrimp out in an even layer in the pan. Increase the heat to the highest setting and let the wine boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes

Turn the shrimp over, and boil the wine for another minute
remove from the heat, add the parsley and toss to combine
add the lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Serve alone, with crusty bread, over pasta, or over rice

April 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

Biscotti – A small batch

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons corn meal
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup any dried fruit (optional)
1/4 cup any chopped nut (optional)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix all the ingredients and shape into a log on a greased or lined cookie sheet

Bake for 30 minutes
remove oven from oven and let log rest on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes, cooling slightly

Slice log into 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife
place slices back on the cookie sheet, on their sides, and bake for an additional 15 minutes

February 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

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