Ciao! My name is Yolanda and I'd like to welcome you to my Blog! I have always had a love for cooking, baking and eating. This blog is mainly a place for me to record and share precious family recipes from those living and deceased as well as delicious recipes that my friends have given me throughout the years.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Penne Alla Vodka

I love ordering Penne Alla Vodka Sauce when I go out to eat.  Penne Alla Vodka is a very heavy  meal, so it is definitely a treat to order or a good Sunday dinner food to make.  A few years ago I posted a recipe for Vodka Sauce and I haven't been completely satisfied with the taste.  It definitely wasn't a WOW recipe.  I have been reading many different versions of this recipe and playing around with ingredients in order to get that perfect "Restaurant Like" Vodka Sauce and am happy to finally say I think I have finally mastered the perfect Vodka Sauce to go over my Penne!  This sauce comes out creamy, rich and smooth due to the salty prosciutto and fresh quality ingredients all infused together.  Who needs to go out when you can just make this in the comfort of your own home!
Please Click Here for Printable Version:
* 4 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 3 Cloves of Fresh Garlic,minced
* 1 Small Cooking Onion
* 1/4 Pound of San Danielle Brand Prosciutto (Ask your Store Deli to slice it for you)
* 3 Shots of Decent Quality Vodka
* 1 Can of D.O.P Certified San Marzano Plum Tomatoes (28 oz) (better quality and no acidic acid in the ingredients)
* 1 Small Can of Tomato Paste (6oz)
* 6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
* 1/2 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
* 6 TBSP of Unsalted Butter
* 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
* Salt and Pepper to Taste
* 1 lb of Good Quality Penne Pasta
* Take out a Large Frying Pan or Pot.  
* Chop the Garlic and Onion and Saute in Olive Oil for about 2 minute on a Medium-Low Heat (Do not Burn the Garlic).
* Cut up the Prosciutto into about 1/4 inch thin slices and saute with the Onion and Garlic for about 3 minutes.
* Next, pour in the 3 shots of Vodka and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes in order to burn off the Alcohol.
* Meanwhile, Puree the Plum Tomatoes and Tomato Paste together.
* After the Vodka has been cooking for 5-6 minutes, add the pureed Tomatoes and Freshly chopped Basil.
* Then add the Butter and Grated Cheese.
 * Once the Butter is melted, add the Heavy Cream and stir well.
* Let simmer on Low Heat semi Covered for about 40 minutes.
* Boil Your Pasta and Drain.
* Toss the Pasta in the Vodka Sauce and Serve! I like mine with Crushed Red Pepper on top and Freshly Grated Cheese.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sweet Pepper and Zucchini Frittata

A frittata I guess you can say is sort of like an omelet in a way because it is filled with different veggies and requires many eggs.   Some differences are that it is not folded over like an omelet, doesn't  typically have melted cheeses inside, and is traditional not made for breakfast.  In Italy My relatives served frittata during dinner time along with other foods of course.  This is because Lunch time in Italy is the largest meal of the day and at night for dinner something lighter is served.  Pasta for example is almost never served for dinner.   Frittatas were always a common snack or lunch item in my house growing up.  My mom would make it with  all different types of vegetables such as peppers, zucchini or spinach.  She would make sandwiches out of it or we would just eat it with some crust slices of bread.  What I love about  making frittatas is that you can eat them at room temperature,  use whatever fresh vegetables are in season or whatever you have in your fridge at the time.  A frittata is quick and simple to make, but does require some technique practice.  Once you get the feel for making a perfect frittata, you will find yourself making them more often than you realize. 
Please Click Here for Printable Version: 

* 9 Large Eggs
* About 2 cups of thinly sliced Zucchini (I like to buy the small zucchini, but if your store only has large ones then cut the circles in half after you slice them.) 
* 1/2 of a Red Bell Pepper
* About 1/4 Cup of Sliced Cooking Onion
* Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese is optional (I leave it out)
* 5 TBSP of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Salt and Pepper to Season
* A 12 Inch Skillet
* a 10-12 inch Round Plate
* A Rubber Spoon or Spatula
* Cut your Zucchini into semi thin slices.
* Cut your Red Pepper into small thin slices.
* Cut your onion into thin slices.
* Pour all 5 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a 12 inch Skillet on Medium Heat.
* Saute the Zucchini, Peppers, and Onion for about a minute.
* After about a minute, lower the temperature to about a Medium-Low heat and Season with Salt and Pepper and continue cooking until tender. This takes about 8 minutes (I like to taste the veggies to make sure they are salted enough).
* Meanwhile, Crack the Eggs in a bowl and whisk them well with a fork.  Season the Eggs with Salt and Pepper.
* Once the Veggies are Tender, pour the Egg into the Skillet (There should be no need to add more Olive Oil, because there should be just enough left in the pan already).
* Now it is time for the technique to come in! Take your spoon or spatula and gently lift up the set potions of your frittata and let any egg mixture that is not set run into the space you have created.  This will help everything cook evenly.  If there is a bunch of egg still in the center, then I make tiny slits in the middle to let the egg seep in the pan and form a layer.  
 * Once the egg is just slightly runny on top, take your plate, put it over the frittata in the skillet and carefully flip it over onto the plate.
* Quickly slide it back into the pan and let it cookie for just 1 more minute and then slide it back onto the plate (I quickly rinse my plate off before sliding the frittata back onto it).
* I like to use my pizza cutter and slice it into 8 even pieces and serve it alongside some crust Italian Bread or make sandwiches out of it.  You can enjoy this hot or at room temperature and then refrigerate whatever you do not eat.  

~*~ Enjoy~*~

Friday, March 6, 2015

Torta Pan di Stelle

One of the ways I keep in contact with many of my friends and family in Italy is through Facebook.  I love reading what they are up to and seeing the pictures they upload, especially pictures of food.  On March 8th they recently celebrated " Festa Della Donna," and so I saw pictures uploaded of the traditional holiday cake called "Mimosa."  One other dessert that caught my eye was a beautiful dessert my cousin made that was decorated with one of my favorite cookies called, "Pan Di Stelle."  I knew I had to make it and so I messaged her asking for the name of this cake.  The name is, "Torta Pan di Stelle" and yes I you-tubed a recipe for it...yes I made it right away...and yes I translated the ingredients to English and converted the measurements.  It is dangerously delicious and surprisingly easy and quick to make!
Please Click Here for Printable Version:
Recipe Resource:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmv43UgZil8
(This is enough to make 2 layers, if you want to make it 3 or 4 layers then just buy more cookies)
 *1Bag of Pan Di Stelle Cookies (you can find them in the Italian Section at Wegmans)
*1 Regular Size Jar of Nutella (about 400 grams)
*1 Cup of already Brewed Espresso (I brewed my own, but I am sure instant Espresso would be fine)
* 1/2 cup of Regular Milk (I use 2%)
* 2 Cups of Cold Heavy Cream
* 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar
* Unsweetened Cocoa Powder for Dusting
Materials you will need:
* 8 inch Spring Form Pan, a fork, a spoon, and a sifter
* First make the Whipped Cream by Whisking the Heavy Cream and Powdered Sugar with a hand blender or the whisk attachment on you KitchenAide Mixer until thick (I put it on High Speed).
* Once the whipped Cream is done, put it in the refrigerator to stay cold until you are ready to use it.  
 * In a small bowl, mix the brewed Espresso and the Regular milk together and set aside.
* Put the Nutella in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to soften it up.  
* Now we are ready to assemble the cake!
* With a fork, dip a cookie in the Espresso mixture on at a time and arrange them in the pan.  You may need broken cookies to fill in some gaps, but it does not have to be perfect.  I used about 10 cookies for each layer.  


* Next, spread a layer of Nutella over the cookies.
* Then, spread a layer of Whipped Cream (make sure you save about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream to cover the sides of the cake towards the end). 
* Repeat the procedure again: Dip the cookies in Espresso Mixture, Arrange the cookies one by one evenly, spread a layer of Nutella, and then a layer of Whipped Cream.
*  I made my cake with 2 layers, but please feel free to buy more cookies and make a 3rd layer if you desire.  The cake is pretty rich, so for me 2 layers is enough.  
*  Now Sift the Cocoa Powder all over the top of the cake.
* Put the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour to settle. 
* Take the cake out of the Refrigerate and release the cake from the pan
 * Spread Whipped Cream all around the cake.
* Place the Pan di Stelle Cookies on all edges of the cake and on the top of the cake in the middle.
 * Cut into Slices or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat!