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The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes

The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes

Your Favorite Classics

 

By Mario Mazzo

 

Copyright © 2016 Mario Mazzo / Mario Mazzo Recipes

COPYRIGHT

 

All rights reserved. No part of this e-Book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, by any information storage, retrieval system or otherwise, without written permission from the author, except in the case of “brief quotations” embodied in critical articles or for reviews posted online for all to see. All requests must be submitted by email, to the author, at the following email address [email protected] asking for permission.

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“Secret Ingredients”

COOK SMART NOT HARD

IN THIS BOOK YOU WILL GET BOTH

MY 2 Secret Ingredients: (including the recipes) to make these delicious sauces.

YOU GET MY: SECRET TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE

YOU GET MY: SECRET ASIAN BROWN SAUCE RECIPE

“Never before have I given these secrets to anyone, especially not the complete formula.”

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DISCLAIMER

 

Disclaimer of Warranty, Limit of Liability & Terms of Use

 

This book is provided “as is”. All efforts have been made to ensure that the information in this book is accurate and complete.

The author and publisher do not warrant the accuracy of the information, text, and graphics contained within this book.

The author and publisher shall not be held responsible for any errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.

This book is presented solely for motivational and informational purposes only.

The information and recipes in this book are not intended to provide dietary advice or any recommendation whatsoever.

A medical practitioner should be consulted before making any changes in diet.

Please do not use or eat any food or ingredient published in this book if you or others are allergic to it.

Readers are strongly urged to take all precautions to ensure all ingredients are fresh and fully cooked in order to avoid the dangers of food borne illnesses.

Additionally, the recipe cooking times may vary, and may require adjustment, depending on the accuracy of the specific appliance you are cooking with.

The recipes, directions, suggestions, notes, tips, and every word in this book are solely the opinion of the author.

The author and publisher take no responsibility for any consequences that may result due to: following recipes or directions, eating, preparing or cooking any food or ingredient described in this book.

You are at your own risk.

If you do not agree to these terms we kindly request that you DO NOT download this book and immediately delete the copy you may already own.

You are own your own after reading this.

If you do not understand this disclaimer please have someone explain to you.

PLEASE READ THIS IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 YEARS OLD

For minors (anyone who is under 18 years of age) do not attempt to follow any recipes, directions in this book, or eat any of the food ingredients listed in this book, unless you are under the direct care and supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Please have your legal guardian read the section entitled “Disclaimer” before asking them to help you.

CONTENTS

 

COPYRIGHT

GET A FREE BOOK

DISCLAIMER

CONTENTS

INTRO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR TRIVIA

MAZZO’S RECIPE CLUB

KITCHEN SAFETY CHECKLIST

COMMON RECIPE ABBREVIATIONS

COMMON RECIPE EQUIVALENTS

[+ COOKING CONVERSIONS US -METRIC +]

ITALIAN COOKING 101

FLOUR

YEAST

PASTA TYPES & COOKING TIMES

DELICIOUS PASTA TIPS

TOMATO SAUCE TIPS

THE RECIPES

CHICKEN PARMESAN

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

NEW YORK PIZZA

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

LASAGNA with MEAT SAUCE

BAKED ZITI with RICOTTA

MEATBALLS & TOMATO SAUCE

CHICAGO DEEP DISH PIZZA

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

CHICKEN MARSALA

ANGEL HAIR PASTA with PESTO

PENNE alla VODKA

CHICKEN PICATTA

ALMOND BISCOTTI

PANNA COTTA

RAINBOW COOKIES

LIMONCELLO BABA

RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

TIRAMISU

CANNOLI

PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS

AFFILIATE PRODUCT SITES

THANK YOU

CAN YOU WRITE A REVIEW?

INTRO

 

In this book, you’ll find the most popular Italian food along with desserts that are commonly found in restaurants all around the world. I know many of you that haven’t tried to make these great classics at home yet, so don’t you think it’s about time you try? I’ve included super easy directions to help you make this amazing food and cook like a pro. Most of these dishes aren’t as hard to prepare as you may have thought and I seriously doubt that you’ll be disappointed with these recipes. So get your apron on and start cooking with me. These recipes are so tasty that you can make for your friends and family smile. The recipes in this book were all carefully chosen all individually rank between 4 and 5 stars.

So just download this book, see which pot or pan the recipe calls for, and get to your local grocery store to get the ingredients for the recipes and you’re halfway there to eating these soon! It will be difficult to find a better Italian-American cookbook if you are looking for these famous type of recipes. This small e-book file can be quickly downloaded to your device, phone or computer. I hope you enjoy this book, but most of all I wish you successful results with a chef’s blessing.

About this Book

In this book I’ve included a variety of dishes not just the ones with red sauce so whatever you’re in the mood for is at your fingertips from now on. You have the favorites like: Fettuccini Alfredo, Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Marsala, Eggplant Parm, Risotto, Basil Pesto Pasta, Ricotta Cheesecake, and of course Tiramisu too. Red sauce recipes are my favorite and even though I was tempted I resisted putting too many of them in this cookbook and wanted to have a well balanced selection of favorites. Plus once you have the basic red sauce recipes for along with the baking instructions for these dishes you can make your own creations like Eggplant lasagna instead of meat inside or anything else your heart desires.

If you’re not experienced in the kitchen don’t worry. I’ve put plenty of detailed directions here, so beginners shouldn’t have a problem completing these recipes. You can confidentially make these meals and I’ve even included many “super tips” for cooking and shopping too.

I’ve decided to try to keep this an old fashioned cookbook by leaving out the fancy pictures, except for the couple on the book cover. But if you love pictures you can find some of them on my website blog. And this also helps in keeping this e-cookbook file size very small, so you can carry these everywhere inside your cell phone.

Share your Masterpiece

When you make a recipe from this book, and take a picture of your masterpiece, I’d love to see it. If you’d like to share them with me, that is. Look for me on Facebook and Twitter and just share them with me there. Or you can email them to me and if they look good nice and clear I can try to post them on my blog page at http://mariomazzo.com/blog

New York Pizza

To finish what I started writing on my book description page, is that one of my favorite things is to eat a hot slice of pizza straight out of the oven from a New York or New Jersey Pizzeria. Hey, most people know that kids love pizza, but the pizza I ate when I was a kid was simply mind blowing. If any of you know what I’m talking about you’ll agree. That pizza juice tomato liquid which sits between those hot layers of cheese and dough you’ll remember for a long time. If done correctly you get that juicy goodness with a small amount of orange colored oil that drips off when you fold the slice in half. Not many edible treats on this planet compare to that. And the Italian pizza guys making these pies know what they’re doing. Back in the day, as I remember, they spoke very little English, just enough for you to communicate with them so you could place your order. So I guess it’s needless to say, I’m a little spoiled and very critical when it comes to pizza and Italian food. I have stories about Chinese food too but that’s for another book.

Tomato Sauce is Always the Star to Me

Some call it gravy, others call it marinara, but I just call it red sauce. Tomato sauce too. When you taste real homemade sauce, the good kind, you’ll remember it. And when used to make some Chicken or Eggplant Parm, and poured on top of a hot Calzone straight out of the oven, it’s difficult not to burn your mouth. Waiting for the food to cool is the hardest part.

Too Many to Choose From

I’m sure I’m not exaggerating when I say there were probably hundreds Italian restaurants to choose from within a 15 mile radius of NYC in the 70’s. You’d always find a new gem by accident in NY, NJ and even PA, which are hot spots for so much great food, especially Italian. You have all the boroughs of New York and also New Jersey too.

Smoking, Cooking, or Both?

Of course when the guy and his family from Italy are in the kitchen making your food, it’s usually a good thing, unless you notice them doing things they shouldn’t be doing while cooking. Things like smoking over your food, with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, or other things I won’t get into now since this is a family cookbook. Now this was way back in the 60’s and there are many laws preventing things like this happening now, but things were different back then. Yes anyone could smoke anywhere at anytime. It was popular and fashionable, before the public was alerted to the possible side affects and dangers. Smokers or non-smokers, these guys making that pizza were great.

Philly, Florida or Bust

A little side note: I love eating in Epcot when visiting Florida because there are lots of imported chefs, working in that specific Disney Park cooking inside those country specific restaurants. If wanting some decent international food without leaving the U.S. I think Epcot is a pretty cool place to grab something when hungry. Or better yet if you’re a FL resident you can get a season pass pretty cheap and go for lunch or dinner at Epcot without having to pay an enormous entrance fee each time you want to go just for an hour or two. But I would mostly recommend taking a 2 or 3 week food tour around the USA focusing at least a week in the NY, NJ, PA, area. Then hit some other fun spots like the Amish country for some amazing family style fried chicken and all the fixings’. Maybe even head down south several hours drive from Philly to West Virginia for some amazing home made cakes and pies. Then if you have more time on your hands you could even visit other southern states like the Carolina’s for some good ol southern cooking.

But whatever you do if you eat meat, don’t forget to spend at least a day in Philly and try out some of those traditional Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches. Sorry vegetarian people. This is the one thing that I feel sorry about for you guys. There’s the famous Gino’s restaurant and also Pat’s close to each other. And lots of other small little sandwich shops scattered around town that make killer Cheese Steak Subs. Just make sure you look at the internet for reviews before you choose an unknown spot. I’d hate it you choose a dud restaurant because your cell phone battery died and couldn’t get online to see what’s good around you. Maybe one day if I create a sandwich cookbook I’ll be sure to squeeze in an original Philly Steak Sandwich recipe.

End of Intro

Getting back to the 1960’s and eating all of that great food. I specifically remember during the late 60’s buying slices of pizza at the local pizza parlor for around $0.30 each. I know you grandpas and grandmas out there remember even lower prices as low as $0.10 in the city 10 years earlier. Rent was also low at around $100 per month for an apartment. Times and prices certainly have changed but great food can still be found if you know where to look. If you can’t find it outside or don’t want to spend $100 for a decent tasting meal for 2 then make some of these recipes and relax at home for a change.

This book is my attempt to preserve great recipes and amazing flavors. I hope that you’ll stumble into one of these delicious Italian classics which have influenced the world.

I believe the recipes in this cookbook are about as close to the original Italian/American Classics as you’ll get.

Chefs from around the world have made these classics and I hope you will too. Please let me know when you do by shooting an email over or better yet, join my recipe club, it’s free. And you’ll automatically be added to my email contact list.

Buon Appetito ~ Mario

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario has been cooking for over 40 years, and has done some bartending too. He’s originally from New York and lived in NY and NJ for over 30 years. After moving from that area he’s lived in several places around the world, and is familiar with international cooking and cultures. Some of his main specialties include: Italian, and Thai food which he’s learned while living abroad. He’s currently an author, and recipe creator, who loves sharing food and interacting with everyone young and old. He’s sometimes known for amusing people with interesting stories he’s accumulated from his adventures. He’s the creator and developer of Mazzo’s Recipe Club, a free recipe club for readers and fans. Check out his website which has a lot to offer including, cooking tips, recipes, kitchen tools for chefs, along with specialty food items at http://mariomazzo.com

Mario’s most recent recipe was his Brazilian Turkey Pizza which has paper thin slices of turkey breast and some other toppings. His famous BBQ Chicken Pizza was the last recipe he created and enjoyed feeding it to many, a hybrid of a Sicilian Square Pie and a BBQ Chicken Pizza. In the Near Future: Mario plans to have a couple more cookbooks out soon, hopefully by the end of this year.

 

About Me – In my own words

 

If you don’t know me yet, I’m a pizza freak and really love Italian food too, especially the red sauce. I guess that’s why when I was a baby I cried for tomatoes. At least this is what I was told.

I love all types of pizza and too many to list here. Some of my favs are: Neapolitan, Sicilian, New York Style, Chicago Deep Dish (stuffed of course), Barbeque Chicken Pizza, and I love Pizza with Mushrooms. My latest creation called “Brazilian Turkey Pizza”. It’s a thin sliced deli turkey meat to replace ham or Canadian bacon and came out pretty good.

If you write to me I’ll email you the recipe for this new one. I hope to post a picture of it soon on my Blog Page sometime in October 2016.

My blog page address is http://mariomazzo.com/blog

Read more about me on my author profile page.

AUTHOR TRIVIA

Born

Brooklyn, NY, USA in the early 60’s

Favorite Food to Eat

Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American, Tex-Mex, Desserts, Fresh Caught Fish, BBQ, Super Salads, Breakfast Foods & more.

Favorite Food to Cook

Italian, Chinese, Thai, Sandwiches, Omelets, Desserts

Favorite Desserts

Chocolate everything (except insects), Cannoli, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Tiramisu,

Italian Rainbow Cookies, Éclairs, Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Cheesecake,

Pies: (Cherry, Lemon Meringue, Key Lime (from Key West), Ice Cream, Acai, Donuts

Favorite Music

Classical, Classic Rock, Folk, Jazz, Italian, MPB Brazilian, Singers & Standards, Southern Rock

Favorite Outdoors

Mountains, Ocean, Wild Animals in Nature

MAZZO’S RECIPE CLUB

Want to know more about my recipe club? Here are the basics.

 

Mazzo’s Recipe Club is a Free Service created for readers and fans to help them stay connected.

You Get Automatic E-mail Alerts when Mario’s book prices drop to low prices or free during limited time promotions.

You Won’t be Bombarded by emails trying to get you to buy stuff. We don’t have time for that non-sense.

It’s TOTALLY FREE – So become a part of it now. Just go to www.mariomazzo.com/mazzos-recipe-club

If you ever have cooking questions or just want to say hello you can always email Mario directly at [email protected]

KITCHEN SAFETY CHECKLIST

Safety in the kitchen is the most important thing. It’s extremely important to us, and we hope you’ll make it a priority too. Children can also benefit by learning these things at a young age when they cook with you.

 

WASH YOUR HANDS: before and after touching cooked or uncooked foods, especially eggs, dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables. Basically everything.

HEAT: Please be advised that some of the recipes in this cookbook require cooking at higher temperatures. Please be careful, even with low heat.

FABRICS: Never leave kitchen towels, oven mitts or any item that can melt of catch on fire near the top of the stove burners, or in an oven.

SHARP OBJECTS: keep items like knives, blades grinders, or anything similar out of the reach of children.

PROTECT HANDS: Always use oven mitts or gloves when handling any warm or hot pots, pans, dishes or anything else in the kitchen that has been heated.

PROTECT ARMS: Watch not only your hands but also your forearms when sticking them into an oven. You can easily burn your arms on the sides of the oven. So wear a long shirt.

BOILING WATER: Be careful around it, especially when dropping things into a pot.

HOT LIQUIDS: Be careful around hot water, oil, or liquids, they can splatter or spill.

STEAM: be careful when removing lids from pots and pans, the steam alone can burn you even if the liquids inside don’t touch you.

BROKEN THINGS: discard any broken or chipped plates, dishes, glasses, cups or anything that can cut you.

NON-STICK ITEMS: using non-stick pots, pans and trays may not be suitable or safe at higher temperatures.

 

In our kitchen we’ve decided to get rid of all non-stick pots and pans. The warning labels we have read in the past by the manufacturers clearly state to only use them with low and medium temperatures. Because of this reason we’ve decided it was easier to just avoid using them altogether, and eliminate the possibility of chemicals getting into our lungs or food. The coating of non- stick pots and pans can peel off and get into your food while cooking, so be aware.

 

Here are many dangerous things that can happen when eating or preparing food in a kitchen.

 

Some of these accidents and emergencies include:

 

Cutting yourself

Burning yourself

Choking on food

Allergic reactions to food resulting in choking or death

Eating dangerous bacteria from and coming down with what is called food poisoning. Usually from Salmonella or E-Coli

Botulism and hepatitis from eating contaminated canned food or other prepared food.

There are probably many more things that we have not listed, but these are the most common. Please be careful and learn more about food safety. Safety is an important thing. You are on your own, and at your own risk. We can’t help you other than providing some safety tips. If you feel that you need medical or emergency help please call a doctor and if in the United States call 911. The author and publisher are not held responsible for any unfortunate events or accidents that may occur as in the examples on this page. Please see the disclaimer page of this book.

COMMON RECIPE ABBREVIATIONS

° C = Celsius

C = Celsius

C = Centigrade

° F = Fahrenheit

F = Fahrenheit

“ = inch or inches

c = cup

doz = dozen

fl oz = fluid ounce

g = gram

gal = gallon

gm = grams

hr = hour or hours

kg = kilogram

L = liter

lb = pound

mil = milliliter

min. = minute

mins = minutes

oz = ounce or ounces

pt = pint

qt = quart

sq = square

tbsp or T = tablespoon

tsp or t = teaspoon

approx = approximately

COMMON RECIPE EQUIVALENTS

Rounded off

 

1/2 fl oz = 3 tsp = 1 tbsp = 15 ml

1 fl oz = 2 tbsp = 1/8 cup = 30 ml

2 fl oz = 4 tbsp = 1/4 cup = 60 ml

3 fl oz = 6 tbsp = ______ = 89 ml

4 fl oz = 8 tbsp = 1/2 cup = 118 ml

5 fl oz = 10 tbsp = _____ = 148 ml

6 fl oz = 12 tbsp = 3/4 cup = 178 ml

7 fl oz = 14 tbsp = ______ = 150 ml

8 fl oz = 1/2 pint = 16 tbsp = 1 cup = 236 ml

9 fl oz = ______ = 18 tbsp = ____ = 270 ml

10 fl oz = _____ = 20 tbsp = ____ = 296 ml

16 fl oz = 1/2 quart = 1 pint = 2 cups = 473 ml

32 fl oz = 1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 946 ml

128 fl oz = 1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 3.78 liters

 

One third cup & two thirds cup equivalents

 

1/3 cup = 5.3 tbsp = 2.66 oz = 78 ml

2/3 cup = 10.65 tbsp = 5.33 oz = 157 ml

COOKING CONVERSIONS US -METRIC

 

All Measurements are rounded off

 

U.S. to Metric

 

Capacity

 

1/4 tsp = 1 ml

1 tsp = 5 ml

1 Tbsp = 15 ml

1/4 cup = 60 ml

1 cup = 240 ml

2 cups (1 pint) = 480 ml

4 cups (1 quart) = 0.96 liter (or 960 ml)

4 quarts (1 gal) = 3.79 liters

 

Weight

 

1 fluid oz. = 29.6 milliliters

1 fluid oz. = 28.35 grams

1 pound = 454 grams

 

Metric to U.S.

 

Capacity

 

1 ml = 1/5 tsp

5 ml = 1 tsp

10 ml = 2 tsp

15 ml = 1/2 fluid oz = Tbsp

30 ml = 1 fluid oz = 2 Tbsp

100 ml = 3.4 fluid oz

240 ml = 1 cup

1 liter = 34 fluid oz

1 liter = 4.2 cups

1 liter = 2.1 pints

1 liter = 1.06 quarts

1 liter = 0.26 gallon

 

Weight

 

1 gram = 0.035 ounce

100 grams = 3.52 ounces

500 grams = 17.63 ounces

500 grams = 1.10 pounds

1 kilogram = 2.2045 pounds

1 kilogram = 35 ounces

ITALIAN COOKING 101

Quality Ingredients

 

As with all recipes, the quality of the ingredients is one of the most important factors, if not the primary one for the recipes to come out tasting great. Experienced chefs will always agree of course that to use better ingredients should make the food taste better. So, should you always use the best ingredients for a recipe? Yes!

For example, a good extra virgin olive oil from, Italy, Spain, or even Chile is important. As for me personally, I stay away from oil from Portugal. I find it bitter and flavorless usually, I’m sure there are exceptions to everything though. Lately I’ve tried some delicious oil from Chile. The flavor was great. And we can’t leave out the fresh herbs of garlic, basil, rosemary, oregano and onions. Choosing a good salt helps too and is important. Some great ones are sea salt, Himalayan, or kosher.

The most important thing I should say is that if you have to compromise on using an inferior ingredient, please don’t do it with the Italian tomatoes and cheese. These two ingredients create 80% or more of the delicious flavor.

I didn’t spend countless hours creating this cookbook to learn that Joe Blow Pepperoni Head would read this cookbook, make out his shopping list, run down to the closest store, buy the cheapest flavorless mozzarella at the deli (that only saved him a measly .65 cents compared to the Polly-O cheese that was right next to him) and have them slice it for him while he chats on Facebook. And Joe if you’re out there reading this I didn’t mean to offend you but you needed to know this. Oh, and there’s one more thing I should add. Please don’t buy the cheapest Wal-Mart canned tomatoes because of the (buy one get one free) sale. Shopping this way only creates bad habits and below average food. Sorry to have to burst your bubble, but your recipe will either be bland, or maybe even suck. You basically just took a great recipe and screwed it up by making an average or below average tasting meal. So please don’t blame me or this cookbook. I’m just trying to help you not mess things up. Do everyone a big favor and buy the good stuff. Even if it means paying $2 more for the cheese and .79 cents more for each can of tomatoes. Unless of course you just lost your job, and don’t know when your next paycheck will be in the mailbox.

Be passionate in life when creating things, especially the food you put into your stomach. I like quality ingredients why shouldn’t you. You’ll find them in most grocery stores unless you live way out in the sticks. Be a good cook. It’s not that difficult, and the power is in your hands. I want to help you make the most fantastic Italian food possible. And who knows, after making these recipes 4 or 5 times you may decide one day to be the next new restaurant owner in your town, or a famous celebrity chef. At the very least you’ll be able to cook up some great meals for yourself and others. I hope you’ll create some delicious food that’s even better than the restaurants near you.

So like I said earlier, the two most important ingredients to zoom in on are the tomatoes and the cheese. All great Italian chefs know this, it’s no secret. These two ingredients, I hope will become your close friends.

What can the difference be? See the example to know what I’m talking about.

Example: You bought some “cheaper” grade B mozzarella cheese because they were all out of the good stuff. Instead of going to another store you wanted to get back home to start cooking. However for some reason, maybe because you were able to buy the good tomatoes for this recipe, it came out pretty decent and even sort of on the delicious side. Now can you imagine what it would taste like if you found that better cheese? Instead of it being decent it would probably be fantastic. Maybe even an 11 on a scale of 10?

Your New Friends’ Names

Always choose tomatoes that are from Italy. It’s extremely important. The most recommended is the infamous San Marzano Italian tomato. If you can’t find those words on the can or jar, try to at least have them come from Italy. I have used many brands of “Italian” tomatoes that did not say San Marzano on the can and they were simply delicious. Next you should really try to go out of your way and get the proper cheese. Pick a high quality Mozzarella cheese. Pick a high quality Ricotta cheese. And pick high quality Parmesan and Romano cheeses. You’ll thank me later.

Cheese Tips

When buying Mozzarella try to get the “whole milk mozzarella” cheese if available. The flavor is superior to the part skim types for sale. If you don’t believe me, try it. Let your own taste buds be the judge. And doing a taste test is the best way. My favorite way to test anything is by a side by side comparison. You can do this with any two brands of the exact same type of cheese. However, you won’t have to do this with the Parmesan or the Romano, because all of the brands of Parmesan Romano that are imported from Italy are great. Just be sure that they are true imports and not copies from other countries. Most stores only sell one imported Italian brand of each of the Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano for those two types of cheese. So they are usually of the highest quality and no taste test is needed for those two. Buy with Mozzarella yes. You will need to taste those because there is usually a great selection.

Remember, most stores let you taste a sample of cheese or meat before you buy them, only in the deli slicing dept usually. But the cheese you need usually can’t be tasted first in most stores because they don’t slice it up for you. It is sold in pre made packages that you can’t open to try. So ask a clerk to point you towards the good stuff. It’s usually not far away from where the deli person is slicing the cheese.

The best mozzarella and ricotta cheese usually come in 1 pound sealed packages and containers. The Parmesan and Romano usually come in a small triangle freshly cut off the round cheese wheel and are usually located in the refrigerated section near the deli. When shopping at a higher end stores like whole foods they will usually let you taste anything that you want before you buy it. They’ll even open sealed packages at times so that customers can taste new things. Ask the attendant to help you with your cheese selections for sure in those high end stores. They seem to have more knowledge than other grocery store clerks.

Important for the Cheese Test

First of all you should always buy ingredients and food with the freshest dates you can find. Sometimes the exp date can vary many months, so look through a couple of packages.

With cheese though the expiration dates are usually very close to each other within a few days. There’s no need to go crazy buying more than 2 or 3 brands for a taste test each time, two or three should be fine. Just make sure to keep an accurate record of the winners and write them down on a piece of paper. But make sure to write down the looser of that round also. Hide the list in a kitchen drawer, until the next time you want to do this again. You’ll have a record of tests done until one day you have a clear winner in each category. Just bring the cheese home, open them both “at the same time” and then taste them. It’s simple, you’re done. Now record everything on paper and save as mentioned above. I do this for everything, especially olive oil, or butter. I just tested an olive oil imported from Chili (which is currently my favorite) vs. and olive oil from Italy and Chili won. It was much sweeter and fresher tasting. The oil from Italy had a bitter taste. All brands are different so do your homework. It’s good to email yourself the results of everything you liked so that when you’re at the store next time you can just check your email. You can even perform a test similar to a wine tasting test by drinking some water in between each sample.

MORE TIPS

Below are some popular store brands of cheese available at most grocery stores. I listed more of the mozzarella brands than ricotta because I usually don’t have a problem finding a decent full flavored ricotta.

When making a ricotta cheesecake for example, you’ll want to have the highest quality ricotta you can get your hands on. Of course I know this is common sense, but just a reminder for you when stocking up on a few ingredients for the fridge.

Mozzarella Regular: Calabro, Capiello, Sorrento, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 365, Polly-O (one of my old time favorites)

Mozzarella Organic: Horizon Organic, Organic Valley.

Mozzarella Buffalo: Try to finding a good quality by asking around, usually they’re available at a higher end store or at Whole Foods, etc.

Ricotta Regular: Polly-O, and Sorrento are both delicious and favorites of mine, but there are many others out there.

Ricotta Organic: Probably any organic ricotta you find in the store should be a high enough quality, but taste-test them to be certain.

Some reviews on the internet for the best tasting mozzarella cheeses state that Capiello and Trader Joes brand are delicious. You might want to add those to the list below the Polly-O.

Remember that if a recipe calls for: 1 cup of mozzarella along with two tablespoons of ricotta, then you probably won’t need to be as concerned with the small amount of a lesser quality ricotta drastically changing the flavor of that dish. At least not nearly as much as the mozzarella can. But it’s better to stay on the safe side if possible.

When shopping these days, although I enjoy the flavor of the famous “non organic” cheese brands, I usually try to stick with organic cheeses. Because of all the added hormones and chemicals that are feed to these animals, I just prefer this and want to stay healthy. Eating organic meats and cheese is way up there on the list if you’re going to choose anything organic to eat. And I do notice a difference in the flavor of the organic meat and dairy products. You might also.

Some dairy tips: Try experimenting and tasting some organic cheeses, sour creams, yogurts and other milk products available. You may be pleasantly surprised and not go back the regular stuff. Or you might not notice a difference at all. As for myself, I have pretty decent taste buds. I can sometimes taste the differences in flavor of individual sections of an orange. You may not notice the difference between organic and non organic dairy products but I’ve had organic cheese, organic yogurts, and organic sour cream that were fantastico.

FLOUR

The cup measurements for 1 pound of flour will vary, depending on the type of flour used.

Below is a way to estimate if your recipe calls for 1 pound of flour.

1 pound of all-purpose flour = approx 3+1/3 cups.

1 pound of cake flour = approx 4+1/2 cups

1 pound pastry flour = approx 4+1/4 cups.

1 pound whole wheat flour = approx 3+1/3 cups.

YEAST

When making fresh bread or pizza you’ll need some yeast. Here’s a crash course on yeast showing 3 types of popular yeast.

 

INSTANT DRY YEAST

 

Much easier to work with and has a finer texture

Can be mixed right into dry ingredients

A type of dry yeast made similar to the process of making active dry yeast but is dried quicker, so it dissolves faster and activates rapidly

Does NOT have to be proofed first so it can be mixed right into the dry ingredients and achieves the same result

A preferred choice of yeast for most that like to bake at home

 

RAPID RISE or QUICK RISE INSTANT YEAST

 

Also a favorite among many bakers at home

Has extra enzymes or other additives to help the dough rise faster

The added benefit is so you can bypass the first rise of the dough and form your loaves or pizza immediately after kneading

 

ACTIVE DRY YEAST

 

Has larger granules similar to cornmeal and needs to be dissolved in water before using

Needs to be proofed since it’s a living organism, but it’s dormant, until proofed, by dissolving into lukewarm warm water

Is usually sold in individual small packets or small jars

 

WHICH YEAST IS BEST FOR YOU?

 

That depends on what you’re baking and how much waiting time you’d like to have for the dough to rise. My suggestion for what it’s worth is that you start off with either the Rapid Rise Instant Yeast or the Instant Dry Yeast. Instant yeasts are more convenient to bake with. You can also experiment with different yeasts to see which you prefer by making the same recipe with the different types. They can certainly affect the finished product, so why not experiment. Some professional bakers only use Active Dry Yeast because they prefer the flavor and end result. The difference may be so minor that you might not even notice. Just remember before buying your yeast that the Active Dry Yeast takes longer for the rising of the dough to occur.

To learn more about yeast or anything relating to food, it’s always recommended to do a little research because it can make or break your recipe. Here is a link to a website that specializes in various types of flour that has a yeast info page that may give you some additionalinfo.http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/yeast.html

PASTA TYPES & COOKING TIMES

Cooking times vary greatly according to type of pasta, brand of pasta, amount of water in pot and many other variables.

This guide below is to give you a general idea of some various pastas available at most stores along with their approx cooking times.

The cooking time number ranges below are in minutes

 

Dried Pasta Chart

 

Acini de pepe 4-6

Angel Hair 4-6

Capellini 4-6

Egg noodles (regular) 8-10

Egg noodles (extra wide) 10-12

Elbow macaroni 8-10

Farfalle 13-15

Fettuccine 11-13

Fusilli 11-13

Japanese curly noodles 4-5

Lasagna noodles 12-15

Linguine 9-13

Mafalda 8-10

Manicotti 10-12

Mostaccioli 12-14

Penne 9-13

Rigatoni 12-15

Rosamarina or Orzo 8-10

Rotelle 10-12

Rotini 8-10

Shells, jumbo 12-15

Shells, medium and small 9-11

Soba noodles 6-7

Spaghetti 8-10

Vermicelli 5-7

Wagon wheel 10-12

Ziti 14-15

Popular Refrigerated Packaged or Fresh Pasta

 

Angel Hair 1-2

Capellini 1-2

Linguine 1-2

Farfalle 2-3

Ravioli 6-8

Fettuccine 1-2

Tortellini 8-10

Lasagna 2-3

DELICIOUS PASTA TIPS

The Pasta

 

For the pasta that is the tastiest use “Durum Wheat Italian pasta. I’m “not” saying to buy the brown whole wheat pasta. That’s not what I’m talking about at all.

Also, try not to use pasta that has been fortified if other choices are available.

 

The Water

 

After your water boils add some salt (sea salt preferred) usually 1-2 tablespoons are sufficient but it really depends on how much water you are using.

The general rule is approx 1 heaping tablespoon for each quart or liter (approx 32 oz water). I use about half this amount. The boiling water should taste salty like the ocean.

Add a couple of tablespoons of Semolina flour to the boiling water if you have any.

Now add your pasta.

Cook until al dente.

 

Removing & Rinsing the Pasta

 

Rinse or Not to Rinse?

You have many options. Many pros say don’t rinse. I say why not? If making one portion at a time, then okay, I get it. But if you are making enough for two or more in one pot then rinsing can usually be an advantage. Try it different ways to see which you like. I left a few examples below if you aren’t too experienced cooking pasta. It’s easy and after a few times you’ll be a pro.

 

Not Rinsing

Remove all the pasta immediately into a large serving bowl using pasta tongs or a pasta scooper.

Let the pasta drip over the water when holding with tongs above the pot for a few seconds until most of the water stops dripping.

Immediately coat it with whatever sauce you are using so it will not stick together.

 

Short Rinse

Sometimes the pasta gets a little sticky if you don’t work quickly after removing it from the pot especially when not rinsing and immediately coating it with olive oil, so according to the type of pasta I’m serving I do various things. One option I like to use is a very short rinse in cold water for about 5 seconds. I throw all the pasta into a clean purified cold water bath. Using my hands I vigorously shake the pasta for about 5 seconds or so.

I then remove the pasta immediately from the water and let all the water drain off into a colander or hold it up in the air for a few seconds with a pasta fork. This helps it also from continuing to cook. After this step you can then place the pasta either into a dry bowl or one that has olive oil. You will not need olive oil however to keep it from sticking because rinsing removes any stickiness.

Please note that when making pasta with a white cream sauce you may not want to rinse it at all. You’ll have to see by experimenting finding what is best for you.

 

Long Rinse

If you’re making a lot of pasta and might have some left over, then you may want to do a longer rinse for a couple of minutes. This helps remove the outside sticky starch. I prefer doing this for many reasons.

I can always heat up the pasta for a few seconds as I need it in a small pan with olive oil, red sauce or white sauce.

 

Pasta with Olive Oil

Place approx 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin preferred) into a very large serving bowl before adding the pasta.

Flavor the oil with a pinch or two of your favorite seasonings.

Some examples of seasonings are: thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, even some fresh parmesan cheese, or anything else that you like.

Before adding the pasta to the bowl with the olive oil, pick it up with tongs, holding it over the hot pot to let all the excess water drip off.

Drop pasta directly into bowl with olive oil.

Mix by use the tongs picking up from the bottom a few times to coat the pasta evenly with the oil. If you don’t do this the top will get sticky.

 

Pasta with Red Sauce

Use the same technique as in the olive oil directions above but instead of using olive oil in the bowl use some red sauce at the bottom of the bowl as the liquid.

You do not need to add any other seasonings because the sauce will already contain every seasoning meant to be in there during cooking.

You can add any additional seasonings such as fresh cheese or a pinch of something else that you like over the pasta after it’s on your plate so that everyone can enjoy it the way that like.

 

Pasta with White Sauce

Use the same technique as used with the red sauce. Just place the white sauce on the bottom of the bowl first, mixing appropriately.

The same directions go for the white sauce as you have done with the red sauce meaning that you do not need to flavor the white sauce since it’s already flavored with the correct ingredients while cooking.

 

Notes

You’re the boss of the food on your own plate so use whichever toppings you love.

Special Red Sauce Secrets for Sauce Lovers

If you love lots of tomato sauce on your pasta the way I do then here are a couple good tips, to prevent all the sauce from disappearing so the pasta won’t absorb all of it.

Pasta Tips for Sauce Lovers

Tip #1: If mixing the sauce into the pasta before plating it, leave at least half of sauce still in the pot. After plating it, put a few tablespoons of sauce over the top of pasta but “do not” mix it in.

Tip #2: First, put the pasta on the plate, then lots of red sauce on top. Try not mixing it too much, and each bite will have wet sauce without being absorbed into the pasta. This is my favorite way.

TOMATO SAUCE TIPS

 

1. Always add a good sea salt to your tomatoes when making sauce. A little at a time though, don’t over salt it. You can add salt when it’s finished cooking. After 45 minutes if it’s too bitter you can add a few pinches of sugar.

2. When buying canned tomatoes try to at least buy cans stating that the tomatoes were grown in and imported from Italy. Usually you’ll see those words on the back of cans in small print.

3. When making tomato sauce, try to use San Marzano canned tomato products if you can find them.

4. Tomatoes grown in the San Marzano region of Italy make the tastiest red sauce, and companies are proud to show words like “from the San Marzano region of Italy” on the can.

5. The way to choose a good can or jar of tomatoes is this: (1) The San Marzano region of Italy is preferred. (2) The next best location is anywhere in Italy. (3) Otherwise trial and error.

6. To make sauce from scratch, types of canned tomatoes to buy are: whole pealed, crushed and pealed, puree, and paste. These are all good but don’t use paste by itself, it’s used to thicken the other types of canned tomatoes as you will see in some recipes.

7. When making a recipe you can save a few minutes cooking by using some store bought or pre-made sauce. The result will probably not be as good but if you find a great sauce then go for it.

8. Double the amount of tomato sauce a recipe calls for so you’ll have some for another time which will save to time making it twice. You can refrigerate the extra for up to about 5 days. If you like freeze it for up to 2 months if you want it to last longer. The flavor should stay fresh tasting within these time limits. If freezing use 16 ounce freezer type zip lock bags, they are easy to use. To defrost, just run some warm water over the outside of the bags for a minute or two. Then the contents should slide right out into a pot to start heating up.

9. When making a recipe that calls for tomato sauce, have your tomato sauce cooked and heated so it’s ready made before preparing the recipe. Some examples of dishes you will need sauce ready for are chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, baked ziti.

10. If buying pre made sauce make sure the sauce you buy is high quality. Some, not all, of Whole Foods stores sell fresh pre maid tomato and Alfredo sauce in the deli area sometimes. This is a great help when you want to bake a dish like chicken parm or something similar.

11. Tomato puree products from Italy are great. They come on cans or jars. I recently found one is a jar that is delicious. The reason I love puree is that it saves lots of time in many ways when making homemade sauce. First is that I don’t have to get the hand blender out or squeeze by hand the tomatoes. Also it looks as though the seeds have even been removed so I do not have to do that part. Seeds can make sauce taste bitter. If you don’t believe me take a few tomato seeds chew them for a minute and you tell me if you have a slight bitter taste in your mouth or not.

12. When making tomato sauce here’s a few steps to help you create some delicious sauce: 1. Open the can or jar. 2. Cut the green hard pieces off the tops of the tomatoes. 3. Cut the tomatoes in quarters looking for seeds to remove with a small spoon. When removing the seeds it’s perfectly okay to remove the thick gel like substance the seeds are hiding in. 3. Squeeze the tomatoes with your freshly washed clean hands for about a minute over a bowl to catch them in or you can use a hand blender for about 30 seconds. The goal is to break them down in size a little before cooking. I prefer to squeeze them by hand instead of using the hand blender because the hand blender is a little overkill. You do not need them to be a liquid because cooking them will do that for you, plus the hand blender can tend to make too many air bubbles even when it’s on low. But either whichever way you decide to go it’ll be fine.

13. If buying puree you’ll save the couple steps above. I think you’ll probably agree that buying puree is the easiest way to make sauce quickly, and if you’re in a hurry then go for it, unless of course you’d like some larger tomato chunks in your sauce. You may also prefer the pieces of tomatoes for a little extra flavor. Both ways are good to switch off from time to time.

14. You can add a small 5 or 6 ounce can of tomato paste to your sauce recipe if you’d like for a little richness and it can give it a nice flavor. But add about 2 ounces of water with it.

15. When making home made tomato sauce you may want to keep an eye like every 15 or 20 minutes, take the cover off and give it a good stir on the bottom. This will prevent sticking and burning. You can also add 1 or 2 ounces of water every 30 minutes or whenever you see it’s getting too thick, especially if you added paste.

16. Keep the sauce pot covered when making tomato sauce otherwise it will evaporate too quickly and get too thick. Plus it will always spatter all over the place!

17. Always cook your tomato sauce on the lowest heat setting possible.

18. Taste your sauce every 30 minutes. If you do this you’ll know when it’s done. I know that the Italian grandmas in the past used to cook their sauce for at least 2 or 3 hours on a low simmer, but I have to admit that my taste buds lately have grown to love the flavor of sauce that cooks somewhere around the 45 – 60 minute range. I find that the sauce has a very nice fresh and rich enough taste. It’s all about what you prefer, it’s your kitchen. I do however you want. I switch off from 45 minutes to 90 minutes usually. The 90 minute mark will make a more mature sauce. And especially 2 hours

 

SUPER SAUCE TIP

 

After the sauce is cooking for about 30 minutes don’t be afraid to turn off the heat for 10 minutes and then back on for 10 minutes. Doing this enables you to cook at an even lower temperature than the lowest setting. I call this my custom super low setting. It’s a lot more work to constantly turn it off but if you are already in the kitchen it shouldn’t make that much of a difference. I use this technique when I see that the sauce is bubbling like crazy and want to make sure it doesn’t dry out and get overcooked to quickly. It may take a few more minutes to cook this way, but if you’re not in a hurry it can’t hurt, plus it saves you a lot of electricity or cooking gas, along with getting up to check it all the time when you want to relax on the sofa and watch some TV.

THE RECIPES

 

They Start on the Next Page

 

ENJOY!

CHICKEN PARMESAN

 

Serves: 4

Level: Intermediate

Needed: 1 or 2 large frying pans

 

Ingredients for Chicken

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts fresh or (totally defrosted) and pounded thin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and a pinch of pepper.

4 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water and seasoned with salt

2 cups of good quality bread crumbs (Panko preferred)

1 cup pure olive oil or sunflower or safflower oil (no canola or soy oil)

1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano preferred)

Fresh basil leaves or parsley, for garnish

 

Ingredients for Quick Tomato Sauce

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed with a little sea salt or kosher salt to make a garlic paste

2 (28-oz) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender

1 (16-oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste (approx 6 oz)

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

(Optional) 1 small bunch of Italian parsley

(Optional) 2 pinches of dry basil

 

Other Important Stuff

 

Option: If you want your chicken to be a little juicier, don’t pound it and flatten it. But you will have to let it cook a little longer.

If using canned or jarred sauce that’s already prepared it probably won’t taste as good but you can use one that you found which you love and try it.

If using pre-made sauce use approx 2 (32 oz jars) containers of sauce for this recipe.

Make sure to buy the best tasting sauce you can if you have to use pre-made. Tip: Whole Foods and high end stores make them fresh to buy different sized containers.

Have your tomato sauce cooked and heated so it’s already made before preparing the chicken.

 

Directions: Making the Tomato Sauce (quick 40 minute recipe)

 

1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.

2. Add garlic and onions cook until onions are translucent or about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the can of pureed tomatoes.

4. Add the can of crushed tomatoes.

5. Add the can of tomato paste by scooping it out the paste. Keep the can and then add approx 4 ounces of water to the can mix with spoon and empty the remains into saucepan.

6. Add the bay leaf.

7. Add a 4 or 5 pinches of salt.

8. Stir well. (Optional = add a few pinches of fresh parsley) + (Optional = add a pinch of basil).

9. Bring to a light boil.

10. Reduce heat to the “lowest” setting and cover saucepan with top.

11. Cook for about 15 minutes and check to see that the sauce is thickened and well blended with all ingredients. Then stir for 30 seconds.

12. Cover the pot and cook on lowest setting approx for an additional 15 minutes.

13. Optional – season with salt and or pepper to taste.

 

Directions: Making the Chicken

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for at least 10 -15 minutes.

2. Season the chicken lightly on both sides with salt.

3. Dredge (coat) each breast separately in the flour and tap to get rid of off excess

4. Dip in the egg and then wait a couple seconds for any excess to drip off.

5. Dredge on both sides in the bread crumbs.

6. Divide oil between 2 large frying pans if you have two pans. If using one pan save about half the oil for making your second batch.

7. Heat oil over high heat before adding chicken, but DO NOT let the oil smoke.

8. Add 2 chicken breasts to each pan and cook until golden brown on both sides (approx) 2 minutes on each side.

9. Transfer to lasagna tray or baking sheet

10. Top each breast with as much tomato sauce as you desire, then a spoon of grated parmesan cheese, then a few slices of mozzarella cheese with salt and pepper to taste.

11. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted for approx 5-7 minutes. If you do not pound the chicken breasts thing then cook a little longer.

12. Remove from the oven and let sit for 1 minute before serving.

13. Optional: Garnish with parsley leaves or any garnish you like.

 

Notes & Tips

 

STAINLESS STEEL

 

The pan I prefer to use when making this recipe is a stainless steel frying pan. I use stainless steel pots and pans for about 98% of everything I cook on a stove top. And in my opinion when cooking at medium to high temperatures this is the way to go. On rare occasions I’ll use a glass pot on a stovetop burner. But I only use glass them to boil things like natural healing herbs and such for making healing teas or similar.

I love cooking in stainless steel and especially making omelets. It was pretty easy to figure out how to get a stainless steel pan to act like a non-stick pan. Once the pan is heated to a temp hot enough using enough butter, the eggs tend not to stick. Just make sure to spread that butter all around the pan coating it everywhere and when hot enough the eggs shouldn’t stick. Then you move them around after they start to sizzle and bubble. There are a few techniques. On my website at my blog page you’ll find my “Seven Egg Italian Omelet” recipe is on with a picture of how it turned out with some tips. Visit http://mariomazzo.com/blog to see it. So in “my opinion”, it’s always best to use a stainless steel pan for not only this Chicken Parm recipe but you can use stainless steel pots and pans for almost all recipes.

Why do I like stainless steel so much? Well, I think it’s much better than aluminum. Plus they say that aluminum in your diet can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease along with other issues. And I’d like to keep my mind and memory, thank you. So it’s possible that by changing a few small things in our lives we can easily prevent unnecessary suffering, so why not try at least try to.

 

GLASS

 

I like cooking in glass pots and pans, but only sometimes, for certain things. However, when using glass ingredients tend to get stick to the glass, so I really don’t use it them too often. I’ve used glass pots in the past to make soups, teas, boil water, or other natural remedy drinks as I mentioned. I also like to use glass baking dishes that are heat resistant for casseroles and lasagna, baked ziti and other things. They’re great to use and you just have to coat them with a little cooking oil before using them so things won’t stick easily.

 

NON-STICK

 

Why don’t I like the good ol’ non-stick pots and pans? Call me crazy if you like, but I don’t think they’re safe. Plus I think they change the flavor of food. Also, manufacturers used to recommend that you don’t use them on high heat. than medium heat. To read more see the section below.

 

Non-Stick Trivia?

 

Years ago I actually decided to read the warning label that came inside the box of the new non-stick pan I just bought. It stated not to use this non-stick pan on high heat. Why? I have no idea. But a few years after using it something didn’t jive to well with me about this. So after putting two and two together, I thought maybe I should stop using them. I have no idea why so many celebrity chefs are still using them on TV shows. Maybe it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out though.

I’ve even seen lots of YouTube Videos of people using them for deep frying. This is supposed to be a big no-no. Lately, my conclusion is that the companies who make these either have improved the ingredients that go into the coating used for the non stick surface is safe at high temperatures now, or nobody seems to care if they’re dangerous at high temps. Whatever the reason, I don’t use them. Plus who really wants gray or black plastic pieces getting into their food when they peal from much use and scrapes. No thanks.

Another reason I stopped using non-stick products, even including baking trays, is that I heard they can be dangerous to birds and since I used to have birds in the house I stopped using them right away after learning this. Then it made more sense to me, that the theory was, the chemical coating on those pots and pans when heated up creates dangerous vapors in the air that can get into the bird’s lungs which are more sensitive than ours, and they can die. You know the old canary in the coal mine test. It made sense that this was possible since I’ve heard owners of pet stores and other bird people tell me this many times. So I threw out my non-stick pans and was done with them.

Now my food tastes better than ever, and even though I’m not saying stainless steel is the safest material in the world I think it wins hands down except for when you’re using glass or Pyrex.

It’s better to be safe now than sorry later. Relatives and friends all over are either getting sick with or dying from cancer. So the less poison in the air we breathe and the less we eat the better.

It’s always advisable that you to do your own research and check the facts, especially things that I say, because chances are pretty good that I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before so there’s a good chance I’m wrong again.

Plus who listens to me anyway…especially my stories about potential bird deaths. It’s always better to do your own research online. I’m just a guy who likes to cook. No more, no less. And I enjoy sharing recipes plus any cool tips I’ve heard about along the way.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Serves: 6

Level: Intermediate

 

Ingredients for the Sauce

 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic (pressed or grated)

2-3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices

Sea salt or kosher salt

1 tsp granulated sugar

Three (28) oz cans San Marzano tomatoes

Option 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (for little additional spice and heat)

 

Ingredients for the Eggplant

 

3 medium eggplants (approx 2-3 pounds total) washed + cut into 1/4 to1/2-inch-thick slices

Sea Salt or Kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs

3 Tbsp whole milk

5 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed (1+1/2 to 2 cups)

1 1/2 pounds mozzarella (cut into thin slices)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated provolone

 

Directions: Making the Sauce

 

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.

2. Add the garlic and onions then cook until the onions are translucent (about 3 minutes).

3. Lightly season with a few sprinkles of salt along with the 1 tsp of sugar. Stir well and the optional red pepper flakes.

4. Add the canned tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up some of the larger tomato pieces.

5. Cook 15 minutes over low heat, stirring from time to time.

6. Taste and add additional seasoning (usually adding only a little more salt)

7. The tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors starting to come together a little.

8. Cook for another few minutes to see if the tomatoes still taste as though they need a little more cooking time to break down.

9. If the sauce is starting to look too thick add 3 ounces of water at a time. Mix well, and turn off the heat of pan so it can cool for a while.

 

Directions: Making the Eggplant

 

1. Salt each slice of eggplant on both sides.

2. Place the eggplant slices on either 2 baking sheets, a few large plates, or in a collider with a bowl underneath so you can see how much water is released.

3. Allow it to sit for about 45 minutes or, until you see the salt drawing lots of the liquid and bitter flavor out. (Get rid of all the bitter water into the sink and dry the trays).

4. Rinse with cold water and dry them with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. (Make sure no pieces of towel get attached to the eggplant).

5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

6. Put the flour in a medium bowl.

7. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

8. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves.

9. Dip each eggplant slice into the flour (shake off any excess).

10. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture.

11. Dip (press firmly) each eggplant slice into the breadcrumbs. (Coat both sides of each slice).

12. Arrange the slices in single layers onto the two baking sheets or plates.

13. In a large skillet, pour approximately 1 cup of oil or enough oil to rise about 1/2-inch.

14. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (or you can test with a thermometer and wait until it registers between 380 and 400 degrees F).

15. Use a pair of kitchen tongs or large long serving fork to add a single layer of the eggplant to the oil.

16. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown.

17. Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with 3 layers of paper towels to drain the oil for a few minutes, while the next batch is cooking.

18. Season each batch with a few pinches of salt.

19. Add a little more fresh oil into the pan with the old oil bringing it back to the same level in the pan and to the same temperature for a minute or so.

20. Add another batch to the skillet, and repeat until all the eggplant is cooked.

 

Directions: Assembling the Eggplant

 

1. In a 12 × 17 inch baking dish or two smaller baking dishes, spoon in some of the tomato sauce until it generously coats the bottom of baking dish.

2. Place one layer of the fried eggplant into the baking dish.

3. The eggplant slices can overlap some. It does not have to be perfect.

4. Top with a thin layer of the mozzarella slices.

5. Sprinkle with about one-quarter of the parmesan and provolone cheeses.

6. Spoon more sauce on top and repeat two more times to make 3 layers.

7. On the very top use the remaining mozzarella.

8. Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly (about 30 to 40 minutes).

9. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to settle.

10. Top with a fresh sprinkle of parmesan cheese

11. Cut into squares with a sharp knife and pick up with a large serving spoon or a solid spatula.

12. Enjoy!

NEW YORK PIZZA

 

Makes: 2 small pizzas

Level: Advanced

 

Ingredients

 

1 + 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water (between 100 -108 F or 38 - 42 C)

1 cup cold water

1/8 tsp salt

4 + 1/4 cups bread flour

16 oz mozzarella cheese (use a high quality brand and thinly sliced)

12 oz tomato puree from (imported from Italy)

1/4 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 to 7 leaves fresh basil (optional)

(Optional) a little sprinkled Parmesan cheese (high quality)

 

Directions

 

1. Add sugar and yeast to a large mixing bowl of lukewarm water, mix with finger for 5 seconds. The water should be just a little warmer than your body temp.

2. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to proof. You will see the yeast get either cloudy or foamy.

3. Add the cold water to the water with yeast and give a quick stir.

4. Stir in the flour gradually 1 cup at a time until all is added (mixing with one of your hands or large wooden spoon).

5. After the dough is firm enough, remove it from the bowl, and place on either a floured surface or in the bowl of a stand mixer, with a dough hook attachment.

6. Sprinkle the salt evenly across the dough.

7. Knead until smooth (usually about 10 minutes) either using your hands or in the machine on low. In the machine the dough is finished when it climbs up the hook just a little.

8. Divide into two pieces (to create 2 pizzas) roll into 2 separate balls.

9. Coat the dough balls with olive oil, and place in an airtight container or a bowl with plastic wrap, in a warm spot of the house, for about 2 hours.

10. When the dough doubles in size it is ready.

11. An option, to enhance the flavor of the dough a bit is to refrigerate it in a sealed container for 24-48 hours.

12. Before assembling your pizza make sure the dough is at room temperature (and out of the refrigerator or at least 1 hour).

13. After removing the dough from the container, press down a little to make it flat, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

14. Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack, in the oven.

15. Pre-heat oven to 550 degrees F.

16. Use only one ball of dough at a time to make 1 pizza.

17. Use a hard (lightly floured) surface to place the dough on.

18. Shape the dough with your hands by pressing it down and lightly stretching it the air to make the size and shape you’d like.

19. If using a peel, dust it with flour before placing the dough on it.

20. You can transfer the naked pizza dough to the peel, before putting the sauce and cheese on it if you’d like.

21. Also lightly dust the dough with flour, and stretch gradually until it is the desired size that will fit on the tray or pizza stone.

22. If you are not using a pizza stone or do not have a peel to lift the pizza in order to transport it to the pizza stone you can make it on a baking tray that is greased with olive oil or butter.

23. Place and spread the sauce thinly over the dough, with the back of a ladle or large spoon, leaving about an inch of the edges dry without sauce.

24. Sprinkle some fresh finely ground black pepper, and sprinkle oregano on top of the sauce.

25. If you’d like as an option, now is the time to sprinkle (very lightly) parmesan cheese for an extra kick of flavor.

26. Place thinly cut mozzarella over the sauce. Slice it into very small thin strips.

27. Drizzle some olive oil over the top.

28. If placing the pizza in oven with a peel, with short, little, quick, back and forth jerks, to ensure that the dough will slide off of the peel easily.

29. Place the far end tip of the peel touching the back of the preheated pizza stone, and remove peel with short jerks so that the pizza slides onto the stone.

30. Do not drop the pizza off the stone! If you do not think you can handle this then please use a baking tray instead.

31. Bake for approx 4 to 6 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust on the edges turn a golden brown. It may take a couple more minutes if using a baking tray.

32. Remove from the pizza from the oven by sliding the peel under the pizza, or you can use some long metal tongs to grab the pizza and pull it onto a baking tray or peel.

33. Option: place a few fresh basil leaves over the pizza as soon as it comes out of the oven.

34. Wait between 3 to 4 minutes before slicing. This will give the cheese time to firm up a bit so it will not stick and get pulled off.

35. Top with your favorite toppings for example: granulated garlic, Parmesan cheese, even red pepper flakes.

36. Enjoy!

 

Notes

 

Dough

Be sure to use a large enough container about twice the size of the dough to allow the dough to rise. If refrigerating the dough overnight remember to remove it at least one hour before using it to help it warm up.

 

Sauce

The amount of sauce and cheese you place on the dough depends on the diameter of the pizza. Do not put too much sauce on the pizza. The best way to try to calculate this if you are not experienced, is for each dough ball that weighs approx 20 ounces which can be stretched to make a 16 inch round pizza you should dress it with approx 8 ounces of tomato sauce then 12 ounces of cheese. Smaller pies a little less of course.

 

Transporting the pizza

Do not drop the pizza off the pizza stone in the oven or on the floor, it can be a disaster.

For beginners it may best if you make your first pizza directly on a baking tray. It’s simple you just assemble it on the tray and then place the whole tray in the oven. This way, you at least have almost a guarantee that you won’t drop your pizza in the oven.

Also you may want to make sure that you love making pizza’s before you go out and invest in a pizza stone or peel.

Be confident. Making a pizza isn’t as complicated as you may think. With anything it takes practice to make a delicious pizza.

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

 

Serves: 4

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients

 

16 oz of fresh or dried fettuccine

1 + 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan Cheese (please use “Parmigiano-Reggiano” for the best flavor)

8 Tbsp or 1 stick unsalted butter

2 cups heavy cream

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 large garlic cloves (minced

Sea Salt

Nutmeg (freshly grated, just a pinch or two)

(Optional) Add the juice from ¼ of a lemon (approx 1 teaspoon) mixed into the cooked sauce just before adding pasta to the pan.

(Optional) A pinch of finely ground white or black pepper to the sauce in the pan before adding pasta.

(Optional) Add cooked grilled chicken slices on top of the finished dish to make this a “Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo” meal.

(Optional) 2 Tbsp of good white wine.

(Optional) a small handful of fresh parsley

 

Directions

 

1. Start to cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling (well-salted) water stirring frequently to keep from sticking.

2. While the pasta is cooking make your Alfredo sauce.

3. Heat a separate large skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil.

4. Place minced garlic into the center of the oil and cook (for approx 10 seconds).

5. (Option) You can now add the optional splash of white wine to the garlic oil and cook off the alcohol (for approx 30 seconds).

6. Reduce the heat to low.

7. Add the butter to the oil and stir until well until all butter is melted. Do not burn.

8. (Option) You can add the pinch of freshly ground nutmeg if you have any to the pan sprinkled evenly before adding the cream.

9. Start to pour the cream into the pan slowly, little by little as you mix well with a large spoon until all of the cream is added.

10. Continue stirring the cream every 20 seconds for about 2-3 minutes while scraping the sides of the pan until it thickens only a little and just heating gradually without boiling it.

11. Add the Reggiano Parmesan cheese to the cream stirring constantly until all the cheese is blended and the sauce is creamy (for approx 1 minute).

12. Remove the pan of cream sauce from the heat immediately.

13. Taste the Alfredo Sauce and season to taste with salt or pepper.

14. Taste the pasta to see if it has finished cooking.

15. Remove the pasta from heat.

16. Drain the water from pasta but “do not” rinse with water. Or you can do a very light rinse and shake off all the excess water.

17. Add the drained pasta into the cream sauce pan.

18. Mix well

19. Serve on a pasta plate or shallow bowl.

20. (Option) sprinkle fresh parsley over the pasta)

21. (Option) place some grilled chicken breast strips on top of the pasta for a Chicken Alfredo meal.

22. Buon Appetito!

LASAGNA with MEAT SAUCE

 

Serves: 6

Level: Intermediate

Needed: 9 inch x 13 inch baking dish

 

Ingredients

 

1 + 3/4 pounds of very lean ground beef (feel with fingers to remove hard little pieces) OPTION: You can use ground turkey meat instead of beef.

3/4 cup onion (finely chopped or minced)

2 large garlic cloves (crushed)

2 TBSP white sugar

1/2 tsp dried basil leaves

1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds (crush and grind to a powder)

1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)

2 cans tomato paste (approx 6 oz each)

2 cans tomato sauce (approx 6 oz each)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp Italian seasoning – (or you can use a combo of any of the following -1 or 2 pinches of each: oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and sage)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

12 lasagna noodles (long thin type)

15 oz. ricotta cheese

16 oz. mozzarella cheese sliced thinly (whole milk preferred)

1 egg (large or extra large size)

1 TBSP sea salt

1 TBSP Cooking oil either (sunflower, safflower or olive oil)

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (imported from Italy)

 

Directions: Making the Sauce & Noodles

 

1. Heat a large stainless steel pan to medium and add the ground beef.

2. Flatten it as best you can to resemble a large pancake)

3. Cook for approximately 3 minutes and then flip over, cooking for an additional 3 minutes or until all the meat is browned on both sides.

4. Drain as much water and fat as you can from the pan using a large spoon and discard the liquid. It doe not have to be perfect.

5. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and fennel on top of the meat inside the pan.

6. Break up the meat with a large spoon into little pieces.

7. Continue to cook the meat while mixing frequently with a spoon for about 4 more minutes, then turn off the heat.

8. Heat a separate large sauce pot to medium.

9. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic (with a light sizzle) for about 30 seconds.

10. Turn the heat up to medium and add the chopped onion, to the pan containing the garlic, stir frequently and cook until the onion is translucent (for about 4 minutes).

11. Transfer the complete contents of the meat pan into the sauce pot containing the onion and garlic so that meat will absorb the onion and garlic flavor.

12. Lower the temperature to low and stir frequently while cooking the meat for an additional 2 minutes on a very lightly sizzle.

13. Stir in crushed tomatoes and give a quick stir.

14. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water and give about 10 good stirs to break up the tomato paste.

15. Add the: sugar, pepper 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 2 tablespoons parsley and give a quick stir.

16. Now you can add a secret ingredient for tomato sauce. Find the name of this ingredient in my free book “secret ingredients”. You can download it free from my website.

17. Keep the heat to lowest setting and simmer covered (for approx 1 hour + 30 minutes) but make sure to stir every 15 minutes or so focusing on the bottom to keep it from sticking.

18. After the sauce has cooked for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, bring a separate large pot of salted water to a boil.

19. Cook lasagna noodles for about 8 to10 minutes (or whatever the instructions say on the box).

20. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water to end the cooking process. Try not to break them while removing them from the pot, so do not use sharp objects.

21. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining 1 TBSP of parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix vigorously with a spoon until everything is combined (for about 1 minute).

22. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). And go to the next section of directions for assembling the lasagna.

 

Directions: Assembling the Lasagna

 

1. You Must Coat the Bottom of a 9x13 inch Baking Dish with a thin layer of sauce you just cooked (approx 1 +1/2 cups).

2. Layer #1 = Noodles. Arranging the noodles covering the whole bottom of the pan. (You can cut the noodles to make them fit perfectly if you like).

3. Layer #2 = Ricotta Cheese. Coating the noodles by spreading them with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture with the back of a spoon.

4. Layer #3 = Mozzarella Cheese. Top the noodles with one third of mozzarella cheese slices.

5. Layer #4 = Tomato sauce. Using a Tablespoon equally distribute about 1 + 1/2 cups of the sauce over mozzarella.

6. Layer #5 = Sprinkling the sauce with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

7. Now repeat the exact same steps of Layers #1 through #5 again so you will be doing this twice. Then see the next step and make the final three touches.

8. The final three touches will be to add the remaining sauce, then the remaining the Parmesan cheese, and finally the remaining mozzarella cheese as the last ingredient at the very top.

9. Go to the next section now containing the baking directions.

 

Directions: Baking the Lasagna

 

1. Cover the baking dish with foil aluminum foil, but “make sure the foil does not touch” the cheese. You can try to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil by greasing the inside of the foil lightly with some oil or spraying it with a light coat of cooking spray.

2. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

3. Remove foil, and bake an additional 20 or until the top and sides are lightly bubbling but make sure you check it every 7 minutes to make sure the cheese is not burning on top.

4. Cool for approx 20 minutes to ensure all the liquid has become firm and everything is settled and not soupy from the heat before cutting. This is an important step

5. Cut into small squares with a sharp serrated knife and remove the pieces with a strong spatula.

6. Serve and enjoy!

 

Delicious Bonus Tip:

 

Dip your favorite fresh bread into the lasagna and enjoy. Fresh made garlic bread is recommended and is my favorite.

 

To make Fresh Garlic Bread:

 

1. Cut a loaf of fresh Italian or French bread down the middle the long way.

2. Melt a few spoons of salted butter in a sauce pan with equal parts great tasting olive oil.

3. Brush onto the inside of the bread only.

4. Put bread in a broiler or toaster oven for about 1 or 3 minutes depending on the heat.

 

Flavor Tip

For an extra kick of flavor you can lightly sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of the buttered part of the bread before toasting it. You can even melt some Mozzarella on it too.

BAKED ZITI with RICOTTA

 

Serves 4

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients

 

15 oz Ricotta Cheese (whole milk) You can use small curd cottage instead as a substitute

2 eggs (beaten)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (use Parmigiano Reggiano)

1/4 tsp black pepper (ground)

2 TBSP fresh parsley; minced

16 oz Ziti or Penne Pasta (cooked and well drained)

33 oz tomato sauce (seasoned). Feel free to use one of the tomato sauce recipes from this book

1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)

 

Directions

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Drain any excess water from the ricotta cheese before adding it to the bowl.

3. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and seasonings and mix well with a large spoon.

4. In another bowl, thoroughly combine cooked pasta and sauce.

5. Place half the tomato/pasta mixture in a 9” × 12” baking dish or similar dish.

6. The next layer will be the egg and cheese mixture. Spread the entire amount on top of the pasta evenly.

7. Sprinkle about one fourth of the mozzarella cheese on top.

8. Next, add the remaining tomato/pasta mixture.

9. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

10. Bake 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let it sit about 5 minutes before serving.

11. Buon Appetito!

MEATBALLS & TOMATO SAUCE

Serves: 4

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients for Meatballs

 

1 lb ground beef (lean)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1 egg beaten

 

Ingredients for Sauce

 

3/4 cup chopped onion

5 cloves garlic (minced)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp white sugar

1 bay leaf (whole)

1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste

3/4 tsp dried basil

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

 

Directions

 

1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg.

2. Mix well with hands.

3. Form the mixture into 10-12 balls.

4. Wash hands.

5. Place and store the meatballs covered in the refrigerator until needed.

6. Heat a large saucepan over low-medium heat,

7. Put in the olive oil, garlic, and onion.

8. Saute until the onion is translucent or soft (approx. 2-3 minutes).

9. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf.

10. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes.

11. When the 90 minutes is almost complete (about 85 minutes), heat up a second pan to cook the raw meatballs in. (preferably a large omelet pan).

12. Cook only about 5-7 minutes or so, turning every minute with a spoon, until all sides are very lightly browned and they start to release the fat and grease.

13. Immediately turn of the heat of the pan holding the meatballs.

14. After the tomatoes have been cooking for 90 minutes stir the tomato paste, basil, pepper into the tomatoes to make your sauce.

15. Stir the tomato sauce for a minute to get the paste mixed well.

16. At this point you will take the meatballs one by one with a spoon and add them into the sauce.

17. Simmer with everything together in one pan for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until all of the flavors are blended.

18. Taste and serve.

 

Make the Meatballs with Spaghetti

 

If planning to serve the meatballs with spaghetti, just boil some water in a separate pot while the meatballs are cooking away. When making spaghetti, just follow the instructions of the package. It’s easy. The cooking times usually range from around 4 minutes for angel hair up to around 9 minutes for thicker regular spaghetti. You can always test the spaghetti by pulling a single stand out of the pot using a fork, while it’s boiling (be careful not to burn yourself) and taste it to see if it’s cooked in the center. Want to have some fun and to eat your meatballs in a sandwich? If the answer is yes then just get some fresh Italian or French bread. This may hit the spot for you sandwich lovers if you love sandwiches like I do.

 

Serious Sandwich Eaters Tip

Make a Hot Meatball Sub

Follow the instructions below.

 

1. Preheat the oven for about 10 minutes to approx 375 degrees F. Or you can use a very large toaster oven instead but be careful this can get messy.

2. Slice the loaf in half the long way.

3. Put some thinly sliced Mozzarella cheese over the bread.

4. Cut as many meatballs in half as you would like eat, and place them flat side down onto the bread pushing them into the cheese.

5. Sprinkle some grated or fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese over the meatballs. Or both if you are in an experimental mood.

6. Spoon on several tablespoons of tomato sauce over the meatballs. Not too much though.

7. Next, put some more Mozzarella cheese over the top of the meatballs.

8. Place the loaded sandwich into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. If using a broiler only leave it in for 2 minutes or the bread can burn!

9. Remove from oven or toaster oven.

10. Wait 1-2 minutes, then cut with a knife in half and enjoy your gourmet sandwich.

CHICAGO DEEP DISH PIZZA

 

Makes: 1 medium pizza

Level: Advanced

 

Ingredients

 

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 + 1/2 tsp white sugar

1 + 1/8 cups warm water – 101-108 degrees F (38 – 42 degrees C)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/4 cup melted butter

2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

1/2 cup tomato puree or crushed peeled tomatoes (imported from Italy)

12 oz Mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced, good quality)

Italian seasoning (2 or 3 pinches)

2 tsp Parmesan cheese (good quality)

 

Directions: Making the dough

 

1. Add yeast and sugar warm water in a bowl and dissolve.

2. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast begins to get creamy or foamy.

3. Combine yeast mixture, flour, sunflower oil, melted butter and salt in a stand mixer with a hook attachment;

4. Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes until it holds together and is slightly sticky.

5. Form the dough into a ball.

6. Transfer the dough to a bowl which has been coated with butter. Wipe some of the excess butter onto the dough ball with your hands.

7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or towel and allow dough to rise at room temperature until double in size (approx 5 to6 hours).

8. Punch down dough to let some of the air out and let sit resting for 10 to 15 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 425 F at this time for at least 20 minutes or until it has reached 425 F.

10. Press the dough into a 10 or 12 inch “deep dish” pizza pan. Let the dough press up against the sides running upward about 1 inch.

11. Add tomato sauce spoon on evenly except for the edges. Leave room for the crust to stay dry against the sides about an inch.

12. Lightly sprinkle a pinch or two or Italian seasoning.

13. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese

14. Add the mozzarella cheese

15. Add any toppings you like

16. Bake the pizza for approx 30 minutes, or until you see the crust lightly golden brown or the cheese bubbling.

17. Remove from oven. Wait about 3 minutes, then cut slices and dig in!

 

Options

 

Have fun with pizza by adding your favorite cooked meat or veggies on top. You can even turn this into a barbeque chicken pizza if you desire. (Continue reading for that bonus recipe)

 

Turn this into a Barbeque Chicken Pizza

 

1. Have 1 chicken breast already pre-cooked or you can make one quickly in about 5 minutes by following the instructions below.

2. Put between 1+1/2 inches to 2 inches of water in a pan.

3. Heat the water on high until it boils.

4. Add a Tablespoon of butter to the water.

5. Then gently place the chicken breast into the boiling water.

6. Cook about 90 seconds then flip it over and cook an additional 60-90 seconds.

7. Now you should check to see if it’s cooked inside by cutting open the thickest part with a knife.

8. If the center has changed from pink to white it’s done.

9. Remove from heat immediately and put chicken on a plate.

10. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and sprinkle onto the top of the pizza.

11. Instead of using the 1/2 cup of tomato sauce as in the directions above, you can reduce that down to only about 2 tablespoons and spread evenly.

12. Or you can skip the tomato sauce completely if you’d like. (I prefer just a little bit of tomato sauce).

13. Now add your favorite barbeque sauce on top of the chicken. Use approx 3 Tablespoons carefully distributed on top of each piece of chicken.

14. Make sure to put some additional thin slices of mozzarella on top of each piece of chicken to enhance the flavor before baking.

15. Bake according to the instructions above. The baking time is the same.

 

Notes

 

Don’t overload the pizza with 3 pounds of ingredients, less is better. Too many ingredients can make it soggy, watery and undercooked. When placing the veggies or meat on the pizza leave space between the pieces for air to circulate. An example: 2 handfuls of meat and a 2 handfuls of veggies sprinkled around evenly, is the ideal amount for a 10-14 inch pizza.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

 

Serves: 4

Level: Easy

Needed: 1 medium saucepan, 1 large skillet or frying pan

 

Ingredients

 

6 cups chicken broth

3 Tbsp olive oil (divided)

1 pound Portobello mushrooms (thinly sliced)

3/4 lb white mushrooms (thinly sliced)

2 shallots (diced)

1+1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

Sea salt to taste

Black pepper (freshly ground) to taste

3 Tbsp finely chopped chives

4 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

 

Directions

 

1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat (approx 4 to 5 mins) and then turn off the heat.

2. In a separate large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat (approx 30 seconds).

3. Stir in both types of mushrooms to the large pan containing the olive oil and cook until soft, (approx 5 mins).

4. Remove mushrooms along with their liquid, and put into a bowl setting it aside for now.

5. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil to the frying pan, and stir in the shallots (cook for approx 1 min).

6. Add rice, to frying pan stirring constantly to coat the rice with oil (cook approx 2 mins).

7. When the rice has changed to a pale, golden color, pour in wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.

8. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed.

9. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continually, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is “al dente” (95% cooked) for approx 15 to 20 minutes.

10. When all of the broth is gone, or the rice is cooked to al dente, you can stop adding the broth.

11. By tasting the rice you will know when the texture is perfect and you can stop cooking. Just make sure that it’s not too raw, but al dente instead, and then turn off the heat.

12. Immediately stir in the mushrooms with their liquid, along with the butter, chives, and parmesan, mix well (approx 1 min).

13. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Tip

 

Enjoy with a glass of white wine or a martini along with some fresh bread and butter could be very satisfying. Even add some good olives on the side can offer a nice touch. Use your imagination.

 

Note

 

When there are only two people eating this recipe might even fill you and become a main course especially when eating with a loaf of bread.

CHICKEN MARSALA

 

Serves: 4

Level: Medium

 

Ingredients

 

4 Chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) about 1 + 1/2 pounds

All-purpose flour (or dredging)

Sea Salt or kosher salt

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz Crimini or Porcini mushrooms (stemmed and halved)

1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

Directions

 

1. Place plastic wrap on top of a cutting board to protect it from bacteria.

2. Put the chicken breasts side by side on top of that plastic wrap and then place another layer of plastic wrap over them to cover them.

3. Now pound with a flat meat mallet or something similar until they’re approx 1/4-inch thick.

4. Put some flour in a shallow bowl or dish and season with some salt and pepper; mix with a fork.

5. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.

6. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken breast in the seasoned flour (shake off the excess).

7. Carefully place the chicken into the pan (without splattering the hot oil).

8. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes on each side or until a light golden color, turning once. (Do not over cook or the meat will be tough to chew!)

9. After the chicken is cooked, remove it to a large plate.

10. Lower the heat of the pan to medium-low, add the mushrooms, and sauté until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated (approx 5 minutes).

11. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.

12. Pour the Marsala wine into the pan and boil down for approx 30 seconds to cook out the alcohol.

13. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce and thicken the sauce slightly.

14. Stir in the butter and then return the chicken to the pan.

15. Simmer gently for a minute or two so the liquid penetrates the chicken on both sides and it gets heated all the way through.

16. Garnish with chopped parsley.

17. Serve.

 

Suggestion

 

You can experiment by using a different wine like Madeira wine. Many restaurants now use Madeira and call this dish Chicken Madeira. And that wine happens to have such a delicious flavor also. I hope you’ll love this meal as much as I do. It goes good with a glass of white wine and can be served with either rice or your favorite pasta. Don’t forget the fresh bread to dip in that delicious sauce!

ANGEL HAIR PASTA with PESTO

 

Serves: 4

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb of pasta (either Angel Hair or Capellini type)

2 cups fresh basil (leaves only and packed down)

1/2 cup pine nuts (un-toasted)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (use freshly grated “Parmigiano-Reggiano” cheese)

2 large garlic cloves

1/4 tsp sea salt (you can use Himalayan salt or any quality salt for this recipe)

Black pepper (freshly ground)

1 Tbsp clean water (purified or distilled)

1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (if using reconstituted lemon juice use 1/2 tsp)

(Option) Add 1/2 cup of fresh parsley tops if you like the flavor of parsley

(Option) Add a Tbsp of Romano cheese for a little extra tangy flavor

 

Directions: Making the Pesto Sauce

 

1. Just before you cook the pasta, make the sauce.

2. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes a puree. If adding parsley you can add it now also.

3. Add the water and lemon juice. Blend for 10 seconds.

4. Add the cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and blend again until blended together. If adding Romano cheese you can add it now also. Do not over blend.

5. Scrape the sides and blend again for a few more seconds.

6. Add the pesto to the pasta and toss.

7. Drizzle some olive oil on top and serve.

 

Directions: Making the Pasta

 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Cook pasta for about 3-5 mins until al dente (95% cooked).

3. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a bowl.

4. Immediately mix with presto sauce or a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

 

Note: You can serve this dish at room temperature or even cold if you like.

PENNE alla VODKA

 

Serves: 4

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb of penne pasta

2 oz of quality tasting olive oil

1 medium yellow onion (chopped)

2 large cloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (seeds removed preferred)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 cup vodka

2 (28-ounce) cans Italian peeled plum tomatoes or puree

2 tsp Sea salt or kosher salt

2 pinches of fresh ground black pepper

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

3 Tbsp fresh oregano (optional)

 

Directions

 

1. In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add the onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring every minute until translucent (approx 3 mins).

3. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano at medium heat stir (approx 1 minute).

4. Add the vodka to the pan over medium heat and continue cooking until reduced to about half the volume (approx 3 minutes).

5. While the vodka is reducing open the canned tomatoes and cut off any hard little green spots on the top of them where the stem used to be attached.

6. Crush the tomatoes with your hand squeezing them into a bowl.

7. Add the tomatoes into the pan after the vodka has been in there for 3 minutes.

8. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch or two of black pepper and stir.

9. Cover and cook on a very low simmer for approx 45 minutes.

10. Taste the sauce. If it’s to your satisfaction then go to the next step, if not then cook for a few more minutes and season to your taste.

11. Turn off the heat of the saucepan.

12. In a separate large pot boil water to cook the pasta.

13. When the water boils add few tablespoons of salt and the pasta.

14. Cook until al dente.

15. Drain and lightly rinse to stop the cooking. Set aside and let all the water drain off.

16. Place the tomato mixture in a blender or use a hand blender directly into the sauce pan (preferred) and blend until the sauce is a smooth puree (approx 30-60 seconds).

17. If you prefer small chunky pieces in the sauce you can skip this step above or only blend half-way.

18. Start to reheat the sauce on low heat.

19. Add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (optional).

20. Slowly pour in the heavy cream while continually mixing until the sauce becomes a creamy consistency and a medium to light orange color.

21. Add salt and pepper to taste.

22. Simmer on low approx 4 minutes to bring all the flavors together.

23. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook just a little more (approx 1 or 2 minutes).

24. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan.

25. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and optional sprinkle of fresh oregano.

26. (Option) Garnish with fresh parsley

 

Buon Appetito!

CHICKEN PICATTA

Serves 2

Level: Easy

 

Needed: a stainless steel pan & metal wire whisk

 

Ingredients

 

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts (butter-flied and then cut in half)

2 cups of all-purpose flour (for dredging)

Sea salt (to taste)

Black pepper (to taste)

6 Tbsp unsalted butter

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup brined capers (rinsed)

1/3 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

 

Directions

 

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat the chicken in flour on both sides and shake off the excess flour.

2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter along with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

3. As soon as butter and oil begin to sizzle, immediately add half of the chicken (2 pieces) and cook for 3 minutes.

4. When the chicken is lightly browned, flip and cook other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove and transfer to plate.

6. Add and melt 2 more tablespoons butter along with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil.

7. When butter and oil start to lightly sizzle, add the rest of the chicken (2 pieces) and repeat the process by browning both sides as you did earlier.

8. Remove only chicken from pan and transfer it to a plate.

9. Remove the pan from the heat, reduce the heat to low, (Quickly Go to step 10).

10. Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers.

11. Return the pan to heat and bring to boil.

12. Scrape and mix the cooked brown pieces from the pan for extra flavor.

13. Do a quality check by tasting for amount of seasoning needed.

14. Return all chicken to the pan and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, allowing everything simmer together and making sure the chicken is totally cooked. Do not overcook.

15. Remove chicken to the platter.

16. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk until blended.

17. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley or your choice of garnish.

ALMOND BISCOTTI

Makes: approx: 24 cookies

Level: Intermediate

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups all purpose flour

1+1/2 cups sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp pure almond extract

1 tsp baking powder

5 eggs

1+1/2 cups almonds (non-salted, roasted)

 

Directions

 

1. Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Take 1 of the 5 eggs & separate 1 egg white placing it aside in a cup

3. In large bowl beat the 4 eggs plus the yolk of 5th egg.

4. Add the sugar to the beaten eggs along with the vanilla and almond extract.

5. Whisk together for a couple minutes until the sugar is dissolved into the eggs and no graininess remains (approx 2 mins).

6. In separate large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) using a large spoon.

7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until you get a wet doughy mixture (either with a large wooden spoon or by hand (approx 3 mins).

8. Chop the almonds into pieces. Not too small, but basically each almond should be broken into about 4 pieces (close to the perfect size).

9. You can also use slivered or sliced almonds. They are an ideal shape (visually) for this recipe but not important for taste.

10. Mix almonds thoroughly into the dough with a large mixing spoon.

11. Divide the dough into 2 balls.

12. Sprinkle flour on counter surface and hands to prevent dough from sticking.

13. With your hands, roll the balls (one at a time) into 2 logs (approx 2 inches high x 11 inches long).

14. Place the two logs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

15. Now add approx 2 ounces of water to the egg white and beat for 15 seconds with a fork.

16. Brush using your fingers or a brush to spread the egg mixture lightly on the top and sides of each log to give a nice shine when baking.

17. Place the tray into the preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for between 18-28 minutes or until the tops are browned (not burnt).

18. Take tray out and cool for (approx 10 mins) so you can handle the logs without burning your hands.

19. Do not turn the oven off. You will need to finish baking these to make them crispy in the center in a few minutes.

20. Pick up one log at a time and place onto a large plate.

21. Using a sharp knife cut the end pieces off. You can eat the ends if you wish.

22. Carefully slice the cookie loafs using a sharp knife into approx ½ inch slices without them crumbling when slicing. Don’t press down hard while slicing!

23. Lay the slices flat wide side down on the baking tray.

24. Place into the 350 degree F for about 15 minutes. They should now finally be crispy in the center also.

25. You can allow a few more minutes oven time for crisping time if needed and center is not crispy.

26. (Option) sprinkle some powdered sugar on the cookies

27. Enjoy your cookies dunked in your favorite hot beverage.

PANNA COTTA

 

Makes: 6 servings

Level: Intermediate

 

Ingredients

 

1/4 cup milk

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (0.25 oz size)

2 + 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup white sugar

1 fresh vanilla bean pod (or) 1+1/2 tsp liquid vanilla extract

 

Directions

 

1. In a small bowl pour only the milk and stir in the gelatin powder.

2. In a separate saucepan, stir the heavy cream and sugar together, and then place the saucepan over medium heat.

3. Bring the heavy cream and sugar to a full boil and “immediately” reduce the heat to low.

4. Keep an eye on this, as the cream will rise rapidly to the top of the pan.

5. Now pour the gelatin and milk mixture into the hot cream.

6. Stir until it is completely dissolved.

7. Add the vanilla liquid extract (or) if using a fresh vanilla bean slice it open the long way.

8. Scrape the inside with the back of a knife to remove all the seeds and add them along with the whole bean to the pan with the hot cream.

9. Cook for one minute, while constantly stirring.

10. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it sit for 5 minutes then give a good stir.

11. Take out the vanilla bean pod empty shell.

12. Pour into six individual ramekin dishes or as many small dessert cups as you wish.

13. Cool the ramekins or dishes while uncovered at room temperature.

14. After they are cool, cover with plastic wrap

15. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours (preferably overnight before serving).

RAINBOW COOKIES

 

Makes: Lots of cookies

Level: Intermediate

 

Ingredients

 

2 cups of flour

4 eggs yolks

4 egg whites

1 cup of sugar

2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

Apricot jam (large jar)

3/4 lb almond paste

4 oz. chocolate (semi-sweet baker’s chocolate)

Green and red food color

 

Directions

 

1. In a stand mixer add the egg “yolks” and butter. Mix well.

2. Add the sugar to the mixer, and mix well.

3. Break the almond paste into small pieces before adding to the mixer. Add to the mixer and mix well.

4. Add the flour to the mixer, and mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (with a fork) until they become a just a little foamy.

6. Add them mixer. Mix thoroughly for a few minutes until the dough looks soft and smooth.

7. Divide it into 3 equal parts and put into three separate bowls.

8. The dough in the first bowl should be left alone and no color is needed. It will stay white.

9. The dough in the second bowl you will color green by adding 3 drops of green color and mix well.

10. The dough in the third bowl you will color red by adding 3 drops of red color and mix well.

11. You can add a couple more drops if you prefer to create a deeper color but it is unnecessary and will not change the flavor.

12. Evenly spread the mixes in three separate ungreased aluminum baking sheets of 12 × 8 inches each. They must all be the same size.

13. Bake them each at 375 F degrees for 10 -12 mins. Then let them all cool.

14. Put a piece of parchment paper on a large enough wooden cutting board.

15. Remove and place the green sheet cake on top of the paper.

16. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam evenly over the entire top surface of the green sheet cake.

17. Next, place the white sheet cake on top of the green sheet and spread the apricot jam again on the white surface just as you have done to the green cake.

18. Now take the final red sheet cake and place it over the white. Do not spread any jam on the top of the red layer.

19. With a large flat spatula or your hands press the top layer firmly to make all the three layers will stick together well.

20. With a sharp serrated knife trim all four edges of the combined cakes.

21. Met the chocolate and spread it over the top of the red layer sheet cake only.

22. Let the chocolate totally dry, preferably overnight.

23. Now you can add finish adding the chocolate to the bottom of the cake by turning it upside down and spread melted chocolate over the other side also.

24. Let the chocolate dry again.

25. Cut the cake into cookies into squares approx 1+1/2” × 3/4” or any size that you desire.

25. Enjoy, I know you will.

 

Tip

For the health conscious, you can try to see if any stores sell natural food color. Remember that the traditional colors that you need for these are red and green only.

LIMONCELLO BABA

 

Makes: Several Servings

Level: Intermediate

 

Ingredients for the Baba Batter

 

1 pound of flour (all purpose flour or cake flour) Please see notes at the end for cup measurements. Refrigerate the flour for at least 2 hours before using

9 eggs – cold that came straight out of the refrigerator

1/2 Tablespoon salt (sea salt preferred)

2 + 1/4 Tbsp sugar

1 + 1/2 Tbsp water

4 + 1/4 oz unsalted butter divided into 10 pieces (room temperature)

1 Tbsp fresh yeast

 

Ingredients for the Limoncello Syrup

 

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

The juice of one lemon

The peel of one lemon (grated or zest)

1 + 1/2 cups Limoncello liquor (you can use dark rum instead if you prefer)

Lemon marmalade for brushing each Baba and give then a shiny appearance

 

Directions: Making the Baba

 

1. In a small bowl, add the water and melt the yeast into the water.

2. Add 4 Tablespoons of the flour and mix to form a small ball of dough.

3. Cover the bowl containing the dough and place it in a warm location of the house so it will rise.

4. When the dough doubles in volume the rising has finished (approx 30 mins).

5. In a stand mixer, add the small ball of dough and the remaining 1 pound of flour.

6. Start the mixer using the paddle attachment.

7. In a separate large bowl, crack and add all of the eggs. Break each of the yolks with a fork.

8. As the flour is mixing add the eggs a little bit at a time.

9. Add the sugar.

10. Set the speed at position #2 and continue to mix for about 20 mins.

11. The dough will become very elastic and it will get completely stuck to the paddle.

12. Remove all the dough from the paddle.

13. Replace the paddle with the dough hook.

14. Start the mixer again with the dough inside.

15. Dip the pieces of butter into the salt.

16. Add the pieces of butter one by one. Wait until the previous piece has been absorbed into the dough before adding the next.

17. Add the remaining salt and continue to mix at the #2 speed for another 15 minutes approximately.

18. The dough will become soft, elastic and slightly dark when it’s finished being mixed.

19. Clean the dough off the hook.

20. With a spatula scrape all the dough “to the center” of the bowl.

21. Cover the mixing bowl and place it in the warm part of the house for approx 3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

22. When the dough has doubled in size or 3 hours have passed get the Baba molds ready.

23. Take each Baba mold and butter the inside using your finger.

24. Next take each Baba mold and sprinkle with flour. This will help the dough not to stick while baking.

25. Take some dough in your hand, squeeze letting the dough come out. Drop the dough in each mold filling the molds approx a little more than the halfway mark.

26. Preheat the oven at 350F.

27. After all the dough is in the Baba molds, cover them and put them again in the warm location to rise.

28. After about 30 minutes the dough will reach the top of the mold and you are ready to bake.

29. Bake the Baba for (approx 30 mins) checking the color. All ovens vary in temperature just a little. Take them out when they are “golden” brown.

30. Let them cool and you are ready to dip them in the Limoncello syrup.

 

Directions: Making the syrup

 

1. Put the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar in a pot together

2. Turn on the heat.

3. Add the juice of one lemon and the zest of one lemon peel.

4. After it comes to a steady boil, shut it of to let it cool.

5. After its cold, add the Limoncello and mix.

6. Dip the Baba submerging it into the syrup for a few minutes each so they will absorb the syrup.

7. When they soaked up plenty of the syrup and they are shiny appearance, brush them with lemon marmalade or any other clear type of marmalade that you have.

8. They can be served as is or filled with any type of cream that you desire.

9. Refrigerate and serve cold.

RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

 

Serves: 8-12

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients for the Crust

 

1 egg

2 oz milk

2 oz butter or (half of a stick) melted

2 oz sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

4 cups of flour (or only as much needed to make the dough firm)

 

Ingredients for the Filling

 

Ricotta cheese (use 2 pounds or (2)15 oz containers)

6 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 Tablespoon orange zest

(Option) 1 oz orange juice (fresh squeezed)

 

Directions: Making the Crust

 

1. In a large bowl add the egg and whisk (15 sec).

2. Add sugar whisk (15 sec).

3. Add milk and whisk (15 sec).

4. Add butter and whisk (15 sec).

5. Add baking powder and whisk (15 sec).

6. Start to add the flour (only about a cup at a time) and mix well with your hands, until all the ingredients are well blended. You should not need all of the 4 cups flour for the dough.

7. Place the dough on a flat surface and continue to working the dough with your hands adding flour as needed until it reaches a firm consistency.

8. Make a round ball with the dough and flatten by hand into a round shape.

9. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour.

10. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a round circle thin enough until it becomes approx 1/4 inch thick.

11. Make sure that the size of dough is about 15” in diameter.

12. Take a 9 inch “Spring Form Pan”, coat the bottom and sides generously with butter.

13. Now sprinkle a good amount of flour to coat the buttered pan, lifting the pan and shaking / while turning with your hands until the flour gets distributed all around the pan coating the butter.

14. Place the dough over the pan. Let any excess dough hang over the sides of the pan. This will be your pie crust.

15. Do “not” cut the excess until later (see the steps below).

 

Directions: Making the Filling

 

1. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients for the filling (see 2nd ingredient list above).

2. Mix all the ingredients using an electric mixer.

3. Now assemble the cake by pouring the filling into the baking pan over the dough.

4. With a sharp knife cut any excess dough.

5. Be careful when cutting the excess dough and be sure to leave about 1 inch of extra dough above the surface of the ricotta filling.

6. Bake for approx 90 minutes at 350F.

7. Top with confectioner’s (powdered) sugar or add any toppings you like.

TIRAMISU

 

Makes: 6 servings

Level: Easy

 

Ingredients

 

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1+1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1+3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

14 oz “Italian Lady Finger Cookies”

1 cup cold espresso coffee

1 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting

Optional 1/4 cup coffee flavored liquor

 

Directions

 

1. Make the sabayon (which is the cream) by combining egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water.

2. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for approx 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from the heat and whip the mixture until it thickens and is a lemon color.

4. Add Mascarpone cheese to whipped egg yolk mixture and beat until combined.

5. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks.

6. Next, gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.

7. Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, (do not soak them or leave them in too long)!

8. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish.

9. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.

10. Repeat the process with another layer of lady fingers and cream (making a double layer).

11. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours.

12. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

CANNOLI

Makes: 20 Cannoli (approximately)

Level: Intermediate

 

*Special kitchen tools needed: Cannoli molds and a rolling pin

*You can skip buying the molds and needing a rolling pin if you are buying the shells pre-make from at a store that sells them

 

Ingredients for making the shells

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup dry white wine

 

If skipping making the Cannoli shells, at least be sure to have all the ingredients for making the crème)

 

Options & Tips

 

You can skip buying the Cannoli molds along with all the ingredients for making the shells if you purchase them pre-made at a local store or bakery.

I recommend this if you want to save lots of time and effort that goes into making these deep fried shells, unless of course you’d like to try to make them your own.

 

Tip #1 – You can find a place to buy them locally usually. An Italian bakery that makes Cannolis should be able to sell you several shells.

Tip #2 – You can even buy some “mini” sugar ice cream cone shells. You can find them at most regular grocery stores. So be creative.

 

Of course if the authentic Cannoli shell isn’t too important to you, then some of these sugar cones can be delicious. Now of course it won’t have the same flavor or texture, but can be a nice experience if you never had tried them this way. Most people like sugar cones and you might start a new trend.

 

Ingredients for making the filling

 

2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1 lemon

1 quart canola oil, for frying (or a flavorless oil with a high temp rating)

Flour, for rolling

1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

Powdered sugar, for dusting

 

Directions: Making the Shells

 

  • You can skip the following 7 steps if you already purchased the shells

 

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt.

2. Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy.

3. Add the egg yolk and the white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough.

4. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center.

5. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap.

6. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later.

7. Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.

 

Directions: Making the Crème Filling

 

1. Before you start, drain the ricotta using a strainer and a pot of large bowl to remove excess liquid (for approx 1 hour).

2. Do not let the liquid touch the bottom of the ricotta while draining.

3. After the ricotta has been drained place in a dry medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

4. Sift in the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

5. Now mix to blend the ingredients.

6. In a separate bowl, by using a hand whisk or an electric mixer beat the heavy cream until fairly stiff.

7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture.

8. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

9. Lightly zest the exterior of the lemon and stir it into the ricotta.

10. Refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

 

Directions: Rolling and frying the shells

 

  • You can skip the section for frying the shells if you have already bought some shells or another type of crunchy body for putting the crème into. This step involves deep frying in very hot oil. You should be extremely careful and have some experience with hot frying oil for this step. If not please buy pre-made shells. You can find them at local bakeries or search online.

 

1. In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the canola oil to 360 degrees F.

2. While the oil in the pot is heating, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface.

3. Flour a rolling pin.

4. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick).

5. Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches.

6. Find any glass or small bowl that has a 3 to 4 inch diameter.

7. Cut rounds by tracing around each one with a knife to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have approx 24 circles.

8. Wrap each circle around a Cannoli mold.

9. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut by pressing it down on the edge with egg wash to prevent it from sliding or falling off the mold.

10. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold to allow the oil to enter just below the ends each Cannoli shell as they fry.

11. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the bare metal part of the mold.

12. Submerge and fry the shell in the hot oil until crispy (approx 2 to 3 mins).

13. Remove the mold from the oil USING TONGS ONLY. It is extremely hot.

14. Gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel or a pair of thick clean unused yard or work gloves and carefully slide it off the mold.

15. Set aside to cool.

16. Repeat the process with all of the circles until all are cooked.

 

Directions: Filling the Cannoli Shell with Crème

 

1. Use a pastry bag (preferred) without a tip to pipe the ricotta into the Cannoli molds. If you do not have a bag then you can use an iced tea spoon or long butter knife.

2. Fill the Cannoli shells from both ends starting with piping the cream into the center of the shell first, then working your way to the ends.

3. Dust the outside of the shell with powdered sugar.

4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 minutes only. If you keep the crème in the shell for more than a few minutes it will begin to get soggy.

5. Make sure you serve that Cannoli crispy.

6. Start to eat and call me when they are ready!

 

A special note about making the Cannoli shell

 

Especially since there are lots of new chefs out there making this recipe I thought it’s good for you to know you have an option. You can buy some pre-made Cannoli shells separately. Especially since making the shells are not as easy as the rest of the recipe.

 

The crème filling is very easy to make but the shells are more difficult. When you feel that you are skilled enough to make the shells from scratch then go for it, but in the meantime you might want to make your life a lot easier. If you’ve made the shells before you know what I’m talking about. Or maybe after making them a time or two, you might feel the desire to buy them from an Italian Bakery or Specialty Shop near you who sells fresh ones. The only challenge you may have is finding them already made.

 

Please know this. I never try to discourage someone from making the Cannoli shells themselves, especially if they are capable of handling this part themselves. Deep frying is not that difficult but it’s not the simplest thing either. The oil has to be at the perfect temperature and you’ll also have to be careful not to spatter it when placing the Cannolis it, which can cause a serious burn. You then have to wait for the oil to cool so you can dispose of it when finished. So even a well seasoned chef might prefer to run down to the local store and buy some shells that are pre-made by his friend at the store who will sell him a dozen. So for a new chef it certainly can be a little more than what the newcomer has bargained for.

 

It goes without saying that this is a cookbook, and you’re probably wondering why I’d tell you to not cook something in it. That’s not the case here. I’m only giving you a convenient option saving you some time and headaches. And just like the farmer who has the cow and the milk so he can make butter, you don’t have to do things that you don’t feel like doing, and focus on the things you enjoy more. Let the farmer milk the cows and make butter. I will just spread it on my bread and throw a spoon of it in my frying pan. But I recommend that if you feel like buying the special metal Cannoli shell molds that you’ll need to make them, and don’t mind doing it yourself then I would love you to try and wish you the best. Especially if you’ve never done it before, and would like to try to make everything yourself, then go for it.

 

But if deep frying is not your thing and you are more of a baker like myself, then I totally understand and can relate. Why have to deal with letting that oil cool down and then having to put it in out in the trash?

For me personally, if I could find some “delicious” Cannoli shells, all by themselves naked at a store where I live, then I’m all in for that. It’s really not such a big deal to me. Yes of course I love cooking, but if I can buy the shells pre-made (as long as they are fresh and taste great of course) it’s fine with me. I’m certainly not going to loose any sleep over it. I love making fillings and crèmes for desserts and that’s very to do, so why over complicate my life?

 

Call me lazy but I’m just not a deep frying man. I’m a shallow frying man when it comes to oil. If I’m frying up some eggplant in a frying pan that has only a few tablespoons of oil, then no problem. Flip them over when half way done, easy. Any more oil than that I usually avoid. No I didn’t get burned once but I just don’t prefer deep frying. I used to work in a restaurant making French fries and other things that took a whole container of oil, so now I avoid it whenever possible. Deep frying consumes lots of time and gets messy with lots of clean up time too. So for those reasons, I’m out. Why not have someone else do the dirty work for me?

 

I’d prefer spending my time making a fresh pizza or some Eggplant Parm. Making the crème for a Cannolo, no problem. Plus if you know where to get Cannoli shells then to me that’s they easier way. In case you’re wondering it wasn’t a typo. One is a Cannolo, two or more are Cannoli.

 

So if you just want to make the delicious crème filling and not the shells I won’t tell anyone. It’s actually fantastic, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Never be ashamed in the kitchen, especially when you’re the boss and people come to you for food. I’m especially talking about the people who don’t know how to cook. Yup that’s right. You’re the only one that knows. But if you strive to be the best in all that you do then buy the Cannoli shell molds and give it your best. There are some great videos online you can watch and learn from.

 

Till Next Time – Happy Cooking!

 

“Take pride in whatever you decide to create, and do it with excellence.”

 

Here’s a chef’s blessing prayer to all my readers.

May your recipes and food along with everything in your life turn out to be good and not bad.

May the food that you eat and also feed to others bring health and nourishment to your bodies and minds!

 

Buon Appetito,

Mario

PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS

 

If references are made to recommended products, kitchen tools or ingredients either in this book, or on the Mario’s website www.mariomazzo.com it’s for the benefit of the reader.

These suggestions may help your kitchen work a little easier or possibly not. Although we feel the suggestions will help most people, we make no promises. However, most of the suggestions are general in nature and have assisted many others in saving time or making their jobs in the kitchen easier.

We at Mario Mazzo Recipes sincerely care about our readers and fans, as some of them already know. Our desire and priority is to help you anyway possible to make your time in the kitchen more rewarding.

For example we might recommend using a lemon zester or stand mixer, as we feel these are important kitchen tools and without these preparing food can be much more time consuming and more difficult.

AFFILIATE PRODUCT SITES

 

The internet is very connected with clickable links. So if you end up going to our website you may notice that we have product links and pictures for you to click on. We are an affiliate member of certain companies that sell products of which we may get small finder’s fees from time to time. There’s really no need to tell you about this other than wanting to keep our readers up to date with all that we’re involved in behind the scenes.

Because of our affiliation with high quality companies Mario sometimes gets paid small referral fees when someone from his site ends up on their site and buys something. However, the commission fees for referrals are very small and usually equal only about 40 cents for each $10 dollars purchased. You still however pay the same low price as if you went to that site directly so don’t worry, you’re not going to pay more.

Even though click referrals only generate a small amount of money for us after 5 or 10 transactions per month it could help buy an extra cup of coffee or a smoothie. Every little bit helps and much appreciation goes out to any supporters.

So if you see any clickable product links or pictures on our website page named “kitchen tools”, there’s a chance some pocket change may be generated for us which can only help us.

We are “by no means” suggesting that you start making purchases to try to support us. We’re only providing this information to you in case you happen to be shopping for something anyway. So if that’s the case, it would be a nice gesture to click through our website links first, which automatically bring you to those popular sites you’ll probably want to shop on anyway. At that point, if you buy something we’d get a small commission.

It’s a great way to show your support for Mario, especially if you received any of his books for free.

So if you’re in the market for a new cheese grater, blender, or anything else please check out the high quality products listed on http://mariomazzo.com/kitchen-tools which connects you with popular high quality internet sites.

On our site you will notice that we’ve added some hard to find recipe ingredients which your grocery store may not carry.

Thank you readers, in advance for your support, as every little bit helps to make Mario’s cookbooks a success.

We just wanted to give a heads up to anyone who reads this before getting into the more significant chapters of this book.

THANK YOU

 

Thanks for purchasing my book. To show my appreciation I’d like to give you a free book as a thank you gift.

Just Click the Link Below and you’ll be added to my recipe club automatically, and don’t worry I won’t send too many emails.

 

SPECIAL OFFER!

Do you want to know some secret recipes or ingredients to make great food?

GET MY BOOK

“Secret Ingredients”

COOK SMART NOT HARD

IN THIS BOOKYOU GET BOTH of MY 2 Secret Ingredients

(Including the Recipes) to make these Delicious Sauces.

 

YOU GET MY: SECRET TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE

YOU GET MY: SECRET ASIAN BROWN SAUCE RECIPE

 

“Never before have I given these secrets to anyone, especially not the complete formula.”

SO GET THIS NOW Click to get this book http://mariomazzo.com/free-book

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If you’ve enjoyed this book would you please take a minute to write a quick review? Reviews are very important to us authors.

It will also help others to see that this is a quality cookbook and will help it to also be more visible. Thanks in advance for your help

 

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The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes

Looking for Italian Classics? "The Italian Cookbook" is for you! “All Individually Verified” 4 & 5 Star Dishes & Desserts! (no bad ones here) BONUS: Get my other cookbook for FREE “My Favorite Recipes” Lots of great recipes! Incl: 2 Very Special Popular Italian ones that aren't in this book! SUPER BONUS: Get Free Cookbook "Secret Ingredients" Get the Free Download link right my website at http://mariomazzo.com In "Secret Ingredients" I share secrets to making amazing tasting Italian Tomato Sauce and also Asian Brown Sauce! ABOUT "The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes" •Only the Most Popular + Famous Recipes •Small e-Book File - Saving Space in Your Device •Easy to Follow Directions •All Recipes Earned Genuine 4 + 5 Star Reviews (by tons of people who made these) •No bad ones in this book SOME RECIPES IN THIS BOOK: •PIZZA = New York Style, Deep Dish + BBQ Bonus •BAKED ZITI + ANGEL HAIR PESTO •CHICKEN PARM, CHICKEN MARSALA, CHICKEN PICATTA •EGGPLANT PARM •RISOTTO •SAUCES •LASAGNA •MEATBALLS •PLUS YOUR FAVORITE DESSERTS INCL: CANNOLI, TIRAMISU, & CHEESECAKE MANY COOKBOOKS TODAY: Are loaded up with many recipes, but not enough good ones. This book is the exact opposite! You Get 20 FAMOUS & FAVORITE CLASSIC RECIPES = All Delicious! THE ONES YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO MAKE "Your Italian Nonna Would Even Love Them" LOOK at the RECIPE LIST in the Table of Contents and see the full list of recipes! Want to Make: Chicken Parmesan, Meatballs and Tomato Sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, Chicken Marsala, Risotto, Amazing Alfredo Sauce, Some Delicious Pesto Sauce Plus some GREAT DESSERTS such as: Tiramisu, Cannoli, Baba, Rainbow Cookies, Biscotti, and an Amazing Cheesecake Recipe! Don’t Worry - We’ve Got Ya Covered. DO NOT pass up this book! Seriously, how many cookbooks would you have to buy to get all of these recipes? Buy Now At This "Special Low Introduction Promo Price" ~ FA GED A BOUD IT... IT”S TIME TO COOK WITH MARIO AND SEE WHAT YOU BEEN MISSING This book is first in a series called "Best of the Best Recipes" focusing on the best international food and desserts. All recipes in this book were carefully selected and have “ALL” earned 4 + 5 STARS by many who have tried them earning this book a Top Quality Stamp of Approval. There’s no fluff here. The simple to follow directions make these recipes fun and easy. DOWNLOAD THIS BOOK NOW Start cooking right away! If you downloaded this book would you help by writing a review for me? Great reviews are invaluable for us authors. Thanks. Thanks for taking a look at my book. It’s my attempt to preserve the great flavors of these incredible dishes, while pointing you towards some of the most delicious Italian recipes on the planet. The recipes are about as close to the original Italian-American classics as you’ll get. ABOUT ME: Eating a hot slice of pizza straight out of the oven from a New York or New Jersey Pizzeria is one of my favorite things to do! (Read more in my book). Chefs all around the world have made these classics, and I hope you'll try them also. Learn more about me on my Author Bio Page.

  • ISBN: 9781370839605
  • Author: Mario Mazzo
  • Published: 2016-09-25 23:35:46
  • Words: 23058
The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes The Italian Cookbook of Famous Recipes