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For a Hot Summer Dessert try Caffe Granita – Milk was a bad choice?

5 Jun


Granita al Caffé con Gelato

When it gets to be super hot and muggy, reminding me of those sweltering Roman summers when I was a kid visiting family, there’s a nice tasty treat that will help cool you down. I’m talking about Caffe Granita! The shaved frozen espresso is a taste relief on those humid July and August days and I’ve added a twist to this recipe to make it a savory dessert. So sit back and enjoy Paggi Pazzo’s take on Caffe Granita that will cool you down faster than a hot cup of coffee or a big glass of milk(?)Preparing Caffe Granita with Lavazza espresso from Paggi Pazzo

To begin the Caffe Granita we need to prepare a cup of espresso and as I’ve mentioned in my Tiramisu recipe, Lavazza is my espresso of choice (could there be any other????). While the espresso is still hot add sugar and stir, this will help the espresso from becoming too bitter when it freezes. After the espresso cools down a little bit, add to a tray with a cover and put in the freezer. This is where the tedious part starts and be careful – for full transparency I lost about 2 spoonfuls after I scraped the frozen espresso too hard and it was “incoming espresso shrapnel”, so take cover! After 3 hours remove the espresso from the freezer and use a fork to scrape the espresso creating little crystallized chips. After the entire surface is scraped, put the tray (covered) back into the freezer and repeat every hour for the next 3 hours (that’s a lot to keep track of!). Truthfully if you do this at least 3 times, I’ve found you can let the espresso sit over night and then give another good scrape in the morning. Just remember to scrape the espresso again at least 2 more times before serving.

Now for the Paggi Pazzo Caffe Granita twist… the traditional and authentic recipe calls for whipping cream to be only served with espresso but I had left over biscotti so I decided to make an Italian Sundae of sorts :-). I would serve your Caffee Granita in a glass with vanilla flavored Gelato (if you do not have gelato, vanilla ice cream is a good substitute) then crumble biscotti on top of the gelato and add a thin layer of whip cream. Take the shaved espresso and generously pour on top of the whip cream and your Caffe Granita is ready to be served. So there you go, stay cool and keep it classy with Paggi Pazzo’s Caffe Granita! Salute “Don” Burgandy!

Caffe Granita with Almond Biscotti and Gelato recipe from Paggi Pazzo

Caffe Granita Recipe

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 8 hr
Total time: 8 hr 20 min

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Lavazza espresso
  • 8 scoops Vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 almond biscotti or Savoiardi biscotti
  • 8 tablespoons whip cream

Cooking Directions

  1. Make 1 cup of Lavazza espresso in a bowl and add sugar, stir for several minutes
  2. After espresso cools a bit, add to a tray and cover putting into the freezer for 3 hours
  3. After 3 hours, take frozen espresso tray out and scrape to make little crystals (repeat every hour 3 times)
  4. In a small glass, add gelato then crumble biscotti and add whip cream on top
  5. Scrape 2 tablespoons of the frozen, crystallized espresso and cover on top of whip cream
  6. Ready to serve

Caffe Granita recipe

5 out of 5
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Pesto Pizza Party Palooza!

28 May


Pizza with Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella

Friday nights are usually pizza night and while I prefer to make classic Roman and Napolitana recipes, my daughter and wife have a special taste for pesto. My wife and I spent time in Liguria on our honeymoon and had a chance to enjoy pesto from where it was originated and while I’m not a big fan, I have to say it was really good. Since then I make pesto fairly often (as my Pesto Genovese recipe attests) but my daughter really loves pesto pizza and I love putting a smile on her face so today I’m sharing my Pesto Pizza recipe to get your pesto-on!

Pesto Pizza recipe from Paggi Pazzo

I prefer the indoor oven for making pesto pizza as the pesto bakes nicely on top of the dough. Now if you don’t want to make your own dough feel free to buy one at the store but look for dough’s that are not prepared with unnatural oils or unhealthy ingredients. If you plan on making your own here’s a homemade dough recipe I use often and feel free to make it the night before and keep in your fridge – or days before and freeze – or even that day but let it rest for a minimum of 4 hours before using. For the pesto I prefer authentic ingredients like Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano with garlic, fresh basil, and pine nuts (Italian or European). If Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano are not available substitute with Reggiano Parmigiano and Pecorino Romano. I use a food-processor to mix all of the ingredients as it’s much faster and easier but the traditional Ligurian way is to muddle them together. Now that can take a while and I have children, so waiting is not really an option.

Spread your dough and generously apply the pesto across then add chunks of fresh mozzarella on top with an extra sprinkle of grated Pecorino Sardo (or Romano). Now I cook the the pizza in a Roman style 495 degrees to give the bottom a nice crunch but you have to keep an eye on it as it will cook fast! After about 8-12 minutes the cheese and bottom will begin to brown so be ready to remove from the oven and then let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting. I prefer red wine with this pizza so if you want to stay Ligurian try Colli di Luni which comes from Sangiovese grapes or go with a nice table wine like a Chianti or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. There you have it, Paggi Pazzo’s Pesto Pizza recipe– it’s Pesto Palooza time and now You know what to do!

Preparing Pesto Pizza from Paggi Pazzo

Pizza with Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Recipe

Prep time: 3 hours

Cook time: 5 min

Total time: 3 hours 5 min

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Sardo
  • 3/4 cup grated Grana Padono
  • 3-4 full cups fresh basil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Italian or European pinenuts
  • 1 Pizza dough
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella

Cooking Directions

  1. To make dough, click here
  2. Grate Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano into a bowl. If cheeses are not available, substitute with Pecorino Romano and Reggiano Parmigiano
  3. Add tablespoon of olive oil to pan and add pine nuts, cooking for 5 minutes then let sit for another 5 minutes
  4. Add fresh basil into food processor (but make sure basil is not wet after cleaning as the dryer the better for the pesto sauce), pine nuts, garlic, black pepper, salt, and 3/4 cup of olive oil
  5. Use pulse option in Food processor for 10-20 seconds until pesto starts to cream then add grated cheese and remaining olive oil and then purée for 10-20 seconds
  6. If pesto begins to take on a creamy consistency, then pesto sauce is ready. If still thick, add a little more olive oil and stir
  7. Roll out dough and generously lay pesto across
  8. Cut fresh mozzarella into small chunks and spread across pizza and then sprinkle with a handful of Pecorino Sardo (or Romano)
  9. Set oven to 495 degrees and add pizza. After 8-12 minutes when cheese and bottom of pizza begin to brown remove from oven
  10. Let rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve

Pizza with Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella recipe

5 out of 5
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Tiramisu Roman Style – A Special Mother’s Day Dessert

14 May


Roman Style Tiramisu

On Mother’s Day for my beautiful wife and mom, who my children affectionately call Nonna, I made Roman style Tiramisu. It’s a sweet and light dessert that both the adults and kids can enjoy with minimal effort but maximum taste. Today I’m sharing that recipe that can be prepared for Mother’s Day, any holiday or non-holiday for that matter, using traditional Italian ingredients that make a difference in taste – so don’t go all bush-league on us and keep it classy with Paggi Pazzo!

Tiramisu Recipe from Paggi Pazzo

Begin your Roman style Tiramisu by adding 5 egg yolks (that have been sitting at room temperature) to a large bowl with a cup of sugar and mix, then add Italian mascarpone and mix again. In another bowl add a 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1/2 cup of whipping cream and mix until the mixture becomes nice and fluffy, then transfer to the large egg yolk, mascarpone, sugar mixture and mix together. I don’t think Sir-Mix-alot mixes as much as we do in this recipe.

For espresso I use Lavazza (my favorite espresso) but feel free to use another Italian espresso just please refrain from using American coffee (or other espresso impersonators) as it will compromise the taste. I make enough espresso for 6 shots and let cool and pour in a small bowl and then take the Vincenzovo Italian savoiardi biscotti (ladyfingers) which are nice and flaky (and delicious on their own) and dip them in the espresso. Place them across and on top a layer of the mascarpone mixture in a medium size baking glass 8×8 (2-inches deep). Add another thin layer of the mascarpone cream across the pan on top of the savoiardi biscotti and repeat dipping the cookies and adding to the pan a second time. After sprinkle dark chocolate powder that has been mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of Lavazza ground espresso on top of the tiramisu. I would let it chill overnight before serving but if you must insist on cutting into the tiramisu, give it at least 5 hours (you can do it, show patience, I believe in you!) Roman Tiramisu Cup from Paggi Pazzo

Since my children were having the Roman style Tiramisu I did not add any alcohol or liqueur but typically I like to add a shot of rum or sambucca to the mascarpone mix to give it a nice little bite. Other regions in Italy will add Marsala or Vermouth instead of rum but feel free to add what you prefer. This recipe is good for 1-1/2 to 2 pans so if you want to make little tiramisu cups with the extra tiramisu, use the same recipe but place the savoiardi biscotti vertically cut in half and then add more mascorpone cream. For a true Roman taste, thinly slice fresh strawberries and add to the mascarpone cream mix or place on top of the tiramisu when ready to serve (Tiramisu con le Fragole). There you have it, Paggi Pazzo’s Roman Style Tiramisu, buon appetito!

Roman Style Tiramisu from Paggi Pazzo

Roman Style Tiramisu Recipe

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 hr
Total time: 5 hr 30 min

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Italian mascarpone cheese
  • 6 Lavazza espresso shots
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 20 Italian Vincenzovo savoiardi biscotti (ladyfingers)
  • 4 tablespoons Dark chocolate powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lavazza espresso grounds

Cooking Directions

  1. Add egg yolk and sugar to a large bowl and mix for 1-2 minutes at low speed, then add mascarpone cheese and repeat
  2. In a separate medium bowl, add whipping cream and milk and mix 6-8 minutes at medium speed, then add to large bowl – mix again at low speed for another 2 minutes
  3. Add thin layer of mascarpone cream to medium size cooking pan (1-2 inches deep)
  4. Place Lavazza espresso in a bowl at room temperature and dip savoiardi biscotti individually then place on top of mascarpone cream, repeat 1 more time
  5. Mix chocolate powder and Lavazzo espresso grounds into a bowl and mix, then sprinkle gently on top of tiramisu
  6. Let tiramisu chill overnight or at least 5 hours and serve

Roman Style Tiramisu

5 out of 5
stars based on 3 ratings and 2 reviews.

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Authentic Lasagne alla Romana – When In Rome….. Yes, do tell??!?!

5 Oct


Authentic Lasagne alla Romana from the Eternal City

Roman cuisine is most commonly known for their signature pasta dishes like carbonara and amatriciana, pizza specialties like thin-crust, pizza bianca and pizza al taglio, but not as much for lasagne. Unlike Lasagne alla Bolognese and the sky-scraping American lasagne versions (that bastardize the very essence of lasagne), Roman lasagne is less meaty and much thinner in comparison. Think of it being as satisfying in terms of appetite but minimizing on the expanding waist-line thing. Today I am sharing my authentic Roman Lasagne recipe that my mother has shared with me since I knew how to walk and as the saying goes, “When in Rome….“, however – it doesn’t really apply here, does it?
Baked authentic Lasagne alla Romana recipe from Paggi Pazzo

So what makes lasagne alla Romana, Roman? Well you need a person from Rome or of Roman decent to make it…. Ok, that’s not true, I made that part up. The most significant difference is the inclusion of other ingredients such as chopped boiled eggs, chunks of mortadella and pancetta, fresh mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese. Most Italian lasagne does not include ricotta, as I’ve mentioned before in my Lasagne Bolognese post and most are much thinner than the stereotyped lasagne you find in American restaurants. I personally prefer the thinner lasagne because the flavors are more distinct and not overwhelmed with too many ingredients. I start off preparing the Lasagne alla Romana with the sauce and this is not a traditional Ragu as it’s made with garlic, onions, bay leaves, basil, and carrot. I would say it has a bit more diversity than the Bologna version. In another pan I take a little bit of ground beef and chopped pancetta, and let it all brown together. Once that is ready, I drain the oil from the meat and add it to the sauce pan with San Marzano crushed tomatoes, cooking for 2 hours. During this time I boil water for the hard boiled-egg and make the fresh lasagne pasta with Semolina flour, Antimo Caputo flour and eggs – letting sit for 30 minutes before rolling through the pasta machine to make 6 thin sheets.

When the lasagne alla Romana sauce is done, I add a little to the cooking pan then laying down the lasagne sheets with a light topping of the sauce on top, chopped hard boiled egg, mortadella, and fresh mozzarella. This is followed one more time with a light topping of sauce on the top of the lasagne and a healthy sprinkling of Pecorino Romano. Set the oven to 425 degrees, add the lasagne and after the lasagne has finished, let sit for 10-15 minutes and then slice for you and your guests (and if you don’t have guests I am more than happy to join you). I opened up a nice bottle of Nobile de Montepulciano but feel free to indulge in a Barbera d’Asti, or any other hardy red wine you see fit. So there you have it, Paggi Pazzo’s authentic Lasagne alla Romana, Forza Roma!

Authentic Lasagne alla Romana recipe from Paggi Pazzo

Authentic Lasagne alla Romana Recipe

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours 45 min

Total time: 3 hours 15 min

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Antico Molino Caputo flour tipo 00
  • 1 cup Moretti Semolina Flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 pound thick slicepancetta
  • 1/4 pound thick slicemortadella
  • 1/3 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano
  • 1 small carrot

Cooking Directions

  1. To make sauce, add oil to pan at medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add finely chopped onion and garlic, carrot peeled, fresh bay leaves, and saute for 10 minutes
  3. In another pan, brown chopped pancetta and ground beef for another 7-10 minutes before adding seasoned with salt and pepper and cook until meat is slightly browned
  4. Add ground beef to sauce with crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and cook at low temperature for at least 90 minutes
  5. To make pasta dough, place flour on cutting board, counter, or large bowl and shape into a volcano with an opening in the middle. Crack 2 eggs into middle of flour (removing shells) and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  6. Slowly beat and stir eggs in a circular motion while slowly including flour into egg mix. After several minutes, egg and flour will come together creating greater consistency and become soft like dough mixture. Once thicker, use hands to press remaining flour into dough and push, flatten, and kneed until ready (add water to mixture if necessary)
  7. Take pasta dough and cover with large bowl for 30 minutes or put in plastic wrap and put in fridge
  8. To make lasagne pasta, take dough and flour on both sides, then use hands to flatten. Add dough to machine at highest level continue to put pasta back in machine until pasta thins, flouring lightly on both sides. Cut into long sheets to fit into lasagne dish
  9. Preheat oven at 425 degrees and lightly dress bottom of pan with sauce
  10. Boil water and add egg, after 15 minutes remove egg, then chop
  11. Grate Pecorino Romano into a bowl and chop fresh mozzarella and mortadella
  12. Add light sauce to bottom of pan, then layer with 4 lasagne sheets with dressing of sauce, chopped fresh mozzarella,chopped egg, chopped mortadella (repeat again for second layer)
  13. Add more sauce to top of lasagne with Pecorino Romano sprinkled on top
  14. Cover lasagne with sheet of aluminum foil and place in oven and cook for 45 minutes
  15. Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving

Authentic Lasagne alla Romana Recipe

5 out of 5
stars based on 3 ratings and 0 reviews.

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Grilled Chicken Wings – Just Wing it Baby!

8 Mar


Grilled Chicken Wings: A Classic Sports App!

What’s more American than apple pie? How about apple pie chicken wings?!!?!? Or, perhaps maybe chicken wings on the grill minus the apple pie? This past Super Bowl I was looking for something to enjoy during the game that was a little more red, white, and blue then some of the previous appetizers I normally create. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy bruschetta, crostini, empanada, or croquette under any circumstance or sporting event but I was feeling all-American for this occasion. What I decided on was some good old Chicken Wings on the grill but with a little twist that turned out to be a real crowd pleaser (and by crowd I mean myself and my wife). Nothing wrong with a few wings, a cold beer, and a Super Bowl game that was interesting for about one quarter of play. Ok, two out of three isn’t bad.
Grilled Chicken Wings with crushed red peppers, fresh squeezed lemon, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a pinch of thyme from Paggi Pazzo

To prepare the grilled chicken wings, get a large bowl and dress lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and then mix. In a different smaller bowl, add olive oil, garlic powder, crushed red peppers, fresh squeezed lemon, and a sprinkle of thyme and stir/mix (you can use real garlic if you wish rather than garlic powder but make sure it is minced). Get your grill started with lump hardwood charcoal and some apple wood chunks in a cylinder and once turned grey, dump into grill pit. Then oil the grates and add the chicken wings, over the high heat zone, turning once the wings begin to darken on the outside. After 3-4 minutes on each side, move to a medium heat zone. Once the wings are almost ready, lightly dress them with the olive oil, garlic powder, lemon, crushed red peppers, and thyme using a brush. Place again over high heat quickly on both sides and then move to a bowl adding the remaining mix to the wings and mixing well. Now it’s time to get all American up in here!!!

For a sauce or dip I used ranch and blue cheese but I imagine honey mustard would go nicely as well. Crack open an ice cold beer or enjoy a margarita (I know it’s not American but they, they’re our neighbors) and enjoy Paggi Pazzo’s grilled chicken wings, oh say can you see!!!!

Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs. chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • pinch thyme
  • 1 lemon

Cooking Directions

  1. Wash and clean chicken wings, then place in large bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and mix
  2. In a separate smaller bowl, add remaining olive oil, garlic powder, crushed red peppers, thyme, squeezed fresh lemon, and mix
  3. Prepare grill by adding 1/2 chimney starter filled with wood lump charcoal and apple wood chunks, ignite and when coals turn grey add to grill pit
  4. Oil grates and then place chicken wings on grill, turning after 3-4 minutes per side over high heat. Then move to medium heat zone
  5. Lightly brush chicken wings with mix then place over high heat for another 1-2 minutes per side and then place in bowl
  6. Add remaining mix to bowl and use thongs to distribute evenly to all wings, then serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing


All American Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

3.5 out of 5
stars based on 3 ratings and 0 reviews.

Click here for full Grilled Lemon & Garlic Chicken Wings recipe, and other Paggi Pazzo recipes.

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