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, February 19, 2010

Warm Endive and Raddicchio Salad in a Frico Boat

This is a wonderful recipe to serve either as a salad, an appetizer or a side dish.  The saltiness of the Frico and the slight bitterness of the Endive and the Raddicchio compliment eachother beautifully.  Frico is simply a Parmigiano cracker.  The Frico can be made in a skillet or in the oven.  They can be left flat or they can be shaped while they are warm out of the oven.  They are very elegant and tastey, but very easy to make!

Warm Endive and Raddiccio Salad in a Frico Boat

1 Head of Raddicchio chopped and cleaned
3 cups of Endive chopped and cleaned
4 Scallions finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 Tspn. Sea Salt
1 Tspn. Black Pepper
1 Tspn. Fresh Lemon Zest
1 Cup Finely Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Tbspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1Tblspn.  Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tspn. Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions for Frico:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the 1 cup of finely grated Parmigian cheese with the fresh lemon zest.  Divide mixture into 6 approximately even amounts.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.  (It is actually easier to line the pan with a silicone baking sheet if you have one handy.)  Spoon each amount onto the tray and flaten  into a disk shape approximately 4 to 5 inches in diameter.  Place in oven and bake until the Frico are lightly golden brown and crisp.  Usually 5 - 6 minutes.  Depending on the moisture content in the cheese, it could take a little less or more time so watch carefully.  Remove from tray immediately.  If you wish to make a bowl or a boat, place the Frico over a ramikan or small custard dish.  Do this carefully so as not to break the frico.  Shape and let cool for a few minutes. 

Directions for Warm Endive and Raddicchio Salad

Cut Raddicchio in half through the center of the core.  Remove core and chop Radicchio into bite size pieces.  You want the Radicchio chunky so do not over chop.  Chop Endive so that you have three cups worth.  Heat two tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add the Raddicchio, Endive, Garlic, Scallions, Salt, and Pepper to the skillet and sautee the ingredients until wilted and tender.  Remove from heat.  Taste test and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice and add the remaining Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.  Lightly toss.  Fill each Frico with the warm salad.

Serves 6

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta (pictured above newly cut and prior to cooking)

Where do I start with homemade gluten free pasta?  How about the word "Yikes"!  It took me five years to make this recipe work in order to attain the texture and taste that I prefer in a homemade pasta.  The obvious problem with homemade gluten free pasta is getting it to stick together and not crumble during any of the phases, kneading, rolling, cutting or cooking.  Essentially there are two components to make this work.  First, a mixture of flours.  You cannot use simply one type of flour.  You must mix several types of flour, such as rice, tapioca, garbanzo flours or perhaps some potato starch or corn starch.  Beware though because corn starch does not freeze well at all.  Well, I've made the mixture part simple for you. I use King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. It is a mix of flours and it results in a very nice texture to the pasta dough. Second, Xanthan Gum.  I will not get into the complicated explanation of what Xantham Gum is exactly!  You could look that up on the internet.  However, it is an absolutely necessary ingredient to prevent crumbling of the pasta dough.  It can be found in the gluten free section right next to the gluten free flours. 

Note:  For those of you who are not gluten free, but want to try homemade pasta, the beauty of this recipe is that it converts back to a gluten recipe very easily.  You will simply substitute your regular flour for the gluten free flour and leave out the Xanthan Gum.

This pasta is delicious with any sauce.  I personally find that homemade pasta works best with a classic Italian Tomato Sauce, but is also delicious with a Bolognese Sauce, Pesto Sauce and Alfredo Sauce.


Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
5 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (optional)

 Mix the gluten free flour with salt, nutmeg and Xanthan Gum in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add eggs and water.  Use a fork or flat whisk to beat eggs and mix into flour.  Once combined use you hands to bring dough together.  Dough will be stiff.  Turn out onto a wooden board and knead until the dough is firm and holding together nicely.  Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and let set for 30 minutes.  (If you are making the non-gluten free pasta, you will knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and then cover for 15 minutes with a bowl.)

Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  I roll and cut the dough by hand to make pasta shapes such as twists (pictured above), but you can use a pasta rolling machine to make spaghetti or fettucini.  Basically roll your dough on a lightly foured board until the dough is about 1/16 inch thick and cut your shape preference.  If you like spaghetti or fettucini and want to cut it by hand, roll up your rectangle from the long side, as you would a jelly roll, and then cut your slices to the desired thickness of your spaghetti or fettucini.  Layout pasta on a lightly floured baking sheet. 

Line a baking pan with wax paper and lightly flour. Place your pasta on the wax paper and layer until done separating each layer with a floured sheet of wax paper.  When done, cover top layer with a sheet of wax paper and place the tray in the refrigerator to dry pasta.  (At least 4 hours).  If you choose to freeze the pasta for use at a later time, you may do so, but make sure that you seal the pasta in a ziplock freezer bag.

Cook the pasta as normal in a pot of boiling salted water.  Cook uncovered until tender.  This will take approximately 3 - 5 minutes as fresh pasta cooks quicker than dry pasta.  Homemade pasta will float to the surface when it is ready.

Makes 4 Servings.  (Recipe can be doubled)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Classic Italian Tomato Sauce

By special request of my friend Dena, I give you my family recipe.  Now, in my house we grew up using homemade canned tomatoes.  However, in today's day and age of both parents working, clearly most people do not have the time.  So, instead of homemade canned tomatoes, I have converted the recipe to allow for a purchased canned tomato, but it is still very good.  The key to buying the canned tomato to use is to use what is called a tomato "sauce"--NOT A PREMADE SAUCE.  There are a number of very good Italian brands, but believe it or not, Hunt's makes a very good one too!    What I look for is a brand that has nothing but the tomatoes and low sodium.  I stay away from any brand that has added onion powder, bell peppers or any ingredients that will alter the taste of your sauce.  I hope that you enjoy it. 

Italian Tomato Sauce

1 Medium Yellow Onion diced
2 Garlic Cloves Crushed  (use a garlic crusher or garlic grater for correct consistency)
3/4 Tblspn. Salt
1 Tblspn. Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes  (In a sauce this large, it will not result in a hot sauce.  It simply adds flavor in the background)
2 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1 Tblspn. Dried Basil
1 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1 Large Dried Bay Leaf
4 Large Fresh Basil Leaves roughly torn
4 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cans Tomato Sauce (see note above) 13 oz. each
3 Cans Tomato Paste (6 oz. each)
1/2 Cup Dry Red Cooking Wine
1/2 Cup Water

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add the diced Onions and Crushed Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes stirring frequently until onions begin to sweat.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE GARLIC OR THIS WILL MAKE THE SAUCE BITTER.  Add Tomato Paste, water, and red wine and stir to incorporate.  Stir frequently to avoid sticking.  Add dried parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Let paste cook at a low boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly to avoid sticking.  Add Tomato Sauce and stir to incorporate paste mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Add the Bay Leaf and fresh basil.  Cook at a low boil for approximately 1 hour stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce is not sticking.  Taste after 1 hour to determine if any further seasoning is necessary.  If so, add herbs and seasonings to taste.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 3 additional hours.

Note:  My mom used to add the dried herbs with the onion and garlic to the olive oil prior to adding the paste.  I too used to do this.  However, I found that it was very easy to burn the herbs and then it looked like dark flecks in the sauce.  I avoid this by adding the herbs with the paste.

Additionally, if you want a meat sauce.  Add the meatballs, sausage, pork or meat of your choice to the sauce.  I do not cook the meat in the sauce.  I prefer to make the meat separately and then add it to the sauce.  Keep in mind that you should add the meat early in the cooking process to maximize the flavor.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hi All. . .

During the upcoming week I will be posting my recipe for a classic tomato sauce at the request of Dena.  I will also be posting a recipe for Veal in a Sherry Orange Sauce. . .


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