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.

 

 


 

Polpettone con Salsa di Mele

November 19, 2019

An Italian Inspired Holiday 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.

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 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.

 

 

Summertime Minestrone

June 14, 2018

A minestra for Summertime is very similar to the same soup served in the colder months with a change up of more garden fresh vegetables.

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


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.

 

 

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 and I cannot refuse.

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.

 

 

 

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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