Rocky Mountain States
As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout the United States, many brought with them a distinct regional Italian culinary tradition. Many of these foods and recipes developed into new favorites for the local communities and later for Americans nationwide.
Classic Example of an American Entrepreneur:
Italian Immigrants came to Wyoming in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and most worked in Wyoming’s mining industry. The bulk of Italian immigration to Wyoming was between 1890 and 1910. By 1910, 7.7 percent of Wyoming’s foreign-born population was Italian. The Italian immigrants originated from the northern provinces of Lombardy, Tuscany, and Piedmont. By 1920 more than sixty percent of Wyoming’s Italians lived in Laramie, Sweetwater and Uinta counties.
Domenico Roncaglio was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in 1916. The son of Italian immigrants, he was known as “Teno” to his friends and later changed his last name to Roncalio. Teno was one of a family of nine children. Teno obtained his first job, operating a push cart at the age of five years. The next year he took over a shoe shine stand in a local barber shop. By the time he was sixteen years old, Teno had passed the Wyoming Barber Board of Examiners and was the holder of a Journeyman Barber’s Union card. Teno worked in the barber shop throughout his high school years but after graduation went to work on the Rock Springs Rocket as a combination reporter and advertising salesman. For six years Teno worked for the newspaper, gaining much valuable experience.
In 1938 he entered the University of Wyoming as a Journalism and pre-law student. To help out with expenses, Teno and a Rock Springs buddy, Frank Larrabaster, made stencil duplicates of basketball schedules and sold advertising to go with them. During his years at the University, Teno ran a snack bar in his dormitory, waited tables and washed dishes at Annie Moore’s boarding house, tended the furnace, shoveled snow and scrubbed floors. Any job was a good job as long as it helped pay the college expenses. During his second year at the University, Teno was elected Student Body President and got his first taste of politics.
His service to the people of Wyoming had to wait, though, since America went to war. In 1942, Teno joined the Army and fought with the First Infantry Division, 18th Regiment, in North Africa. Teno later fought in Sicily, Italy and on D-Day on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Teno was also there as the Americans fought Germany and ended the War in Europe. Teno Roncalio would leave the Army a Captain with a Silver Star for gallantry and returned home a hero. That is when his long career as a public servant began. After returning to the University of Wyoming to complete his law degree, Teno would serve his community and state as a Representative in Congress for 5 terms.
Source: Teno Roncalio, U. S. CONGRESSMAN FROM WYOMING by Mabel E. Brown.
Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna
By Deborah Johnson of Cody, Wyoming
- 4 medium sweet red peppers
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cut each pepper into quarters; remove seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 20-25 minutes or until skin is blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Peel off and discard skin. Cut peppers into 1/4-in. strips.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. In a saucepan, cook red peppers and garlic in oil for 1 minute; add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, basil and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Spread 1 cup pepper sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with three noodles, 1-1/2 cups pepper sauce, 1 cup white sauce and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, white sauce and pepper sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
Italians first started coming to Colorado as early as the 1850s. They came for many reasons but the majority — particularly later immigrants — came to improve their lives and the lives of their families.
In the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, the area in Denver between Broadway and Zuni Streets on the east and west and 46th and 32nd Avenues on the north and south was known as “Little Italy”. It was an area of Italian grocery stores and bakeries, community bread ovens, churches and schools; an area where a new wave of immigrants from all over Italy moved to and where they were comfortable and socially secure in a new country.
The area along the South Platte River sandwiched between Denver’s growing downtown and the hills to the west was known as “The Bottoms”. Here many of the first Italian immigrants settled. There was also farmland along the South Platte where they could grow cash crops of vegetables that were then sold in small, neighborhood shops and from push carts and horse-drawn wagons throughout the neighborhoods of Denver.
Although created by accident, these neighborhoods combined many elements of wise urban planning and organization — self-contained communities with their own institutions. They offered, first, a cloak of familiarity — the language, customs and foods of the homeland and they fostered valuable social and economic networks, helping the newest arrivals to get established quickly.
The Denver Post reported that members of the Polidori family have been blending ground pork with just the right balance of salt and spices for more than 80 years.
Ensconced in an unpretentious building that includes what was once the carriage house behind the old Coors Mansion in north Denver, Steve Polidori and his sister, Melodie Polidori Harris, are continuing a tradition launched in 1925, when their great-grandfather, Rocco and his wife, Anna, opened Polidori’s Grocery and Meat Market. It was there that Anna first prepared the sausage recipe she brought with her from Abruzzi, her hometown in Italy.
Anna came through Ellis Island and ended up in Utah, where she met and married Rocco, who was then a miner. After he fell victim to black lung disease, they moved to Colorado for fresh air. Rocco’s brother owned a grocery store. In time Rocco and Anna bought the store. She became the butcher. From time to time, she would make sausage for her husband and herself. Customers would come in, smell the sausage cooking, ask for samples and, before long, they were asking to buy it.
When they could no longer run the store, their sons, Louis and Augie, took over and ran it for almost 40 years. The brother-sister team (the son and daughter of Gary, an attorney, and Ruth Ann Polidori, a retired district court judge) represents the fourth generation to sustain the family business.
Today, the Polidori twosome are behind the Polidori Meat Processors, a family business that has grown its product line to include chorizo, breakfast sausage, bratwurst and meatballs, in addition to hot and mild Italian sausage. Polidori sausages are now found throughout the metro area.
Rigatoni with Polidori Sausage
4 appetizer servings
- 1/2 pound rigatoni
- 1/4 pound spicy Polidori Italian sausage, casing removed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Cook rigatoni in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Cook sausage in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up with back of wooden spoon. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Drain off excess oil and return pot to medium-high heat. Stir in marinara sauce and crushed red pepper, then pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide pasta among four 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over. Place in broiler until cheese melts and begins to brown, watching closely to prevent burning, about 1 1/2 minutes. Sprinkle rigatoni with parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Italian immigrants were one of the largest groups of Europeans to move into Utah. The bulk of Italians came to Utah during the period from the 1890s to the 1920s in response to demands for unskilled labor in the mining and railroad industries. Italians came primarily from the regions of Piemonte, Veneto, Abruzzi, Lazio, Calabria and Sicilia. Immigrants were attracted to four counties, Carbon, Salt Lake, Tooele and Weber. Coal mining, metal mining, work in the mills, smelters, refineries, railroading, farming, ranching and involvement in service-related industries and businesses provided livelihoods for these immigrants.
Italian coal miners played an important role in the Carbon County strike of 1903-04 with labor organizer, Carlo Demolli, assuming a leading role for the United Mine Workers of America. From the late 1910s through the 1930s, Frank Bonacci from Decollatura, Italy, led a tireless effort for UMWA recognition. After union recognition was achieved in the 1930s, Bonacci became the first Italian-American elected to the Utah House of Representatives.
As an early hub of the D&RGW Railroad, the town of Helper became an important Italian settlement. Joseph Barboglio became especially important as the founder of Helper State Bank, an institution that aided Italians with their economic needs.
Many immigrants resided in Salt Lake City and in the mining areas of Bingham Canyon, Magna, Midvale and Murray. The west side of Salt Lake housed a “Little Italy” around a cluster of shops and businesses that catered to Italian tastes. One such establishment was F. Anselmo and Company, located on Rio Grande Street.
In the south end of the city, immigrants had truck farms that supplied fruit and produce to the Farmer’s Market in Salt Lake City. Others, including Luigi Nicoletti, operated goat ranches that specialized in cheese and meat goods sold to Italian miners.
Those who lived in Tooele County found work in the mining town of Mercur, an early central location for Italians and the site of one of their first fraternal organizations. Photographs survive that show bocce (a form of bowling) being played by Italians in the streets. Work was found in the Tooele smelter (run by the International Smelting and Refining Company), where safety signs were printed in Italian and other languages.
Italian-language newspapers produced in Utah included Il Minatore, La Gazzetta Italiana, La Scintilla, and Il Corriere D’America.
Sunnyside had its own Italian band, complete with a music professor from Grimaldi, Italy. Salt Lake City Italians enjoyed the music of various individuals and bands who often played at dances and celebrations. Even the San Carlo Opera Company managed to give concerts in Utah. Accordion, guitar and mandolin music could be heard emanating from many of the mining camps.
Source: Philip F. Notarianni, Italianita in Utah: The Immigrant Experience.
Cristiano and Silvia Creminelli have made Salt Lake City home for authentic Italian salumi. The Creminelli family has been producing artisan meat products in Italy as far back as the oldest aunt can remember and, legend has it, as far back as the 1600s. The Creminellis decided to bring their products to America, specifically Utah, because of the quality pork found there.The Cristianos also brought other authentic Italian flavors to the Beehive State. Cristiano’s wife, Silvia, is an excellent cook in her own right and teaches cooking classes in the city. “We come from the land of rice,” says Silvia. “Piemonte.” So instead of pasta or polenta, a risotto is the center of a meal. It’s not a side dish. It’s served on its own, so the creamy texture and rich flavors can be savored solo. For this dish, Silvia starts with arborio rice and takes it through the traditional steps: the soffrito, the tostatura and the mantecatura.”
Risotto Alla Birra Mortadella E Mascarpone
“This is an extremely easy and flavorful risotto to prepare in colder weather. Beer in the rice gives the dish a full-bodied flavor balanced out with the unexpected additions of ginger, lemon zest, and rosemary – an echo of Italy’s fortunes built on the spice trade. It’s also a great way to use mortadella – the grandfather of the much-maligned bologna in a sophisticated way.”
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup beer such as a pale ale or lager (nothing hoppy or dark!)
- 5 cups beef broth
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 ounces Creminelli Mortadella, julienned
Bring the broth to a low simmer in a large pot.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion over low heat, just to soften and release the flavors. Do not let brown. Add the rice and toast it for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the beer and let it evaporate, stirring the rice as it does.
Add one ladle of hot broth and bring the rice to a simmer over medium heat, stirring as you go. Add a ladleful of hot broth as the rice soaks it up, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until “al dente,” where the rice is soft but still has a slightly firm texture in the middle. Add the lemon zest, rosemary, and ginger.
Remove from the heat and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheese. Serve immediately, garnished with julienned mortadella slices.
Source: Salt Lake City Magazine
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3
Read Part 4
Read Part 5
Read Part 6
Read Part 7
Read Part 8
Valentine’s Day Traditions
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, US store shelves are stacked with candy hearts, chocolates and stuffed animals, but not every country turns to greeting cards and heart-shaped candies to their declare love. Some exchange wooden spoons and pressed flowers, while others hold a special holiday for the loveless to mourn their single lives over black noodles.
Valentine’s Day is synonymous with love and Italians traditionally are considered to be lovers. Known in Italy as “La Festa Degli Innamorati,” Valentine’s Day is celebrated only between lovers and sweethearts. Young sweethearts in Italy profess their love for each other with a more recent tradition, attaching padlocks or “lucchetti” to bridges and railings and throwing away the key. The tradition of locking padlocks to bridges, railings and lamp posts began in Italy a little more than four years ago after the release of the best-selling book “Ho voglio di te” (I want you) by the Italian author, Federico Moccia. This was followed by the popular movie with the same name, starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Laura Chiatti. In the story, young lovers tie a chain and a padlock around a lamppost on the north side of Rome’s Ponte Milvio and inscribe their names on it, lock it and throw the key into the Tiber River below. The action suggests that the couple will be together forever.
Although Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday in Denmark (celebrated since the early 1990s according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark), the country has embraced February 14th with a Danish twist. Rather than roses, friends and sweethearts exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops.
With a reputation as one of the most romantic destinations in the world, it’s little wonder France has long celebrated Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers. It’s been said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Today, Valentine’s Day cards remain a popular tradition in France.
Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday for young couples in South Korea and variations of the holiday are celebrated monthly from February through April. The gift-giving starts on February 14th, when it’s up to women to woo their men with chocolates, candies and flowers. The tables turn on March 14th, a holiday known as White Day, when men not only shower their sweethearts with chocolates and flowers, but also with a special gift.
With Carnival held sometime in February or March each year, Brazilians skip the February 14th celebration and instead celebrate Dia dos Namorados, or “Lovers’ Day,” on June 12th. In addition to exchanges of chocolates, flowers and cards, music festivals and performances are held throughout the country. Gift giving isn’t limited to couples, either. In Brazil, they celebrate this day of love by exchanging gifts and sharing dinner with friends and relatives, too.
Like many parts of the world, South Africa celebrates Valentine’s Day with festivals, flowers and other tokens of love. It’s also customary for women in South Africa to wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14th. Women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia. In some cases, this is how South African men learn of their secret admirers.
Dinner For Two
Risotto with Fresh Pear Sauce
- 3/4 lb (12 oz) Carnaroli rice
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, heated
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 oz Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- 1 sprig marjoram, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 small to medium pears
To Make The Sauce:
Peel the pears and cut them into small pieces. Finely chop the garlic. Wash the marjoram and pull off the leaves.
Place a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and, once hot, add the pear. Saute for a minute. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and marjoram. Cover with the broth and cook until the pears are soft.
Remove the pan from the heat. Let the pears cool, then puree the pan contents using a hand blender. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and keep the sauce warm until serving.
To Make The Risotto:
Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and, once hot, add the onion.
Cook slowly so that the onion doesn’t brown. Add the rice and toast it for a couple of minutes or until it becomes transparent. Add a pinch of salt.
Add a couple of ladlefuls of the hot broth to the rice. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add more broth.
The rice should take about 16 to 18 minutes to cook, depending on its quality. When al dente, remove the pot from the heat and add half the Gorgonzola and butter, cut into pieces. Stir and cover. Let rest for two minutes.
Then add the remaining Gorgonzola and Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir until creamy. Pour the pear sauce into the bottom of individual serving bowls and spoon the risotto on top.
Garnish with a sprig of marjoram and a grating or fresh black pepper.
White Sea Bass with Orange-Fennel Relish
U.S. white sea bass is a sustainable choice–not to be confused with Chilean sea bass. Other good fish choices are Gulf of Mexico caught snapper or halibut or mahimahi.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Half of a (12-ounce) fennel bulb
- 1/2 cup fresh orange sections
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 ounce halved Castelvetrano (green) olives (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 (6-ounce) white sea bass fillets
- 2 teaspoons butter
Combine the first 4 ingredients, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Remove fronds from the fennel bulb and chop them to measure 2 tablespoons. Remove and discard fennel stalks. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and save one half for another use. Discard the core. Thinly slice the fennel bulb half. Add sliced fennel, orange sections, onion and olives to the orange juice mixture; toss gently to coat. Stir in fennel fronds.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish evenly with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add butter to the pan; swirl until butter melts. Add fish and cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with relish.
Make the entire dozen and freeze the extras.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup milk; (up to 2/3 cup)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Whisk together to combine thoroughly. Add chunks of butter. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until it is coarse and pea-sized (doesn’t need to be fine).
Add oil, grated cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup milk. Stir together. Keep adding milk a bit at a time, just until the dough is moistened and no longer dry and powdery. (Shouldn’t be sticky, just moist enough to hold together).
Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop or large spoon. Bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly golden.
While biscuits are baking, melt 3 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and the parsley.
When biscuits come out of the oven, use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the garlic butter. Serve warm.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Strawberries
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 pint Strawberries; hulled, quartered
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
In the top of a double boiler (not directly over heat), sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup buttermilk; let stand to soften, about 5 minutes. Place water in the bottom of the double boiler and bring to a simmer.
In a separate small pan bring cream and 3 tablespoons sugar to a boil.
Add to the gelatin mixture in the top part of the double boiler and place the pan over the simmering water; whisk until gelatin dissolves, 5 minutes. Stir in remaining buttermilk thoroughly with a whisk.
Divide mixture into two dessert bowls. Cover; refrigerate until set, 4 hours.
Meanwhile, mix strawberries with Grand Marnier and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Let stand for about 1 hour. Top panna cotta with strawberries and juice collected in the bowl..
Vegetarian dishes can shine as the main attraction, especially when using fresh and flavorful ingredients. Use spices and herbs often, add lots of flavor with grains and beans, include good fats to carry flavors and salt to bring them together. Roasting vegetables also make them delicious.
It can be challenging to serve healthy meals on a budget. Meatless meals are built around vegetables, beans and grains instead of meat, which is more expensive. You may be able to save money by going meatless once or twice a week. In addition, meatless meals offer health benefits. A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. This kind of healthy eating is the central theme of the Mediterranean diet — which limits red meat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats — and has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Plan some meals that feature entrees you like that are typically meatless, such as lasagna, soup or pasta. Occasionally, try substituting protein-rich foods for meat in your favorite recipes, such as, using beans and legumes in casseroles, salads, burritos and tacos. The following recipes show you that meatless dinners can be good tasting. Give then a try.
Dinner 1: Potato Vegetable Skillet Cake and Green Bean Mushroom Casserole
Vegetable and Potato Skillet Cake
- 3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 (8-ounce) russet potatoes, peeled, shredded and squeezed of excess moisture
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 parsnips, shredded
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and onion. Sprinkle with flour, salt, Italian seasoning and nutmeg and toss to coat. Stir in the eggs and mix in thoroughly..
Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Pour in the vegetable mixture and press gently. Cook, running a spatula around the edges of the skillet occasionally, until the bottom is very brown, about 12 minutes.
Place a round platter upside down over the top of the skillet. Grasp sides of the skillet and platter with oven mitts and invert the potato cake onto the platter. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and slide the potato cake back into the skillet (browned-side up) and continue to cook over medium heat, loosening the edges with a spatula and shaking the pan occasionally to loosen the bottom. Cook until the bottom is browned and crisp and cooked through, about 12 more minutes. Invert the skillet again to remove the potato cake. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Green Bean Mushroom Casserole
- 12 oz fresh green beans
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 oz mushroom blend, sliced (such as, shiitake and oyster mushrooms)
- 6 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2/3 cup shredded Italian Fontina cheese, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried Italian bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into a large bowl filled with ice water; set aside for 5 to 8 minutes, then drain. Cut beans into 2-inch pieces.
In a large skillet on medium-high, heat oil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until mushrooms release their juices. Reduce heat to medium and add shallots, garlic, thyme, pepper and salt.
Cook, stirring constantly, until shallots become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; stir to coat. Slowly add buttermilk and continue to cook, stirring until buttermilk starts to thicken and mixture is creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth and green beans. When broth is absorbed, after 1 to 2 minutes, stir in 1/2 cup cheese.
Transfer mixture to a medium greased baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs and remaining cheese over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes
Dinner 2: Butternut Squash Pie and Orange Beet Salad
Butternut Squash Pie with Hazelnuts
- 1 (3-pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes or 3 cups cubed squash from the supermarket or one 16-oz package of frozen and defrosted cubed squash
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 frozen 9-inch pie crust (in a pie pan)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, mix squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange squash in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squash is tender and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, for 1 minute more.
Add onion to the bowl with the squash and add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, hazelnuts, egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Transfer mixture to the pie crust, pat down lightly and bake until crust is golden brown and the filling is hot, about 40 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Beet, Orange & Burrata Salad
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream.
- 2 beets (about 11 oz), ends trimmed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoons white or regular balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 cups (5 oz) baby arugula
- 6 oz fresh burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into about 8 pieces
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Wrap beets in foil and roast in a baking pan until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool. Peel and cut each beet into 12 slices.
Use a sharp knife to slice peel off the oranges. Cut each orange into 6 round slices.
Squeeze pieces of orange peel (there should be some flesh still attached) into a mixing bowl to yield about 2 tablespoons juice. Whisk in garlic, vinegar, 2 teaspoons water, oil, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss arugula with 3 tablespoons orange vinaigrette. Divide among serving plates and top with oranges, beets and cheese. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Dinner 3: Pappardelle with Tomatoes and Almonds and Bibb Radish Salad
Pappardelle with Tomatoes, Almonds and Parmesan
If your market doesn’t carry fresh basil this time of year, use 2 tablespoons of basil pesto instead.
Plum tomatoes are a good choice during the winter months.
- 1 1/2 pounds plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 cup shredded basil leaves or 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 small fresh hot red chile, minced
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes with the vinegar, olive oil, shallots, oregano, basil and chile and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss. Mix the almonds and Parmigiano together, sprinkle over the pasta and serve right away.
Bibb and Radish Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
- 3 heads of Bibb lettuce, leaves torn
- 8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup snipped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the radishes and chives. Chill until ready to serve.
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the buttermilk and vinegar.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.
Dinner 4: Tomato Risotto and Broccolini with Lemon Crumbs
Tomato Vegetable Risotto
- 32 oz carton lower-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 28 oz container diced Italian tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
- 1/2 cup dry white
- 1 box (10 oz) frozen corn kernels, defrosted
- 1 box (10 oz) frozen green beans, defrosted
- 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Put the reserved tomato juice and the vegetable broth into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over low heat, with a ladle nearby.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet or a wide, heavy saucepan. Add the onion, a generous pinch of salt and cook gently until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle. Stir in the drained diced tomatoes and salt to taste and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and coat the rice, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated and been absorbed by the rice. Begin adding the simmering stock, a couple of ladlefuls (about 1/2 cup) at a time. The stock should just cover the rice, and should be bubbling, not too slowly but not too quickly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more stock and stirring when the rice is almost dry.
After the rice has cooked about 15 minutes, stir in the defrosted corn and green beans. Continue adding broth until it is all used.
You do not have to stir constantly, but stir often and when you do, stir vigorously. When the rice is just tender all the way through but still chewy (al dente), in 20 to 25 minutes, it is done. Stir in the basil and Parmesan and remove from the heat. Serve in wide pasta bowls.
Broccolini with Lemon Crumbs
- 2 slices of country white bread, torn
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 bunches Broccolini (8 ounces each) or broccoli rabe (rapini), ends trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, very finely chopped
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccolini and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well, shaking off the excess water; pat dry with paper towels.
In a food processor, pulse the bread until large crumbs form.
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the breadcrumbs and cook them over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from the heat. Stir in the crushed red pepper and lemon zest and season with salt. Transfer the crumbs to a plate to cool.
In the same skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the broccolini, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccolini is lightly browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Transfer the broccolini to a serving platter and sprinkle the lemony bread crumbs on top. Serve right away with lemon wedges.
Dinner 5: Stuffed Shells and Green Bean Slaw
Cheese Stuffed Shells with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 3 cups canned Italian tomatoes
- 12 oz roasted red bell peppers (from a jar packed in water), drained, patted dry and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup packed parsley sprigs, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 30 large pasta shells
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a blender and add parsley. Remove plastic center from blender lid to allow steam to escape, hold a kitchen towel loosely over the opening and purée.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare pasta shells according to package directions, cooking until just al dente. Drain thoroughly and place on clean kitchen towels.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, basil, chives, egg and corn. Season with black pepper.
Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been coated with olive oil cooking spray. Fill pasta shells with about 1 rounded tablespoon of ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish, stuffed side up. You may have a few extra shells that do not fit in the baking dish.
Cover shells with remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes, garnish with additional parsley and serve.
Green Bean Slaw
- 1 1/4 pounds thin green beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 medium carrot, cut into fine julienne
- 1 medium parsnip, cut into fine julienne
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into fine julienne
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse and pat dry. Slice the green beans lengthwise, if they are not thin.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, about 30 seconds. Stir in the vinegar, water, mustard, honey and celery seeds. Add the carrot, parsnip, red pepper and onion and toss until warmed through, about 1 minute.
Transfer to a large bowl. Add the beans and toss well. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- simple savorings : kale caesar salad (jacquelinecote.com)
- Lentil and Pasta Soup (skinnyms.com)
- mmm… Monday! Broccoli, pea and basil soup (theslowpace.com)
One of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy lies in the north of the country, sharing a border with Switzerland. Lombardy’s northern borders are formed by the Lepontine, Rhaetian and Orobic Alps. It also includes the major Italian lakes: Varese, lseo, Como and the northern part of Lake Garda. The regional capital is Milano. Other important cities are: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Lecco, Lodi, Varese, Sondrio, Pavia, Cremona and Mantova.
Take a tour of Lombardy through the video below.
The mountain peaks welcome ski and snowboard enthusiasts to internationally-famous ski destinations, like the Camonica Valley and Valtellina. In summertime, the area offers mountain climbing, as well as rafting, trekking and mountain biking, while the Stelvio Glacier offers skiers the challenge and adventure of its slopes, even in the warmest months. Visitors can tour the vineyard-covered terraces and hills, stopping off at wineries and local producers to taste the well-known local specialties.
While the terrain of northern Lombardy can be harsh and sometimes unforgiving, water from snow on the mountains refreshes many of the streams and rivers branching out into other parts of the region, as well as other parts of Italy. Freshwater fish like trout, perch and whitefish are abundant. The mountains tend to shelter the southern parts of the region, which allows for milder and more ideal growing conditions further down into the Po River Basin.
Rice grows well here, so it’s no surprise that risotto dishes find their way onto almost every table. The cattle industry is healthy, providing shanks for the well-known dish, ossobuco. Agri d’ Valtorta, Bagoss, Bitto, Branzi, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Provolone Valpadana are just a few of the many excellent cheeses crafted in Lombardy. Peppers, greens, lettuce, pumpkins, potatoes, onions and tomatoes are all abundant harvests. Lombardy is also the home of the Christmas favorite, panettone (a rich bread made with candied fruits, citrus and raisins). Stews, soups, heavily sauced polenta, hearty filled ravioli and slow-braised meat dishes are all-around favorites.
Recipes From Lombardy
Makes: 6 servings
- 5½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2½ cups carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 8 cups hot chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat until melted. Add sage and cook until fragrant. Remove and discard sage. Remove sage butter from heat and set aside.
Heat oil and 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until the rice becomes translucent. This process is known as tostatura or toasting.
Add wine, stirring, until it is mostly absorbed, then add 1 cup of broth and the saffron. Simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is almost absorbed. Continue adding broth in ½ cupfuls, stirring often, and allowing each addition to mostly evaporate before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still slightly firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy (you will have broth left over).
Stir in the remaining 3½ tablespoons butter, reserved sage butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt to taste.
Add an additional cup of broth, stir to combine, and serve “all’onda” (a “wavy” or wet-style risotto) immediately.
Skillet Perch with Lemon and Capers
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 cups each: flour, fine cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 2 pounds lake perch fillets, skinned
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup capers, drained
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
- 1 lemon sliced for garnish
Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt and pepper in medium bowl.
Combine the eggs and milk in another medium bowl. Drench fillets in egg-milk mixture; shake off excess. Coat fillets evenly with seasoned flour; shake to remove excess flour.
Meanwhile, heat large skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to cover skillet bottom. Place perch, one by one, in the pan cooking until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets and cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove to paper towel-lined cookie sheet to drain. Keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining fillets.
For sauce, discard oil from the skillet. Add lemon juice and capers to the skillet; cook about 1 minute or just until bubbles appear. Add chives, salt and pepper to taste. Place fillets on a serving plate. Top with the lemon sauce and lemon slices.
Asparagi al Forno (Classic Roasted Asparagus)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the baking dish
- 2 bunches asparagus (40 asparagus), woody ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Line an 11-inch x 17-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease lightly with olive oil.
Arrange the asparagus on the baking sheet in a single layer, with the tips facing in the same direction (this will make serving easier later).
Pour the water into the baking sheet.
Drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano.
Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden on top and still slightly crisp. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6
The Traditional Recipe for Panettone
- 2 1/4 cups flour, divided
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast, divided
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons softened butter, divided
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
Make the sponge:
Place 1 1/2 cups flour, 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons apricot jam and 1 teaspoon yeast in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rest for 3 hours.
Make the dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the sponge, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon yeast. Use the hook attachment to knead the dough until the mixture is smooth and stretchy, about 3-5 minutes.
Add 3 egg yolks, one at a time and continue kneading until the dough is smooth, shiny, and stretchy.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Return the dough to the mixer and add salt, vanilla, lemon and orange flavoring, honey and 1 teaspoon yeast. Knead for 1 minute.
Add 3 egg yolks and knead until incorporated. Add the 12 tablespoons of softened butter, one tablespoon at a time. Knead until dough is soft, shiny and very stretchy, about 5 minutes. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Combine the chopped raisins, cherries and pecans with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add them to the dough and knead briefly, until just mixed in.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place dough inside of a 6 inch diameter panettone mold, or use a clean, buttered coffee can lined with parchment paper (you can also use a baking dish). Make a small cross in the top of the dough with scissors.
Let dough rise in a warm place until triple in size, which may take several hours since the dough is cold from the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Place the panettone in the oven and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Bake the panettone for about 1 hour, until it has risen high and springs back a little when pressed on top (like a muffin).
Let the panettone cool in the pan on a rack.
Make the icing (optional): Melt 2 tablespoons butter and whisk into 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt and 1-2 tablespoons of milk until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle icing decoratively over the top of the panettone.
Store panettone wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.
Note: Traditional Italian panettones are made with a special flavoring called “fiori de sicila”, which you can purchase at gourmet stores and online. Use in place of the lemon and orange extract.
In 1630 the Barbarigo family, a powerful noble family from the Republic of Venice, owned most of the land in Valsanzibio. They took refuge in this location to escape the black plague outbreak that was spreading throughout Venice and the rest of Europe and that had already killed the wife of Zuane Francesco Barbarigo. Soon after, Zuane Francesco made a solemn vow that, if the rest of his family would be spared from this terrible disease, he would create a spiritual masterwork.
This vow was completed by his son, Gregorio and his grandsons. The garden plans were drawn by Luigi Bernini, a distinguished Vatican architect, and the sculptures were completed by Enrico Merengo (1628 – 1723), who was a well-known sculptor in Venice. The garden contains seventy statues all of which have engraved inscriptions. Symbolism abounds around every corner and down every path, as the gardens were designed to serve as an allegory of man’s progress towards perfection.
Diane’s Pavilion or ‘Diane’s Doorway’ was the main entrance by water to the Barbarigo estate in the 17th and 18th century and was one of the first works in Bernini’s project. This impressive doorway represents one of the most important areas of the complex, in fact, it was not only the entrance to the Barbarigo estate, but it represented, as it does still today, the beginning of one’s salvation’s itinerary, desired by Gregorio Barbarigo in the plans. Just in front of the doorway, on its outside, on two solid pillars, are the Barbarigo shields held up by two statues representing angels with a peaceful attitude. Thirteen other statues adorn the area.
The sculptures depict a world of buildings, streams, waterfalls, fountains, small ponds, game and fish ponds and hundreds of different trees and plants all over an area of more than 10 hectares (over 24 acres).
The labyrinth paths were created with six thousand boxwood plants, many of which are almost 400 years old, since they were planted between 1664-1669. The pruning work takes fifteen hundred hours of work, with the help of manual and mechanical cutters, ladders, levels and plumbed lines. The maze of labyrinths represent the complex voyage toward achieving human perfectibility. The paths are designed to disorient the visitor by the high boxwood walls, The right path to arrive at the exit is never the shorter one. Every promising shortcut considerably lengthens the walk or ends up in a dead-end. Symbolically teaching: whoever mends his way and finds the right path, will have to avoid repeating errors.
This symbolic garden was awarded the first prize, as ‘the most beautiful garden in Italy’ in 2003 and as the third most beautiful garden in Europe in 2007.
The gardens are near Padua (Italian: Padova) Italy. The city is sometimes included with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, The city is the home of the University of Padua, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers. Padua is also the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare’s, The Taming of the Shrew.
The culinary tradition of Padua has its roots in the simple produce of the vegetable garden, the farmyard and the vineyard. Farmland products are represented by the well-known Paduan hen. Paduan hens are an ancient breed (a favorite subject of 16th-century European painters) of small crested and bearded chickens from the surrounding province of Padova, in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy, The Paduan hen is distinguished by the splendor of its plumage and elegant form. The crest is replaced by a tuft of long feathers on the head, which gives the appearance of a chrysanthemum flower in the male or of a hydrangea in the female.
DOC wines are produced in five areas and Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes exclusively from the area of the Euganean Hills. All varieties of chicory (a bitter green) are cultivated in the countryside of Padua. Prosciutto crudo dolce di Montagnana, a specialty of the area, has a festival designated in its honor on the third Sunday of May.
Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
- One-ounce packet dried porcini (25 g, about a packed half cup)
- 1/2 of a small onion, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) short-grained rice, for example Arborio or Vialone Nano
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- The water the mushrooms were soaked in, strained and added to chicken broth to equal 4 cups
- One bunch parsley, minced
- 1 cup (50 g) grated Parmigiano
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
Steep the porcini in one cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Drain and reserve the mushroom water. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
Strain the mushroom water and add chicken broth to equal 4 cups. Place in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Slice the onion finely and sauté it in oil in another large saucepan. Stir in the rice and cook for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly.
Add the wine and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in the first ladle of the chicken broth.
Add the mushrooms, 3/4 teaspoon salt and continue adding broth, a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally.
About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning and add more salt if needed.
As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the butter, a little ground pepper, the parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.
Hens with Garlic and Rosemary
Since Padua hens are not available everywhere, I offer an alternative.
- 4 Cornish game hens, about 1 lb each
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 24 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Rub hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly season hens with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 sprig rosemary in the cavity of each hen. Place in a large, heavy roasting pan and arrange garlic cloves around hens. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a mixing bowl, whisk together wine, chicken broth and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; pour over the hens. Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear. Baste with the pan juices every 10 minutes.
Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Transfer pan juices and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and boil until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons limoncello
- 3 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
LEMON CURD: or 1 (10-12 ounce) Jar Lemon Curd
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1-1/2 cups cold water
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel, plus extra for garnish
- 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 carton (8 ounces) Mascarpone cheese
For the syrup: In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Stir in limoncello; set aside.
For lemon curd: in another saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat.
Stir a small amount of hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Return to the heat and bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat. Stir in butter. Gently stir in lemon juice and peel. Cool to room temperature without stirring.
For the filling: In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold cheese and whipped cream into lemon curd.
Arrange a third of the ladyfingers on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Drizzle with a third of the syrup; spread with a third of the filling. Repeat layers twice.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Carefully run a knife around edge of the pan to loosen. Remove the sides of the pan. Garnish the top with lemon zest and mint, if desired. Yield: 16 servings.
Today, pork is much leaner than ever before, so leaner pork also affects the way it should be cooked. Care should be taken to not overcook pork.
There are various methods that can be used to produce juicy and flavorful pork. Some methods work better than others on different cuts of meat. There are two basic methods: dry heat and moist heat. Dry heat is most often used on cuts that are naturally tender, such as loin roasts and tenderloins. Moist Heat is used on cuts that are less tender, such as a shoulder or boneless Boston butt roast.
Roasting, which is basically the same method of cooking as baking, is often used when preparing fresh ham roasts, smoked ham roasts, crown roasts, loin roasts, tenderloins and ribs. Marinating the meat before roasting or basting it with meat juices throughout the cooking time will also help produce tender and juicy meat. Roasting is a good method to use when preparing a special dinner because it consists of a longer cooking time than other methods and needs little attention during the cooking period. This leaves time for preparing other dishes.
Roasting is accomplished by cooking the pork, usually uncovered in a heated oven. Excess fat should be trimmed and, if necessary, it should be tied. A rib roast should be tied because the outside layer of meat has a tendency to separate from the inner rib-eye muscle. The rib roast is generally tied by wrapping strings around the roast, between each of the bones. Roasts that have been tied retain their shape and provide a more visually appealing roast when cooked. Most often any boneless roast will be tied to reshape it once the bones have been removed. If a boneless roast will be stuffed, the stuffing is added, the roast is then rolled up and tied to hold the stuffing in the roast.
To cook the roast, it is best placed on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. The rack is not necessary but if not used, the bottom of the meat will sit in the juices and stew, which will not allow it to become brown and crisp on the surface like the rest of the meat. If the meat does not have any surface fat, it can be rubbed down with 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of oil and then seasoned.
Meat is sometimes seared before roasting to brown the surface and add flavor. Searing can be accomplished by using several different methods. One method is to use a high oven temperature for a short period of time at the beginning of the roasting time and then reduce the heat for the remainder of the time. This quickly browns the outer surface to create a flavorful crust on the surface of the meat. Another searing method used, involves frying the meat in a very hot pan until all the sides have been browned and then placing it in the oven to finish cooking.
If the meat is not going to be seared in the oven, the oven should be preheated to either 325°F or 350°F (450°F for pork tenderloin) and the meat should be at room temperature.
The length of time a cut of pork will have to cook will depend on the size of the cut and whether it is tied, stuffed, bone-in or boneless. The best way to determine if the meat has cooked long enough is to check for doneness with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 145°F.
- For a crisp surface on your roast, be sure the oven is fully preheated before placing the roast into the oven in an uncovered pan.
- To add extra flavor, rub the surface of the meat with your favorite seasonings before roasting.
- Roasting at a lower oven temperature (NEVER roast meat below 200°F) will result in meat that is more flavorful and moist, but It will take longer to cook.
- A roast with a bone in it will cook faster than a boneless roast because the bone will conduct heat faster.
- Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the meat when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for turning the meat.
- If cooking more than one roast, be sure that there is uniform space around them so that they will cook evenly. The roasts should not be touching and there should be enough space around them to allow air and heat to circulate.
- When placing a thermometer in the meat to check for doneness, be sure that the stem of it is not touching a bone because this can result in a false reading.
- Using the drippings from the roasted meat will provide great flavor when making a stock, gravy or sauce.
- Let the roast rest for 5 minutes before carving to allow the meat juices to settle in the roast.
Classic Tuscan Roast Pork Loin
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 4-pound center-cut bone-in pork loin (rib) roast
- 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Whisk 1/4 cup oil, garlic, butter, sage and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Place pork in large roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub herb mixture over pork and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Cover pork loosely with foil and roast 2 hours.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until potatoes are golden but not tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to the roasting pan with the pork. Toss potatoes with pan juices. Continue roasting, uncovered, until pork browns, potatoes are tender and juices are slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.
Place pork in the center of large platter. Surround with the potatoes. Pour juices over pork and potatoes.
Italian Spiced Boneless Pork with Roasted Vegetables
- 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- One 3-pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of all fat
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound fresh, thin carrots, peeled
- 16 large shallots, peeled and halved
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a mini processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, ground fennel, crushed red pepper, black pepper and olive oil and process to a paste. Set the pork roast on a sheet of foil and cut shallow score marks all over the fat. Spread 1 tablespoon of the garlic paste on the underside of the roast; spread the remaining paste all over the scored fat and meaty parts of the roast. Season all over with salt.
Spread the carrots and shallots around the edge of a shallow roasting pan, setting the shallots cut sides down. Leave enough room in the center for the pork.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pork loin and cook over moderately high heat until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Place the pork in the roasting pan with the vegetables and roast for 45 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees, add 1/2 cup of the stock and roast for 20 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F.
Transfer the pork to a board. Roast the vegetables on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes longer and transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
Set the roasting pan over moderately high heat, add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and simmer for about 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and sauce.
Sausage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups fresh parsley, chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 lb boneless pork loin or sirloin roast, butterflyied
- Kitchen string
Preheat oven to temperature 350°F.
Blend together basil, 1 cup parsley, pine nuts, garlic and cheese in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
Mix the sausage, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley in a bowl.
Place pork roast fat side down. If the thickeness of the meat is uneven, carefully pound the meat to make it a unifrom thickness.
Spread the basil mixture over the pork and place sausage mixture lenghthwise down the center of the meat. Fold in half and tie the roast in four or five places.
Roast 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Let rest and slice.
Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Apples And Pumpkin Risotto
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
- 4 tart apples, such as Braeburn, McIntosh or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt and maple syrup. Add the tenderloins to the bowl and turn them in the spice mix to coat. Reserve the bowl with any remaining spice mixture.
Heat a large oven-proof saute pan (large enough to hold the tenderloins and apples) over medium-high heat until hot. Add the tenderloins and sear on all sides. If the meat starks to stick, add a little oil.
Add the apples to the bowl that contained the pork spices and mix to coat. When the tenderloins are seared, remove the pan the from heat and scatter the apples around the tenderloins in the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the center of the tenderloins reaches 140 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes, or to desired doneness.
Remove the pan from the oven and remove the tenderloins to cutting board to rest. Place the apples on a serving platter.
Place the pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits. Stir in the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about two-thirds and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter to further thicken the sauce and add a sheen.
Slice the tenderloins and arrange with the apples on the platter. Pour the sauce over the pork and apples.
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1½ cups vialone nano or arborio rice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- Walnut oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and just beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the rice and nutmeg and cook, stirring frequently and coating the rice with the fat, until the rice just begins to toast, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and continue to stir, cooking until the wine is mostly absorbed.
Add a (soup) ladle of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding an additional ladle of broth as each is absorbed by the rice.
After 10 minutes of cooking the rice, stir in 1 cup of the pumpkin puree with another ladle of broth. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.
Continue cooking the rice, stirring in additional broth as needed, until the rice is slightly al dente, about another 10 minutes.
Stir in the remaining pumpkin puree, the chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons walnut oil.
Serve each portion with a light drizzle of walnut oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated cheese.
- Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (leitesculinaria.com)
- Oven Roasted Pernil (Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder) (thedomesticman.com)