Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Harvest Soup

Harvest Soup
     It's starting to be autumn here and one good thing about that is it is slowly becoming soup weather. Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good soup. I love making soup. It's so easy and fun all you have to do is throw everything into one pot and you have a delicious, healthy, and warming meal in one bowl. I have many soups in my repertoire. Some are even posted on here. However I am always trying to come up with a new type of soup. I created this one to utilize some of the summer’s end vegetables that I was able to find at my market. This soup is hearty, full of flavor, and so comforting that I went back for not only seconds but thirds and fourths. I am calling this recipe Harvest Soup and it is sure to become one of my favorites and one I will definitely be making for guests from now on. Give this quick and amazing soup a try. Harvest Soup:

  • 32 oz of Chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 1 head of kale
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 12 oz can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 clove diced garlic
  • Salt/pepper
  • Bay leaf

      In a large soup pot or Dutch oven pour in all the chicken broth. Place your frozen chicken breasts into the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and remove. In same pot pour in the tomato sauce. Toss in the diced potatoes, onions, carrots, diced up kale, garlic, and bay leaf. Let simmer until the potatoes are about cooked through. Dice up the chicken and toss back in along with the cannellini beans. Salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan or nice crusty bread. This soup is fantastic. You will definitely fall in love with it.

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4-6 people

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Risotto Tra Amici

Risotto Tra Amici
     This special dish is inspired by a good friend Tina Talerico Inquinto. A new friend with whom I became acquainted with a few years ago created this dish. I had gone to a mutual friend of ours house up state. They took me over to their mother's house where this friend was doing a cooking demonstration for a chef party. Enter Tina.  An Italian proud of her heritage like me, she was giving a cooking demonstration on this exact dish. I immediately fell in love with it as well as the cook behind the stove. She was awesome, personable, and just like me; a cook at heart. Since then we have been good friends. Any chances I get to travel up state we always try to hang out and have a good time. In fact, the last time I was up there for a football game we ended up cooking together in the kitchen late at night following the loss of our beloved Mountaineer football team. This dish is more than just a "risotto" dish, it has memories. It has taste, excitement, and love in it. The name translates into "Risotto Between Friends". That is exactly what this is. The creaminess of the risotto, the tenderness of the peppers, the spice from the sausage; all the above create this exciting explosion of taste in your mouth that it is one great party that only close friends who get together can have. This dish is easy to make and only includes a few simple ingredients. The only time included is how long it takes to cook the rice. Anyone that has made risotto knows that it is one dish you can never leave on the stove. You must stay put, stir, and give the rice all your attention. Please enjoy my, (or Tina's), Risotto Tra Amici.
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 diced white onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Salt/pepper
     First start by browning the sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat in a little olive oil. When cooked through remove. Next toss in the diced onion and red bell pepper and sauté until tender. Remove and set aside along with the sausage. Melt a tbs of butter in same skillet. Toss in the rice and sauté until the rice just starts to get a golden brown color. Mix in the white wine and stir until the rice begins to soak up the wine. Then start mixing in some chicken stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Keep stirring as the rice soaks up and cooks in the stock. This process takes roughly about 20-30 minutes until you have used up all the stock. Turn off the heat and mix in the cheese. I used Romano as that was what I had in the fridge. You can use Parmigiano as well. Mix back in the sausage/pepper/onion mixture and toss in some fresh chopped up basil. Salt and pepper to taste and viola! You have an amazing risotto dish that can be served as a side to a wonderful cooked roast meat or as an entrée itself. I hope you enjoy this wonderful dish as I do.  Thanks to my dear friend Tina!!!!!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 5-6

Tina and I in the kitchen cooking a bit tipsy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


     A Traditional dish from the Lazio region of Italy typically served with a bucatini pasta noodle and often found in Rome this dish is the perfect amount of spice, tomatoey goodness, and satisfaction that it will quickly become one of your favorite pasta dishes. So easy to make that it only takes roughly about 15 minutes from start to finish.

      Many people think that there is only one tomato pasta dish here in America, specifically just spaghetti. In fact many people think that the red sauce is just called spaghetti sauce but this is a fallacy. There are so many different "red" or tomato based sauces in Italy that they all have their own names and all taste very differently. Yes the basis is roughly the same but as I stated they taste much differently from each other. Every region has their type of dish. This one comes from the Lazio region and is actually named after the town of Amatrice. The traditional dish uses guanciale which is pork cheek, but I used pancetta as that was the only closest thing I could find at my market. Please enjoy, (and give this a try), my Amatriciana.

  • 1 pkg sliced pancetta
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 12 oz can crushed tomato
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded pecorino cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Pasta of choice

     Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil to cook your pasta. I used homemade spaghetti alla chitarra using my grandmother’s old chitarra board. For a good pasta recipe check here: http://www.recipesiliveby.blogspot.com/2013/04/Fresh-Pasta.html.

     Meanwhile dice up the onion and pancetta and sauté in a pan in a little olive oil until fragrant and the onion has become translucent. Next chop and sauté the garlic until the smell fills the air. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and chili flakes. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Right before serving stir in the pecorino cheese till it melts and incorporates. Toss with pasta and serve.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes.
Serves 2-4.