Hand-Rolled Lasagna

Hand-Rolled Lasagna

About a year or so after my father sold his restaurant and retired, I decided to get back in the restaurant business part-time, mostly to earn some extra money. I got a job waiting tables at a restaurant called Biscotti in Ridgefield, CT where the chef, Silvia Bianco was doing some amazing things in the kitchen. One dish I remember fondly was her individual hand-rolled lasagnas, I always thought they were a great idea. Each night she would have a special one with different fillings. Biscotti is no longer around, but I was able to contach Chef Silvia and she graciously agreed to contribute a hand-rolled lasagna recipe. Chef Silvia began conducting cooking classes in her restaurant kitchen in 1995. Today, she offers them in her home-based demonstration kitchen to private groups and some of America’s top corporations, including: GE, Unilever, MetLife, Nestle, Pepperidge Farm, The Gap, and many, many more. She is the author of Simply Sauté, the first in-depth book on sauté in the US; has cooked on stage at the Ridgefield Playhouse and at the James Beard House as well as the Today Show; and is among the panel of top culinary experts selected by The Atlantic Monthly to contribute critical evaluations and reviews. Chef Silvia continues to grow a strong on-line presence through her web site: www.chefsilvia.com; her monthly essays on food and life, “Notes From the Chef” which can be found on: http://chefsilvia.blogspot.com and includes recipes and tips. She can also be found on the critically acclaimed on-line food resource: www.food411.com where she is resident chef and answers visitor questions though their “Ask Chef...
Grilled Pizza Puttanesca

Grilled Pizza Puttanesca

I was going to include this pizza in the same post as the Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes I featured recently. At the time I was just topping it with chopped olives and capers and it was very good that way, but I still felt something was lacking. So, I held off on sharing the recipe, while I tried to improve it. I think what I eventually came up with, the addition of chopped anchovies and sautéed onions, really takes it to another level. Once again it is a good idea to read our Grilled Pizza article before trying this recipe. Grilled Pizza Puttanesca Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 40 min Makes 2 pizzas 4 anchovy filets, chopped 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced 15 pitted black olives, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons Capers, rinsed and chopped 1 28 oz can imported Italian plum tomatoes 2 large basil leaves, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced salt & pepper to taste freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese extra-virgin olive oil for brushing 2 balls of grilled pizza dough Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add anchovies and onion and sauté until onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add olives and capers and cook for 1 minute more to combine flavors. Transfer mixture to a bowl. In a medium bowl, crush tomatoes with your hands, and stir in basil, garlic, salt & pepper. Set up olive mixture, crushed tomato sauce, parmagiano, and olive oil at your grilling station for easy access. Prepare a charcoal grill for grilling pizza creating a very hot fire...
Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

I recently came across some delicious cherry and grape tomatoes at my local farmers market. I was planning on making some grilled pizza and as soon as I tasted them, I knew that they had to go on least one of the pizzas. I did two versions, one replaced the sauce completely with the tomatoes, cut in half and charred on the grill, and one had the sauce and the tomatoes. Both were amazing but I preferred the one with just the tomatoes, mostly because it is different. Before trying this recipe I recommend reading our detailed set-up and technique for grilling pizza, which can be found in our Grilled Pizza article. Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 40 min Makes 2 pizzas 20 cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved salt & pepper to taste 2 balls of grilled pizza dough extra-virgin olive oil for brushing freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks 4 large basil leaves, torn into pieces by hand Place tomatoes, cut side down, in a oiled grill pan. Grill over direct heat until tomatoes are slightly charred on top, then transfer them to a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Set up the bowl of tomatoes and the other ingredients at your grilling station for easy access. Prepare a charcoal grill for grilling pizza creating a very hot fire on one side with couple of layers of charcoal just a few inches from the grate, and a low fire on the other side with just a few coals. Oil...

Sicily: Culinary Crossroads

Italy’s Food Culture is a series of regional Italian cookbooks, translated into English, from publisher Oronzo Editions. Two volumes have been released so far, Puglia: A Culinary Memoir and Sicily: Culinary Crossroads (Italy’s Food Culture). The noble goal of this series is to give the American reader an unfiltered look into the rich regional culinary history and recipes of Italy, and it is off to a great start.  Although Sicily by Giuseppe Coria is actually the 2nd volume in the series, my Sicilian roots attracted  me to it first (nothing personal against Puglia of course). Sicily often gets the short end of the stick when discussing the cuisine of Italy, only recently here in America are chefs and cookbook authors starting to give it the attention it deserves. Coria is the perfect guide to this island’s unique and robust cooking and food culture.  He doesn’t just present us with a list of recipes, but gives us history and context, punctuated with great stories. The introduction gives an overview on how the history of Sicily and all of the different cultures that have occupied it over the years have contributed to molding the cuisine. The book is then broken down by region representing the provinces of Messina, Catania, Siracusa  and Ragusa. All 4 of these cities are actually on the east coast of Sicily, so the original Italian title of the book, La Cucina della Sicilia Orientale (The Cooking of Eastern Sicily) might be considered more accurate. But, this is a minor quibble, because Coria’s history covers the whole island and the recipes capture the spirit of Sicilian cooking in general. Each section starts off with a brief overview...