Category: Entrees (Page 1 of 2)

Lobster (The “Lovers Recipe”)

There are many recipes to cook lobster, some are excellent but boring, how many times do you want to eat a boiled lobster?  Others are good but quite greasy, cut lobster into half, put butter on top and broil, others are over complicated, and others simply disgusting.  Try my lobster and you will be happy.  This is especially good meal to cook if you want to impress your lover, spouse, significant other, etc.

Time to prepare: 15-20 minutes, depending on your stove.

Lobster with pear tomatoes

Lobster with pear tomatoes


  • 4 small-to-medium-sized lobsters.
  • ½ pound mixed yellow and orange “pear” tomatoes. If you can’t find them, you can use cherry tomatoes mixed with a golden heirloom tomato.Yellow tomatoes provide a very nice balance for seafood, so if you can find them, use them in any seafood dish. Betti and I go to the Farmer’s market every fall and buy and can the yellow and green heirlooms especially for this purpose. (See our canning recipe here: Canned Tomatoes – A Cooking Basic)
  • ½ glass white wine (always use good wine for cooking)
  • ½ bunch of wild arugula, or ½ one of those plastic boxes containing wild arugula
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt
  • 1 or 2 spicy peppers (such as a Thai chili pepper), or ¼ teaspoon of dried chili pepper flakes

Recipe Preparation

  1. Using scissors, cut lengthwise along the back shell of the lobster and pull apart with your hands, cracking it well, so the meat is exposed , but the shell is still on the lobster.

    Lobster split along back of shell

    Lobster split along back of shell

  2. Put in a 10-inch pan, (le Crueset, Staub, Calphalon and Circulon are my preferred ones):
  • 4 lobsters,
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 or more chopped chili peppers, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • ½ cup of extra-virgin Italian olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix the ingredients well.
  2. With the heat on high, start with with lobsters on their backs.
  3. Move the ingredients around with spoon the ingredients every 2 minutes or so, and after the first 5 min, add ½ glass of white wine, letting it cook 1 more minute, and then turn the lobster on the other side (i.e., on their stomachs).
  4. Cook 5-6 more minutes, moving ingredients around every 2 minutes.
    Now the question is how powerful is your stove? If it is a Viking like mine, then the lobsters are probably ready, if it is a less powerful stove you may need 6 or so more minutes.
    The easiest way to decide is to look at the consistency of the tomatoes; when they become almost a pulp, i.e., you touch them with a wooden spoon and they smash easily, then the lobster is ready.
  5. Turn off the fire, put the lobster in the center of a large plate and put all around it the sauce.
  6. Enjoy with fresh bread.

Suggested Wine Pairing

Serve with champagne if you want to really charm your lover, or any other good wine (both a good white and a “soft’” red, such as a Chianti, Barbera, etc., but not a “super-Tuscan” or Cabernet, match well with this dish).



Pollo alla Diavola, the Devil’s chicken

Clearly the Devil knows how to cook a chicken!

This is a classic Italian recipe, rarely or maybe never seen in the US restaurants.  Ideal for people who like to grill or who are on a diet and want to eat well.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 people

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Create a marinade by mixing:
    • ½ cup virgin olive oil
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • 6 leaves of fresh sage, minced
    • ¼ of cup of fresh rosemary
    • Salt and black pepper to taste

How to prepare this recipe

  1. Using a cleaver or sharp knife, cut the chicken along the chest. Open it like a book. Press on it to flatten it.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken; massage well and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably for 2 hours.
  3. Start the grill. I prefer mesquite or other natural briquettes (the devil does not use gas!)
  4. Cook the chicken on the grill for about 35 min—depending on the heat of your fire and the size of the chicken, the cooking time may vary between 30-40 minutes.
  • Turn the pieces over a total of 4 times
  • Each time you turn the chicken, brush the pieces with the marinade
  • I put a weight on the chicken to keep it flattened –I use a brick of marble, but a pizza stone works well, too.Of course the chicken will be black and burned: that’s why it is called the Devil’s chicken.  Eat everything, including the burned skin!  It tastes great.
  1. Buon appetito!

If you do not have a grill you can cook in an iron skillet on a (powerful) gas stove with heat at maximum, again putting a weight on the chicken to smash it down as it cooks.

Suggested Wine Pairing

I like a good Rosè from Calabria (Cirò Librandi, for example) or from Sicily (Regaleali Le Rose).

Italian version:

  1. Pollo aperto come un libro, tagliandolo lungo il petto.
  2. Metterlo a marinare con: ½ cup di olio d’oliva, 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, ¼ di cup di rosmarino, 6 foglie di salvia a pezzetti, 2 limoni spremuti, sale e pepe.
    Idealmente lo lasciate nella marinara 2 ore, al minimo 30 minuti.
  3. Accendere la griglia a carbone.
  4. Cuocere il pollo circa 35 min, dipende dalla potenza del fuoco e dalla grandezza del pollo, girandolo ogni dieci e spalmandolo con la marinata quando lo girate.
    Io uso una lastra di marmo che metto sul pollo per tenerlo schiacciato mentre cuoce.  Il pollo naturalmente sarà un pò bruciacchiato, perciò si chiama pollo alla diavola!
  5. Buon appetito!

Se non avete la griglia potete cuocerlo in una padella di ferro sul fuoco a gas. Fuoco al massimo sempre usando un peso sul pollo per tenerlo schiacciato.

Vino: a me piace un Ciro Rosè Librandi o un Regaleali Le Rose, ma naturalmente un chianti ci sta a meraviglia, e se preferite, un Regaleali bianco.

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.
  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!


(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.


  • 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.


  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!


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


  • 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


  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!


  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


  • 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


  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!

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



  • 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.


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!


  • 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!

Photo from

Baked Pheasant

Photo from

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.


  • 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!



  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.

Michele Carbone

Pan-fried Pheasant with Grapes and Walnuts

A couple of weeks ago, while I was in the Lake Tahoe area, I went to my local grocery store to buy food for dinner. As I was looking at their selection of meats and foul, I found two frozen pheasants. I’ve never cooked pheasant before, so I bought it.  

I looked through some of my favorite Italian cookbooks (Il Grande Libro della Vera Cucina Toscana by Paolo Petroni, La Cucina Regionale Italiana by Gualtiero Marchesi, and Il Cuoco Gentiluomo by Livio Cerini di Castegnate) and discovered there are many ways to prepare pheasant. I combined some ideas and came up with two different recipes to try. While the pheasants thawed, I went back to the store to buy a few more ingredients, and then got to work. I made both recipes at the same time and asked my family to tell me which they preferred: it was an even tie, so I’ve decided to add both recipes to my food blog.

This recipe is for pan-cooked pheasant. It’s flavored with a rich combination of chopped walnuts and green grapes.


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour to coat the pheasant
  • 1 cup Vin Santo (no substitutions – I tried this recipe a second time with Sautern wine and it was not as good)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 60 grams of chopped walnuts
  • 25 green grapes, sliced in half

How to make this recipe

  • Cut the pheasant into 8 pieces.
  • Coat with a light layer of flour and place it in a heavy-bottomed pan (I prefer a large enameled cooking pan).
  • Sauté it on medium-high heat in olive oil until it’s golden.
  • Keeping the heat on medium-high, add a glass of Vin Santo (no substitutions!). Allow the Vin Santo to evaporate for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, chopped walnuts, and the grapes to the pan. Mix gently, then add salt. Cover the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low (depending on your cooktop’s flame). Cook for about 12 minutes, keeping the pan’s cover on to retain moisture.
  • Add freshly grated black paper and serve.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

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


  1. Tagliare il fagiano in 8 pezzi, infarinare e soffriggere in olio finche` non e` dorato.
  2. Sempre a fuoco forte, aggiungere un bicchiere di vin Santo (niente sostituzioni!) fare evaporare 2 min, aggiungere 1 bicchiere di latte, un paio di pugni (60 grammi) di noci a pezzettini e circa 25 chicchi d’uva bianca tagliati a metò, mischiare, aggiungere sale e coprire.
  3. Abbassare il fuoco a medio o basso – depende dalla vostra cucina – e cuocere coperto circa 12 minuti.
  4. Spolverare di pepe nero.
  5. Buon appetito.

Vino: Un buon bianco giovane e freddo, Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo,, etc.  Per chi preferisce il rosso: Barbera, Cirò, Chianti, Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.

Grilled Lamb Steak

Grilled Lamb Steak

Lamb Steak (for 2 people, or for 1 hungry person)
When I need to cook something quick and delicious, I buy a lamb steak (or several steaks if I plan to come home with friends), and a mixture of mushrooms. See also the accompanying recipe for Mushrooms Trifolati or Mushrooms in Fricassea, also on my website.


  • 1 lamb steak with the bone in
  • 1/8 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional, I like it)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How to make this recipe

  1. About a ½ hour before you plan to cook, or 10 min if you just got home and you are in a hurry, take the lamb steak from the refrigerator. On a large plate, marinate it in a light coating of olive oil, (garlic, optional) and rosemary sprigs to marinade, sliding your fingers down the sprigs to break off the leaves for the marinade. (Discard the woody stems of the sprigs).
  2. Sprinkle salt and freshly-ground black pepper over the lamb.
  3. When you are ready to cook, use a cast-iron skillet or grill.  Heat it on high so that it is “smoking” before you add the lamb steak. (Make sure you have your stove’s ventilator on so that it will pull the smoke from the intense heat out of your kitchen).
  4. Place the lamb on the skillet/grill and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on your preferences and how thick the meat is.  
  5. Turn off the flame, remove the skillet from heat, and serve immediately.  This recipe is great with the fricassee of mushrooms.
  6. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

A good Chianti or Barbera.


Bistecca di agnello con osso, alla griglia. Piatto ottimo e particolarmente utile quando tornate a casa stanchi e volete mangiare qualcosa di buono in 15 minuti, o se tornate a casa con un gruppo di amici e volete preparargli qualcosa da mangiare rapidamente.  

Marinare lagnellos con olio, rosmarino, (aglio, se vi piace), sale e pepe, minomo 10 min, meglio ½ ora.

Scaldare la graticola sul fuoco finche` non fuma.  CUocere l’agnello 3-4 minuti per lato (dipende dallo spessore della bistecca).

Rimettere nel piatto con la marinata e buona appetito.

Vino: un rosso generoso e felice, per esempio un buon Chianti o Barbera.

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