The recipe may be the best place to reassure the human gesture of sharing. Not just to keep loved ones fed and nourished, but beyond that, as a gesture of the instinct to imagine, to create and perfect, to continue in the countless iterations, to work on a recipe until its variations are explored, its textures, flavors, aromas and physicality are worked on in pursuit of a new and valued item for presentation to the table. This constant endeavor is repeated over and over and over again and has passed down since the beginning of upright man, the foraging and presenting, the “cooking” endeavor in man’s history on this earth. (Kitchen Inspirational )

Selected Recipes

"What is the purpose of food?" 

"To delight the palate and cheer the spirit"

                                                    

                                     . . .  from Italian Made

 

After eating in Italy with our  Italian family and friends we've come to realize the pivotal place that food has in the Italian culture and it begins with the table.  Italians take time and effort to prepare a well-laid table where there is beauty and grace in the smallest detail. Meals are an essential part of Italian life. Not that they obsess about food or over indulge.  Italians truly value food and its preparation. 

 

It beings with the growing of the food, the selling of the food at their markets and extends to the careful and considerate preparation of the food. They value the traditions and regional diversity of Italian cooking based on the geography of the land and the cultural traditions of the region. We think that all this combined with the warm and generous hospitality of the Italian people, the freshest of ingredients and some of the finest wine in the world is what defines the meaning of a "well laid" table.

Recipe selections are based on my eating, cooking, shopping and tasting regional Italian food on annual road trips in Italy with our Italian family and friends and will have your friends wondering at what Italian cooking school you’ve been studying.

 


 

Pistachio Buns

May 14, 2020

  • For the Filling:

  • 7 1/2 ounces Stramondo Organic Siiclian pistachio cream (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, brought to room temperature about (about 5 tablespoons)

  • For the Dough:

  • 18 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)  plus more for rolling

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast  (not rapid-rise)

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground salt

  • 10 ounces Stramondo Organic Sicilian pistachio cream (about 1 cup)

  • 8 ounces plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt brought to room temperature (about 1 cup)

  • 4 ounces milk brought to room temperature (about 1/2 cup),

  • 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil (about 5 tablespoons)

  • 4 ounces blanched, peeled, and lightly toasted pistachios or more to taste, optional

  • For the Frosting:

  • 6 ounces heavy cream (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 1/2 ounces chilled Stramondo Organic Sicilian pistachio cream

For the Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the pistachio cream and butter until creamy and smooth. Transfer the pistachio filling to a small zip-top bag or a disposable pastry bag, scraping the bowl as thoroughly as you can with a flexible spatula. Wipe the bowl with a paper towel and proceed to the next step (no need to wash).

For the Dough: In the stand mixer bowl from the last step, whisk the flour, yeast, and salt until thoroughly combined. In a quart-sized liquid measuring cup, combine the pistachio cream, Greek yogurt, milk, and oil, mixing by hand or with an immersion blender until homogenous and smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir to form a very dry, shaggy dough. With the hook attachment, knead on low until silky-smooth, elastic, and able to be gently stretched into a thin but rough sheet without tearing, about 25 minutes.

First Rise: Cover the bowl with plastic and set the dough to rise until puffy, light, and doubled in bulk, about 2 hours at roughly 70°F (21°C). It’s normal for the timing of this step to vary, with doughs moving faster in warmer environments, and slower when things are cool.

Shaping and Second Rise: Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, dust with flour, and roll into a 13-inch square. Snip a corner from the bag of pistachio filling, squeeze over the dough, and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Sprinkle additional pistachios on top, if using, and roll into a log, ending seam side down.Slide an 8-inch strand of thread, unflavored dental floss, or butcher’s twine under the dough until you reach the middle. Cross the ends over the top and pull tight to divide the log in two. Cut each half into six even portions and arrange in a parchment-lined 9- by 13- by 2-inch aluminum baking pan (or two 8-inch by 3-inch round cake pans). Cover rolls with foil and refrigerate overnight, or up to 48 hours.

For the Frosting: Place the pistachio cream and heavy cream into a bowl or container large enough to accommodate the head of an immersion blender or the ingredients can be placed in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is creamy and thick, like a frosting. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed, up to 48 hours. 

To Bake and Serve: Cover the buns with foil and with oven rack in the middle position bake buns in a preheated to 350°F (180°C) oven until puffed and firm but pale, about 25- 35 minutes.Remove the foil and continue baking until lightly browned, about 15 minutes more. Let the buns cool about 15 minutes then serve with a generous dollop of frosting over each bun. Serve immediately enjoy. 

Pistachio Tiramisu

April 26, 2020

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 ½ cups mascarpone cheese

  • 3 tablespoons Stramondo Organic Sicilian Pistachio Cream 

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Lady fingers

  • Cognac 

  • Crushed pistachios

  • Dark cocoa powder

 

Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until thick and light yellow, about 3 minutes.  Add in the mascarpone and pistachio cream until just combined. (NOTE: The eggs are not cooked in this recipe, which may be of a concern. If concerned, whisk the yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler until light and thermometer reads 170 degrees F.) 

 

In another large bowl, beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the pistachio mixture until incorporated. Pour about ½ cup Cognac into a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger into the Cognac, soaking it for a few seconds on each side.  Arrange the ladyfingers in an 8-inch glass baking dish or 4 individual serving dishes.  Repeat until the bottom of the dish or the bottoms of the individual dishes are covered, trimming the ladyfingers so they fit snugly. Spread about 1/3 of the pistachio custard mixture over the ladyfingers and sprinkle with pistachios. Repeat with another layer ladyfingers, custard and pistachios. Spread the remaining pistachio custard on top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.  Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, dust with cocoa powder and additional crushed pistachios.

Pistachio Buttercream Frosting

April 23, 2020

  • ½ cup  unsalted butter, softened

  • ¼ cup  Stramondo Organic Pistachio Cream

  • 2 cups  powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, or using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and pistachio paste until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Balsamic Cherry Glaze

April 12, 2020

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sweet onion , minced
1 cup aged Maletti Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cup Amarena Cherries in Syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

 

In a medium saucepan, combine garlic, onion, balsamic vinegar, water, cherries and brown sugar. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Continue to reduce and stir for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture has become dark and sticky. Remove from heat. Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and combine with balsamic cherry reduction. Set aside. Pour sauce over cooked ham

Torta di Porri - Lenten Leek Pie

March 05, 2020

A recipe from a Tuscan Trattoria. 

1 pie crust store bought or homemade, blind baked
3 leek(s) (1 lb. 12 oz) in total, washed and sliced
3 tbsp. Capezzana extra olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups parmigiano reggiano or grand padano cheese freshly grated
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pastry into a 8" pie plate and bake it before you add the filing. Do this by e pricking the bottom of the unbaked crust with the tines of a fork and covering the bottom of the crust with aluminum foil and weight it down with something so that the bottom doesn't puff up (pie weights or beans are commonly used). The edges should be a light golden brown and the bottom dry and flaky, but still pale. This should take about 10- 15 minutes.

Prepare your filling by stripping away any damaged tough parts of the leek and top extreme ends. Then cut the leeks into thin slices.Put them into a bowl of cold water and swish them with your hand to clean. Transfer to a colander to drain. Put the olive oil into a skillet to heat and add the leeks. Saute gently to soften, and season with salt and pepper. When the leeks become lightly golden, add the wine and continue cooking over low heat until most of it has evaporated and the leeks are softened. If the leeks are still hard and the wine has evaporated, add 1 cup of hot water and saute for another 10 min. or so until the leeks are soft and there is only a little liquid left in the pan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool slightly. Gently whip the eggs in a bowl and add the cream, cheese and a dash of nutmeg. Add the cooled leeks and stir well. Adjust seasonings if needed. Pour the mixture into your par-baked pie crust spreading evenly with a wooden spoon. Return the tart to the oven for about 20-30 min. until the top is lightly golden and the filling is set. Cool slightly and slice into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Strawberry Ricotta Cake

March 01, 2020

Spring forward with this delightfully light cake.

  • melted butter and olive oil mixture for greasing

  • 4 eggs, separated

  • 1 ½ cups ricotta

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup plain flour

  • 4 strawberries, halved

  • Brown sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 inch springform pan with butter. Place egg whites in small, clean bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add egg yolks, ricotta, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla into a large bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Fold in flour and beat until well combined. Gradually fold in egg whites into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Press strawberries on the top of batter. Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is firm and cooked through.  Let cool before serving.

Carnevale Zaletti

February 19, 2020

You can find dolci anytime in Venice but the abundance and variety are especially noticeable during Carnevale. All meant to be part of the last bit of indulgences before the Lenten season starts.

A rustic farmhouse cookie whose shape can vary in different parts of the Veneto. Traditionally made with “yellow” polenta the name comes from the Italian word giallo meaning yellow. In the Venetian dialect the word becomes zalo hence the name zaletti meaning “little yellow things”.  We prefer to use biancoperla “white” polenta for a finer texture and more delicate flavor. 

 

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup dried currants (dried, dark red, seedless grapes) cut into the smallest of pieces

  • 1 to 1½ cups Italian grappa, rum, brandy or Marsala wine

  • ½ lb unsalted softened butter at room temperature

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 3 eggs at room temperature

  • 1¾ cups Terriero Biancoperla polenta 

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, (for dusting currants)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Put the dried currants in a medium-sized bowl. Add just enough of the liquor to cover the currants. Soak the currants for at least 30 minutes.

  3. In a mixer with a paddle cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the polenta, baking powder, and salt together. Add ⅓ of the polenta mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing well. Repeat until polenta mixture and sugar-butter mixture are thoroughly combined. Add the sifted flour to the dough, mixing gently but thoroughly.

  4. Drain the infused with rum currants well and pat dry.

  5. In a separate bowl, place the currants and the additional ½ cup flour and toss until currents are lightly coated. Remove the currants fro m the flour, add them to the dough, and mix just enough to distribute the currants evenly throughout the dough.

  6. Divide dough into thirds. On a floured work surface, use your hands to roll each portion into a 2-inch thick salami like roll. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.  

  7. Remove from the refrigerator and let dough set for a few minutes

  8. Flatten the log to about 1/2" and then cut diagonals (diamond shape).

  9. Place cut cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. about 1 inch apart.

  10. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes

  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.

  12. Store in a cookie tin or a plastic container with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 30 cookies.

 

 

 

Preparing Cannellini Rosemary Beans for Umbrian White Bean Soup with Crispy Pancetta

December 10, 2019

The amount of beans this recipe makes could feed  an army! Use a portion as a base for this soup by adding a soffritto of onions, carrots and celery sautéed in olive oil and butter and more broth. A versatile base for a pasta fagioli  or for a hearty  Tuscan ribollita. Using extra virgin olive oil  in the preparation helps to best express the earthy, rustic flavor of the cannellini beans.

Preparing the dried beans in advance does take a little effort but it is well worth it. Beans cooked from dried are entirely different from canned beans with tender skins that still retain texture and fluffy interiors that are rich and creamy. Also soaking the beans before you simmer them helps to mitigate the gasy-effect some people experience.

Preparing the Beans 

  • 2 cups dried Casa Corneli Organic Cannellini Beans 

  • 1/4 cup Capezzana extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped

  • 3 cloves minced garlic 

  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig

  • sea salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste

 

Put the beans in a bowl large enough to hold 10 cups of cold water covering the beans by at least 3 inches. Let them soak in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. When ready to cook the beans, drain and rinse them in fresh cold water. 

 

Cook beans in a thick bottomed pot large enough to cover the beans with water by at least 3 inches. Cover the pot with a lid and place pot on medium heat. Adjust heat to a simmer and cook beans until tender but not mushy for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remember to keep the heat to a simmer. Boiling the beans will split their skins. Drain boiled beans. Heat olive oil in the same large pot. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) then add salt,  garlic and the rosemary sprig. Stir and cook (about 4 minutes) until fragrant and garlic becomes a very pale golden color. Add drained and cooked beans, a few grindings of black pepper and saute beans in the oil mixture for 5-6 minutes until beans take on a glossy sheen.  

 

Preparing the Soup 

Use 1/2  of prepared beans for 1 box of organic chicken or vegetable broth (32 fluid ounces or more). Add broth to cover the beans by 3 inches while adjusting the amount of broth to the desired consistency of your soup. Slowly simmer beans in broth about 30 minutes. Transfer the soup into a blender or food processor. The beans should be very soft before blending. In small batches purée the soup keeping a portion of the beans whole for additional texture. Return beans to soup pot and warm at a simmer, adjusting seasonings. Add additional chicken broth or water to create a semi-thick creamy consistency. If desired garnish with crispy pancetta or bacon. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Oil, Cherry and Almond Cake

December 06, 2019

A visually stunning dessert, modest but elegant . The syrup from the Amarena cherries lends a slight jewel-toned marbling and  deep, cherry flavor and the final dusting of powdered sugar is a simple but elegant finish. 

1/4 c Capezzana extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 c sliced almonds

2 eggs, separated

2/3 c freshly squeezed orange juice

2 t orange zest

1 c sugar

2 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

1 t orange blossom water

1 t baking powder

1/2 t sea salt

2/3 c almond meal

1 c Morello Astera Amarena Cherries in Syrup

2 T powdered sugar, to serve

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Line with round of parchment paper. Brush the parchment paper with olive oil and sprinkle with sliced almonds. In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large metal bowl using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Combine the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and almond extract and orange blossom water in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground almond meal. Mix  the wet mixture  into the dry mixture and fold in the cherries and egg whites. Pour into the baking pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely. Invert onto a platter, release sides. Remove the parchment paper, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.

Strawberry Tortina (Cupcakes) with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting and Balsamic Swirl

February 12, 2020

An Italian inspired strawberry cupcake (tortina) made with aged balsamic vinegar that is just a little bit different and a little bit more awesome because of it.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcake:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cake flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2¼ cups caster sugar

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white

1 cup milk

For the Strawberry Balsamic Swirl and Cupcake Topping: 

2½ cups rinsed, hulled and finely chopped fresh strawberries 

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar

For the Cupcake Frosting:

1½ cups rinsed, hulled and finely chopped fresh strawberries

4 large egg whites

1¼ cups caster sugar

3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter cut into cubes

For the Balsamic Glaze:

½ cup aged balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. light brown sugar 

Assembly 

To make the strawberry balsamic swirl and cupcake topping:

Combine 2½ cups rinsed, hulled and finely chopped fresh strawberries with 3 tbsp sugar,1 tsp. balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl. Stir to blend. Let sit at least 20-30 minutes to macerate to be used later.

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently swirl in the macerated strawberry- balsamic mix with a metal skewer. Fill cupcake liners each about ¾-full.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Cool  cupcakes in the pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Swiss Meringue buttercream frosting:

 

Place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth.  Combine sugar and egg whites in a heatproof  bowl over  a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved; about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of the electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk sugar-egg white mixture on medium-high speed until mixture is thick, glossy  with stiff-peaks and the temperature of the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Change attachment to the paddle attachment and continue mixing on low speed. Add butter, 1 cube at a time; mix until silky-smooth. If mixture curdles, continue mixing and it will return to smooth about 3-5 minutes although it may take a little longer. (Don’t panic if the Swiss meringue buttercream looks curdled like scrambled eggs after you add the butter, keep whipping at a low speed and the mixture will come together). Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pipe a round of frosting onto each cupcake. Add a small dollop of the macerated strawberry cupcake topping on the top of each cupcake. 

 

To make the balsamic glaze: 

 

Combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high until bubbling, then lower the heat and continue to cook until significantly reduced (about 4 tbsp.)  Cool . Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze over the top of the frosting to finish. 

Baked Ricotta Dip with Black Summer Truffle Honey

April 04, 2018

  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh whole milk ricotta

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • unsalted room-temperature butter for greasing

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 loaf of crusty bread

  • extra virgin olive oil for brushing bread 

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

  • Italian Black Summer Truffle Honey 

  • crushed pistachios


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack set on the middle-upper level. Liberally grease one small baking dish with butter. Line the inside with parchment paper so that when the ricotta rises past the baking dish it doesn’t spill over. Do this by cutting triangle corners from the parchment paper and laying one edge of the triangle in the inside edge of the baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg and parmigiano and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt. Spread the ricotta mix into the buttered and parchment-lined baking dish up to about two inches deep. Sprinkle the top with a little freshly ground black pepper. Place baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top starts to brown. You can overbake so if the tops aren’t brown to your liking, brown the dip under a broiler for a minute or two.  Brush sliced bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides and toast on a pan. Spread dip on toast, drizzle with truffle honey and top with pistachios.

Goat Cheese Log with Herbed Olive Oil

December 11, 2019

Fresh goat cheese in Italian is called Caprino Fresco, aged for three-four days with a soft creamy texture.

 

1 small bay leaf

4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves

¼ tsp. coriander seeds, crushed lightly

¼ tsp. fennel seeds, crushed lightly

10 whole black and red peppercorns

¼ cup Capezzana extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound log of soft mild goat cheese

 

In a small saucepan simmer bay leaf, garlic, rosemary, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in oil for 5 minutes. Arrange goat cheese on a platter and spoon cooled oil mixture over. Serve goat cheese with bread.

Make Your Own Italian Vinaigrette

December 05, 2019

The traditional olive oil salad dressing (Italian vinaigrette) has a gastro-history of ancient origins. Well-preserved artifacts from Mediterranean shipwrecks show  the contents of  jars of cargo including an ancient salad dressing (olive oil flavored with oregano).

Italian Vinaigrette 

¾ cup Capezzana extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup wine vinegar (or apple balsamic)
½ tsp minced garlic
1 - 1½ tsp fresh chopped or dried Mediterranean herbs of your choice 
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together and let stand for 30 minutes for flavors to blend together. Whisk  again immediately before serving.
Makes 1 cup of dressing.

Polpettone con Salsa di Mele

November 19, 2019

An Italian Inspired Meatloaf from Italy's SudTirol

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Capezzana extra virgin olive oil

1 large egg, beaten

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1 cup cinnamon applesauce 

1 scant teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 pound ground beef, extra lean

1 pound ground pork

 

For the Glaze 

1 cup cinnamon applesauce

2 tablespoons Trentino Organic Apple Balsamic Vinegar 

1 tablespoon honey Dijon mustard

2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple maple BBQ sauce

freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Finely chop onion and then sauté in oil until onions start to caramelize and brown in color. Mix ground beef and pork in a bowl, then add salt. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, pepper, egg, onions, one cup of applesauce. Add the breadcrumb mixture into the meat mixture and gently mix until combined. Do not over mix. Shape the mixture into a metal loaf pan. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes to create a crust, then turn down the oven to 350 F and bake for 1-1/2 hours. Make the glaze by combining the applesauce, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Crack the pepper into the mix. Heat and stir until blended and the brown sugar is incorporated. After the first half hour of bake time, spoon some of the apple glaze over the top of the meatloaf to coat it. If needed, brush the top of the meatloaf with some glaze, reserving some for a topping. Let meatloaf sit for 20 minutes before serving.

 

Serve with some of the glaze on top of each slice, with a side of homemade spätzle (like they make in the Alto Aldige region of Northern Italy).

Fall into Italy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Mascarpone and Maple Syrup

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese from the Lombardy region with a very high fat content ranging from 60% to 75% resulting in a smooth, creamy, buttery texture.

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes 

  • Capezzana extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 -8 oz container of Mascarpone cheese, softened

  • 5 tablespoons pure real maple syrup

  • 2 generous tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 t cinnamon

  • coarse sea salt

  • sprig of fresh thyme for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 425° Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and place  on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and rub into skins. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the pulp of the potatoes scraping some of the salt from the skins into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Season with cinnamon. Add the mascarpone, maple syrup and butter.  Whip well with a hand mixer to achieve a creamy consistency. Spoon contents into a serving bowl. Garnish with a sprig of fresh time. Serve immediately.

White Polenta Muffins with Asiago Butter

September 01, 2019

Asiago is a cow's milk cheese, produced only on the Asiago plateau in the Veneto foothills in Italy. The cheese-making tradition in the provinces of  Vicenza and Trento dates back to more than a thousand years.

1 1/2 cups Biancoperla White Corn Polenta
1/2 cup flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

For the Asiago Butter

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/3 cup shredded softened Asiago cheese

 

Blend until smooth and creamy. Shape into a stick, cover with plastic film and refrigerate  until firm.

For the Muffins 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease or line 12 muffin cups and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the water, oil, buttermilk and eggs. Beat vigorously for 45 seconds, or until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into greased muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Capezzana Olio di Oliva Torta

April 04, 2018

A typical Tuscan cake from our friends at Tenuta di Capezzana.

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups Capezzana extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • Grated zest of 3 oranges, plus 1 orange, sliced, for garnish

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Pinch of salt

  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

 

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until blended. Add the olive oil, milk, and orange zest and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

 

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto a serving plate. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar. Garnish the individual servings with fresh orange slices. Serves 12.

Parmigiano Polenta with Sausage Ragu

December 19, 2018

Biancoperla white corn polenta is a rare and prized corn varietal from the Veneto with a fine and delicate flavor.  Grown in northeastern Italy since the Middle Ages, white corn polenta has a distinct sweetness and cooks to creamy perfection.


2 T extra virgin olive oil 

1 lb. Italian fennel sausages, casings removed

1  onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1 1⁄2 tbsp. Maletti Aged Balsamic Vinegar from Modena

1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 1⁄4 cups Biancoperla white corn polenta 

2 T butter

1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano, plus more for garnish


Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high; add sausage and cook, breaking it into small (almost meatball-like) pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and boil; simmer until thick, 30-40 minutes. Add basil, vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper; keep warm. When sauce is nearly ready, bring sea salt and 5 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; slowly add polenta and cook, stirring constantly, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, 1⁄2 cup parmesan, and kosher salt. Divide between bowls and top with ragù; garnish with more parmigiano..

 

 

 

Honeydew Relish Salad with Trentino Apple Balsamic Vinegar

April 04, 2018

Apples from the Trentino region of northern Italy not far from Austria are renowned for their juicy tartness.

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, combine 1/3 c organic Trentino apple balsamic vinegar, 2 T honey, 1/4 cup water, 2 t mustard seeds, 1/2 t celery seeds, and 1/2 t coarse sea salt. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, then boil over high heat, stirring often, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 2 minutes longer. Let cool. In a salad bowl, combine vinegar mixture, 2 cups cubed or balled honeydew melon pieces, 1 cup finely diced and peeled English cucumber, 1 cup finely diced celery, and 1/2 cup halved seedless green grapes. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally to blend flavors, at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Stir in 2 T finely chopped celery leaves and 2 T finely chopped chives. Arrange butter lettuce leaves on plates and spoon salad over them.

Everyone Should Know - How to Braise Osso Bucco

September 08, 2018

Six basic steps on the technique of braising Osso Bucco. You will  need a dutch oven or cookware that you can use on the stovetop and in the oven. 

Basic Steps:


1. Pat the osso bucco dry but do not rinse meat.

 

2. Season the meat with coarse ground  sea salt and pepper.

 

3. Sear the meat for about 3 minutes on each side in a hot pan with olive oil until it releases easily from the pan and has a nice brown color to caramelize the meat and add texture.

 

4. Once seared, remove meat from pan. Braise aromatics (onions, carrots, celery)  with 3 cloves of  minced garlic until caramelized being careful not to let garlic burn.  Add 1 t tomato paste , 1 cup of red wine (a Brunello would be good) and a sprig of rosemary and thyme.

 

5. Reduce and return the Ossco Bucco to the pan. Rub the osso bucco in the liquid, then flip it over, rub the other side in the liquid and let sit. Add enough braising stock to the pan so that the stock to covers meat half-way or you can cover the meat completely depending on how much liquid you want in the final dish.

6. Transfer braising pan to oven at 325 for about 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

We like to serve it with Terriero Biancoperla polenta.

 

 

Roast Chicken on Little Crusts of Bread

February 18, 2019

This roast chicken sits on a bed of garlic and thyme crusts little crusts of bread. Chunky pieces of rustic Italian bread make a trivet for roast chicken and soak up all the delicious juices while it cooks.

 

Toss 1/2 loaf of day old bread with dried fresh thyme, 2 tbsp Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil, coarse sea salt and ground black pepper. Spread it out in the bottom of a sturdy, non-stick roasting pan brush with melted butter. Stuff cavity of chicken with 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 1 sprig of dried thyme and  one lemon halved, then sit the chicken on top the crusts. Brush the outside of the chicken with a mixture of 1 T of butter and 1 T of olive oil and sprinkle again with coarse sea salt and ground black pepper and a citrus, rosemary, oregano spice blend. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes in a covered tagine, or until the chicken  reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (F) and the bread is crisp and golden. Remove cover and brown outside of chicken for an additional 10-15 min.

 

 

A Particularly Lovely Olive Oil Cake

June 19, 2019

Get ready for your next weekend getaway with this stunning olive oil cake. Beautiful to look at and healthy to eat. Inspired by Wonder Wall we’re using our Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Capezzana in Tuscany and blood orange juice from Sicily to make a cake that will transform your next weekend getaway into a weekend along the Ionian Riviera.

Measure in a bowl and combine completely:

  • 1 c Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 tsp coarse ground salt

  • 3/4 c whole milk

  • 1/2 c blood orange juice

  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tsp citrus zest and/or chopped kumquat rind

  • 2/3 c local honey

Measure + thoroughly whisk to combine in a larger bowl:

  • 2 c spelt flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

For pan:

  • handful of edible flowers and/or herbs (rosemary, thyme)

  • one 9″ cake round

  • natural oil baking spray

 

Preheat oven to 360 degrees F.

 

Prepare pan by spraying oil and then line with a 9″ round circle of parchment.  Spray again. Press your edible flowers and/or herbs into the pan and place in the freezer or fridge. Measure wet and dry ingredients as instructed above.  Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients.  Fold in your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients so that all is combined.  Do not overmix.

 

Pour into your prepared baking pan and set on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25-35 mins until a center bounces back and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto your serving plate.

 

 

Minestrone - A Soup For All Seasons

April 30, 2019

A minestra always include a "thickening vegetable" such as fresh or dried beans or other legumes, potatotes, pumpkin or squash.

It must also include pasta or rice. Derived from the Latin ministrare, meaning "to administer", the word reflects the fact that minestra was served out from a central bowl or pot by the figure of authority in the household. 

 

As a soup, it is exceptional in that it is delightful at various temperatures and can be made with fresh, canned or preserved vegetables making it a soup for all seasons.

3 – 4 tbs Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful of fresh parsley
16-26 ounces cubed vegetables; green beans, zucchini, red bell pepper
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, heated
8 oz small pasta
14 oz of Casa Corneli Organic Cannellini Beans prepared as directed 
salt and pepper
a piece of Parmesan cheese to grate over the top

Prepare the beans

 

Put the amount of beans required by the recipe (about 2 cups) in a bowl large enough to hold enough cold water to cover the beans by at least 3 inches. Let them soak overnight. When ready to cook the beans, drain and rinse them in cold water. When ready to cook the beans put them in a thick bottomed cooking pot large enough to cover the beans with water by at least 3 inches. Cover the pot with a lid and place pot on medium heat. Adjust heat to a simmer and cook beans until tender but not mushy for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remember to keep the heat to a simmer. Boiling the beans will split their skins. Keep the beans in the liquid you cooked them in until ready to use.

 

Prepare the soup

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion until light brown. Add the garlic. Then add all the vegetables. Saute and add the tomatoes. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes and cover with the heated broth and pasta. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Coarsely mash that cannellini beans, leaving some of them pureed. Add to the soup and allow to slightly thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the minestrone in large bowls and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

White Asparagus of Bassano del Grappa

March 28, 2019

  • 1 lb white asparagus, woody ends trimmed and peeled if skin seems thick

  • 3 large, hard boiled eggs, shells removed and cut in half, yolks separated

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ cup Capezzana extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 salt cured anchovy filets, boned, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Tie the asparagus stalks in small bunches and stand them up in a high, narrow pan. Add water to about two-thirds up the length of the stalks, the tips should be above the water, and simmer them until tender, about 8 minutes.

  2. To make the sauce, press the hard boiled egg yolks through a sieve, into a small bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, and then, stirring constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Chop the egg whites and add most of them to the sauce, reserving some for garnish. Add the anchovies and capers; season with salt and pepper, and additional lemon juice if desired.

 

 

Pan de Ramerino - Tuscan Rosemary and Raisin Buns

April 11, 2019

An Italian version of Eastertime "hot cross buns".  A soft, slightly sweet bread made with extra virgin olive oil infused with rosemary traditionally eaten on Holy Thursday, a time when it can be found all across Florence and Tuscany where they are called Pan de Ramerino.  In the Tuscan dialect rosmarino  (rosemary) is “ramerino”.

 

1/4 cup Capezzana extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2/3 cup raisins
3 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
2 eggs

 

Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat. Add the rosemary and gently infuse oil for about 30 seconds. Remove and discard the rosemary and add the raisins to the pan for about 30 seconds, then strain the raisins — reserving the oil and set them aside to cool. 

 

Combine the dry ingredients the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and stir on low to combine. Add eggs and water including the cooled oil into a medium bowl and whisk lightly to combine them. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixer and turn it up to medium. Stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough is elastic. Knead in the raisins. A this point you can add some chopped rosemary if desired to intensify the flavor. 

 

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp towel and let rise for about an hour and a half until doubled. Cut the dough into 12 pieces, shape them into balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush them lightly with more olive oil and let them proof about 45 minutes until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the buns have finished proofing, score them in a tic-tac-toe pattern, brush them with egg wash and bake them about 20 minutes until well browned. Let them cool until they’re just warm and apply a light brushing of apricot glaze.

 

 

 

 

Pistacchio Gelato with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

December 18, 2018

A spectacular holiday dessert from our friends at Manciaretti by Rolando Beramendi. Rich, robust, creamy and totally unexpected.

 

 Pistacchio Gelato with Fleur de Sel and Olio Nuovo

 

1 quart pistacchio gelato
1/2 cup whole toasted Sicilian pistachios 
basil leaves 
fleur de sel 
1 small bar of grated bittersweet chocolate

 

Serve a small scoop of gelato in a bowl, with a generous drizzle of Capezzana Olio Nuovo, a bit of the basil, a sprinkling of basil, pistachios, salt and bitter chocolate.

 

 

 

 

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