The Flavors Of Italy


In certain regions of Italy where grapes and olives are grown, celebrations are held at the time of the harvest of new olive oil and the first of the wine.

During this special time, they make this savory recipe for pasta cooked in white or red wine. This aromatic pasta is naturally wine glazed and finished with olive oil. Be sure to use a high quality oil to get the best taste.

Buongiorno appétit!

Steamed Clams In Sparkling Wine(Serves 4 to 6)2 pounds cherrystone or Manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 to 4 shallots, minced

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 bay leaf

1 bottle sparkling wine, such as prosecco, blanc de blanc or domestic champagne

1/4 cup chopped, fresh Italian parsleyTo prepare:Scrub each clam under cold running water with firm scrub brush.

Place in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate until just before cooking.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet (one with a lid) with olive oil and cook over medium heat.

Add shallots and sauté until aromatic, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Season shallots with pepper and bay leaf.

Add sparkling wine and clams.

Cover the pan and bring to a boil.

Cook about 4 minutes, then check the clams.

With a slotted spoon, lift out the clams as they open and transfer them to a bowl and tent with foil to keep warm.

Discard any unopened clams.

Bring the cooking broth to a boil and reduce about 4 minutes.

Strain the cooking liquid through a coffee filter-lined strainer set over a bowl or pitcher.

Swirl a few drops of extra virgin olive oil in the sauce and pour it over the clams.

Divide among warm soup bowls and garnish with parsley, then serve at once. Penne With White WineAdapted from “Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy” by Francine Segan.

(Serves 4 to 6)1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bottle dry fruity white wine, such as soave or pinot grigio

1 bay leaf

1 pound Penne or rigatoni

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably first growth

Aged pecorino or reggiano Parmesan cheese, for shavingTo prepare:Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with oil and cook over moderate heat.

Add garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Add wine and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta, then lower the heat to a low boil.

Cook, loosely covered, until the wine is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 20 minutes.

The wine will naturally glaze the pasta.

Set the pan off the heat and stir in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to warmed soup plates and top with shaved cheese at the table.

Serve alone or with your favorite entrée.Chicken Thighs With Mushrooms, Shallots, And Red Wine(Serves 4 to 6)6 to 8 chicken thighs, with or without legs

Optional: Wondra flour, for dusting

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil, for sautéing

12 shallots, peeled, whole or halved into even-size pieces

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound white mushrooms, washed, whole or halved into even-sized pieces

2 teaspoons marjoram or more to taste

1 bottle, or 4 cups, full-bodied red wine

4 to 5 stems (no leaves) parsley

1 small bay leaf

1 carrot, peeled and halved lengthwise

Optional: good quality chicken stock

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels.

If using flour, add salt and pepper to flour then roll chicken in the mixture and tap off the excess.

If not using flour, then sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Coat the bottom of a heavy casserole, with a lid large enough to hold chicken and vegetables, with oil.

Add chicken and brown until medium to dark brown on one side, about 4 minutes.

Turn and brown the other side, about 4 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and continue until all the chicken is browned.

Add shallots to the pan and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add garlic.

Sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute.

With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to the chicken.

Raise the heat to high.

Add the mushrooms and season with salt and marjoram.

Sauté, stirring constantly until the mushrooms squeak in the pan, about 4 minutes.

Return the chicken and shallots to the casserole with the mushrooms, evenly arranging meat and vegetables.

Add wine.

Tuck parsley, bay leaf and carrot into the liquid.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Place casserole in the oven and bake until the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a meat fork and the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, parsley stems and carrot before serving.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.

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