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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Archive for the Category 'Italian Food'

Pasta and the basics

Thursday, March 08th, 2007

Oil and vinegar is a staple in Italian recipes using pasta as an ingredient. Quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar accentuate even the most simple pasta dish. Determining which type pasta to use for which dish need not be difficult.

For most Americans pasta is synonymous with Italian food. Each region of Italy has its distinctive type pasta and even within the various regions there is remarkable variations. A true pasta connoisseur will distinguish long thin strands of pasta by the millimeter. The thinnest strands are capellini or fidelini. Next would be capelli or speghettini. With another millimeter or so you have spaghetti. Flatten the spaghetti pasta and it becomes linguine. Broaden the linguine pasta and it becomes fettuccine or tagliatelle. Widen the fettuccine pasta even further and it turns into pappardelle.

Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes.

The names of cost of come from their shape and what they look like. Apostate can appear to resemble a thimble, (ditalini) a butterfly (farfalle) a pen point (penne) or a little ear (orecchiette). Stuffed pasta is recognized as ravioli, tortellini, and cannelloni. Layered pasta is called lasagna, but if made in two tubes is called rigatoni and mostaccioli. The same layered pasta curled like a corkscrew is called fusilli. The preceding pasta names are the most nominal and recognized pastas used in Italian food recipes. There are numerous other varieties and variations.

pasta types, oil and vinegar, Italian food

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Sliced tomatoes with basil, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese hors d’oeuvres

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The vine ripe tomato is a staple ingredient in most Italian food recipes. Add basil and a little extra virgin olive oil with fresh grated mozzarella and this appetizer becomes a quick and easy way to provide a starter for any meal. This recipe is simple but is only as good as the freshness of the ingredients you use.

Prep Time 10 minutes


  • Two vine ripened tomatoes sliced in quarter-inch slices, yellow tomatoes or substitute heirloom red tomatoes
  • 12 large whole basil leaves, fresh not dried
  • one half pound fresh mozzarella cheese cut into quarter-inch slices
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, unfiltered

Place sliced tomatoes around the edge of a serving dish. You can slightly overlap the slices. On top of each slice place a fresh large basil leaf. Top each leave with a generous slice of mozzarella cheese. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.Drizzle of Italian balsamic vinegar is optional.

Makes four servings.

tomatoes and mozzarella, hors d’oeuvres recipe,



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Easy Italian Spaghetti Carbonara

Monday, February 26th, 2007

A really good spaghetti carbonara is easy to make and delicious if made properly by a true authentic Italian recipe.


  • 8 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop bacon slices into squares of about 1 inch. In a medium sized skillet over medium heat cook garlic and bacon in olive oil. Cook slowly until bacon is crispy but not over done. Remove from skillet and pat excess oil off with paper towel.

Using a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and add salt and pepper. Set aside.

While bacon is cooking, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Break pasta in half and add to boiling water. You will need to cook pasta for about 8 minutes, or until soft. Remove from stove, drain and place cooked pasta in a large bowl.

Add egg yolks, parsley, bacon, and garlic to the pasta and mix thoroughly with the hot pasta in the large bowl. Remember the egg yolks are actually cooked by the hot pasta, so make sure you mix them thoroughly with the pasta as soon as you drain the pasta and it is still hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fresh grate parmesan cheese to top with.

Makes 4 servings

spaghetti recipe, Italian recipe, pasta recipe

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Pasta and Olive Salad

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Makes 4-6 servings This pasta salad is ideal for picnics because it has no immediate perishable ingredients. It also works well on a salad or buffet table with cold cuts and other salads. As an addition, cold poached salmon, smoked salmon, or tuna can be added 1 lb dried pasta, use fusilli or farfalle pasta.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Modena balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Sicilian-style green olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped roasted red bell pepper. (*see note)
  • 2 green onions, cut into thin slices about one inch long
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pinch of fresh oregano, marjoram, or thyme
  • Sea Salt
  • Black pepper, ground fresh

In a large pot bring to a rapid boil, salted water. Carefully pour pasta into boiling water. Stir and cook until al dente. When pasta is done, drain in a colander for a few minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

While paste is hot, add olive oil to the pasta and toss well. Add pressed garlic, balsamic vinegar, olives, bell pepper, green onions, parsley and selected herb. Toss again to mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Let cool and serve at room temperature.

* Note: Roasted peppers have a great smoked or smoky flavor. Roasted peppers are available at many gourmet stores and shops. Roasted peppers can be roasted under the broiler by evenly scorching the skins. When cool enough to touch, you can rub the skins off, and remove the seeds. Cut or dice for desired recipe.

pasta salad, picnic pasta salad, healthy salad recipe


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Pesto Sauce

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Makes about 2 cups

Pesto, or pesto sauce, is a simple puree of fresh basil, garlic, cheese, and fine olive oil. It is vitally important when making pesto that you use a fine quality olive oil in your recipe. If you must rinse the basil, be sure to dry it thoroughly before beginning. Also if you must store your pesto after making it, drizzle just enough olive oil over the surface to thinly cover and prevent discoloration.


  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 10 cloves of garlic peeled
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons soft butter
  • ¾ fresh grated gourmet Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated Romano cheese
  • ½ cup pine nuts


Put basil leaves in a blender or food processor.
Add garlic cloves and blend at the medium speed setting.
Slowly pour in ½ cup olive oil while running.
Stop and scrape off basil from sides occasionally.
After basil is finely pureed, spoon the mixture into a mixing bowl.
Fold the softened butter into the basil mixture. Now add the grated cheeses and blend well. Add the remaining olive oil to the blend, and stir in pine nuts.
When serving pesto over pasta or fish, you can thin it with one or two tablespoons of hot water. Pesto is not meant to be cooked.

pesto sauce, pesto recipe, Italian pesto



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Traditional Italian Bruschetta

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Makes 4 servings

True Italian bruschetta is grilled over a wood fire. As this may be impractical for many, a stove top grill works fine, and even a ridged cast iron skillet or toaster oven will work as well.


  • ½ loaf Italian sourdough bread, (you can substitute any crusty bread)
  • 4 large garlic cloves peeled and pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Black pepper fresh ground


Cut the bread diagonally into ¾ inch slices.
Grill the bread until it is brown on both sides.
Remove the bread from the grill and spread pressed garlic on each of the bread slices.
Place the bread on a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with a little coarse Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately, and always offer additional olive oil on the side.
You can also offer olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dipping bowl on the side.

Bruschetta, Bruschetta recipe, traditional Italian Bruschetta

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Diced Tomato Pasta Salad With Basil And Mozzarella

Thursday, January 04th, 2007

Pasta salad takes only about 30 minutes to make, start to finish. It’s always good to use the freshest ingredients. Purchase fresh mozzarella from the deli, and choose the ripest tomatoes you can find.


  • 8 oz package of rotini (corkscrew) or any same shaped pasta
  • Sea Salt
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, dice to ¼ inch cubes
  • ¾ pound plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced to ¼ inch cubes
  • 10 to 12 medium or large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and tender green parts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Modena balsamic vinegar ( aceto balsamico ), or more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until it is done, but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and rinse with cold water. Let it drain for a few minutes and transfer to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, scallions, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste, adding more vinegar if desired. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

mozzarella, tomato salad, recipe

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Red ripe tomatoes and basil

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

Preparing sun-warmed tomatoes and basil is a simple accomplishment, by Italian cooking standards. The most difficult decision to make is whether to slice the red tomatoes or cut them into wedges. Many will opt to slice the tomatoes for an arranged plate, and choose wedges to toss in a salad.

The basics for making tomatoes and basil taste their best are fine olive oil and good balsamic vinegar.

Dried oregano gives better flavor to tomatoes than the fresh herb, but you would want to use fresh basil, thyme and mint.

Some chefs offer some words of caution about balsamic vinegar. Although it adds interesting, sweet flavor to red ripe tomatoes, remember that it is strong and dark and will darken them in color.

Here are a few preparation suggestions for combining basil and tomatoes.

  • Slice ripe tomatoes, small, peeled cucumbers and mozzarella cheese. Alternate slices of the three in rings or rows on a plate. Drizzle with a dressing made with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Let stand an hour, then top with fresh basil and serve.

  • Combine tomato wedges with sliced, peeled cucumbers, sliced red onions, chopped garlic, pitted black olives, and fresh basil torn into small pieces by hand. Add the same dressing, toss and serve.

  • Cut round bocconcini cheeses in quarters and slice ripe tomatoes and a ripe avocado. Alternate slices of the three in circles or rows on a plate. Sprinkle with chopped white onions. Make a dressing with extra-virgin olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper; drizzle over the tomato mixture. Let stand an hour, top with torn fresh basil leaves, and serve.

Basil and tomatoes should never be refrigerated unless they have been chopped. Basil should be wrapped in a white plain paper towel and placed in a sealed plastic bag.

Try these tomatoes and basil recommendations as well.

Dice or chop five large tomatoes. Cut two large cucumbers in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds, and cut into ½-inch pieces; toss with 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then toss with tomatoes, ¾ cup chopped sweet onion, 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Slice tomatoes into ½-inch slices and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and chopped oregano. Place the slices on an oiled grill, grate and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper to taste. This also works with red ripe cherry tomatoes, which should be skewered.

Italian Food, tomatoes and basil recipe

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Italian Food Resources

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Italian Food, recipes and regional cooking styles.

Foods and recipes from Italy and other Mediterranean Cuisine are often diverse because of their regional origins. With this in mind there are many different stlyes and nuances that we wish to explore. We will be adding more online Italian Food and Italian Cooking resources to this posting thread.

Please, if you have an excellent Italian Recipe, or resource feel free to post them here.

Italian Food of Tuscany

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Anna Maria’s Open Kitchen of Italian food cooking. Featuring a Tuscan menu and cooking by Anna maria Volpi. Traditional Italian cooking and Italian recipes. Italian food recipes, cooking, cuisine, with traditional illustrated step-by-step help for tiramisu, pasta, lasagna, gnocchi, risotto, pizza, soups and much more.

Anna gives insight to the intriguing cooking of Rome. Review her Roman cuisine. Some of Anna’s online resources include the following Italian food recipes with regional references such as Sicilian recipes too.

Italian food and a Tuscan menu:

Meat tomato saucehomemade italian meat tomato sauce home made
Chicken cacciatore pollo alla cacciatoralearn how to make chicken cacciatore pollo alla cacciatora.
Spaghetti frittata. Frittata with spaghetti traditional Italian recipe.
Rugelach. How to make Rugelach crescent shaped rolled cookies.
Fasciatelle sicilian cookies with almond filling.
Ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese.
Roman ricotta cake – Crostata di ricotta Roman Ricotta Cake – Crostata di Ricotta.

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