Monday, September 27, 2010

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
(Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)
serves 4
The sauce, Aglio E Olio, for this dish becomes the “mother sauce” (the basis) for the Puttanesca sauce, it is also the first sauce my mother taught me.  It is deceptively simple; garlic and extra-virgin olive oil with just enough red pepper to wake up your taste buds.  If you try the options you'll find that the Alice (Ah-leach,  Italian for anchovy) completely dissolves during cooking leaving behind a nutty, salty (not fishy) taste and the inclusion of a beaten egg imbues the dish with a richness (many people leave the raw egg out for fear of salmonella but I've eaten Aglio E Olio this way all my life without any negative consequences) .  


1 pound Spaghetti, cooked al dente

1/2-cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 flat anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
6-10 cloves garlic
1/2-teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup  flat leaved Italian parsley, chopped
3 large sweet Italian Basil leaves, chiffonade
1 egg, well beaten
Grated cheese (Parmesan or Romano)


1.  About an hour before starting the Aglio e Olio sauce place the olive oil in a small  bowl, micro-plane 2 or 3 of the garlic cloves, and place the red pepper  flakes into it.  Set the bowl  aside on your counter and allow the oil to infuse with the flavour of the garlic and the heat of the red pepper flakes.

2.   After the oil has had time to infuse and in a small saucepan heat the infused oil, the micro-planed garlic,  the red pepper flakes,  and butter together over very low heat.

3.  Finely chop the remaining garlic.

4.  Add the infused oil and butter mixture to a large sauté pan (large enough to hold the volume of cooked spaghetti) over medium heat, add the chopped garlic and sauté it until it is soft and translucent (DO NOT allow the garlic to brown!)
5.  Meanwhile, bring a large volume of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.

6.  Lower the heat under the sauté pan to medium-low, add the Alice (anchovies) and cook until the fish is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

7.  When the water comes to a rapid boil, toss in the spaghetti and cook until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.  

8.  Drain the spaghetti and toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauté pan.   Sprinkle the Aglio e Olio with the parsley and toss to distribute the chopped parsley into the cooked pasta.

9.  Optional  step:  If you're going to add the beaten egg;  while it's still hot pour the spaghetti and sauce into a large spaghetti bowl (large enough to hold all  the past and sauce) and while pouring the beaten egg over the pasta with one hand toss the pasta, using  a pair of tongs in the other, to distribute the egg throughout it; the hot pasta and sauce should cook the egg.

10.  Serve immediately topped by grated cheese and the chiffonade basil accompanied by crusty Italian or French bread and extra grated cheese and red pepper  flakes.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Makes 12 Chimichungas
2 pounds chuck beef roast
2 yellow onions
2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
3 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
12 large flour tortilla shells
1.  Salt and pepper beef, place in a large   crock pot set to high, cover with water and cook until beef is tender and easily shreds, 4 to 6 hours.  Remove beef from cooking liquid and allow cooling enough to be handled comfortably.

2.  While beef is cooling slice peppers into thin strips removing seeds, peel and slice onions into thin rings, and seed and slice tomatoes into strips.

3.  When beef is cooled enough to handle, shred beef by pulling apart along the grain of the beef.  The finer the shred the better.

 4.  Heat 2 tbs. of oil in a large skillet or frying and add the peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic and sauté until they are soft and onions become translucent (not browned) adding salt and pepper to taste.

5.  When vegetables are sautéed mix beef into them.  Lower heat, cover and allow the beef to sauté with the vegetables for 10 to 15 minutes until beef has had an opportunity to absorb the flavours of the vegetables.

6.  Remove mixture for heat and allow cooling enough to handle.  When the mixture has cooled begin constructing the Chimichungas by laying a single tortilla in front of you, place approximately 1/12 th of the mixture in a line across the middle of the tortilla starting and ending about 2 inches from the edges.  Fold the edges of the tortilla in on to the mixture, fold the top of the tortilla over and roll the whole over again forming a roughly rectangular package (similar in look to a borrito).  Continue in this manner until all the filling and tortillas have been used up.

7.  Heat about ½ inch of oil in a frying pan.  Add the Chimichungas, one or two at a time (fold side down), to the heated oil and fry them until golden brown on top and bottom.  Drain on paper towels.

8.  Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and olives provided for toppings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tiropites (Greek cheese filled triangles)

(Greek cheese filled triangles)
Tiropites are classic Greek appetizers that are loved by kids and adults alike.
 makes about 75 pieces.

1 pound feta cheese
12 ounces of very well drain Greek yogart
1/2 cup Parmesan 
3 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley or dill
2 sticks of butter half margarine can be used
1 pound filo pastry*

1.  Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Crumble feta cheese into small pieces in a bowl, add the yogurt and Parmesan  and blend well. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Mix in parsley or dill.

Prepare cheese triangles as follows:

3. Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle*. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the waxed paper and damp towel. Remove 1 strip of 3 individual strips (one sandwich on the other) and using a pastry brush to brush the group of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of cheese filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

4.  Place triangles on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush tops with melted butter.  Bake triangles for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool about five minutes before serving.  Tiropites can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, unbaked.   When ready to use, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake without prior thawing for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  

* One of the difficulties of working with filo is that it tends to dry out very quickly once exposed to air. Once you have unrolled the filo, work with one set of sheets (3 or 4 individuals sheets sandwiched one on top of the other) or a portion of sheets at a time. Keep the remainder covered with plastic wrap or waxed paper over which you've placed a damp cloth. (wax paper is easier to handle.) This will prevent the sheets from drying out. Use a feather or other pastry brush to spread an ample amount of butter on the sheet you're working with, beginning at the edges and working inward. Use broad strokes and work fast to prevent the sheets from drying out. The object is not to saturate the sheet, but lightly dab it all over

Friday, September 3, 2010

Diner Salisbury Steak


Diner Salisbury Steak
makes 4 servings
As a transplanted "east-coaster" diners and their food hold a special place in my heart . . . the diner was one of the places where I could taste "American" food and, to an Italian American boy, Salisbury Steak was an exotic meal.  This is my homage to this diner specialty.
                                                                                                            prep time:             15 minutes
                                                                                                            steak cook time:    10 minutes
                                                                                                            gravy cook time:   8 minutes
                                                                                                            total time:            33 minutes


1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 - 12 ounce can of beef gravy
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared,  grated horseradish
1/2 pound white mushrooms, cleaned, stems intact and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

4 servings of homemade or commercial mashed potatoes (prepared according to manufacturer's instructions)
4 servings corn niblets


prepare the ground beef:

1.  In a medium bowl mix together the ground beef, scallions, bread crumbs, egg, dehydrated onions, garlic powder, and mustard and shape into four 1/2-inch-thick oval patties.

2.  Preheat oven to 120° F.
fry the steak:

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until no pink remains.  Remove from to a paper towel lined platter to drain and place platter with the Salisbury steaks in oven to keep warm.  Discard the oil in the pan and wipe clean.

2.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the gravy, the tomato paste, water, horseradish, and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.

3.  Return the warm steaks to the skillet, lower the heat to low and simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes.


To serve, place 1 steak, serving of corn, and 1 serving of mashed potatoes on each of 4 plates and place 1/4 of the mushroom gravy over each steak.  Serve immediately.

Foodie Blog