Tag Archives: italian

True to Harris’ Italian roots ~ Cioppino, Italian Seafood Stew!

Add this amazing recipe to your repertoire and impress your friends; great for a dinner party!!!

This is very similar to the French version, bouillabaisse, only this doesn’t have saffron and the base is tomato. Staying true to Harris’ Italian roots was his goal when creating this dish.

The star ingredient is the calamari!  If you’ve not cooked calamari before now, don’t be afraid.  Most fear cooking calamari any way other than breaded and deep-fried but fear not.  You will be surprised how tender and flavorful it is in this dish.  If you watch our video, you will also see how much liquid is released from the calamari as it simmers.  While I do believe in substitutions, we strongly recommend not replacing the star ingredient; you’re going to love it!!!

We recommend serving with garlic rubbed crostinis or a rustic bread as you’ll definitely want something to soak up the delicious broth while eating the shell fish!

Enjoy!!!

(Sorry, there wasn’t a photo of this dish once plated.  with everyone sitting at the table waiting to be served we got distracted!!)

Here in the video, Harris demonstrates how to cook our very special Cioppino! See below for the recipe!

Cioppino

  (Tomato based Seafood Stew)

This recipe will serve 8 or possibly 10

 Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb – chopped fine
  • 1 large white onion – chopped fine
  • 3 ribs celery – chopped fine
  • 1 ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ pound fresh squid, tentacles cut in thirds, bodies cut into ½ inch rings
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 26 ounce carton (Pomi) fresh tomato, strained
  • 2 lemons (zest only) – 1 peeled in strips and 1 finely grated
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 bottles clam juice (2 cups)
  • 2 lbs. fresh mussels
  • 2 lbs. Cherry Stone clams
  • 1 lb. Rock fish, skinned and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

The dish requires a very large Dutch oven or clam pot.

Place fresh clams and mussels in a large bowl of very cold water with ice to flush out any sand in the shells.  Before adding clams and mussels inspect to be certain all are tightly closed.  If any of the shells are open or cracked, discard, as they are dead and not edible.  Also trim beard of mussels if needed.

 Directions:

  1. Place Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the fennel, onion, celery, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Season with Kosher salt to sweat the onions.  Cook until translucent, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add squid. Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The squid will release their juices, which is amazing and will become very tender.
  3. Raise heat to medium-high and add white wine. Cook until reduced, about 20 minutes.
  4. Reduced heat to low and add tomato and lemon strips and cook until very thick, about 45 minutes. Remove lemon strips, add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Raise heat to medium-high, add water and clam juice and bring to boil. Add clams, mussels, and shrimp, cover and cook until most of the shells have opened, about 5 minutes.  Add rock fish and cook another 2 minutes until the fish is opaque.
  6. In a small bowl, combine chopped parsley and grated lemon to make Gremolata.
  7. Serve in individual large bowls, placing seafood in the bottom of bowl, ladling over the seafood the broth. Sprinkle with the gremolata and serve.
Knock your socks off Amazing Italian Seafood Stew!

Knock your socks off Amazing Italian Seafood Stew!

Love this recipe? Follow us and share it with your friends! Let us know how it came out and send us some pictures! Questions? Ask The Dads in the comments or e-mail: HarrisandDave@gmail.com

Enjoy!!!

Finally… Pasta Carbonara!

One of our favorite followers, Chris from Key West, has asked us to show him how we make our Pasta Carbonara! The thing is… that he actually asked us this a couple of months ago! We feel awful that it took so long to get up here, but truthfully this is not a dish for the diet conscious! So we waited to make it for when we had guests over to share the indulgence!

Here in the video, Harris shows you how to make a perfect Pasta Carbonara! See below for the recipe!

While our recipe calls for Hog Jowl, aka Guanciale at the Italian market, you can use Pancetta or a quality bacon.

Ingredients

(Serves four)

3 – tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

8 ounces Guanciale (which is cured pork jowl) or Pancetta or good Bacon

1 pound Spaghetti or pasta of choice

1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

4 – Large Eggs (room temperature)

Freshly ground Black Pepper

2 – tablespoons Kosher Salt

Frozen peas (Optional)

Directions

The Dads Tip: Guanciale is our first choice, but it may be difficult to find. Try your local pork butcher. Also, adding half the olive oil at the end adds that fresh olive oil flavor!

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot and add 2 Tablespoons salt to the pasta water. Cook the spaghetti/pasta in the boiling water until just al dente.  

Meanwhile, combine half the olive oil and bacon/pancetta in a 12- to 14-inch skillet on medium heat.  Cook until the bacon/pancetta has rendered its fat and is crispy and golden.  Place cooked pork on paper towels to drain, set aside.  Retain about half of the dripping for coating the cooked pasta.

In a bowl, mix together the cheese, eggs, and pepper until smooth.  We like to add just a little bit of the hot pasta water to help temper the egg mixture.  This will prevent the eggs from cooking when added to the hot pasta.

When the pasta is done, reserve a cup of the pasta water.  Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl or back into the pot.  While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time.  The sauce will become very creamy as it coats the pasta.  If you need to loosen it up a bit, you can add some of the reserved pasta water. 

Now add the peas (optional) and crispy bacon to the mixture.  

Serve immediately and sprinkle the top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!

The Dads Pasta Carbonara

Love this recipe? Follow us and share it with your friends! Let us know how it came out and send us some pictures! Questions? Ask The Dads in the comments or e-mail: HarrisandDave@gmail.com

Impress Your Guests with This Homemade Gourmet Pizza!

We mentioned recently that we had made a pizza from scratch for Harris’ mother’s Italian birthday, so we wanted to share our recipe with you! 

Gourmet pizza is always a great crowd pleaser and with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, this might be one of the best entrees to serve up!

Here is our recipe that worked great for us. But the beauty of pizza is that you can dress it anyway you like, so feel free to experiment with your own variations! What’s your favorite way to decorate your pizza? Have you made it at home before? What tips worked great for you that you would like to share? Leave a comment and we will let you know if we try any of your suggestions!

Arugula with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Four Cheeses Pizza

The Dads: Pizza

For the Pizza Crust:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cups of warm water, not over 110 degrees
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

(Note: If you do not have a standup mixer, then mix it by hand using a wooden spoon. An electric mixer would be too difficult to use in this instance.)

Pour yeast into the warm water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Using a standup mixer first combine the flour and salt. Next, set your mixer to run at low speed and drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Pour in yeast and water until just combined. The dough will be sticky. Coat a mixing bowl with olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Toss the dough ball in the bowl with olive oil to coat the ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for one to two hours. It is best to place bowl in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead for the best flavor.

Punch the dough down and roll out to fit your greased pan (we used a standard baking sheet). Try to avoid stretching the dough.

For your Toppings:

1 unbaked pizza crust (as above)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch Kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/3 cup basil pesto
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups red cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 ½ cups yellow or orange cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ounces asiago cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan reggiano cheese, grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
4 ounce fresh arugula

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place cut tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in a medium size bowl.  In small skillet, heat olive oil, add garlic and stir for one minute and remove from heat.  Pour over tomatoes mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside.

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Roll out dough very thin, dusting with flour and transfer to oiled baking sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil over dough and spread evenly.  Spread pesto over dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella, asiago, and parmesan reggiano evenly over pizza.  With a spoon place a small amount of ricotta over the entire pizza and sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste.

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Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes. Then cover top with arugula, then spoon over tomatoes mixture.  Cut into squares and serve.

Bon appétit! 

The Best Fresh Pasta: The Dads Tested- Italian Grandmother Approved!

We just ventured into making our own pasta and did a lot of experimenting! After trial and error, here’s the best fresh pasta recipe we found out there! Have you made pasta from scratch? Tips you would like to share? Send us an e-mail or leave a comment above! Enjoy!

The Dads Pasta

Ingredients:
• 3 ½ Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (we prefer King Arthur)
• 5 Extra-large Eggs, Farm Fresh if you can get them
• ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
• 1 teaspoon Olive Oil

Directions:

Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board or the center of your countertop.

Make a well in the middle of the flour; sprinkle the salt over the flour.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk your eggs and olive oil together and gently pour into the well (be careful not to let the egg mixture burst through the wall of your well).

Using a fork, begin incorporating the flour starting with the inner rim of the well and working your way out. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape so the eggs don’t escape. If they do, don’t worry – keep on going and it will still come together.

As all the flour gets incorporated, you will have to begin using a kneading action with the palm of your hand as this will become a bit of a difficult mass to work. Parts of the mass will also become dry bits but just keep incorporating them.

Now use both hands to knead the dough, primarily using the palms of your hands. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board/countertop and scrape up any leftover dry bits and discard them. Lightly flour the board, if necessary, to prevent sticking and continue kneading for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap securely in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you’re not planning to work the dough and cut into pasta at this time, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and cut the next day, but not any longer as it will turn dark in color.

Next is the fun part and that’s cutting the pasta! If you have a machine, make certain to use the rolling press, starting with the largest opening and slowing stepping down to the smallest opening. Once fully kneaded by the machine, select the size cutter to use and begin rolling the dough through the cutter.

We found it’s really helpful to have a second person working with you at this point as when you’re cutting the pasta it helps to have someone else holding and pulling it from the cutter as it cuts so as not to have it clump under the machine.

Then, hang to dry on racks or cook fresh. For a drying rack, we just used a rack from our oven turned vertical and hung the pasta over the rack. For the pasta that we were cooking right away, we just laid it out on baking sheets and cookie racks.

The Dads Pasta

The above recipe makes approximately 1 pound of fresh pasta.

Our Fresh Pasta Journey in the Harris & Dave Test Kitchen!

The Dads: Harris & Dave decided to learn how to make pasta and share with you. We’ve all watched the cooking channels and saw how easy it is to make so we decided to see if all that is true. We downloaded several recipes and began our experimentation.

We tried the method of using the food processor and realized you run the risk of burning out your motor and it’s not that much easier. Using the method of creating a well in the center of your flour directly on your countertop or cutting board and slowly working the egg into the flour worked just fine.

We also tried using different flour: Bread flour, All Purpose flour, and Semolina flour. We found we got the best result from using straight All Purpose flour. We were disappointed as we thought Semolina would be more authentic Italian but what we learned is Semolina was too coarse for this application and made the pasta too difficult to work with.

We tried recipes that called for Olive Oil to be added to the recipe. While we liked the flavor that added, it did make the pasta just a little more difficult to work with so we found less was better.

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We experimented with the number of eggs to use. While we loved the taste of more eggs, we had to balance that against tenderness of the noodle and pliability for cutting in the pasta machine.

We also experimented with cooking the pasta fresh right after you cut it, freezing before drying the pasta and drying on racks. We found if you’re not going to cook it right away, it is definitely best to let the pasta dry before freezing or it will stick together when you go to cook the pasta.

The end result is the pasta recipe which we will upload tomorrow! Stay Tuned!

Dave

Celebrating Harris’ Mother’s 87th Birthday- Italian Style!

Mom’s birthday party turned out just a special as we anticipated. In our previous blog entry, Leah shared with you about how her Great-Grandparents were from Palermo, Italy. For our theme, we wanted to incorporate foods that Harris’ mother would have enjoyed growing up.

Antipasti, or the starters, are very important in Sicilian cooking. We made two. We had some hot crab dip, a Maryland favorite, to celebrate my mother’s love of Ocean City. To celebrate her Italian heritage, we also made a fresh pesto and cheese pizza which was topped with arugula, basil, and cherry tomatoes. It was like a little slice of Italy! Below is a picture of the tomato mix before we dressed the pizza!
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Since saffron is such a staple in Sicilian cooking, we made a very light saffron soup that was packed with mussels. Our guests really seemed to enjoy it, especially with our homemade rosemary focaccia bread. The bread was delicious, but wow- that recipe is not for beginners! It took us about 2 days to make!

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For our main course, we made Angel Hair pasta from scratch two ways. The first, was aglio e olio style – meaning with olive oil, fresh basil, and sundried tomatoes. The second was a red-sauce based pasta, which was pared with homemade meatballs. But these meatballs, mixed with beef, veal, pork, prosciutto, and parmesan cheese, were not for the faint of heart! We also made some hot Italian sausage and baby backed ribs, all cooked in Harris’ homemade tomato sauce. And although the food turned out great, the best part was that the family was together, and sharing stories from the past. It was very special.

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For dessert, we made the Decadent Chocolate Cake- check our recipes tab to try this one out yourselves! After dessert, we all joined around the piano for songs and stories. It was the perfect way to celebrate and we think Mary had a great time!

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