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DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPE: Cavatelli al Gorgonzola

November 19, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Cavatelli al Gorgonzola!

Even though it seems like it would be heavy and rich, this pasta stays light and fresh while still remaining very satisfying. There is just enough gorgonzola to add a velvety mouthfeel but not enough to overwhelm your palate.

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Cavatelli al Gorgonzola
(for 6 people)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of Cavatelli pasta
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • ½ cup of shredded Gorgonzola
  • 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ⅓ cup of light cream
  • ⅓ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and the Gorgonzola cheese; add salt, some of the black pepper, and the light cream. Stir the ingredients together on low heat. Cook the Cavatelli pasta al dente.
Strain the pasta and save some of the cooking water (approximately five to six tablespoons).
Pour the pasta in the fry pan, add the starchy water, and mix it with the Gorgonzola sauce. Toss it with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the rest of the coarse black pepper. Serve it hot.
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPE: Torta della Nonna

November 12, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Torta della Nonna!

Eating at Nonna’s – ‘Nonna’ being the Italian word for grandmother – is never a disappointment. The stereotype of the bustling Italian women serving platefuls of pasta until their families are stuffed are not far from the truth. Spot-on, at least, for my family.

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TORTA DELLA NONNA 
(Grandma's Cake)
(for 6-8 people)

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 ½ cups of sifted white flour
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup of granulated sugar.
• 1 ½ sticks of melted butter
• 1 ⅓ cups of milk
• 2 tablespoon of baking powder
• 1 whole lemon peel, ground up
• 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
• 1 pinch of salt

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a large bowl, beat the eggs; and add the sugar, melted butter, and salt. Gradually pour in the flour and milk. Blend the mixture well for 10 minutes. Add the lemon peel, baking powder, and vanilla extract; and blend the mixture well for another 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a cake pan that has been rubbed with butter and sprinkled with flour.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let it cool. Place the cake on a platter, and sprinkle white powdered sugar over the top. 
Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPE: Spaghetti with Broccoli di rape

November 5, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Spaghetti with Broccoli!
If you've got to eat your broccoli, this is a great way to do it. A beautiful side dish of broccoli and spaghetti or linguine pasta with red pepper flakes is so delicious and so aromatic.

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SPAGHETTI WITH BROCCOLI DI RAPE
(for 6 people)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch of cut-up and washed broccoli di rape
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 slices of multigrain bread, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup of crushed almonds
  • ⅓ cup of grated Pecorino cheese

HOW TO PREPARE:
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. At the same time, pour the oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic over medium heat. When the garlic is golden, add the broccoli di rape, salt, and the crushed red pepper. Increase the heat and cook them. Remove them from the heat. In another fry pan, pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the bread crumbs, and the crushed almonds. Stir the mix constantly over low heat until the crumbs are light brown. Do not burn them. Remove the pan from the heat. When the pasta is ready, strain and pour it into the skillet and mix it for 3 minutes with the broccoli di rape, the roasted almonds, and breadcrumbs.
Place the pasta in a serving dish; sprinkle the grated Pecorino cheese over the pasta, and garnish with some of the breadcrumbs. Serve it hot.
Buon appetito!

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: Tortelloni Rose

October 15, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Tortelloni Rose!

This recipe is an Emilia Romagna specialty that I prepared for a dinner party I hosted in my home in honor of a very famous orthopedic doctor from Bologna who was visiting Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with a group of six Italian orthopedists. I had organized all of the travel arrangements for the group, and I wanted to treat them to a typical dinner that is found in almost any restaurant in Bologna.

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TORTELLONI ROSE
(for 6 people)

INGREDIENTS:
- 2 1-pound packages of ricotta and spinach tortelloni
- 2 and ½ cups of Tuscan vegetable ragù (See recipe in Chapter One.)
- ⅓ cup of medium cream
- ⅓ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

HOW TO PREPARE:
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the tortelloni, and cook them for about 10 to15 minutes. Strain and transfer them to a large skillet where you have mixed the cream with the tomato sauce. Toss them and sprinkle over the grated Parmigiano.
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!

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