Posts Tagged ‘Italian recipes’

Liver and Onions Italian Style

August 2, 2013

Liver & OnionsIn the 1970s there was a terrific diner in the hard-hat area of San Francisco that served grilled calves liver steaks about 3/4 inch thick with gobs of sautéed onions, horseradish sauce and mashed potatoes.  I still remember the succulent caramelized flavor on the outside and the moist, tenderness on the inside of that medium-rare liver steak.  This was he-man food for construction crews.  It definitely wasn’t that shoe-leather that Mom cooked with heavy gravy that could only be masked with lots of French’s mustard.  But after all, liver is a good source of protein and iron and easy on the pocketbook so back in the day liver for dinner once or twice a month was not uncommon.

Over the years I’ve developed this flash method of sautéing liver and onions with a bit of lemon juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some sage. It’s very similar to the Tuscan and Venetian style of preparing liver.  The acid of the lemon removes the gaminess of the liver and the Worcestershire sauce adds a little kick.  Served with polenta and garnished with garlic chives this is lighter in calories yet still filling.  The secret to tender liver is thin slices, flash-fried and rested while the onions sauté and you make polenta.  Dinner is ready in 30 minutes easily.

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Quick Seafood Pasta

June 13, 2013

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This quick and easy pasta sauce is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente. The mix of seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, mussels and steamer clams. Mixed seafood is available in most supermarket freezers or at your local fish monger. This sauce also works with flaked marlin, swordfish, halibut, or tuna. Get creative and add one of your favorite ingredients… perhaps capers, sweet peas, ramps, mushrooms, or cardoons.

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Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

March 26, 2012

ImageDad learned to cook in the Navy during WWII aboard a ship in the Virgin Islands.  After the war he was a chef at the Top Hat Cafe in Bremerton, Washington, a naval port and my birthplace.  The words Bolognese and Ragu were not common in the 1940s so it was called Italian Spaghetti Sauce and  the star of the dish was Meatballs.  In fact, I can’t remember ever eating pasta as a child except for spaghetti and meatballs and macaroni and cheese.  Anyway, I inherited this recipe in the 1970s and tweaked the ingredients as our culinary world advanced into the 21st century.  My Italian friends from Milan and Naples love this sauce…and that’s quite an endorsement.  I think fresh herbs is the secret.

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Quick Seafood Pasta

May 11, 2009

recipes 001Italian pasta with simple or complex sauces is universal fare now-a-days.  The variety of pasta shapes is numerous also; everything from bow-ties, little hats, manicotti, gnocchi, and sea shells to linguini, spaghetti, fettuccine, and paparadelle noodles.  You can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a pasta recipe with a new twist, they simply are everywhere.  Even before the Romans, Italy grew the durum wheat for pasta.  The Romans baked their pasta rather like lasagna. However, it was some time before Italians boiled pasta.  Marco Polo is responsible for re-introducing pasta to Italy in a new form… Chinese noodles.  For a more complete history of Italian pasta and tomato sauce, go to http://lifeinitaly.com/food/pasta-history.asp

This quick and easy pasta sauce is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente.  The mix of seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, mussels and steamer clams.  Mixed seafood is available in most supermarket freezers or at your local fish monger.  This sauce also works with flaked marlin, swordfish, halibut, or tuna.  Get creative and add one of your favorite ingredients… perhaps capers, sweet peas, ramps, mushrooms, or cardoons.

Ingredients: – makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound pasta noodles
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 pound mixed seafood
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped tops and bulbs
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 sprig tarragon, chopped or ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • Pinch of marjoram or oregano
  • Couple dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method:

  1. Bring large pot of water with 1 Tbsp salt to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water until it is al dente.
  3. Drain and hold.
  4. In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter until it froths.  Add the scallions, garlic, shallots, and seafood.  Sauté until aromatic and the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes.  The seafood will be slightly undercooked at this point.
  5. Reduce wine to half, about 6 minutes.
  6. Slowly add cream, whisking gently so that the cream thickens.
  7. Add tarragon, marjoram, salt and pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Stir seafood and sauce together to combine. 
  8. Toss with boiled noodles, plate, pour the remaining sauce over, and garnish with the parsley.

Baked Frittata de Spaghetti

May 8, 2009

frittata 013Frittata was a popular dish I served at Coco’s, my restaurant in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.  The beauty of this dish is that it is made from leftover spaghetti noodles, or fettucini, and bolognese sauce with all the little leftover bits and pieces of cheese,  bell peppers, fresh herbs, artichoke bottoms, minced garlic, onion and what have you, from the frig.  Mix all those leftovers with enough eggs, pop it all into a well greased spring-form and bake.  The flavors are sensational, Italian definitely, and hearty for sure.  Serve it with a salad and glass of wine to round out a light lunch. 

The proportion of eggs to the volume of noodles and other ingredients is about 3 eggs per quart.  So if you have enough noodles, sauce etc. to pack a 9-inch spring-form with 3-inch sides, that’s about 2 quarts and you’ll need 6 large eggs.  Once all ingredients are packed evenly into the spring-form, there should be a thin layer of soupy, eggy sauce on the top.  That’s how you know if you’ve used enough eggs.  Then just top it with grated parmesan cheese and bake at 350° F. for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean.

I’ve updated this post to include the photo I took after baking another frittata today.  A picture’s worth a thousand words but the taste is even better than it looks.