The Lost Italian: Rhubarb granita


Tony Nasello shows us a thirst-quenching Sicilian dessert with a local twist that’s perfect for those hot summer days

Rhubarb Granita

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
1 pound rhubarb, cut into ½-inch slices
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Juice of half a lemon, freshly squeezed

Instructions
1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot, and cook over medium-high for at least 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. All the sugar should be dissolved and the rhubarb will begin breaking down in texture. For a more intense flavor, cook for 40 to 45 minutes.
2. When ready, place a large fine-mesh strainer over a shallow baking dish (9-by-13-inch glass or metal pan). Use a ladle to transfer the rhubarb liquid to the strainer, a spoonful at a time. Gently use the back of the ladle to push the liquid through the sieve, while keeping the pulp of the rhubarb out of the mixture. Remove the rhubarb mush periodically from the strainer and discard.
When finished straining the liquid, the mixture should be clear and pink, and no higher than one inch of the dish. If there are any particles in the mixture, you will need to strain again until it is clear.
3. Place the dish in the freezer – do not cover. To achieve the proper texture of a granita, the liquid must be scraped with a force every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours. Scrape the length of the pan (not the width) back and forth with a fork, about 10 times each way. Once you’ve completed all the scraping, cover with plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze until serving.
4. To serve, use a round ice cream scoop and garnish with fresh mint or lemon balm. To vary this recipe, you can add strawberries, fresh mint, raspberries, nutmeg or ginger to the rhubarb while it’s cooking.

Storage
Keep in the freezer up to one week.

Hungry for More: Oysters Rockefeller


What better way to spend a day than slurping down some oysters?
JT Cigarro’s Chef Anthony Bachmann shows “Hungry for More” host Jim Manney just how it’s done but takes it a step further and whips up the famous “Oysters Rockefeller.”
With simple ingredients such as olive oil, spinach and a shallot, it doesn’t take much. But a hint of Sambuca is what really sends this dish over the edge.
Sambuca is an anise-flavored Italian liqueur, giving a dish a taste of fennel or black licorice.
Just top with bread crumbs and bake, easy as that.

Oysters Rockefeller
6 oysters
1 shallot
Olive oil
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon clear Sambuca
Bread crumbs

-Shuck oysters.
-Chop shallot and sauté in olive oil. When shallots are translucent, add spinach. Once cooked down, deglaze with Sambuca. Place spinach mixture over oysters and top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until bread crumbs are golden brown.

Hungry for More: Bolognese sauce


Last week on “Hungry for More,” we brought you Homemade Roasted Garlic Spinach Pasta, and this week we bring you the perfect sauce to go along with it.
Host Jim Manney is back at the Beefsteak Club with Chef Scott Motschenbacher to show us a Bolognese Sauce.
This sauce is made with fresh garlic, red wine, stewed tomatoes and a crowd favorite – bacon.
Chef Motschenbacher also uses a homemade demi-glace, but says beef stock will do the trick as well.
With just 10 minutes max cooking time, paired with the easy-to-make fresh pasta, it’ll be hard to go back to the boxed and jarred stuff.
A little extra effort goes a long way.

Bolognese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh garlic
¼ cup red wine
4 ounces applewood bacon (diced)
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1 cup demi-glace or beef stock

Sauté garlic in butter and oil just until roasted. Deglaze with red wine. Add bacon. Cook for three to five minutes. Add tomatoes and demi-glace, and reduce by a third. Add fresh pasta and toss; garnish with fresh Parmesan.

The Lost Italian: Mojita chicken with corn salsa

Mojito Chicken

Serves 4-6
Ingredients
6 boneless, skinless split chicken breasts (if using whole breasts, cut in half, lengthwise)
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
zest from one lime
½ cup light rum (can also use coconut, dark, or spiced rum)
15 to 20 fresh mint leaves, cut chiffonade style
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Directions:
-Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or baking dish first, then toss the chicken in the mixture, making sure each piece is evenly coated. Cover the dish and refrigerate for two to four hours.
-When ready, grill the chicken on a hot, clean and lubricated grill. Grill on one side over direct heat for about five minutes until grill marks set in. Turn and grill on other side and grill over indirect heat for at least 10 minutes, until fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness at 180 degrees.
-When chicken is done, transfer to plates or serving platter and enjoy. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.

Grilled Corn Salsa

Serves 4-6
Ingredients
8 ears of grilled corn (remove the kernels after grilling)
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 orange bell pepper, small dice
1 red onion, small dice
1 cup grape tomatoes, small dice
8 to 10 leaves of mint, cut into thin strips, chiffonade-style
8 leaves of sweet basil, cut into thin strips, chiffonade-style
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions
-Mix ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be prepared up to two days in advance.

Hungry for More: Homemade spinach & roasted garlic pasta

Why make your own pasta when you can easily just pour a box of store-bought noodles into a pot of boiling water?
As Chef Scott Motschenbacher shows “Hungry for More” host Jim Manney, the difference between the two leaves no competition.
Plus, you probably have most all the ingredients sitting right in your home.
The only hitch may be the pasta roller, which you can find at any cooking supplies store for a very reasonable price.
Chef Motschenbacher demonstrates how to ramp up your homemade pasta with spinach and roasted garlic.
You can add a little spice to yours too with a variety of different flavors, like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers and a variety of spices.
Don’t wait for a special occasion, try this spinach and roasted garlic pasta or add your own twist to blow that box pasta right out of the water.

Spinach and roasted garlic pasta
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 ounces fresh spinach
2 cups all-purpose flour

-Blend in food processor and knead with extra flour. Set for 1 hour.
-Put through pasta roller until you get to the smallest setting, then put through as whichever pasta you desire.
-Cook in salted boiling water until a minute after floating.

The Great Indoors: Grilled fruit transforms scones into sweet treat


I never got scones. I mean, I bought scones and ate scones, but I never really got them. I didn’t understand the appeal of a pastry that was so dense and dry it might better work as a door stop than a breakfast dish.

But after hanging out with Casey Steele, owner of Square One Rental Kitchens, I’ve come to realize scones can be rich, moist and out-of-this world good.

We decided to take the grilled fruit that we learned how to make on last week’s Great Indoors and incorporate them into our scone batter. The result was a fruity and delicious breakfast or coffee time treat.

Grilled Fruit Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Zc cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut up into chunks
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg

-½-¾ cup grilled fruit, cut into small pieces and frozen (could also substitute for raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips … anything!)
-Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt with a whisk until thoroughly combined, or place in a stand mixer and use paddle attachment.
-Cut in butter using the mixer, or pastry cutter. Mix until coarse crumbs appear (a little larger than a pea). Do not over mix.
-Combine sour cream and egg together in a separate bowl until thoroughly combined.
-Add sour cream/egg mixture to your flour/butter mixture until moist. Add in grilled fruit, or mix-in of choice.
-Place on floured surface and knead until it begins to hold together.
-Cut dough in half. Take one half and form into a disc. Flatten into a circle approximately 1 inch thick. Cut into 6 triangles. Repeat with second half of dough.
-Place scones on baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are golden on the outside and the center of the scone gives a little resistance when pushed on.

Top with a simple glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lime
Coconut milk

-Combine until you get a slightly thick mixture and pour over slightly cooled scones. Let glaze harden and enjoy!

The Lost Italian: Easy potato salad

Tony Nasello shares with us his mother-in-law’s famous potato salad recipe with few and easy ingredients, Yukon gold potatoes, scallions and a apple cider vinaigrette.

Marilyn’s Potato Salad

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

-3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
-1 bunch of scallions (green onions), sliced into thin rounds (remove the roots & top inch of greens)
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper until emulsified (well combined). Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Boil the potatoes whole in salted water (1 tablespoon) for 15-20 minutes, until barely tender when pierced through with a fork. As soon as you can handle them, cut into one-inch chunks and place into a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes, then the scallions and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature (ideal).

The Lost Italian: Limoncello

Tony Nasello shows us how to make the perfect summer beverage that has the sweet, refreshing taste made for those warm days by the lake.

Limoncello

Ingredients:

-15 medium lemons
-2 750-milliliter bottles of 100-proof vodka (the higher proof will keep the alcohol from freezing)
-2 cups water
-2 cups sugar

Equipment:

-Microplane grater or vegetable peeler
-1 one-gallon glass (Mason) jar
-Cheesecloth
-Funnel
-Bottles for storing finished liqueur

Directions:

Soak the lemons in warm water for 10 minutes to clean, then wipe dry with a towel. Use the grater or vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemons, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. Set the zested lemons aside for use in another recipe.

Place the zest in the Mason jar and add one bottle of vodka. Seal tightly, label with today’s date and the words “First Stage.” Store in a cupboard and allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 40 days. The longer it steeps, the better it will taste.

After 10 to 40 days, strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth into a large bowl, gently pressing the zest to extract all the flavored liquid. (You may need to strain more than once to remove all the zest.) Add the second bottle of vodka.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. Remove from heat.

Once cooled, add the syrup to the vodka mixture. Use a funnel to pour the liqueur back into the Mason jar. Have another, smaller jar on hand in case of overflow. Label the jar with today’s date or the date it will be ready to serve, and the words “Second Stage.” Return to the cupboard for 10 to 40 days.

When the limoncello is ready, store it in the freezer so it is always chilled before serving.

The Great Indoors: The perfect party dip

We all know those moms and dads who go completely overboard with graduation open house party planning. When little Susie or Johnny graduates, they spare no expense to make sure her/his food is the best.

But in my experience the best foods at graduation open houses are often times the simplest. There’s no need to spend tons of money or hours in the kitchen making snack foods when something as easy as this taco dip is a crowd pleaser.

The recipe comes from my co-worker Josh Thomas and he says it’s always a winner when he serves it. Enjoy!

Taco Dip

Ingredients

1 can refried beans
1 jar of your favorite salsa
1 small container of sour cream
Guacamole (for best results, use actual guacamole and not guacamole dip)
1 tomato, cubed with seeds & membrane removed
Small can sliced black olives
4-5 sprigs of green onions chopped
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
Also needed
Serving tray (8-by-8-inches at least)
Knife & cutting board (for tomatoes and green onions)
Plastic bags
Mixing bowl
Tortilla chips (for dipping)

Directions

-In a mixing bowl, combine salsa and refried beans until evenly blended. Spread a layer of the bean/salsa in serving tray. Depending on the size of your serving tray, you may not use all of mixture.
-If guacamole comes in bag, slice off corner of bag and “pipe” guacamole evenly over bean/salsa mixture. If guacamole does not come in bag, place it into a plastic bag and cut off the corner to pipe it over the bean/salsa mixture.
-Place about half of the container of sour cream into plastic bag, cut off corner of bag and evenly pipe on top of guacamole. For an added kick, you can put a bit of taco seasoning into the sour cream.
-Cover sour cream in an even layer of shredded cheese.
-Spread tomato and green over shredded cheese.
-Cover in a thin layer of shredded cheese and top with black olives.
-Enjoy with tortilla chips; refrigerate leftovers.