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I'm in the mood for Italian...

  • CindyJ Apr 28, 2012 07:54 AM

...but I'm lacking inspiration. What should I make for dinner tonight?

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  1. Chicken Scarpiello

    6 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Interesting you should mention Chicken Scarpariello. I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was delicious. But it made such a huge mess -- oil splattered all over the place despite having used a splatter shield -- that I told myself it'd be a looooong time before I made it again. I'll have to be content to get my Chicken Scarp fix at a place in my mother-in-law's neighborhood in Long Island that does a great job with it.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Yep, I have that problem too. But splattered oil is a necessary evil for the accomplished cook if we want to use frying as a cooking method. If you have a propane fuel or gas barbeque you might try doing the frying outdoors (I do it, sometimes using a two burner coleman camp stove) and the remainder of the tasks in the kitchen.

        How about a Braised Ligurian Chicken?

        It's incredibly easy. If you find a recipe for it that calls for a "large flameproof casserole dish" you needn't pay attention to that. Any good sized fry pan (or dutch oven) will do the job nicely. Don't you just hate it when the recipe's author tells you what type of vessel to use?

        1. re: todao

          Do you have a particular recipe for Braised Ligurian Chicken?

        2. re: CindyJ

          Chicken scarpariello... I've been making it again and again since trying Anne Burrell's take on Rao's version weeks ago. CindyJ and Todao, I had the same issue, the spatter made me crazy. It's been so warm here on Lawn Guyland that I solved that by taking it outside and browning the chicken in my pan on the grill... now it's easy and life is GOOD! I tried it in the oven, too, but while that kept my kitchen clean, there was a lot of oven spatter. I suspect it would've worked with less mess on a lower heat, which I'll try in the winter, since this recipe is a keeper.

          Edited to add: This dish tastes even more amazing the next day. Just to die for. The only real work involved is due to my buying whole organic chix at Costco, and cutting them into more pieces than the recipe calls for.

          1. re: mcf

            I don't know how far out on the Island you are, but if you're anywhere near Cedarhurst, LaViola does a very respectable version of Chicken Scarp.

            When I made it a few weeks ago, I used a recipe that was something of a hybrid between Lidia Bastianich's (which also calls for Italian sausage) and Carmines' (the NYC restaurant). Taking the pan outside to the grill is a great idea. I'll have to do that the next time.

            1. re: CindyJ

              I'm in W. Suffolk, north. Lots of good chicken scarpariello around here, but none this good, and making it in the oven or outside does away with the mess. Yeah, outside was the easiest, I was crazed and had to Windex my entire kitchen the first time I made it. . I never fry stuff, I HATE spatter, but love making this dish.

      2. I'm making homemade manicotti this afternoon.

        1. I'm making Sunday Gravy......today on Saturday...

          Veal-Pork-Beef Meatballs
          Spare Ribs
          Hot Pork sausage
          Sweet Chicken Sausage

          1 Reply
          1. re: fourunder

            Wow! That sounds sooooo good, but there are only two of us here tonight. How many are you cooking for? Do you have room at your table for two more? I've got a couple of bottles of a wonderful Barbera just waiting for a meal like that.

          2. Lydia's poor man's risotto--comes together in less than half an hour and it's the ultimate comfort food.


            4 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              That looks delicious, and really easy. A real contender for tonight. What do you serve along with it?

              1. re: CindyJ

                It's my go-to on busy nights so just a side salad which is nice and light and provides a good textural contrast. I also add vegetables to it--whatever I have around. Peas are really good in it.

                1. re: chowser

                  Chowser -- thanks for the recommendation. It was delicious and easy and a real keeper of a recipe. I served it with a big garden salad and it was a perfect meal.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    I found it here, too, last year and it's become one of my favorite go-to meals.

            2. I'll be making Orecchiette with Potatoes, Garlic and Chicory this weekend. This will be the first recipe I'll be making from Italian Country Cooking by Loukie Werle.

              We also tend to love sausage pastas with or without beans but always w lots of garlic and fennel seed. Of course you can never go wrong w a Bolognese and Osso Bucco is another house fave here.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                I made a Bolognese not too long ago -- first time in a REALLY long time. It was soooo good. Too good, almost. I wanted to just keep eating it, but it was so rich, that was impossible. I think I'll serve it as an appetizer portion next time. Osso Buco -- I'm putting that on my list for next weekend. The veal is sometimes hard to find, and it may require a little road trip.

              2. I have several young adults visiting today (and wow, can they can eat!). I am making eggplant lasagna -baked with lots of cheeses and fresh tomato puree... mmmm....alongside many other items :)

                10 Replies
                1. re: sedimental

                  I'm intrigued -- how do you make that? Do you cook the eggplant before you layer it?

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    You have to, otherwise it's too watery. I use a low carb flour and bake on the bottom of the over on high heat when I do it (I'm interested to hear how sedimental does it), then use the slices (cut the long way) in place of lasagna noodles.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I peel (I like a bit of skin left on it) and slice the eggplant length wise, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with S & P, then roast them well in the oven first. Get them dark on the edges and soft- really roasted. Then use in place of lasagna noodles. I get 3 layers from 2 eggplants. I also use alot of ricotta with eggs and cheese in the middle layer- makes a great white, firm "stripe" down the middle... it looks pretty cool being red, white and purplish :)

                      1. re: sedimental

                        Do you ever salt & press the slices to get rid of excess liquid?

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          No I don't. Roasting them dries them out pretty well.

                          1. re: sedimental

                            I don't salt and press either. The dry heat does the job.

                          2. re: CindyJ

                            I salt and press. I spray it w/ olive oil just before baking.

                        2. re: CindyJ

                          CindyJ - "how do you make that" - it's often referred to as Egg Plant Parmesan and the recipe(s) are readily accessible with a Google search.

                          1. re: todao

                            No, what I make is not Eggplant Parmesan, but I make that too and like it :)

                            Eggplant lasagna is very different- the eggplant is not fried or baked, coated in breadcrumbs or flour, etc. ....and this is made with ricotta like lasagna.

                            1. re: todao

                              Eggplant parmesan is mostly eggplant with mozzarella between, but lasagna is much more thickly filled with the addition of the ricotta mixture.

                        3. I'm going to attempt to make ravioli for the first time tonight. My limited experiences with making pasta from scratch have been mixed, so perhaps ravioli is a bit ambitious. Wish me luck!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: twyst

                            Good luck, and don't forget to post jpegs if you're happy with it!

                            1. re: twyst

                              Good luck! You're a lot braver than I am. I've never made a homemade pasta that I've really liked.

                              1. re: twyst

                                Make the dough in the food processor and you should have no problems--1 egg per half cup flour, splash of olive oil, salt works for me every time.

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  Agree on that formula. I do it with 4 eggs, one cup of AP, and one cup of semolina. Process, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate about an hour. Roll out a quarter at a time. I know the roller goes to 9 (sorry, Nigel Tuffnall), but I stop at 8 for ravioli.

                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    I have found that when I use half semolina it helps me to process that first with most of the eggs so it makes kind of a slurry. I let that sit in the FP for about 10 minutes which seems to hydrate it and make it easier to work with after the AP flour is added. My roller only goes to 6 but I take it all the way and then press out the edges of the ravioli once made so they aren't so thick--hate chew ravioli. (Oh, and I freeze my ravioli even if I'm cooking them in half an hour--no sticking and rarely a leaker.)

                              2. Sicilian/Greek/"Chinese"-influenced meat sauce for pasta. :-) With cinnamon and cloves.

                                1. Steamed mussels with fennel bulb and butter? :-) ;-) :-D

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: huiray

                                    Now you're just being BAD, LOL.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Well, she did ask for Italian and NOT French so THAT disqualifies THAT! ;-)

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Mussels with fennel....not Italian?

                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          It's the butter... or cream... don't ask, it was quite the CH dustup. ;-)

                                          1. re: mcf


                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Because Italians use neither butter nor cream?

                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                Incoming, duck!!