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DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Cheese Ravioli al Burro e Salvia

October 22, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Cheese Ravioli al Burro e Salvia!

Usually served in broth or with a sauce, they originated as a traditional food in Italian cuisine. Ravioli are commonly square, though other forms are also used, including circular and semi-circular

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CHEESE RAVIOLI WITH BUTTER AND SAGE
(for 6 people)

INGREDIENTS:
1-pound package of cheese ravioli
1 stick of unsalted butter
⅓ cup of light cream
⅓ cup of fresh sage leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
⅓ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and mix the fresh sage leaves with salt and pepper. Add the light cream. Remove the pan from the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the ravioli, and cook them. Strain and return them to the saucepan with 4 tablespoons of starchy ravioli cooking water. Toss the ravioli in the sauce for 2 minutes to allow them to absorb the flavor. Serve them hot.
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

October 8, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Fresh Tomato Bruschetta!

Bruschetta originated in Italy during 15th century. However, stems of the dish can be traced back to Ancient Rome, when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and taste a sample of their freshly pressed oil using a slice of bread.

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FRESH TOMATO BRUSCHETTA
(for 6-10 people)

INGREDIENTS:
- 5 medium-sized fresh red tomatoes
- 1 French baguette
- 1 small garlic clove
- ⅓ cup of finely chopped fresh basil
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of fresh oregano
- salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE:
Cut the five tomatoes into very small pieces and pour them in a bowl. Add salt, and pepper to taste. Mix in the fresh, chopped basil, oregano, olive oil, and finely chopped-up garlic clove. Stir the ingredients well.
Cut the baguette into one-inch slices, and toast to light golden-brown. Place a tablespoon of the tomato mixture over each slice of bread. Easy to prepare, simple, and very tasty. 
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Fried Peppers

October 1, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Fried Peppers!

One recipe that I often prepare as an appetizer or side dish is a mélange of stir-fried red, yellow, and green peppers in hot olive oil with one large clove of garlic, adding salt and pepper to taste.
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FRIED PEPPERS
(for 6-8 people)

INGREDIENTS:
6 large red, green, and yellow peppers, cut in large slices
1 large garlic clove
⅓ cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil and pour in the cut-up peppers, garlic clove, salt and pepper. Toss the peppers quite often over high heat, and add a tablespoon of water. Remove them from the stove when they are nice and crispy, but not burnt!
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Crostini with Liver pâté

September 17, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Crostini with Liver pâté!

The Tuscan chicken liver pate is now a great classic of the Italian tradition; served on Tuscan toasted bread (known as "sciapo") or on polenta squares, it becomes a delicious and tasty appetizer, very simple to prepare and now widespread throughout the peninsula, even on holidays. Make it yourself its rustic and enveloping flavor, along with a nice glass of Chianti.

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CROSTINI WITH LIVER  PÂTÉ
(for 6-8 people)

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 small Tuscan Bread (or French baguette), cut in two-inch slices and lightly toasted
- ½ pound of chicken liver
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- ⅓ cup of capers
- 1 large peeled and ground-up apple
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint
- ⅓ cup of white wine
- salt and coarse black pepper to taste
- 2 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large skillet, sauté the onion and the garlic over medium heat. When everything is light golden, add the wine, finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh mint, finely chopped liver, capers, and salt and pepper. Cook the liver mixture for about 40 minutes. Remove it from the heat when it starts to look like a pâté. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the ground-up apple; and mix everything together with a fork. Place 1 teaspoon of pâté over each slice of toasted bread. It is delicious!
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Pasta alla Carbonara

September 10, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Carbonara!

There are many theories for the origin of the name carbonara, which is likely more recent than the dish itself. Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for 'charcoal burner'), it has been suggested that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari ('charcoalmen') secret society prominent in the early, repressed stages of Italian unification in the early 19th century.
The names spaghetti alla carbonara are unrecorded before the Second World War. It was described as a "Roman dish" at a time when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.

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PASTA ALLA CARBONARA

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 package of Barilla thick spaghetti or linguine
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup of finely diced pancetta
- ½ cup of grated Pecorino cheese
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and ground pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large skillet with olive oil, sauté the pancetta until the fat has melted. Cook the pasta in a large in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain the pasta when it is “al dente” and pour it with aamount of pasta water into the large skillet where the pancetta has cooked. While the pasta is cooking, beat the four eggs in a small bowl, and add the pecorino cheese along with plenty of pepper. Over medium heat, pour the egg and cheese mixture over the drained pasta in the large skillet. Stir until the egg mixture is cooked. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, and add two more tablespoons of grated Romano cheese and black pepper to taste. 
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Risotto alla Milanese

September 3, 2019

We have the master glazier of Milan's cathedral to thank for risotto alla Milanese, the creamy rice dish that gets its vivid color and flavor from saffron. In 1574, the master hired a disciple nicknamed Zafferano because he used saffron to stain the glass gold. The master teased, "You'll be putting saffron in your risotto next!" Well, it happened that his daughter was to be married. At the celebration, a table held four steaming pots of risotto. The guests were amazed to see it was tinted gold—the wedding gift of all wedding gifts.

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INGREDIENTS:
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. saffron threads
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 small yellow onions, minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 oz. raw bone marrow (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt to taste

HOT TO PREPARE:
Heat stock and saffron in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; keep warm. Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice; cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup warm stock; cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, 1⁄2 cup at a time, and cooking until absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender and creamy, about 16 minutes total. Stir in marrow, if using, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.
Buon Appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Panzanella (Bread salad)

August 27, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Panzanella (Bread salad)!

The 16th-century artist and poet Bronzino sings the praises of onions with oil and vinegar served with toast and, a page later, speaks of a salad of onions, purslane, and cucumbers. This is often interpreted as a description of panzanella.

The name is believed to be a portmanteau of "pane", Italian for bread, and "zanella", a deep plate in which it is served.

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INGREDIENTS:
- 1 small loaf of one-week-old Tuscan bread
- 4 small red tomatoes
- 2 small green peppers
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 small red onion
- 4 small cucumbers
- 8 red radishes
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- ⅓ cup of wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup of chopped fresh basil
- ⅓ cup of chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon of fresh oregano
- salt and coarse black pepper to taste.

HOW TO PREPARE:
Dip the small loaf of bread in cold water. When it is well soaked, squeeze the water out and crumble the bread into a bowl. Add the very finely chopped vegetables and herbs. Toss the mixture with the olive oil, vinegar, and spices.
This simple and delicious meal is a traditional Tuscan recipe. It was prepared at lunchtime for the hungry farmers who came home after spending six or more hours working in the fields. 
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Crostini with anchovies and butter

August 20, 2019

This recipe is the simplest but most delicious combination of perfect ingredients. It reminds us of the importance of ‘less is more’ in summer cooking!

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CROSTINI WITH ANCHOVIES AND BUTTER
(for 8-10 people)

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 small can of flat filet of anchovies
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 small French baguette

HOW TO PREPARE:
Mix one stick of butter, kept at room temperature, with very finely chopped-up anchovy filets. Cut the baguette into two-inch slices, and lightly toast them. When the mixture looks like a pâté, spread it with a knife over the toasted bread slices. Very tasty and quickly prepared. 
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Roasted Rabbit with Herbs

August 13, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Roasted Rabbit With Herbs!

If you've never made rabbit before, this is the ideal recipe to start with. Utterly simple and delicious, it's Italian home cooking at its best.

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ROASTED RABBIT WITH HERBS
(for 6 people)

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 whole rabbit, cut in small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup of fresh rosemary leaves
- 4 bay leaves, finely chopped
- 1 large pinch of thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup of white wine
- ⅓ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

 

HOW TO PREPARE:
Soak the rabbit meat for 20 minutes in a bowl of water mixed with ⅓ cup of white wine vinegar. While the rabbit meat is soaking, mix all the herbs and the finely chopped garlic in a small bowl; add salt and coarse pepper to taste. Place the rabbit meat on paper towels to remove the extra water, and transfer it to the bowl in which you prepared the herb mix-ture. Roll the meat in the mixture, making sure to season all the pieces well. Then place them in a large skillet and pour the olive oil over them.Cook the rabbit pieces for the first 10 minutes on high heat, turning them over a few times. Lower the heat and simmer the ingredients for about ½ hour. When the meat is a golden color, add the wine and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and let everything simmer for an additional 10 minutes over low heat. Serve the rabbit with baked or roasted potatoes.
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Pesce all'Acqua Pazza

August 6, 2019

With this heat, even the fish goes crazy! Don't believe it? Today we will prepare "fish with crazy water"! This is a culinary specialty typical of Mediterranean cuisine that involves cooking sea bream, sea bass, snapper, cod or other medium-sized fish in a sauce made from cherry tomatoes, oil, garlic and parsley! 
Let's find out what it is all about.

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PESCE ALL'ACQUA PAZZA

INGREDIENTS:
- 2 large fresh haddock or cod fillets, gently rolled in white flour
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 pinch of crushed red peppersalt to taste
- ¼ cup of dry white wine
- 3 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup of clam juice
- 6 small slices of toasted Italian bread

 

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large skillet, pour the olive oil and add the garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and crushed pepper.
Over medium heat, sauté the ingredients. When they are light golden, pour in the wine and let the wine evaporate. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes and the clam juice. After 5-10 minutes, add the fish fillets and with a wooden spoon pour the sauce over them. Gently turn them around. Cover them for 10 minutes. The fish will start to produce its own water (“acqua pazza”). Cook the fillets for an additional 10 minutes, basting them with the watery tomato sauce. Serve them hot, with the toasted Italian bread slices drizzled with olive oil.
Buon appetito!

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