Classics, Italian, Pastry, Treats

Tiramisu

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An Italian classic, perfect for hot summer nights !

Ingredients:
2 cups boiling-hot water
3 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons Tia Maria (coffee liqueur)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry Marsala
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
dark chocolate shavings for garnish

Method:

Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then cool.

Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.

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Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.

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Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

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Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.

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Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with chocolate shavings. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

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Italian, Quick Dinner

Sausage Spinach Saute

A hearty, speedy skillet dinner.  With hints of Italian flavors, this dish would pair really well warm, crusty garlic bread on a cool summer evening.  With just a few ingredients that don’t even need to be fresh (i.e canned and frozen will work) and you can have dinner on the table in less than an hour.  Here is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1 lb of spicy Italian sausage

16 oz bag of thawed frozen spinach

1 medium onion sliced

1 can of white beans

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of chopped garlic

A dash of nutmeg

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Method:

In a skillet add the sausage links and fill with a little bit of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook the sausage till cooked through and the casing in lightly browned.

Remove the sausage, and to the same pan add the remaining oil and add the garlic.  Saute till fragrant and then add the onions.  Saute till pale golden.

Then add the spinach and the beans and saute till the spinach wilts down.

Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and then toss in the sausages.

Plate up hot, straight from the skillet with some garlic bread !!!!!

Classics, Italian

Eggplant Cutlets

A baked version of an Italian classic.  I love making this when I am craving something salty and crunchy and greasy–but the best part about these cutlets are they are vegetarian and healthy.  Pairs perfectly with a bowl of tomato soup.  Ofcourse you could turn it into eggplant parm or even stack it up on a sandwich.  I like it as is with a side of spicy marinara dipping sauce !

Ingredients:

Eggplant cut into rounds, salted and set aside so that the water can drain out

1 or 2 eggs depending on how many cutlets you want to make

1/4-1/2 cup flour

1 cup of italian style breadcrumbs

Methods:

This is as easy as it gets !!!

Once the water has drained out from the eggplant, pat it dry.

Create a breading station, starting with flour, egg, and ending with breadcrumbs.

Note:  I like to season the flour with a good amount of salt and pepper and the eggs with red pepper flakes.

Dip eggplant in flour, shake off excess flour and then dip in egg and them in breadcrumbs.

Once all the cutlets are made you could either freeze them for later use (which I frequently do since fresh eggplant will go bad quickly)

If you are making them immediately, preheat oven to 400F and spray both sides of the cutlets with some cooking spray and bake for 20-25 mins till golden brown and crunchy !

Serve hot !

Italian

Piccata Pinwheels

This recipe is created from three different recipes that have similar Italian flavors–Chicken Breasts stuffed with artichokes, Fontina and artichokes; Chicken roulade (which had a spinach filling) and finally the classic Chicken Piccata.  I took bits and pieces from each of these recipes and created my Piccata Pinwheels !

Ingredients:

4 thin sliced chicken breasts

For filling:

1 can of artichoke hearts

1/4 cups od chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

1tsp of dried basil

For coating:

1/8 cups of flour

2 tsp of salt

2tsp of pepper

2tsp of dried basil

red pepper flakes (add according to you heat tolerance)

For the sauce:

1Tbsp of olive oil

1tsp of chopped garlic

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1Tbsp of drained capers

red pepper flakes (add according to you heat tolerance)

1/4cup of water

Process:

1. In a pan, saute artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  There is no need to add oil since the tomatoes are packed in olive oil.

After the ingredients are mixed and heated through, puree in a blender to make a fine paste.

2. Spread the mixture generously over the chicken breast and roll them up.  Secure with toothpicks.  At this point you could cover then with plastic wrap or put them in a tupperware to cook later.

3. Mix flour, salt, pepper, basil, red pepper flakes.  Coat the chicken in the flour mixture.

4. Heat 1/2Tbsp of oil in a skillet and sear the chicken on medium high, placing them seam side down first.

5. Remove the browned chicken and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add remaining 1/2 Tbsp of oil.  Saute garlic and red pepper flakes till fragrant.  Then b the pan with lemon juice and water.

6. Let the liquid simmer for a few minute and stir in 1Tbsp of the remaining coating mixture to thicken the sauce.

7. Add the chicken back to the pan and mix in the capers.

8. Let the sauce reduce till desired consistency and serve immediately. Pairs really well with a simple salad and warm crusty bread !