I am so glad you stopped by. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I've been converting my Italian family's recipes to gluten free. My family and friends can't tell the difference! I also create my own delicious recipes. I will be posting new recipes weekly which will range from traditional comfort foods to gourmet dishes. Not all of the recipes will be Italian, but they all will be delicious! In addition, you will find helpful tips for gluten free living, related links and product recommendations. I welcome any specific requests for recipes. If I don't have it, I will find it! You can email me directly. A link to my email is located in my profile. . . simply click on the tab to view my full Enjoy the site!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pan Seared Pork Loin Chops with Sherry Cream Sauce with Corn Peperonato

Pan Seared Pork Loin Chops with Sherry Cream Sauce

8 Center Cut Pork Loin Chops without bone
Salt and Pepper
3 Tblspn. Capers (Non-Pareil)
1 Small Shallot finely minced
6 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Sherry
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Rinse pork chops and pat dry with toweling paper.  Liberally Salt and Pepper both sides of chops.  Let chops stand for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium high flame.  Add Pork Chops to hot oil and sear on each side until golden brown carmelization occurs on each side.  (Usually 3 - 5 minutes per side).  Remove Pork Chops from pan and set aside.  To hot oil add the shallots until they begin to sweat.  Add Sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze the pan and bring the drippings into the Sherry, stirring to incorporate.  Reduce Sherry by one-half.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the Heavy Cream and Capers and stir to incorporate sauce.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes over medium low flame until sauce starts to thicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste (usually 1/2 Teaspoon of each).  Return the Pork Chops to the pan turning to coat each side with sauce.  Reduce heat to low and allow to finish cooking for 10 minutes.  

Note:  Mushrooms are a delicious addition to this dish.  If you wish to add mushrooms.  Slice them thinly.  Use either white or baby bella mushrooms.  Add them to the dish at the same time that you add the shallots.

Corn Peperonato

3 cups of Fresh or Frozen Corn
1 Cup of Roasted Red Peppers thinly sliced
1 Small Garlic Clove Crushed
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tblspn. Unsalted Butter
1 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium flame with the crushed garlic and red pepper flakes to infuse the oil and butter mixture with the garlic flavor and to add heat.  Add corn and cook until corn is just tender.  Add the roasted red peppers, salt and pepper to taste and allow to cook for another 5 minutes stirring frequently. 

Note:  2 tablespoons of minced  yellow sweet oinions or chopped scallions may be added to this dish.  If you choose to add the onions to the dish add them with the garlic while the oil and butter mixture is heating.

I serve the pork over steamed and lightly seasoned white rice and drizzle the chops and rice with remaining sauce. 

Serves 4

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiano

  This is a wonderful Italian comfort food.  I will start by saying that I make my Eggplant Parmigiano "lasagna style" because my husband prefers this method.  His family was from southern Italy.  My family was from central Italy and preferred to have the Eggplant on a plate in a single layer with sauce and cheese melted over the top.  Whichever way you prefer, this recipe will work.  Simply layer the Eggplant if you would like to try lasagna style or, if not, forego that step and layout your fried eggplant in a single layer with the sauce and cheese.

     Another variation for this dish is whether to leave the skin on the eggplant or whether to peel it off.  I prefer it peeled.  I find the skin bitter and tough.  However, some people like the bitter taste and choose to leave it on.  My recipe calls for the Eggplant to be peeled.  However, skip that step is you prefer to leave the skin on.

     The next decision for you to make is how thin should the eggplant be cut?  In Italy, the more southern regions prefer a thicker cut.  The more central regions prefer a thinner cut (about 1/4 inch thick).  This is a matter of preference and the thickness you choose does not alter the recipe.  For a single layer Eggplant Parmigiano, I prefer to slice the Eggplant on the round.  However, for Lasagna style it works better to slice the eggplant long.  Again, this is your choice as the recipe is not altered by this decision.

     In order to achieve the perfect result, the Eggplant must be prepared correctly, you must use a good homemade Italian Tomato Sauce.  Do not substitute a bottled pre-made sauce.  Additionally, the cheese should be of very good quality and used liberally.


4 Medium Eggplant
4 Cups Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
4 Cups Shaved Mozzerella cheese
1 Cup of Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Quarts of cooked Tomato Sauce
6 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Vegetable oil for frying Eggplant
Salt for rinsing Eggplant (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 Tspn.Salt
1 Tspn. Pepper

     Make sure your tomato sauce is thoroughly cooked and heated.  Reduce to simmer and reserve for later use.

     Prepare Eggplant:  Cut off the stem of the eggplant and the opposite end (just enough to remove the dimple).  Peel the skin off using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife.  Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices (either on the round or lengthwise).  For Lasagna style (stacked) Eggplant Parmigiano, slice the Eggplant lengthwise.  Exposed flesh of the Eggplant discolors quickly so transfer the slices to a bowl of salted cold water.  Place a plate or two over the Eggplant in the salted water to press down the Eggplant.  Let the Eggplant soak until the water turns lightly brown.  This will remove any bitterness from the Eggplant.  (Usually soaking the Eggplant for 30 minutes will be sufficient for this dish.)  Drain and rinse the salt off the Eggplant and layer the Eggplant in a single layer onto papertowels.  Cover each layer of Eggplant with a paper towel and permit the Eggplant to dry off for 30 minutes.

     Pour the flour, seasoned bread crumbs and eggs into three separate dishes (I like using large pie baking dishes).  Make sure to whisk the eggs to incorporate the yokes and whites.  Add salt and pepper to the eggs.  I usually add about 1 tspn. of each.  Heat vegetable oil over medium high flame.  (Vegetable oil is preferred over olive oil because the vegetable oil has a higher smoking point and will splatter less.)  Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the Eggplant.  Otherwise, the breading will come off or be on the oily side.  (Once you see small surface bubbles in the oil, you can commence frying the breaded eggplant.)

      While waiting for the oil to come up to termperature, begin breading your Eggplant.  Press each slice of Eggplant into the flour and coat both sides of each slice.  Remove from flour and dip into the egg until thoroughly coated.  Remove from egg and coat each slice on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs.

     Transfer the breaded slices of Eggplant to the hot oil and fry until lightly golden brown on each side.  Remove from oil and place onto paper towel lined baking sheets in a single layer to allow excess oil to be removed from fried Eggplant.  I usually change the papertowels after each batch.  Allow to drain for ten minutes while breading and frying the next batch. 

     Coat the bottom of the lasagna casserole with the cooked tomato sauce.  Layer the Eggplant on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly to permit full coverage.  Ladle more sauce over the top of the eggplant and sprinkle the layer with parmigiano and mozzerella cheese.  (More or less cheese can be used depending on your preference).  Continue layering the Eggplant in this manner until the casserole is full.  The top layer will be cheese. 

     Transfer the Eggplant to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil from the pan and allow to bake uncovered until the top layer of cheese is lightly golden brown.  Remove from oven and let pan stand for approximately 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving.  Additional sauce can be ladled onto each serving. 

Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

I usually will make my own gluten free bread crumbs by running a loaf of brown rice bread in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried basil and dried oregano. You can also mix these ingredients into packaged gluten free bread crumbs. Per two cups of bread crumbs I add 1 Tspn. salt, 1 Tspn. pepper, 1/2 tspn. garlic, 2 Tblspn. dried Parsley, 1 Tblspn. dried Basil, 1 Tspn. dried Oregano.

Serves 8, but will serve more if the Eggplant Parmigiano is accompanied with a side of pasta.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stuffed Rapini

Stuffed Rapini

This is a delicious green vegetable.  It is a little on the bitter side, but has a unique flavor when prepared correctly.  Rapini is also known as Broccoli Raab and Broccoli Rabe.  This particular recipe is a great side dish for meat, fish and even pasta. 

Stuffed Rapini

2 Bunches Rapini cleaned and chopped
1/2 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Giardiniera (Hot or Mild depending on preference)
2 Large Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 Tblspn. Salt
1 Tblspn. Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place cleaned and chopped Rapini in a large skillet with the water over medium high flame.   Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper and all of the lemon juice Cover and let cook until wilting begins.  Uncover and allow to cook until tender and water is evaporated.  When water is evaporated, add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the remainder of salt and pepper and the Red Pepper flakes.  Add the finely minced Garlic and the Giardiniera.  Stir to incorporate and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to a low simmer and add the gluten free bread crumbs, stirring to incorporate and absorb any standing liquid. 

Serves 6

Note:  When cleaning the Rapini, cut off the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the thicker part of the stems and discard.  This recipe is delicious hot or at room temperature. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grandma's Roasted Chicken

This dish is naturally gluten free as long as the dried herbs that you select are gluten free.  McCormick herbs are gluten free.  Over the years I have made some very minor alterations to this Roasted Chicken recipe, but I must still give deference to my maternal grandma, Marietta, for this one!

Grandma's Roasted Chicken
6 Split Chicken Breasts on the bone with skin
6 pads of Herb Butter (Recipe below)
6 Tblspns.  Dried Parsley
6 Tspn. Dried Basil
1 Tblspn.  Dried Oregano
1 Tblspn. Dried Rosemary
2 Tblspn. Salt
3 Tblspn. Black Pepper
3 Tblspn. Paprika
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts and layout on a baking sheet.  Use a large enough baking sheet so that there is space between the breasts.  This will allow for better browning.  Place one pad of the Herb Butter between the skin and the meat of each chicken breast.  (You will sometimes have to lift the skin and separate it from the meat to make a pocket.)  Divide the Extra Virgin Olive Oil among the chicken breasts by drizzling it over the top of each chicken breast and rubbing it and all over the skin.  In a small bowl, combine the dried parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper and paprika.  Liberally rub the seasoning mix over the skin of each of the chicken breasts.  Cover and let stand in Refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  (You can cook the chicken after seasoning, but the meat will have greater flavor the longer it stands with the dry rub prior to roasting.)

Remove seasoned chicken breasts from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to roasting.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  When oven reaches temperature, place the chicken breast on middle shelf and allow to cook at 450 until the skin becomes golden brown and crispy.  Reduce temperature to 425 degrees and finish cooking.  (Total cooking time is usally 40 -  50 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts).

Note:  The side dishes pictured are the Asparagus Parmigiano Risotto (Recipe posted here on December 18, 2009) and Drunken Braised Zucchini (Recipe below)

Herb Butter

1 Stick of softened (not melted) unsalted butter
1 Tspn. Salt
1 Tspn.  Black Pepper
1/2 Small Garlic Clove finely minced
1/2 Small Shallot finely minced
1 Tspn.  Dried Parsley
1/2 Tspn. Dried Basil
1/4 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1/4 Tspn.  Dried Rosemary
1/4 Tspn. Dried Marjoram

Using a Mortar and Pestel combine all of the above ingredients into the softened unsalted butter.  When thoroughly combined, place the Herb Butter onto a piece of saran wrap and form into the shape of a log.  Wrap tightly and allow to harden in refrigerator. 

Note:  Fresh Herbs can be used in this dish, but I find that the butter holds longer and becomes infused with more flavor from the dried herbs.

Drunken Braised Zucchini 

6 Small to Medium Zucchini cleaned and sliced into 1 inch thick rounds
1 Medium Shallot chopped
1 Small Garlic Clove minced
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
4 Tblspn. finely grated Parmigiano cheese
4 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Sherry

Heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet over medium high flame.  Add Zucchini, Shallot and Garlic to hot oil.  Allow the Zucchini to braise to a golden color and then stir to braise both sides.  (Do not add salt during braising process as it will cause the vegetbable to emit fluid and will prevent adequate carmelization of the Zucchini.)  Reduce flame to medium low and add Sherry.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate flavors.  (This process is known as deglazing the pan.)  Allow Zucchini to simmer until the Sherry is cooked off.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Season to taste with Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.  Sprinkle the Parmigiano cheese over the top and serve.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gluten Free Fusilli Pomodoro Fresco

Some of my favorite pasta dishes are those that get made from whatever we have in the refigerator.  If you don't have some of the ingredients on hand for this dish, then experiment.  Here's a tip for making the gluten free pasta:  WHEN MAKING GLUTEN FREE PASTA IT IS IMPORTANT TO ADHERE TO THE COOKING TIME ON THE BOX.  HOWEVER, A CHEFF FROM ITALY TOLD ME A SECRET THAT IS A KEEPER!  USE A PASTA PAN WITH A STRAINER INSERT.  HALF WAY THROUGH THE COOKING PROCESS, REMOVE THE PASTA AND RINSE IT UNDER COLD WATER.  RETURN THE PASTA IN THE STRAINER TO THE ORIGINAL WATER AND CONTINUE COOKING.  This technique results in the pasta holding together and having a nearly identical consistency to regular pasta.

Pomodoro Fresco Sauce

1 lb. Gluten Free Fusilli
1 Cup sliced fresh mushrooms (white or portobella)
1/4 Cup diced Sweet Yellow Onion
1 Large Garlic Clove plus 1 Small Garlic Clove minced
3 Tblspn.  Capers (Non-Pareil)
3 Tblspn. Chopped Black Olives
1/2 of a Roasted Red Pepper roughly chopped
2 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1 Tblspn. Dried Basil
1/2 Tspn. Dried Oregano
4 Fresh Basil Leaves cut Chefanade style
30 oz. Diced Tomatoes with juice
2 Tblspn. Tomato Paste
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

In a low saucier or a frying pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the sliced mushrooms, diced sweet yellow onion and garlic to the pan.  When the mushrooms start to turn golden brown and the onion sweats, add the diced tomatoes with juice and the tomato paste.  Stir to incorporate and add dried Parsley, Basil and Oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  Let cook 10 minutes over medium high heat bringing to a low boil.  Add the Capers, Olives and Roasted Peppers.  Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, add the fresh basil chefanade and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  Cook gluten free pasta according to directions (and the tip above) in a pot of boiling, salted water.  When pasta is fully cooked, but still al dente, strain and add pasta directly to pan with sauce. Raise the heat on the sauce to medium and allow the pasta to cook in the sauce for another minute.

Note:  The term "al dente" refers to the desired texture of the pasta.  When the pasta is cooked al dente there will be a slight resistence in the center of the pasta when it is finished cooking.    It's literal translation is "to the tooth". . .so you want a little resistence to the tooth.


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