Tag Archives: italian

Grilled Olive Oil and Rosemary Flatbread

Today, I decided to experiment with grilled flatbread. I’ve never done it before. I read several recipes and then came up with what I thought would be the best combination of ingredients. I had no idea whether it would turn out.

OMG this flatbread was SOOO good. The outside came out crispy and the inside was chewy!! I’m blogging it today so I don’t forget what I did. It went with dry-aged BBQ’d steak like heaven!


  • 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/3 cup of flour + a little more as needed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt + a little more
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic


Pour warm water and yeast into a small bowl, stir and ignore it for about five minutes until the mixture gets a little foamy.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/3 cup of flour, olive oil, 1 tbsp salt, rosemary and water/yeast mixture. Kneed until it forms a nice ball. You can sprinkle in more water as needed.

Make a ball of dough and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave alone for 30-50 minutes.

Spread a little flour on a wooden cutting board. Roll the dough out until it makes an even disk, about 1/4″ thick.

Scrape the mixture up from the wood, keeping the shape. Re-flour the board and lay it back down. The point is to keep the bottom floured and non-sticky.

Sprinkle chopped garlic and kosher salt evenly on the top.

Toss on the BBQ grill for a few minutes. Flip if necessary. Cook until the bread looks done. Slice into strips and serve with your steak dinner.


Spicy Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Bolognese

This pasta sauce is somewhere between a bolognese and an arrabiata. It doesn’t matter what you call it, though, this is an absolutely delicious and spicy dinner. The sauce gets stuck i the twists of the fusilli pasta. You can adjust the spiciness by reducing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes –but I wouldn’t recommend it. 😉


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 tomatoes
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • 4 italian sausages —I like these.
  • 1 lb fusilli pasta
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated or shreaded
  • salt
  • 6 chopped mushrooms
  • 1 14-oz can of tomato sauce


Preheat your broiler and then stick both bell peppers into the broiler. Thoroughly blacken all sides.

Put a gallon of water on to boil in one pot.

Put a quart of water on to boil in another pot.

Core tomatoes and slice crosses only through the skin on two sides. Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to fit the tomatoes. When the smaller pot of water boils, drop the tomatoes in for thirty seconds. Remove them with tongs and drop them into the ice water and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the red onion, some salt and the sausage (remove sausage casings).

Peel the tomatoes. The skin should come right off, easily. If these directions aren’t clear, check out this site on peeling tomatoes.

Next cut each tomato into eight wedges. Place in a large flat pan (like a pie pan). Drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Roast in a 500°F for ten minutes.

When all sides of the bell peppers are black, remove from heat. Using tongs and a fork, remove the skin. It should come right up. Chop off the stem and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. This should be very easy. If the skin isn’t coming off, you didn’t roast the peppers long enough.

When the large pot of water is boiling, add your fusilli. Cook until al dente.

Add sausage mixture, basil, garlic, cheese, about 1/4 cup of olive oil and tomatoes to your food processor. Pulse a few times to make a thick mixture which is slightly coarser than a paste.

In the same skillet, sauté the chopped mushrooms for a few minutes. Add the mixture from the food processor, the red pepper flakes and the tomato sauce. Simmer for fifteen minutes.

In pasta bowls, add the pasta and spoon generous amounts of sauce over the top. Add a few more shreds of cheese to the top and sliced mushroom for garnish. I suggest serving with garlic bread.

Serves: 6-8
Cook + Prep time: 45 min – 1 hour

That’s Really Vegetarian Lasagna

Because Cat asked me not to forget vegetarians, here’s what I cook when I really want to impress herbivores. I have a meat variation of this, too, but both get big smiles. The big secret is that I use feta cheese rather than ricotta.

1 onion
olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 portobello mushroom chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
6-8 large crimini mushrooms sliced
6-8 large white mushrooms sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 chopped basil
1 small can tomato paste
1 heirloom tomato chopped up
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
4 or 5 small zucchinis (or equiv) –sliced into long 1/8″ ovals (slice round at an angle)
1 lb lasagna noodles – boiled and drained
1 lb fresh spinach
12 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
dash dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Toss in the onions and then the garlic and sautée over medium for a couple minutes and then add in mushrooms, oregano, salt & pepper. Sautée over medium until the mushrooms begin to soften –but don’t cook them too much. Stir in basil, heirloom tomato, tomato paste, tomato sauce and red wine. Slowly bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer over med-low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a 9×13 baking pan, lay 3 lasagna noodles across the bottom. Scoop on a nice thick layer of suace. Add a layer of spinach leaves & then a layer of lasagna slices. Then sprinkle on a layer of feta. Repeat this until you fill the pan. Cover with a last layer of noodles and then sauce. Then generously pile on the mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle on a little dry oregano.

Bake for 20-30 min or until the cheese is melted and crispy all the way through. Cool just a little bit and dig in!

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My Discovery of Speck

I recently dined at Zuppa, 2007 winner of the San Francisco Boss of the Sauce competition where I was introduced to the best thing since bacon: speck. I was so excited after dinner that I got on the phone and called all my bacon fanatic friends to tell them I’d met bacon’s match.


Also called Speck dell’Alto Adige, it is a delightful thinly sliced Italian meat that has characteristics of both bacon and prosciutto. The wikipedia entry on speck says that this meat has been around since the fourteenth century. It’s both salt-cured and wood smoked and comes from the hind-leg of the pig.

We tried it by itself as an appetizer and for an entrée I had roasted quail wrapped in speck. My toes curled! I’d never even heard of this fabulous treat, but it was definitely love at first bite.

Since then, I’ve been on the look-out for a pound of speck. I hear that they sell it at Lucca. I’ll keep you updated once I get my hands on some. I’ll certainly blog my kitchen experiments with it!

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