Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stuffed Artichokes (Carciofi Ripieni)

Ingredients: 4  Servings/ 2 large Globe artichokes cleaned and placed in lemon water.  Be sure to hollow out the center and remove the choke completely.  Always peel away the hard, outside leaves until you see a lighter color, somewhat yellowish green.  This is to ensure the artichoke will be tender when cooked.  Throw away the hard leaves.
Place 2 liters of water into a large bowl with  one tablespoon of salt and sliced  lemon (1-2).
Place a large pasta pot of water to a boil (to blanch your cleaned artichokes

Don't panic, there is alot of waist.

Clean your artichokes by peeling away the green leaves until you see some brighter leaves underneath.  The Globes turn yellowish grean as you peel away the leaves.  Discard those leaves. Cut about an inch off the top.  Hollow out your center and dip in lemon water.  Rub some additional lemon inside the cavity.   Trim your stems some until you can get your Artichoke to sit upright.   When your water is at a hard boil, place your artichokes in the boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove from that water and drain.  Place upright in a baking dish to cool. 
Method:  Into a bowl place one cup of cooked and browned sausage.  You may use chicken sausage if you like or just bread stuffing if you prefer a meatless recipe.   I will give you both versions.  I used Pork Sausage here.

1.  If your are using simple bread stuffing.  Using one cup of fresh bread crumbs in a bowl, add 1/4 cup diced parsley and a few leaves of fresh mint.  
  1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese grated. 
One clove of garlic diced.  You may substitute onion if you prefer.
One teaspoon of salt
One teaspoon of pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
One egg
2.  If you are using sausage, you will need one cup or 2 links of Sausage, cooked and drained, 
 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
one teaspoon salt
one teaspoon pepper
One clove of garlic diced
1/2 cup  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup of diced parsley and a few sprigs of mint mixed in
One egg
Mix your ingredients until everything comes together.  Gently stuff the cavity of your artichokes.  Sprinkle with additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Standing the artichokes upright in your baking dish,  add one cup of white wine plus one cup of water creating a bath for your artichokes.  The liquid should be no more than half way up the artichoke. The liquid creates steam during the cooking process.  The artichoke needs to soften while cooking. 
 You do not want the artichoke to topple over.  

You could use a little less depending on the size of your artichoke.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Cook, covered tightly with foil for 45  minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Uncover for 10 minutes.  Remove the artichokes gently from the pan.  Cool for 10 minutes and cut in half if serving them as a first course or appetizer.  Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil over each plate.  Enjoy!  Buon Appetito!

Pasta con Sugo di Carne (Meat sauce), Calabria

Brutti ma buoni, is the perfect description for this pasta sauce.   Translation?  Ugly but delicious, is what you call Pasta that breaks apart, but would never be thrown away.  Especially when it's covered in a flavorful meat sauce, that doesn't have to cook all day long.
After a trip to Calabria, to visit cousins,  I was told, this Ragu' has it's roots in Calabria. Traveling about in Italy, you might find similar versions.   In Calabria, it is always served with "Pasta fatta in Casa," or Home made pasta made in a tubular shape.
In much the same way, my Mother made this dish, I found a few sausages and a pork chop in the freezer.  Lucky for me, I have a good memory.   A little onion for garlic, some olive oil is all you need.  I am sure this dish has it's roots in Naples too , as my Nonna Barbara, would often throw together Ragu's in much the same way.   The browning of the meat, directly in the pan, creates a richness to this Ragu' all it's own and it doesn't have to cook,  all  day long.   
Make some this weekend.  
Buon Appetito!
Ingredients:  4 servings
14 ounces of chopped, fresh tomatoes (or store bought)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 small cloves of elephant garlic or 1/2 sweet yellow onion diced
One handful of chopped Parsley or Parsley torn apart with your hands.
One teaspoon of salt
One teaspoon of pepper
One pork chop
2 sausages
1/4 red wine
Optional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sprinkled on right before serving.
One pound of Rigatoni or any Tubular pasta.  Works well with Buccatini too.
A large pasta pot, filled with water brought to a rolling boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of Sea Salt.
Large open skillet
Method:  Heat your olive oil to low/medium and  Add your meats, turn up your heat and brown on both sides.  This should take about 5-7 minutes.   The meat does not have to be cooked through, just browned.  It will continue to finish cooking in the tomatoes.  Remove them to a separate plate to cool.  Add a drop more olive oil if the pan looks dry and add your garlic or onion, mixing until fragrant. 
Turn your heat down some and add your wine, carefully scraping your brown bits out of your pan.
Once you have loosened them up with a wooden spoon, add your tomatoes, salt, pepper and carefully slip your meat back in.   Cook on a low, steady simmer until your oil separates from the pan, about 20-25 minutes.  Carefully cook your pasta and remove al dente.  Toss to coat with your sauce and serve.

. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese!
Buon Appetito!