Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tiella di spinaci alla Tatta (from cooking class)

Category: primo (first course)

1 lb of frozen spinach (drained and squeezed-- get moisture out by defrosting and squeezing)

2-3 chopped anchovies. Use kitchen scissors to cut them up since it's easier than trying to chop them (Trader Joe has anchovies)

1/2 cup of raisins

dark rum or brandy (optional)

1 large onion chopped

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 garlic cloves chopped

3 oz of spicy salami or whatever salami you can find

1/2 cup of grated parmigiano (or MORE if you like more)

1 jar of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)

1/2 cup of chopped kalamata olives (pitted, bulk section in QFC or Safeway or in the deli section of safeway or QFC)

1/2 cup of white wine

1 bay leaf (bulk section at QFC/optional ingredient)

1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

2 lbs of pizza dough (Trader Joe) *or* you can use 2 boxes of puff pastry dough. I like Peppridge Farm (Safeway, QFC, any mainstream grocery store)

extra virgin olive oil (TRADER JOE has the BEST olive oil at the BEST prices in Seattle!)

Buy frozen spinach and set out in fridge on a paper towel to thaw the day before or couple hrs before you cook with it

Before you start to cook:
soak 1/2 cup of raisens in 1/2 cup of dark rum, brandy or wine if you don't have rum on hand

Chop an onion and brown it in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil for 8 minutes on medium heat until onion is soft and starting to caramelize.

Throw in the bay leaf. Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper.

Add 3 chopped garlic cloves to the browned onion and brown for 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of white wine to the onion and allow for the wine to evaporate.

Add the spinach and stir it around to flavor it up a bit for a minute. Turn off heat since you are not looking to cook the spinach so much as flavor it up.

Drain the raisins and add them and all your remaining ingredients in with the spinach. Set aside to allow flavors to marry.

Mix alllll your remaining ingredients into the spinach and drizzle a little olive oil on the mix if it looks dry.

Olive Oil your cookie sheet or whatever you plan to bake your pizza on/in.

Roll out your pizza dough and spread the spinach mixture on to the dough and pull edges of dough over the spinach and seal up the dough.

Spread olive oil on top of pizza dough.

Bake for at least 25 min at 475 degrees. Watch the pizza so it does not burn. After 25 minutes turn the oven up to 500 for an additional 5 min if the pizza is not browned. You'll need to use your own best judgment on when to pull it out based on how think you've rolled your dough. YOUR spinach pizza might take more or less baking then what I am suggesting based on how thick your dough is.

If you use puff pastry spread it out on the cookie sheet, spread spinach mix on pastry and cover with a second sheet of pastry. Bake at the temperature indicated on the Peppridge farm puff pastry box. The spinach mix is cooked, you are just looking to bake the puff pastry enough.

You'll want to roll the puff pastry out a bit or put it in the pan and try to spread it out a bit or it will be thick (which is fine if you like a thicker crust).


Pasta e Fagioli (from cooking class)

Category: primo (first course)

Serves 6-8 people

1 bay leaf (not the CA. bay leaves; check out bulk herbs at QFC)
1 can of CANNELLINI beans
2 cans of crushed PLAIN tomatoes (8oz cans)
1 can of plain tomato sauce
1 cup of Italian parsley
Parmigiano reggiano cheese (not the pre grated stuff; shudder!)
Barilla pasta of your choice or any pasta made with ‘semolina’ (serving for 8 is one box)
*optional addition* PITTED kalamata olives 1/4 cup (decrease salt if you do this)

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (Trader Joe’s has good prices)
1 large or medium yellow onion
4 cloves of crushed or finely minced garlic
1 carrot
1 rib of celery
1 tsp of salt (you can add more later if need be)
1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup of white wine or red (anything you have on hand)

-In a large sauce pan brown (medium heat) your well chopped onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until light brown. 5 minutes.

-add the minced garlic and crushed pepper and brown an additional 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

-if onion starts to stick throw in some wine and the bay leaf.

-when onion,carrot, etc is soft throw in the ½ cup of wine and allow to evaporate.

-When wine has evaporated add the canned tomatoes and simmer on low for one hour.

-add salt.

-add the canned beans that you have drained and washed.

-salt to taste (stir in by the ½ teaspoonful)

-if you have pitted kalamata olives slice them and add to sauce now.

-when sauce is done allow it to rest. The longer it rests the better the flavor as the flavors ‘marry’ . This is a sauce you can make a day ahead if you like.

-taste the sauce to see if it needs more salt

-Before you throw the pasta (in the water)Prepare your parmigiano by grating it fresh!

-Chop your parsley right before you are ready to use it!

WATER: bring water to a boil and add 1tblspoon of rock salt (also kosher salt) or table salt
-add your pasta and cook for 8 min (don’t overcook)
-drain pasta and add to large sauce pan of sauce
-mix in the parsley
-serve pasta with a tablespoon or less of olive oil on top of each pasta helping and a good helping of parmigiano!

For a soupier version of this add some canned chicken stock (or homemade) or water and bullion cube to the sauce.

Crostata (Italian Tart - from cooking class)

Category: dolci (dessert)

To make a crostata you will need to begin with the “pasta frolla”. The following recipe is standard for ONE large tart:

• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 egg and 1 yolk
• The grated zest of a half a lemon or a quarter of an orange
• 1 tsp of vanilla

Mix the flour and sugar; cream the butter. Combine the ingredients, handling them as little as possible to keep the butter from melting (a pastry blender makes this easier). If it's more convenient for you to make the dough a day ahead, do so because it improves with age; it should in any case rest for at least an hour.

Once the dough has rested, butter a flat-bottomed pan about 12 inches across (if you have one elegant enough to double as a serving dish, use it), and preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C). Roll the dough out somewhere between a quarter and a half inch thick; work quickly, without working the dough overmuch lest it become crumbly upon baking. Set aside the cuttings to make strips or skip the lattice work.
Now, depending upon what you are making, your paths divide.

For a jam crostata you'll need:
-2 cups good quality fruit jam,
- lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon
-1 tablespoon of rum, vermouth, marsala or sherry OR more lemon juice or water.

Mix jam, zest, juice, rum in a bowl and spread on dough.
-Bake at 350 for 20 min. or until dough begins to brown. Do not overbake or the dough will be hard and the jam like glue!

NUTELLA crostata.
If you want to make nutella crostata bake the shell first after having pricked it with a fork all over. When tart crust is still hot spread your nutella and let sit for at least an hour before serving.


Friday, August 3, 2007

mangia mangia!

Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

He who eats alone chokes alone.
-arab proverb

We always encourage good eating while in Rome. Whether it be in one of the many trattoria, hosteria or ristorante ... or even cooked in casa with the fresh ingredients found in our own Campo de Fiori market ... we will make it our mission to experience the many culinary wonders of Italy, And during this time students may stumble upon a few good recipies that they would like to share. Stay tuned!