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March 2011 Cookbook of the Month: JAMIE'S ITALY

Welcome to our March COTM: JAMIE'S ITALY

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from this books by Jamie Oliver. Give us the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. I purchased this book after watching "Jamie's Great Italian Escape" on the Food Network.

    Just in case folks are interested, I thought I'd mention that some of the videos from the tv series "Jamie's Great Italian Escape" are available on You Tube.


    1. Spaghetti Tetrazzini – p. 113 – Primi : Pasta

      This is not a dish that I would normally have been drawn to given the amount of cream it contains however, my neighbour gave me a litre container of heavy cream she was unable to use prior to her vacation so, after a quick EYB search through the COTM books, I landed on this dish. So how was it you ask? Well, what’s not to like about cream, chicken, good cheese, wild mushrooms and pasta?!!! Needless to say, we loved it!! This is a much more refined version of Chicken and Tuna Tetrazzinis we’ve had in the past.

      This is a chicken and mushroom pasta that is started stovetop and, finished in the oven. The recipe calls for 7oz of parmesan which proved to be more than what was left on our Costco wedge so I used a 50/50 blend of Parm and mozzarella. Prep is relatively quick and quite easy. Dry Porcini mushrooms are soaked, drained and their soaking liquid is reserved. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are cut into bite-sized pieces. Parmesan is grated and basil leaves are plucked from stems. Garlic cloves are sliced, fresh mushrooms are cleaned and though Jamie says “torn”, I chose to slice mine. White wine and heavy cream are measured and, spaghetti is put on to boil.

      This comes together very quickly at this point. Oil is heated in a pan and once you’ve seasoned your chicken w S&P you toss them in to brown. All mushrooms and the garlic are then added with the soaking liquid and wine to follow. At this point the heat is lowered and everything simmers until the chicken has cooked through and the wine has reduced somewhat.

      Once the spaghetti has cooked, cream is added to the chicken mixture and, brought to a boil then the heat is turned off and the pasta and ¾ of the grated parmesan are tossed in to coat along w the basil. Everything is then transferred to an ovenproof dish (I sprayed mine w Pam) and half the remaining Parmesan is sprinkled on top. The casserole then goes into a 400 degree oven until “golden brown and bubbling”. This took 14 minutes in my case and let me say, the house smelled heavenly as it bubbled away in the oven!! Our Golden Retriever was so drawn to this dish he decided it would be a good idea to camp out right beneath the oven door!

      Jamie suggests drizzling plates w evoo and topping w additional parmesan. Given all the cream in the dish, I skipped the evoo but did use the remaining parmesan.

      Oh my goodness this was delicious. Mr bc asked if we could have it again of Friday (usually “spaghetti Fridays” at our house)!! I wouldn’t be making this all the time but, if you’re looking for a creamy, cheesy, super-scrumptious treat….this is the recipe for you. I especially loved the basil in this, it adds a light, fresh note to an otherwise heavy but delicious dish.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        For those who are interested but don't have the book, this is one of the recipes (and one I'd picked to make - glad it was so incredible breadcrumbs!) on jamieoliver.com.

        Looks amazing.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I didn't spend much time looking for it, but didn't see a note on the history of Chicken Tetrazzini, or, as Jamie calls it, "Spaghetti Tetrazzini". It's actually a dish created years ago, named after the Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. It is widely believed to have been invented ca. 1908-1910 by Ernest Arbogast, then chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City.

          I love this dish and can't wait to look up Jamie's version. I think the "original" uses sherry rather than white wine.

          1. re: oakjoan

            PS - there is also a chicken or turkey tetrazinni (not the veg one discussed above) on the website.

            1. re: LulusMom

              LLM, did you mean the one Breadcrumbs reported above? Definitely chicken tetrazinni.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Oops, sorry - was thinking it was the report about the vegetarian tetrazzini that he also has.

        2. re: Breadcrumbs


          I am definitely going to make this.

          One question for you - what size dish to bake it in? Is a 9 x 13" Pyrex the correct size?

          Thanks for sharing - your photos look GREAT.


          1. re: HB_Jeff

            HB_Jeff, thanks so much, that's very kind of you! Absolutely do try this, it really is delicious.

            Funny you should ask about the dish because it was a subject of debate here. In the end we went w my 2.5 Qt Denby dish which is 8 x 12 x 3 since mr bc thought the deeper slices would be best. You could absolutely use a 9 x 13 dish. I should also say that I didn't end up using the full pound of spaghetti. In the end, I likely tossed about 3/4 lb into the sauce and that seemed like plenty.

            Enjoy, I look forward to your review!!

        3. Fennel Risotto with Ricotta and Dried Chili, p. 145

          I made a half recipe. Like the other risottos (risotti?), this recipe begins with Risotto Bianco (p.130, and incidentally, essentially the same as the Basic Risotto in the NC books). It proceeds in the usual way: Onion, celery, and garlic are sautéd, rice is added and sautéd, white wine and hot stock are added gradually, and much stirring ensues. In the present recipe, thinly sliced fennel bulb and sliced garlic go in a skillet with olive oil (a bit of crushed fennel seed is called for, but I had none), and this is covered and the fennel cooked until tender. The fennel is added to the risotto when the rice is partially done. When the rice is done al dente, the pot comes off the heat, grated parmesan and "nice, crumbly ricotta" are added and the pot is covered for a couple of minutes. I used locally made fresh ricotta that is indeed both nice and crumbly, and a good bit more than called for. (He also calls for lots of butter to be added at this point - 5 T. for the full recipe - which I omitted.) The risotto is then finished with lemon zest and juice, minced fennel greens, and crushed dried chile.

          I liked this a lot. It was creamy enough with the ricotta and parmesan (I'm sure it would be luscious with the butter, but I leave that kind of richness for special occasions and restaurants, where ignorance is bliss), and the mellow sautéd fennel was nicely set off by the lemon zest and juice and chile.

          1. Salsicce con Lenticchie Verdi e Salsa di Pomodoro
            (Sausages and Green Lentils with Tomato Salsa), Pg. 221, Secondi

            This is a four element recipe all of which come together as the main dish with a side of greens. When we made our tomato sauce for our Macaroni Monday we used the salsa recipe from this recipe and used half for spaghetti (with additional ingredients) and saved the second half (per the exact recipe) for this salsa.

            1. Salsa: EVOO, chopped red onion, chopped garlic, 1/2 cinnamon stick, dried chilies, red wine vinegar, 28 oz tinned tomatoes. Typical method for making the sauce, it simmers for 30 minutes, while you make the lentils.

            2. Lentils: After rinsing the lentils put into a pot and cover with water. Add whole garlic cloves, bay leaf, parsley stems. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.

            3. Sausages: Although the recipe calls for 8 medium Italian sausages I used 3 very large ones. (It was plenty for us) They are tossed into a roasting pan with EVOO, placed into a pre-heated 400F oven, roasted for 25-ish minutes.

            4. Purple sprouting broccoli OR cima di rapa: I used the rapa which is rinsed well then put into a pot of boiling water after the sausages are done. Drain well when cooked and squeeze half a lemon over. drizzle with EVOO. Recipe says to cook "for a few minutes". I used only the tender tips and destemed the leaves and no way were they done in a few.

            >Put it all together:
            When lentils are done pour away the water, take out the parsley, mash the garlic into the lentils and dress with EVOO, red wine vinegar and chopped parsley. Spoon the lentils into place bowls. Discard cinnamon stick from salsa and spoon salsa over lentils. Put sausages either sliced or whole, on top of salsa. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with a bowl of the broccoli or rapa.

            It was a bit of a do but if you're well organized it goes along smoothly and you get a wonderful healthy tasty meal. I had planned to serve garlic bread and a salad but this was quite enough for a main dish on its own. If I were to make this again I would eliminate the greens. Or, I'd make them My Way... a light sautee with EVOO, garlic and RPF. I do not like boiled greens, Sam I am. Anyway, we enjoyed the process and the eating.

            Oh about that salsa...it was terrific. When it was cooking the kitchen smelled like an old Italian restaurant my father used to take us to. Cue "Thanks for the Memories."

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Gio thanks for the great review, this is one of the dishes i'd flagged as well. Especially glad to read your thoughts on the salsa rossa. I do have a question about that salsa. How prevalent was the cinnamon flavour and is that traditional?

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Thanks Breadcrumbs. The cinnamon flavor was not prevalant. In fact, I was surprised at the zesty, deep flavor of the salsa. I don't use cinnamon and feel safe to say my family didn't/doesn't as well. Although, depending on the region perhaps it is used in tomato sauces. Southern Italian cooking has so many influences from other countries, as does Venice vis a vis the spice route.so who knows. I wonder if Maureen Fant will pop in here occasionally. She's the expert.

                1. re: Gio

                  Thanks Gio, that's great to know. mr bc isn't a fan of cinnamon in any savoury dishes so it sounds as though he'll be no worse the wiser if I were to include it here. I've seen a few of JO's recipes now w cinnamon in the tomato sauce. I know he did spend a fair bit of time in southern Italy for his Great Italian Escapes show so perhaps that's where he picked this up. Funny though because when I saw this dish w lentils and sausage I immediately thought of Tuscany but I didn't see any cinnamon there in sauces.

            2. I don't think I'm going to be making pasta as I had planned. I was declared diabetic on Monday, and am weaning myself off of sugar and flour, at least as much as I used to eat.

              I imagine I'll find something else I like in JAMIE'S ITALY, though.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Jay F

                Sorry to hear that Jay. I hope you find some other delicious stuff that makes you happy.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Thanks, Mere de L. I do love fish.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Oh good! That will definitely help. And if you read through the old threads from when Fish Without a Doubt was COTM, I bet you'll come up with some other great ideas (but it seems like there are plenty of JO fishie things too).

                2. re: Jay F

                  Oh Jay I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis although I do know you'll still have lots of great meals to prepare from Jamie's Italy.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Thanks, Breadcrumbs. In reading further, I've discovered I don't have to give up carbohydrates completely, just *almost* completely.

                3. Spiedini/Lamb and mushroom kebabs pg. 240

                  I made this dish a couple of weeks ago, after checking this book out of the library. I happened to have a lamb steak to use up, and all the other ingredients on hand. It was very good, and something I'd like to make again in warmer weather, on the grill.
                  I I used chanterelles, and probably roasted my kebabs for a minute or two longer than the suggested 7 min.
                  You basically pound out pieces of lamb (from a leg or cutlet, my steak had one small bone which I cut around, then cut the steak into six two inch pieces), then rub the meat with pounded garlic, herbs, anchovy, olive oil and lemon juice.
                  The lamb then gets rolled up and skewered with pieces of mushroom and bay leaves. If I had a bay tree, I would have liked to use the branches as skewers as suggested, alas, I haven't planted one up here yet. Regular skewers did the job just fine.
                  I liked the idea of pounding the meat, seasoning and rolling it to skewer. The end result was quite tender.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rabaja

                    So glad this turned out well rabaja, this is a dish I'd flagged and your review has piqued my interest in trying it. Thanks so much!

                  2. Caponata, Pg. 8, Antipasti

                    For a simple dinner last night we made this caponata and liked it very much. A little different than what I'm used to making, i.e. adding raisins or currents and crushed red pepper flakes, but this recipe is easy and the final dish was delicious. One thing I did differently was to roast the chunked up seasoned (EVOO, S & P, oregano) eggplant pieces instead of frying them stovetop. 400F for 25 minutes. The recipe calls for 2 large eggplants and G was not wanting to stand over the skillet to do that. It workd out well, though because as the eggplant chunks were roasting he continued with the rest of the ingredients.

                    Chopped red onion, garlic and parsley stems are sauteed for a bit then drained capers and pitted olives are added to the pan. When the eggplant was golden on each side the pieces were added to the pan as well. Herb vinegar is added next and I used tarragon vinegar, then chopped tomatoes and all is cooked for about 15 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning at this point then drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with chopped parsley leaves. The pine nuts were omitted. I served this over steamed basmati rice.

                    Really quite a nice dish. It's usually used as an antipasto or side dish but there are a number of ways to serve caponata. It's great stuffed into a pita bread for example. I like how JO uses the whole herb, stems and leaves, and I find that his recipes are flexible and he allows you to add or subtract as you go.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Gio

                      I was planning to make this too - thanks for the great report!

                    2. I've found several interesting things, including tuna meatballs, a sort-of stewed tuna, and just about everything in the "side dishes" (contorni) chapter, including a vegetable stew, a zucchini dish, and a way of making eggplant Parmigiano that I may actually like. I love having pictures of each recipe.

                      I'm going to be looking at a lot of the vegetable dishes here, and in Giuliano Bugialli's and Marcella Hazan's books over the next while as I figure out how to eat in spite of being diabetic (diagnosed 2/28/11, but not a surprise).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Jay F

                        Oh gosh Jay, so sorry to hear. Good Luck with all of that. Didn't you get a nutritionist or dietitian referral? But I'm sure you'll be able to find wonderful recipes to keep you cooking delicious meals.

                      2. Minestra Piselli di Altamura
                        Altamura Pea Soup, Pg. 80, Primi

                        The town of Altamura (high wall) is the next town from where my mother was born, (Andria in Puglia) and since her name was Altamare, I simply Had to make this recipe, although, I don't remember that she ever made it. Either fresh or frozen peas can be used so I used frozen petit pois. It's a very easy recipe and comes together very quickly. Tasty, too.

                        Heat EVOO in a soup pan, add 2 chopped onions (I used 2 large leeks and 1/2 onion), and fry slowly for 10 minutes ...we cooked them for 15. Add the peas and chicken stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Break half a pound of spaghetti (I used vermicelli) into small pieces and cook separately for half the time it usually takes. Drain and add to the soup. The pasta will finish cooking in the soup. Season with S & P and add a combination of fresh herbs: mint, basil, rosemary. Since I was out of fresh herbs I used a couple of teaspoons each of dried herbs. Cook till the pasta is done, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. When serving drizzle each bowl with EVOO and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

                        This soup was delicious. Hearty but seemingly light. I would have liked grated cheese and will do that the next time when I make it with farm fresh peas. I served it with a simple bruschetta: sliced baguette, buttered, drizzled with EVOO, grilled, then scraped with a cut garlic clove and sprinkled with grated pecorino. This could be a wonderful vegetarian soup with vegetable stock instead of the chicken. In fact Jamie does say that making the stock with the shells of fresh peas is a base to start with.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          How could you *not* like it, with that history behind it? (My mother was from Jersey Shore, no kidding, in the 1920s).
                          I recently made JO's vegetable stock from one of the Naked books--and put it in the freezer, not excited about it and not knowing what I'd do with it--but now I can try this soup in the spring.
                          I like how you *both* butter and EVOO your toasts, too.

                        2. Costolette Di Maiale Con Salvia (Pork Chops with Sage) – p. 234 – Jamie’s Italy

                          When I saw the photo of this dish in the book, I immediately flagged the recipe; it looked scrumptious and lovely alternative to a Sunday roast. Happy to report that looks definitely were not deceiving, this was wonderful!

                          Prep for this dish isn’t difficult though there are a few steps for what initially looks like it might be a one-pot meal. Potatoes are peeled, diced and par-boiled. Pockets are cut into the sides of the chops to accommodate a stuffing of a sweet and savoury butter. Butter stuffing is made by whizzing together garlic, prosciutto, apricots and of course, butter. I decided to do this in my mini Cuisinart and if I were to do this again, I’d whiz the garlic and apricots before adding the prosciutto and butter as I found it was impossible to achieve a fine dice as the butter seemed to engulf everything, which was then tossed to the top of the bowl out of the reach of the blades. As a result, the garlic and apricot pieces were much bigger than what I believe would be optimal in a butter. Chops are stuffed and then topped w sage leaves that have been dipped in oil and floured on one side. Chops are then set aside to come to room temperature. Blanched potatoes, whole garlic cloves (I skinned despite being encouraged to leave skins on), pancetta matchsticks and fresh sage leaves are tossed into a roasting pan and drizzled w olive oil then roasted at 425 degrees. After potatoes have roasted for 10 mins, chops are seared for 5 minutes per side then added to the potatoes and roasted for an additional 10 -15 minutes. Ours needed the 15 and, despite the fact that Jamie assures us our potatoes would be “nice and light golden” just prior to the chops being added, mine were definitely cooked but not golden at all. I decided to toss the pan contents prior to adding the chops in the hopes of getting some additional colour. In the end, the potatoes never really browned.

                          The aromas wafting from the oven as this dish roasted were just wonderful. The apricots added a nice sweetness and balance for the (larger than optimal) pieces of garlic that steam inside the chop. Needless to say some of the butter stuffing drizzles down over the potato mixture to enhance their flavours. Happy to recommend this one, we’ll definitely have this again.

                          1. Zucchini in Padella
                            Fried Zucchini, Pg. 259, Contorni

                            Fried zucchini can be used on its own as a side dish or as an element in many other recipes. For example frittatas, pasta sauces, crostini...my mother sometimes battered the slices and fried them, and served them on a platter with fried broccoli and caulifower., etc. This is a very servicable recipe to have in one's repertoire.

                            Slice medium size zucchini in 1/2" pieces. Heat a skillet with EVOO and add sliced garlic and peperoncino. Cook for a few seconds then add the zucchini and herbs: I used a teaspoon dried oregano, along with minced parsley and shredded basil. Season, canterliver a lid on the pan and cook for about 12-ish minutes. Remove cover, add a few anchovies and taste for seasoning, remembering the anchovies are salty. Now add the zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon. That's it. Sweet zucchini and lovely flavors from the herbs went well with the roasted cod on page 56 in Happy Days.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              Oh Gio that sounds amazing, I know we'd love this. I could also imagine it would be nice at room temp as antipasti. Can't wait to try this, thanks!

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Yes it was very good. I loved the addition of more than one herb in these recipes. They add such a depth of flavor... to use that much over-worked but so descriptive phrase.

                                Those chops and the pasta dish you recently made went immediately onto my growing To Make list. The chops will have to wait till I can get to the farm where I can buy thick basically organic pork chops, though.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I agree w you on the multi-herb thing Gio. I'm making a Guinea hen dish tonight that uses fresh sage and thyme and I can already imagine how yummy its going to smell! I already know I'll be giving these books a closer look in the summer and fall when local produce is available.

                                  Those pork chops were really terrific and you're quite right, great pork makes all the difference. We're very lucky to have a local (5 mins away) source for fabulous, freshly butchered organic pork. These folks do their own smoking as well which is a real treat!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    Oh gosh... lucky you with a nearby great butcher. We drive about 45 minutes to get to the farm that sells natural, free-range, etc, etc. chickens, turkeys and pork, but no guinea hens alas. I'm making the pot-roasted pork tonight. A dish I made 2 years ago but thought I'd do a remake in order to get a fresh look at the recipe. And, you're right. These recipes will be terrific in the middle of the local growing season.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Mmm, looking forward to that pot-roasted pork review Gio!! Buon Appetito!

                            2. Grilled and roasted pork p. 214 - secondi

                              I had been so looking forward to JO month but came back from vacation in Mexico a week ago with a horrible chest infection which wiped me out and is only just now starting to clear up. So I have missed a week of great JO cooking - lots to catch up with.

                              I made this pork dish with half quantities and didn't grill it first as it was raining. I think that affected the finished dish - he does say you can do the whole cooking process in the oven but it's not as good. The pork loin is rubbed with olive oil then with crushed fennel seeds and dried red chile. It is then grilled for 10-15 mins and then put in the oven or put straight in the oven. 20 minutes before its cooked a mix of red wine vinegar and rosemary leaves is used to baste the pork.

                              I thought the end result was delicious but I would have prefered the crackling to be a bit crispier which would have been the case if I'd grilled it first. I will make this again. I served it with herby potatoes, parsnips and pears from The NC Takes Off.

                              1. Spaghetti con Gamberetti e rucola – (Spaghetti w Shrimp and Arugula) p. 116

                                As usual, I was looking for a COTM dish that could be made quickly and with relative ease on a weeknight. This pasta fit the bill perfectly.

                                Prep is very straightforward. Garlic is chopped; dried chilies are crumbled (in my case fresh Thai bird chilies were chopped as I had then on hand). Sun-dried tomato paste is measured and a lemon is zested and peeled. While pasta is put on to boil, olive oil is poured into a pan before adding the garlic and chilies. Once the garlic starts to get some colour, the shrimp are added and sautéed for a minute before adding a “small wineglass full” (I used approx 6oz) of white wine, the sundried tomato puree and everything is simmered for a couple of minutes before adding the spaghetti and tossing to coat along w some lemon juice. My lemon yielded 1/3 cup of juice and tasting as I went along, I only added 2 ½ tbsp to the sauce as I felt there was already adequate tang from the wine and, knew the arugula would also bring it’s own zip so I was cautious about over doing it for our tastes. Glad I made that call because after incorporating the arugula and topping w some lemon zest, flavours were perfect for us.

                                JO also mentions you should reserve some pasta water to add some moisture to the sauce if need be. This was not necessary in my case. I used whole-wheat pasta and, only 1/2lb vs the 1lb Jamie calls for since we find whole-wheat pasta much more filling than regular. I didn’t make any adjustments to quantity of ingredients in the sauce and wouldn’t change a thing next time. While the sauce would have coated 1lb of pasta, I believe the flavours would have been too muted for our tastes.

                                We loved this dish. The tang of the lemon and arugula was offset nicely by the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes and, more subdued sweetness of the whole -wheat pasta. The chilies gave this a wonderful warmth without making the dish too spicy. This literally came together in the time it took to boil the water and cook the noodles. Can’t ask for more on a weeknight! I’d be happy to serve this to guests and will keep it in mind for pre-theatre/event meals that we host.

                                Thanks Jamie, two forks up on this one!!

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  This was our dinner tonight. Quick to pull together and so easy for a weeknight. We made half a recipe with tagliarini instead of spaghetti. We also used 2 oz of white wine and 1 T of olive oil and we did not need to add the pasta water either. Nice mix of sweetness from the shrimp and sun dried tomatoes and brightness from the lemon and peppery arugula. The peppers add a welcome bit of heat. The Mr. even approved- even with lemon and tomatoes - typically he avoids both of the ingredients.

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    Breadcrumbs - I hope you are on and can answer quickly - do you think this would adapt well to using scallops for tonight's dinner?

                                    1. re: smilingal

                                      Sorry if I'm too late, but I do think this would be delicious w scallops but since its so easy to overcook them I might sear them off in a different pan and then just toss them in to finish right before serving.

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Looks like CH's clock is still an hour behind mine so hopefully I got this to you in time smilingal, I hope you enjoy it! Looking fwd to your review.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          thanks so much for responding so quick - so I will sear off the scallops as you suggested - any other tips?

                                          1. re: smilingal

                                            So happy I got back to you in time. The only tip I'd offer is to be sure you've got everything prep'd and ready to add before you start as this comes together in no time. I started my sauce after my pasta had been added to the water and, returned to the boil (at the point you start timing it). That way everything finishes at the same time and nothing gets over done. Don't forget to reserve some pasta water as JO suggests, just in case you need it. We didn't by everyone's taste is different. Bon Appetit!

                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            Logging out and back in usually takes care of the time issue after a time change.

                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Spaghetti con Gamberetti e rucola – (Spaghetti w Shrimp and Arugula) p. 116
                                        As Breadcrumbs described so perfectly....
                                        however, I forgot the caution to use less lemon juice than JO suggested and we did feel it was a bit too overpowering. I also subbed in sea scallops in place of the shrimp and unfortunately didn't have the chilies so tried chili powder instead but we probably lost a bit of the heat. No need for the extra pasta water. Oh, and also, I used rehydrated sundried tomatoes and minced them up in the mini-food-chop and added them to the wine sauce. So, I did make my own tweaks apologetically. A quick and tasty meal.

                                      3. Ricetta Tipica per Vedure Verdi
                                        Italian Style Greens, Pg. 264, Contorni

                                        This is a typical recipe for green leafy vegetables including cabbage. Final dish is fresh tasting with hints of the different herbs used in the sautee. I've been eating variations of this dish all my life. The main ingredient here can be any type of greens you want and any chopped fresh herbs as well. I chose escarole and yellow celery leaves, basil, parsley, Blanch leaves from chard or cabbage first. Heat EVOO in a pan, add sliced garlic and when it begins to color toss in the greens. Cook, stirring every now and then, for about 5 minutes. Next in go the chopped herbs. Cook for another minute and remove from heat. Taste for seasoning and add S & P. Drizzle with EVOO and a hit of lemon juice. I liked this. It's similar to the way I cook greens, except I add crushed red pepper flakes, and usually do not add lemon juice. G was ho-hum about it but I notice there's none left.

                                        Served with steamed brown basmati and Fagioli all'Italiana, pg. 256. Kinda like an Italian version of red beans and rice with collards...

                                        1. Fagioli all'Italiana
                                          Italian Style Beans, Pg. 256, Contorni

                                          Loved this version of cooking dried beans. JO gives a choice of beans and I chose cannellini, one of my favorites., although he prefers fresh beans. I soaked the beans all day long instead of over night. In the evening, the beans were drained, placed into a large pot and covered with fresh water. A peeled potato and squashed tomatos (I quartered one large one) are added. JO says these will soften the bean skin. Add a 1/2 bulb of garlic, a bunch of herbs (rosemary, bay, thyme basil - tied). Do not add salt at this point. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. The beans are drained of all but 1/2 cup of liquid. Dress with that liquid, EVOO, a little bit of vinegar, and S & P.

                                          The beans had a wonderful flavor from the herbs and, I think, the tomato as well. Lovely side dish this. The left overs will be used in a pasta fagioli on Friday. Perfect for a Lenten Friday.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Oh, these do sound enticing Gio, reminiscent of the flavours of the beans cooked in a chianti flask in Tuscany. I'll definitely have to add these to my list, thank-you!

                                          2. Pasta alla Norma, Pg. 88, Primi

                                            The story goes... Pasta alla Norma was named in honor of Vincenzo Bellini's opera "Norma". Nino Martoglio, a Sicilian writer, poet and theater director, was so impressed when he first tasted this dish that he compared it to “Norma”, Bellini’s masterpiece. It's a is a typical dish from the city of Catania, Sicily.

                                            I've made Pasta Norma in the past and this recipe was a little lopsided, I thought. First, 2 large eggplants are sliced in finger sized pieces instead of chunks. Sautee the eggplant with dried oregano in two batches removing them from the pan when done. Then when all the eggplant is cooked add back the first batch. Nothing is said about the second batch. Add chopped garlic, peperoncino, and chopped basil stems saving the leaves for later. Sautee this then add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar, S & P, tinned tomatoes and torn basil leaves. At this point the pasta water should be boiling so throw the spaghetti. (That's pasta speak for "put the macaroni into the water". You Throw it into the water then Toss it with the sauce).

                                            Well you know the rest. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle a goodly amount of Ricotta Salata over each serving. This ricotta salata is not the sweet soft ricotta we usually see in the market. This is salted and semi-hard (or semi-soft however you want to look at it.) It's a typical Sicilian cheese, which is an aged version of the traditional fresh ricotta. To me it's like an Italian feta. The ricotta salata I used came from a very good salumeria in Boston's North End and it was delicious.

                                            So the verdict: G did not like this at all. He thought it was "too heavy." I didn't dislike it but for all the seasoning and effort I felt there was something missing. Oh - about that second batch of eggplant. At the last minute we used it all in the sauce. This morning he said "I like our sauce better." All together now, "Awwwww".....

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Pasta alla Norma (Pasta Norma style) – p.88

                                                Gio, first off, thank-you so much for the lovely story on the origin of this dish. Jamie didn’t know why the dish got it’s name and it’s a shame he didn’t do his research, I love hearing context like this.

                                                If it isn’t already obvious, for mr bc and I, this was the first time we’ve experienced Pasta alla Norma and I’m happy to report, it’s the best we’ve had so far! ; - )

                                                We really enjoyed this. I think the secret to the success of Pasta alla Norma is the caramelization of the eggplant. Above all else, it was the sweet, wonderful flavours of the eggplant that really sold us on this dish.

                                                JO must have read Gio’s review because “the case of the missing second batch of eggplant” was addressed in my book. Once you’ve caramelized the first bunch, you remove it from the pan, sear off the second lot, then add the first bunch back in. Keeping Gio’s review in mind though, I reserved a few lovely pieces for the “glam shot” !!

                                                Gio covers the prep perfectly so all that’s left for me to say is that we really enjoyed this. I used Asian eggplant (sorry Italy!! I learned to love the less acidic Asian eggplant during the Grace Young COTM and I don’t think I’ll ever look back!). Despite the fact there’s no meat involved, this is a hearty, delicious and satisfying dish w a sauce that comes together in the time it takes to make your pasta. We especially liked the saltiness that the ricotta salata brought to the dish and I was grateful I decided not to “season to taste” the sauce prior to this addition as no salt was necessary for us. I thought it was interesting and heartening to note that JO admitted to not being able to source ricotta salata in London and using ricotta for his glam shot! First time I’ve seen this honesty and level of detial in a cookbook!

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  I debated about making this dish as the above reviews are mixed, but I had two lovely organic eggplants in the fridge, calling out "Norma!"
                                                  Because Gio's G thought the dish was too heavy, I tried a different method. I lightly tossed the eggplant fingers in a small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano, and roasted them until almost done. Then I tossed them into the pan and continued the recipe as written.
                                                  Jamie is right about the eggplant cooked with the oregano, really enhances the flavor. And the ricotta salata and fresh basil are the perfect additions. This dish was a huge hit here. Mr NS made me promise to make it again.

                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                    That's wonderful, LN. I usually do roast eggplant before continuing with a recipe, and we do actually make a pasta sauce with chunks of eggplant but somehow this one seemed different. I'm happy to read your family liked it...

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Well, Gio, you get some of the credit for the raves here. I wouldn't have roasted the eggplant if you hadn't described the dish as too heavy. Eggplant can be such an oil sponge when sauteed. Roasted, it was quite light. It probably makes the prep easier too, as I just tossed all the eggplant in a pan and let it go, no batches, no tending.

                                                2. My Favorite Ribolitta, p. 72

                                                  I had never had ribolitta, but had always been intrigued by this soup made with beans, bread, and cavolo nero (lacinato kale). This was an odd case, in that the soup had wonderful flavor, and made a delicious (and healthful, to boot) meal, but though I followed the recipe, its texture didn't ultimately match his description, or the photo, if that means anything.

                                                  I did not use his instructions for cooking the beans (which are similar to the contorno Gio reports on: soak overnight and cook with water, bay leaf, a squashed tomato, and a peeled potato), but that's immaterial, as the beans cook separately and he says on p. 70 that canned beans work well in this recipe. I used the quick-soak method on my cannelini, then cooked with a bay leaf, water, and some vegetable broth that needed using. Fresh tomatoes aren't in season/decent, and I was concerned about including an acidic ingrededient (glad to know it's not an issue).

                                                  The soup is made from red onion, carrot, celery, garlic, canned tomatoes, the beans, pinches of ground fennel seed (I skipped) and red pepper, cavolo nero, and moistened stale bread. He instructs saving "half a glass" of bean cooking liquid to keep the soup from being dry, but I could tell it would likely need more, so I collected the liquid in a Pyrex measure, and used what I needed probably 12 oz. He says the soup should be "thick and silky," and while it was certainly thick, it was chunky rather than silky: the bread didn't totally fall apart, and the kale was quite tender, but distinct. Never mind, the flavor was good, and it was nice and hearty. I used rather less olive oil to finish it than he suggests (the "silky" description is before that final addition).

                                                  1. Pollo alla Cacciatora
                                                    Hunter's Chicken Stew, Pg. 222

                                                    Here's a different cacciatore recipe. No bell peppers, no mushrooms, no crushed red pepper flakes, with red wine... "a nice chianti" and long marinade, over night if possible. The marinade is a mixture of bay leaves, sprigs of fresh rosemary, a crushed clove of garlic and 1/2 bottle of chianti. I halved the recipe and used 6 1/4 oz. of Carlo Rossi Burgundy. Instead of a whole chicken cut into pieces, I used 5 leg and thigh pieces seasoned, which came to 2 3/4 lbs, with S & P and placed into the marinade to leave for 6 hours in the fridge.

                                                    To cook, drain the chicken but reserve the marinade. Pat the pieces of chicken dry and dust with flour. Brown in a pot then add a couple of cloves of garlic sliced, anchovies, olives and tinned tomatoes plus the reserved marinade. Bring to boil, cover and place pot in a pre-heated 350F oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.

                                                    Pretty good flavor. Nothing spectacular but satisfactory. We think 1 1/2 hours is too long a cooking time. The chicken was falling off the bone so the effect was more like a thick ragu than chicken with some sauce. But he does call it a chicken stew after all. Even as a stew it was much too heavy. I served it with a very creamy polenta since I envisioned a finished dish texture I'm used to, and a tossed salad. I've made chicken cacciatore many, many times but I won't be making this recipe again.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Pollo Alla Cacciatora – Hunter’s Chicken Stew – p. 222

                                                      mr bc had flagged this dish at the beginning of the JO COTM and as the month was drawing to a close, he reminded me that I hadn’t made this, one of his top picks!

                                                      Gio did a wonderful job describing how this comes together above so no need to repeat here. I used chicken pieces vs cutting up a whole chicken. We had 2 breasts and 4 large thighs w bones in and skin left on. I marinated my chicken for 24hrs and it was rich burgundy colour on removing from the fridge. I wish I’d thought to snap a photograph after I’d browned the meat as the pieces were a wonderful mahogany colour. It made me think I’d like to try making wine-marinated fried chicken some day! YUM! Ah, but I digress.

                                                      This smelled absolutely delicious as the anchovies, garlic and olives were sautéing and the aromas got even more tantalizing once this was transferred to the oven. We simply couldn’t wait to dig in!!

                                                      In this case I cooked the dish the day before I intended to serve it so after it had cooled down a little, I popped it into the fridge for the following night’s dinner. Letting this dish rest overnight allowed me to remove excess fat from the pan w ease.

                                                      We both enjoyed this dish quite a bit. mr bc adored it and went back for seconds which means he ate 2 thighs and, one breast of chicken! How that man does this I’ll never know! The sauce was rich and delicious with no one flavour standing out. The olives and anchovies added a nice saltiness and served to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. The chicken was moist and fall-off-the-bone tender. We served this w a simply dressed Canadian-Italian salad and some crusty bread. Lovely and perfect w the acidity of a nice glass of Chianti (or two!).

                                                    2. Cauliflower Risotto p. 141 (half recipe)

                                                      Delicious meatless dinner for two. Begin by making pangrattato. Blend stale bread (I used the semolina bread that I had made during the Wolfert COTM),anchovies, oil from the anchovy tin and dried red chile. This mixture is blended and then toasted. I browned this in a nonstick pan without adding additional oil and set aside. The risotto is made by making a sofrito of finely chopped garlic, onions, celery and chopped caluflower stalks. When soft, add rice (I used carnaroli) until translucent and then add vermouth. Next add stock (I used chicken stock) in the traditional method. I did run out of chicken stock and had to add additional hot water. The florettes are to cook in thehot broth, but perhaps because of the half recipe, they were not ready so I cooked them in a small saucepan of water to tender. When the rice is half cooked start adding the cauliflower florets and crush them into the rice. When done, finish with butter, parmesan and parsley. Cover for a couple minutes. Serve with pangrattato and extra parmesan. This was creamy, delicious and very filling. The pangrattato adds color, texture and a hint of heat. The Mr. gave this an 8 out of 10 -surprisingly high for a dish that does not have any meat in it. I would make this again. Next time I might cook the cauliflower ahead of time and set aside or roasted cauliflower might be an interesting addition (although texturally different).

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                        I had overlooked this one - it sounds really good.

                                                      2. Melanzana alla Parmigiana
                                                        Eggplant Parmigiana, Pg., 266, Contorni

                                                        Ahhh...my second favorite food in all the world. (The first being lobster in any form.) This particular rendition was very nice. Well flavored, creamy, aromatic, and noticably light. The eggplant is grilled without oil - not battered and fried. I did make some minor adjustments: two eggplants instead of three, three cloves of garlic instead of one, used a 28 oz. tin of "Kitchen Ready" tomatoes, and included the optional buffalo mozzarella.

                                                        Make the sauce: Pour 2 or 3 glugs of EVOO into your sauce pan . (A glug at casa G & G is 1 T.) Add chopped onion, garlic, dried oregano, cook till the O & G have colored a bit then add the tomatoes. He gives a choice of tinned or fresh. Cover pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. We let it cook till the eggplant slices had all been grilled. When finished season with S & P, a slug of red wine vinegar and shredded basil.

                                                        While the sauce is cooking grill the sliced eggplants. G used our indoor grill pan, grilled the eggplant slices in batches and got some nice grill marks on each side.

                                                        Assemble: JO says to use a 10" X 5" earthenware dish but we used a 13" X 9" Pyrex to fit the enormous amount of melanzana this recipe makes. Start layering with a bit of sauce, then freshly grated Parmigiana, then a single layer of eggplant. Continue in this way, sauce, cheese, eggplant and end with a top layer of sauce and cheese. Breadcrumbs mixed with EVOO and chopped fresh oregano are now strewn over top and I used torn bits of a ball of buffalo mozzarella over that. This is placed into a pre-heated 375F oven and baked for 30 minuted or till golden and bubbly.

                                                        As you can imagine this is very filling, but not at all as dense as some parmigiana I've seen and eaten. Not frying the eggplant first is a wonderful way to reduce that heavy feeling. We loved it and probably will use this method in future parmigianas. I served the Panzanella on pg. 154. Delicioso in its own right.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          That sounds lovely Gio, no surprise I had this marked as well. Funny you mention about the alternative prep for eggplant. I was reading Julie Biuso's "The Long Italian Lunch" last weekend and she suggests baking the eggplant as opposed to frying because of it's tendency to absorb oil. She just slices it and brushes both sides w oil then bakes at 350 for 20 mins or until brown. I thought that was such a great idea and contemplated giving it a go last night when I made the Pasta alla Norma but since Jamie wanted finger sized pieces I figured I'd just do them stove top as he suggested. Anyway, now I have 2 options going forward, especially during the summer when we seem to have a charcoal grill going all the time and we're always looking for something to throw on to the still hot grill after our dinner has cooked since it seems such a shame to let the good hot coals go to waste.

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I usually do bake the slices (seasoned with EVOO, S & P, and a sprinkling of either oregano or basil) instead of all that oil for frying but I thought the grilling for this recipe would give the slices more flavor. I baked the slices when I made the Pasta Norma...

                                                        2. Pananella
                                                          Tuscan Bread, Tomato, and Pepper Salad, Pg. 154, Insalate

                                                          This was quite a nice salad full of flavor and almost satisfying enough to serve for a light lunch. Once again I had to improvise some of the ingredients since I didn't have the full quantities recommended, but in the end the salad was delicious and we loved it.

                                                          The bread I used was a half baguette on its way to becoming stale. The salad consists of bell peppers, tomatoes, anchovies (Omitted. Today is shopping day, though), capers, red onion, celery heart (I included some yellow leaves), fresh basil.

                                                          JO's technique is to drain seasoned chopped tomatoes into the salad bowl by setting the strainer over the bowl and letting the juice drip into the bowl. This is the base of the dressing. Add chopped anchovies and caper to this juice. Next very thinly slice a red onion (I used 1/4 of a large one) and a celery heart and put into a large bowl along with torn dried bread. Char the peppers, peel, slice thinly, add to the bowl with the onion, celery and bread. Put the chopped tomatoes into the bowl, and add torn basil leaves.

                                                          Remove anchovies from the tomato juice and set aside. To the tomato juice add 2 T red wine vinegar, 10 T EVOO, grated or crushed garlic (I pressed it). Mix it together, taste and add FGBP and salt if it's needed. Scatter chopped celery leaves over top. Pour dressing over the salad and toss gently. Drape the reserved anchovies over top.

                                                          JO devotes 2 pages of instructions for this salad, each paragraph focusing of the individual components. If you have the book, the photograph opposite the second page looks just like the finished salad. It was delicious and we loved it.

                                                          Oh... my improvisations? I only had 2 tomatoes, and they didn't equal 2lb. 3 oz., nor did I have 4 bell peppers. My solution? Chop the two tomatoes, and use a 1/2 can of Rotel. Plus I included about 5 leaves of Romaine, torn. Fabulous.

                                                          1. Insalata Amalfitana (Amalfi Salad), page 154
                                                            I made three different dishes for dinner, and used three different Jamie books. (I made this to go with Sicilian roasted fish and parmesan truffle mash, reviewed in the other thread.) This salad was so bright and refreshing. It consists of thinly sliced cucumber, fennel bulb, red onion, and radishes, with sectioned oranges, tossed with herbed vinegar and olive oil. I had heirloom purple radishes which added a nice little bite. The oranges are the perfect addition. The recipe makes a very large bowl full, so I hope the leftovers stand up.

                                                            1. Roast Chicken, Pg. 227

                                                              This roast chicken recipe is but one component of the Arrosto Misto (Mixed Roast) recipe on page 224 which incorporates rabbit, duck, squab and quail. Each meat is treated a bit differently but they're roasted together in the same pan. I made this the first time 25 July 2010 when we cooked it in the Weber outside over hickory chips. Last night we roasted the chicken in the oven. The result is a very flavorful chicken, juicy with crispy skin.

                                                              A 4 lb. free range chicken is rubbed with EVOO, seasoned with S & P, stuffed with bay leaves/garlic/lemon halves. Into a pre-heated 350F oven it goes. Half way through cooking remove the pan from the oven, add a little more S & P and any other herbs and spices you want. We added thickly sliced potatoes and red onions, whole small shallots, smashed garlic, lemon slices, rosemary & thyme leaves, drizzled with EVOO and seasoned with S & P. This was mixed in a large bowl then scattered around the chicken. Baste the chicken and continue cooking per the recipe. That's all there is to it. Absolutely delicious.

                                                              1. I made my first recipe from JAMIE'S ITALY today, Fagioli all'Italiana, p. 256. He cooks them on the stovetop (w/garlic, tomato, thyme, sage) instead of in the oven, and recommends 40 minutes cooking time after the first boil.

                                                                That wasn't nearly enough. I took them off the stove at 60 minutes. They were cooked, but al dente, let's say. I didn't want to cook them much longer, as I like to get a sense of what a recipe writer is trying to communicate, but after eating two small bowls, I think that for my taste, to my tongue, they could have gone at least another 30.

                                                                I dressed them in the recommended vinegar (I used sherry) and EVOO, S&P. And I grated some grana padano on top.

                                                                I've never cooked beans on top of the stove. I like the set-and-forget quality of cooking them in the oven, and if I make these again, I'll switch to the oven.

                                                                I was intially intrigued by this recipe because it doesn't contain pancetta, prosciutto, or salt pork, without one of which I don't think I've ever made beans before.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                  We made these too, Jay. Here's a link to my report of 9 March:

                                                                  I soaked dried cannellinis for 12 hours then cooked them the recommended amount of time stove top and they were cooked perfectly. Not al dente at all. I always make a full pound of dried beans so we have left overs. In fact the remainder of this recipe is in the freezer for future use.

                                                                  FWIW: The only beans I make in the oven are the traditional Boston Baked Beans when I use either navy neans or heirloom Marfax.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    That's interesting, Gio. I used Navy beans, which I bought two days earlier, but I suppose they could have been dry/old. They're considerably smaller than the cannellini I usually use, so I thought they'd be more likely to cook through in 40 minutes. I soaked them 12 hours, too, from around 8pm until 8am.

                                                                    I've never frozen beans. I'm not really a freezer. I'm more of an eat-it-at-every-meal-until-it's-gone kind of eater.

                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      Well, age of the beans does play an important part when cooking. Perhaps that's what happened to you. I found it strange that JO uses a tomato and potato to often the skin. I thought the acidic vegetable would do the opposite. After twice around with beans G wants them gone...he gets tired of them, even though the original dish may be tasty.

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        "G wants them gone"? Are you a third-person-er? I don't see much use for the potato, either, but I like tomatoes in my beans. Since it's March, I didn't have any fresh, so I used half a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained. I wish I'd put them all in.

                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                          Jay, "G" is the first initial of my husband's name...

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            Ohhhhhhhhhh....okay. Thanks.

                                                                2. Early Autumn Minestrone, p. 66

                                                                  Was today ever a day calling for soup - chilly, windy, stormy with near-constant downpour. Regardless of weather, if you are wondering why I chose this "early autumn" soup in early spring, especially given JO's stipulating, on the previous page, that it's imperative to use seasonal vegetables in minestrone, here's why: I know I am blessed to live in a very moderate climate, and have found that, excepting zucchini, all the fresh vegetables called for (red onion, carrot, celery, fennel, chard) are available from area growers most of the year. If it's available at the farmers' market, it's seasonal, and all these are right now in the Bay Area, and that's where mine came from (I didn't use the zucchini).

                                                                  He calls for bacon or smoked porchetta to be cooked along with the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, fennel, and sliced basil stems, but because I am a non-eater of pork, I did not use it; I did add a good shake of smoked paprika for the smoke factor. The recipe also includes canned plum tomatoes, red wine, stock, the chard, cooked cannelini beans (I used canned), and pasta (I used orzo). When it's done, the basil leaves are added, and it's served with grated Parmesan.

                                                                  This is a thick, hearty version with good flavor that very much hit the spot on this chilly day. I'd make it again.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Sounds great Caitlin, thanks for the review . . . I truly hope I don't have occasion to make this until "early autumn" though!!

                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      I make minestrone frequently and usually I don't use any porky meat or any other meat at all for that matter, so you're OK with that. (As if you needed me to tell you, LOL). I'll have to take another look at this recipe, though, after reading your report. Always like a different take on a familiar recipe.

                                                                    2. JAMIE'S ITALY: Limoni di Amalfi Cotti al Forno, page 20
                                                                      This was just an experiment, I had one little organic Meyer lemon and some fresh mozzarella, so I made two little portions to go with a salad.
                                                                      The lemons are in one inch slices with the flesh removed. The peel is then filled with slices of fresh mozzarella (preferably buffalo, available nowhere in my town). A cherry tomato, an anchovy, some dried chili, and a basil leave are sandwiched between the two slices of cheese. The lemons are then baked at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes. I had to up the heat and the time, and even so my cheese did turn "golden." Jamie warned that the mozzarella would melt and ooze, and recommended using a lemon leaf or waxed paper as a base. I baked them in custard cups instead. Glad I did as there was a lot of liquid ooze in the bottom when done.
                                                                      These really need bread to accept the contents of the lemon in one big plop. I just served them with a salad and had some crackers on the side. It wasn't easy to scoop appropriate portions of the stringy cheese onto a cracker. But the taste was very good. The mozzarella picks up a bit of the lemon flavor. When I assembled them I thought sun dried tomatoes might be better, but the burst of fresh tomato was a nice compliment to the creamy cheese and salty anchovy.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                        I Love that...! Must make. If I understand it correctly, the lemon peel is just a ring, around the filling, not a half lemon to make a cup...

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          That is how I interpreted the directions. The ends of the lemon are cut off, so you end up with circles of lemon peel. It is a very adaptable concept, I might throw in some pine nuts or an olive next time.

                                                                        2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                          I've had my eye on these - sounds heavenly.

                                                                        3. The Best Shrimp and Parsley Frittata page 44
                                                                          I usually make a frittata for Sunday breakfast, so I gave this one a go this morning.
                                                                          Six organic eggs are mixed with salt and pepper, chopped parsley, lemon zest and a bit of juice, parmesan cheese, and 6-7 ounces of fresh shrimp. The frittata is started on the stove in a mix of olive oil and butter, then transferred to the oven to finish, then topped with a bit of crumbled dried chile. I really wanted it to turn golden, as specified in the directions and shown in the picture. It is supposed to cook for one minute on the stove, and four or five minutes in the oven. I still had raw eggs with those times. So I cooked it longer, but still no "golden." I ended up broiling to finish. When all was said and done, the eggs were very slightly overcooked, but not bad, and only the edges had color. Not the best frittata I've ever made, but we liked it well enough. It's a very adaptable recipe, of course. Mr NS has already volunteered to bring home and shell a crab for the next version.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                            Mmm, sounds great LN, can I come over for the next version . . . that crab sounds so decadent and delicious!!

                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              Sure, we'd love to have you. Might be a bit of a long flight for breakfast though!

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Sadly you're quite right LN!! We've never been to WA and hope to get there some day though! We love BC and expect WA to be similar but, warmer! Maybe you could just save me a piece!

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  Consider it done.
                                                                                  Toronto is one of my favorite cities. I always thought I'd like to live there one day. Just walking down the street is like walking around the world through restaurants!

                                                                          2. Funghi al Forno Ripieni Di Ricotta (Baked Mushrooms Stuffed with Ricotta) – p.26

                                                                            The Italian grocer we visit from time-to-time makes their own cheese and yesterday we picked up some ricotta. Since I had some mushrooms lingering in the fridge, a quick EYB search for mushrooms & ricotta yielded this recipe. Since I didn’t need to make the ricotta, this literally came together in less than 10 minutes before getting tossed into the oven for 15. We loved this antipasti, definitely something worthy of serving to company however tonight the guests of honour were just mr bc & I!!

                                                                            Ricotta is mixed with lemon zest, a chopped chili (I used a Thai bird), chopped herbs – in my case, crazy as this seems I couldn’t resist using fresh chives growing in my garden (the crazy part is that it’s March!! Never, ever do I have anything in my garden in March other than frozen earth and sometimes snow!!! What a joy this warmer weather is.) Parmesan, S&P are also added to the mix that’s then stuffed into the mushrooms that are washed, de-stemmed and rubbed w EVOO. A little more Parm. on top then they bake for approx 15 mins @ 425. Mine weren’t as brown on top as the mushrooms in the photo of the book at this time so I turned on the broiler to achieve that crust.

                                                                            Delicious, not too rich, fresh and with a little warmth from the chilies these were just lovely. Perfect with a glass of wine and some Sunday evening jazz. Yum!

                                                                            1. Squashed Cannellini Beans with Garlic – p. 25

                                                                              Quick & lovely! mr bc had a hankering for some sort of bean antipasti and time was not on my side. A quick EYB search landed me here and true to form, Jamie didn’t disappoint. This made for a wonderfully aromatic, flavourful spread that tasted like it would have been a lot more work than it really was!

                                                                              Beans are drained and a couple of sprigs of rosemary are pounded in a mortar and pestle along w some salt. A “glug” of evoo is added and the mixture is set aside. Sliced garlic is fried in some evoo prior to adding the drained beans which are then simmered until tender. Beans are seasoned then mashed along w a “swig” of red wine vinegar – I used Pinot Noir vinegar. The rosemary oil is drizzled atop. The mixture was served warm w some freshly grilled crostini.

                                                                              Simple, delicious and satisfying.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                Breadcrumbs - your spread looks yummy - the beans still have a nice integrity - I made a delicious cannellini Bean dip with garlic tonight as well - it was from cooking.com - so I don't want to hog space on Jamie's thread! This is the second or third time I have made this dip and it is really great - different than yours as all goes in the foodprocessor. Bringing it onto a friend's boat tomorrow to enjoy with some good wines and veggies and crackers.

                                                                              2. Insalata di farro con verdure al forno (Farro salad with roasted veg) p.172

                                                                                I was looking for a vegetarian dinner containing farro and this looked good, though I didn't have all the ingredients. I don't think that matters too much, it's the type of recipe you can adjust to whatever vegetables you have. So I skipped eggplant and fennel but added asparagus. I really liked the result - it was good warm last night and I also liked it cold for lunch today. Because I wanted it warm I didn't wait for the roasted vegetables to cool, which may have made the squash rather mushier when chopping finely. But still it tasted great - nutty chewy farro with sweet, caramelized roasted veg. Will be repeating this one.

                                                                                1. RICOTTA FRITTA CON (SENZA) PICCOLA INSALTA DI POMODORI – p. 12

                                                                                  Delicate and delicious! I’ve had my eye on these since first purchasing the book and yesterday the opportunity finally presented itself to make these lovely fritta.

                                                                                  I found the recipe online here:


                                                                                  These really couldn’t come together more quickly but, as Jamie cautions, they really are at their best right out of the pan so as he says, “it’s worth being a bossy boots” and herding everyone to the table so you can serve these to order. I served these as part of an antipasti meal and I didn’t make the side salad since I’d opted to serve these and the rice balls w some marinara on the side. That said, a little marinara goes a long way as you don’t want to overpower the delicate flavours of the fritta. The recipe yields quite a bit so I have some uncooked mixture leftover and intend to stir in some lemon zest and serve these w a dusting of sea salt an a little lemon evoo drizzled atop this evening. I’ll let you know how that goes.

                                                                                  These were truly wonderful. Light and fluffy inside and crispy and caramelized on the outside. Everyone devoured them and it was a nice reminder about the many successful dishes we’ve enjoyed from this book.

                                                                                  1. Grilled and Marinated Rabbit, pg. 230

                                                                                    True confessions, generally for us Jamie O's approach to food is appealing, his recipes not so much. But this one has been on the "to try" list for 3+ years, and wow, what a winner.

                                                                                    If you like rabbit, and especially if you like rabbit and like grilled food, do not wait three years -- try this. It is a bit fussy, lots of basting and turning on the grill, but oh so worth it. We had it with grilled romaine, and roasted potatoes with a bravas sauce (mixing countries a bit), a very very nice meal.