Tag Archives: Italian

Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Cream

You'll be finding excuses to put this on everything.

We’re not gonna lie, we totally ripped this idea off from a spread we saw while shopping in Fairway. Our version, however, isn’t $14 for 8 ounces, so there. This blend is great by itself on bread but can be used for pizzas, on pasta, as a sauce for poultry, you name it. For a sharper bite use the garlic raw instead of roasting it.

Equipment Needed: Aluminum Foil, Baking Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Blender or Food Processor

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-12

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, un-oaked Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Light Lagers

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans artichoke hearts ($2.79/13.75 oz can)
  • 2 garlic bulbs (yes, 2 whole bulbs) ($2.99/lb)
  • 1/4 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
  • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided ($9.99)/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 415° F.
  • Peel as much of the loose outer papery skin odd the garlic bulbs as you can without actually peeling them. Cut the tops off of the cloves and tear off a piece of foil large enough to enclose both bulbs.
  • Place the foil in the baking sheet and set down your garlic bulbs, cut side up. Drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil over the top and sprinkle some salt and pepper on each as well. Wrap them up and pop them in the oven for 35 minutes.

Lube your bulbs.

  • While your garlic is roasting drain the artichokes and quarter them. Put them in the blender or food processor, add a palmful of salt and pepper, and grate in a quarter cup of Parmigiano cheese. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, pour in two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and blend everything together until it’s smooth.

The acidity of the lemon helps balance things out.

  • When your garlic has roasted let it cool for a couple of minutes and then squeeze the cloves out of their peels and into your artichoke puree. Blend until everything is incorporated and add more cheese, salt, pepper or lemon to taste. Spread on your vessel of choice and buon appetito!

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

Red checkered tablecloth sold separately.

Living in New York we’ve come to realize that pizza allegiances border on religious zealotry to which we say, why restrict yourself when it comes to pie? Thanks to Jake’s friend Sandy’s suggestion we tried making a deep dish pizza in a cast iron skillet and, to no one’s surprise, the woman was right. It’s almost too easy, which is to say, why aren’t you making one right now?

Equipment Needed: Cast Iron Skillet, Frying Pan, Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Microplane,Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chianti, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Cabernet Sauvignon

Suggested Beer Pairing: Red Ales, less-hoppy Pale Ales, Brown Ales, Amber Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made ball of pizza dough (we used a garlic herb dough that suited us just fine)(about $1.99/package)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage ($3.99/lb)
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli ($2.99/bunch)
  • 1  small onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 small red bell pepper ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella ($7.99/lb)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP fresh rosemary ($1.50/bunch)
  • 1 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes ($2.19/each)
  • 1/3 C shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  • Mince your garlic cloves and rosemary together to get them as fine as possible.
  • Put a frying pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil to the bottom to help keep things moving. Remove the sausages from their casings, throw them in the pan and break them up with your spoon. Toss in the garlic and rosemary and cook until lightly browned (about 5-8 minutes).

Be careful not to overcook the sausage, it's still going in the oven once you're done here.

  • While the sausage is cooking away, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into your cast iron skillet. Rub the oil around the pan so the sides and bottom are evenly coated. Proceed to spread the pizza dough across the bottom and up to the top of the skillet’s rim. Remember, this is a deep dish so you want to make a crust that can support the mountain of toppings you’re about to add.

You're gonna need to work the dough a bit to get it to stay up along the sides.

  • Cut your mozzarella into 1/8th inch – 1/4 inch slices and line the bottom of the crust. That’s right, traditional Chicago deep dish puts the cheese on first. Here’s a towel to wipe up your mind that just got blown all over.

We highly recommend splurging on the freshest mozzarella you can find for this one; it's a noticeable difference.

  • Slice up your onion and pepper into thin strips and cut your broccoli into small florets. Spread these veggies evenly over the top of the cheese.
  • Open the can of tomatoes and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and some crushed red pepper if you want to give it a little kick. When the sausage is done pour it in with the tomatoes and stir everything together. Spoon it into the pie to cover everything and make sure to distribute the sauce evenly for uniform cooking.

Spread the sauce evenly and fill every space not occupied by cheese or veggies.

  • Pop that monster into the oven for about 20 minutes. You’ll have to check in on your pizza around 18 minutes and every couple of minutes after that to make sure things are cooking evenly. The crust should be crispy and the sauce should be bubbling when it’s done. Grate on some Parmigiano to finish things off and let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow the toppings to set up a bit for easier serving and eating; the skillet will keep it warm.

Rustic Italian Flatbread

All of your basic food groups on one delicious slice.

Not sure if you noticed lately but it’s pretty f**king hot out. This meteorological fact combined with our recent penchant for pre-made pizza dough has forced us to make quick and easy dinners. Take your taste buds to the Italian countryside (as we imagine it) with this no-brainer “flatbread”. To keep things simple we opted for artichoke spread as the sauce and some fresh mixed greens from our CSA to make us feel better about eating half a pizza each.

Equipment Needed: Baking Sheet or Pizza Pan or Pizza Stone, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Serving Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: We can take down a flatbread each (half a pizza for you lay people), but this could serve up to 4 normal people.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chianti, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Old Vine Zinfandel

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Lighter Ales  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made ball of pizza dough (we used a garlic herb dough that suited us just fine)(about $1.99/package)
  • 1/3 lb thinly sliced speck (you could also use prosciutto or any other cured meat you prefer)(about $16.99/lb)
  • 4-6 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about $13.99/lb)
  • 2 C spring lettuce mix ($3.89/5 oz package)
  • 1/4 C flour ($1.89/2 lb)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C artichoke spread (you can just mince artichokes with olive oil if you can’t find this)(about $6/8 0z jar)
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (about $6/17 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Preparation:
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Lay your speck out on the cutting board and slice it crosswise into 1/2 inch strips.

Slice the speck into thin strips for easier eating.

  • On your baking sheet toss some flour down and spread out the pizza dough out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick (roughly as thick as a book of matches).

Cut the dough in half or quarters if you want to do mini personal pizzas.

  • Cut the dough in half and reshape in any way you prefer (we prefer ovals).
  • Spread your artichoke dip evenly across the top of each piece and then layer the pieces of speck on top of that.
  • Top everything off with as much Parmigiano Reggiano as your little heart desires and pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is crispy.

We prefer a heavy hand with the cheese but you already knew that.

  • When the pizza is done, spread about a cup of greens across the top of each. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over all of it. Cut into manageable pieces and serve.

There's no need for a side salad if you've got lettuce on your pizza.

Brotherly Love Lasagna

Mama mia that's a luscious lasagna!

This remastered lasagna recipe was inspired by the amazingly ridiculous roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s in the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Broccoli rabe provides a pleasant bitter contrast to the spicy sausage and sharp provolone that take this from potluck standby to punch-yourself-in-the-face addictive. Purists will scoff but you will smile as you dig in for seconds.

Equipment Needed: 13 x 9 Baking Pan, 3 QT Pot, Frying Pan, Colander, Large Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Montalpuciano d’Abruzzo

Suggested Beer Pairing: You can drink almost anything other than hoppy beers with this one. Light beers provide a crisp contrast while darker ones provide a rich complement.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage ($3.99/lb)
  • 2 bunches of broccoli rabe (about 2 lbs) ($2.99/bunch)
  • 2 medium onions ($0.99/lb)
  • 8 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 12 oz (3/4 lb) extra sharp or aged provolone (about $8.99/lb)
  • 1 package of no-boil lasagna noodles (yes, we’re being lazy but trust us, it’s loads easier to use these)($2.29/box)
  • 2- 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes ($2.19/each)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese ($3.99/15 oz tub)
  • 1/3 C shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C red wine (price varies, use something you would want to drink)
  • About 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, divided ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar (about $6/17 oz bottle)
  • 2-3 TBSP Italian seasoning ($3.39/1 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Start things off by mincing your garlic cloves and doing a fine dice on your onions.

Eat this with people you don't mind being close to.

  • Put the pot over low heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. After it’s warmed up for a couple minutes toss in half of your garlic and half of your onions. Throw in a palmful of salt and pepper and cook the veggies down.
  • After the aromatics have cooked for about 5 minutes pour in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, red wine, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything well and keep the sauce over low heat until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna. Make sure you stir it occasionally so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom.

A little red wine adds some depth to your sauce.

  • While the marinara is simmering wash your broccoli rabe and chop it into 1 inch pieces. Put your frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom of it with olive oil. Toss in the rest of the onions and garlic and cook them down the same way you did for the sauce minus the salt and pepper.
  • When the veggies have cooked down, add the broccoli rabe to the pan and give it a good dose of salt and pepper. Cook everything down until it’s thoroughly wilted; about 5-8 minutes (cover the pan to make things go faster).

Add the salt to the broccoli rabe to help draw some of the moisture out.

  • While your greens are cooking preheat the oven to 375°F then grate your provolone and set it aside.
  • Remove the casings from your sausage links and chop up the meat. When the broccoli rabe is properly wilted transfer it to your mixing bowl and put the sausage in the frying pan over medium heat. Cook it until it’s browned, about 5-8 minutes, making sure to keep it broken up with your spoon. Drain the excess fat and toss the sausage in the mixing bowl with the veggies.

There's just something naughty-looking about this picture.

  • Taste your marinara sauce and adjust the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to your liking. When you’re satisfied take it off the stove and stir it in with your meat and veg. Spoon a layer of the mixture into your baking pan and add a single layer of lasagna noodles on top to cover it.
  • Proceed to spoon in more sauce to cover the noodles. Take your ricotta cheese and layer globs on so they’re relatively evenly spaced. Sprinkle a small bit of the provolone on top and cover with another layer of noodles. Repeat the process until you reach the top of the pan.

Save yourself the frustration and just spread the ricotta with your hands. Unlike your mother we encourage playing with your food.

  • For the last layer, spoon sauce on the noodles but no ricotta. Take the majority of your provolone and cover the sauce with a vengeance. Gently cover the pan with aluminum foil, tenting it a bit so it’s not in direct contact with the cheese.
  • Pop the lasagna in the oven for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 or so until the cheese is bubbly and nicely browned. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving so the layers have a chance to settle and your lasagna doesn’t slide apart as soon as it hits your plate. Buon appetito!

Truffled Garlic Bread

Man cannot live on bread alone, but it might be worth a try with this stuff.

If you’ve been wasting your money on frozen pre-made garlic bread we implore you to stop. This is one of the easiest side dishes in the world to make and doing it yourself means there’s no ingredients you need a degree in molecular chemistry to understand. Oh, and did we mention truffle oil? Automatic badass points for you and an extra dose of delicious for your culinary companions.

Equipment Needed: Baking Sheet, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Aluminum Foil, Cheese Grater (optional), Bread Knife (optional)

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: I’ll have what she’s having

Suggested Beer Pairing: I’ll have what he’s having

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of Italian bread (about $2)
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 8 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1-2 TBSP white truffle oil ($12/3.4 oz) (Note: If you don’t have truffle oil you can just use olive oil but we suggest treating yourself at some point and picking up a bottle)
  • 1 C Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Lay out an aluminum foil sheet of about six inches square. Cut the ends off the garlic cloves but keep the skin on. Drizzle the truffle oil over the top and fold the foil up into a pouch. Place it on the baking sheet and pop it in the heat box for about 10 minutes.
  • While the garlic is roasting cut the loaf of bread into 4-5 equal pieces then cut each piece horizontally down the center. Butter each piece and put them on the baking sheet with the garlic. Put everything back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

We like to cut it down the center so there's plenty of surface area for cheese, scooping and dipping.

  • Remove the baking sheet and carefully open up the foil pouch. Peel the garlic and spread it across each piece of bread. Take the leftover truffle oil and drizzle it over the pieces too. Top everything off with the grated Parmigiano (we used pre-grated for convenience on this one) and put it back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

The garlic should be roasted to the point where you can spread it like a paste.

Creamy Gorgonzola & Beet Pasta

A different kind of red sauce Italian.

For those of you keeping score at home we try to use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and winter is no exception. With a generous gift of tasty beets from our friend Nette’s CSA we decided to recreate a pasta favorite of ours. Inspired by a dish at Locale, a great Italian joint in Astoria, this gorgonzola and beet bonanza is the definition of “not light fare,” but what it lacks in subtlety is braggadociously made up for by it’s sweet/earthy/tangy flavor.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Vegetable Peeler, Colander

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ales, Witbiers, Brown Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb  gemelli pasta ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 large red beet ($1.99/lb)
  • 2 C milk ($1.19/QT)
  • 6 oz gorgonzola cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C walnut halves (about $9/lb)
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided ($4.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (about $6/17 oz bottle)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Before you start any cooking, dice your onion, mince your garlic, mince your walnuts and peel and shred your beet; this will save you time later.

Don't wear white while you're doing this; beet juice will find a way to get on everything.

  • Fill one of your pots about 3/4 full of water and put it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and throw in about a palmful of salt. Add the pasta and a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until it’s soft but still has a little bite to it (a.k.a. al dente).
  • While the pasta is cooking put the frying pan over medium heat and throw in 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onions and garlic with a healthy dash of salt and pepper and cook them down for about 5 minutes. Once they’ve softened add the honey, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir everything up so it’s mixed well and drop the heat on your burner to low. Stir occasionally and let those puppies caramelize while you continue to prepare everything else.

Caramelized onions are the little black dress of flavor; a versatile addition for almost any occasion.

  • When your pasta is cooked drain it. At this point you should either grab another pot or just set your pasta aside for a few minutes while you reuse the pasta pot.
  • Put your pot back over medium heat and put in the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it’s melted, add about 1/4C of flour and stir thoroughly to start your roux (the thickening base for many sauces). Cook this until it’s a golden brown and stir in the milk.
  • At this point stir in the gorgonzola until it’s melted then add your beets to the mix. Mix together and toss the pasta back in the pot. Stir to coat everything evenly, add the caramelized onions and walnuts, stirring again to distribute. Serve with good bread and/or a light salad.

Add the beets once the cheese has incorporated into the sauce.

Italian Chicken Sub

 

Piccata to go.

 

Remember that Chicken Piccata you made that was so awesome? Wouldn’t it be great to make it portable? Stop your wishing right there and just add bread.

Equipment Needed: Cutting Board, Bread Knife or Chef’s Knife

Serving Suggestion: Individual

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • Leftover chicken picatta
  • Leftover arugula
  • Leftover artichoke hearts
  • Parmagiano reggiano cheese
  • Hot sauce, pesto or mayo
  • Italian bread

Preparation:

  • Cut yourself off a decent piece of Italian bread (4-6 inches) and slice it lengthwise.
  • Layer some arugula on the bottom, put chicken on top, add some artichokes and grate cheese on the whole heap. Add your dressing of choice and enjoy.
  • Bonus points for toasting it.

Chicken Piccata with Warm Arugula Salad

 

It may not be a fall harvest, but your tongue will reap the rewards.

 

With fall well underway we aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to brighter, lighter dishes just yet. Our variation on this classic Italian dish uses lemon zest in the breading for more flavor and arugula in the salad for a nice, peppery counterpoint. Canned and frozen veggies, while not always ideal, reduce the time it takes to get from the stove to your mouth. We figured you’d be ok with that.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, 3 Plates, Spatula, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Bowl, Colander, Fork, Microplane, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Lighter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($5.99/lb)
  • 3 eggs ($2.50/dozen)
  • 3 lemons ($0.50/each)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4-6 C flour, divided ($1.89/2 lb bag)
  • 10 oz frozen peas ($1/package)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts ($3/13.75 oz)
  • 1/4lb  arugula ($3.89/5 oz)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • Capers ($2/3 oz jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Wash and drain the arugula. Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them into quarters. Mince your garlic and set these three ingredients aside.
  • Wash and trim the chicken breasts and cut each one in half horizontally (like you were trying to butterfly them and went too far). If you really wanna put the effort in you can take a meat tenderizer and pound them thin, but this is quicker, easier and less messy.
  • Crack your eggs into a bowl, add a splash of water and whisk thoroughly. Put equal amounts of flour on two plates and arrange them flour plate, egg bowl, flour plate.
  • In the second flour plate add about two tablespoons of pepper and, using your microplane, grate in the skin of two lemons (congrats, you’ve just zested something). Make sure you stop when you start to see white, otherwise things will get bitter. Stir the flour, pepper and lemon zest together so all three are evenly incorporated.

 

Be careful to avoid the pith (white part) to keep everything citrusy.

 

  • Put the frying pan over medium heat and add about 1/4 inch of olive oil. Before you start dredging and frying take a third plate and put a couple of paper towels on it so you can drain the chicken a bit before serving.
  • Dredge each chicken breast in this order: flour, egg, flour/lemon mix. Once you’ve coated as many pieces as will fit in the pan at once place them in gently to avoid splattering. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side until the flour crust is a golden brown with crispy bits.

 

An initial hit of flour helps everything stick to the chicken better.

 

 

See you on the flipside.

 

  • Once the chicken is cooked place it on the paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt and squeeze a healthy dose of lemon juice on each piece. Add more olive oil to the pan to keep the level constant and repeat dredging, frying and flavoring until every piece is done. At this point you can either put a cover over the chicken or toss it in the oven at 200°F to keep it warm while you finish the salad.
  • In the same pan re-coat the bottom with olive oil, add the garlic and cook it down for 2 minutes. Toss in the peas, artichoke hearts and vinegar and heat the whole mix until the peas are cooked through (about 5-8 minutes).

 

Vinegar complements the lemon and keeps the veggies in check.

 

  • On each serving plate add a bed of arugula, a couple scoops of the veggie mixture and place the chicken on top. Spoon about a tablespoon of capers over everything for a nice briny counterpoint.

Fried Eggplant with Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio pesto brings this one to a new level.

At our parents house last week, Mom decided she wanted some eggplant. never content to leave well enough alone we decided to up the ante and add a delicious pesto variation, some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and some fresh mozzarella. The result was a delicious Italian-inspired lunch celebrating the final flavors of summer.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, 2 Baking Sheets, Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, 2 Plates, Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sauvignon Blanc

Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pilsner, Belgian White

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants ($1.49/lb)
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella ($6.99/lb)
  • 2 C fresh basil ($3/bunch, you’ll need about 2 bunches)
  • 4 eggs ($2/dozen)
  • Panko bread crumbs (around $3/12 oz)
  • Flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 1/2 C pistachios (about $8/lb)
  • Parmagiano Reggiano cheese ($10/lb)
  • Fresh lemon juice ($0.50/lemon)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP water (free)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pesto Preparation:

  • Shell the pistachios and toss them in the food processor.
  • Wash your basil and take the leaves off the stems, measure out a loosely packed 2 cups and add them to the food processor as well.
  • Peel and halve the garlic cloves. For now, add only one of them to the mix. Drizzle in about 3 TBSP of olive oil and add roughly 1/4 C of cheese (you can add it in slices, small chunks or grate it). Pulse the mixture until it becomes a paste.

Don't be stingy with the oil, you want to be able to spread the pesto easily.

Ditto for the cheese. Don't be afraid to load it up.

  • Add 1 TBSP lemon juice (a big lemon’s worth), a pinch of salt and about 1/2 TBSP pepper. Hit pulse a few more times and adjust the pesto to your taste with more of any of the ingredients. We like to have a bit more of the pistachio and cheese flavor.

Eggplant Preparation:

  • Wash your eggplant and slice it into 1/4 inch discs (peel the eggplant beforehand if you like for a more tender bite; we did them half and half). Place on a baking sheet and salt liberally. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some of their natural bitterness.

Cut into even-sized discs for quick, even cooking.

  • While the veggies are doing their osmosis thing, mix your eggs in a bowl with about 2 TBSP warm water. Pour the breadcrumbs on one plate and flour on another plate. Use about a cup of each at a time so you don’t get everything eggy all at once.
  • Pat the eggplant slices dry. To coat them,  dredge the pieces in flour, give them a quick dip in the eggwash, and then coat them with Panko. Return them to the baking sheet. Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices and have at the ready.

Pat the eggplant dry before you coat them.

Double coating it helps everything adhere better.

  • Preheat your oven to 250° F (this is to keep the eggplant warm while you fry the other pieces). Put your frying pan over medium head and coat the bottom of the pan liberally with olive oil.
  • Fry the eggplant pieces until nicely browned (about 3-4 minutes per side). Add back to the baking sheet and when a full sheet is done cover each slice with mozzarella and put them in the oven while you finish the others. Add more olive oil to the pan as required to keep things running smoothly.
  • Serve with the pesto, balsamic vinegar and sliced tomatoes if desired (highly recommended).

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Your new favorite way to eat bacon and eggs.

Sometimes the best meals can be made from the most basic ingredients. One of these hearty fail-safes is spaghetti alla carbonara, a creamy, deliciously savory pasta made from kitchen staples. Quick, easy and consistently satisfying, this classic Italian dish is easy to master.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot, Colander, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Measuring Cup

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Oaky Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Lighter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb angel hair  pasta ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 small onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley ($3/bunch, you’ll need about 2 bunches)
  • 2 eggs ($2/dozen)
  • 6 strips bacon ($6.99/lb)
  • About 1C Parmagiano Reggiano cheese ($10/lb)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Fill your pot 3/4 full with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta once it’s bubbling and cook 8-10 minutes until it’s al dente.
  • While the spaghetti is doing its thing put your pan over medium heat, cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips and toss them into the fire, stirring occasionally.

Yes, it's another excuse to show a picture of bacon.

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic while the bacon is cooking; once it’s browned (6-8 minutes) add the veggies and continue cooking until they’re tender (another 5 minutes or so).

Dice the onions finely for this one.

  • Drain your pasta, saving some of the water. Add the pasta to the bacon pan and remove it from the stove. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta juice and the white vinegar, stir and let sit for a couple minutes to cool a bit (you don’t want to scramble the eggs).

Adding water back to the pasta will thicken things up nicely.

  • Mix the eggs together and stir in with the pasta along with plenty of grated cheese and fresh pepper to taste.

Whisking the egg first will help it incorporate with the pasta easier.

  • Mince the parsley and garnish the pasta liberally.