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Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Timbale…

…was completely foreign to us: we had never heard of it until I found an intriguing recipe for it in this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine.  This month focuses on the brilliance of Italian food, and this recipe is a perfect example of just how wonderful the country’s cuisine is.  A timbale is apparently a food that involves cooking cheese, meat, and pasta in a mold typically used for desserts.  Hence, this particular version looks like a cake made of rice and stuffed with a luxurious sausage filling.

For Sausage-and-Rice Timbale you need:

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 2 oz. provolone slices

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Add the rice, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the rice is tender.  Stir the pot occasionally while you make the filling.  When the rice is finished, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 and put a baking sheet on the middle rack.  Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high and add the onion.  Cook about 8 minutes, until soft, then add the sausage and cook until it is browned, breaking it up as it cooks.  Add the basil to the sausage mixture as well as the garlic and tomato paste.  Cook until the tomato paste browns, about 4 minutes.  Mix in the chicken broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits off the bottom.  Continue to cook the sauce until it is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ springform pan with butter.  Coat the bottom with the breadcrumbs, tapping to remove any of the excess.  Mix the eggs and all but 3 tbsp. of cheese.  Put the cooled rice in a large bowl and stir in the egg mixture to combine.  Place about 2/3 of the rice mixture in the prepared pan.  Using moist fingers, press the rice onto the bottom of the pan and up the sides, making a 1/2″-thick layer.  Layer on the provolone slices.

Top the provolone with 3/4 of the sausage filling.

Then, pat the rest of the rice on top to cover the filling and top with the rest of the pecorino.  Put the pan on the baking sheet in the oven and bake the timbale for about 20 minutes, until golden.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the “cake”, then remove the side of the pan.  Serve a slice of timbale with the remaining filling alongside.

We were so excited to try this recipe and were definitely not disappointed–it is super fun (and downright easy) to make, and is delicious!

*sc

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…made into meatballs is one of the best ideas Rachael Ray has had yet!  It is pretty hard to go wrong with anything dealing with chicken parmesan (especially if you are Schatzi, who could live off the stuff), and this dinner is indeed ridiculously tasty.

For chicken parmesan meatballs you need:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, wrung dry in towel and separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • About 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped(we used a few tbsp. of dried)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or shredded
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Start by combining the spinach and chicken and preheating the oven to 400.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add a clove of grated garlic to the chicken and grate about 3 tbsp. of onion right into the bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup cheese.  Mix in just enough milk to moisten the mixture–don’t use more than 1/4 cup of liquid.  Add the mixture to the chicken, then stir in 2 tbsp. tomato paste, the egg, parsley, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Use your hands to get everything well-incorporated and mold the mixture into a large oval.  Divide the meat into 4 portions, then make 3 meatballs out of each section.  Then, whisk together 1 tbsp. tomato paste and 1 tbsp. oil.  Brush each meatball with the oil mixture and bake on the prepared baking sheet for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are golden.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes.  Drain the pasta and toss with the butter and the rest of the cheese.

Meanwhile, heat a few tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and add the remaining garlic and the rest of the onion, chopped finely.  Cook the veggies for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.  When they are a bit soft, add the tomatoes and wine, mashing the tomatoes as you go.  Season the sauce with some salt and pepper and the basil.  Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to incorporate.

Serve up a plate of pasta topped with 2 or 3 meatballs.

It is hard to wait for the meatballs to come out of the oven–they smell so good while they are roasting!  This is one delicious plate of pasta, and *bonus* it is a tad healthier than a typical plate of chicken parmesan, as the meat isn’t fried. Make a batch and enjoy!

*sc

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Tuna salad…

…has become a staple in our lunch menus!  As I always say, it is just too easy and there are a million ways to make it, so why not?  We made up our own Italian version and enjoyed it quite a bit.

For our Italian tuna salad you need:

  • 2 big cans of tuna, drained
  • a few tbsp. of Italian dressing
  • juice/zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

The first step is to soak the diced onion in cold water for about 5 minutes.  This dilutes the taste just enough so you can actually taste the other ingredients!

All you need to do now is stir the items together!  You can serve the salad several ways–on bread or in a wrap and stuffed with sliced cucumbers or on a bed of greens.

Any way you fix it, this salad is pretty darn tasty and is a great option for a healthy lunch!

*sc

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…can come together to make one of the most amazing foods you will probably ever eat.  I found RR’s recipe for Carbonara deep-dish pizza months ago and can’t believe it took us this long to get around to making it!  With the combination of pancetta, noodles, and Parmigiano, it really and truly is fantastic.

For a delicious twist on pizza you need:

  • salt
  • 18 oz. linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut as thick as bacon, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-reggiano
  • pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • a handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 425 and bringing some water to a boil.  Salt it and boil the noodles for about 3 minutes–they don’t need to be fully cooked.  Then, heat a drizzle of oil in an oven-proof skillet (or wrap your handles in aluminum foil) and brown the diced pancetta over medium-high.  Add in the garlic and crushed red pepper and continue cooking for just a minute.

Add your drained pasta to the skillet and toss it with the meat and spices.  Stir in the cheese.  Then, beat the eggs with the cream and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the pasta and let it set, cooking for 1-2 minutes.  Mold the noodles to make a fairly flat, even layer in the skillet.  Bake the “crust” for about 5 minutes.

Combine the ricotta and parsley and spread this mixture over the crust.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and pop the pie back into the oven for another 8 minutes.

Cut the pizza into wedges, grab some salad, and you are ready to go!

This dinner is absolutely delicious.  We loved it so much that we actually took leftovers for lunch some this week and we were both quite sad to finish our last slices!  When you want a good Italian meal, this is pretty darn tough to beat!

*sc

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Tuna salad…

…is one of my favorite lunch options because there are so many different ways to make it!  It’s almost always a quick fix, and, as with this recipe, it can be pretty nutritious–tuna is wonderful for you!  The idea for this salad was inspired by a pasta salad in my family cookbook.  I took out shrimp and pasta and subbed in tuna.  Delicious!

You need:

  • 24 oz. canned tuna, packed in water
  • 1/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed to 1″ pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • oregano, to taste
  • pepper
  • Italian dressing, to taste

This could not be simpler!  Simply drain your tuna, then mix it with the vegetables.  Add in oregano and cracked black pepper to taste, then mix in Italian dressing.  I probably used less than 1/2 cup, but do it to your liking.  Finish up by adding in the zest of a lemon.

You could eat the salad by itself, but we stuffed it into some whole-grain pitas.

This salad is a keeper!  It is absolutely delicious.  Try it for lunch next week!

*sc

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Capers…

…are quite an unfamiliar food for us.  Until recently, Schatzi and I had never tasted one.  But, last week, i made RR’s Baglio Della Luna Marinara and it used capers in the sauce.  They are quite salty, a bit nutty, and remind me of a mild olive; the jury is still out on how much I like them.  However, this tuna pasta is quite delicious, no doubt about it!

For the pasta you need:

  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 pinches crushed red pepper
  • 12 oz. albacore or Italian tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp. capers, smashed
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Boil and salt water for the pasta and cook it to al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium and add the garlic and red pepper.  Cook the spices until they begin to sizzle, then add the tuna and saute for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil.  Let it cook out until the liquid is reduced by about half, then add all of the tomato ingredients, capers, parsley, and some cracked black pepper.  Bring it to a boil, then knock back the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta to the sauce pot and get everything well incorporated.  I found it incredibly odd that RR didn’t call for any cheese with this pasta.  However, we of course had some Parmigiano-reggiano , so we topped the pasta with a flourish of cheese!

This is a delightfully tasty, easy pasta.  Plus, it is quite the healthy alternative, particularly if you use the whole-wheat/grain penne!

*sc

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