Cavatelli with Seared Squid, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Baby Arugula and Black Olives

July 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


4-6 servings


For the Cavatelli

1 pound all-purpose flour, or Italian OO flour
1 pound whole-milk ricotta, drained/hung in cheesecloth overnight
4 ounces semolina
3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Water, just enough to make a firm dough

For the Sauce

10½ ounces baby arugula, long stem ends removed
8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange, peeled into strips (no pith)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 spring fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3½ ounces black olives, pitted and sliced

For the Calamari

1 pound calamari, fresh or frozen, tubes and tentacles cleaned and separated
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
Pinch pepperoncino
Zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped


For the cavatelli

Combine the flours in a large bowl. Add ricotta and the parmesan and mix by hand to combine.
Add the water a little at a time, just enough to form a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work table and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Be careful not to add too much water, but the dough should not be tacky or sticky.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap for up to a few hours.

To shape the cavatelli: cut the dough into pieces, and then roll one piece into a rope about ½ inch in diameter. Keep the remaining pieces covered in plastic wrap until needed. Using a small knife or a bowl/bench scraper, cut the dough rope into pieces about ½ inch long.

Press the pieces with your index finger against the blade of a butter knife with a rounded tip, flattering each piece of dough until fairly thin. Pull the knife toward you, dragging the dough across the work surface so that it curls itself around the tip of the knife to form a shell shape. Place on a floured sheet tray until ready to use.

For the calamari

Cut the calamari into tubes about ½ inch thick.

In a medium sauté pan over a low flame, heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the sliced garlic. Add a pinch of pepperoncino. When the garlic has softened and given off all of its aroma, turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. Sear the calamari tubes and tentacles in just a little oil nicely colored on both sides. Remove to the smaller pan with the garlic. Toss with the freshly grated lemon zest and parsley. Adjust seasoning.

For the Sauce

Cut the peeled and seeded tomatoes into petals. Toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper, crushed garlic, strips of lemon and orange zest and fresh thyme sprigs. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in a 325°F oven until they are soft, shrunken and slightly golden.
Clean the arugula well.

Boil the cavatelli in abundant salted water until just al dente.

In a large sauté pan over medium low flame, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil with the roasted tomatoes and olives. Strain the pasta and toss into the sauce, adding the arugula and toss together until it is just wilted. Add a few drops of pasta water and olive oil to the pan to achieve a creamy consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Spoon into warm bowls and top with the seared calamari dividing the rings and tentacles evenly among the bowls.

Tomato Croquettes

May 24th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6


2 cup plum tomatoes, chopped (include juices)
¼ cup Santorini Dried Tomatoes, chopped
½ cup yellow onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2 small red chilies, roasted and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup bread crumbs
Olive oil for frying


Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, chilies and spices in a large bowl. Add flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, salt and pepper and mix together to the consistency of a thick batter (adding a little water if need be). In a large heavy skillet, heat enough olive oil for frying. Take one heaped tablespoon at a time and drop the batter into the hot oil; fry until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve with Tzaziki.

Tomato White Wine Fish Sauce

May 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


1 pint cherry or plum tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1½ cup fish stock
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 lemon juice and zest


Heat a large sauté pan on a medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let tomatoes roast in the pan until the skins begin to burst, 5-7 minutes. A little browning is fine. Remove pan from flame and add white wine. Return to flame and reduce wine for 2 minutes. Add fish stock and lower the flame to a low-medium heat. Reduce for another 5 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest. Season to taste and serve over fish.

Recipe Property of Brendan McDermott

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Make 4 to 6 servings


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2½ pounds plum tomatoes, cored, quarter and deseeded
2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup fresh basil, stems and leaves (chop leaves and reserve)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable (onion based) broth
2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
3 tablespoons butter (optional)


Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large roasting pan combine olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil stems, and thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Discard basil stems.

Once out of the oven, transfer to a large heavy bottomed soup pot and place on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bay leaves (if using), increase heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Remove bay leaves and discard. Using an immersion blender, add butter (if using) and reserved basil leaves and blend soup until smooth. Add more vegetable broth if too thick. Serve immediately.

Sicilian Style Herbed Meatballs

November 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6-8


For the Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, ground
8-9 cloves garlic, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh basil, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh oregano, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
1-3 teaspoons red chili flakes (for spicier meatballs use 3 teaspoons)
½ cup pine nuts, chopped fine
½ cup currants
½ cup Kashi Whole Grain Nuggets or Grape Nuts (substitute with breadcrumbs)
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil

For the Sauce

Olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped fine (reserved from above)
2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, basil, marjoram, and oregano, chopped fine (reserved from above)
2 pounds plum tomatoes, diced fine
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper


To make the meatballs, mix ground beef and ground sausage with garlic, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
Use hands to mix well and combine ingredients. Make sure the mixture is well blended. Add the chopped pine nuts, Kashi cereal, and the currants. Again, mix very well using hands. Add the beaten eggs, and mix until all ingredients are well combined and moistened by the eggs. The eggs should cause the mixture to bind together.

Form mixture into about 1 to 1¼-inch balls, and set aside.

In a large and deep heavy bottom pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on high heat. Sauté meatballs in batches until all are well browned. Then, transfer them to another plate with paper towels to absorb any grease.

After all the meatballs are cooked, lower the temperature of the same pan, and add another tablespoons of olive oil if necessary. Sauté the garlic until translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and tomatoes, stirring well to loosen the meatball scraps from the bottom of the pan. Add the red wine, salt, and pepper, again stirring to deglaze the pan. Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes. Turn to low heat, and add the meatballs to the sauce, stirring gently until the meatballs are covered by the tomato mixture. Cook on low temperature for approximately 30 minutes, making sure you stir gently every few minutes being careful not to break apart the meatballs.

Serve over polenta or pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese!

The alternative to sautéing meatballs is to bake them in a 375°F oven for approximately 30 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Follow the same directions as above for the sauce.

Empanadas de Pulpo (Octopus Pie Pocket)

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 10-12 Empanadas

In Spain, canned and jarred octopus is a luxury. To use it in empanadas is a delicious way to enjoy the delicacies of the Valencian waters, even from afar. Empanada dough is slightly sweet and thick in texture and does a brilliant job of absorbing the sauces form the inside without becoming soaked.


For the empanada dough

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
¾ cup water (ice cold)

For the empanada filling

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans of pulpo (in oil), chopped
3 medium plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Butter or oil
Flake sea salt


In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly with crumbles about the size of peas. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and water. Add the liquid a little bit at a time to the flour-butter mixture, mix it up with your hands or a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms, a few more tablespoons of ice cold water may be needed. Form the dough into a flat disc shape about the size of a small salad plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Divide the dough in half, and roll out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll into a large rectangular shape. Cut the dough into 4 5-inch squares. Place a dollop of the filling in the center of each square. Fold over the dough around the filling, and moisten borders with wet inger tips. Roll the edges of the border from one side of the empanada to the other in a crescent, making sure just to roll the very outer edge of the border. Place each empanada on a greased baking sheet. Poke one or two holes, using the tip of a knife, in each empanada to aerate them. Sprinkle with flake sea salt.

Bake empanadas for about 15 minutes, take out of the oven, and brush with a little olive oil or butter. Bake again for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Lomo Saltado

October 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 (or 1 for Gustav!)


1½ pounds potatoes, cut into wedges, pre toasted (fries)
Vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium red onions, halved and sliced
1 pound beef, sliced into strips (sirloin or flank work best)
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into strips
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Salt & pepper
Rice (pre cooked)


Stir fry the vegetables and meat and add sauce. Add fries and serve with rice!

Lomo Saltado

Santorini Shrimp

October 25th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


1 lb. shrimp peeled
1 lb. chopped Santorini tomatoes or plum tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 t red pepper flakes
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T chopped fresh oregano
½ c crumbled feta
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 T bread crumbs, dried
½ c white wine
olive oil
salt and pepper


In a preheated large skillet sauté olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a few minutes. Add shrimp and sauté until shrimp begins to turn pink, about 4-5 minutes. Add lemon juice and zest. Add the wine, tomatoes, salt, pepper and fresh herbs and sauté for a few more minutes. Take off heat and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Place under the broiler for about 4 minutes until brown and bubbly. Serves 6.

Tomato Croquettes

October 25th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


2 c chopped Santorini tomatoes or plum tomatoes
½ c finely chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T fresh chopped oregano
1 T fresh  chopped mint
salt and ground black pepper
1 c all-purpose flour
olive oil for frying


Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a large bowl. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix together to the consistency of a thick batter. In a large heavy skillet, heat enough olive oil for frying. Take one heaped tablespoon at a time and drop the batter into the hot oil; fry until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

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