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
  • Print

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

.

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
  • Print

A flavorful Chicken recipe for summertime grilling

.

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

 

 

 

 

 

“Baby” Caprese

The Caprese Salad is one of the most popular Italian summer plates.   Beautiful ripe, red tomatoes sliced with buffalo or regular mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh green basil leaves then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, delicious.  The Caprese, with it’s colors of the Italian flag, is easy to compose, a hit for summer lunches or dinners.   As much as I adore the traditional sliced version of this salad sometimes it is easier to serve this bite sized “Baby Caprese” Salad to your guests.  Lets Cook!

Baby Caprese

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

A bite sized version of the classic Italian Caprese Salad

.

Ingredients

1 lb baby plum or cherry tomatoes

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella regular or Buffalo  *try to find the small round mozzarella balls

10 large basil leaves

2 tbls imported extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

Directions

-Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut into quarters and add to a serving bowl

-if using the tiny mozzarella balls, cut into 1/4 or 1/8 pieces depending on the size (if using a large mozzarella, cut into pieces more or less the size of your tomatoes, add to serving bowl

-stack the basil, roll it lengthwise and slice it thinly across the width, add to the bowl

fullsizeoutput_57.jpeg

-add sea salt, generously to taste

-add olive oil and mix

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

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
  • Print

Once your shrimp are cleaned and deveined marinate for an hour, the kabobs will cook in 10-15 minutes

.

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

fullsizeoutput_43

-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.

fullsizeoutput_45.jpeg

-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
  • Print
.

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.

IMG_1286

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
  • Print
.

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

IMG_1271.JPG

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

IMG_1270

-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

FullSizeRender 13

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
  • Print
.

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

FullSizeRender 12.jpg

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Peppers, Oh My!

A classic pasta dish in Italy, loved by all, quick, easy and made with few ingredients, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic, Olive oil and Hot Pepper).   It is hard to believe a plate so simple can be so full of flavor. For a different twist,  I added sweet peppers to the original recipe.  Nothing could be better to serve on a quiet Saturday night, open a bottle of red wine and your all set!  Lets cook!!

Linguini with Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino and Sweet Peppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
.

Simple yet flavorful,  this pasta dish is always a big hit

Ingredients

1 lb imported linguine or spaghetti

3 cups of mixed sweet peppers, red and yellow finely diced

6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed

6 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 hot pepper chopped *heat index as you prefer, note this is a spicy, snappy dish

2 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

3/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

    -Fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a boil while you prepare the sauce

    -Add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper in a wok style skillet large enough to finish off your linguine, on low heat lightly brown the garlic

    IMG_1236

  • When the garlic is lightly brown, add the sweet peppers, stirring on a medium heat until the peppers start to break down and soften, add salt and freshly ground pepper
  • IMG_1237

     

    -Add the parsley, at this point you can take the sauce off the heat while you wait for your linguine

    IMG_1240

    -Add sea salt to the boiling water then add your package of linguine

    -Cook your linguine 1 minute less than package indicates, you will finish it off with the pepper sauce

    -With a spaghetti fork, lift the linguine out of its water, draining as you lift, and mix into the pepper sauce, on a lively heat continue mixing.  Once the linguine is in the pan, add the parmesan cheese, mix well, then serve

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Stuffed Rolled Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Gruyere Cheese

I love this chicken recipe and it is so easy to make.  When your entertaining, this dish will leave a great impression or as we say here in Italy, “Una Bella Figura”.   This chicken dish takes me back in time to when we would eat at those cozy, quaint family owned restaurants in New York’s “Little Italy”.  There we would always find a similar stuffed chicken dish on the menu.   Let’s Cook!!

Stuffed Rolled Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Gruyere Cheese with White Wine and Sage Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
.

These rolled Chicken Breasts make a great statement when entertaining. Easy and  delicious too!

Ingredients

2 Chicken breast halves

3/4 lb prosciutto crudo imported (San Danieli or Parma) sliced thin

3/4 lb of sliced Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1 cup of dry white wine

1 cup of chicken broth

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Chicken Seasoning mixture to taste (McCormicks Montreal Chicken)

2 tbls fresh sage chopped

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Ingredients

Directions

-Lay your chicken breasts on a cutting board, make a cut through the middle along the length side making sure not to cut through the breast,open flat, cut again along the two sides not going through the chicken, open again.  Trying to get the breast as open and flat as possible.  If your butcher can do this for you, better yet!!!

IMG_0792

-Lay your opened breasts on parchment or plastic wrap and cover with another piece.  With a meat pounder gently pound the chicken making sure not to tear it

IMG_0794

IMG_0795

-Uncover the chicken, and layer with the prosciutto do the same with the cheeseIMG_0796.JPG

IMG_0797

-Carefully roll the chicken breast making sure the prosciutto and cheese stay inside the roll, roll the chicken as tight as you can

IMG_0798

Secure the chicken breasts with toothpicks and season to your liking with chicken seasoning mix

-In a skillet, heat the olive oil, when  the oil is hot, add the breasts and brown on all sides carefully turning  with kitchen tongsIMG_0800

IMG_0801.JPG

-When golden brown on all sides, remove the breast, place on a dish and add the white wine, the sage and the chicken broth to the hot pan, deglaze the pan on a lively flame, stirring to releasing  all the brown bits on the panIMG_0802.JPG

IMG_0803-Cook the wine off and let the sauce reduce

-Place the chicken back into the sauce continue to cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through

-Remove the chicken from the pan and let set for 10 minutes before slicing.fullsizeoutput_34

-Place on a platter and either serve the sauce on the side or on top of the chicken.

Buon Appetito

Directions

Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas in a White Creamy Sauce (in Bianco)

Taking advantage the season, here is another pasta recipe showcasing fresh Spring Peas.  If you are lucky enough to find fresh peas, this is an easy, delicious way to use them.  The combination of peas and prosciutto, well, it is a marriage made in food heaven!!

If you are not lucky and cannot find fresh peas, frozen high quality spring peas will work too.  Let’s get cooking!

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas in Bianco

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Creamy pea sauce with a large size pasta to capture all the peas and prosciutto

.

Ingredients

1 lb artisan pasta large shape, i.e. rigatoni, large penne, large shell

2 cups of fresh shucked peas (frozen work too)

2 scallions finely chopped

1/2 lb prosciutto (imported either Parma or San Danieli) sliced and chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tbls of unsalted butter

2 tbls of extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls finely chopped flat leaf parsley

3/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated

Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-In a large sauce pot, large enough to finish off the cooked pasta, add olive oil, chopped scallions, on medium low heat, saute until the scallions become transparent

-Cut the prosciutto in fine strips, cut again into little squares, add to the olive oil and scallions,  saute for a few minutes, you do not want the prosciutto to brown.

-Add the Peas,  parsley and 1 cup of water,  cook on medium low heat (note-you are also cooking the fresh peas at this point). Salt carefully, (prosciutto is already salty ) add fresh ground pepper.  Cook until peas are tender the time will differ depending on your peas.  If the liquid evaporates and the peas are not yet tender just add more water

-Bring water to boil in a pasta pot

-When peas are tender, add cream and butter,  remove from  heat until the pasta is ready

IMG_1214 .

 

-Add pasta to the salted boiling  water (Pasta 101) Cook 1 minute less that package indicates.

-On a lively flame, with a large slotted spoon, scoop the pasta out of the water, drain over the pasta water, add to the sauce mixture stir, add parmesan cheese continue stiring  Pasta should have a creamy texture

Serve immediately

IMG_1215

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey