Wednesday, April 16, 2014


There is an Italian bakery in Bridgeport, CT called Del Prete, and they make these great mini biscotti. They are the perfect size for dunking in an espresso or a glass of vin santo. I usually get the chocolate and the almond from Del Prete, but have been making butterscotch biscotti off and on for a few years, and thought I would try making them smaller like those from Del Prete. I also wanted to try making chocolate.
The recipe I have adapted for the butterscotch biscotti is actually one my mother clipped from a newspaper 20 years ago. I don’t know what newspaper it was, but the recipe is one that was sent in by a reader, and it was called Grandmom Arcuri’s Butterscotch “Biscotti”. The quotes around the word biscotti were apparently because they eliminated the second baking in their recipe. Since biscotti actually means twice baked, I guess you could say they were not technically “biscotti”. Anyway, Grandmom Arcuri wherever you are, thanks.

Butterscotch Biscotti Recipe

Prep time:  | Cook time:  | Total time: 
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 large egg beaten in a bowl
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in butter and almond extract until combined.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together flour and baking powder, then stir it into the egg mixture in the large bowl and fold in the butterscotch chips.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and transfer two logs to each baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
  5. Stretch and flatten out the logs until they are the length of the baking sheet and 2 inches wide.
  6. Brush the tops of the dough with the beaten egg, then place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Using a serrated bread knife, cut each log diagonally in to 1 inch thick slices. Place biscotti back on baking sheet, return to oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how hard you like your biscotti.
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Roasted Rabbit with Sausage and Potatoes

I thought about calling this rustic dish Coniglio alla Contadina, which would loosely be translated to Farmer’s Style Rabbit. Especially, because I used my own homemade sausage and home cured bacon, when I made it, as I imagine would be done on a farm in the Italian countryside.
Rabbit is a lot more common on the menu in Italy than it is in America, because many people here don’t want to eat the cute little “Easter Bunny”. However, attitudes here are changing, more people are appreciating it and it is appearing on more menus. Of course, if you don’t want to do rabbit or can’t find it, this recipe works very well with chicken also.
What are your feelings on rabbit? Do you eat it? Would you eat it? Please share in the comments.

Roasted Rabbit with Sausage and Potatoes

Prep time:  | Cook time:  | Total time: 
Serves 4
1 pound yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
8 ounces pancetta, diced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 3-4 pound rabbit cut into serving pieces
1 pound italian sausage
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. In large bowl, toss together the potatoes, rosemary, thyme, garlic, pancetta and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer into a roasting pan, pour in the white wine and place in the oven. Cook the potatoes by themselves for 40 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, season the rabbit with salt & pepper, and heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the rabbit, brown on all sides and transfer to a plate. When done browning the rabbit, do the same with the sausage, then cut the sausage into one inch pieces.
  3. After the potatoes have been cooking for 40 minutes, add the browned rabbit and sausage to the pan and cook for 20 more minutes, until potatoes are tender. Transfer to warm serving plates and serve.
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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:  | Cook time:  | Total time: 
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
  1. Place one slice of prosciutto on each veal scalloppine and pound in lightly with a meat pounder.
  2. 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.
  3. Drain oil from pan, place back over heat and add butter. When butter is melted add sage and sauté for one minute.
  4. Add the white wine and scrape loose any bits from bottom of pan, then add the chicken broth and salt and pepper.
  5. Place scalloppine back in pan, prosciutto side up and cook until sauce is reduced by half and scalloppine are heated through.
  6. Transfer veal to serving plates, two scalloppine per person, spoon sauce over top and serve.
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Stracciatella Gelato

Stracciatella Gelato is kind of like American chocolate chip ice cream, except completely different. Instead of the chips and sometimes chunks you find in American product, Stracciattella has fine bits of chocolate throughout, which results in a smooth texture with just the slightest crunch in every bite. This is achieved by drizzling in a thin stream of melted chocolate during the final stages of churning, which hardens on contact and gets broken up as it churns. My two previous gelato recipes, chocolate and pistachio, were Sicilian style gelato, which has no egg or cream and is thickened with a crema rinforzata made from milk, sugar and cornstarch. Here, for a little variety, I went with a Northern Italian style vanilla gelato, made with an egg based custard.

Stracciatella Gelato Recipe

Prep time:  | Total time: 
Makes About 1 Quart
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Stir the milk and sugar together in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the vanilla bean. Heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and steep for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly whisk the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks and transfer the mixture back to the sauce pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, 8 – 10 minutes and remove custard from heat.
  3. Pour the cream into a large bowl and place a mesh strainer on top. Pour the custard through the strainer, discarding the vanilla bean, and stir it into the cream. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Remove custard from refrigerator and process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. While ice cream is churning melt chocolate in a sauté pan over low heat or in the microwave. Drizzle a very thin stream of the chocolate into the gelato during the last few minutes of churning.
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Sausage Lasagna

The magic of sausage! It can take an ordinary lasagna and turn it into something special. Yet, even before the sausage, this is no ordinary lasagna. Fresh homemade pasta for the noodles, the Ricotta-Béchamel sauce from Chef Silvia’s Hand Rolled Lasagna and fresh mozzarrella already take this to another level. Add the sausage and it’s breathing down the neck of the venerable Lasagna Verde Bolognese in the race for the title of my favorite lasagna.

Sausage Lasagna Recipe

Prep time:  | Cook time:  | Total time: 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat (stuffing from 4 links)
1 35oz can of imported Italian tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
3 fresh basil leaves
1 recipe Ricotta-Béchamel (see below)
1 pound of fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
1 recipe of homemade fresh pasta rolled out and cut into 13 inch long pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautè, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add sausage meat, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned approximately 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands then add them with their juices to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and let simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. At the very end of cooking, tear the basil leaves into pieces with your hands and stir into the sauce. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In 3 batches add the lasagna sheets to the boiling water and cook until just under al dente. Remove the noodles from the pot using a slotted spoon, place in a colander, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and spread out on clean kitchen towels.
  6. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of a 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Cover with a layer of 2 to 3 lasagna noodles, overlaping slightly to fit. Spread 1/3 of the Ricotta-Béchamel mixture on the noodles, top with 1 cup of the sauce. Spread 1/4 of the mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmaggiano-reggiano and top with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  7. Repeat this 2 more times. Cover the final layer of lasagna noodles with the remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella on top.
  8. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil, place in oven and cook for 60 minutes. Remove foil and cook until cheese is melted about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Ricotta-Béchamel Filling

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Prep time:  | Cook time:  | Total time: 
  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Add the flour and stir with a wire whisk until it forms a paste.
  2. Slowly add the milk to the butter and flour mixture, whisking until smooth.
  3. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and smooth, it should coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from refrigerator, add the ricotta, salt and pepper, and stir until well combined.
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