Carnevale Lasagna

Since today is Fat Tuesday, which is the last day before the start of Lent, I thought I would share my version of Carnevale Lasagna.  Carnevale is the traditional pre-Lenten celebration in Italy, which ends when Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally during Lent, Italian Catholics were not supposed to eat meat during the period of Lent, from Ash Wednesday until Easter.  Today, things have changed a bit, and Catholics are only supposed to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent.

The day before Lent was a final day to indulge before the Lenten fast.  My Carnevale Lasagna is made with four layers of Lasagna noodles and three layers of meat mixture.

Maria’s Carnevale Lasagna

Ingredients

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 pounds ground beef
½ pound Genoa salami chopped
1-teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups tomato sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces Parmesan cheese grated
8 ounces Lasagna noodles cooked

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
After the butter is melted add the olive oil.
Add the onion to the skillet and sauté for about 10 minutes until soft.
Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef and the Genoa salami to the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until the beef is no longer pink.
Add the spices to the skillet, mix thoroughly and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Drain the fat off of the meat mixture and set aside.
Spread about ¼ inch tomato sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.
Put a layer of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
Spread a third of the meat mixture and mozzarella cheese on top of the noodles.
Dot with a third of the ricotta cheese and finish the layer by sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.
Continue layering the ingredients ending with a layer of lasagna.
Spread about one cup of the tomato sauce over the final layer of lasagna and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve hot with the leftover tomato sauce.

I hope you enjoy my journey of Italian Cuisine and the Italian recipes that I have collected and saved throughout the years. I am always looking for new, exciting or different Italian recipes, tips and helpful hints. If you have any family Italian recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be happy to share them with the rest of the world.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love

Maria

Brasato Al Chianti-Beef Braised in Chianti

Brasato al Chianti is a variation on the Italian recipe Brasato al vino, which is wine stew made with marinated beef. Beef Braised in Wine is a dish typical of Tuscany. You can use different cuts of beef to make beef braised in wine but I think the best type of beef to use for this dish is chuck roast. Chuck roast comes from the shoulder and neck of the beef and yields some of the most tasty and inexpensive cuts of beef that is perfect for braising. I prefer to use Chianti Classico when making this Brasato Al Chianti because it just happens to be my favorite type of Italian dry red wine. I also think that using Chianti Classico adds a nice complexity to this dish.

Chianti classico

Brasato AL Chianti is not a difficult dish to make, but it does take a little preparation and time. Brasato AL Chianti – Beef Braised in Chianti is perfect for any special occasion or when it is chilly and cold out.

Brasato Al Chianti
Beef Braised in Chianti

Ingredients

2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck
1 bottle (24 oz) Chianti Classico
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1 onion sliced
1 stalk celery sliced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1-tablespoon juniper berries
6 slices dried porcini mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 plum tomatoes peeled and chopped

Put the meat, Chianti, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and juniper berries in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes.
While the mushrooms are soaking, remove the meat from the marinade.
Dry the meat with paper towels.
Strain the marinade and set the vegetables aside for later.
Set aside the marinade liquid for later.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy stockpot.
Add the meat and brown on all sides.
Drain the mushrooms and set aside the liquid for later.

After the meat is brown lower the heat under the stockpot to low.
Add the reserved vegetables, tomatoes, mushrooms and salt to taste.
Add a little of the marinade liquid to the stockpot.
Cover the pot and simmer gently for about 4 hours gradually adding more marinade and mushroom liquid to keep the meat from drying out and moist.
Transfer the meat to a serving platter, slice and keep warm.
Puree the vegetables by passing them through a fine sieve.
Stir the vegetable puree into the cooking juices in the stockpot.
Cook over medium heat until thickened.
Pour sauce over meat and serve immediately with polenta or mashed potatoes.

I hope you enjoy my journey of Italian Cuisine and of all the recipes that I have collected and saved throughout the years. I am always looking for new, exciting or different recipes, tips and helpful hints. If you have any family recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be excited to share them.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

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Chicken Scarpiello

I thought today I would share one of my favorite Italian recipes Chicken Scarpiello.  Yes, I know, Chicken Scarpiello is not a traditional Italian dish.  It is believed to have originated in New York in the United State and “Scarpiello” in Italian means “shoemaker or shoe fixer”.  They’re a couple of thoughts on how this dish got its name. The first idea on how Chicken Scarpiello got its name is that this dish refers to “shoemaker style”, meaning that is a meager dish.  The second thought on how Chicken Scarpiello got it’s name may well be the fact that shoemaker refers to the word cobbled, meaning that all the ingredients can be thrown together.  My recipe uses boneless chicken breasts, but the original recipe uses a whole cut up chicken.

Chicken Scarpiello

Ingredients

1 package mild/sweet Italian sausage
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 Portobello mushrooms sliced
1 red bell pepper sliced thin
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 small Vidalia onion sliced
1/2 cup of flour
4 boneless chicken breasts
½ cup white table wine
¼ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh Italian Parsley (optional)

In a large frying pan cook the sausage until in is no longer pink.
Remove sausage from pan, let cool and slice sausage into rounds.
In the same frying pan add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, mushrooms, red pepper, garlic and onions.
Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft.
Dredge chicken breasts in flour covering both sides of the chicken.
Place chicken breasts in frying pan.
Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes on each side until no longer pink (longer if using chicken pieces or things).
Add the sausage and white wine to frying pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until wine has reduced.
Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Add a tablespoon of melted butter and 3 tablespoons of flour to pan and mix.
Lower heat, cover pan and cook for 20 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Serve over rice or noodles topped with fresh Italian parsley.

I hope you enjoy my version of this non-traditional Italian recipe for Chicken Scarpiello.

I hope you enjoy my journey of Italian Cuisine & More Recipes and of all the recipes that I have collected and saved throughout the years.  I am always looking for new, exciting or different  recipes, tips and helpful hints.  If you have any family recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be excited to share them.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

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Giambotta-Italian Stew


Giambotta is basically an Italian Stew and is a typical dish of the southern regions of Italy. Giambotta can be eaten as a first course or as side dish. There are many variations of Giambotta and this dish is also known as ciambotta. Giambotta is a stew based on vegetables, but may have other ingredients such as meat or fish. The vegetable choices for Giambotta are usually potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, chili, onion and herbs. This version includes sausage and chicken that is great served as a main course.

Giambotta
Italian Stew

Ingredients
1 pound of hot or mild Italian sausage sliced into chunks
4 boneless chicken breasts sliced into strips
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 potatoes peeled and diced
2 large green or red bell peppers sliced
2 medium onions sliced
1 teaspoon of oregano
¼ cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.
Remove sausage from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet sauté the chicken in the oil from the sausage –about 10 minutes.
After the chicken is cooked remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside with the sausage.
In the same skillet add the olive oil, potatoes, peppers and onions.
Stir in the oregano and chicken stock.
Cook the vegetables until tender about 15 minutes.
Add the sausage, chicken salt and pepper into the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot.

I would love to hear from you if you have a different recipe for Giambotta. I am always looking for new, exciting or different Italian recipes, tips and helpful hints. If you have any family Italian recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be happy to share them with the rest of the world.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria
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Superbowl Snacks-Italian Style

Well, it seems that with Superbowl 46 almost upon us, everyone and their mother is posting recipes for Superbowl munchies.  I’ve been looking at a lot of wonderful blogs with some awesome ideas for all kinds of great food ideas to make for Superbowl.  The only problem is, is that I’m kind of feeling left out. Since I don’t want to feel left out of the excitement, I thought I would throw together some Superbowl snacks “Italian Style”.

Crostini are “Little toasts” and referred to thin slices of Italian or French bread, toasted and used as a base for appetizers. Since there is no hard and fast rule you can use either type of bread for the following recipes.

Tomato and Mozzarella Crostini

Ingredients

12 slices Italian style bread about 1/2 inch thick
¼ cup extra virgin olive
1 large tomato chopped(about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chopped
1 tablespoon large capers
Salt and pepper to taste
12 slices (1 ounce each) mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Arrange bread slices on ungreased cookie sheet.
Drizzle one teaspoon olive oil over each bread slice.
Mix tomato, basil, capers, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
Spread half of the tomato mixture over each bread slice.
Top each bread slice with a slice of cheese.
Spread remaining tomato mixture over cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted about 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve hot.

Hot Crab Crostini

Ingredients

1 French baguette cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup flaked crabmeat
2 ounces diced pimento
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chives and onion cream cheese spread
¼ teaspoon red pepper sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Heat oven to 400°F.
Arrange bread slices on large ungreased cookie sheet.
Drizzle olive oil over each bread slice
Bake 3 to 5 minutes until crisp and lightly brown.

While the crostini are browning, mix the crabmeat, pimento, Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese, chives and onion cream cheese spread and red pepper sauce together in a medium bowl.
Spread 1 rounded tablespoonful crabmeat mixture on each bread slice.
Bake for an additional 5 minutes until filling is hot and cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with chives. Serve hot.

Chicken Liver Crostini

Ingredients

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion-finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove-minced
12 ounces chicken livers-chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh sage-chopped
1 Italian or French bread baguette-sliced into 1/3-inch-thick rounds

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion, anchovies and garlic.
Cook until the onion is tender – about 3 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken livers.
Cook for about 4 minutes until the chicken livers are brown.
Add the wine and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the sage.
Simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken livers are cooked through.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread slices on baking sheets.
Lightly drizzle the bread with the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until the crostini are crisp about 5 to 10 minutes.
Top each slice with a heaping spoonful of the chicken liver mixture. Serve hot.

Garlic Cream Cheese Crostini
Garlic Cream Cheese Crostini

Ingredients

1 loaf French style bread cut into ½ slices
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup garlic and herb cream cheese spread
¼ cup chopped green onions

Arrange bread slices on ungreased cookie sheet. Drizzle each slice with olive oil.
Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 1 minute until light brown.
Combine cream cheese and green onions in a small bowl and mix together well.
Spread mixture on toasted bread slices.
Return to broiler and broil 1 minute or until cream cheese bubbles.
Serve Hot.

Tomato and Pesto Crostini

Pesto and Tomato Crostini

Ingredients

French bread sliced into 1 inch slices
2/3 cup pesto
2 small tomatoes seeded and chopped(about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread slices on ungreased baking sheet.
Spread each slice of bread with a tablespoon of pesto.
Top with tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake about 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Serve Hot.

I hope you enjoy these Super Bowl Snacks “Italian Style”.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

Italian Goulash-Gulasch Italiano

37 - Italienischer Gulasch / Goulash italian s...

Today has really been one of the first cold days we have really had this winter.  It’s only going up into the 40’s today.  Considering that it is winter, that’s not too bad.  I guess I have been getting a little spoiled with the warm, spring-like weather we have had so far this winter. I don’t want you to think that I am complaining, I guess more stating a fact.  I’m not a cold weather girl, in fact I really, really don’t like winter, so I have been quite happy with the mild temps. It is just that I had all kinds of hearty, cold weather dishes in mind that I was going to share, but my mind keeps wandering to spring and yes, summer menu ideas.  So, since the weather is a little chilly today, I thought that I would share this recipe for Italian Goulash.  There are a lot of different recipes for this dish but the one constant is paprika.  I think the best way to serve Italian Goulash is over polenta, so I have also included a basic recipe for polenta.

Italian Goulash
Gulasch Italiano

Ingredients

1-tablespoon olive oil
3 medium onions chopped
2 1/2 pounds stewing beef cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons paprika
1 can (28 oz.) tomato puree
2 teaspoons cumin
1-tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.
When the pan is hot add the oil and onions.
Cook the onions for about 3 to 5 minutes, until they are soft.
Add the meat, tomato puree, paprika, cumin, oregano, lemon zest, bay leaves, garlic and salt and pepper.


Cover and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot with polenta. Serves 6 to 8.

Basic Polenta

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
6 cups cold water
1-teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan add the cornmeal, water and salt.
Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly.


Continue cooking for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan.
Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the mixture is thick and creamy, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve hot with Italian Goulash.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Italian Goulash-Gulasch Italiano.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

Bistecca alla Pizziola-Steak with Tomato Sauce

Bistecca alla Pizziola is steak with tomato sauce.  The main ingredient in this recipe is steak, of course.  I love steak, but sometimes steak can get a little boring and this Italian recipe is a great way to change things up a bit.  I have seen some recipes for this dish that use onion and also red pepper flakes if you want to spice things up a bit.  I prefer this simple basic recipe for Bistecca alla Pizziola.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped
6 thin tender steaks
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
1-tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
When the skillet is hot add the olive oil and garlic.  Cook the garlic for 2 minutes.
Add the steaks to the skillet and brown on both sides (you can brown the steaks in batches and remove to a platter to keep warm).
After the steaks are all browned and transferred to a platter, add the tomatoes, oregano and salt and pepper.

Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add the steaks back into the skillet-cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Spoon the tomato mixture over each steak and garnish with the parsley and cheese.

Add a salad and Italian or garlic bread and you have a fabulous meal.
You could also make extra sauce and serve it over your favorite pasta as a side dish.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria