Chef Paulette September Pop-Up Restaurant

Join me for my next Pop-Up Restaurant!

Autumn in Italy Dinner with Chef Paulette

Multi-Course Italian Feast

I can’t wait to cook for you on Monday, September 19th!

The 4- course menu is full of Italy’s Best Autumn Flavors…traditional dishes from Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, and more…

Handmade Pasta, Chianti Beef Ragu, Classic Chicken, Vegetable, and Dessert courses. Don’t miss it!

Advance Tickets Only – Limited Seating
Bring Your Own Wine

Venue: 615chuTNey, 7075 Hwy 70S Nashville

More info at link: 

More info at link: AutumnDinner and QR Code in poster

Easy Roasted Sausage, Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes

These ingredients are together for a reason.

Each ingredient tastes great on its own. But. When you combine Italian sausage (hot or mild) with onions and peppers (and the potatoes just up the ante)…it’s cause for some taste-bud celebration.

Roasting them together couldn’t be easier. I just blanche the potatoes first to give them  a start. But then everybody into the pool! (Oven, really.) MMMmmmm!

Baked Sausage, Peppers & Potatoes

Serves 4-6

4-5 small red potatoes
2 medium onions, yellow or white
2 red or green bell peppers
1-1.5 lbs Italian sausages
olive oil for drizzling
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse & peel the potatoes (or leave peel on if you prefer) and cut them into ½ inch wedges. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Blanche the potatoes for 2 -3 minutes. Drain.

Peel onions and cut them into ½ inch wedges. Cut the peppers in half. Pull out the stem, and seeds. Cut into ½ inch strips. Line a sheet pan with foil. Add the potatoes, onions and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss to coat.

Cut each sausage into 2 or 3 chunks, or cut in half and then split lengthwise. Add to the vegetables. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes until vegetables and sausage are cooked through and starting to brown. Turn vegetables and sausages 1-2 times while cooking. Serve hot or warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Pop-Up Restaurant!

Join me for an Italian Feast that I am cooking for YOU! My first restaurant Pop-Up is on Monday June 13th in Nashville. 6 pm. One Seating.

Multi-Course —  Individually-Plated — This is a treat you don’t want to miss!

Click here for MORE INFO

Venue Host: 615ChuTNey

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Easy Focaccia

You will love this authentic focaccia. You don’t even need a mixer to make it. Just a bowl and a fork. It is reminiscent of Riviera-style focaccia. Not very thick, with the moistness of olive oil, and a crunchy-tender bite.

You can top it with almost anything. I usually sprinkle thinly sliced onion, or sliced pitted olives, and/or rosemary. And then a touch of finishing salt.

Here’s the recipe. Let me know how you do!

Riviera Focaccia with Rosemary and Olives

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons plus scant 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed, stems discarded
1/2 cup of pitted kalamata olives, or favorite pitted olives, sliced
1/4 teaspoon finishing salt, or regular salt

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the yeast and sugar to a small mixing bowl, add 1 cup warm water. Stir once. When yeast puffs up (blooms), add 2 tablespoons olive.

Make a well/hole in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk together gently with a fork until flour is all absorbed and the mixture looks smooth, about 1 minute. Cover dough in bowl with plastic wrap to seal, then cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a draft-free spot and let dough to rise until about doubled, about 1-1 ½ hours.

Pour a scant 1/4 cup of olive oil in a quarter-sheet pan, or rimmed jelly roll pan (approximately 9 x 13-inches). Pour out the dough into the pan without folding it, using a spatula to help (dip spatula in the oil — dough will be sticky). Poke your fingers into some of the oil, so the dough won’t stick as you poke down the dough to fill pan. Push it into the corners and try to even out the thickness all around. Poking the dough gives it the characteristic pocked surface of focaccia. Cover the dough with plastic, without sealing it— just on top to cover, and then kitchen towel. Let rise about 30 minutes more. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

When the dough has risen a second time, discard plastic. Poke your (oiled) fingers to make impressions again, scatter rosemary, olives, and finishing salt on top. Bake focaccia in the hot oven for about 20-30 minutes until deep golden. Allow to cool a few minutes before loosening from pan with a spatula. Cut into squares or strips.

 

Cinnamon Twists

Here’s the recipe from today’s WSMV-TV “Today in Nashville” segment…

I hope you try it! Comment if you have questions. Thanks!

Glazed Cinnamon Twists
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons softened
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in the 6 tablespoons of cold butter, breaking apart the butter into very small pieces. Add the milk and stir until a dough forms, knead gently (not too much) to pull together a smooth ball of dough. 
Flour a work surface and roll out dough into rough rectangle (or oval), about 1/8” thick. Using a spatula or butter knife, spread the softened butter over the surface of the rolled dough to cover it all. Sprinkle cinnamon to distribute evenly, sprinkle sugar to distribute evenly. Fold dough in half. Press to adhered. Gently use rolling pin to press together a little more. Using a knife or fluted wheel cutter, cut 1/2-inch strips.
Twist each strip into a spiral and lay on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Press the two end down to adhere. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Let cool completely before drizzling glaze criss-cross across the twists.
For the glaze
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature soft
1 cup powdered sugar (you may need a little more)
½ teaspoon vanilla
In a medium mixing bowl press out the butter with a spoon to make it smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until the butter is blended into small pieces with the sugar,. Add the vanilla and mix. Run the kitchen faucet until very hot. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the mixture and stir rapidly to combine. If frosting seems too thick, add more hot water until it becomes the right consistency for drizzling. When adding water just a very little at a time— even just drops. (If it becomes too thin, let sit for a while — it will thicken on its own. Or add a little more powdered sugar.)
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Italian Easter Pie or Pizza Rustica

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Easter Pie or Pizza Rustica

I remember that exciting time when Easter pies lined the glass counters of Italian bakeries in New York. These savory pies — also known as Pizza Rustica — showed up just before Easter. They’re an elaborate, rich celebration of cured meats at the end of Lent.

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Easter Pie or Pizza Rustica

The pie is over-full with chunks of salami, mortadella, cappacollo, ham…that’s my version. You can mix up the meats to include pepperoni or soppressata, or prosciutto.

Pie chopped ingredients

Chopped cappacollo, salami, ham, mortadella, & mozzarella

They meats are mixed with ricotta, eggs, parmigiano, and — in my version — provolone for a little sharpness. 

Pie ricotta mix

Meats mixed with cheeses

The whole pie is baked in a flaky crust and served in slices for an appetizer — or part of your Easter lunch or dinner.

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The pie keeps well, refrigerated, for a few days. You can sneak irresistible tasty slivers for as long as a week.

Don’t worry if it looks involved — it’s not hard! It’s authentic — one of those rustic culinary traditions that Italians look forward to every year (including me). Once you taste it, you’ll make it one your traditions, too. Let me know how it goes. : )

Buona Pasqua!

Easter Pie or Pizza Rustica

For the Pastry:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup cold dry white wine

For the Filling:

2 cups ricotta

3 eggs, plus 1 more egg for egg wash

1/2 lb. mozzarella, diced

¼ lb. mortadella, thick sliced, cut into small dice

¼ lb. capacollo, thick sliced, cut into small dice

¼ lb. salami, thick sliced, cut into small dice

1/4 lb. ham, thick sliced, cut into dice

1 cup grated Parmigiano or Pecorino

1/4 lb. diced pecorino or provolone cheese

salt & pepper to taste 

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Put the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Cut the butter into cubes and add to flour. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the chilled wine. Process until a ball of dough forms — about 15-20 seconds. If ball isn’t forming, add a tablespoon or more wine.

Take dough out of the processor and divide into two pieces—about 2/3 and 1/3. Flatten each into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as overnight. 

In a large mixing bowl mix together the ricotta with the grated cheese. Stir in the mozzarella, mortadella, capacollo, salami, ham, and diced cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, beat together the 3 eggs. Season eggs with salt. Stir into ricotta mixture, and combine well. 

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Roll out the larger piece of dough to fit a the pan, with dough coming about half-way up the sides of the pan. “Dock” the dough by poking a fork all around the dough. Fill with the ricotta filling. Roll out the smaller piece of dough and place on top. Crimp the edges to seal it together with sides of the bottom pice of dough. . Cut about 4-5 steam slits in a circle around the center into the top dough.

Beat the last egg with a teaspoon o f water. Brush lightly on the dough.

Bake for about 1 hour until the crust colors to golden. Let pizza rustica sit for about 15 minutes before unsealing the sides of the springform pan. Let cool for another 30 minutes-1 hour before cutting into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pie keeps, refrigerated, for a few days.

 

Beautiful Romanesco Cauliflower

Romanesco cauliflower (or known, too, as Romanesco broccoli) is an inventive sculpture of the highest artistic quality.

Okay. It’s a vegetable, yes, but it’s so beautiful! And a work of stunning, shapely, color-bright art of the garden. If I see one in the produce section I must get it. It’s like a vegetable siren song.

I first encountered Romanesco in Rome one autumn. My friend, Malena, brought some to the apartment we were renting. In Rome it’s in season in autumn. She cooked us a fabulous pasta dish with orecchiette and garlic croutons and cooked-till-creamy Romanesco. I’ve made this same wonderful dish stateside and also tried it with cauliflower (perfect!).

But this time I wanted to keep those playful spiraled cones intact. Instead of making slices to roast, or cutting it willy-nilly, I very carefully cut the head, removing each floweret one by one.

The detailed work was worth it! I laid them out in a pan with just a few ingredients and roasted the beauties (recipe below). They kept their shape and became tender-firm and super tasty.

And still so pretty when brought to the table.

As an added texture you can toast some breadcrumb and sprinkle on top. These breadcrumb got toasted a bit further than I intended…but still good!


Roasted Romanesco Spirals

1 head Romanesco cauliflower
juice of one lemon
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup white wine
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Gently cut off each of the spiral tips/flowerets of the cauliflower. Line a sheet pan with foil. Drizzle some olive oil on pan and scatter flowerets. Sprinkle the lemon juice. Scatter the thyme sprigs. Drizzle olive oil lightly over all the flowerets. Season with salt & pepper. Pour the wine into the pan (this will help steam-roast the cauliflower).

Roast for about 40 minutes until desired tenderness. Serve warm or room temp. Add a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumb if desired.

(For breadcrumb: In a small frying pan heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil with a 1/2 cup breadcrumb or panko. Stir until lightly toasted. Season with salt & pepper.)

What to do with Broccoli Rabe

Deep dark green, leafy veggies are so good for us. And broccoli rabe is my absolute favorite. Yes, spinach is pure earthy green. Kale vitamin earnest. Swiss chard beautiful, colorful. Collards durable, confident. Mustard greens spikey with flavor.

But broccoli rabe is downright bitter. Ah, that’s the best part! Bitter sometimes gets a bad rap. But bitter can be oh-so-good. From bunch to bunch of broccoli rabe the bitterness can range in intensity. Sometimes I take the fresh bundle from the grocery bag and, even raw, it smells bitter. I love that moment. That’s when I really swoon at what’s coming when cooked.

It’s easy to make and my favorite recipe is the most traditional. Olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes. Ta-da!

Do try it. A great side, or make it your main meal. Or cook the recipe below and add some pasta (with a sprinkling or grated parmesan or pecorino). Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Red Pepper Flakes

1 bunch broccoli rabe
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut off some of the thick bottom stems from the broccoli rabe and discard. Cut the leaves and flowerets into smaller pieces: halving large leaves, separating out floweret stems with a leaf or two attached. Rinse in a colander, and shake out extra clinging water.

In a large skillet, heat about 4-5 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Add cut-up broccoli rabe (it will sizzle because it’s a little wet— but will calm down). Cook 5-6 minutes, turning broccoli rabe in oil, until wilted and tender. Season with salt & pepper. Serve.

 

 

 

What I buy at SupermarketItaly.com

SuperMarketItaly.com is a great website with all sorts of food imports from Italy. If you don’t have one (or more) Italian food stores where you live, this place is a fantastic source! People often ask me what I buy there (Hi, Casey!), so here is a list. These are the things I go back for over and over– but while perusing the site I always find something else I want to try (and you will, too). 

Kimbo is my favorite Italian coffee. This pretty white can has a screw top. And sometimes I buy the airtight packs and reuse these cans. Kimbo is a neapolitan brand and use it for my stovetop espresso pots. I also use the Kimbo espresso pods for our Nespresso machine. See below…

My favorite pasta is the shape: garganelli. It’s like penne but thinner, rolled on a diagonal, and often (or always) made with egg-based pasta. You can find it here! These are a couple of brands below.

Like hot peppers? Calabrian peppers are loved all over the world. Here are a couple of products I’ve tried (but there are others!)

I’m a fan of anchovies and these two are my faves. One with hot chili peppers (so good!) and one with anchovies wrapped around capers (yum!)

Baking? Whenever I do anything chocolate in baking or chocolate icing I always add a little espresso powder. It’s meant to be used as an “instant coffee” (don’t do that), but it’s much better as a flavor enhancer.

Still baking? Try this lovely imported orange extract– heavenly!

This fun beverage – San Bitter – tastes like Campari and soda but isn’t alcoholic. I love the upbeat bitter-sweet taste and used to cart back packages like this in my carry-on from Italy. Here, they’ll easily ship it to you! (And the bottles are adorable.)

AND there is so much more! During the holidays look for fabulous panettone. Check out all the other pasta. Candies, chocolates, more more more. I’ll try to do a Part 2. But also, next time, I’ll show you another great source for Italian products. 🙂

Mussels with Spicy Pasta Sauce

Mussels with Spicy Pasta Sauce

Seafood. Tomato Sauce. Pasta. Can’t get any better than that. My favorite! The taste of the sea in a pasta sauce. And those meaty, sweet morsels of mussels.

AND so easy!

This is my family’s seafood sauce that we use for mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, or blue-claw crab.

Fresh mussels? Usually not hard to find in stores. Costco has some wonderful ones from Prince Edward Island.

Here’s how I clean them.

Rinse each one under cool water to remove any grit. And debearding…do you know about that? Mussels grow clinging together on seaweed. Sometimes some of the seaweed stays attached. You can find it at the edge of the mussel. Simply grab it in your fingers, and pull it off. Not every mussel has this– and it’s really not hard to do at all.

And, typically, for Italian seafood pasta dishes, grated cheese is eschewed! The better topping is crunchy toasted breadcrumbs.

See the recipes below for some tasty (and as spicy as you like) seafood sauce. Enjoy that taste of the ocean!

Pasta and Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons, minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 dozen (or more) fresh mussels, rinsed clean & debearded

1/2 lb. linguine or spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add garlic, oregano, parsley, and pepper flakes. Saute until garlic softens and starts to color, about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes. stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a pasta of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add pasta, stir to keep strands apart until the water comes back to a boil. When you add pasta to water, add mussels and shrimp to sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat. The steam will open the mussels.

When pasta is done, drain and add to a serving bowl. When mussels have all opened (discard mussels that won’t open), add mussels and sauce to pasta. Stir to combine. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs for sprinkling.

Toasted breadcrumbs

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

4-5 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste 

Add crumbs and olive oil to a small frying pan. Stir to combine. Heat until crumbs are toasted. Season with salt.