Recipes

Enjoy Italian Cooking at Home

21

Nov 2016

Spicy Pork Sausage and Chestnut Dressing for Thanksgiving

Posted by / in Holidays, Recipes, WCSH6 /

I know these are fighting words, (my mother always argues with me about this topic) but I don’t ever stuff my bird. Stuffing insulates the turkey, thereby slowing down its cooking. It also almost guarantees that the turkey will be cooked unevenly. To eliminate this headache and to have the most control over the temperature of my turkey and my savory treat, I cook the bird separately and the stuffing separately. When you cook the stuffing outside the bird, in a shallow casserole pan, it is called “dressing”.

This Italian American recipe is one of my Thanksgiving favorites. It is adapted from the recipe of Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis who received the ingredient list and method from her Aunt Raffy. I love the flavors of the original dish, but I made several changes. Giada uses only cornbread. I prefer a mixture of challah bread and cornbread. The texture is softer and more luscious with the addition of egg bread. Giada likes turkey sausage. I find it too dry so I substituted fatty pork sausage. I’ve also adjusted the seasonings and added organic pine nuts which I crave. This recipe is greatly enhanced if you use your own homemade stock rather than canned broth. Of course, stuffing recipes are easily adaptable and, you may add or omit most things in this recipe to suit your needs and preferences.

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17

Nov 2016

Smoky Chestnut Soup with Fennel and Crispy Chestnuts

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

I serve Thanksgiving at 3:00 in the afternoon, which means my house guests are inhaling intoxicating aromas and licking their chops by noontime. To soothe them, and still keep them interested in the coming feast, I offer my loved ones an elegant chestnut soup for lunch. Except for the garnish, this soup can be made a day or two in advance. In fact, it’s better if you do make it ahead. Also, in its favor, the flavors of this appetizer beautifully complement the traditional Thanksgiving menu.

Since there are very few ingredients in this dish, it is so helpful to use a rich homemade chicken broth and lightly smoked bacon (I like applewood smoked bacon). Remember that the salinity of your broth and the bacon will determine how much salt and pepper you need to add at the end. Of course, you can roast and peel your own fresh chestnuts and the chestnut flavor will be even more pronounced, but it is perfectly fine and easy to use already peeled and roasted chestnuts which are available at most grocery stores during November and December.

Please notice this soup has no dairy in it at all so if any of your guests are lactose intolerant, this first course is a winner.

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25

Jul 2016

Buckle Up for Blueberry Cake

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

Recently, I served this blueberry buckle to my students who arrived in the morning for a long Neapolitan Pizza Making Intensive. They loved this coffee cake so much that they devoured it for breakfast and, after making and eating several pizzas for lunch, the pizzaiolos pleaded for another slice for dessert. Even my Republican and Democratic friends, who do not see eye to eye on election issues or candidates, can agree wholeheartedly on one thing: this summery delight is a winner.

Like most “buckles” this coffeecake is loaded with fruit that is just held together with cake dough. The dough is scented with lemon rind and tenderized with buttermilk. Then the streusel topping is scattered over the whole thing and when the cake has baked in the oven for awhile, you can see the crisp crust start to buckle (hence the name). The last thing you do to this dessert, after you remove it from the oven, is drizzle the top with warm lemon syrup. I wish I was the genius who came up with this idea, but alas, I must give credit for this recipe to Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson and to David Leibovitz for his adaptation. The syrup does not make the cake too sweet, in my opinion. It does add moisture and it really brighten the taste of the blueberries. I prefer to use the large Maine blueberries for this dish. They tend not to crush as easily as the small ones and they were in abundance at the farmer’s market this past week-end.

Just a few tips: Try to use organic lemons as you will be grating the rind into your sugar. Make sure all your cake dough ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. If you don’t have fresh blueberries you can substitute frozen ones. Just don’t thaw the blueberries before you add them to the mix. The cake is best served the day you make it, but you can leave the cake out at room temperature for two days and, though the top will not be as crisp, the cake will still be delicious.

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