Pesto Genovese…Basil Pesto

This is one of the most important pasta recipes ever! Really….. I was reading last months issue of the Italian food magazine Sale e Pepe where there happened to be a dedication to Basil.   Among the basil related recipes was “THE” recipe for Pesto Genovese, this is the recipe recognized by the Consorzio del Pesto Genovese (yes there is a an actual consortium for pesto Genovese  and other Italian protected food types!).  I am so happy to have found, and to share this recipe with you  Pesto: The Magnificent  7 (ingredients). Let’s cook!

 

Pesto Genovese, Basil Pesto

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: super easy
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In the original recipe they use a mortar and pestle, feel free to use either a food processor or blender, I tried both and got great results

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Ingredients

The Magnificent 7 

2 packed cups of basil leaves (just the leaves and the baby leaves work the best)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, if you can find oil from Riviera Ligure better yet!

6 Tbls parmesan reggiano

2 Tbls pecorino romano imported

2 garlic cloves

1 Tbls pignoli nuts

Sea Salt course grind

1 lb of pasta, linguine or trenette

Directions

With a mortar pestle, blender or food processor combine the above ingredients, mix or blend until creamy and ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside, if making ahead, cover or seal in an airtight container to keep the top layer from browningIMG_1333.JPG

-Add water to a pasta pot, bring to boil,  add the pasta cook to al dente indication on package….drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.  In a pasta bowl, add the pasta and mix with the pesto, if necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water to create a creamy pasta.

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sundried Tomato Kabobs

Sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano, garlic, lemons, and  virgin olive oil all remind me of the Mediterranean summers.  When I make this grilled chicken dish, I am transported to the  Sicilian Countryside at a outdoor bbq.  These kabobs are fast and easy to make, have lots of flavor and are great for your  summertime grilling.  Let’s cook!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Kabobs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful Chicken recipe for summertime grilling

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb skinless chicken breast

1/2-3/4 lb sun dried tomatoes ( in olive oil)

the juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

1/2 tsp lemon peel

2 tbls fresh oregano

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Cut the chicken into 2′ cubes add to a bowl

-add the olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, oregano leaves, lemon peel, sea salt and pepper mix well and let rest for at least 1/2 hour

-alternate the sun dried tomatoes with the chicken on bbq skewers

-heat the gas grill, direct heat low, cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides

*you will notice I like my chicken well done!!

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

A recipe example of “Less is More”.  I am amazed that something so simple can be so good.  I make versions of this Crunch all summer long, everyone loves it.   The first time I tried this salad was at the home of a friend, she served just cucumbers and herbs to accompany our aperitivi, what a great idea!!  This is a fun way to use all the herbs from your garden all summer long,  try it!!

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Letting the veggies sit in the lemon herb salt for at least an hour increases the flavor

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Ingredients

3 large English style seedless cucumbers or 5 firm long homegrown cucumbers

10-12 large radishes

Herbs of choice  mint, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano.  chopped yielding at least 1 cup

Sea Salt 2 heaping tablespoons course grind (*Salt is our friend in this recipe…..the salt is the most important component but it must be Sea Salt Course grind)

2-3 large lemons or lemons and limes

Directions

-Peel and Cut the cucumbers, if seedy scoop away the seedy area cut into finger size pieces

-Clean radishes and cut into halves or quarters

-Add vegetables to a bowl, add the juice of your lemons, limes or combination of both

-Add salt

-Chop together all your herbs and toss them into the bowl with the cucumbers and radishes

-Let sit in or out of the refrigerator

-Serve as snack or as a salad

Shrimp and Swordfish Lemon Mustard Kabobs…Fish on Friday!!

Its time to fire up the grill!  When entertaining friends and family this summer try this recipe, it is easy, fast and  makes a great impression.  The shrimp and swordfish are skewered together after marinading in a mustard lemon thyme sauce.   What is great  about this dish it can be made ahead of time, it is as good  at room temperature as it is hot off the grill.  I am serving mine kabobs with  Cucumber Herb Crunch and  Russian Salad  (both on the blog).  Pour a crisp glass of white wine and your all set….Let’ cook!!

Shrimp Swordfish Kabobs with Lemon Mustard Thyme Marinade

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Once your shrimp are cleaned and deveined marinate for an hour, the kabobs will cook in 10-15 minutes

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Ingredients

2 lbs of shrimp (medium size) peeled and deveined

1 lb of Swordfish cut into cubes

2 lemons

2 tbls Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves pressed

fresh thyme sprigs, at least 2 tbls

Salt seasoning i.e. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Montreal Chicken Seasoning McCormick’s to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Clean, peel and devein the shrimp, cut the swordfish into bite sized cubes and add both to a bowl.fullsizeoutput_3f.jpeg

-Add, the juice of 2 lemons, the dijon mustard, garlic, thyme, salt mixture and fresh ground pepper stir well and let sit for at least 1 hourfullsizeoutput_40.jpeg

-Skewer the shrimp and swordfish, retain the marinade

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-Heat the grill,  when hot ,place the kabobs on the grate, on low direct heat grill until golden on each side.  The reserve marinade can be brushed on during cooking. Approximately 5 minutes per side.

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-Place on a platter and serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

Bruschetta with Tomatoes

Everyone needs to have this in their recipe boxes.  Bruschetta, this  one, topped with tomatoes (the CH is pronounced like SK,  please!!).  A grilled piece of garlic rubbed Italian style bread topped with chopped fresh tomatoes.  Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I served it along with  baby buffalo mozzarella balls as an appetizer, it was a big hit!  I like making it early in the day so the tomatoes become flavored with the garlic, olive oil and basil.  Lets cook!!

Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Always good to have this as a go to recipe, put it in your recipe boxes

Ingredients

2 lbs of ripe plum tomatoes (* I used Piccadilly tomatoes)

2 large cloves of garlic peeled

4 tbls extra virgin olive oil (Imported)

Sea Salt course ground

1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped

for the bread:

12 large slices of Italian style crusted bread

3 tbls olive oil

2 cloves garlic crush

 

Directions

  • Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in quarters then chop into even sized pieces, place in a serving bowl
  • Add the olive oil, generously add sea salt to taste
  • Cut the garlic in quarters and add the pieces (*if they are visible you can remove them before serving)
  • toss in the basil
  • Let sit at room temperature, the tomatoes will breakdown a bit, and the flavors will develop.

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For the bread

-Heat grill pan, gas grill or the oven broiler

-In a small bowl, add the olive oil and the crushed garlic, mix

-With a pastry brush, lightly brush one side of the bread with the garlic oil and grill.  Grill or broil the bread watch it carefully it browns very fast, brown both sides of the bread

-Serve the bread oil side up and spoon the tomatoes with their juices onto the breadfullsizeoutput_3e

-Enjoy

 

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca  which literally means “Jumps in the mouth”, is a Roman dish.  I love making these  pretty little prosciutto  and sage covered veal delights.  Fast and easy to make, they are great to serve for guests and so visually inviting …Lets cook!!

Saltimbocca Alla Romana

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Let these little delights jump into your mouth!!

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs of veal scallopini style cutlets

1/2 lb thinly sliced imported prosciutto  (Parma or San Danieli)

1 cup of dry white wine

Large Sage Leaves (enough to adequately cover each piece of veal)

Extra virgin olive oil

Butter

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Using either plastic wrap or parchment paper,lay the pieces of veal on the paper leaving space for the veal to expand, cover with another layer of paper,  using a meat pounder, pound out the veal,  careful not to tear the meat

-Lay the prosciutto on top of the veal, cover the entire surface

-Lay a large sage leaf on top of the prosciutto, recover with the parchment and lightly pound to flatten the three items,  using a toothpick, secure the sage leaf thru the prosciutto and veal.  *note- feel free to use more that one sage leaf per surface,  I like to cut the veal in two, if the scallops are long so each piece has one large sage leafIMG_1264

-In a skillet, on medium heat, drizzle the olive oil, add a knob of butter, heat until butter starts to lightly foam, add the veal, prosciutto side down, (this will flavor the pan and lightly render the prosciutto ) lightly brown, then,  turn and brown the other sideIMG_1269.JPG

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-As you are cooking off the veal, place the cooked veal on a platter until you finish cooking all the pieces

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-When all the veal is browned and resting on a platter, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scrape the bottom to remove all the brown bits, add pepper, cook to reduce the sauce, then carefully place the veal back into the pan to rewarm with the reduced sauce

-Serve and enjoy

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Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Eggplant with Basil, Parsley and Garlic Oil

Grilled Eggplant is a great summer side dish, cover it with lots of fresh chopped basil and parsley seasoned with garlic oil.   If you are lucky to find the long eggplant use them, if not, the large globe eggplants will work too.  Another fast and easy recipe, just give yourself time to salt the eggplant so it can expel some of it’s water before grilling.  Let’s cook!

Grilled Eggplant with Basil, Parsley and Garlic Oil

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Nothing says summer, like vegetables on the grill, try this delicious eggplant recipe, so much flavor

Ingredients

3 large globe eggplants or 6 large long eggplants

1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt course grain

Directions

-Cut the eggplant into 1/2″ slices lay them in a colander, generously salt the layers, allow the eggplant to rest for 1 hour to expel its water

-chop together the basil and parsley, place in a bowl

-add the garlic (either minced or pressed), and the olive oil to the parsley and basil leaves, mix and let sit IMG_1265

-heat the grill direct heat, medium low

-Place the eggplant on the grill, each side should take about 3-5 minutes,with tongs, carefully turn

-Place the hot eggplant on a platter and pour on the herb oil mixture, try to coat all the pieces with the herbs

-As the eggplant sits it will absorb the oil and herb flavors, can also be served at room temperature

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Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

It is another  Meatless Monday.  On Monday’s I try to post meatless ideas.  Today, I am making an easy side dish market fresh green beans topped with balsamic glazed red onions.  A recipe to keep for all your summer entertainment, dinners, picnics and bbq’s.  Let’s cook!

Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Summer recipe winner, great to serve at all your outdoor events

Ingredients

1 lb of green beans ends snapped and washed

1 cup of thinly sliced red onions

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Snap and wash the green beans

-In a pot large enough to hold the beans, fill with cold water, add sea salt and boil the beans until they are to your desired doneness.  *note- I like my green beans cooked a little longer than normal until they are soft, but not mushy.

-Drain beans and place in a serving bowl

-Thinly slice the red onions, in a small skillet, add the olive oil and the onions, on low heat, slowly cook the onions until they become soft

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-Add the balsamic vinegar to the onions, cook for a few minutes until the onions are sweet, tender and the flavors meld

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-Add the balsamic onions to the green beans, mix well  *note-try to add the onions to the beans while they are still warm, it enhances the flavors .  Adjust salt and pepper.

-Serve and enjoy as a side dish with all your grilled meats/fish/poultry

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco

Yesterday while lunching at Harry’s Bar, one of the most famous restaurants in Venice, I opened the menu and saw something that I have wanted to make forever, Amatriciana in Bianco.

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This recipe is  similar to a recipe I shared with you  a while ago on the blog, Bucatini Amatriciana.   Today’s version,  apart from using Rigatoni,  is made without any tomato.   I like to think of it as a cross between an Amatriciana and a Cacio e Pepe,  you get the bacon onion fusion, along with the creaminess of the Pecorino Romano….It is yummy and easy, try it and  let me know what you think!!!!

Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco...Rigatoni with Spicy Bacon Sauce

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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A little spicy, creamy and yummy….Fast and easy to make

Ingredients

3/4 lb of Rigatoni

3/4 cup pancetta, guanciale, or center cut bacon chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup of finely chopped sweet yellow onion

3/4 cup of Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Hot Pepper flakes or fresh red hot pepper to taste

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients

Directions

-Put your pasta pot on to boil

-In a wok style pan, add the olive oil, the hot pepper, pancetta, and the chopped onion.  On a medium low, heat render the pancetta and saute the onions until they are both golden…. being very careful not to burn the onions.  My personal preference, I like my bacon or pancetta slightly crunchy, others  like it lightly cooked, you decide by taste.IMG_1013.JPG

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-When water boils, add the sea salt, then the rigatoni, stir.  Time the pasta for 1 minute less than the  package indicates see Pasta 101… reserve the pasta water

-With a slotted spoon, add the rigatoni to the cooked pancetta onion mixture and on a medium heat stir the mixture,  add the cheese and if necessary for creaminess, add a little of the pasta water. Stir over the heat to incorporate all the ingredients.IMG_1018

-When finished stirring, the sauce should be smooth and creamy.IMG_1020

-Serve hot, if desired add more Pecorino Cheese and ground black pepper

Buon Appetito!!

 

 

Tangy Grilled Chicken Tenders in a Garlic, Basil Lemon Oil Marinade

I came up this fast marinade about a year ago when I had chicken breast tenders and little time to prepare dinner…  They are spicy and tangy,  as you bite into them you taste all the different marinade elements.  The trick is to pleat the chicken breasts when you skewer them to capture the garlic, basil, hot pepper and scallion in the pockets so when you grill them all the flavors come out.

Tangy Chicken Tenders in a Garlic, Basil, Lemon Oil Marinade

  • Servings: 2-3
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Easy, flavorful grilled chicken  breast alternative

Ingredients

1 lb Chicken Breast filets (tenders)

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

the juice of 2 lemons

1 scallion diced

1 tbls balsamic vinegar

1 mild to med hot pepper sliced thinly (to taste)

2 large garlic cloves sliced thinly (you want the garlic to grill easily so slice it thin)

handful of fresh basil leaves chopped

Chicken Spice mix to taste  (Grill mates Montreal Chicken works!)

Directions

-In a dish large enough for the chicken breasts add the chicken breasts, lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thinly slice pepper and garlic, diced scallion, basil leaves chopped, along with the spice mix.  Mix well and let sit for at least 20 minutesIMG_0124.JPG

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-Skewer the Breasts in a manner which allows you to keep the garlic, pepper inside the chicken (this gets a little tricky with tenders, if you use regular thin cut breasts you can roll the mix inside before inserting the skewer)

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-Place the chicken skewer on a preheated grill  direct heat medium low until golden brown and cooked through the middle.

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-They are not the prettiest, but they are yummy!!!

Buon Appetito!!