Friday, September 21, 2012

Italian Egg Drop Pasta

Legends from Europe

I was asked to create a dish using one of the Legends of Europe
The key ingredient given to me was. 

Grana Padano

What is Grana Padano?

Type of Milk:

Cow, unpasteurized


Italy, Po River Valley in Emilia Romagna

Monks in the Po Valley started making Grana Padano more than a thousand years ago and the same recipe is used today. The name "Grana" comes from the word grain and refers to the grainy texture of the cheese.

The recipe and process of making Grana Padano is protected by its P.D.O. status. P.D.O stands for Protected Designation of Origin and is a set of guidelines that insure the quality and authenticity of cheese sold under the name Grana Padano. The guidelines outline how the cheese is made and how long it is aged. Each wheel is tested for aroma and flavor before it can be branded with the P.D.O seal.


Grana Padano has a natural rind that is technically edible, but too hard to eat. Some people like to throw a rind of Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano into a bowl of soup. The rind melts into the soup, adding flavor and texture.
A natural rind is a rind that develops on the outside of the cheese as the wheel ages. Many semi-firm or hard cheeses have natural rinds. The rinds can be thin, like on some Cheddar cheeses, or thick, like on a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano.


Grana Padano is sold at three different ages: 12 months, 16 months and 20 months. Each share a nutty, buttery quality and a sharp fruitiness with a pleasantly salty finish. The flavors become more intense with age and the texture becomes more granular.

Uses and Pairings:

Grana Padano can be thinly shaved so it melts on the tongue, grated into dishes, or if you're really hungry simply cut yourself a large chunk and take a bite. Grana Padano pairs well with figs and dried fruit, sliced apples, or a drizzle of honey. For a savory snack pair with walnuts, olives or cured meat.
The fruity, nutty flavor and rich texture of Grana Padano pairs well with a full-bodied, aromatic white wine or a big Italian red like Barolo. The saltiness of Grana Padano can pair well with dessert wines.
For cooking, Grana Padano can be used in any recipe that calls for a hard cheese.

This is the recipe I decided to make.

Italian Egg Drop Pasta

Why did I decide to make this dish?

Because of Grana Padano being the key ingredient, I really wanted this ingredient to stand out.  The only way I can do this was to present it in a dish that was not overflowing with different flavors, masking this delightful nutty, grainy cheese.  This is a complete meal all in one dish.  My Italian Grandmother used to make this for us growing up.  Over the years I have made this recipe for my children.  Now, I make it for my Grandchildren.  Not only is it full of protein, delicious and flavorful, but it is also the most inexpensive dish I have ever made.

1/2 pound favorite pasta
5 cups chicken broth
4 eggs, large
1/2 cup Grana Padano Cheese, grated (reserve half for topping)
salt, to taste

1.  In large pot heat broth, bring to boil. 
2.  Add pasta, cook til al dente.  "DO NOT" drain.  Should still be some liquid left over in pot that has not boiled out.  Additional broth may be added.  
3.  Add eggs, stir.  Add cheese, stir.  Add salt, if desired. 
4.  Top with reserved Grana Padano Cheese....Serve!!!!

There you have it...SIMPLE!  And the most incredible, inexpensive meal you will ever make.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Bean and Escarole Peach Brushcetta

I have been asked to create an original recipe using a "Legend" from Europe"

The product I was given to cook with is Grana Padano

What is Grana Padano?

Grana Padano Cheese is a firm cheese that is usually served grated over meals. It is made with partially skimmed milk in five different regions of northern Italy, all north of the Po River. Grana Padano translated literally means "Grainy cheese of the Po River Valley." Generally, firm cheeses are quite sharp and pungent in flavor, making only a small amount necessary. Grana Padano has a slightly more subtle flavor and is less nutty and salty than other firm cheeses.

  • Grana Padano is a crumbly cheese, similar to Parmesan, and is used in similar ways. Grana Padano can be eaten on its own, as part of a cheese course.
    Mostly, however, the cheese is grated and used as an ingredient or garnish for other dishes, such as in pastas, soups and souffles. Grana Padano can also be shaved thin and used in dishes such as a zucchini carpaccio: layers of very thinly sliced zucchini covered with salt, lemon juice and olive oil, and sprinkled with cheese, fresh herbs and sometimes pine nuts.

    Grana Padano is available in Italian supermarkets, imported food and specialty markets, and some large grocery stores that carry a wide variety of cheeses.

    This is my recipe that I had created

White Bean and Escarole Peach Brushcetta
with a drizzle of peach Balsamic Reduction
topped with our key ingredient:
Grana Padano

1 loaf Italian bread, sliced thin 
1 head escarole, rinsed well
1 can white beans, drained 
2 peaches, brushed with butter, grilled
Grana Padano Cheese, grated
Peach Balsamic Glaze (see recipe)

1.  Slice bread, rub with garlic, drizzle olive oil...then toast.
2.  Saute escarole in olive oil until soft.
3.  Add beans, toss. Season with salt
4.  Slice peaches, coat with butter, grill. Cover to keep warm (put aside)
5.  Make glaze..see recipe     
Assemble Brushcetta: by placing all ingredients on top of sliced bread, then drizzle with glaze.
But "DO NOT forget to top brushcetta with our "key ingredient".....grated Grana Padano Cheese

To make Peach Balsamic Glaze:
In sauce pan, over medium heat add 1 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbs brown sugar, salt, to taste, 1/4 cup peeled peaches.( I used smaller pieces)  Saute for few mins then add to small food processor or blender to puree.  Add back to sauce pan to keep warm.  Should be thick consistency.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Apple Blueberry Brie Pie

2 sheets pie crust
8 ozs brie cheese, softened
3 cups apples, sliced thin
4 ozs blueberries, fresh, rinsed
4 Tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 egg white

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place one sheet of crust in greased pie dish
3.  Press brie cheese evenly on bottom of pie crust in dish
4.  In large mixing bowl add apples, blueberries, sugar cinnamon, salt and walnuts...toss
5.  Add to pie plate on top of brie
6.  Add second piece of crust to top, sealing edges together buy pinching crust
7.  Press lightly with fork tines around the edges of the crust
8.  Add egg white to small bowl and brush top of pie crust with egg white for shine
9.  Bake for approx. 60 mins. or until apples are soft.

Serve warm by the slice or spread on crackers as an appetizer

Cheddar Onion Potato Bake

3 lbs red skin potatoes, sliced and cooked
1 container of Dean's Cheddar Cheese Dip
1/2 contain of Dean's French Onion Dip
1 stick Gold n' Soft Margarine Stick, softened
1 tsp L.B. Jamison's Ham Soup Base
1 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1.  Cook potatoes in boiling water until soft, drain.
2.  In large mixing bowl whisk together dips, margarine, base and water.
3.  Add potatoes and toss
4.  Season with salt and pepper, toss.
5.  Pour into large, greased baking dish
6.  Bake in Preheated oven for 30 mins, uncovered.
7.  Serve hot, garnished with sour cream and fresh parsley.

Fruity Flounder with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

4-6 Flounder Fillets
1 pkg strawberries, (fresh and cleaned with stems removed) Reserve 4-6 large pieces for garnish
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs brown sugar
salt to taste
1 cup each of assorted fruit (oranges, apples, blueberries) (washed and sliced)

1.  Broil fish in oven until flaky.  Remove and cover
2.  Place strawberries, vinegar, sugar and salt in small sauce pan. Stir and simmer on medium heat, 5 mins and pour into food processor or blender to puree
3.  Return to pan and simmer on low until thickens.
4.  Prepare fruit and assemble on plate.
5.  Drizzle strawberry reduction on plate and place fish on top.  Serve

Makes 4-6 servings.