More Super Bowl Snacks-Italian Style

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Day. I’m not a big football fan, but I do like watching the Super Bowl. My favorite part of watching the Super Bowl is the cool new commercials they show. I also like making some treats to eat during the Super Bowl. I’ve already posted some cool recipes for some great Super Bowl snacks. But, I thought I would post a few more Super Bowl snacks.

Pizza Pretzels

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 can refrigerated pizza crust
28 slices pepperoni
8 pieces mozzarella string cheese
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
1 cup tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 425°F.
Brush large cookie sheet with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal.
Sprinkle flour over work surface.
On the floured surface, unroll pizza crust dough. Starting at the center of the dough, press dough into 16×10-inch rectangle.
With pizza cutter or knife, cut dough lengthwise into 4 (2 1/2-inch-wide) strips.
Evenly place seven pepperoni slices on each dough strip, leaving 1/2 inch on each end uncovered.
Cut each string cheese in half lengthwise.
Place 4 cheese halves on pepperoni on each dough strip, overlapping ends to fit.
Bring up sides of each dough strip over pepperoni and cheese, and tightly pinch together, stretching dough as necessary to fully enclose cheese and pepperoni; pinch ends to seal.
Lightly roll and shape into 16-inch logs.
To make pretzel shape, form each log into U-shape, then cross the ends and fold dough over so ends rest on bottom of U-shape.
Arrange pretzels on cookie sheet.
Brush pretzels with remaining 1/2-tablespoon oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
Serve warm with pasta sauce for dipping.

Spinach, Prosciutto and Roasted Pepper Calzone

Ingredients

2 cans(8 oz each)refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 box(9 oz)frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
8 oz provolone cheese thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers, roasted and quartered
4 oz prosciutto thinly sliced
2 tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto
1 egg yolk
1-tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease large cookie sheet.
Unroll both cans of dough into 2 long rectangles.
Place the dough rectangles with long sides together on cookie sheet to form a 15×10-inch rectangle.
Press edges and perforations to seal.
Place the spinach lengthways in 4-inch-wide strip down center of dough to within 1/2 inch of each end.
Top with half of the cheese, the roasted peppers and prosciutto.
Spread the pesto over prosciutto.
Cover with remaining cheese.
Bring long sides of dough up over filling, overlapping 1 inch and press edges and ends to seal.
Beat egg yolk and water until well blended in small bowl.
Brush egg yolk mixture over top of dough.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
Cut into crosswise slices. Serve Warm.

Ham Florentine Mini Cups

Ham Florentine Mini-Cups

This recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together and makes a great super bowl snack.  The original recipe is from Pillsbury Crescent recipe creations. I only made a few slight changes to their original recipe.

Ingredients

1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach thawed and squeezed to drain
1/3-cup garlic and herbs spreadable cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded 5-cheese or 6-cheese Italian cheese blend
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons onion finely chopped
1/4-teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can (8 oz)refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
24 slices of thin Prosciutto or smoked ham
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except rolls, ham and Parmesan cheese until well blended and set aside.
Unroll crescent rolls dough and separate into four rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal.
Cut each rectangle into 6 (2-inch) squares.
Press one square into the bottom of each muffin cup bottom and push it up against the side.
Pat each ham slice dry with paper towel.
Place one Prosciutto slice ham slice over dough in each cup (edges of ham will be higher than side of cup.)
Spoon rounded 1-teaspoon spinach mixture onto ham in center of each cup.
Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is hot.
To prevent browning of ham, cover with foil after 5 minutes to prevent browning.Cool in pan 1 minute then remove from pan; let stand 3 minutes before serving.
Finish with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
To make the mini cups use an un-greased 24 count muffin pan.

Calzone Pinwheels

Ingredients

1/2-cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 cup pepperoni diced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
1/4 cup green pepper finely chopped
2 tablespoons onion finely chopped
1 package(8 ounces)refrigerated crescent rolls
1 jar(14 ounces) pizza sauce, warmed

Combine the ricotta, Italian seasoning and salt in a small bowl.
Stir in the mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, green pepper and onion.
Separate crescent dough into four rectangles and seal perforations.
Spread cheese mixture over each rectangle to within 1/4 in. of edges.
Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a short side and pinch seams to seal.
Cut each into four slices.
Place cut side down on greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with pizza sauce.

Pizza Crescents

Pizza Joe Crescent Sandwiches

Ingredients

½ lb ground beef, cooked, drained
½ cup chopped pepperoni
1/3-cup pizza sauce
2 cans(8 oz each)refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix beef, pepperoni and pizza sauce In a 10-inch skillet.
Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Separate or cut each can of dough into 4 rectangles and press perforations to seal.
Spoon meat mixture in center of each rectangle.
Sprinkle each rectangle with 1 tablespoon of cheese.
Fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 18 to 20 minutes.
Serve hot.

Italian Antipasto Squares

Italian Antipasto Squares

2 Cans (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 oz thinly sliced salami
4 oz thinly sliced Swiss cheese
4 oz thinly sliced pepperoni
4 oz thinly sliced American cheese
4 oz thinly sliced capocollo (cured Italian ham) or cooked ham
4 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
2 eggs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1 jar (12 oz) sliced roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 egg yolk, beaten

Heat oven to 350°F. L
Lightly butter a 13×9-inch pan or spray with cooking spray.
Unroll 1 can of dough into 1 large rectangle and place in pan.
Press in bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of pan to form crust, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
Layer all meats and cheeses in order listed over dough.
In small bowl, beat 2 eggs, the garlic powder and pepper with wire whisk until well blended.
Pour over meat and cheese layers.
Layer roasted peppers and olives over top.
Unroll second can of dough into 1 large rectangle and press into 13×9-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
Place over top of layered ingredients.
Pinch edges to seal. Brush beaten egg yolk over dough.
Cover with foil and Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown.
Cool 15 minutes before serving.
Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm.

I hope you enjoy these Super Bowl Snacks.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

Potato Gnocchi Sauce

Gnocchi col Sugo Finto 4

I thought I would switch gears a little bit and throw in an Italian sauce recipe that is awesome served over Potato Gnocchi. This Italian sauce recipe is a Tuscan inspired ragu type of sauce.  In Tuscany this sauce is called Sugo Finto or fake sauce, because it is a meatless ragu.  Sugo Finto goes great with different types of pasta, but I think this sauce is great served over potato gnocchi.  Fresh plum tomatoes can be substituted with canned peeled plum tomatoes.

Potato Gnocchi Sauce
Sugo Finto-Fake Sauce

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion-minced
1 carrot-peeled and minced
1 celery stalk-minced
½ cup dry red wine
2 lbs. plum tomatoes-peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Italian parsley-chopped
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-grated (Parmesan)

Preparazione ragù di carne/Ingredienti tagliati

Image via Wikipedia

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the olive oil, onion, carrot and celery.
Cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Add the wine, increase the heat to high and cook until the wine reduces, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 1 hour until the sauce thickens.
Serve hot over cooked potato gnocchi.
Sprinkle parsley and parmigiano-reggiano cheese over the top.

Parmesan Cheese (or more accurately, Parmigian...

Image via Wikipedia

I hope you enjoy this Tuscan inspired Italian recipe for Sugo Finto.

Con Tanto Amore

Maria

Traditional Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi has been a traditional type of Italian pasta since Roman times and was first introduced in Europe by the Roman Legions. Originally, gnocchi were made from semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs.  Most people associate potato gnocchi as the traditional Italian gnocchi but potatoes were not available in Europe until after the 16th century.  I decided to start with this gnocchi recipe since it is the first type of gnocchi that I learned how to make.  What I love about this recipe, besides the delicious taste, is the fact that  “gnocco” are simple to make, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make them and you don’t need any special kitchen gadgets.   To save time, you can cook your potoatoes in advance and keep in the refrigerator for several days until you are ready to make the gnocchi.

Recipe for Traditional Potato Gnocchi
Patata Gnocco

Ingredients

2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
1-cup flour
2 eggs
1-teaspoon salt

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove potatoes from the oven and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Scrape the insides of the potatoes into a medium to large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a potatoes masher.
Add the flour and mix together with the potatoes.  Add the eggs and salt and mix until you have a firm, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into thirds.
On a floured surface use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope about 1 inch around.
Cut the rope into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Take the cut pieces of dough and using your finger lightly press the gnocchi onto the back of a fork, to make ridges in the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.

Serve hot with melted butter, fresh chopped Italian parsley and your favorite Italian cheese or serve with your favorite sauce.

Tips: If you have never made gnocchi before, it takes practice to roll the gnocchi on a fork to make the ridges (the ridges or grooves hold the sauce).  If you do find this part difficult, you can just cut the gnocchi and cook them.  

Also you can purchase a Wooden Gnocchi Board (also called a Gnocchi Paddle) to make gnocchi. Grooves in the surface of the board give gnocchi their characteristic texture as the dough is rolled down and shaped on the board.

I hope you enjoy this Italian recipe for Traditional Potato Gnocchi.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love
Maria

L’inizio – Maria’s Potato Gnocchi

Featured

Con tanto amore, this to me is what Italian Cuisine is all about.  Made “with lots of love”.  Italian food is about simplicity mixed in “with lots of love”.  I think that is why Italian Cuisine has become popular.  Simple, fresh, local foods are fused with lots of love to create absolutely amazing dishes that anyone can make.  Throw in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, fresh produce, fresh herbs and wonderful Italian wines and you get foods that are healthy, artistic, marvelous and yes, exciting. Not only do I have a passion for Italian food, but I also love cooking and creating Italian dishes.

I guess that’s what Italian Cuisine is for me.  Using foods and produce that are locally available and fresh to make simple,  wonderful and delicious dishes.  My passion is food, so what could be better than writing a blog about food. Sounds great but, food/recipes is really too big for just one blog.  So, after a lot of thinking I decided that I would write about my favorite type of food, which happens to be Italian Cuisine.

Mostra di pani e dolci tradizionali della Sard...

Well, this too presented some problems for me, since Italian food, not only varies from region to region but Italian cuisine is quite varied and vast. Italian cuisine has been around since the 4th century BCE. That’s over 2,000 years.

So, where to start. That’s when it hit me.  Why not start at the l’inizio “beginning”.  And the beginning of Italian food for me is pasta!  Sounds simple, but there are so many types of pasta and so many different dishes, my head was swimming with were to start.  So, I decided, why not start at the beginning.  The beginning of pasta or if you will the precursor or forerunner of pasta in my option is gnocchi.  So, what better way to start a journey of Italian Cuisine than with gnocchi or Italian dumplings.

Maria’s Traditional Potato Gnocchi
Patata Gnocco

Ingredients

2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
1-cup flour
2 eggs
1-teaspoon salt

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove potatoes from the oven and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Scrape the insides of the potatoes into a medium to large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a potatoes masher.
Add the flour and mix together with the potatoes.  Add the eggs and salt and mix until you have a firm, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into thirds.
On a floured surface use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope about 1 inch around.
Cut the rope into 1 to 2 inch pieces.

Gnocchi

Take the cut pieces of dough and using your finger lightly press the gnocchi onto the back of a fork, to make ridges in the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.
Serve hot with melted butter, fresh chopped Italian parsley and your favorite Italian cheese or serve with your favorite sauce.

Tip: If you have never made gnocchi before, it takes practice to roll the gnocchi on a fork to make the ridges (the ridges or grooves hold the sauce).  If you do find this part difficult, you can just cut the gnocchi and cook them.

Gnocchi Paddle

You could also purchase a Wooden Gnocchi Board (also called a Gnocchi Paddle) to make gnocchi. Grooves in the surface of the board give gnocchi their characteristic texture as the dough is rolled down and shaped on the board.  I don’t have one of these, I make my gnocchi by rolling them on a fork.



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

Stale Bread Gnocchi

The Trentino region in Northern Italy specializes in this particular type of gnocchi that is made with stale bread.  Crusty Italian bread is perfect for this recipe but you could also use rye bread. Bread gnocchi can be flavored with chopped liver, ham or more simply flavored with lots of fresh Italian parsley.  Stale Bread gnocchi is a rustic Italian dish that is delicious served in soup and also makes a nice side dish.

Stale Bread Gnocchi

Ingredients

1 loaf of stale, firm, crusty type bread –cut into one-inch cubes
4 cups milk
2 garlic gloves-minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme-chopped
Pinch-freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
8 cups beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Bread

Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

Place the bread cubes in a medium size bowl and pour the milk over the bread.
Mix thoroughly and let the mixture soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the bread cubes and squeeze out the excess milk.
Place the bread cubes back into the bowl and add the garlic, pepper, thyme and pinch of nutmeg.
Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Beat eggs until thoroughly mixed.
Add the eggs to the bread mixture and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  (You might need to use you hands to get the ingredients mixed).
In a large stockpot, bring the stock to a boil.
Roll the bread mixture into 1 to 2 inch balls and drop into the boiling stock.  When the stock returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until the gnocchi have puffed up and float to the top.
Remove using a slotted spoon, drain and arrange on a serving dish.
Drizzle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this Italian recipe for stale bread gnocchi.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love
Maria