Category Archives: ricetta

Brussels Sprouts: love at first bite

Crispy little cabbage critters
Crispy little cabbage critters

When you really love something, sometimes it’s best to treat it simply. I really love Brussels sprouts. This recipe I call Korean because I met it back when I had my offices on the river in Georgetown, DC. The closest place to get a carry-out lunch was a hot and cold food bar owned by Koreans, and this was for me the best thing on it.
Do not be fooled into thinking I cooked 20 cabbages. The plate is a salad plate which makes it look like my lunch is bigger than it is. They are really tiny cavoletti di Bruxelles.

Trim and clean Brussels sprouts (I get 300 gram punnets here) and cut in half.
Bring abundant salted water to a boil. Toss in the sprouts.
Bring back to a simmer and cook 3 minutes.
While they are cooking, mince a small clove of garlic, julienne a small piece of ginger, squeeze about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice over them in a bowl. A pinch of salt, a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil goes in and stir.
By now your sprouts should have reached 3 minutes. Remove them from the heat, drain and then shock them with cold water. Drain well and toss into the bowl on the dressing. Turn gently. Taste and correct for salt. Let them come to room temperature, then turn them again before serving.
They will be fine in the refrigerator for days, but bring them to room temp before eating.

An Asian-style chicken dish for tonight

I have made this three times in two days to make sure I’ve written it right, and for a change I am happy to eat the same thing over and over.  It’s delicious and fits right into my reduced carbohydrate regime, but I would eat it anyway.  If I could get it, I’d have braised baby bok choy with it, but in real life what I had was spinach.  So I ate spinach.  Spinach happens.

You should try this, because it is easy, good and made of things almost everyone can find where they live.  I’m not sure I would want to make thirty of them at a time, but the recipe for two can be expanded to as many as you feel like.  Buon appettito.

the first cut
1-IMG_0430 Find the bone and make a cut along it end to end. Using a sharp knife cut the bone away from the flesh, starting at the joint you can see easily. Scrape all the meat away from the bone, leaving the more hidden joint attached.


Cut the spring onions or scallions as finely as you can.
Sprinkle the inside with just a small amount of Chinese 5 Spice powder, remembering it can be powerful stuff. Salt lightly. Put half the onion and half the ginger on the open thigh.
Fold the sides over the stuffing and pin the skin closed with a toothpick.
And they look like this on the skin side. Lightly salt the outside.
Fry them in the vegetable oil in a frying pan that can go in the oven. Cook until golden, then slide them into the preheated oven.
Make the sauce as it says in the recipe, put a little in a shallow soup plate, then add the chicken.

Asparagus and Scallion Packet (Borsa degli asparagi e cipollotti)

This is the last one, folks. If you can’t make picnics with at least two of these tarts, you are doomed to eat inside all summer.

: Asparagus and Scallion Packets

: Life should always taste this good.

  1. 4 sheets of filo dough
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 8-10 stalks of asparagus blanched in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes
  4. 3-4 scallions (green or spring onions) cleaned and split lengthwise
  5. 2 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  6. 2-3 tablespoons pesto Genovese
  7. 2 slices American cheese (sotillette)
  8. Scarce sprinkling of crushed chili pepper

  1. You can prepare the vegetables as far in advance as suits you, but they should be at room temperature when you assemble and bake the tart.
  2. Lay out 2 sheets of filo and drizzle some of the oil on them. Spread it around with a pastry brush or your hands. Add two more sheets and do the same thing with the oil again.
  3. Lay the asparagus on the filo about 6″ (15cm) from one end and leaving about 2″ (5 cm) clear on each side. Alternate the stalks so that all the tips aren’t at one end. Add the scallions.
  4. Scatter the grated cheese evenly, then dot with pesto, then add torn strips of the cheese slices and last sprinkle sparingly with the bits of chili pepper. (Italian ones are very hot, hotter than most, so adjust to suit what you have and what you like.)
  5. Fold the 6″ piece over the vegetable mixture, then fold up and in the sides you left free. Proceed to fold over and over the resulting packet until completely closed.
  6. Slide into a 400°F (200°C) oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (165°C) for another 10 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.

Use other vegetables when asparagus isn’t in season, just be sure to precook them enough so that they will be done when the tart is cooked.

Diet type: Vegetarian

Meal type: supper

Culinary tradition: Italian

I have filed these as supper recipes because they were invented for such an occasion, but I would serve these as an elaborate antipasto, as lunch or dinner and certainly for brunch.

How about a nice piece of pie?

Pie for supper

It’s time for another video.  This one describes five savory pies that I made yesterday for a supper for the neighbors.  I will add the recipes one by one over the next day or two.  I think I’ll probably get better at videos as time goes on.  One can certainly hope, anyway.

These torte salate (tohr-tay sah-LAH-tay) were eaten as one dish meals with a salad because it was supper time in Umbria.  They also can be antipasto or first course as well as swell picnic foods.  All but one are vegetarian.

All of these can be made with purchased crusts, making them quick and practical for a cook who works, but all can be made from scratch if you want to save money.  I always make the bread crusts from my Sloppy Dough Revolution recipe, then knead more flour into it before rolling out so that it won’t be too wet to form.

All of these except for the Pepper and Salame torta were served at room (or garden) temperature, so they’re perfect for carrying along to a get together or for the concert in the park.  Click on the link for the recipe.  You won’t be sorry!
: Zucchini and Scallion Tart

: Easy and delicious, a great summer meal

  1. 4 sheets filo dough
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 small zucchini, cleaned and thinly sliced lengthwise
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 2-3 scallions, cleaned and cut in two lengthwise
  6. 1 ounce (30g) grated Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
  7. 2 slices American cheese (Sotillette)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  9. sprinkling of hot paprika or cayenne pepper
  1. Prepare the zucchini 30 to 60 minutes ahead of time, and lightly salt, leaving it to weep for a while. You could also prepare all the vegetables a day ahead and leave them in the fridge, but take them out to come to room temperature before baking if you do.
  2. Take 2 sheets of filo and drizzle some olive oil on then. Use a pastry brush or your hands to spread the oil around a bit. Add two more sheets and do the same thing.
  3. Lay the zucchini ribbons and the scallion halves on the filo, about 6 inches (15 cm) from one of the shorter edges and keeping about 2 inches (5 cm) of both sides free.
  4. Sprinkle with the herbs, the grated cheese and the hot paprika, then tear the cheese slices into strips and lay them over the vegetables. This cheese will melt and combine with the vegetable juices and seasonings to make a creamy sauce when cooked.
  5. Pull the free 6 inches over the vegetables, then fold the edges up for their full length. Carefully roll the packet to completely close it up.
  6. Using a big spatula and your hand, transfer the packet onto a lined baking sheet. Slide into a 400°F (200°C) oven and bake about 10 minutes, or until it starts to color, then reduce the heat to 350°F (165°C) and continue to cook another 10 minutes, or until golden brown like the ones in the video.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

: Creamy Zucchini Tart with Mascarpone and Basil

: A richer picnic tart with more zucchini

  1. 4 sheets filo dough
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 zucchini cleaned and sliced lengthwise
  4. good 2 finger pinch of salt
  5. 2-3 scallions, cleaned and split lengthwise
  6. about 1/2 cup (125 ml) mascarpone
  7. 2 ounces grated Parmigiano
  8. dash Tabasco
  9. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  10. 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  1. Prepare the vegetables and salt the zucchini at least 30 minutes ahead of time. A two finger pinch is the amount of salt you easily pick up with two fingers and a thumb.
  2. Lay out two sheets of filo dough and drizzle the oil over the top one. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread the oil around.
  3. Lay the zucchini and scallions on that, leaving about 6″ or 15 cm free at one end and 2″ or 5 cm at each side.
  4. Mix the mascarpone, the Tabasco and the Parmigiano together in a small bowl. Add it to the vegetables in dollops from a spoon. Sprinkle it all generously with paprika.
  5. Fold the 6″ piece of free filo over the vegetables, then fold the sides up, then continue to fold the packet until it is completely closed.
  6. Lay the second 2 sheets of filo out, and add the oil exactly as before. Distribute the basil leaves here and there. Lay the packet you made 6″ (15 cm) from one edge and proceed to roll or fold exactly as before. The basil leaves show now, but they won’t when cooked, which is too bad, but they do flavor this tart very nicely.
  7. Sprinkle the packet with paprika and slide it into a 400°F (200°C) oven and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F (165°C) and cook another 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Serve hot, cold or room temperature. Pesto Genovese makes a nice sauce with this tart.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Ligurian Tomato Salad

I’m not sure if I ever published this essential mainstay of my summer life. We are preparing it in class today, so I reckoned if it isn’t here it ought to jump onto the page right now.

: Ligurian tomato salad

: Don’t add a thing, because this is summer perfect

  1. Ripe tomatoes
  2. fresh garlic (maybe one clove for every 4 tomatoes)
  3. fresh basil, cleaned and sliced very thin
  4. salt
  5. extra virgin oilive oil

  1. Wash tomatoes and cut into chunks, cutting away the cores. Peel and mince the garlic then scatter it over the tomatoes. Sprinkle a biggish pinch of salt over all, then the basil slivers. Pour the oil over this and gently toss a bit with two forks.
  2. Place a clean dish towel over the bowl and leave it at room temperature for several hours. You make this in the morning to eat later that day. Eat it as an antipasto, a salad or even a light meal with good bread and possibly some cheese.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Coscia di tacchino porchettata: turkey thigh porchetta style

I was wondering yesterday if I knew anyone who doesn’t like porchetta, that ubiquitous Italian marketplace treat.  I think I don’t.  Hardly anyone is in a position to make it at home, however, because the first ingredient is a whole pig of about 100 pounds and where are you going to cook that?

Your piece of coscia

We do, however, cook other things in that style, which is boned , filled with delicious spices and rolled up in skin before roasting.  Duck porchettata is a dish you sometimes see on menus.  I’ve done smaller pork pieces like that, although you have to buy at a butcher to get the all-important skin for crackling.  It wouldn’t be porchetta without crackling.

This version uses the economical turkey leg and thigh, which happened to be on sale here this week.  Admittedly, I was very hungry while it was cooking, but the perfume of this roast almost drove me crazy.  I can’t think when I have ever cooked anything that smelled so good.  I ended up eating cold asparagus in vinaigrette to hold out until it was done.  And then, oh my goodness!  Delicious almost seems like not enough of a word and I search for another one and can’t find it.  This is good food, special food and worthy of any company.  The slice you see is a bit thick because the roast is still blazing hot and dripping with juices, but as it cooled it became possible to cut thinner and more elegant pieces.

If you are an experienced cook you can skip a lot of the directions and photos, but I think anyone could make this if they pay close attention to it all. Continue reading Coscia di tacchino porchettata: turkey thigh porchetta style

Thai Scallop Salad: a New York recommendation

Scallop Salad

The night I arrived in New York, Susan took me to a small restaurant that was recommended by foodie friends. I second the motion. Everything we shared was double-dog delicious and two things were so memorable I resolved to copy them at home as soon as I had a kitchen to work in. The above photo was made in Jane’s Chevy Chase kitchen. We liked this so much we had it again the next day. As a confirmed variety hound, that says something about this dish. If I say there was another one even better, but that I couldn’t make it because we couldn’t get oysters, you’ll know you have something splendid in store.

The restaurant is Kin Shop on 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th. They told us to just show up and we’d get a table, because otherwise they had no reservations open until 9:30. We were seated instantly. Can’t argue with that.

This was served as an appetizer, and appropriately so, but when I made it for the family, they really just wanted more of this and didn’t feel like moving to another dish. American families just don’t do appetizers very much. It makes a light meal for sure, although you could use more scallops and less greens, but then it could get very expensive. In Italy using more than three per serving could require a mortgage.

I consciously altered this recipe to include ingredients one can buy in Italy or that would be normal in an American kitchen. If you live in Asia, this is probably in your grocery sack everyday.

Recipe: Thai Scallop Salad

Summary: A Thai appetizer salad made my tongue smile


  • Fresh or thawed sea scallops, 3 per person
  • Finely sliced salad leaves
  • Fresh sprouts, such as radish
  • Finely chopped peanuts
  • Minced fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup or 125 ml peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Cold water as needed


  1. Bring the scallops to room temperature and dry them before meal time. Mine took about 30 minutes to get there.
  2. Make the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together, finishing with just enough cold water to make it the consistency of heavy cream. Taste and correct the seasoning to suit your tongue.
  3. Cut the salad leaves into almost threads. There should be about 1.5 cups of greens and sprouts per person.
  4. Just before serving, heat a tiny bit of oil in a frying pan and fry the scallops about 5 minutes total time. I just flipped them around so they cooked on all sides, but they need to be barely done to be good.
  5. On a pretty serving platter put the scallops, drizzle a little sauce over them, then cover them with the greens, and drizzle the rest of the sauce over the greens. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and surround with minced cilantro, if you like it. Using a spoon and a fork, lift the salad onto each diner’s plate.

Quick Notes

Easy, fast and doesn’t use impossible to find ingredients. It isn’t hot, but does need the hot sauce to bring out the flavors.

Cooking time (duration): 15

Diet type: Pescatarian

Diet (other): Low calorie, Reduced carbohydrate, Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: hors d’oerves

Culinary tradition: Thai

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)