Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

First layer of zucchini, cheese, and bacon

My Wife’s Favorite Zucchini  Dish

I love zucchini in nut breads and ratatouille but have never been able to create a savory dish that really lets this versatile veggie shine.  My wife, “MB” is always asking me to prepare special zucchini dishes but I fall short each time. Perhaps it’s the fact that zucchini “weeps” a lot of liquid, or the way I slice it.  I’ve tried slicing on a diagonal, shredding, julienne, chopping, stuffing, and of course just plain cross sections.  Well, I finally have a dish that she loves.  It combines, some great flavors that marry perfectly with zucchini…….fresh ricotta, parmesan, provolone, green onion, lemon and just a touch of BACON……(everyone loves bacon).  So MB, here’s your dish, and I dedicate it to you.

Zucchine con tre  formaggi e lemone

2 small zucchini (thinly sliced on cross section)

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

6 slices provolone cheese

½ cup parmesan cheese

2 green onions (sliced on diagonal)

½ the juice of a lemon

1 strip of bacon (cooked crisp and diced)

2 TBS olive oil

Sea salt & fresh Pepper

  1. Coat a 7” x 10”  baking dish with oil
  2. In a bowl, toss sliced zucchini with oil and lemon
  3. Layer in pan like scales, one layer of zucchini,top with dollops of ricotta, and onions.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan and bacon, top with provolone.
  5. Repeat with second layer
  6. Bake at 325 for about ½ hour or until bubbly.

 Serves four

Recipe and Photo by Doug Cordier

Zuppa di pane pomadoro (pappa ala pomadoro)

As a classic Italian cook, I believe in the philosophy of reducing a recipe to the lease number of fresh ingredients. For this reason, one of my favorite dishes to demo at Celeb Chef appearances is BREAD SOUP. The recipe that follows is called PAPPA ALA POMADORO. In this case the word PAPPA has nothing to do with His Holiness the Pope , or your grand dad. Instead it has it’s origin in the word PAP , which means baby food.  Another reason why I love doing this dish is, people can watch you create it in just a couple of minutes………I finish it off by anointing each serving with a special high grade olive oil and a dusting of parmesan cheese.  Then I sit back and watch their expressions.  They oooooh and aaaaah and just can’t believe something this luscious can be so simple.  So, now you can do the same with your friends and family, and spread the word about the simplicity of authentic Italian food.

Classic Tuscan bread soup

1 ½ cup red onion (chopped)                                                             

1  large can crushed tomatoes (2 lbs fresh finely chopped)                                      

1 1/2 handfuls of stale Italian bread (about 2 cups)                                                

2 cups water

1  ½ cups torn fresh basil leaves

9  tbs good extra virgin olive oil (divided)

¼   cup grated quality parmesan cheese

2 large toes garlic (thinly sliced or minced)

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1.     In large sauté pan heat 3 tbs oil, cook onions for 2 minute (do not brown)

2.     Add garlic and sauté for 2  minutes (do not brown)

3.     Add tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes until they start to break down

4.     Tear bread into chunks and add to liquids

5.     Add water, cook mixture until it breaks down…

6.     When soup is the right consistency, add salt, pepper, most of basil

7.     Stir in the remaining 3 more tbs oil

8.     Transfer to shallow bowls, anoint  with  oil , dust  with parmesan cheese and garnish with remaining basil

Buon Appetitto


Tagliatelle is the most commonly served pastas in all of Italy, but you don’t see it that much in the USA.   We love this noodle in our family because it is so robust and holds a sauce so well.  Here we pair it with a substancial ragu  (meat sauce) of lamb and mushrooms.  Don’t forget the final step of annointing your pasta with parmesan cheese and good olive oil.  We serve this dish with a simple Montepulciano d’ Abbruzzo. 

Tagliatelle with lamb and mushroom ragu

Ragu ingredients                                                                            

1 ½ – 2  cups lamb (cut into 1/2 “ pieces                                

¾ cup red onion diced                                       

2 cups mixed mushrooms (medium chop)                  

½ – ¾  cup red wine                                          

2 toes chopped fresh garlic

½ cup flour

2 TBS tomato paste

1 cup brodo (chicken/mushroom stock)                                            

2 thick slices pancetta (cubed)

2 TBS oyster sauce (sssshhh, don’t tell anyone)

¼ cup parmesan cheese (to finish)                                                     

2 tbs olive oil plus oil to finish

1 cup chopped parsley

Pasta Ingredients

½ lb egg  pasta ,  Lots of boiling salted water

  1. Add olive oil to hot pan, add pancetta, cook until not quite crispy
  2. Dust lamb with flour, add lamb and brown, Remove lamb from pan    
  3. Add some oil, onion & garlic, cook 5 minutes till translucent,  
  4. Add tomato paste, roast paste, add oyster sauce.
  5. Deglaze with wine, add brodo , add lamb back in     
  6. Stir until you have a rich ragu, add ½ the parsley, 
  7. Cover pan and place in 275 oven for about ½ – 1 hour
  8. Drain pasta (save a little water) toss pasta with ragu 
  9. Pour into platter, sprinkle with parmesan, anoint with oil, & parsley.
  10.  Serve with wilted spinach.

Buon appetito


This recipe is based on a very simple dish that we encountered in Montepuluciano, Italy.  The trattoria was very small and located in the basement. The combination of the salty prosciuto, capers, creamy mozzarella , and crispy bread is sublime…………plus  really easy.  In Italy, the very best ingredients are always used. The INGREDIENTS speak for themselves.  That’s why the food in Italy is so great.

Prosciutto Crostini with pinenuts & capers

Large crostini with prosciutto, mozzarella, pine nuts & caper

4 slices rustic bread (cut on long diagonal)

2 slices prosciutto (cut lengthwise)

2 TBS chopped pine nuts  

4 TBS mozzarella cubes (1/4 “)

2 drained capers

Chopped Parsley

2 TBS olive oil & paint brush

  • Lightly paint each slice of bread with olive oil
  • Place long slice of prosciutto on each crostini
  • Place on baking sheet in 375 oven for 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven, put cubes on crostini, return to oven 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle on pine nuts and capers
  •  Return sheet to oven for 2 minutes until bubbly.
  • Serve immediately , garnish with parsley

Caution:  Oven times and temperatures may vary

Bon appetitto   

Makes two servings