Is it a class or a dinner party?

Well, both.

pasta-making

pasta-making

When I hold a cooking class I always feel like I’m hosting a dinner party.

A dinner party where everyone cooks.

And, of course, everyone eats.

We’re all in the kitchen.

cooking class

cooking class

Someone is chopping, someone sautéing, someone zesting, someone stirring,

someone seasoning…we’re all busy.

students whip perfect egg whites

students whip perfect egg whites

Chatting, laughing, learning about each other’s lives as we put together each dish…

in the kitchen

in the kitchen

…as we crank the handle on the pasta machine…

making fettuccine

making fettuccine

…as we teach our fingers to shape orecchiette and farfalle.

busy in the kitchen

Chef Paulette busy in the kitchen

Roll ropes of gnocchi. Roll out pliable pastry dough.

 

pastry

pastry

And any number of small and big tasks that go into making a great dinner.

And then we eat.

Yum!

Yum!

 

Got Eggplant? Here’s a very quick parmigiano!

eggplant

eggplant

Okay I’ll admit it. I’m not a big fan of eggplant. (Please don’t boo so loudly.) I’m Italian-American and 3 quarters of my background is Sicilian and Sicilians love eggplant. But I’m not one of them.

However. There are times when an eggplant dish just hits the spot. I try hard to make that happen so that even I like eggplant.

Here’s one of those dishes/times.

It all came about because an eggplant in the refrigerator was going to turn from good to bad. I had to cook it quickly and didn’t want to take too much time doing it.

I sliced the eggplant thinly (peel and all). Placed the slices in one layer on a sheet pan (foil-lined), drizzled olive oil, sprinkled salt & pepper. Baked it till soft and a bit golden. (400 degrees, about 20 minutes)

sliced eggplant ready for the oven

sliced eggplant ready for the oven

I made a quick tomato sauce. Sautéed minced onion in olive oil and I had a few mushrooms, so I broke them into small pieces and added them to the sauté. (As well as a few minced sage leaves-happened to have some.)

onion & mushrooms

onion & mushrooms

A splash of white wine, let it evaporate, then a 15-oz can of crushed toms.

crushed tomatoes

crushed tomatoes

quick tomato sauce

quick tomato sauce

In a casserole dish I spread some sauce. Layered the eggplant. Sprinkled some shredded mozzarella and some grated parmigiano, more sauce, and repeat. (I also happened to have some cooked broccoli rabe in the fridge, so I put that in! Totally optional.)

building the eggplant parm

building the eggplant parm

 

eggplant w cheese

eggplant w cheese

Bake for 25-30 minutes. It’s GOOD. This eggplant I like. Tastes rustic, earthy, old world. My kind of eggplant.

baked eggplant parmigiano

baked eggplant parmigiano

Zucchini Agrodolce Recipe from Venice

Herbs at the Rialto Market

Herbs at the Rialto Market

Here’s a short video of my cooking segment on Channel 4’s More at Midday WSMV-TV Nashville…includes a brief glimpse of video from the Venice trip…but I will be posting MORE soon!

 

Zucchini Agrodolce from Venice on WSMV TV Nashville

Mediterranean Potato Salad Recipe

 

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Check out my cooking segment from yesterday’s Channel 4 More at Midday. A great way to perk up potatoes with the tastes of the Mediterranean!

Mediterranean Potato Salad TV cooking segment

Here’s the recipe:

Mediterranean Potato Salad

2 pounds small red potatoes, washed

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or whole

1/2 small red onion, thin sliced into half-moons

1 cup pitted green olives, sliced in half

1 cucumber, cut into half-moons

1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup capers

½ cup olive oil, or to taste

a few tablespoons vinegar, or to taste

salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender but still a bit firm. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss with tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, pepper, and capers. Drizzle with olive oil & vinegar. Season well with salt & pepper. Toss to combine.

Just a few spots left in my Fall Cooking Classes

cooking class

cooking class

These classes listed below have a few openings left!

 

Renaissance Tastes – Wednesday October 2, 6:30 pm

Cocoa-Flavored Fresh Pasta w Spicy-Cinnamon Beef Ragu

Fennel, Frisee & Escarole Salad w Parmigiano Vinaigrette

Amaretti Cake w Spiced Almonds and Lemon Glaze

 

Lunch in Perugia – Saturday October 19, 12:30pm

Fresh-Made Orecchiette Pasta (little ears) w Savory Sausage Ragu

Fennel Parmigiano Braised in Milk

Sweet Rosemary & Grape Clafoutis (Cake)

 

Cozy Hilltown Night – Wednesday October 23, 6:30 pm

Baked Sausage, Peppers & Potatoes w Rosemary Cannellini Beans

Sautéed Garlicky Escarole w Pine Nuts, Currants & Marjoram-Infused Olive Oil

Pear & Almond Mini-Cakes w Vanilla Glaze

 

Comfort Favorites – Wednesday October 30, 6:30 pm

Spiced Shrimp in Lemony Cream Sauce w Baby-Penne

Artichokes Stuffed w Garlic & Herbed-Panko

Fresh-Baked Focaccia w Asparagus, Red Onion, & Hot Pepper

 

Greek Island Cruise – Saturday November 2, 12:30 pm

Lemony Hummus

Smoky Eggplant Babaganouj

Spinach & Feta Pies

Walnut & Honey Baklava

 

Fireside Supper – Wednesday November 6, 6:30 pm

Gorgonzola Polenta w Fennel-Scented Lamb Ragu

Roman Peas & Asparagus w Pancetta & Onions

Pumpkin-Ricotta Mini-Pies

 

Home Cooked Italian – Saturday November 23, 12:30 pm

Sautéed Crispy Peppery Pork Scallopine Cutlets

Aunt Mary’s Sweet Peppers w Walnuts & Capers

Buttery Mashed Potatoes w String Beans & Parsley

Tender-Crust Hand-Pies w Mascarpone & Blueberries

 

Christmas Cookie Bake (Take-Home Tins!) Wednesday, December 18, 6:30 pm

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Biscotti Regina – Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

Chocolate Mini-Biscotti w Craisins & Pistachio Nuts

Easy Peasy Pasta

Orzo pouring in...!

Orzo pouring in…!

It’s the kind of pasta you eat when you’re hungry and you want to eat something fast. You want it to be ready in the time it takes water to boil and pasta to cook…about 20 minutes.

Why not choose orzo? Get it cooking in boiling salted water. Then open the refrigerator.

What’s there?

Maybe: a few grape tomatoes. A small bunch of broccoli. A few mushrooms. On the patio is a patch of arugula growing in a pot.

impromptu sauce ingredients

impromptu sauce ingredients

There’s garlic. Or onion. Or both. Salt & Pepper. Cut up & cook up all in a saute pan with a little olive oil.

Saute

Saute

When orzo is done, drain it, and keep a bit of pasta water. Add orzo to the saute pan.

Cooking orzo

Cooking orzo

Drizzle some olive oil. Mix to combine. Add some pasta water to moisten if needed. Season. Add grated cheese (parmigiano). Kick off your shoes. Sit down. Watch TV. (Glass of wine?)  Comfy.