Category Archives: Vegetarian

Basilicata Frittata

Basilicata Frittata

I had some leftover fresh horse radish from the Basilicata Style Pasta, so I used it for a frittata.
Basilicata Frittata
Ingredients:
  • About 12 oz./2 cups of potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 oz. grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 3 oz. grated fresh horseradish or more to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough olive oil for frying
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the cheese, horse radish, parsley, and seasoning. Mix in the mashed potatoes and blend until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Don’t worry about a few little lumps. If you made the mashed potatoes fresh, make sure they cool off before you mix them so they don’t cook the eggs.

Basilicata Frittata

Basilicata Frittata

Heat the oil in an oven proof 10 inch pan, pour in the egg mixture and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the eggs begin to set, place the pan under your broiler for another 5 minutes to cook and brown the top of the frittata.Basilicata Frittata
 

Basilicata Frittata

Slice and serve either hot or at room temperature.

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Basilicata Style Pasta

Basilicata Style Pasta

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I encourage you to not limit yourself to using just grated Parmigiana or Loccatelli type cheese on your pasta. For this recipe it’s grated fresh horse radish. The use of ground walnuts and breadcrumbs in the sauce and a good sprinkle of grated horse radish is typical of Basilicata, where my paternal grandparents are from. Fresh horse radish is common in Basilicata but not so much in New York expect around Passover. It’s the bitter herb in the Seder meal that represents the bitterness of slavery.Basilicata Style Pasta

Basilicata Style PastaIngredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Salt, black pepper & red pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. short pasta – fusilli, gameli, rotini, cavatappi,
  • Fresh horse radish
Start a pot of salted water for the pasta and lay out your ingredients.Basilicata Style Pasta
Basilicata Style PastaHeat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions on medium low. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste, salt, black, and red pepper. Cook low and slow until the onions are soft and translucent – don’t brown. The onions add a little sweetness to the sauce which is a nice counterpoint to the horse radish.

Basilicata Style PastaAdd the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste to check for seasoning. If you want a meat sauce, now is the time to add some nicely browned sausage or braciole.

Cook the pasta until almost done, drain it and add it to the sauce where it will finish cooking. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water if the sauce is too dry. Pour in the walnuts and breadcrumbs, stir to thoroughly combine and serve. This is still a very good sauce even if you don’t have fresh horse radish.
Basilicata Style PastaCut about an inch of the end of the horse radish and remove some of the bark with a potato peeler. Pass the horse radish and a grater at the table and top each dish with a good amount of horse radish. Sometimes when the horseradish hits the hot steamy pasta it can make your eyes tear. Don’t let it bother you.

Basilicata Style Pasta


Cover the cut end of the horse radish with some foil and refrigerate.  Basilicata Style Pasta

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Barramundi

Barramundi

Barramundi
Barramundi is a flakey white fish with a thin easily editable skin. It’s a new-to-the-market type of sea bass from the South Pacific and our imports come mainly from Australia. 
Barramundi
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive
  • Barramundi fillet
Melt the butter in a small pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the lemon juice. Stir, remove from heat and set aside.  (This combination of ingredients works  for  lots  of  different  types  of  fish. ) Barramundi

Blot the fillet dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Barramundi
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Cook the filet skin side down for 3 minutes to crisp the skin.. Turn it over and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

Barramundi
Place the fish in a serving dish, pour the sauce over it and serve.

Barramundi
Barramundi

 

More on Barramundi here.   

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Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Étouffée

Different families have different Étouffée recipes. I got this one from a friend with a Louisiana connection. Ideally, it would have been made with crawfish but they’re not so easy to get on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Shrimp is a good substitute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Ingredients:
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 cups Cajun trinity
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. Panola or Tobassco hot sauce or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun spice mix
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and shelled
  • 2 scallions, green part choppedShrimp Étouffée
Heat the butter in a large pan and add the trinity. Cook until it’s softens and then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour, mix and cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a minute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Stir in the stock and 1 cup of water. Cook on medium until reduced by half. Now add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Cajun spice mix, salt, and black pepper. Raise heat and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.

Add the shrimp, reduce heat, and stir and coat with the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve with rice.
Shrimp Étouffée

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Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

When most people think of tomato sauce they think ‘simmering.’ For this recipe you start by sautéing the tomatoes. This gives them a rich hearty flavor and it’s ready to eat in about a half an hour.
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup olive oil divided
  • Salt, black, and red pepper
  • 10 – 12 plum tomatoes
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. short pasta (ziti, penne, rotelle, etc.)
Start a pot of salted water for the pasta.
Sautéed Tomato SauceHeat ¼ cup of the oil in a large frying pan and season it with salt, black and red pepper. Cut the stem end off the tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and place then cut side down in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat until they begin to soften and color. Depending on their ripeness and thickness they might take 8 – 12 minutes. 
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
Season the top side and then turn them and cook for another 8 – 12 minutes. Start cooking the pasta in the boiling water.
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
The tomatoes should be soft now so add the minced garlic, basil, and parsley and the remaining ¼ cup of oil.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Add some of the pasta water to the sauce, blend and deglaze the pan. A ½ cup might be enough but add more if needed to get a saucy consistency.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce
When the pasta is almost al dente add it to the sauce and mix to finish cooking. Serve with grated Parmigiana.

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Seafood Sauce

Seafood Sauce

For this one I used clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster tails. Add what you like, crabs, scallops, octopus, fish filets, etc. It’s important to steam the clams and mussels separate from the sauce. One sandy clam or mussel can ruin a whole pot of sauce.

Seafood Sauce

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt, black and red pepper to taste
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • 2 – 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 12 little neck clams
  • 18 mussels
  • 1 doz. shrimp cleaned and shelled
  • 2 lobster tails cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb. linguine
Start a pot of salted water for the linguine.
Lightly sauté the garlic in oil in a pot large enough to hold the sauce and shellfish. Add salt, red, and black pepper to taste and the oregano. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

The clams and mussels need to be steamed in a separate pot in case any are sandy. Heat one & a half cups of water and add the shellfish. (Clams and mussels take different amounts of time so it’s easier to do them separately.) Cover the pot and let it steam 8 to 12 minutes (until they open). Discard any shellfish that didn’t open. Add the shellfish to the tomatoes sauce and carefully pour the remaining broth into the sauce leaving any sand behind.Seafood Sauce
Seafood Sauce

 

Seafood Sauce

Start to cook the linguine and at the same time add the lobster and shrimp to the sauce. When the pasta is done the sauce will be too. Put the pasta, and shellfish sauce in a serving platter and serve. Please, it’s seafood so no cheese on this sauce.

Seafood Sauce

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Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

This is a traditional Caesar Salad recipe. It contains raw eggs and anchovies. Caesar Salad was invented in Mexico by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who lived in San Diego but operated a restaurant in Tijuana where he could serve alcohol during Prohibition.

 

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup day old Italian bread, crust trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 minced anchovies (or more)
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan large enough to hold the bread in a single layer and turn heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, add the bread, salt and pepper. Toss and brown lightly. Remove and set aside.


Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the garlic clove and discard it.

Beat the eggs and pour into the salad bowl. Slowly add the lemon juice and 6 tablespoons oil, constantly beating. Stir in anchovies and Worcestershire.

Taste for seasoning. Keep in mind that the anchovies and cheese are salty but add lots of pepper. Toss to coat the lettuce. Add the Parmesan and croutons, toss again and serve.

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Roasted Pumpkin

Roasted Pumpkin

Whenever I see a pumpkin I think of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t normally think of Venice. I have a friend who spent some time there who told me that pumpkin (zucca in Italian) is a common ingredient in Venetian cuisine. He’s had it pureed in soup, with pasta, and as a side with meat or fish. Simple roasted pumpkin is even available from street vendors.

roasted pumpkin

Ingredients:
  • 1 pumpkin about the size of a cantaloupe
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • A few sprinkles of nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400o.roasted pumpkin
Wash the pumpkin and cut off the top and bottom. Pull out the seeds * and scrape out the fibers using the edge of a spoon or a melon baller. Cut the pumpkin in 1 inch wide slices.roasted pumpkin
Toss the slices in a bowl with the salt, nutmeg, and oil. Place them in a baking pan skin side down and roast for 25 minutes. Serve plain or as a side dish. You can eat the skin.roasted pumpkin
* If you like you can also roast the seeds. Mix 1 cup of rinsed and dried seeds with 2 tsp. melted butter and a dash of salt. Place them in a single layer on a baking pan and roast at 300o  for 45 minutes  or until golden brown stirring occasionally.
roasted pumpkin

 

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Swordfish au Poivre

Swordfish au Poivre

I found this recipe in the New York Times a few weeks ago. Steak au Poivre is fairly common but that technique also works with swordfish. Swordfish au Poivre, same recipe, different results.

Swordfish au Poivre

Ingredients:
  • 1 swordfish steak (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Blot dry and lightly salt the swordfish. Apply the pepper to both sides, pressing it into the fish. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and sear the fish on both sides. Remove it to a warn serving dish.

Swordfish au Poivre

Swordfish au Poivre

Swordfish au Poivre

Add the butter to the pan and sauté the shallot for a few minutes. Add the Cognac carefully (it might ignite) and stir until the alcohol burns off. Then add the cream and parsley and stir for a few minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish, cut into portions, and serve.Swordfish au Poivre

 

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Sea Scallops with Brown Butter

Sea Scallops with Brown Butter

sea scallops with brown butter recipe

This is an adaptation of Chef Lomonaco’s sea scallops with brown butter recipe. He was the chef at Windows of the World at the World Trade Center until September 2001.
sea scallops with brown butter
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb.  sea scallops (about 14)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan on high heat. Sauté the scallops until browned. Don’t crowd the pan.  If the pan isn’t hot enough or too crowded the scallops will over-cook without browning.sea scallops with brown butter
Remove the scallops from the pan and add the butter. When it melts add the shallot and capers. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the lemon juice and parsley. Return the scallops to the pan and coat with the sauce.sea scallops with brown butter
I would serve 3 scallops for an appetizer and 7 for a main course.

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