Tag Archives: italian

Almost No Bake Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake

Easiest dessert ever.  The inspiration came from the local Italian restaurant where the owner’s wife whips up something similar every week.  Love her, but she wouldn’t share the recipe with me so I had to come up with my own.  This is the perfect summer treat because you barely have to use the oven.  I was thinking how tasty it would be with Nutella and a hazelnut crust.  Or with lemon curd and a shortbread crust?  Salted caramel and chocolate cookie crust?

Almost No Bake Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake

For the crust –
3/4 of a bag of Nilla Wafers
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 pinch of salt

For the filling –

2 8oz. containers of mascarpone cheese
1 cup of Kefir (you can use lowfat plain yogurt)
1 envelope of gelatin
1/2-3/4 cup water
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 pound dark chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Crush the cookies into fine crumbs, preferably with a food processor and pulse in the melted butter until well combined.  Press the mixture into a pie plate and bake for 10-15 minutes or until it’s golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

To make the filling, clean out the inside of the food processor, and add the mascarpone.  Whirl it for 30 seconds to fluff up the cheese.  Measure the Kefir and mix in the envelope of gelatin until well combined.  Add the Kefir, gelatin, sugar, and vanilla and whirl until well combined.  Add 1/2 cup of water and pulse until it becomes less stiff, add more as needed.  Add the melted and cooled chocolate and turn the food processor on for 1-2 minutes to whip some more air into the mixture.  Pour into the prepared crust, slap it in the fridge for 2-3 hours, and enjoy!

 

Fresh Pasta and Sunday Sugo

When I think about goonettes, Lidia Bastianich has to be on the list.  She is large, loves food and definitely tosses back a few glasses of vino.  My kind of gal!  She is never concerned about calories – in fact, a “drizzle” of olive oil could be 1-2 cups.  A “sprinkling” of cheese could be two giant handfuls.  Speaking of hands, have you seen her enormous mits?  When she does her cooking shows on PBS, I love it when they zoom in on those man hands, kneading pasta dough into submission. 

Tonight we made her fresh pasta recipe and it came out great!  We topped it with a Sunday gravy that had been simmering away all afternoon.  It’s much easier to tackle the week with a belly full of satisfying Italian comfort food.

The pasta attachment for the Kitchen Aid makes it so easy!

I'm almost in carb heaven.

Man hands?

Man hands!

I need a long nap.

Finished product

Tomato Pies

Someone told me that this blog should be called “How to Feed a Guido” because I make so much Italian food, but then I’d have to talk about roids, extreme sports, and GTL. Goon is a much more inclusive term, and I’d hate to leave out all other goon ethnicities.

So these tomato pies are a Gallo (yes, I married a Guido) home staple. Since we have tomatoes coming out the wah-zoo from the garden, we used fresh tomatoes in the sauce.  In the winter, canned diced tomatoes are fine.

Dough (for one pizza):

1/2 cup luke warm water

1/2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp yeast (get the quick rising kind if possible)

Pinch of salt

1 cup flour (plus more for kneading)

Olive oil

Mix honey in the water, whisk in the yeast and let stand for approx. five minutes until frothy. Put the flour and salt in the food processor. While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the water/yeast mixture. A dough ball should form. You may need to add a little more water to get the right consistency. Flour the counter and knead the dough for a minute or so and form the dough into a ball. Coat bowl with some olive oil, coat the dough in oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for at least one hour. Set oven to 500 degrees for an hour before baking.

Simple Pizza Sauce

1  cup diced tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (cook in olive oil first if you do not like the taste of raw garlic)

Black pepper

1 tbsp olive olive oil

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs

Cheese/Toppings:

I like to use fresh mozzarella (squeeze out some of the moisture first), Italian fontina, Parmesan Regginano, ricotta, and/or Pecorino Romano.  Other toppings may include sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, sausage, pepperoni, olives, and fresh herbs.

Baking Process:

Once the dough rises, punch it down and put it on a floured surface. Use your finger tips to flatten the ball into a pizza shape about 12 inches in diameter. Put the dough on a floured paddle or on parchment paper. Add the toppings (with a light hand) and slide the pizza on stone or move the parchment onto cookie sheet. Bake 6-12 minutes.

Jersey Shore's Finest!

Three Meat Meatballs

What is more American than Italian meatballs on July 4th?  Ok, if you’re rained out like we are, and unable to grill hot dogs and burgers, meatballs are an excellent back up plan.  Meatballs are one of the most versatile food groups, and the perfect freezer staple to be ready at a moment’s notice for goons-a-plenty.  I love them with pasta and sauce (of course), with spaghetti squash (for low carb evenings),  sliced on fresh baked bread or crumbled on a pizza.  I also like to sleep with a meatball or two under my pillow before a big day at the office.

This version is a kick ass combo of three recipes courtesy of Frankie Spuntino, A-16, and Lidia Bastianich.

Three Meat Meatballs

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 T olive oil

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground veal

4 eggs, beaten

6 slices white bread – cubed

1/2 cup milk (just enough to soak the bread)

3 T fennel seed

6 T parsley, chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 T crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 T black pepper

1+ cups dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400.   Heat oil in a saute pan, and cook onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Set aside to cool.  Using a very large mixing bowl, add the three meats.  Soak cubed white bread in milk, just enough to moisten.  Wring out the bread and add it to the meat mixture.  Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl, mix with hands until just combined, adding more dried bread crumbs as needed.  Do not over mix the meat.  The mixture should be somewhat wet, but firm.  Form mixture into balls, and place balls on cookie sheets (there should be enough for two trays).  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Serve with your favorite Sunday gravy or cool and freeze.