Friday, August 23, 2013

Ernesto's Random-Cut Pasta with Sausage Sauce

Taccozze con Salsiccia


2 1/2 cups finely ground durum semolina flour, plus additional if needed
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm filtered water
1 teaspoon Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

Place the four and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and whirl the mixture to blend. With the motor running, slowly pour the water through the feed tube. Add the olive oil and continue processing until a ball of dough is formed that is moist and holds together. If the dough seems too dry, add a few drops of water and pulse.

Gather up the dough and knead it for a few minutes on a wooden surface, adding a little flour only if the dough is sticking to your hands. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into quarters and work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining pieces covered.

Roll the dough out into a rough circle or rectangle shape approximately 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut across the dough so that you make strips about 1 1/2-inches wide. Then cut the strips into either squares, diamonds, or triangles. Put the finished shapes onto a floured towel, sprinkling them with a bit of flour to keep them from clumping together. Repeat the process until all the dough is used. Let the shapes dry for about 10 minutes before cooking.

Cook the shapes in salted water for about 4 minutes, just until al dente.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage flavored with fennel, removed from the casing and broken up
1 small red onion, chopped
1 Little Devil hot red pepper, chopped, or more or less to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup prepared tomato sauce
Salt to taste
Pecorino cheese, grated, for sprinkling

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is browned. Add the onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the hot pepper and cook for another minute. Add the wine and cook the sauce until most of the wine evaporates. Add the tomato sauce. Taste and add salt if necessary. Keep the sauce warm while the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce along with about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Mix well to coat the pasta and serve immediately with the grated cheese for sprinkling over the top.

Ernesto used a 2002 Masserie Flocco, Chardonnay "Podere del Canneto" in this recipe.

item recipe is featured on Ciao Italia in Episode 1524 of Season 15.

Watch Ciao Italia

with Mary Ann Esposito

Click here to find your local station

Ciao Italia, Mary Ann's website

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spanish Tortilla

Growing up, the Spanish Tortilla was one of my favorite comfort foods.

It is not a tortilla like a mexican tortilla, rather, more like an omelette.

My nana had many variations.  She routinely used chorizo (I don't like it and never use it), she would also add peas and/or onions.  I have made it adding bacon or breakfast sausage and it was delicious . . . I always top mine with cheddar cheese.  Use your imagination and what you like!  Whatever you do, use lots of potatoes . . . that is what makes this dish magical.

I'm remembering how awesome it was in a sandwich made with cuban bread and mayonnaise . . . haven't had it like that since I was a little girl.


3 large potatoes
5 large eggs
handful of cheddar cheese
salt to taste (I love using kosher salt)


Prepare the potatoes.  Before I get into the making of the tortilla, I want to share how I prepare the potatoes, no matter what dish I use it in (other than mashed potatoes).  Great method for preparing home fries for breakfast!

Wash and dice the potatoes. You can peel the potatoes or not . . . whatever you prefer . . . I don't.  Place in a microwave container with a lid, add salt to taste and I like to add little pieces of butter on top of the potatoes throughout the container.  Cook in microwave about 5 minutes or until tender (you'll have to experiment with the time, it depends on the microwave).  That's it!  Your potatoes will brown in the frying pan in no time at all.  So much better than starting with raw potatoes!

To make the tortilla . . . place cooked potatoes in a buttered pan and fry until they brown, stirring often.  When the potatoes are as brown as you would like them, pour in the scrambled eggs (I season with salt when I scramble the eggs).

Some people like to use a plate to turn the tortilla, but I cut it in four pieces to make it easy to turn.

Top with your desired amount of cheddar cheese (optional), cover the pan and lower the heat.  Since I use stainless steel pans, I take it off the heat and let it finish cooking off the burner to prevent burning.

The gauge I use that the tortilla is done . . . 
when the cheese is all melty and gooey.

It is a quick, easy and delicious meal that I make often!  Hope you make it and enjoy it :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rice and beans

Rice and beans is one of my favorite meals, even when there is enough money to buy whatever food there is a craving for . . . it is one of those southern meals that can be varied in so many ways.  The meal is not complete without a batch of corn bread that I love to crumble in the rice and beans.

Today I was on a quest to find different variations of rice and beans and I ran across the AandE Channel's pages for Duck Dynasty, which includes some of the Robinson family's recipes.  You can find the link to Miss Kay's recipes at the end of this post.  

The Captain and I are Duck Dynasty fans and I always love their references to food . . . except that I would never ever, even if offered huge sums of money, eat squirrel.  Squirrels are like little outdoor pets for me!  The Captain, on the other hand, tells me it was a favorite childhood meal after a day of hunting down squirrels in the woods and bringing them home for Mom to cook.  

Here is an excerpt from the write up on this recipe, followed by the recipe . . .
"The family subsided on rice and beans, cornbread, and whatever fish and game the boys could catch. Rice and beans was a staple dish at the Robertson dinner table. A hundred-pound bag of rice and several cans of beans would last for weeks. There are dozens of ways to prepare rice and beans, and the recipes could be altered by adding a simple gravy or squirrels, quail, or fish so it was a perfect meal for the struggling Robertson family.
You can be creative with this. Don't worry about doing it exactly the way it is written, try stuff, if you don't have an ingredient make it anyway. I make beans every time we make or buy a ham — the ham bone is the key. You will find hunks of that ham when it cooks off the bone that you never knew existed and they are delicious. NEVER throw ham bone away!"

    • 1 pound dry kidney Pinto beans
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 6 cups water
    • a couple of slices of bacon, cut up
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you are feeding kids)
    • 2 bay leaves (if you don't have it in your cabinet don't worry about it)
    • a pinch of brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Phil Robertson's Cajun Style Seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes (again, don't sweat it if you don't have it)
    • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced (Add more if you like sausage, or a different kind if this is too spicy.)
    • Ham bone with as much ham left on it as you want (I buy one that is honey glazed, take the ham off for sandwiches, then use what's left for beans)
    • 4 cups water
    • 2 cups long grain white rice
    • Louisiana Hot Sauce
    1. Rinse beans and transfer to a large pot with ham bone six cups of water. Make sure the water is covers all the beans.
    2. In a skillet, heat olive oil and cut up bacon over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery for three to four minutes.
    3. Stir cooked vegetables into beans.
    4. Season with bay leaves, cayenne pepper, parsley, and Cajun Style Seasoning.
    5. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook 4 to 6 hours, or until beans are soft and done. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
    6. Cut sausage into slices and brown in skillet on medium heat with a teaspoon of olive oil.
    7. Stir sausage into beans towards the end of cooking time and continue to simmer for thirty minutes.
    8. Add a pinch of brown sugar to taste.
    9. In a saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve beans over steamed white rice and add plenty of Louisiana Hot Sauce.
    For more family recipes, visit our Kay's Recipes page.

    Sunday, August 4, 2013

    My favorite italian chefs

    Between all the food related televisions shows I watch and my obsession with Pinterest, I'm on recipe overload!  So, rather than share awesome recipes, I thought I would share my favorite italian chefs with you instead.

    My #1 favorite italian chef is David Ruggerio.  His PBS cooking show from back in the day, Little Italy, remains my favorite cooking show ever.  He briefly went on to the Food Network, however, he ran into some personal problems that kept him in the headlines, but not in a positive light.  He disappeared from the Food Network and I haven't been able to find old episodes of Little Italy on PBS.  His recipes most closely resembled those of my nana, which is probably the reason he is my favorite.  I'm hoping he can overcome the obstacles and make a triumphant comeback.  Until then, he has a page on Facebook . . . and I found a video on You Tube . . .

    Nick Stelleno spent the first 17 years of his life in Palermo, Sicily.  He enjoyed a successful Wall Street career after immigrating to the United States, but a culinary career kept calling him.  With no formal culinary education, he went from a dishwasher to one of the most popular chefs in the United States.

    Click here for one of my favorite recipes from Nick Stelleno, which includes a video.  Check it out if you have never experienced Nick Stelleno, he is very entertaining!

    Lidia Bastianich is an Emmy award-winning public television host, a best‐selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business.  I've enjoyed her television series for as long as I can remember.  What I love most about Lidia is the way she weaves stories of the old days in Italy, her travels, and her recent series features Italian-Americans and how they have brought the Italian culture to their communities . . . along with her delicious recipes and cooking tips.

    What a busy lady!  Her zest for life and a passion for everything Italian is delightful and makes me so very proud to be an Italian-American.

    There you have it, my top 3 favorite italian chefs . . . each of them has influenced my italian kitchen!

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