Tuesday, April 7, 2009

March Dinner

Well this meal was worth the wait! Our Italian experts Devon Leone, Regina Alexander and Stacey Braghini, put on a feast for us! We all felt like we had gone to Italy and back that night!

Anti-pasta Tray
Pepperroni, Salami, Provalone, Fontina, Motzzarella, Any kind of olives that you like, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, marinated veggies

Italian Bread

Use a bread machine to mix on dough setting. I divided the dough and shaped for 2 medium loaves but you can make one large loaf.
Baked at 350 until hard brown crust was formed. 30 to 45 minutes.
1 cup warm water
3 TBS non fat dry milk
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 cups of flour
21/4 tsp of active dry yeast

Salad dressing

provolone cheese
sun dried tomatoes
black olives
lemon pepper
balsamic vinegar
add amount you want of each to total about 2 cups
cover with olive oil and soak over night


1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/3 cup grated provolone
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/4 cups Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Zucchini alla Paesana (Country style zucchini)

1 lb zucchini
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
11/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1T chopped fresh basil
4 fresh mint leaves chopped
Preheat oven 350 F. Cut ends off zucchini and cut lengthwise. Beat egg with a little salt. Dip zucchini in egg and then in breadcrumbs, Melt a little butter in a pan with some oil and fry zucchini until golden . Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Butter baking dish, put in a layer of zucchini cover with a little tomato sauce sprinkle with parmesan, basil, and mint and continue the layers like this until all ingredients have been used up. End with sauce and bake for 15 minutes. This dish can be served hot but is also delicious lukewarm or cold.

Pesto and Gnocchi

This is my pesto reciepe-you can add it to just about anything. Gnocchi-in this case we bought them at the store (you could also use Angel hair pasta, whatever, get creative)

Leaves from 2 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, untoasted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and blend to a puree. Add the cheese, salt and pepper, and blend again. Add the pesto to whatever you like and toss. Taste for salt and pepper, and add a drizzle of oil, if you like.

Pear and Gorgonzola

Peach and Berry Cobbler

For the fruit mixture:
6 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 5 cups)
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups boysenberries or raspberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the pastry and toppings:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, tapioca, sugar, and salt. Gently mix in berries and vinegar. Taste for balance and add more vinegar, if desired. Spoon mixture into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and baking powder. Work in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture forms large pea sized lumps. This can also be done with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or with brief pulses in a food processor. Slowly mix in 3/4 cup heavy cream until just combined.
Gather dough together into a ball and knead gently on a lightly floured board until it holds together. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round or star cutter, cut dough into shapes. Place them decoratively on the fruit mixture. Brush pastry with 1 tablespoon of cream and then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake until pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly, about 40 minutes. Put cobbler under broiler for a few seconds to brown pastry, if necessary.
Beat remaining 1 cup of cream in a medium bowl with a whisk or electric mixer on high. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat until it holds soft peaks, and then add the vanilla. Serve with cobbler.

Italian Cheesecake

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 lb. cream cheese (2 8 oz. packages)

1 pt. sour cream1

1/2 cups sugar

3 TBS. corn starch

3 TBS. flour

4 eggs slightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup melted butter

Beat cheese until well blended. Beat in sugar, the eggs. At slow speed beat in corn starch, four,lemon juice and vanilla. Add melted butter, sour cream. Beat until smooth. Grease 9 inch spring pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour and 10 min. then turn off oven and leave in oven for 2 hrs. with door closed. Cool and the refrigerate