Polpo con patate (octopus with potatoes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole octopus, the bigger the better. Realistically speaking, in the US the largest octopi that I have seen are about 1.8 lbs. A few years ago in Italy I was able to secure a 5lbs octopus. A beast!
  • 50% by weight of Yukon gold potatoes. So for a 1.8 lbs of octopus get 3/4 lbs of potatoes.
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, the bigger the better.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic.
  • 1/2 cup of exgtra virgin olive oil.
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh, but dry would do too.
  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar.
  • 1 tbls of salt.
  • 1/2 lemon.

Preparation (octopus):

Clean and rinse the octopus.

Fill a large pot with water, add the bay leaves and the vinegar.

Bring it to a boil.

With the water boling, immerse and lift the octopus 3 times, so that the tentacles become curly. Then leave the octopus in the boling water, covered.

Time: 20 minutes per each lbs of weight, so for a 1.8 lbs octopus let it simmer for 36 minutes.

Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn off the heat, and let the octopus rest for 1 hour.

After that, remove it from the pot, and let it rest on a plate for at least 15-20 minutes.

Preparation (potatoes):

At the same you’re cooking the octopus prepare the potatoes.

Scrub the potatoes, dice the in 1″ cubes.

In a pot with plenty of water and salt, let it come to a boit, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes (check for doneness).

Preparation (parsley pesto):

Wash the parley, and separate the leaves from the stalks. Discard the stalks.

Peelmthe garlic.

Cut the parsley and the garlic with a chef knive on a cutting board, it needs to be coarse and not too fine.

Preparation (final assembly):

In a large seving bowsl, cut the octopus legsinto 1″ long piece.

Add the potatoes, the pesto, and the olive oil and the lemon juice.
Mix it gently.

Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Enjoy with slices of good quality crusty bread.

Ragù bianco

Ragù bianco

A variation on the classic Ragù alla Bolognese, ragù bianco is a noble classic of Italian Cuisine that everyone should experience making and sharing with friends.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz pancetta, diced
  • 75 grams of carrots, coarsely minced
  • 75 grams of red onion, minced
  • 75 grams of celery, minced
  • 100 ml of dry white wine
  • 3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cups of quality (homemade) beef stock, nothing from a can or cardboard, please.
  • 2 springs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour

Preparation:

Have the beef stock simmering in a pot.

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the carrots, onions, and celery in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

Add the ground beef and the pancetta, and sear it stirring continuously until it’s thoroughly browned.

Add the wine, and continue stirring, until the wine has evaporated completely.

Add the beef stock and cook for 3 hours, covered. Check every 30 minutes or so, adding more stock if needed.

Add salt to taste, but it should be pretty much OK as is since the beef stock will give the ragù enough flavor.

In the end, cook uncovered to make sure the ragù bianco is creamy and not too runny.

Enjoy over good quality pasta, preferably fresh pasta, or filled pasta like tortelloni or agnollotti.

NYC-style chocolate chips cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (227 gr) cold butter cut into 1/4″ (7 mm) slices.
  • 1.5 cups (300 gr) sugar.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 3 cups (420 gr) flour.
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 cup (135 gr) chocolate chips >=72% cacao, semi-sweet.
  • 2 cups (220 gr) walnut pieces or macadamia nut pieces.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 410 F (210 C).
  • Mix the butter and sugar for about 3-5 minutes till creamy.
  • Add the eggs, and mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and the nuts.
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces, and shape the pieces into irregular round cookies about 1″ thick, do not compress the dough but leave it formed but relatively loose.
  • Put the dough in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes or overnight.
  • Bake them for 9-11 minutes, and let them rest for 9-11 minutes.
  • Enjoy them warm!

Risotto with dry Porcini mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 50 gr of Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 150 gr of arborio rice
  • 20-23 gr of dry Porcini mushrooms
  • 25 gr of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • [Optional] 1.5 oz of rucola, finely chopped
  • 1 buillion cube

Directions:

Soak the mushrooms into very warm water for 20 min. remove the mushrooms from the water
and filter the water. Add bouillon cube to the water and bring to a simmer. This is your stock.

In a wide non-stick saucepan saute the onion in the olive oil, add the rice, stir for 1 minute; add 1 generous ladle of stock, the mushrooms and the rucola. Continue stirring gently and adding stock as needed for 15-16 minutes.

After that, fold in gently the parmigiano, cover the pot and let it sit for at least 5 monutes, better if 10 mintues but it all depends on how hungry you are.

Serve with fresh ground pepper.

RAGÙ ALLA BOLOGNESE

Ragù alla Bolognese, not to be confused with Ragú ™, and commonly called Bolognese in the US, is the queen of Italian cuisine. Originally from the Bologna region, it is a staple in Italy’s home cooking and restaurants alike.

Most everyone has their own recipe and variation, but historically back in 17 October 1982, the original recipe was registered at Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce by the Italian Academy of Cuisine, and that is indeed the absolute best recipe there is for flavor, texture and . . . labor of love. Highly recommended as an exercise in culinary achievements and a walk down memory lane of fabulous meals experienced on an Italian vacation.

This is the original recipe – as registered in 1982 – translated into English:

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 lb ground beef
8 oz pancetta, diced
75 grams of carrots, minced
75 grams of red onion, minced
75 grams of celery, minced
1 lb of tomatoes, crushed
100 ml of dry white wine
200 ml of whole milk
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cups of quality (homemade) beef stock, nothing from a can or cardboard, please.

Preparation:

Have the beef stock simmering in a pot.

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the pancetta for 2-3 minutes until the fat is starting to become translucent (do not overcook it).

Add the olive oil, wait a few seconds until it’s hot, and then add the mixture of onion, celery, and carrots, med-low heat for 5-6 minutes (do not overcook it).

Add the ground beef, and sear it stirring continuously, until it’s thoroughly cooked and browned.

Add the wine, and continue stirring until the wine has evaporated completely.

Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer (on low), stirring frequently – and adding the beef stock as needed 1-2 tablespoons at a time – for 1.5 hours.

Add the milk, and continue cooking at a slow simmer for an additional 30 minutes, still adding beef stock as needed.

You should have plenty of beef stock left, do not use the entire 4-5 cups as listed above.

Add salt to taste, but it should be pretty much OK as is since the beef stock will give the ragù enough flavor.

Sources: Accademia Italiana della Cucina

NOTES:

  1. Now you have a nice batch of ragù, you can serve it on top of virtually any type of pasta you wish, in Bologna the quintessential use is on tagliatelle, but Maltagliati or pappardelle would do; best if fresh pasta.
  2. Let the ragù rest in the fridge for 24-48 hours for best results. Reheat gently before serving.
  3. If it is to be used on top of dry pasta, add 100 grams of cream (whipping cream) at the end of the cooking cycle or before reheating.

POLPETTONE (Italian meatloaf)

polpettone

this is for Tony 🙂

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef
1lb ground turkey
salt qb
3 cups bread (stale french bread works best)
arugula, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 oz parmigiano
1.5 cups milk
breadcrumbs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Soak bread in milk until all milk is absorbed.

Then, mix all ingredients except for the breadcrumbs together in a large bowl.

Transfer mixture to parchment paper. Roll paper to form loaf.

Slowly add breadcrumbs (enough to make loaf compact yet soft).

Place loaf in glass baking pan.

Cook in oven about 1.5 hours until golden. Use meat thermometer to check temperature – should be 160+ degrees.

CARLINA’s RAGU

Garganelli with ragu
Ingredients:

1/2lb ground beef
1/2lb ground turkey
1 Italian sausage
0.25lb chicken liver (optional)
1 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6oz tomato paste

Preparation:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, turkey, sausage and liver.

Once meat is cooked, add carrots and celery and cook for additional 5 minutes.

Add entire can of tomato paste and one can of water to skillet. Stir and cook for additional 10 minutes on low heat.

Enjoy over good Italian pasta such as Garganelli (our favorite!)

GINGER AND CHOCOLATE CANTUCCINI

Ingredients:

500g flour
400g sugar
100g butter
6 eggs (6 egg yolks and 3 egg whites)
lemon zest
1tbs baking powder
125g candied ginger
125g chocolate chips
pinch of salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt, trying to get a frothy mixture.

Add the butter, flour, lemon zest and baking powder.

Add the ginger and chocolate chips to the mixture.

Divide the dough into three parts and form loaves of about 3 cm thick, brush them with the egg whites and bake for 20 minutes.

Take the loaves out of the oven and cut them into 1 cm slices. Cook the biscuits for ten more minutes. Enjoy!

SPLIT PEA SOUP

split.pea.soup
this is for Tony 🙂

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1 pound dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
Hot Sauce

Preperation:

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil.

Add the onions. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, and split peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, until the peas are tender.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Add the milk and, using a hand-held immersion blender, process until smooth.

Add the hot sauce and serve hot.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE STUFFING (inspired by MAMA)

Ingredients:

Cubed bread crumbs
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (remove casing)
8 oz chicken livers
1 medium red onion chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
4 sage leaves chopped
1 tsp rosemary chopped
1/4 cup parsley chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 large eggs
3/4 pot of vegetable broth

Preparation:

Saute sausages in skillet for about 5 minutes until no longer pink. Break up into smaller pieces.

Add chicken livers to skillet and saute until until no longer pink. Stir and break up into smaller pieces.

In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs, sausage, and chicken livers.

In same skillet with juices from the meat, saute onions, celery, herbs and parsley.

Add cooked vegetables and herbs to the bowl with bread crumbs. Mix all ingredients together and add raisins.

In a small skillet whisk two eggs and transfer everything to large stock pot. Add vegetable broth to coat bread crumbs.

Cook everything in covered stock pot over low heat for 15 minutes.