Category Archives: Food

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Vic shows Rachel Ray how to make Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients

4 large russet potatoes, 2 1/2 pounds
4 large egg yolks
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple of handfuls
2 to 2 1/2 cups “00” flour or all-purpose flour (all-purpose has more of a bite)
1 fat tablespoon butter
Nutmeg, a few grates, to taste

Roast potatoes 45 minutes at 425°F or boil them in their jackets/skins until very tender, 25-30 minutes. Cool potatoes completely.    Remove potatoes from their skins and pass them through a ricer. Arrange the riced potatoes on a large work surface with a well at the center. Place egg yolks in well with the cheese.  Season the potatoes with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Work eggs and cheese into potatoes then sprinkle 2 cups flour over the potatoes and work it into the potatoes. If dough is sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour until the dough is firm enough to roll into ropes on a floured surface. Cut ropes into 1-inch pieces or pillows for basic dumplings or use a gnocchi tool to roll and mark the dumplings. Transfer gnocchi to a parchment-lined baking sheet.    Boil in small batches of 2-3 portions in salted water until gnocchi floats and is cooked through. Carefully remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a warm serving bowl and repeat if necessary. Dress the gnocchi with butter and a little nutmeg and serve with sauce of choice.

Gnocchi is “gno” big deal to make. I’ve read countless recipes that warn cooks and make the process sound daunting, difficult and only for skilled cooks—it’s all hype. You’ll make it once or twice and get the feel for the right amount of flour for you but even first time out it will work, it will take less time than you imagined and the time will pass fast as the repetitive nature of rolling and pinching or cutting the gnocchi is so relaxing it becomes Italian Zen. These little pillows are a hug from inside out. -

See more at: Rachel Ray 

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ZAGAT LISTS BIRRAVINO AS ONE OF THE 10 HOTTEST RESTAURANTS ON THE JERSEY SHORE

We are excited that Birravino has been chosen by Zagat as one of the Jersey shore’s hottest restaurants. Jump into the spring season and celebrate with this Italian tradition.

May 14 we will be promoting a Italian spring tradition.  We will have a wine manager walking around the dining room and bar pouring glasses of Frascati.  A crisp white wine from the small town of Frascati in Lazio right outside of Rome.

In the spring they drink the frascati with fresh pecorino cheese and fava beans.  For $8 you will get a glass of Frascati and our Prosciutto and Fava plate from our menu.  A $24 value for $8 to celebrate spring!
Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

1 pound of spaghetti

4 tablespoons of freshly ground coarse black pepper

½ pound of freshly ground Pecorino Romano cheese

6 ounces of extra virgin olive oil

Follow the instructions on package for cooking spaghetti. IO like to cook the spaghetti 30-45 seconds less then instructed to insure the spaghetti is al dente.

Cooking the spaghetti properly and retaining some of the pasta water is the key to making great Cacio e Pepe.

Once spaghetti is cooked drain spaghetti partially and save two cups of pasta water if needed. In a 16 inch sauté at medium heat add olive oil and toss in partially drained spaghetti. Now add grated Pecorino Romano cheese and coarse ground black pepper. Toss until spaghetti is covered with sauce.  With a pair of tongs portion the pasta in a deeper round bowl, finish each bowl of Cacio e Pepe with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil  and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese and serve immediately.

Porcini Risotti

Porcini Risotto

Risotto Porcini

1 pound of aborio rice
4 cloves of peeled garlic (crushed)
½ cup fine chopped onion
½ pound fresh porcini (cut into quarters length wise)
7 ounces extra virgin olive oil
½ pound fresh ripe grape tomato
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
½ ounce dried porcini mushroom
40 ounces water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Risotto:

To cook perfect risotto it is a true art so I will give you my tips to help you along. As you make the risotto you will continually need liquid to add to the risotto. On the back of the stove in a pot that will hold 6 quarts of water, heat the pot until the water is simmering. In that water put ½ ounce of dried porcini and sea salt to taste. The water should taste seasoned. This will flavor the water so your risotto is not bland and flavorless.

In a large fondo (a pan six inches high and approximately twenty inches round) add 4 ounces of olive oil at medium heat, when heated add the finely chopped onion and sauté until translucent.

Now add the rice to the fondo, the idea is to lightly toast the rice before adding the liquid. Using a wood spoon stir the rice until so it does not stick, until it starts to toast and turn light brown approximately 4-5 minutes. Use the spoon to push the rice against the sides of the fondo as stirring. This process allows the rice to release more starch during cooking.

Once the rice is lightly toasted using a 6-ounce ladle begin to ladle the hot liquid from the pot on the back of the stove into the rice one ladle at a time. Remember to keep stirring the rice as it prevents the rice from sticking to the pan but it also helps the rice release its starch, which is vital to the creaminess of risotto. As each ladle of liquid is absorbed by the rice, it is gaining flavor and texture, as each ladle of liquid is absorbed add another ladle to the rice. Making great risotto is tedious but worth it in the end. Keep stirring the risotto with the wood spoon and adding liquid until the rice becomes very creamy and tender, but the center of each rice grain should still be firm, al dente. This entire process should take approximately twenty minutes and use eight to ten ladles of water. Place in serving bowls immediately.

Porcini Mushrooms:

In a fourteen inch sauté pan put three ounces of olive oil and heat at medium heat. As oil starts to get hot add the crushed garlic to the sauté pan.  Continue to sauté the garlic until the garlic starts to brown.  At this point add the porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, parsley and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook for five to seven minutes until tomatoes start to split open, place a spoonful of the porcini mixture on top of each serving of risotto. Finish the serving plates with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Homemade Pomodoro Sauce

Homemade Pomodoro Sauce

Homemade Ravioli with Fresh Pomodoro Sauce

Pomodoro Sauce:

1 large can of San Marzano DOP tomatoes (2.2kg)
2 large yellow onions
6 ounces extra virgin olive oil
10 leaves of fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

I use this sauce as my base for all tomato sauce based recipes. Pour the entire can of tomatoes into a large bowl core each tomato discarding the core and break each tomato into small pieces with your hand. Next peel and chop both onions into fine pieces. A food processor chops them to fine use a knife to chop onion until chopped into consistent small pieces.

Place a 14 inch sauté pan over medium heat on the stove add 3 ounces of olive oil and all of the onion. Sauté the onion until it starts to caramelize, turning golden brown. When all of the onion is caramelized add the San Marzano tomato in the bowl to the onions. Let this cook over medium heat until tomato onion mixtures simmers for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently so pan does not burn.

Reduce heat to low and add basil leaves, break them into pieces by hand. Stir basil into mixture and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Bar Cialoma Gelateria: THE BEST ON THIS PLANET

Bar Cialoma Gelateria:
THE BEST ON THIS PLANET

In the center square in Marzemami in an unassuming stone building with a beaded entrance. Behind the beads lies the best granita on this planet. Everyone knows that Italy has great gelato and Sicily is the best of Italy, but what I did not know was that granita, frozen ice (no milk) made with real fruit, nuts, coffee etc. was the bomb.

So after lunch we walk into the square and we notice a line of people streaming out of this beaded doorway and we immediately gravitated to the gathering. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason young, old, fat and skinny Italians savoring the most beautiful granita in the world, semi frozen, succulent and juicy, the pits and all.

Now it was our turn to order. The choices were anguria (watermelon), fregola (strawberry), mandorlo (almond), ciocolato (chocolate), espresso, melone bianco (honeydew) fichi bianco (white fig), fichi nero (brown fig), pesca (peach) and limone. This ice cream store Italiani was much different from its American counterpart in that it only had 9 flavors all made fresh, no preservatives , no sugar, no color added. Only La Materia Prima. What would I choose – would I be back again?

As always being the foodie that I am, when presented with one of these delicious dilemmas, I order one of each flavor. I had plenty helpers my wife, a gelato/granita junkie, my daughter Eli a sweets lover, and rounded out by Jack and Jake. I tasted and savored each flavor, one flavor better then the next, one thing is for sure every flavor tasted exactly like the pure ingredient frozen. I know that you expect a final choice, so here it is: peach and strawberry were my favorites, but they were all great and each one was better then anything I have tasted in the USA.