Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrate National Lasagna Day on July 29

Lasagna has always been closely tied to Christmas for me. Growing up in an Italian family with five children who were not enamored of fish, it became our family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I was surprised to learn that National Lasagna Day was celebrated at the end of July- on my English-German mother-in-law's birthday, no less.

While making lasagna would be a great way to celebrate, it's a bit too hot for turning on the oven these days. Luckily, there are several restaurants that are offering half price lasagna to celebrate. Buca di Beppo is even serving up free lasagna.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Simple Italian Menu for the Grill

It's a hot, lazy summer day here in New England. What better time to use the grill instead of the stove? I'm looking forward to preparing a spicy meal of devil's chicken, grilled broccoli rabe (yes, you can grill broccoli rabe-- it takes about 3 minutes), and bruschetta with tomato salad.

This menu can also be done in the broiler, if the weather isn't conducive to grilling where you are. Here's a simple method to broil broccoli rabe.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes used to be a gourmet treat at fancy restaurants. Now that Domino's Pizza has put them on the menu they've become a more accessible indulgence. This recipe from Chef Dave Martin from Bravo's ''Top Chef'' shows how simple it is to make lava cakes at home. Do you have chocolate, eggs, flour, sugar, and butter in your kitchen right now? If so, you're less than 30 minutes away from chocolate heaven.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to Make Pesto

One of my favorite restaurants, Not Your Average Joe's has shared their recipe for pistachio pesto just in time for the summer herb harvest. I've tried it at the restaurant and it's great! This recipe combines basil and mint, but you can use all basil if you like. Pesto freezes well, and makes a great topping for grilled meats and vegetables.

1/2 cup roasted shelled pistachios
1 1/2 oz basil leaves
1/2 cup mint
2 Tablespoon
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup romano grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper ground

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend smooth. Place in an airtight container and hold for up to a week. For a nice touch, sprinkle pistachios over the finished dish.

If you prefer a classic pesto, Chef Paolo Laboa explains how to make a traditional Pesto Genovese in this video. He explains how subtle differences in basil, pine nuts, and olive oil affect the taste of the pesto.