Category Archives: Entree

Gina’s Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

 

Preparing for the Puttanesca sauce
Preparing for the Puttanesca sauce


There are many explanations that describe the origin of this dish. Puttanesca (literally means whore’s style spaghetti) is believed to have originated in the Campania region of Italy. In 2007, when we visited the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, our tour guide Marco from Perillo Tours explained to us the story behind the name of this dish. According to him, the ladies of the evening made it to lure the men into their house by attracting them with the aroma of the sauce.  Other sources claim the ladies made it  because it was easy and quick as they were always busy and had little time for cooking.  Whatever the story, Puttanesca is a delicious and lively sauce that you can whip in no time. It’s best served over spaghetti. It is tasty but on the salty side.

Ingredients:

  • 28 oz. peeled tomatoes, chopped or crushed
  • 1 cup meatless tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained
  • 2 can of whole anchovies in oil
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 lb. of spaghetti

    Preparation:1) Bring pasta water to a boil, add salt, and cook according to package directions. I like mine al dente (to the bite)

    2) In the meanwhile, over medium heat, in medium-size saucepan, heat up olive oil, sautee the garlic for 1 minute, add olives, capers, anchovies, continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and pepper flakes. Bring to a quick boil, simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Serve it over spaghetti.Cook’s note: If pasta is done before the sauce, just drain it well and drizzle some olive oil on it to prevent clumping.If you love all these ingredients, you will savor this delicious meal. I recently made it with cod fish over polenta, and it came out scrumptious. Check out my blogpost:  Baccala Mantecato to learn how to desalt the cod fish.

    Wine Pairing Suggestions: Ideally, I recommend the red Lacryma Christi from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy. However, it can be challenging finding this varietal. My next suggestions would be a Primitivo from the Puglia region or a Nero N’Avola from Sicily. Whatever your choice, with or without wine, you will enjoy this punchy pasta (if you like all the ingredients).  Buon Appetito!

    Warning: This dish has a high sodium content

    Disclosure: I did not get compensated for the products that I used
    Recipe developed by: Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
    Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

    Happy Cooking from my Kitchen to yours,
    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
    Culinary and Global Cuisines Aficionado

    Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
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Exotic Moroccan-Style Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine
Chicken Tagine
Chicken Tagine marinade
I am so fascinated with global cuisines that I jump from Italian pasta dishes, to Greek deliciousness, Middle Eastern delights, Caribbean flavorful dishes to other exotic cultures. Today, I am taking you on a journey (via my blog) to Morocco for a taste of My Chicken Tagine. A tagine is an earthenware pot in which this dish is traditionally cooked in.  Using preserved lemon is also part of the tradition, however in this recipe,  I used fresh lemon instead. No, I have not been to Morocco but I love the way they use aromatic spices in their dishes. Put on your apron and follow me in the kitchen for this delightful meal.

Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Allow up to 2.5  hours from start to finish

Ingredients for chicken marinade:

  • 5-6 lbs. chicken thighs and legs, skinless
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + slices of lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for marinade

  • Remaining ingredients: 
  • 6 -8 tbsp. of olive oil for searing the chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • 8 oz chickpeas
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

    Preparation:

    1) Marinate the chicken for at least one hour,  with onions, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice, olive oil.  Keep refrigerated for 45 minutes and keep at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to cooking it. Please keep your house cool.
    2) In a large tagine or Dutch-oven, over med-high heat, heat olive oil, and sear the chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. You will do this in batches and use more oil as needed. Remove and set aside.
    3) In the same pan, add the onions from the marinade, sauté for couple minutes, add garlic, sauté for 1 minute, tomato paste, 1-2 minutes till it’s rust in color. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Deglaze with the wine for 1-2 minutes.
    4) Add the chicken, broth, olives, chickpeas, carrots, raisins and lemon slices as seen in picture. Bring to a boil.
    5) Cover and simmer on low flame for 30 minutes. Remove cover, simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Serve with Moroccan couscous. Bon Appetit!

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas – Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
    Global Cuisines & Cultures Aficionado

Balsamic-Glazed Flank Steak with Orange Gremolata

photo (44)

 

Gremolata
Gremolata
FoodieWineLoverDecember2014 049
Mise en place for Flank Steak

 

For all meat lovers, this Balsamic-Glazed Flank Steak with Orange Gremolata is a delicious dish to add to your repertoire. It’s easy and makes for a beautiful presentation. Put on your apron, and lets get cooking!

Serves: 4 – 6     Degree of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for the Steak

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. flank steak
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Season the entire steak with salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Keep your house cool)

In the meanwhile, prepare the Gremolata and the glaze.

Ingredients for Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup flat-leave parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
    Mixed together and set aside.

Ingredients for glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 TBSP. olive oil

Preparation:

1) Heat olive oil and saute’ the shallot until it’s not longer translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil and reduce on very low heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

2) Grill the steak on high heat for about 4- 5 minutes on each side, depending on your desired doneness. I cooked it for 10 minutes which resulted in a medium, medium rare temperature. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to retain its juices. Slice it diagonally against the grain. Place it on a rectangle serving dish for a delightful presentation. Drizzle the glaze on top, and sprinkle the Gremolata all over the steak. Voila! A wonderful and refreshing way to dress up the meat to the nines. Serve it with a side dish of your choice.

Wine pairing suggestions: Syrah or Shyraz from Australia

Bon Appetit from Gina over at Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover (Canon Rebel T3)
Culinary Aficionado
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur

 

 

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

img_4871

As mentioned in the “About” section of my blog, I am of Middle Eastern descent on my mother’s side. I enjoy the richness and the intense flavors of their cuisine. I love experimenting with food in my kitchen. Recently, I created this dish, made with Middle Eastern couscous, chicken thighs and some aromatic spices indigenous to the region. It is so delectable, it makes me want to do the belly dancing. Put on your apron, grab a glass of wine (if you drink) and follow me in Gina’s kitchen.

Serves: 6-8 as a main meal – Level of difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
12 chicken thighs skinless, bone-in
Olive oil – Follow recipe
2 tbsp. sumac + more
2 tsp. 7 spices *
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups Middle Eastern couscous
32 oz. lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 red bell pepper cut in julienne
Flat leave parsley for garnish
16 oz. Greek 2% yogurt, sumac, olive oil to taste

Preparation:

1) Season the chicken with 3 tbsp. olive oil, sumac, 7 spices, salt and black pepper.  Let it marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

2) In a large Dutch pan, on medium-high to high heat,  cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  Sear the chicken,3 minutes on each side.  Be careful, as there will be some splattering.  Set aside. Do a second batch, and repeat. Set aside.
3) In the same pan, saute’ the onions for 2 minutes, garlic, 1 minute, add the tomato paste and stir until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes or so. Stir well.
4) Add the couscous, continue stirring for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth.  Layer all the chicken thighs on top, add chickpeas, bell peppers.
5) Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to med-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. It should come out nice and moist.  Garnish with parsley.
6) in a serving bowl, place the yogurt, sprinkle with sumac and olive oil to taste. Serve with the meal.

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken
Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

 

7 Spices
7 Spices
Couscous
Couscous

 

Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil
Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil

Cook’s notes:
1) The 7Spices contain, coriander, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and other spices as indicated on label.
2) The sumac and 7Spices can be found at Middle-Eastern/Arabic specialty stores.

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe, and will attempt to make this delightful dish.

Recipe developed and created by: Foodiewinelover
Photos taken by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Gina Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines

My Chicken Piccata

imageIf you are pressed for time,  all you need is about 20 minutes to make Chicken Piccata.  Piccata is a method of cooking. A thin sliced of chicken or veal is coated in flour, pan-fried and served with a sauce.  Veal Piccata originated in Italy but the chicken version is more popular in the United States. Chicken breast is commonly used to make this great dish. This recipe is perfect to add flavors to plain boring chicken breast. Today, I am sharing with you a very simple weeknight meal that is quick and delicious. Follow me in the kitchen.

Serves: 4 –  Degree of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb. chicken cutlets (not paper thin)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3/4 cup of white wine, Chardonnay
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Lemon slices for garnish

    Preparation:1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Drench in flour, and shake off the excess. Set aside.
    2) In a large skillet,  over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and butter. Pan fry the chicken for 3 minutes on one side. Flip the chicken, add capers, lemon, wine. Cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
    3) Serve over pasta. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

    Wine pairing suggestions: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vernachia, Verdicchio, Vermentino.

    Happy Cooking!

    Gina/Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

The Ultimate Shrimp Creole

img_1943Shrimp creole is a dish that originated in  Louisiana.  It consists of shrimp, tomatoes, the Holy trinity, some spices and hot pepper sauce. It’s very easy to prepare and packed with flavors. This dinner can be put together in 20 minutes.

Serves: 6 Level of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

– 1.5 lb. extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 4 tbsp. olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 green pepper, diced
– 2 celery ribs, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, chopped
– 8 oz. diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
– 8 oz. tomato sauce, of your choice
-1/2 cup water
– 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
-1/2 tsp. oregano
– Salt to taste
– Louisiana hot sauce, a few dashes
– Flat leave parsley for garnish

Preparation:

1) In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Saute onions, peppers, celery for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Stir well.

2) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, hot sauce.  Bring to a boil. Cover,  and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

3) Add shrimp,  cover and cook on low heat for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they become opaque.

Traditionally, this dish is served over white rice. Garnish with parsley.  I suggest you start cooking the rice. Follow the instructions on the package.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the shrimp dish.

Wine pairing suggestions: A chilled Riesling to balance the heat in this dish!

Recipe for Shrimp Creole by Foodiewinelover
Photo by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Bon Appetit!

Gina/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

 

 

 

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine over Polenta

Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine
Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine
Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine over Polenta
Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine over Polenta
Enjoying some short ribs
Enjoying some short ribs

Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine over Polenta Beef Short Ribs braised in Red Wine over Polenta

After a long absence, I needed to get back in the kitchen and prepare some home cooked meals.  My son PJ suggested that I make Gordon Ramsey’s short ribs. It was a collaborative effort with him and the result was a Grand Slam. Of course, he thought he was Gordon Ramsey and acted like him, but, I had to take control in Gina’s Kitchen. Let’s just say, we were each other’s sous chef! I was feeding 6 hungry people and I came up with the following measurements.  This recipe can easily be divided in half for a smaller crowd.

Serves: 6-8  Level of difficulty: Easy-Medium

Time: Allow a minimum of 3 hours from start to finish

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs. beef short ribs
  • Olive oil as needed for searing the ribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. of tomato paste
  • 2 heads of garlic, cut in halves (unpeeled)
  • 1 bottle of red wine, Chianti, Pinot Noir or Cabernet
  • 28 oz. of beef broth low-sodium
  • Italian parsley for garnish, optionalSide dish:

    1 cup Polenta for 4 cups of water, salt to taste

    Mushrooms topping: 

  • 8 oz baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 tbsp.  olive oil

    Preparation:

    1) Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. ( I keep my house on 75 degrees F.)2)  Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F.
    3) In a very large and deep pan, over medium-high heat on the stove top, pour about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Sear the meat on both sides for about 3-4 minutes each side. Rotate the meat in the middle of the pan where the heat is, using a set of tongues.

    4) Place the garlic face-down randomly. Add  tomato paste and stir it in all over the bottom of the pan. Cook until it obtains a rust color. Deglaze with the wine. Cook until it reduces 3-4 minutes.

    5) Add the beef broth, and control the sodium if necessary. Bring to a quick boil. Turn stove top off.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 2.5 hours. Just forget about it, figuratively speaking.  (please do not leave oven unattended)

    6)  In a small frying pan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter and the oil, and pan fry the mushrooms until they are golden brown. Set aside.

    7) Prepare the polenta 20 minutes before the ribs are done. If you do it too soon, it will clump up.  Follow cooking  instructions on package.  Keep on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve.

    8) Remove the ribs out of the oven and place them in a large platter. Take all the garlic out.  Pass them through a sieve and put the garlic paste in the sauce.  Stir well. Now it’s time to serve. Either buffet style or  you can plate it, by placing some polenta on the bottom of a platter, put the ribs on top and garnish with the mushrooms and parsley.
    Wine pairing suggestions: A bold Cab, Chianti or any red wine of your choice.It’s good to be back in the kitchen after a long absence.This blogpost is in Memory of My Beloved Dad, John.  I will always remember him in the kitchen as my potato peeler, my pot scrubber and my right hand daddy’s little girl. I will miss savoring delicious pasta dishes with him, but his legacy will live in my heart forever.

    RIP DAD- 1936-2016

    Disclosure:

    This dish is an adaptation of Gordon Ramsey’s recipe on YouTube. These measurements are mine based on 8 lbs. of ribs.
    Photographed by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

    Happy Braising!
    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles