Are you planning on going out for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s day this year?
You might want to reconsider. My husband and I prefer to have our special dinner at home because years ago we would go out and we were always disappointed. The restaurant charges were higher than normal and the food was not always up to expectations. The restaurant was crowded, they had lots of reservations, the staff were exhausted and we were rushed through dinner. Got to turn those tables! Some advice. Instead, stay home, cook a great meal and enjoy a romantic evening at home. Below is a special dinner you can make at home and, even with beef tenderloin and lobster on the menu, you won’t spend anything like what a restaurant meal will cost you on Valentine’s day.
For 2 divide the finished risotto in half and serve half for dinner with the lobster. Save the other half for another dinner or some great arancini. I am not in favor of making half a recipe for risotto because I think the taste is affected.
- 1 lb frozen lobster tails (about 2 medium), thawed
- 5 cups salt-free chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and boil over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the lobster meat turns white.
Drain and set aside to cool.
When cool, remove the lobster meat from the shell and chop it into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
Warm the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep it hot over low heat.
In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and onion and cook, about 3 minutes.
Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding the next.
Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, half of the lobster meat and 2 tablespoons parsley.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place in a serving dish and top with remaining lobster pieces; garnish with parsley.
Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Tomatoes
- ½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, seeded tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (each about 4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
In a small saucepan bring vinegar to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the tomatoes into the hot vinegar reduction. Set aside.
Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, turning once.
Allow 7 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) and 9 minutes for medium (160 degrees F).
Spoon the vinegar tomato sauce over the steaks and sprinkle with thyme.
Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Shallots
- 12 oz green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook for one minute. Add the green beans and season with salt and ground pepper.
Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until green beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and serve.
Chocolate Crepes with Raspberry Sauce
For the sauce:
- 4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the crepes:
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened dutch cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Powdered sugar
Place water and 3 1/2 cups of the raspberries in a blender; cover and process for 3 minutes until smooth. Strain the raspberry puree and discard the seeds.
Place the puree in a small saucepan along with the cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar; bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.
In a blender, blend flour, milk, cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, eggs and oil until smooth.
Heat a small nonstick skillet on medium-low flame. When hot, spray with cooking spray to coat bottom of pan.
Pour 1/4 cup of the crepe mixture into the pan, swirling the pan slightly to make crepe thin and smooth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bottom of the crepe is light golden brown.
Turn the crepe over and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until light golden brown. Repeat with remaining cooking spray and crepe mixture.
This should make 12 crepes. You can freeze the extra crepes for another time.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce into the center of each crepe. Fold into quarters, top with some of the remaining sauce, a few of the remaining fresh raspberries and dust each with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
When you hear it is Mardi Gras time, you probably think of New Orleans and Rio with floats and parades and lots of carnival beads.
But did you know that Mardi Gras is also one of the great Italian holiday traditions? The ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a lot of food, drink and general debauchery. When the Christian religion emerged in ancient Rome, its leaders decided to use the pagan festivals to their advantage rather than try to outlaw them. Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter, starts a period of Lent fasting and abstinence in the Christian church. Knowing that a period of lean eating was coming, the idea of Carnival or Carnevale was born and it was combined with those ancient Roman feasts to create Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday”. Originally, Carnevale was just one day – the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday. It was a day when families would cook luxurious, rich food in preparation for the forty days of the Lent.
The tradition was adopted by the French who gave it its present name and added the tradition of dressing up. By the end of the 17th Century, the Mardi Gras festival had come to America. The tradition of Mardi Gras then spread, literally, across the world.
In Italy certain foods are traditional for Carnevale. On the Amalfi Coast and throughout much of southern Italy there’s a migliaccio di polenta made with corn meal, sausages and grated cheese. Naples serves a very rich Lasagne di Carnevale. Throughout much of the Peninsula, however, Carnevale is an occasion for lots of sweet pastries – fried fritters of one kind or another that are quick to make and fun to eat. There are three broad categories made throughout Italy: Lombard’s Chiacchiere, Tuscany’s Cenci and Rome’s Frappe – all sound quite different but look and taste alike.
In America, King Cake and classic Cajun and Creole favorites like Gumbos, Jambalaya, Hurricanes, Beignets, Étouffées, Moon Pies and Fried Po Boy Sandwiches are all traditional Mardi Gras foods. The next few days we will be celebrating Mardi Gras here on the Gulf Coast with lots of parades, parties and much food. The photos above are from the parade on Friday.
Want to celebrate Mardi Gras with delicious food but without all the fat and calories, try some of the makeover recipes below.
BBQ Shrimp with Remoulade
Traditional New Orleans BBQ Shrimp are usually cooked in 1 ½ cups of butter. See original New Orleans’ recipe from Mr. B’s.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 small bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 3/4 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Chopped parsley
- Remoulade Sauce, recipe below
In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high. Add celery, scallion whites and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add Creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add Worcestershire, lemon and shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink and coated with sauce, about 4 minutes. Garnish with scallion greens and parsley.
Serve with Remoulade sauce on the side.
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sweet relish
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a small serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Creole-Style Black-Eyed Peas
This dish gets its smoky flavor from lean Canadian bacon and ground chipotle pepper.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 6 ounces sliced Canadian bacon, chopped
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the water and black-eyed peas. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.
Drain the water and return the peas in the saucepan. Add the broth, tomatoes, onion, celery, green pepper, Canadian bacon, garlic, mustard, chipotle pepper, Cajun seasoning and bay leaf. Stir together and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water, if necessary, to keep the peas covered with liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste..
Remove the bay leaf, pour into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve over cooked rice, if desired.
Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard
Creole mustard is a spicy, hot mustard that you can usually find in the grocery stores.
- Olive oil for brushing on the fish
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 (4 to 6-ounce) catfish fillets
- 1 medium lemon, cut into 8 wedge
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the paprika, cayenne, salt, thyme, black pepper and sugar in a small bowl and stir to evenly combine; set aside.
Brush both sides of the fish lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the blackening spice mixture. Press on the spices to make them adhere to the fish.
Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat until very hot and add the fish to the dry, hot pan. Cook the fish for 2 minutes.
Remove the fillets from the pan and place the fish, uncooked side down, onto a baking sheet pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Mix the mustard and softened butter together. Top each cooked fish with a little mustard butter and serve with lemon.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 stalks celery, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, skin removed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 links pre-cooked Cajun-style andouille sausage or sun-dried tomato chicken sausage (about 6 oz), halved lengthwise, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- One 14 1/2-oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups long-grain brown rice
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions for garnish
In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
Add onion and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are almost tender, about 3 minutes.
Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until browned,
Stir in sausage, broth, 3/4 cup of water, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, paprika and cayenne. Stir in rice, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste and garnish with green onions.
The province of Chieti is a located in the Abruzzo region on the eastern coast of Italy. The province is hilly and mountainous with many valleys that run along the rivers and creeks. The northern part of the province is pretty desolate, while the southern part is dotted with numerous tiny villages.
The province has quite a history.
It was first settled by the Osci people around 1000 BCE. The area was also lived in by the Greeks, who named it Teate. The province and surrounding areas were conquered by the Romans in 305 BCE, but after the fall of Rome in 476 CE, it became a Lombard fortress. The area had been occupied by the Franks, the Normans, the Swabians, the Angevins and Aragonese rulers until it was taken over by Charles V of France. Later, it was ruled by the House of Bourbon.
The Caracciolo nobility rebuilt the area of Chieti in Medieval times. Ferrante Caracciolo began teaching his house staff his cooking techniques, a tradition that continued within the noble family’s household for centuries. Many of the well-trained cooks were sent all over Italy and to other countries to work for royalty and heads of state. This training led to the creation of Villa Santa Maria’s culinary and hotel management school. Every year in October the province is host to La Festa dei Cuochi (the Cook’s Festival) in which locals and visitors from the world over gather to celebrate the local cuisine.
During World War II, the area was the place of a battle between German and predominantly British and Canadian forces where over 2,000 civilians died and many of the towns were destroyed.
The area is well-known for growing saffron but it has a different flavor from the saffron used in Spain. The first saffron bulbs were brought to Italy in 1400 by a Dominican friar named Santucci, who brought them from his birthplace in Spain. He successfully planted the bulbs in his monastery garden and the spice was used to flavor sauces and as a curative herb.
During the autumn harvest, the first presses from the olives are often infused with chili. This is known locally as olio santo or holy oil and used on the table during meals. To experience the significance of this spicy ingredient in the region’s cuisine, visit their famous chili festival held in late August in the small town of Filetto in the province of Chieti.
Lamb is the predominate meat in cooking, vegetables are abundant and there are a large variety of herbs and the use of hot pepper called Peperoncino. Seafood dishes include fish stews, fried fish and fish sauces served over pasta, as well as fresh-water fish, mountain trout and river shrimp.
This is a cheese loving land and they produce a number of cheeses, many of them flavored with the local herbs. Among the most famous cheeses are provolone, both mild and strong, ricotta and pecorino (made with sheep’s milk).
Desserts tend to be simple and include torroncini (a hard candy), pies and cookies often flavored with amaretto, dried figs, cinnamon, chocolate and pine-nuts.
And not to be forgotten are the fine regional wines, such as the red Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and the whites Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Local liqueurs are also very famous, particularly the Amaro Abruzzese.
Italian Seafood Salad
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons red chili pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 lbs calamari rings
- 1 1/2 lbs small fresh shrimp, peeled
- 1 1/2 lbs bay (small) scallops
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 cups dry white wine
- 3 lemons
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped yellow and red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- Freshly ground black pepper for garnish
Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside.
In a large pot combine 10 cups water, the wine, bay leaves and crushed garlic. Cut the 3 lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp. Cook 2 minutes, then remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon or spider and place in a serving bowl.
Repeat the procedure with the calamari, cook 2 minutes and remove to the bowl with the shrimp.
Repeat the procedure with the scallops, cook 2 minutes and remove the scallops to the bowl with the shrimp and calamari.
Be sure to drain off any water that has collected in the bowl and return the fish to the bowl.
Add the celery and the peppers to the seafood, season with salt and pepper and pour the dressing over the mixture. Mix well, cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least six hours.
Just before serving, toss the salad and add the parsley and basil. Garnish with black pepper and serve with the lemon wedges.
Crepes in Broth (Crespelle-en-brodo)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lb chicken wings
- 1 lb beef bones
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 plum tomato, cored and halved
- 1/4 cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Make the broth:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken wings and beef bones until browned, 35–40 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
Add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic to pan; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Return wings and bones to pan. Add parsley, bay leaf, tomato and 20 cups water; simmer, skimming as needed, for 4 hours.
Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan; keep warm.
Make the crepes:
Whisk the parsley, flour, cheese, oil, nutmeg, eggs and 1 cup water in a bowl until smooth.
Heat an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the skillet while tilting the skillet to let the batter cover the bottom completely.
Cook until the crepe is golden on the bottom, 1–2 minutes. Turn and cook 1 minute more; transfer to a plate. Roll each crepe into a cigar shape.
Divide the rolled crepes among soup bowls and ladle reserved broth over the top; garnish with parsley, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lamb Ragu
This type of sauce is usually served over spaghetti alla chitarra, a regional pasta that is shaped on a tool that resembles a guitar. Since most of us do not have such a tool, bucatini or perciatelli pasta is just fine.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 (15 oz.) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
- 1 lb spaghetti alla chitarra or thick spaghetti
- Grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish
Heat oil in a 6-quartt saucepan over medium-high. Cook lamb, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until browned, 6–8 minutes.
Add bay leaves and garlic; cook until garlic is golden, 2 minutes.
Stir in wine; cook until reduced by half, 2–3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 35–40 minutes. Stir in peppers; cook until peppers are tender but not falling apart, about 4 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, 10–12 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to the pan with the sauce. Using tongs, toss the pasta in the sauce. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish with pecorino cheese.
- 4 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg white
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
- 8 ounces (200 g) fresh ricotta
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup candied fruit
- Zest of a lemon
- 2 shots rum
- 2 tablespoons anise seed
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus extra for the topping
Combine the 4 whole eggs, half the rum, half the anise, vanilla, lemon zest, the 1 tablespoon of sugar, the baking powder, and sufficient flour to make a homogeneous dough.
Combine the egg yolks, remaining rum and anise, raisins and candied fruit in a bowl, stirring well to mix thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Roll out the dough slightly less than 1/4-inch thick and cut out rounds with a round cutter or a glass. Place a tablespoon of filling on each round and fold them over to make half-moons. Seal edges with a fork.
Lightly beat the remaining egg white, brush the half-moons with it, sprinkle with sugar and transfer them to an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minute until golden brown.
Sandwiches are one of the most popular midday choices for lunch and, for some, even dinner. They are quick, delicious, and, if properly portioned, an option for losing weight. But if you aren’t careful, a few ingredients can add hundreds of extra calories and make up more than half your daily limit of artery-clogging saturated fat. So make sure you know what hidden calories are hiding between those bread slices. If you make smart choices you’ll create a delicious and healthy sandwich for yourself.
Start with whole grain bread slices, a pita, an English muffin or a tortilla. Look for the words “whole grain” near the top of the ingredients list, not just “whole wheat.” Good choices have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Some breads are fortified with extra fiber and contain as many as 12 grams of fiber per serving, helping you achieve the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber a day.
Good sandwich fillings include chicken, turkey, ham, lean roast beef, tuna, hummus and reduced fat cheese. Check the sodium levels in prepackaged and deli meats, since most of those products run high. Cut the sodium by slicing meat you have roasted at home or by asking specifically for meats lower in sodium at the deli.
Vegetables add both nutrients and flavor. Tomatoes, fresh greens (the darker, the better), red onion and peppers are all good choices. Roasted red peppers are especially good and it you like things spicy, sliced banana peppers can do that for you.
Condiments don’t need to be high in fat to have a lot of flavor. There are low-fat, healthful choices that will give your sandwich extra flavor, such as:
— Italian vinaigrette
— Light salad dressings
— Greek Yogurt flavored with herbs and lemon
Crispy Chicken Sub
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 4 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
- Four 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 thin whole-grain sandwich buns, toasted
- 2 cups arugula or shredded lettuce
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, dill and lemon juice. Season with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg whites, Dijon mustard and remaining 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
Place panko crumbs in a shallow pan. Place flour in a second shallow pan.
Dredge each chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg white mixture. Press cutlets gently into the panko crumbs and transfer to a baking tray or plate.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high and saute chicken until golden brown and fully cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
To assemble the sandwiches:
Split buns and spread yogurt-lemon mixture evenly onto cut sides of the bread, dividing evenly between the four sandwiches. Layer the bottom half of each bun with 1 chicken cutlet and even amounts of lettuce, cucumber slices and roasted peppers. Cover each with the top half of a the bun.
Smoked Salmon Flatbreads
- 4 ounces reduced fat tub cream cheese spread with added chives and onions
- 4 multigrain flatbreads or pitas
- 1 ½ – 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 6 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into strips
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- Ground black pepper
Spread one ounce of cream cheese evenly on one side of each flatbread. Top with shredded lettuce. Add salmon strips, radish slices and capers to each sandwich; sprinkle with pepper. Fold in half and serve.
- 4 whole grain pita breads
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 (6-ounce) cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- 1 small garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 cup grated peeled seedless cucumber
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 cup finely sliced romaine lettuce
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a small baking sheet with cooking spray.
Slice the top third off the pitas. Tear 2 of the tops into small pieces with your fingers and place the pieces in a small bowl; save the remaining 2 pita tops for another use.
Add the milk to the bowl and let the bread soak until very soft, about 15 minutes.
Combine the beef, onion, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
With your hands, gently squeeze excess milk from the pita tops; add the bread to the bowl with the meat; discard the milk.
Mix with your hands or a rubber spatula until well combined and form the mixture into 16 balls, each about the size of a ping-pong ball.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning the meatballs over halfway through baking, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
Combine the yogurt, feta cheese, garlic, cucumber and lemon juice in a small bowl. Fill each pita with tomato, lettuce and 4 meatballs. Spoon yogurt sauce on top and serve.
Mozzarella and Tomato Panini
- 8 slices whole grain country bread
- Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic vinegar
Coat one side of each bread slice with olive oil cooking spray.
Place bread slices on a work surface, coated sides down.
Arrange tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil on four of the bread slices. Cover with the remaining four bread slices, coated sides up; press together gently.
Preheat a panini grill or heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add sandwiches to the hot panini grill or skillet; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is beginning to melt, turning once if using a skillet.
Serve with balsamic vinegar for a dipping sauce.
Mediterranean Sloppy Joes
- 12 oz lean ground lamb or beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes, undrained and cut up
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine
- 1 small bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried mint, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
- 3 whole wheat pita bread rounds, cut in half
- Toppings: crumbled feta cheese, cucumber slices and chopped Kalamata olives
In a large skillet cook ground lamb or beef over medium heat until the meat is brown using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks.
Drain off the fat and place the meat on a paper towel lined plate.
Wipe out the pan and add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened. Add the browned meat, beans, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, oregano, mint, salt, thyme and marjoram.
Cover and cook on low-heat for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
To serve: spoon the sloppy joe mixture into the pita bread halves and add the toppings.
The Province of Campobasso is a province in the Molise region of Italy and is situated in eastern Italy on the Adriatic coast. It is bordered in the north by Abruzzo, in the southeast by Apulia and in the south by Campania. The terrain is varied and extends from the mountainous Apennines, down through hills, lakes and inland rivers to the Adriatic coast.
The province’s mountains offer beautiful views and the forests are a natural habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including wolves and rare birds of prey. The province is also known as the perfect location for mountain climbing and for exploring a network of caves that have been carved into the limestone. Among the province’s most renowned places is Campitello Matese, part of the Municipality of San Massimo and a leading ski resort with outstanding courses and modern lifts.
Campobasso boasts two nature reserves, the LIPU Oasis in Casacalenda and the WWF Oasis of Guardiaregia-Campochiaro. Those who love the seaside will appreciate the 24 miles of Adriatic coastline with its host of resorts.
Beans, potatoes, grapes and olives are primary crops of the region. Durum wheat is also important to the region, so pastas are both hearty and abundant. Polenta dishes are common throughout the region. Because animals have been generally raised for sale, recipes are often vegetarian or use very small amounts of meat. Most dishes are prepared simply and use few ingredients.
Appetizers include soups made with legumes grown in the area, such as lentils, pearl barley and beans, especially fava.
Caponata is the dish that best characterizes Campobasso’s cuisine. It is made with wheat (tarallo) dampened with water and vinegar and flavored with tomatoes, celery, peppers, anchovies, black olives and boiled eggs.
Crioli con le noci is another specialty, dried cod cooked with chopped nuts, as is tacozze e fagioli, homemade pasta sauce with beans and pork rind.
Campobasso is also home to delicious sausages and cured meats: capicola or seasoned pork, ciccioli pork rinds, ham, pork sausage, salami, torcinelli (roulade, essentially of the “rest of the pig”), and pork belly.
The area’s woodlands are ideal for producing a variety of mushrooms, among them porcini, field mushrooms, gallinaccio and, of course, the renowned truffle.
Cheeses include caciocavallo, burrino, mozzarella and pecorino. Among the province’s most famous wines are Biferno (white, red and rosé) and Moscato.
Bread with Broccoli Rabe
- 14 oz (400g) stale durum wheat bread
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ¼ lbs (1000 g) rapini or broccoli rabe
- Pinch salt
- Black pepper or chili pepper
Slice the bread into ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick slices.
Wash and clean the broccoli rabe.
Boil for 3 minutes in water to cover, add the bread and drain immediately.
Arrange the bread in layers along with the broccoli rabe. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or red chili flakes).
- 1 ham bone
- 1 cup bite-sized ham pieces
- 2 large onions, halved
- 1 whole large garlic, skinned and cloves smashed with the side of knife
- Fresh or dried basil or both (to taste)
- 5 large bay leaves
- 5 large carrots, sliced
- 2 whole celery stalks and 4 stalks sliced
- 3 medium potatoes, cubed
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lb dried navy or great northern beans, soaked overnight
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Salt & Pepper
Simmer in large soup pot approximately 1 1/2 hours: the ham bone with enough water to cover, onions, garlic, basil, bay leaves, 2 whole celery stalks, salt & pepper to taste.
Drain beans and place in a large pot covered with water by three inches. Add the baking soda. Simmer for 45 minutes, then drain and change the water. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary. When the beans are almost cooked add 1 teaspoon of salt, drain and set aside.
Strain the ham broth and discard the bone and vegetables. Add the broth to the cooked beans, ham pieces and all the remaining ingredients. Simmer for approximately one hour.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pork is preferred in the mountains, while the coastal areas are mainly characterized by seafood dishes.
- 10 ½ oz (300g) fresh egg pasta, Tagliolini
- 3 oz (80g) ham, julienne or peeled medium shrimp
- 1 hot chili pepper, minced
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 ¾ oz (50g) olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
Cook the pasta al dente and reserve some of the pasta cooking water. Drain
In a skillet, heat the oil and fry the chili with the onion. Cook at moderate heat till soft, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Add the ham or the shrimp and heat it quickly.
Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, the minced parsley and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Serve.
Old Style Ricotta Pie
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 pounds ricotta cheese
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening plus 1 tablespoon shortening, chilled
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
For the filling:
Beat the 12 eggs, the 2 cups sugar and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta cheese. Set aside.
For the crust:
Combine the flour, baking powder and the 1 cup sugar together. Cut in the chilled shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Mix in the 4 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease two deep-dish 9 inch pie plates.
Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie pans. Do not make the crust too thick, as it will expand during cooking. Do not flute the edges of the dough.
Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust.
Pour the ricotta filling evenly into the two pie crusts. Top each pie with 8 narrow strips of dough. Brush the top of the pie with milk. Place foil on the edge of the crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove foil. Rotate pies on the rack so they will bake evenly. Continue to bake until a knife inserted in the center of each pie comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate until serving.
Traditional meat stews can add up to 1,000 calories per serving. The calories really depend on the protein used, as fatty cuts of meat contain more calories. The sodium level can also be off the charts, providing much more than the amount recommended per day. Watch portion sizes, also.
Ground turkey isn’t always the leanest choice – it depends on which part of the turkey is ground. And, while ground turkey breast is the leanest, it can end up rather dry after cooking. The best solution is a combination of white and dark ground turkey meat which will keep the meat moist while saving on calories.
A healthy version of traditional beef stew should use 4 ounces of beef per serving while adding lots of vegetables. To keep sodium under control use a low-sodium beef or vegetable broth. Seafood is also a good choice for stew. Lentils are also a good stew ingredient because they contains both healthy protein and carbs and they are filled with fiber to help keep you satisfied.
So, take control of the ingredients and make your own delicious, healthy stews. Since it is quite cold here in the south today, the Bean and Sausage Stew is on our menu.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28-oz can Italian diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1 lb littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 lb frozen cooked crab claws
- 1 lb cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 lb sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a 5-quart Dutch Oven, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until onions soften slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add celery, fennel, chili, oregano, thyme, basil and cayenne; stir to combine. Add wine, tomatoes, broth and clam juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak clams in cold water for 20 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to the stew pot. Cover and cook until clams open, about 20 to 25 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Add crab claws, cover and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Add cod and scallops. Cover and cook until the fish is firm, about 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Easy Oven Beef Stew
Serves 6; 1 cup per serving
What makes this stew easy? Toss all the ingredients together in a Dutch oven, place it in the oven and forget about it for two hours or cook it all day in your slow cooker.
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds lean boneless round steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup onions
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large plastic bag with a tight-fitting seal, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add meat and shake until well coated. Shake off excess flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke.
Add half of the beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke. Transfer beef to large plate.
Repeat with remaining beef and oil. Leave the second batch of meat in the pot after browning and add the browned beef on the plate and the remaining ingredients to the Dutch Oven. Mix well.
Cover, place in the oven and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is tender, stirring once or twice during the cooking time. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve hot.
White Bean and Sausage Stew
6 to 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 1/2 pound lean sweet Italian turkey sausage, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh large rosemary sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Place on a plate and refrigerate until the beans are cooked.
Add the tomato paste and oregano to the same pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and the bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.
When the beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sausage is hot. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with additional vinegar and olive oil.
Chicken Stew with Lima Beans and Cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco®
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups (10 ounces) frozen lima beans (no need to thaw)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups coarsely chopped (1/2 – inch chunks) cauliflower (about 1/2 of a large head)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken thighs and hot sauce; saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Add broth, lima beans, tomatoes, cauliflower and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the beans are tender. Serving size: one chicken thigh and one-fourth of the stew.
Pork and Vegetable Stew
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 onion, medium, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup canned diced Italian tomatoes
- 14 1/2 oz canned low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add pork pieces and shake to coat. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, green pepper and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Sauté pork on all sides, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Return sautéed vegetables to the Dutch Oven. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until the pork is tender.
Season with salt and pepper, garnish with basil and oregano and serve.
The Province of Rovigo is located in the Veneto region in the northwestern section of Italy. Rovigo lies in the southern part of the region in the Po Valley and is crossed by two major rivers: the Po and the Adige. It is a land where a dense network of canals, drainage units, reclaimed lands and plantations coexist with nature. A quiet world, where silence is only interrupted by the sound of birds and the flow of the Po River.
The Medieval influence can be seen in the towers that look over the cities in the province, such as the tower in via Pighin and the two leaning towers: Donà – one of the highest Italian towers – and the Mozza tower. The Cathedral dedicated to St. Stephen preserves many sculptures and paintings. The National Archaeological Museum contains Etruscan and Roman artifacts.
True to Italian tradition, many feasts and festivals are held throughout the Province of Rovigo, celebrating age-old customs that still flourish today. Strawberries, wheat and polenta are just some of the foodstuffs that are featured in these festivals in addition to the traditional Christmas and Easter celebrations. The Sagra degli Aquiloni (Kite Festival) is an event dedicated to children with prizes for the most beautiful and the highest-flying kite. The carnival celebration in Fratta Polesine might be one of the most beautiful events. The parade of carnival floats, games and events among the monuments of the old town on the last Sunday of carnival is very popular, as is the carnival cuisine.
Many crops grow well in the fertile Po Basin. Beans, radicchio, asparagus, pumpkins, squash, corn, celery, artichokes and cherries. All lend themselves perfectly to the region’s cooking. Excellent honey is produced here. Wine culture is strong in the region, with many types of whites and reds being produced here. Wine and grappa making are favorite hobbies because of the excellent quality of the region’s grapes. There are a great variety of excellent local wines, such as Refosco ai Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco and Raboso. White wines include Malvasia, Sauvignon, Riesling and Trebbiano.
Rice production has been honed to a fine art in the region, with countless creamy risotto recipes giving testament to the fact that rice is important. Cattle farming and the dairy industry are highly prized in this area (butter is often used instead of olive oil in cooking) and cheeses find their way into many dishes.
The typical cuisine of the region is based on local products that, of course, would include rice. Along the coastline, fish and shellfish are favorite additions and typical foods include platters of steamed shellfish, pasta with cannucce (mantis shrimp) and gnocchi with baby mullet and fried local fish. Risotto (cooked with eel, mullet and bass), rice in a fish broth, guinea fowl “in tecia” (cooked in an earthenware pot) or the fòlaga (bald coot stewed with beans) are all popular dishes.
A well-known appetizer is “sarde in saor” (sardines in sweet and sour sauce). Another great food tradition in the region is cicchetti, small snacks or side dishes that are usually eaten with a small glass of wine at the popular wine bars. These snacks are often tiny sandwiches, plates of olives or other vegetables, halved hard-boiled eggs, small servings of a combination of one or more of seafood, meat and vegetable ingredients laid on top of a slice of bread or polenta and very small servings of typical full-course plates. Like Spanish tapas, one can also make a meal of cicchetti by ordering multiple plates.
Once you go inland, away from the sea, the food of the hill and mountain towns becomes more hearty, with polenta, gnocchi, horsemeat and wildfowl, particularly duck, are the featured ingredients for main dishes. Bigoli are a rough, thick homemade spaghetti, usually made from wheat flour, that are laboriously extruded through a special tool used only for that purpose. Radicchio is popular with varieties all named after cities they are grown in or near: Treviso, Verona, etc.
Sweet and Sour Sardines (Sarde in Saor)
- 12 fresh sardines, cleaned
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
- 50 g (1/3 cup) raisins
- 2 thyme sprigs
- Toasted pine nuts and lemon wedges, to serve
Brush sardines with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large grill pan or frying pan over medium heat and cook the sardines, turning once, for 8 minutes or until just cooked. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a clean frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened. Add wine and vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced, then add cinnamon, raisins and thyme. Simmer for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour onion mixture over the sardines, then cool completely. Drizzle with remaining oil and scatter the pine nuts on top. Serve with lemon.
Crostini with Radicchio
- 7-8 oz (200 g) radicchio leaves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 2/3 fluid oz (50 ml) red wine
- Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 ½ oz Grated Parmesan cheese, grated
- 20 baguette slices
Cut the radicchio into thin strips. Sauté the onion and the radicchio in hot oil and deglaze the pan with the red wine.
Add salt and pepper and stir, making sure that the liquid doesn’t boil away completely. Mix the parsley into the dish and spread the mixture on the baguette slices.
Bake the baguettes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F (220°C) for about 6 minutes, sprinkle them with cheese and serve.
Supa da ajo (Garlic soup)
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 4 thin slices of stale bread, cut into small cubes
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of hot chicken stock
- 2 eggs
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
Crush the garlic cloves.
Pour the oil into a large saucepan.
Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes on very low heat.
Remove the garlic.
Add the bread cubes. Stir.
Pour in the hot chicken stock.
Season with salt.
Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them.
Pour them slowly into the hot soup.
Cook for 3 minutes stirring continuously.
Serve garnished with parsley.
Italian Pumpkin Gnocchi
For the gnocchi:
- 1 ½ lbs (700 g) pumpkin
- 8 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 3 ½ oz (100 g) flour, plus extra for the forming the gnocchi
- 1 ¾ oz (50 g) grated Grana Padano cheese
- Salt & pepper
For the sauce:
- 3 oz (80 g) butter
- Sage leaves
- 1 ¾ oz (50 g) grated Grana Padano cheese
To cook the pumpkin.
There are two ways:
- Cut the pumpkin into pieces, leaving the skin on, and put it in the oven (350ºF/180°C) for 30 minutes. Then peel it and mash the pulp.
- Peel the skin, cut the pumpkin into pieces and put it in the microwave with a couple of tablespoons of water and microwave on high for 15 minutes.Cool to room temperature.
Mix the pumpkin with breadcrumbs, egg and salt. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms.
Flour the counter or a pastry board and form the dough into 1 inch thick long ropes. Cut each rope into 1 inch pieces and gently press each with the prongs of a fork on two sides.
Put the prepared gnocchi on a floured cutting board or baking sheet. When all the gnocchi are formed, you can cook them.
Cut the butter and sage into small pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F., then turn it off. Place the baking sheet with the butter in the oven.
Boil a large pot of salted water and add the gnocchi, a dozen at a time. As soon as they rise to the surface, scoop them out with a skimmer and place them on the baking sheet in the oven.
As the gnocchi are cooked add them to the baking sheet.
When all the gnocchi are cooked, place them in a serving bowl with a generous amount of grated Grana Padano cheese.