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More From Nice: Patata Ball In Tomato Sauce
Aug 29th, 2012 by

This makes a great first course or can be served as a side dish.

This makes a great first course or can be served as a side dish.

Here’s another recipe from La Zucca Magica, an Italian vegetarian restaurant in Nice.

We were served this as our first course and although I couldn’t find the exact recipe online I was able to recreate it perfectly: mainly because the potato mixture was very similar to a potato cake my grandmother used to make.

It’s one of my favorite dishes. To make it just follow the Torta d’Patata recipe here, but omit the swiss chard. They don’t use swiss chard in this dish at La Zucca Magica, according to the chef there. And instead of spreading it out into a thin layer on a cookie sheet, put the potato mixture in a greased oven-safe bowl and bake at 350 degrees until the top is lightly golden (or about 20 minutes).

For the tomato sauce, follow the Quick Tomato Sauce recipe here.

To serve, scoop out a large ball of the potato mixture and place it in the center of a small plate or soup bowl. Put a ring of the tomato sauce around the potato ball. Serve warm.

Easy Weeknight Pasta, Part Two
Nov 30th, 2010 by

My friend Michael enjoyed a plate of this updated pasta dish on a recent visit to the RootsLiving kitchen.

My friend Michael enjoyed a plate of this updated pasta dish on a recent visit to the RootsLiving kitchen.

Tweaking basic recipes with some of your favorite ingredients keeps things exciting, fresh and new.

This basic pasta recipe from the bible of classic Italian cooking, the Artusi, was featured in a post here a year ago. I recently upgraded it to include one of my favorite ingredients: eggplant.

The differences between the original recipe, called “Neapolitan-Style Macaroni II” and this updated version are as follows:

  • I added eggplant. Buy a firm, dark eggplant. Cut off the bright green top. Take a vegetable peeler and make vertical stripes from the top to the bottom of the eggplant. Cut thin slices (less than a 1/4-inch thick). Dip in an egg scambled with a splash of milk and dredge in bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil and drain on a plate with a paper towel.
  • I substituted penne for the thick macaroni that is packaged like small bird nests inside a plastic bag.

Cut up the eggplant and add with the other ingredients to the pasta.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Gnocchi Di Pollo E Patata Soup
Nov 28th, 2010 by

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Gnocchi di pollo e patata sounds so much better than chicken and potato gnocchi. But they both taste the same: light, savory, elegant.

This recipe, from The Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi, makes many gnocchis so it’s great to make and freeze. And then when you crave gnocchi, you’ll always have it on hand.

First the broth:

Ingredients:

  • A whole chicken (1)
  • Celery Stalk (1, split in half)
  • Carrot (1 whole, peeled and cut in half)
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)

What I did:

Put a whole chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water.

Add celery and carrot, and salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for an hour or more.

Remove chicken. Pour broth through strainer into a large plastic container and refrigerate over night.

The next day, take the fat off the top of the broth with a soup spoon.

To make the gnocchi:

Ingredients:

  • Mealy potatoes, peeled, boiled and pressed through a ricer or strainer  (1/2 pound)
  • Small chicken breast, boiled  and minced (Use one from the chicken you used to make the broth).
  • Parmesan cheese (3/4 of a cup)
  • Egg yolks (2)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (a pinch)
  • Flour (3-4 tablespoons)

What I did:

Mix all of the ingredients, except the flour, together well.

Work the flour into the mixture to bind it.

Roll the mixture on a floured surface into a snake, the diameter of your little finger.

Cut the snake into 1-inch lengths. Put what you don’t use into a large freezer bag and put in a freezer for later use.

Simmer the gnocchi in the broth. They are very delicate and may fall apart. Don’t be too concerned as when they fall apart, they flavor the broth.

Find more recipes in the Food section.


(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Making Dinner During a Heat Wave
Jul 10th, 2010 by

This ancient Italian recipe is quick and easy to make and won't heat up your kitchen.

This ancient Italian recipe is quick and easy to make and won't heat up your kitchen.

Afternoon thunderstorms gave some relief from the Greater Boston area heat wave today.

And so, I returned to the kitchen after a week of take out, cold cereal, and quick omelette dinners.

But it’s still hot. So what’s a well-intentioned cook to do?

Tonight, I’m making some “Easy Week Night Pasta.” Here are some other recipes that won’t heat up the house (too much) but are certain to bring a warm smile to your face:

1.) Beach Salads and Bruschetta

2.) Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho With Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

3.) Mortadella and Ham Salad Tapas

4.) Grilled Braciole Fit for a Saint

5.) Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

6.) Soup & Sandwich Night With Style (Instead of Take Out)

Find more dinner ideas in the Food section.

Florentine Rags (Cenci)
Jan 28th, 2010 by

Some people add a little lemon juice or lemon zest to the dough but this recipe did not call for any.

Some people add a little lemon juice or lemon zest to the dough but this recipe did not call for any.

Here’s another recipe from the classic 19th century Italian Cookbook, The Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi.

Cenci are a Florentine winter treat, made from Epiphany to Mardi Gras. This deep-fried pastry looks like little rags and tastes a little like fried dough, but not as heavy and never greasy.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • All-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups)
  • Butter (2 tbsp.)
  • Confectioners’ sugar (1/3 cup, plus more for dusting the finished cenci)
  • Large eggs (2)
  • Brandy (1 tbsp.)
  • Salt (just a pinch)
  • Water (Optional; 1/4 cup or less; just enough to make dough)
  • Vegetable oil or lard (enough for deep frying)

I recommend using a cast iron skillet when deep frying. Get the oil good and hot, but not smoking.

I recommend using a cast iron skillet when deep frying. Get the oil good and hot, but not smoking.

What I did:

Making the Dough: Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl, making a fairly stiff dough. You may have to add a little water to incorporate all of the ingredients. Knead the dough thoroughly on a lighted floured surface. Add a little flour if dough comes out too soft. Shape into a ball and flour it. Let it rest, covered, for about an hour.

After it rests, the dough will much softer and easier to roll out. (If the dough formed a crust while it sat, knead it a little before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a thin rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick).

Use a pastry wheel (or knife) to cut it into strips as long as your palm and two fingers wide.

Twist and crinkle the strips and then fry them in the hot oil or lard.

Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to catch the extra oil.

Transfer to a clean plate and when cool, dust them with confectioners’ sugar.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Easy Weeknight Pasta
Nov 17th, 2009 by

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

Sometimes you need a recipe like this to remind you how easy perfection can be. This is a simple tomato and pasta dish that dates back to the classic Italian cookbook, “The Art of Eating Well,” published in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi. Artusi travelled throughout Italy collecting the best family recipes from each region.

This one is from Naples and is called, “Neapolitan-Style Macaroni II.”

Ingredients:

  • One pound of macaroni (Penne can be used as it absorbs the sauce well)
  • Two large slices of onions
  • 1 1/4 pounds of peeled, seeded tomatoes (4 or 5 will do)
  • Fresh basil (a bunch minced)
  • Butter (1/2 stick, plus two tablespoons)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (about a 1/4 - 1/2 cup)

What I did:

Saute onion in two tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The onion will split into rings as it cooks. When it browns, press it down with a spoon and then discard.

Stir in the tomatoes; add basil, salt and pepper.

Simmer until done. About 1/2 hour or until it’s not watery.

Cook pasta until al dente. Add sauce; 1/2 stick of butter; and grated parmesan cheese.

Serve with garlic bread and a salad, if you like.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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