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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!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Coq Au Vin

July 30, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Coq Au Vin!

While Coq au Vin (or chicken in wine) might sound fancy, it is really just a simple chicken stew that anyone can master. Don't be intimidated, this recipe is very easy to follow.

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INGREDIENTS:
12 pieces of boneless chicken thighs (washed in water and white vinegar and fully dried)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 pinch of rosemary leaves
- salt and coarse pepper to taste
- 1 pinch of dill
- 1 pinch of oregano
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 cup of baby carrots
- 2 cups of cut-up Portobello mushrooms
- 1 cup of cooked baby onions
- ½ cup of white wine
- 1 cup of chicken gravy

HOW TO PREPARE:
Mix the chicken, herbs, salt and pepper, and carrots in a large bowl. In a large skillet, sauté the chopped-up onions. When they are light golden, pour in the chicken mix. Sauté the chicken and carrots on medium heat, turning them around often. When the meat is almost cooked, add the wine and the baby onions. At the very end, add the mush-rooms and cook them quickly. After they are done, pour in the chicken gravy, cover your skillet, and finish sautéing the chicken on low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve the chicken with cooked, drained egg noodles, buttered and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, serve the chicken over mashed potatoes or steamed rice. 
Bon appétit!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Stuffed Zucchini

July 23, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Stuffed Zucchini!

Here's a delicious way to solve the problem of those too-big zucchini and peppers ballooning in your garden at the end of the summer: zucchini boats baked and stuffed... A delicious Mediterranean twist!

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STUFFED ZUCCHINI

(for 6-8 people)
INGREDIENTS:
- 4 medium-sized zucchini (cut up, lengthwise)
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
- ½ tablespoon of finely chopped fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon of fresh oregano
- ½ cup of crushed almonds
- ½ cup of pitted Greek olives
- ⅓ cup of capers
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- 2 cups of fresh mollica (grind 6 slices of stale Italian bread in the food processor and make bread crumbs)
- salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE:
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Cut the zucchini in half, and remove the inside with a small knife. Place them in a large baking dish sprinkled with olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix the mollica (breadcrumbs) and all of the above ingredients with herbs and spices. Add the olive oil, and blend everything together. With a spoon, fill the cavities of the zucchini with the mixture. Sprinkle some olive oil over them, and bake until they are light golden (about 1 hour). Take them out of the oven and let them rest for ½ hour before serving.

Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Rigatoni alla Amatriciana

July 16, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Rigatoni alla Amatriciana!

Sugo all'amatriciana, is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale, pecorino cheese from Amatrice, tomato, and, in some variations, onion. Originating from the town of Amatrice (in the mountainous Province of Rieti of Lazio region), the Amatriciana is one of the best known pasta sauces in present-day Roman and Italian cuisine. The Italian government has named it a traditional agro-alimentary product of Lazio.

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RIGATONI ALLA AMATRICIANA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium, finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup of finely chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup of finely chopped carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped basil
  • ⅓ cup of olive oil
  • salt, pepper, garlic (to taste)
  • ½ cup of guanciale (cured pork cheek)
  • 2 cans of crushed plum tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup of white house wine

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a medium-sized pan, pour in all the ingredients (except for the wine and tomatoes), and cook over medium heat. Sauté until everything is light golden brown. Stir constantly. Pour in the wine once the ingredients start to sizzle. Allow the wine to evaporate, and then add the tomatoes. Again, stir constantly and boil for two hours. Boil 1 pound of rigatoni pasta until they are “al dente.” Strain, place them in a large bowl, and toss with the warm sauce. Sprinkle ½ cup of grated Pecorino cheese over the rigatoni.

Buon appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Roasted Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

July 9, 2019

Our #RecipeOfTheWeek is Donna Franca's Roasted Chicken with Red Wine Sauce!

This Tuscan specialty is a very easy dish, which within an hour will allow you to bring to the table a chicken with a fantastic dark red color and a delicious scent of wine. 
With a simple decoration of aromatic herbs, this tasty meal will impress family and friends!

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ROASTED CHICKEN WITH RED WINE SAUCE 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 chicken, about 3 pounds
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • ½ tablespoon of thyme
  • ½ tablespoon of fresh oregano
  • ½ tablespoon of sage
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of red house wine

HOW TO PREPARE:
In a small bowl, combine the herbs with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Loosen up the skin of the chicken breast, and spread the mixture under and all around it. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan, pour the olive oil on it, and sprinkle it with some sea salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes on each side, and then for thirty minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken from the roasting pan, and keep it warm. Place the roasting pan over low heat; and add the wine, stirring in the browned ingredients scraped from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is reduced, pour the wine sauce over the chicken and serve it warm.
Buon appetito!

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