Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Advanced Italian Cooking Class

Now for the promised advanced Italian recipes by Lana Bizzieri.

Coffee Frappe

Brew strong espresso coffee and chill.
Put 1 c of whole milk, plus 2 Tbls whipping cream in a food blender and whip it up a bit.
Add coffee to taste, along with a bit of sugar, and whip again. Serve in a tall glass.

Very, very good!!

Penne Au Arrabiata

1 large can of strained tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic
4 oz pancetta, chopped
ground red pepper to taste
4 oz pecorino Romano, grated
2 oz EVOO
1 1/2 lb penne, mostacioli or rigatoni

In a large skillet, saute' pancetta in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking. Add onion and garlic and continue cooking until onion is soft and transparent (3 to 4 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook over high flame, stirring frequently, until mixture has condensed (about 10 minutes).

Pour over cooked pasta, add cheese, mix well and serve immediately.


4 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c EVOO
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 sprigs parsley
salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 c pine nuts
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Place basil in food blender, add oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and pine nuts. Blend until all are blended and chopped very fine, but not smooth. Remove from blender and stir in grated cheese.

Ricotta Pie

The Pastry

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c plus 1 Tbls sugar
3 egg yolks, beaten
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
10 Tbls unsalted butter, at room temperature

The Filling

1 lb ricotta cheese
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 oz white raisins soaked in enough rum to cover (soak for 2 hrs.)
2 oz citron or green candied lemon peel, diced into tiny pieces
1/3 c pine nuts, toasted until just barely browned

Butter and dust spring form pan.

Place flour in large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest and butter. Use a pastry blender and cut into small pieces. Mix until coarse meal consistency. Add a Tbls or 2 of water in order to form dough. Knead a couple of times.

Cut the pastry into 2 pieces, one slightly small than the other. Roll out the larger of the two to 1/8 inch thickness. Lift from rolling surface and drape over pan leaving overhang.

Cream ricotta with sugar, add all other ingredients for the filling and mix well. Pour mixture over prepared crust.

Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 3/4 inch strips. Crimp the ends of the strips and seal to bottom crust.

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto plate.

Can be served warm or room temperature.

There now I am all caught up. Oh, wait, I need Chris Hall's recipes for his rookie cooking class. Must call him.....

Again all of the recipes tasted wonderful and were easier than you would think they would be. Pictures are on Facebook and if you have any questions please call me at 542-6935.


Advanced Greek Cooking Class

I know I have promised Lana's advanced Greek recipes for quite some time now and for that I apologize. Here they are, enjoy!

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Egg Lemon Sauce

1 jar grape leaves
(Imported grape leaves have a sharper "bite" than California leaves)


1 c raw long grain rice
1/2 c olive oil
1 c chopped yellow onion
1/4 c chopped parsley
1 Tbls dried dill weed
Juice of one lemon
1 lb lean ground lamb, coarsely ground or chopped
1 tsp allspice
2 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


2 cups chicken stock
Juice of one lemon

Egg Lemon Sauce

1 c chicken stock
2 Tbls butter
2 Tbls flour
2 eggs
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbls water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare a roux with flour and butter. Add the stock.
In a bowl, whip the eggs, lemon juice and water until frothy. Add the eggs to the thickened stock, stirring constantly. Bring to temperature, BUT DO NOT BOIL.

Mix together all ingredients for the filling.

Remove stems from grape leaves. Lay leaf on counter with stem side up. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons filling in the center of the leaf. Fold stem base up first, sides, then roll to tip of leaf, forming a cigar like shape. Do not wrap too tightly as rice needs room to expand. Using a heavy pan, place leaves on top of single layer in bottom of pan. Place rolls side by side. Cover with a layer of unrolled leaves and then another layer of rolled leaves. Continue until all rolled leaves are added. End with unrolled leaves. Place medium plate over top of leaves for weight. Mix stock and lemon juice, pour over leaves. Cover and cook at 350 for an hour. Remove the pan from heat and cool for additional hour. Do not remove the lid or leaves will darken. Serve with warm egg lemon sauce.

Greek Egg and Lemon Soup

6 cups chicken stock
1/3 c uncooked medium or long grained rice
4 eggs
3 Tbls fresh lemon juice
salt, to taste

In a 3 or 4 quart stock pot bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Pour in the rice, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until grains are just tender but still slightly resistant to the bite. Reduce heat to low.

Beat eggs with a whisk or rotary beater until frothy. Beat in the lemon juice and stir in 1/4 c of the simmering chicken broth. This is tempering. SLOWLY pour the mixture into the broth, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the soup thickens enough to coat the spoon lightly.

DO NOT ALLOW SOUP TO BOIL. Add salt to taste.


4 cups fresh yogurt, unflavored
1 medium cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place a piece of cheesecloth in a colander and pour in the yogurt. Allow yogurt to drain for several hours. Place grated cucumber in another colander and drain for two hours. Mix ingredients together and chill.

Serve as a spread on pita bread or as a dip for vegetables.


12 eggs
1 lb powdered sugar
3 cups ground walnuts
8 zwieback crackers, ground
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites. Beat yolks and powdered sugar. Beat butter alone. Combine all ingredients. Butter a 14 inch round pan or 9 by 13 pan. Pour batter in and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Let cool for on hour. Slice crosswise and pour hot syrup over all.


2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Few drops of lemon juice
Bring sugar and water to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and pour over pastry.

And there you have it. The recipes for the advanced Greek Cooking class given by Lana Bizzieri. I can attest that all of the food tasted wonderful and, for being advanced, the recipes were quite easy to follow. A couple of things to remember: the stems of the leaves are bitter and if the leaves are older they can also be bitter; and remember to temper the soup or you will end up with scrambled eggs. Pictures are on our Facebook Page, Ingredients: for the gourmet in you.