Category Archives: Italian

Rapini with Sauteed Garlic

I’ve lately became a sucker when it comes to dark, leafy vegetables. I spent many years in my young adulthood avoiding things such as spinach, kale, collards, chard, and the like, however these past several years, I have really enjoyed eating them, whether I throw them in my juicer, or slowly cook them down and eat them by the forkful.  This past week  I was caught browsing the produce aisle where there were great organic root vegetables, bok choy, and then the rapini that caught my attention. I’m not sure why, but either rapini, or broccolini always catches my attention when I see it. The dark green leaves, along with the small broccoli style buds entices me every time, and this visit was no exception. I decided to bring the rapini home, and turn it into a great side dish to pair with some seared tuna.

Rapini with Sauteed Garlic

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch rapini, tough stems removed and discarded
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

Start by cutting the rapini into 3 inch segments, or you can leave whole if you prefer. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the rapini to the salted water, and cook for about two minutes. Remove and shock the rapini in ice cold water. Drain, and push out any excess water. Set to the side.

Rapini with Sauteed Garlic

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add the oil and garlic, and let the garlic slowly cook in the oil, to infuse the oil if you will.

After a few minutes, add the rapini, and gently toss in the oil. Season with a bit of salt, toss again, then serve hot.

The result is a perfect balance between the slight bitterness of the rapini, along with the nuttiness, and that great garlic oil. It’s a perfect side dish, and goes perfect with fish, or heck, even mix in some pasta and you will be in great shape. Hope you enjoy.

Rapini with Sauteed Garlic
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch rapini, tough stems removed and discarded
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by cutting the rapini into 3 inch segments, or you can leave whole if you prefer. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the rapini to the salted water, and cook for about two minutes. Remove and shock the rapini in ice cold water. Drain, and push out any excess water. Set to the side.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add the oil and garlic, and let the garlic slowly cook in the oil, to infuse the oil if you will.
  4. After a few minutes, add the rapini, and gently toss in the oil. Season with a bit of salt, toss again, then serve hot.
  5. The result is a perfect balance between the slight bitterness of the rapini, along with the nuttiness, and that great garlic oil. It’s a perfect side dish, and goes perfect with fish, or heck, even mix in some pasta and you will be in great shape. Hope you enjoy.

 

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

This past weekend was one of those special days for many people. Yes, it was Valentine’s day, and it was that time of year when it seemed as though every male was in a panic mode around 5:00 p.m. on that Friday, hustling to purchase a card, and a bunch of red roses. It’s sad to say the least. I say that only for the fact that the thought only occurs once a year for many people. I often joke with my wife that she gets Valentine’s day, every day, as I am the one cooking, and cleaning up the dishes, every. Single. Day. Plus I’m funny, at least in my book.

Kidding aside, I’m game when it comes to that special day, and as we both my wife and I agreed that we were not going to do much, I decided to add a special touch to the evening, not just for my wife, but also for my kids.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza Recipe

I decided to buy some chocolates for my wife, as well as purchase a handful of purple iris’s, and well, make a crab and shrimp boil for the family.  Crab clusters, along with shrimp, corn, and potatoes, were the center piece of the dinner table, and it is always a great time watching the kids dig in. With that said, I had made plenty of clarified garlic butter for dipping, and I had plenty left over. That’s when it sparked an idea, only to reuse the butter and poach some shrimp in it to be used in a shrimp scampi pizza. Yes, a shrimp scampi pizza that was to die for.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 12-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Set your oven rack, closet to the top of the oven, and preheat your oven, and pizza stone (if you have one) to 500 degrees. Let the oven preheat until you prepare all of the remaining items.

To a small pot, add the butter, and let this melt. Skim any of the foam off of the top and discard. If you want to strain the butter into a fine mesh sieve, you can go that route, but for this recipe, any of the solid fats that might remain are fine. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, chili flakes, wine, and shrimp.

Poach the shrimp just until the become opaque, about 5 minutes on low heat.

How to make a shrimp scampi pizza

Stretch out your pizza dough for about a 14 inch pizza. Once stretched, remove the stone from the oven and carefully place the dough on top.

Add the cheese, the place the shrimp on top of the pizza. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the garlic butter. Place the stone back into the oven, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pizza dough is golden, and everything is cooked through.

Remove the pizza from the oven and place onto a wired rack. Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes, then shower with the parsley. Slice and serve.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

I ended up making this pizza only because I had that leftover butter, well, not only that, but my wife (and I for that matter) really loves shrimp scampi. As I would normally eat this with some pasta, or just the shrimp by itself, this pizza was incredible to say the least.

I served my wife the first piece, and I heard her from afar talking to herself with food ‘umms and ahhs’, that I knew this was going to be great. The smell of the garlic buttered shrimp, with that white wine was apparent right off of the bat, and believe it or not, the cheese just held things together and did not interfere much with the shrimp. I know I say this from time to time, but this pizza was really, really good.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ½ batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 12-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Set your oven rack, closet to the top of the oven, and preheat your oven, and pizza stone (if you have one) to 500 degrees. Let the oven preheat until you prepare all of the remaining items.
  2. To a small pot, add the butter, and let this melt. Skim any of the foam off of the top and discard. If you want to strain the butter into a fine mesh sieve, you can go that route, but for this recipe, any of the solid fats that might remain are fine. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, chili flakes, wine, and shrimp.
  3. Poach the shrimp just until the become opaque, about 5 minutes on low heat.
  4. Stretch out your pizza dough for about a 14 inch pizza. Once stretched, remove the stone from the oven and carefully place the dough on top.
  5. Add the cheese, the place the shrimp on top of the pizza. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the garlic butter. Place the stone back into the oven, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pizza dough is golden, and everything is cooked through.
  6. Remove the pizza from the oven and place onto a wired rack. Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes, then shower with the parsley. Slice and serve.
  7. I ended up making this pizza only because I had that leftover butter, well, not only that, but my wife (and I for that matter) really loves shrimp scampi. As I would normally eat this with some pasta, or just the shrimp by itself, this pizza was incredible to say the least.

 

Pizza Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I could go back and forth on the answer to the question ‘If you were stranded on a dessert island, what one food would you chose to eat every day?’. My answer is pretty much even, and that would probably be pizza or tacos. I am torn on both because both the taco, the shell for that matter, and pizza, the dough, for that matter, are great vehicles for endless possibilities and creations. Pizza is one of those things that I could probably eat every day. I love pizza. I mean, come on, the mozzarella cheese, and spicy pepperoni, or heck even a simple mushroom pizza, and I’m golden. It was not long ago when I had pizza on my mind, but I did not have any homemade dough on hand, nor did I have the time to make any, nor did I have any frozen slices. I did however, have all of the ingredients, and some homemade bread on hand, to make what I am calling the pizza style grilled cheese sandwich.

Pizza Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This pizza style grilled cheese sandwich has every everything you love in a pizza, but all tucked away and nestled into a sandwich. What doesn’t get better than that, right? The great thing about this style of grilled cheese sandwich, is that you can put whatever you want into it, much like you would if creating your own pizza.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 slices of quality bread, about 1″ thickness
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • Pepperoni slices
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce, warmed
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Start by adding the mushrooms, pepperoni, and onion to a small, non-stick skillet and bring to a medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or so to render some of the fat from the pepperoni. Add the mixture to a paper towel lined plate, then place the mixture into a small bowl.

Pizza Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Wipe out the skillet, and return to the stove. Butter each slice of the bread as you normally would when making a grilled cheese. Add one slice, butter side down into the skillet, and bring to a medium-low heat. Spread half of the warmed marinara sauce onto the bread, then top with the pepperoni mixture, then top with the mozzarella cheese. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the cheese, then add the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Cook slowly, allowing for the cheese to fully melt, then flip, and continue cooking until you have a nice and crispy exterior, with a hot and cheesy interior.

Plate and serve.

Pizza Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This pizza style grilled cheese was hard to put down. It’s everything you want in a slice of pizza, as well as a grilled cheese. As soon as I finished it, I began thinking of what style of grilled cheese to make next. This one was a real winner. What are your thoughts? Pizza style grilled cheese right up your alley?

Pizza Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of quality bread, about 1" thickness
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • Pepperoni slices
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce, warmed
  • ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the mushrooms, pepperoni, and onion to a small, non-stick skillet and bring to a medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or so to render some of the fat from the pepperoni. Add the mixture to a paper towel lined plate, then place the mixture into a small bowl.
  2. Wipe out the skillet, and return to the stove. Butter each slice of the bread as you normally would when making a grilled cheese. Add one slice, butter side down into the skillet, and bring to a medium-low heat. Spread half of the warmed marinara sauce onto the bread, then top with the pepperoni mixture, then top with the mozzarella cheese. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the cheese, then add the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Cook slowly, allowing for the cheese to fully melt, then flip, and continue cooking until you have a nice and crispy exterior, with a hot and cheesy interior.
  3. Plate and serve.

 

Kale and Sausage Pizza

I was never a big fan with eating kale until a couple of years ago. I know, I know, but it was not one of those common household ingredients when growing up, nor was it something I was anxious to buy at the store. That all changed though when I started making kale chips. I fell in love with kale from that moment on, and to this day I probably go through a head of kale a week.  Recently I was on a pizza making kick, and I’m not that guy who simply rocks out a cheese and pepperoni pizza and call it a day. Granted I do make the cheese and pepperoni for the kids, but if I have any leftover pizza dough, then I typically scan the refrigerator and come up with a new pizza. This kale and sausage pizza is one of those, and let me tell you, it was awesome!

Kale and Sausage Pizza

I came up with this recipe because my sister-in-law send me a message that they had finally arrived in Philadelphia and their first stop was Tony Luke’s to grab a bite to eat. That triggered that whole idea of their pork and broccoli rabe sandwich. I’ve made something similar to that when I made my porchetta, and I loved how that pork played off of that bitterness, so this set me off to make the pizza.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pizza dough, to be hand tossed to about 16 inches
  • 2 cups of packed, fresh kale leaves, washed
  • 1 whole spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • water
  • bowl of ice water

Start by adding the kale to a small pot of boiling water. Cook the kale for approximately five minutes, just to get it a bit tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place the kale into the ice water to shock it. Drain the kale. Once drained, I placed into a salad spinner to remove a lot more water, trust me it holds a lot, then I balled it up, and gave another good squeeze, removing a lot more water. Slice into strips, then chop.

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large circular baking sheet, or pizza pan into the oven to preheat while you make your pizza.

Lightly flour your dough ball, then begin pressing it with your fingers. Flip to repeat. Use a rolling pin if you desire to get the dough working, then begin to toss it. Here is a video as to how to toss a pizza. It’s fun, and the kids love seeing it be thrown into the air.

Once your dough is ready, and you have your desired thickness, remove the pizza pan out of the oven with your kitchen mitts. The pan will be really hot, so be ready to place it onto a wood cutting board, or a potholder.

How to make sausage and kale pizza

Drizzle the olive oil onto the large, circular baking sheet, or pizza pan and tilt the pan to make sure you get full coverage of the oil onto the pan before carefully placing your dough onto it. Once your dough is on the sheet, it is now time to build the pizza.

Sprinkle the minced garlic over the pizza dough, sprinkle with a bit of salt, then add the mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with the chopped kale, then start dotting on your uncooked Italian sausage, covering the pizza. Shower on the parmesan cheese, and place back into the oven, cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the cheese is nice and golden.

Remove and serve.

Kale and Sausage Pizza

My first bite was nothing short of amazing. The kale got a bit crispy in certain places, which I loved and reminded me of those light kale chips, and then that spicy Italian sausage, along with the cheese, well, I’m done. This was super great pizza and I will definitely be making it more often. Just saying that pizza joints need to start offering kale as an option for a topping.

Kale and Sausage Pizza
Author: 
Cuisine: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Your favorite pizza dough, to be hand tossed to about 16 inches
  • 2 cups of packed, fresh kale leaves, washed
  • 1 whole spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • water
  • bowl of ice water
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the kale to a small pot of boiling water. Cook the kale for approximately five minutes, just to get it a bit tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the kale into the ice water to shock it. Drain the kale. Once drained, I placed into a salad spinner to remove a lot more water, trust me it holds a lot, then I balled it up, and gave another good squeeze, removing a lot more water. Slice into strips, then chop.
  2. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large circular baking sheet, or pizza pan into the oven to preheat while you make your pizza.
  3. Lightly flour your dough ball, then begin pressing it with your fingers. Flip to repeat. Use a rolling pin if you desire to get the dough working, then begin to toss it. Here is a video as to how to toss a pizza. It's fun, and the kids love seeing it be thrown into the air.
  4. Once your dough is ready, and you have your desired thickness, remove the pizza pan out of the oven with your kitchen mitts. The pan will be really hot, so be ready to place it onto a wood cutting board, or a potholder.
  5. How to make sausage and kale pizza
  6. Drizzle the olive oil onto the large, circular baking sheet, or pizza pan and tilt the pan to make sure you get full coverage of the oil onto the pan before carefully placing your dough onto it. Once your dough is on the sheet, it is now time to build the pizza.
  7. Sprinkle the minced garlic over the pizza dough, sprinkle with a bit of salt, then add the mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with the chopped kale, then start dotting on your uncooked Italian sausage, covering the pizza. Shower on the parmesan cheese, and place back into the oven, cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the cheese is nice and golden.
  8. Remove and serve.
  9. Kale and Sausage Pizza
  10. My first bite was nothing short of amazing. The kale got a bit crispy in certain places, which I loved and reminded me of those light kale chips, and then that spicy Italian sausage, along with the cheese, well, I'm done. This was super great pizza and I will definitely be making it more often. Just saying that pizza joints need to start offering kale as an option for a topping.