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Posts Tagged ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on December 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Preparation Time 40 Minutes, Serve 4

A few weeks ago, while taking stock of the items in our larder, I discovered, hidden away on a back shelf, 3 cans of Goya Garbanzos, which were due to reach their expiration date in a few months. Whether or not an expiration date imprinted on a can should be believed is irrelevant; as in this case, the serendipitous discovery of this legume pretty much determined that they would be consumed long before then.

As I wrote several years ago, Grandma Loved Ceci Beans, or Chick Peas, or Garbanzos, as they are also known, depending upon your ethnicity. I never appreciated them until on a visit to Tuscany some years back I devoured a sublime Ceci Bean Soup in a little restaurant in the hill town of Vagliagli, where we had rented a villa with two other couples. This soup has been on my mind ever since. Now was the time to act.


1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cans Garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika (note)
2 cups of chopped Kale (add 4 cups of Kale, leaves only, to food processor in batches and chop)
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)


1. In a three-quart pot, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and lightly sauté until translucent.
2. Add Garbanzos and mix well.
3. Add salt.
4. Add chicken broth and bring to boil.
5. Boil on medium high for 15 minutes.
6. Remove 3 cups of the beans, purée in food processor and add back to pot.
7. Add paprika and tomato paste
8. Add Kale and cook on med-low for 15 minutes

Note: If you are unable to locate Hot Hungarian Paprika, you can get close to it by using Regular Paprika and Cayenne Pepper in a 3:1 ratio.

Serve with grated Parmigiano – Reggiano and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Summer Penne

In Pasta, Recipes on July 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Summer Penne

Summer Penne


1/2 lb. prosciutto end, trimmed of fat, about 2 cups diced, save some of the fat for rendering.
2 cups diced fresh mozzarella (see Note 1)
1 & 1/2 cups marinated roasted peppers, julienned
2 pints grape tomatoes, 4 cups halved (see Note 2)
Basil, 1/4 cup sliced
Penne, 1 lb.
2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1. Bring large pot of water to boil for the penne.
2. Render a couple of strips of prosciutto fat and lightly brown the diced prosciutto. Set aside the browned prosciutto and remaining rendered fat.
3. Cook the penne according to directions. When al dente, drain it and add the olive oil and stir, add the mozzarella and mix well. (see Note 1).
4. Add the prosciutto with the rendered fat as well as the roasted peppers and mix well.
5. Add tomatoes and basil, mix and serve immediately with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Note 1: When it was mixed with the penne, the diced mozzarella did not melt as planned . Instead, it reformed into a mass that had the be pulled apart. Try using ricotta left at room temperature rather than mozzarella.
Note 2: Quarter the tomatoes instead of halving them and blanch them before mixing with the penne.

If you prepare this meal with the revisions, let us know what you think.

Please see This Little Piggy Came from the Market


You Can Take it With You

In General Articles on August 5, 2012 at 12:32 PM

When my mother died six years ago, she took her recipe for Baked Eggplant Parmesan with her. As has been noted earlier, Dorothea believed in the oral tradition and hardly ever wrote down her recipes; this was one of them. It was a special Melanzane Parmigiana, in that it was neither breaded, nor floured and it contained hard-boiled eggs.  I remember it being tangy and delicious, tasting like no other “eggplant parm” and even better served cold. Her granddaughters remember it too, and they miss it and miss her as well.

So, recently, I tried to recreate Melanzane Parmigiana alla Dorothea. Mom used a basic tomato sauce with her eggplant parmesan, probably the old tried and true Del Monte Tomato Sauce doctored up. I decided to use Silver Palate’s San Marzano Marinara Sauce, doctored up. I also used the smaller Italian eggplants rather than the larger American ones, as they are less bitter. And of course, since fresh mozzarella is so readily available in almost any supermarket these days, and even on-line, I used that instead of the packaged, rubbery type. I also used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, rather than Locatelli-Romano, which she undoubtedly used.

The end result was very good, but not quite hers! Served cold, with a loaf of crusty, Italian bread it was delicious, but still not the way it was remembered. Had my memory failed me? Had I mythologized that baked eggplant, and tasted in my mind something other than the reality of the dish? My older daughter assured me that no, while my “re-creation” was very good, it was “not Grandma’s, it didn’t have that tang.”

Back to the drawing boards! Next time, I will try a little less tomato sauce (my attempt was a little too soupy), more hard-boiled egg and maybe Locatelli-Romano, instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano. In the meantime by all means follow this recipe, or make the foregoing adjustments, I can assure you that you will love it, either way. As for me, I will continue to seek that elusive Baked Eggplant Parmesan of happy memory. Maybe mom will somehow communicate the secret to me, since she did take it with her.

A Multitude of Fishes

In General Articles on June 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

A Multitude of Fishes

Our son-in-law went fishing out of Barnstable Harbor last Friday aboard the Lucky Lady, and, as our luck would have it, he and his friends reeled in a multitude of Stripers. He was kind enough to bring us 2 large cleaned fillets, so dinner for Father’s Day was a foregone conclusion.

Everyone offered an opinion as to how I should prepare them. After much discussion, I decided on two different methods, one Italian and the other Mexican. For the Italian preparation, Baked Oreganata style was an easy choice, since it had been so well received in the past. However, we were out of Italian Style Breadcrumbs, so I quickly mixed together my own concoction. I combined:

•    1 cup of plain breadcrumbs,
•    2 teaspoons of granulated garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
•    4 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley,
•    2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano,
•    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and,
•    Enough extra virgin olive oil to blend it into a paste, which I then browned in a small sauce pan.

For the Mexican method, I reached back 20 months ago to a trip to Baja California and fishing with several friends in the Pacific, off of Cabo San Lucas, aboard  the Bob-Marlin.  On that occasion we caught Wahoo and Dorado (also known as Mahi-Mahi), which we then brought to a local restaurant that prepared them in several different styles. My favorite preparation was grilled over an open fire after marinating in a lime/cilantro combination. I decided to try and replicate that and added some minced ginger for a little kick. It was superb, but next time, perhaps, I will add a little minced jalapeño as well. For the recipe see Grilled Striped Bass in Lime Marinade.

Strawberries are in season and thanks to my friend Frank from the Finger Lakes, who sent me an article from his local newspaper on Mario Batali‘s recipe for Zabaglione, our  Father’s day dinner was concluded with a spectacular dessert, Strawberries with Zabaglione.

Seafood Risotto

In Recipes, Rice, Seafood on January 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Seafood Risotto

(Serves four. Active Preparation time 50 to 60 minutes)


8 cups of  Unsalted Chicken Stock
1 pinch of Saffron threads, about 1/8 tsp.
3 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsps. plus 2 tbsps. Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup Scallions, sliced; about 4 Scallions both green and white parts
2 cups of Arborio Rice
1 cup plus ½ cup of dry white wine
¼ lb. of Arugula
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ lb. bay scallops
½ lb. large shrimp (8 or 9), shelled, deveined and cut in half
½ tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika


1.    Heat the chicken stock in a small pot.
2.    Remove one cup of stock and add the saffron and set aside.
3.    In a separate, 3 qt. pot, heat the olive oil on medium, add 3 tbsps. butter to melt, stir well.
4.    Lower the heat; add the scallions and sauté for 2 minutes.
5.    Add the rice, raise heat to medium, and stir well for about 4 minutes to coat each grain of rice.
6.    Add the white wine, continuing to stir until the wine is absorbed.
7.    Add the set-aside cup of stock with saffron and keep stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed.
8.    Add a second cup of stock from the heated pot and add a handful of arugula, stirring well until the arugula becomes limp and the stock is all absorbed, about 3-5 minutes.
9.    Continue this process until all of the arugula and 7 cups of stock are used, leaving one cup still heated in the small pot, which will be added at the end.
10.    In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter in a sauté pan, add the scallops and shrimps and sauté on high heat for three minutes.
11.    Pour the remaining ½ cup of white wine over the shrimp and scallops and continue to sauté until most of the wine is absorbed. Sprinkle with the paprika and add to the rice after step 9.
12.    Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, as well as the one remaining cup of stock, mix well and serve immediately.

Risotto Milanese

In Recipes, Rice on January 4, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Risotto Milanese

Serves 4. Active preparation time 30-45 minutes.


1 qt. unsalted chicken stock
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Arborio Rice
3 pinches saffron threads
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1.    Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 qt. pot. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
2.    Remove 1 cup of stock and add the saffron threads.
3.    In a 3 qt. pot, melt the butter over medium heat, add the oil
4.    Add the rice and cook for several minutes, stirring to coat each grain.
5.    Add the cup of the warm chicken stock with saffron and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
6.    Add the remaining stock, 1 cup at a time. Continue to stir, allowing the rice to absorb each cup of stock before adding the next.
7.    Test the rice for doneness, it should be al dente but creamy smooth.
8.    Remove risotto from heat, add grated cheese and black pepper. Serve at once with Osso Buco Milanese.

Dorothea’s Asparagus Tips

In Recipes, Vegetables on December 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 13 minutes, serves 6 to 8


2 lbs. asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/8 lb. unsalted butter cut into thin slices
½ cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Steam the asparagus for three minutes.
3.    Drain the asparagus and arrange them on a rimmed cookie sheet.
4.    Cover the asparagus with the butter slices, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over them and lastly sprinkle the cheese on top of all.
5.    Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Uncle Fred’s Homemade Pesto Sauce

In Pasta, Recipes, Sauces on October 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM

(Makes about 2 cups of sauce)


4 cups of basil leaves (stems discarded) packed tightly
5 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely, about 1/3 cup
1 cup pignoli nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for preserving
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1.    Place chopped garlic and pine nuts in a food processor.
2.    Add the basil leaves and pulse-chop the ingredients, pausing after 10 pulses or so to push down the basil leaves with a spatula. Continue pulsing until all of the basil is chopped.
3.    Slowly add the olive oil while running the food processor.
4.    Scrape all of the ingredients from the sides with a spatula.
5.    Slowly add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and give it one or two quick pulses.
6.    Transfer the pesto sauce to a clean, pint-sized jar. When the pesto settles, slowly top it off with about ¼ inch of olive oil, which acts as a preservative air barrier and prevents the pesto from being exposed to air, turning brown and going bad. In this state it can be refrigerated for several weeks.


Angel Hair Pasta (Capellini) with Pesto Sauce

Capellini (Angel Hair Pasta)
•    1 cup of pesto sauce
•    1 lb. of Capellini
•    Cook pasta according to directions.
•    When pasta is cooked and before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water, add it to a large bowl, drain and add pasta to the bowl and toss, add pesto sauce and mix well.
•    Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano – Reggiano.

Insalata de Ceci

Pollo con Pesto

Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Pesto

Rigatoni all’ Oltrarno

In Pasta, Recipes on May 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant and Black Olives in a spicy tomato-based sauce.

NOTE: This recipe, which makes about 5 quarts of sauce can be frozen in batches and is enough for 3 lbs. of Rigatoni.


  • 12 -18 small “Italian Eggplants” (about 3 lbs.), remove tips and cut into 1-inch cubes (you can also use the large eggplants if you cannot find the smaller ones, which I find are more tender and less bitter)
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon each of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 12 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon of Hot Red Pepper Flakes (if you do not like it spicy, use ½ tablespoon or 1 teaspoon).
  • 1 pint of pitted, imported black olives (Gaeta or Moroccan) chopped coarse
  • 3 cans (35 oz. size) San Marzano Tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 – 3 lbs. dried Rigatoni (see note above)
  • 30 leaves of fresh Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients for Rigatoni all' Oltrarno

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    In a large bowl, toss the cubed eggplant with 1 cup of the olive oil. When fully coated, sprinkle with salt & black pepper and toss again.
3.    Spread the eggplant in one layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets, roast in the oven between 30 and 40 minutes.
4.    Heat remaining olive oil on high in an 8 quart pot.
5.    When oil is hot but not smoking, reduce heat to medium, stir in the chopped garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly add the hot red pepper flakes followed by the olives, stirring constantly for about a minute.
6.    Add the tomatoes and their liquid; return heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
7.    Add the roasted eggplant and wine, turn heat to low and simmer covered for about an hour to fully blend flavors, stir periodically.
8.    Fill a large pot with sufficient water to cook the Rigatoni according to directions on the box of pasta.
9.    When Rigatoni is cooked, drain it and toss it with the sauce.
10.    Tear basil leaves into small pieces and add to pasta, toss well again and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Hot crusty Italian Bread makes a great accompaniment for this pasta dish, as does a bottle or two or three of full-bodied  Sangiovese.

See Related Article

Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneziana

In Pasta on April 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Preparation time is 30 minutes. Cooking time, exclusive of soaking the beans, is approximately 3 ½ hours. This recipe produces about 8 quarts of fairly thick soup. If you like it soupier, add more water before serving. I use Borlotti beans, which are also known as Cranberry Beans. However, if they are not available, use white Cannelini beans. The correct ratio of beans to pasta is 3:2.


Ingredients for Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneziana

1 ½ lbs. of Borlotti Beans
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, stems removed and discarded, chopped.
6 sprigs of sage, stems removed and discarded, chopped
1 prosciutto end, about 1 lb.
1 cup of dry white wine
1 lb. of Ditalini
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
16 sage leaves, chopped


1.    Soak the beans overnight for 12 hours, then drain and rinse them and set them aside. As an alternative, cover the beans in an 8 quart pot with 4 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for 2 minutes and remove from the heat, let stand in the pot, covered, for one hour, then drain, rinse and set aside. Rinse out the pot and use it to prepare the soup.
2.    Heat olive oil on medium heat in an 8 quart pot.
3.    Add garlic and stir for two minutes until translucent.
4.    Add carrots, onions and celery, stir for an additional two minutes.
5.    Add beans and mix well.
6.    Add 4 quarts of water.
7.    Add chopped herbs and mix well.
8.    Add prosciutto, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Stir at 15 minute intervals.
9.    After 1 hour, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer an additional 2 hours. Stir every 30 minutes.
10.    Remove beans, vegetables and meat and set aside.
11.    Add the wine to the broth. If it is too thick add some water and bring to a boil.
12.    Add the Ditalini and cook for only 6 minutes, as it will continue to cook.
13.    While the pasta is cooking, chop the meat discarding any bone and gristle.
14.    There should be about 8 cups of beans and vegetables. Mash, or puree in food processor, about 1/4 (2 cups) of the beans and vegetables.
15.    Return mashed beans, whole beans and chopped prosciutto to the pot.
16.    Add pepper and salt, as well as 2 more cups of water and the chopped sage. Mix everything well and continue on low heat to blend flavors until ready to serve or save.
17.    Serve in soup bowls with extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Dorothea’s Homemade Hot Pepper Sauce.

Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneziana

See Related Article at: Pasta Fagioli or Pasta Fazool?

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