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Caprese garlic bread, a can’t miss

Garlic bread and sauce can be a meal in my house. But what do you do to give an upgrade to this basic bread staple? Add melty mozzarella, fresh sliced tomatoes and green basil, of course. Serve as a side with pasta, or eat all on its own. Caprese Garlic Bread Serves 6-8  Ingredients 1 loaf Italian bread, halved 1 stick butter, softened 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup balsamic reduction 6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced Himalayan cooking and table salt Directions  Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, add butter, garlic and salt. Mash together until soft and blended. Spread mixture on both halves of bread. Place bread halves on a baking sheet, and bake about 15 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and just barely brown. Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella over both halves of the loaf. Top with tomato slices, and bake…

Restaurant quality at home with roasted red pepper sauce pizza, pasta

It’s good for our tastebuds if we mix things up every so often. Try this roasted red pepper sauce on anything you would typically top with a tomato sauce for an instant, restaurant-worthy upgrade. It’s a unique flavor all on its own, and it will give new life to those dishes you’ve made dozens or even hundreds of times before. It looks like tomato sauce, but the creamy, fiery flavor will surely make you a fan. Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients 16 oz. jar of roasted red peppers 2 tbsp water 2.5 tbsp butter 3-4 cloves of garlic 1 tbsp dried basil 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) healthy dose of fresh cracked pepper 1/3 cup heavy cream (if using on pizza, use 1/4 or less) Directions Add peppers to blender along with 1-2 tbsp of extra liquid from the jar they came in. It’s a bit acidic, but can…

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…

VIDEO: Squid ink fettuccini with shrimp and cherry tomatoes recipe

No matter what age you are, you should never be afraid to tackle a new ingredient, and squid ink pasta is a safe place to start expanding your repertoire. Squid ink dishes are having a moment in the culinary world, mostly for their striking color and extra dimension of flavor. But despite the strong color, the noodles have a surprisingly neutral flavor; slightly saltier than standard egg noodles. Some varieties claim to have a faint hint of seafood flavor, as well. Squid ink refers to the black, cloudy liquid that cephalopods  — such as squid, cuttlefish or octopus — release as a defense mechanism when being chased by a predator. It has deep pigmentation caused by melanin, a common organic pigment found in plants and animals. If you’re making your own noodles, remember, a little of this richly colored condiment goes a long way. Squid ink is most popular in Italian and Spanish cooking, but it’s memorable…

Paul Sorvino and wife publish Italian Cookbook with nod to Goodfellas

If you didn’t have a love affair with Italian food before, watching Paulie Cicero (played by Paul Sorvino) and his mob family in the 1990 blockbuster Goodfellas cook dinner in prison would have been enough to start. Seeing Sorvino slice through garlic with a razor blade “so thin that it used to liquify in the pan with just a little oil”, as narrator Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) tells it, was mesmerizing. The visuals and the description made our mouths water. After 27 years of salivating over Sorvino’s sauce, it’s about time he grace us with the gift of his cooking know-how through an Italian cookbook. Pinot, Pasta, and Parties (Available April 18, 2017; $30) is Paul’s first cookbook, created in efforts with wife, Emmy Award Winning TV and radio host, Dee Dee Sorvino. “We wanted to share our recipes, experiences, and a glimpse into our happy life together,” they write in the foreword. “Each chapter focuses on an aspect…

National Pizza Day: A Slice of Shared Italian-American History

This year you will likely eat about 23 pounds of pizza. And you’re not alone in your cheese-laden love affair. Collectively, Americans will devour about 3 billion pizzas before the end of this calendar year. February 9 is National Pizza Day, and we should take a minute to consider whether there is any other single food that has captured our cultural creativity or embraced our ever-changing, national heritage more than this versatile staple? Pizza embodies the region where it is made. For independent pizzeria owners, it’s a labor or love. More than 75,000 pizza restaurants make up 17% of all restaurants nationwide. In the U.S., pizza has become a passion. But of course we know, like most foods, Americans can’t take credit for its invention. The origins of pizza could actually be credited to anyone who first learned the secret of mixing flour with water and cooking it on a…