Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

Puttanesca Sauce is loosely translated to “street walker’s sauce.” There are a lot of stories about how this name came about. The most popular is that prostitutes used to make Pasta alla Puttanesca and put it out on the windowsill so that the aroma would attract prospective clients. Kind of a silly story, but people seem to like it. Now, lets talk about anchovies. I know there are probably a lot of people out there who think they don’t like anchovies, and may be tempted to make this excluding them. You certainly can do that if you want, but I am going to ask you nicely not to. Please try it at least once with the anchovies. Chopped up they practically dissolve into the oil when sautéing them, so you don’t have to worry about biting directly into or tasting anchovy. What you will taste, however, is a depth of flavor that will be missing if they are left out. Trust me. Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Recipe Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 25 min | Total time: 35 min Serves 4-6 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, chopped 6 anchovy fillets, chopped pinch of crushed red pepper 1 35 oz can imported italian plum tomatoes, crushed with their juices 1 tablespoon capers 12 gaetta olives, pitted 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1 pound spaghetti Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, anchovy, and red pepper cook until garlic is lightly browned. Crush tomatoes and add with juices. Fill the empty tomato can 1/4 of the way with water and pour into...
Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

We have actuallly had a Baked Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus recipe on the site for years. But lately, I find myself making it on the grill much more often. The prosciutto gets nice and crispy and you get a smokey flavor, expecially if you use charcoal. Plus, this recipe is about as easy as it gets. If you want you can top it with some shaved or grated Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese as soon as you take it off the grill, while it is still hot. Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Recipe Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 15 min Serves 4 16 large asparagus spears, tough ends removed 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil salt & pepper to taste 16 slices Prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin Place the asparagus in a baking dish or bowl. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss until the asparagus are well coated. Wrap each asparagus spear in one slice of prosciutto. Grill over direct medium heat on a gas or charcoal grill, turning occasionally, until prosciutto is crisp and asparagus are tender, but not limp. About 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve...
Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca is a classic Roman veal dish. In fact, it is so typically Roman that the name Saltimbocca alla Romana seems redundant to me. But, that’s what it was called on my father’s menu, so I am sticking with it. This is a great dish to serve for company. Plate it over some sautèed spinach and it will make quite an impression. The literal translation of saltimbocca is “jump in the mouth”, and that’s precisely what this tasty combination of veal, prosciutto, sage and white wine will do. Saltimbocca alla Romana Recipe Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 30 min Serves 4 8 slices prosciutto 8 veal scalloppine, thinly sliced and pounded flour spread on a plate for dredging 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 8 sage leaves 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup chicken broth salt and pepper to taste Place one slice of prosciutto on each veal scalloppine and pound in lightly with a meat pounder. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Dredge both sides of the scalloppine in flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Place them prosciutto side down in pan and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a warm plate. Drain oil from pan, place back over heat and add butter. When butter is melted add sage and sauté for one minute. Add the white wine and scrape loose any bits from bottom of pan, then add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Place scalloppine back in pan, prosciutto side up and cook until sauce...
The Great Cherry Pepper Hunt of 2011

The Great Cherry Pepper Hunt of 2011

The week after Christmas, I was chatting with my friend Mark on IM. He was telling me about the Christmas Eve fish dinner his Mother (she is originally from Naples) made. He was running down the list, Linguine con Vongole, Fried Calamari, etc. While it sounded like a great dinner, it didn’t really excite me that much, because I am allergic to shellfish. But, all of a sudden he said “Vinegar Peppers stuffed with anchovies.” I stopped him dead in his tracks, I had to know about these peppers. As he told me about the stuffing, my mouth started to water: bread, anchovies, olives, pignoli. I had to make them. I had one question though, what kind of peppers? I figured they weren’t hot cherry peppers, but you never see sweet cherry peppers in the store anymore. He told me they were the sweet cherry peppers, but they are really hard to find. His mom keeps an eye out for them all year long, the ones she used this year (Sclafani brand) she bought in June! Still, I figured I could find them somehow, so I needed the recipe. Mark promptly got her on the phone, and transcribed the recipe into IM: very difficult to take the stem and seeds out slow take stem and seeds out very difficult good italian bread in food processor just the white in the food processor also put chopped garlic and parseley put in a bowl add to bowl anchovies, quantity: you know, depending on phil add to bowl capers, quantity: COME ON, same, depending on phil!!! add to bowl olives: sliced black...
My Favorite Weeknight Pasta Dish

My Favorite Weeknight Pasta Dish

For me, a good weeknight dinner must possess two essential qualities: It must be relatively quick and easy to prepare. It has to be tasty enough to make me actually want to cook after a hard day at work. It’s much easier to get motivated if, as the work day ends, I am eagerly anticipating dinner. My favorite weeknight pasta dish, Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, satisfies both of those requirements perfectly. I have been making this dish so regularly lately that every time I am in the supermarket I pick up a pint of grape tomatoes knowing that I will be using them in the near future. My wife, Sandy, likes capellini and I like spaghetti, so the spaghettini became our little compromise. But, you can actually use any pasta you prefer or happen to have on hand. Pasta with Grape Tomatoes Recipe Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 20 min Serves 4 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 large garlic cloves sliced thin 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes salt to taste 1 pound spaghettini pasta 2 large basil leaves, torn into pieces by hand freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese for serving Add olive oil and garlic to a large sautè pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic is lightly browned, then add the sliced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt. Saute the tomatoes until they are softened and have started to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of liberally salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al...