Author: Michele Carbone (Page 1 of 3)

Oven-baked fillet of fish with fresh tomato sauce (Filetti di Cernia or altro pesce al pomodoro fresco al forno)

Baked filet of fish with tomato

Do you want a very fresh, simple recipe for fish? This takes only a few minutes to prepare and cook.

I use grouper or any other very fresh filet of fish.  When you shop for the fish, make sure the filets are of consistent thickness so they bake evenly.

Ingredients for 4-6 people

  • 1 filet of fish per person
  • ½ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/3 cup olives
  • Salt and, if you like, black or red pepper to taste

How to make this recipe

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° Celsius)
  2. Put in a food processor olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil, salt, pepper, and mix just a little bit–do not exaggerate, just process until the tomatoes are still chunky.
  3. Put fish in a baking dish. Pour the tomato mixture from the food processor over the filets.
  4. Add the olives, and then turn the fish over so that both sides are coated with the tomato blend.
    Tuna-with-fresh-tomato-and-basil
  5. Cook for 5 minutes, then pull the pan from oven, and turn over the filets. Cook for another 5 minutes (add or subtract a minute or two, depending on the thickness of the filet). Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
  6. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Ideally, if you can find it, a sparkling white from Librandi called “Labella”, otherwise a cold “Pecorino”.

Italian version:

  1. Un filetto di cernia o di altro pesce, a testa.
  2. Mettere nel food processor circa 250 g di pomodori freschi con la buccia, 1 spicchio d’aglio, 1 tazzina di caffè di olio d’oliva, 1 mazzetto di basilico, sale e se vi piace 1 peperoncino rosso. Mischiare un pó per amalgamare il tutto senza esagerare!  Non deve essere  una pappa liquida!
  3. Mettere i filetti di pesce nella teglia da forno, girarli, versarci sopra le olive, e infornare a 220 C (forno già caldo) per circa 10 min girando una volta.
  4. Buon appetito!

Summer Recipe: Spaghetti with ricotta and zucchini

Summer Recipe: Spaghetti with ricotta and zucchini

Sauteed zucchini draining on paper towels

Sauteed zucchini draining on paper towels

Out of the many recipes of pasta with ricotta, this is in my opinion the best one.  I modified slightly from a book called Pasta Fresca, written in 1988 by Viana Kleiman. Of note, I could not make this recipe for 20 or so years because there was no good ricotta in the USA.  Fortunately this has changed, and now Bellwether Farms in California makes a ricotta as good as the one I eat in my house in Calabria.  Whole Foods and other specialty markets carry Bellwether’s ricotta, or you can order it directly from them.

Ingredients for 4-6 people

  • 1 box spaghetti (450g)
  • ½ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove or garlic
  • 1 medium size zucchini for each person, cut in ½ cm round coins
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 box of Bellwether Farms Whole Cow’s Milk ricotta (340g)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of the boiling water in which you cooked the pasta

How to make this recipe

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add spaghetti.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the olive oil, smashed garlic cloves, and rosemary in a large skillet. Bring the heat to medium to medium-high.
  3.  Note that the heat is somewhat dependent on your stove: for example, on a gas stove, you might use “medium high” and on an electric stove, you might use “high” heat. The heat needs to be intense enough to brown the zucchini.
  1. When oil is hot—hot, but NOT smoking, do not let it smoke, it means the heat is too high—add the zucchini and cook until golden brown on each side (remember to turn them!). Also, when the garlic is golden, remove it from the skillet and throw it away.
  2. Remove the sautéed zucchini from the skillet and place on absorbent paper towel to drain the oil. Keep the skillet ready with the olive oil and  rosemary sprig.
  3. By now the pasta should be almost ready. Taste it to be sure it is a little bit hard “al dente.” Scoop out 1 cup of the boiling pasta water and reserve.
  4. Quickly drain the pasta and transfer it in the large skillet —fire off—which contains the remaining olive oil and rosemary. Now you must move very fast:  mix well, add the ricotta and a little bit of water to make the ricotta smooth, but not liquid –you can always add more water but you cannot take it out, so add a little bit at the time; you will need about 1/3 of a cup.
  5. Add the basil and zucchini to the skillet and mix it well.
  1. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

A cold Arneis or Vermentino from Sardinia, or, ideally, if you can find it, a sparkling white from Librandi called “Labella.”

Italian Version of Pasta e ricotta per 4-6 persone

Ingredienti:

  • 1 pacco di spaghetti e 350 g di ricotta fresca di ottima qualità (preferisco per questa ricetta la ricotta integrale di latte di vacca, ma si puo usare pure ricotta di pecora).
  • 1 zucchina media a persona tagliata a rondelle di mezzo cm
  • 1 tazzina di caffè olio d’oliva
  • 1 spicchio d’aglio schiacciato e un rametto di rosmarino
  • Un mazzo di basilico spezzettato con le mani.

Procedimento:

  1. Mettere acqua a bollire, aggiungere sale e pasta.
  2. Soffriggere le zucchine con aglio e rosmarino in olio di oliva in una padella grande, finchè dorate da entrambe le parti.  Spegnere il fuoco e mettere le zucchine su carta assorbente.
  3. Appena la pasta è al dente, prendere una tazza d’acqua, poi scolare la pasta e metterla nella padella con l’olio che è rimasto dalla frittura (fuoco spento). Rapidamente: mischiare bene, aggiungere la ricotta e un po’acqua della pasta, quel tanto che pasta a rendere la ricotta ‘vellutata, cremosa, ma NON liquida.
  4. Aggiungere basilico e zucchine e servire con up pó di pepe nero.
  5. Buon appetito!

Vino: Librandi Labella freddo (ideale), oppure se non lo trovate, un Arneis o un Vermentino un po frizzante ci stanno pure bene.

cooked-octopus

Octopus

(For 3-4 people)

There are few dishes that chefs screw up as much as this one—too often, octopus served in restaurants tastes like bland rubber. Yet, if cooked well, this is one of my preferred dishes. But, for that I have to cook it myself.

Part of the key is making sure that you get small octopus.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1¼  pound of small octopus—this should be at least 2 small octopus
  • ½ bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 or more hot Italian, or Hawaiian, or Thai peppers, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine for cooking
  • Juice from 1 or 2 lemons (depending on how much juice they have)

Make sure you have the octopus cleaned by the fisherman or fish vendor if you don’t know how to clean it yourself. Then, separate the legs and cut them transversely at ½ inch intervals. Slice the head ¼ inch transversely.

Use a pot with a lid that seals perfectly.  If you have an enamel pot (such as a Staub or Le Creuset pot), use that.

Preparation

  1. On medium to medium-low heat, fry the garlic cloves in the olive oil.  Remove the garlic from the oil as it becomes golden. Do not burn it!
  2. Add parsley, hot pepper, the octopus and salt. Turn the heat to high, and cook for 1 minute.  
  3. Add the ½ glass of white wine and cover the pot. Lower the flame, and continue to cook on medium-low heat for 35 minutes without ever removing the cover to look at it.
  4. Mince 1 more tablespoon of parsley.
  5. After 35 minutes, open the lid and add the parsley and the juice of 1 or 2 lemons (depending on how juicy they are and how much you like the lemon flavor). Keep on the heat for 30 seconds, mixing well.
  6. Turn off the heat and serve the octopus as either a “soup,” or serve over toasted bread—you need good Italian bread! I prefer olive bread, but any crusty bread will be great. You’ll want to use the bread to sop up the flavorful broth (sugo) created by this recipe.
  7. Buon appetito!

Italian version of this recipe:

Polpo (o meglio polipi come tutti li chiamano in barba allo Zingarelli)

Ne pescavo 1 al giorno quando ero piccolo,più di cento a stagione, al blu 70.  Poi li portavo a casa dove li ammazzavano la seconda volte perche` non li sapevano cucinare.  O duri e gommosi, oppure affogati nel pomodoro.  Per molti anni ho continuato a pensare che I polpi erano un piatto di seconda qualitá, finchè ho imparato a cuinarli: oggi sono fra i miei piatti preferiti.  Procedete come segue.  Per 3 persone circa 300 g di polipetti piccoli, almeno 2 meglio 3-4, o anche meglio imoscardii che sono i polipetti con 1 sola fial di ventose.  

Usare una pentola con coperchio a chiusura perfetta-se non lo avete mettete un peso sul coperchio.

  1. Fatevi pulire il polipo dal pescatore se non sapete pulirlo, e guardate come fa!
  2. Separate le gamebe e la testa.  Tagliate le gambe trasversalmente ogni cm,ela testa a rondelle ogni mezzo cm.
  3. Soffriggere in ½ bicchiere di oilio d’oliva 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, togliere come prendono colore.  
  4. Aggiungere ½ pugno di prezzemolo tritato e 1 o più secondo i gusti di pepperoncino calbrese picante tritato.  (a me piacciono molto piccanti) e il polipo.  Fuoco forte soffriggere 1 minuto
  5. Aggiungere ½ bicchiere di vino bianco e coprire.  Abbassare il fuoco a medio-basso e cuocere 35 min senza mai scoperchiare-altrimenti mangerete un polipo duro e gommoso.
  6. Aggiungere il succo di 1-2 imoni-dipende da quanto succo fanno, vi serve circa 1/3 di bicchiere di limone.
  7. Cuocere per altri 30 secondi.
  8. Servire su fette di pane abbrustolito

Buon appetito!

shrimp-dish

Two Great Shrimp Recipes

(For 4)

These are two very different, easy, and excellent shrimp recipes. I like to make them at the same time, dividing the shrimp half and half among the two to see which of them my guests prefer. Usually, it is about 50/50.

Note: These same recipes will work with other crustaceans, you just need to adjust for amount of time and ingredients.

Recipe 1:  Shrimp with tomato sauce, green onions, and mint

Ingredients

  • Approximately 20 very large shrimp, with heads and tails
  • ¼ stick of butter (about 25 grams)
  • ½ box of crushed Pomì or other crushed Italian tomatoes (if you have homemade canned tomatoes, use them instead–see my website recipe)
  • 1 bunch (approximately 8) green onions, chopped
  • ½ glass white wine
  • ½ cup of fresh mint, finely chopped

Recipe

  1. In a large pot, boil water. Add the shrimp and boil it for 2 minutes.
  2. Using a colander, pour out the water, and allow the shrimp to cool. Once the shrimp have cooled, peel them, leaving their heads attached to their bodies. Put the peeled shrimp onto a platter.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet, add green onions and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until they are soft. Stir often to avoid sticking.
  4. Keeping the heat on low, add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine and allow the sauce to continue simmering for another 5-6 minutes, until the sauce is reduced (i.e. it becomes thick again).
  6. Spoon the sauce over each dinner plate, then put 5 shrimp on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
  7. Buon Appetito!

Italiano:

  1. Bollire i gamberi 2 min, raffreddarli, pelarli lasciandogli la testa.
  2. Squagliare ¼ di bastoncino di burro, circa 25 g, in una padella a fuoco basso
  3. Aggiungere 1 mazzetto di cipolline verdi tagliate a rondelle (circa 8 cipolline), 5 min a fuoco basso o finchè pronte (girate spesso)
  4. Aggiungere mezzo scatolo di pelati (250g), meglio Pomì “crushed” o ancora meglio conserva fatta in casa, vedi la ricetta sul mio website.  Cuocere a fuoco basso 2-3 minuti.
  5. Aggiungere ½ bicchiere vino bianco, continuare a cuocere sempre a fuoco basso per altri 5-6 minuti.  Spegnere il fuoco.
  6. Mettete la salsetta al centro di ogni piatto, metteteci sopra 5 gamberoni, la menta tagliuzzata e buon appetito.

 

Recipe 2:  Shrimp Calabrian style

Ingredients

  • 20 shrimp with head and everything else, not peeled!
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped very fine
  • Hot red pepper (better fresh southern Italian hot peppers, or Hawaiian hot peppers, or Thai peppers, or whatever dry red pepper you have)
  • 1 glass white wine

Recipe

  1. Using scissors, cut lengthwise along the spine of the shrimp, starting from the junction of the head-body down toward the tail–but leave the head and the shell on! Carefully pull the black cord from the shrimp and rinse under cold water. Set aside until all the shrimp have been sliced.
  2. In a large pan, add ½ cup olive oil, and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Turn the flame off, and allow the garlic take on a golden color.
  3. Remove and discard the garlic.
  4. Turn the flame back to high and add ½ of the minced parsley, red pepper to taste, and immediately add the shrimp. Cook about 1 minute per side, add 1 glass of white wine, and cook for 2 more minutes (i.e. 1 additional minute per side).  
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour the sauce from the skillet over each plate, add the shrimp on top forming a circle, then garnish with the remaining minced parsley.
  7. Buon appetito!

Italiano: Gamberi alla Calabrese

  1. Tagliare il guscio dei gamberi dorsalmente con le forbici, senza rimuovere nè guscio nè la testa.
  2. Versare circa un bicchiere d’olio d’oliva in una padella grande.  Fuoco forte.
  3. Soffriggere l’aglio, rimuoverlo appena imbiondisce, aggiungere un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, pepperoncino rosso, a gusto vostro, a me piacciono molto piccanti, e immediatamente anche i gamberi.
  4. Soffriggere 1 minuto per lato.  Aggiungere 1 bicchiere vino bianco.  Cuocere altri due min, sempre fuoco forte, 1 minuto per lato.  
  5. Rimuovere padella dal fuoco, aggiungere un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, e servire i gamberi con la loro salsetta.  
  6. Buon appetito!
seafood-risotto

Risotto alla Marinara

(For 8 people)

A long time ago, I started writing some of my favorite recipes into my “little green book,” a bound green notebook. My daughter, Martina, was just eleven years old at the time, and she liked rating my recipes with Betti. Anytime I prepared a new recipe, Betti, Martina, and any guest who happened to be there for the meal would provide a satisfaction rating, using a ten-point scale. Betti kept giving me 9s and 10s, but Martina made me work. I just looked through my book and found a recipe that even Martina thought was “the best.”

Michele Carbone

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 1 pound mackerel
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 16 jumbo shrimp (2 per person)
  • 2/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 and ½ cups white wine
  • 1 handful of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful of fresh arugula
  • 1 handful minced chives
  • 1 handful minced fresh dill
  • 3 leafs of fresh sage
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 spicy pepper, such as an Italian pepperoncino or a Thai pepper
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
  • 3 and ½ cups of risotto, Campanile preferred
  • 2 liters fish broth, brought to a low boil in a medium sized saucepan (this is incorporated in the risotto)

How to Make this Recipe

  1. In a large heavy pan, add ½ cup olive oil, 2 cloves of smashed garlic, parsley, fish, shrimp, arugula and parsley. Turn the heat to high, 2-3 minutes covered, till the arugula disappears and the mussels open.
  2. Add 1 cup of white wine, cover until it boils, about 1 min.  Remove cover, let wine evaporate 1 minute.
  3. Add ½ cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice and ¾ of a box of Pomì chopped tomatoes. Cook for just 2 minutes on high heat.
  4. Add salt and pepper and turn off the fire
  5. Remove all the seafood, placing into a separately covered container. Peel the shrimp.
  6. Add 1/2 of cup olive oil to the pan (or ½ stick of butter).
  7. Add the chopped red onion, a handful of parsley, and a smashed garlic clove and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent.
  8. Add 3 and ½ cups of risotto and cook on high for 2 minutes, mixing constantly.
  9. Add 1 cup of wine and allow to evaporate for 1 minute.
  10. Add the fish broth to the pan that you just cooked (with the orange and tomato) —1 cup at a time—stirring continuously.  Once you finish using all the just-cooked broth, use the broth that you had warmed in the additional saucepan.

    As each cup becomes incorporated in the risotto, add the next cup. You need to stay at the stove, stirring, and watching the risotto as it absorbs the broth. Do not text, answer the phone, or open the door. You are cooking the risotto! You cannot do anything else.
  11. Near the end (just taste the rice, and when it is almost done but still a little harder than what you prefer) add the dill, a little parsley, 3 leafs of fresh sage minced, and a handful of minced chives. Mix into the risotto. Allow it to incorporate for 2 minutes. Turn off the fire.
  12. Add back the reserved fish and shrimp, gently mixing them into the risotto, which will warm up the fish.
  13. Plate the risotto, then arrange the mussels in an attractive pattern on the plate. (I like to create a circle of mussels around the risotto).
  14. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over each plate and serve immediately.
  15. Buon Appetito!

Italian: Per favore leggete sopra la mia ricetta scritta a mano.

Michele Carbone

Canned Tomatoes – A Cooking Basic

Although many recipes are very good when you use store-bought canned tomatoes (like Pomì), they reach the next level of excellence when you can use tomatoes you have canned yourself.  My wife and I discovered this when we lived in the Chicago area, and found many varieties of beautiful heirloom tomatoes at a local farmer’s market. We found that the yellow, green, and orange heirlooms provided a lovely balance for fish recipes requiring tomato, while the red heirlooms were milder and more tasty than the store-bought tomatoes. Now, we always keep a supply of canned tomatoes on hand.

Ingredients

  • Ball mason jars and new lids (you can buy these jars at Walmart and in many supermarkets) – washed and drained
  • Fresh basil
  • Lots and lots of mature, clean tomatoes – we typically buy 50 pounds of them from the market and spend the weekend cleaning and canning.

How to make this recipe

 

  • Put a very large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil
  • Carefully drop the clean tomatoes (in batches) into the water

 

      1. Leave them there for a minute or two until the skin begins to split

 

  • Use a slotted spoon to lift the tomatoes from the water and put them on a large flat serving dish to cool
  • Do steps 2 and 3 multiple times until all the tomatoes are ready
  • Peel the tomatoes and put them into the canning jars, filling to near the top (you could also look at the instructions on the Ball Canning website
  • Add one leaf of clean, fresh basil to the jar
  • Use a wooden tool to make sure that there are no air bubbles in the jar
  • Screw on the top of the jar, finger-tight
  • Place the jars into a large pot of cold water or a pressure cooker, with at least 3 inches of water covering the jars.  
    1. You can follow the instructions on the Ball Ball Canning website for cooking.
    2. I do not follow instructions and do as I saw my grandmother did: At sea level, since the water boils, I wait 20 minutes, then I turn off the fire and leave the pot on the stove until it cools down (about 16 hours). Then you can store the jars for several years. However, the time it takes to cook the tomatoes is influenced by the altitude. So, if you live on top of a mountain, you may want to wait 30 minutes or so before turning the fire off.

Italiano:

Come fare la conserva: Tanti pomodori maturi, bollire 1-2 min appena la pelle si spacca metterli in uno scolapasta. Farli raffreddare. Sbuccciarli e metterli in barattoli di vetro per fare conserva -si vendono ovunque, precedentemente lavati in lavastoviglie -che disinfetta molto meglio che lavando a mano. Riempire fino all’olrlo e mettere una foglia di basilico fresco -togliere bolle d’aria con una forchetta. Chiudere il barattolo con gli appositi coperchi. Mettere in un grande pentolone e coprire d’acqua fredda. I barattoli devono essere interamente sommersi. Accendere il fuoco al massimo, da quando bolle, aspettare 20 min. poi spegnere il fuoco e lasciare raffreddare fino al mattino successivo. Pomodori pronti: si conservano vari anni.

halibut-dinner

Flounder or Halibut With Mussels and Tomato

(For 4-6  people)

Last week, I visited one of my favorite butchers in Oak Park, IL – a place called Carnivore.  I saw a giant flounder in their fish case and decided to try it.  This recipe is the one I created for the 5.5 pound (2.5 kg) fish I bought from Ciro, the chef who works at Carnivore.

First, you’ll need a large oven, and a large roasting pan.

Ingredients (all basic ingredients you should ALWAYS have in your refrigerator)

  • 1 liter of homemade canned cherry tomatoes. Or, if you don’t can your own tomatoes, you can use a box of of Pomì chopped tomatoes (it won’t be quite as good of course, but it will still be good).
  • 12 mussels or clams
  • 12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed or sliced
  • 1/3 of a sweet onion, such as a Maui or Videlia, or green onions
  • A handful of calamata olives in brine
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 1 handful of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh Italian basil
  • 1 spicy pepper, such as an Italian pepperoncino or a Thai pepper
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste

How to Make this Recipe

  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper and use your hands to spread 50g (half stick) of melted butter all over the fish.
  2. Then, coat the fish with a thin layer of flour.  
  3. Warm 1/3 cup of olive oil in the pan, then add the fish and fry on medium/high heat for just 2 minutes per side.

    Do not use a non-stick pan!
  1. Remove the fish from the pan and transfer it to a large roasting pan. DO NOT wash the pan you fried the flounder in, because you will continue cooking the sauce in the same pan, using the drippings as a source of delicious flavor.
  2. In the large roasting pan where you’ve placed the fish, add the canned tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, 3 smashed garlic cloves, basil and salt. Turn the fish in this sauce twice, then put in oven at 400F convection (if you do not have convection, it will take longer) for 20 minutes (Flounder) or 40 minutes (Halibut).
  3. While the fish bakes, add the following to the pan in which you cooked the fish: cherry tomatoes cut in half, mussels (or clams), onion, parsley, minced hot pepper, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, some basil, a few black olives, and a tablespoon of capers.
  4. Cook on high until the tomatoes become soft, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to detach the skin of the fish that attached to the pan.  This deglazing gives a special flavor to this sauce.
  5. Take the fish out of the oven, cutting it into serving-sized pieces.  
  6. Spoon the tomato-mussel sauce over the fish and serve.
  7. Buon appetito!

Ingredienti

  • 1 barattolo di un litro di conserva di pomodoro fatta in casa.
  • 12 cozze (12 mussels or clams)
  • 12 pomodori pachini
  • ½  bicchiere vino bianco
  • Olio d’oliva
  • Aglio
  • Burro
  • Farina
  • Aglio
  • 1/3 cipolla dolce
  • Olive nere
  • Capperi
  • 1 pugno prezzemolo tritato
  • 1-2 peperoncini piccanti tritati
  • Pepe nero e sale

Italiano L’altra sera, dopo aver discusso con un amico (Ciro) come farla ho cucinato una sogliola buonissima,funziona anche bene con l Halibut (un pesce piatto che pare che in Italiano si chiama Ippoglosso.

  • Vi serve un forno grande e una padella grande.
  • Quantita` per Sogliola di 2.5 kg.
  • Spalmare la sogliola con un po di pepe nero e sale, poi spalmare usando le mani con 50g il burro sciolto nel microonde.  Passare la sogliola nella farina, senza esagerare, e soffriggerla 2 min fuoco medio/alto per lato in pentola con 1/3 di cup (una tazzina di caffe`) d’olio d’oliva.

    Non usare pentola antiaderente! Rimuovere il pesce ma non lavate la pentola!
  • Mettete il pesce in una pentola da forno, aggiungere la conserva di pomodoro, 1 tazzina di caffe` di olio d’oliva, tanto basilico, 3 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, sale.

    Girate il pesce in questa salsa un paio di volte e infornate a 400F per 20 minuti. (40 min per l’halibut che e` piu` spesso)
  • Mentre il pesce e` in forno aggiungete alla padella in cui avete cucinato il pesce 12 pachini tagliati a meta`, le cozze, un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, la cipolla tritata, 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, 2 peperoncini piccanti tritati, un pugno di basilico, qualche oliva e un cucchiaino di capperi.
  • Soffriggere finche` i pomodori si ammosciano, a fuoco forte rimestando continuamente con una cucchiaio di legno per rimuovere la pelle del pesce che si era attaccata alla pentola e che dara` il sapore. Togliere il pesce da forno versarci la salsetta.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing.  Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo, no more than 2 years old, cold. Some people recommend red wine with a fish soup. Taste is taste! If you like a red wine, try a good Gattinara (at least 7 years old), alternatively Ciro` Chianti, Barbera, Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!

Michele Carbone

Limoncello

(VERY EASY TO MAKE)

My favorite summertime after-dinner digestivo is the limoncello made from the lemon trees in my mother’s yard in Calabria. You can purchase limoncello in many locations in Italy and the US, but the pre-packaged bottles are never as good as the ones made from those homegrown, freshly-picked Calabrian lemons.

I’ve found that I can make a great limoncello using organic lemons from the supermarket. Of course, they aren’t quite as great as those collected in the warm sunlight of my mother’s garden, but they still make something delicious.

Even the process of making limoncello is a pleasure, because you breath in the aroma of the fresh lemon zest as you prepare it. The only problem with this recipe is that you have to steep the lemon zest in alcohol for a week – or up to three weeks (depends on the point of view). I say 1 week is all is that is needed before you finish the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 20 organic lemons, preferably less-mature lemons with a very thick skin
  • 750 ML rectified spirit, or ethyl alcohol, such as Everclear (I do not recommend the use of vodka as a substitute, that is a terrible idea)
  • ½ KG superfine sugar
  • Water (purified or bottled)

 

Additional Supplies

  • A serrated vegetable peeler – One of the most important things about this recipe is that you need to use the lemon peel, avoiding the pith as much as possible. The pith gives the drink a bitter taste. Peeling the lemons “just so” used to be quite difficult, but my good friends Teresa and Carlo found a serrated vegetable peeler by OXO (it’s called the OXO Good Grips Serrated peeler, available in many stores as well as online). It makes the job easy.
  • A large glass jar with a cover. The jar needs to be able to hold at least 1 liter of liquid (more if you choose to double or triple this recipe).
  • Another large glass jar that you use for the filtration process.
  • Aluminum foil to cover the jar as the limoncello steeps in the rectified spirit.
  • Glass bottles for the finished limoncello. You will need 2 1-liter bottles for this recipe.
  • A store-bought permanent coffee filter.
  • One or two #4 paper coffee filters.

 

How to make this recipe

  • Wash and dry the lemons.
  • Peel the lemons, making sure that you avoid including the pith.
  • Chop the lemon zest, just a little bit.
  • Pour the 750 ml of the rectified spirits into the clean glass jar, then add the lemon zest.
  • Place the lid on the jar, then wrap it with aluminum foil or a cloth. The reason you cover it with aluminum foil is that the process is photo-sensitive. Therefore, you want to avoid exposing it to light during the one- to three-week steeping process.
  • Shake the jar, then place it in a cool, dry, and dark place. Some people say that it’s best to shake the bottle each day; others say just leave it alone. My mother leaves the bottle alone with a towel around it for at least one week, so I suggest you do it her way (moms know best)!
  • After the one-to-three week steeping period, you’re ready for the next steps.  
  • In a very clean saucepan, heat 1 liter of purified water. Add, slowly, ½ kilogram of superfine sugar to the pan and stir it until the liquid is clear, meaning that the sugar has dissolved completely, creating a supersaturated sugar mixture.
  • Allow the sugar-water to cool in a glass container.
  • Strain the steeped limoncello mixture. Don’t squeeze or try to push the saturated lemon zest in order to extract a few extra ml of limoncello.  

  • Once the limoncello spirits have been filtered, mix 1:1 with the sugar-water.  
  • Decant the limoncello into your clean glass bottles, cap them, and put them in the freezer.
  • Enjoy after dinner in a shot glass. Remember that this is a highly alcoholic drink, so sip it.
Photo from www.dartagnan.com

Baked Pheasant

Photo from http://www.dartagnan.com/herb-roasted-pheasant-recipe.html

As discussed in my previous blog, I went to my local grocery store in the Lake Tahoe area to buy food for dinner. As I was looking at their selection of meats and foul, I found two frozen pheasants.

This is the second recipe is for baked pheasant stuffed with Italian sausage, capers, bread crumbs, and the pheasant’s liver. This sweet/salty combination is wonderful for a special dinner on a cold night.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 leaf of fresh sage, chopped
  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs, lightly soaked in water
  • ½ cup of dry white wine (such as a Pinot Grigio)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 link mild Italian sausage
  • 1 whole pheasant, chopped into 8 pieces
  • 1 additional cup white wine, used for drizzling the pheasant as it cooks in the oven.

How to make this recipe

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Coat the pheasant and baking pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  • In a medium bowl, prepare the stuffing by combining the egg, Parmigiano, chopped capers, rosemary, sage, crumbled Italian sausage, liver, and bread crumbs with a ½ cup of white wine. Mix well.
  • Using your hands, fill the chest cavity of the pheasant with the stuffing. If you know how, fill it so the abdomen and skin of the pheasant does not allow the stuffing to get out.
  • Bake the pheasant with its stuffing for about 45 minutes, occasionally opening the oven to drizzle it with white wine.
  • Remove the pheasant from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Chop into pieces and serve immediately.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Try a good Cirò, Chianti, Barbera, or Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!

 

Italiano:

  1. Scaldare il forno a 400 F
  2. Spalmare il fagiano e la pentola da forna con olio d’oliva.
  3. Preparare il ripieno:
    • 1 uovo
    • 50 gr parmigiano grattugiato fresco
    • Un cucchiaio di capperi tritati
    • Un po di rosmarino e salvia tritati
    • Circa mezza salsiccia di maiale fresca tritata, il fegato del fagiano tritato
    • Un pugno di mollica di pane ammollata nell’acqua
    • ½  bicchiere di vino bianco
    • Sale e pepe nero
    • Misciare, riempire la pancia del fagiano con questo ripieno ben amalgamato. Infornare per 45 minuti circa -dipende dalla forza del forno che avete- e ogni tanto bagnate con vino bianco (1 bicchiere in tutto).
  1. Tagliare il fagiano a pezzi.
  2. Buon appetito!

Vino: Barbera, Cirò, Chianti, Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.

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