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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Authentic Vitello Tonnato

Vitello tonnato is one of the most classic Italian appetizers, boasting juicy poached veal with a tuna sauce. This dish is typically served cold and garnished with capers. We are using veal top round, poaching it in a rosemary, bay leaf and sage infused broth, then slicing it thinly and serving a creamy tuna sauce on top. Although you might not imagine meat and seafood to pair that well, this recipe proves if you use the right kinds, they pair amazingly well, with each flavor complementing the other.

This is a popular appetizer in Italian restaurants, and sure to impress when you serve it as the appetizer at your next dinner party. Although the dish is served cold, it is best made just before serving, and if the veal is still slightly warm that is fine. Some people like to cook chopped carrots with the veal then chop them and add them to the dish as a colorful garnish at the end. You could also add olives or parsley sprigs as a garnish, or else simply add a few capers to keep the garnish simple.

Making this dish is very simple since you just need to poach the veal and then, to make the sauce, combine canned tuna with a few other ingredients. Slice the veal thinly, ladle the sauce over it and scatter a few capers over the top, adding any other garnishes you like. The veal should be juicy and easy to slice through, while the sauce offers fresh flavors and complements the veal very nicely. Follow this appetizer with an Italian chicken or fish entrée perhaps, to stay with the Italian theme. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon Pate

This is a great make-ahead pate recipe because it needs to sit in the refrigerator for 6 hours before you serve it, so if you are planning an Italian themed dinner party, why not make this as your appetizer, freeing up your time to focus on the entrée when the guests arrive? You will need potatoes, smoked salmon, olives, anchovies and butter to make the pate, along with a food processor to mix all the ingredients together. A little salt and black pepper is our only seasoning, because this is a very tasty pate without anything else added.

Use good quality smoked salmon to make this pate, since that is the main ingredient in the dish. Serve this with toast or crackers, and something green, such as arugula, mixed salad leaves, or even sliced pickles on the side. It is best to let people add their own pate to their toast else it might go soggy. You can also offer butter on the side, at room temperature so it can be spread easily on the bread before adding the pate on top. Not everyone will want it but some might.

Another idea is to make melba toast to go with pate since that is quite delicate. To make it, toast bread on both sides, then hold the toast flat and slide a sharp knife between the toasted edges to split the bread in half. Cut each one into 4 triangles and toast them under the broiler, untoasted side up, until they are golden brown with curled edges. You can also make these ahead, then just warm them for a minute or so in a 325 degrees F oven before serving with the salmon pate. Continue reading

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

A lot of people end up steaming their mussels the same way every time, using white wine, parsley and garlic, and serving them with the broth. While there is nothing wrong with that recipe (in fact, it is always delicious) sometimes it is nice to try another recipe, and here we are swapping that French cooking method for the Italian way of cooking mussels. You can see how a spicy tomato sauce goes just as well with the shellfish, offering a change of pace from the simpler recipe you might be more familiar with.

We are cooking the mussels in garlic, chili and wine first, then keeping them warm while we make the sauce. This is part of the broth you get from steaming the mussels, and also extra ingredients in the form of anchovy, more garlic, some vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer) and tomatoes. Keep the mussels warm while the sauce simmers away for 15 minutes, or until it has thickened up a bit, then add the mussels back in along with some parsley and then dish is ready to serve.

Enjoy this mussel entrée with some bruschetta, which is toasted sliced bread rubbed with a raw garlic clove, or consider French fries (not so Italian but always great with mussels) or some ciabatta bread for soaking up all the wonderful juices from the mussels. A simple baby leaf salad on the side with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes the perfect side dish. Cooking mussels is really easy, and experimenting with new mussel recipes is always a lot of fun as well. Continue reading

Amazing Artichoke Pie

This artichoke pie is versatile enough to be a snack or complete meal, but consider serving a thin wedge as an appetizer before a meat entrée. We are using canned artichoke hearts but if you prefer to use cooked fresh artichoke you can do that. We are also using parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic, and a piecrust. Enjoy this warm from the oven or cold. It goes to show how tasty an Italian vegetarian appetizer can be, and everyone will enjoy the amazing flavors.

This does not take long to prepare but it does need about 45 minutes to bake. You can tell when it is done because the top will be golden brown and the aroma will be incredible. Your whole kitchen is going to smell amazing when you make this. As you can see, all the ingredients are typically Italian, so of course the end flavor will be Italian as well. If you want to tweak the recipe you can add spinach, ham or fresh sliced tomatoes, or you might want to use marinated artichokes instead of plain ones for a slightly richer flavor in the finished pie.

This is a very simple pie and you need very few ingredients. Some people prefer to make their own piecrust but it is easier just to buy a readymade 9-inch pie crust and use that. If you want to make this a low-carb recipe just omit the piecrust altogether and use a lightly oiled baking dish instead, so you end up with a crustless pie. If you do not want to serve this as an appetizer, consider a wedge of the pie with some salad for lunch. This serves 8 as an appetizer or perhaps 4 as an entrée with a side dish. Continue reading

Breaded Veal Cutlets with Peas and Pancetta

Veal features in various Italian dishes and its distinctive flavor and tender texture make it a worthy ingredient. Here we are coating it with a thin coating of mayonnaise and then dipping it in seasoned breadcrumbs to add a nice coating. The veal is cooked in batches and then kept warm in the oven. We are serving this with a tasty pancetta and vegetable side dish. You can add some boiled baby potatoes on the side too, if you like, or some fluffy white rice. Or else maybe you want to forego the carbs.

Start preparing the veal first, and then you will find about halfway through the recipe you will have the veal and the pancetta vegetables cooking at the same time, but this is not a complicated dish as long as you prepare all your ingredients before beginning. If the veal is done before the pancetta mixture, you can keep it warm in the oven until everything is ready. This is an unusual dish which boasts elegance along with myriad Italian flavors you will fall in love after the first bite.

You will need scallopine veal to make this dish. Scallopine are thinly pounded pieces of veal. Your butcher will be able to prepare some for you. The meat usually comes from a muscle and it is trimmed of fat and cut across the grain. There are plenty of veal scallopine recipes to choose from, each offering its own flavors. This one is quick and simple though, as well as tasty. Because the meat is so thin, it has a short cooking time; it will only take about 2 minutes per side to cook. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.

Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.

When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole


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