VEAL AND PEPPERS WITH FIGS

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Vitello e Peperoni Arrostiti con Fichi

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Buon giorno!

Veal has always been a popular choice of meat in Italian dishes and a classic selection especially for many Northern Italian dishes. When I was growing up, veal was not reserved for special meals. Loretta and Attilio, my mother and father, served it in so many ways on any day of the week. Aside from the usual veal cutlets, they made stew with it, they stuffed veal chops, and breast of veal. As with other Italian families, we had a saute of veal and peppers often. There are as many recipes out there for veal and peppers as there are Italian families, I’m sure. Everyone seems to have their own special preparation handed down from the nonne (grandmothers). With our dish today, VEAL AND PEPPERS WITH FIGS, I have taken the classic sauteed version and made some changes.

The Standard: Usually, in most recipes, the veal cutlets or scallops are sauteed in olive oil with some peppers, sometimes with a little wine. Many like to add mushrooms.

Have Veal Issues? Then Cluck! This dish is also delicious using boned chicken breasts or chicken cutlets. The instructions are the same. Just make sure you slice the chicken breast pieces into thin scallops.

My Cheeky Addition: It is fig season now in most areas of the U.S. During the summer season, they arrive, for the most part, plump, juicy, sweet, and ready to eat. What could be better than making them part of the main event? Figs are really lovely with veal. They saute quickly and keep their flavor when cooked. In this case, they offer just a touch of sweetness that marries well with the savory quality of this recipe and smokiness of the roasted peppers.

My Peppery Preference: As with most vegetables, when possible, I always like to roast peppers. There is so much more flavor in a roasted “anything”! Peppers are no different and almost beg to be roasted. It is so easy to do this that it seems silly not to want to add this extra step. The peppers will also need very little cooking in the dish, as they are already tender from roasting. You simply brush your peppers with olive oil and pop them whole under the broiler, turning occasionally, for the “triple B” treatment: bruise, blacken, and blister. Then place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes to steam the skins off. Works like a charm! You can see the step by step easy process for roasting peppers by visiting a previous post: Sovana and the Mystery Dish. Since then , a subscriber, Stephanie, suggested cutting the peppers first and roasting them in pieces. This is a great suggestion which works very well.

How to serve: Even though this is definitely a meat dish and can be considered an entrée complete in itself, Veal and Peppers with Figs is actually a light choice for any time of day . Think of it as the “guy” who shows up for lunch in khakis, but put a tie on him, and he’s good for dinner! The “guy” cleans up nicely. This dish is definitely light enough for a lunch on the patio. However, add a green salad, a rustic bread like Focaccia, and a beautiful wine, a balmy evening, and you have yourself one fine dinner on the good china.

I’m hungry!

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VEAL AND PEPPERS WITH FIGS

Serves:

Prep: about 40 minutes

Cook: about 20 minutes

Ingredients:

About 8 Veal scallops or cutlets (boned chicken breasts may be substituted)

1/3 c. Flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging

4 Peppers Roasted, skins removed (See post:Sovana and the Mystery Dish for instructions on roasting) I like one of each color: red, yellow, orange, green.

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/8 lb Pancetta – chopped

3 Cloves Fresh Garlic – chopped finely

1 c. White Wine  (substitute with water or broth if you do not choose to use wine)

1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 c. chicken broth

6-8 Fresh Figs – Sliced

2 Tbsp. Butter

2 tsp. fresh Lemon Zest

1/3 c. Chopped Fresh Parsley (preferably Italian Flat Leaf)

1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves ( I like to use Lemon Thyme from my garden)

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Instructions:

Roast and skin peppers, cut in pieces, set aside. Can be done a day or 2 ahead if desired.

Pound veal scallops with mallet to make thin. Also use the sharp end of the mallet to tenderize.

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Dredge scallops in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and set aside.

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Pour olive oil in pan – add chopped pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove pancetta and reserve.

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Brown veal scallops in same oil on both sides – just a few minutes each side.( You can add another Tbsp. of oil if you think it is needed.) The scallops will brown quickly. Remove from pan.

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Add garlic to the same oil and saute a couple of minutes.

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Pour in white wine and add red pepper flakes. Cook a couple of minutes on medium high scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan.

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Then pour in the chicken broth – again stirring up any bits left on the pan bottom.

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Add veal scallops back to pan –  reduce heat, cover and cook the veal for about 10 minutes or until tender. At any point, you can add a little more broth if sauce gets too thick.

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Add the roasted peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

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Add the figs.

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Add the butter – stir in.

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Immediately: add the Lemon Zest.

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Follow with the pancetta, parsley, and thyme.

Stick a fork in it – your VEAL AND PEPPERS WITH FIGS is done!

PARLA COME MANGI!

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LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE

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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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June: Linguine Alle Vongole

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Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Clam-Sauce with script

Sounds like a big deal – linguine, clams, vongole. Hmmm… not so much. The only big deal here is the wonderful dish that awaits. LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE or Linguine with White Clam Sauce is easy, light, and perfect to start the summer menu for outdoor dining. Yes – outdoors – On the Patio – is right where I would go with this one. This dish was just made for an outdoor spread. You are not going to believe how easy it is to create one of the most famous of Italian seafood dishes. I just saw some beautiful Littleneck Clams the other day and thought, “It’s time!”  It is time to share this fabulous dish with you.

Linguine Alle Vongole was pretty ordinary around our house growing up  in Binghamton, NY, because it was a favorite of my father, Attilio, a fisherman at heart, who loved to take to the sea in the summer with his family in tow.  As a girl, we spent many summers on Cape Cod with various wonderful cousins of my mother, Loretta. We all inhabited cottages next to each other. It was the Italian version of the Kennedy compound—without the trust funds!  During the day, when the time was right, the kids would head, with their buckets, to the areas where the clams would be found and commenced to digging up as many as they could carry home to my Dad. He would then prepare two extraordinary sauces with these clams – one red – one white. The aunts prepared homemade pasta while we were all at the beach. Later at dinner time, everyone emerged from the family cottages to  grab a dish and line up  for Attilio’s “red” or “white”  sauce – both delicious and fresh. Such a memory – I can almost taste the pasta, fresh clams, and the the salt air that accompanied.

Today we’ll tackle the simple and fresh preparation of the “white” in Linguine Alle Vongole. Just relax and let the clams do the heavy lifting. They will release flavor from their broth that you will not believe!

LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE

Clam-Sauce with script 2

Serves: 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb. Linguine Pasta (thin, flat pasta)

1/4 c. Olive Oil

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic- chopped finely

1 c. White wine

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Littleneck or other small clams (Manilas, cockles etc.) scrubbed a little to clean them. I like 3 1/2 lb for 4 people. Don’t be stingy with the clams. After all, they are the main focus here.

3 Tbsp. Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste.

1/2 c.  Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

1 Lemon for garnish

Extra Virgin Olive Oil  for drizzle

Instructions:

Put oil in pan with chopped garlic

Cook a couple of minutes over med. high heat just to let garlic permeate the oil. Sit and do not brown or burn the garlic

Add the wine and red pepper flakes – Cook a couple of minutes.

Then add the clams turning the heat to high. Cover the pan immediately and cook until the clams open – about 8 minutes. They will release a delicious broth which will flavor your sauce.

If larger clams are used –leave cover on a couple more minutes.

When ready – remove any unopened clams and discard them as they may be dead. Use only the clams which have opened.

TASTE and add salt and pepper as needed

At this point add 3 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and stir in.

Add the sauce to the drained pasta and toss. Taste again for seasoning.

Sprinkle parsley over the top.

Slice the lemon very thin into rounds and then cut the rounds in half  – like 1/2 moons and throw around on top of pasta – as many as you like.

Drizzle liberally with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Stick a fork in it – it’s DONE!

To Serve: Have some crusty Italian bread on hand with this dish. You’ll need it. It has great “dunkability”!  My father, Attilio, would surely have a small supply of red pepper flakes on the side to add to his dish – delicious – but not for the faint of heart.

Vino: As with most seafood , I recommend a Falanghina with the Linguine Alle Vongole , but a Pinot Grigio would  be lovely as well.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE

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May: Capellini w/Tomatoes, Basil, & Goat Cheese

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Capellini_05

May is the perfect month to begin thinking about al fresco dining. Capellini with Tomatoes, Basil, and Goat Cheese is just the dish to kick-off this merry month when all eyes  turn to bright new blooms and chirping birds. This is always my “go-to” spring pasta dish when I want something fresh, fresh, fresh! It is easy, quick, and requires very little cooking. The freshness of the ingredients makes me want to quickly RUN outdoors with a chilled white wine to enjoy my first experience of the season dining On the Patio. So grab a nice Sauvignon Blanc and follow me to my Italian Table!

CAPELLINI WITH TOMATOES, BASIL, and GOAT CHEESE

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 min.

Cook: 15 min.

Ingredients:

1 lb Capellini Pasta (very thin long pasta) cooked according to directions

3/4 c. Olive Oil

2 large cloves of FRESH Garlic – chopped finely

2 c. Grape tomatoes cut into halves – grape tomatoes are so sweet and will sweeten the dish  (The equally sweet Campari tomatoes cut into quarters are fine as well – cherry tomatoes can also be used but usually are not as sweet)

Juice of 1/2 FRESH Lemon

1/2 c. White Wine (preferably the same as the wine you will serve with it)

1 tsp. Kosher Salt – or to taste

Freshly ground Black Pepper

1 c. FRESH Basil – chopped

3-4 oz Goat Cheese crumbled in bits ( do not use pre-packaged crumbled goat cheese)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling at finish

Instructions:

Use all FRESH ingredients where indicated.

Heat olive oil and add chopped garlic.

Cook  a couple of minutes to tenderize the garlic – do not brown it. Just let it infuse the oil.

Add tomatoes and stir.

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Add lemon juice and stir

SEE MY VIDEO HERE! –> Linda’s Capellini VIDEO

Add wine  – then salt and pepper

Cook on medium high a few minutes until reduces by 1/2.

Sauce will thicken slightly and turn a beautiful golden color.

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Add Pasta and toss.

Add Basil and Goat Cheese.

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Drizzle with a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving. I like Olio Carli – It is sweet and seems to make every dish perfect.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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November: Gorgonzola Sauce

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Recipe of the Month — November 2010

Makes enough Gorgonzola Sauce for 2 lb gnocchi (or pasta). If left over, it’s great on chicken or save it for another pasta meal! Gnocchi are available to purchase at specialty food stores and most grocery stores now. Subscribe to my blog and check out my homemade gnocchi recipe with step by step instructions.

GORGONZOLA SAUCE

Fry 1/4 lb pancetta chopped into small bits. Drain and set aside. 3 tbsp. butter 1 large clove garlic chopped finely 3 tbsp. flour 1/4 c. white wine 1 1/2 c. heavy cream warmed 4 oz Gorgonzola Dolce broken into bits ( The Dolce makes for a milder creamier sauce .) 1/4 tsp Kosher salt Freshly Ground black pepper to taste Chopped Fresh Basil for garnish. Melt butter in saucepan and add chopped garlic. Cook for about a minute. And add flour and saute in butter for a couple of min. to cook the flour a little. With heat at medium add white wine and stir for about 3 minutes.   Then add the warmed cream and stir constantly until smooth and flour is cooked in and has disappeared (about 3-4 min).  Add Gorgonzola and stir until until Gorgonzola has melted into sauce.  Add salt and black pepper to taste. Thin with a little cream or milk if sauce becomes too thick.  Pour over prepared gnocchi and sprinkle the crispy pancetta over the top. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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