Italian Lunch

Porchetta Sandwich

My Friend Chef Jason Dowd and I made a Porchetta Roast in the test kitchen one day after talking about it for a week. I watched as he rubbed the meat down with a blend of seasonings that included fennel pollen. Here is a great video from LuckyPeachTV that shows how Italy's Best Porchetta is Made.





"Vito's Norcineria was established a century ago or so in Marino, a small town a few kilometers south of Rome. There, he makes a mix of classic salumi, sausages, and prosciuttos, along with some more esoteric stuff that has grown out of his obsessive desire to research and perfect his craft: coppa di testa without testa, Arnad-style lard, and three kinds of salumi made from three different breeds of local pigs (some of whom are raised for him by an acquaintance who regularly blood-tests the animals to confirm the purity of their pedigree)."

Of course you could go to you local butcher and ask them for a pork loin roast with belly attached make sure the skin is on as well. The skin becomes like pork cracklings and is delicious!

Here is a recipe from Forking Tasty that seems easy to follow!

After it is done you can carve it thin ans serve it with potatoes roasted in the oven or make some great sandwiches on Ciabatta with an Caper and Parsley Aioli. Here is a recipe from Kelsey Nixson, Food Network.



Panino Sandwiches - Panini (Recipes)


Panini are wonderful, simple to make Italian sandwiches!


Panini (small bread In Italian) may be made with sliced artisan bread or a individual roll.  If you ever had a grilled cheese you had a type of Panini!

 My first experience with Panini sandwiches would be in America but the true experience was when I first visited Italy! 

As I walked the streets of Rome I witnessed carts that sold these wonderful yet simple sandwiches which celebrated the local ingredients.


No need for lots of layers of unnecessary ingredients, they were full flavored due to the quality of the breads, cheeses and meats which were chosen!

That is what I love about Italian cooking, keeping it simple, using the best ingredients and preparing the food to bring out the natural taste.


Recently I visited my friends at the Turano Baking Company who gave me a loaf of their artisan Pane Turano.

When I returned home I just had to make a panini on my new panini grill!

Here is what I did to create a very simple but delicious Panini Caprese! 

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Italian Beef (Recipe)

Mozza Italian Beef 
with Peppers and Red Sauce

Italian Beef! My first memory of Italian Beef goes way back!

  Not sure what date it was but I must have been about six years old.  My father took us to the suburbs or was it Little Italy in Chicago, I'm not sure?I do remember a place called Carmie's Beef & Hot Dogs. I remember a red neon sign in the window and walking in wondering where all the chairs were to sit?

Well this was a "stand" it had counters of Formica on the sides and near the window.  The counter was chest high to my dad, it had a lower area with napkins and this stuff that looked like green chopped vegetables in oil.

I learned later on it was one of my favorite foods of all time, Giardinara!  I could see over the edge of the counter a open grill with Italian Sausages on a skewer cooking over a open grill!

The aroma of this place was amazing!


The people in the restaurant seemed to be from some Italian Beef eating cult!  They were staring in anticipation at the menu board, I'm not sure why?

They were a savvy bunch that knew what they were there for and projected it in confidence when they ordered! My Dad yelled out in yeoman style, " Yeah, gimme two small beefs and I'll have a large combo with sweet and hot, wet!" A Coke and two Green Rivers (Green River is lime soda found in Chicago)


The man behind the counter grabbed a loaf of long Italian Bread then sliced it on a counter where you could see the worn knife marks.  He sliced a hinge into the sliced loaf and opened it wide.  With a quick flip of his wrist he grabbed a perfectly charred link of Italian Sausage, nested it into the bread and topped It with paper thin slices of Italian seasoned roast beef, which was held in it's natural juices!


He then dipped the edges of the sandwich in the juice like a dive bomber and topped the sandwich with roasted sweet bell peppers and some of the hot giardinara. We received our sandwiches wrapped in white butcher paper.  My Dad walked over to the counter opened our sandwiches so we can eat. 


I watched him as he took the "Italian Stance" he stood over the paper holding the sandwich resting his elbows on the counter, stepped back and spread his legs a bit for balance.

  This ritual was so the juice from the sandwich wouldn't go all over your shirt. (Business men flip their tie over the shoulder)

He then took his first bite, I watched as this abundantly stuffed  Italian beef sandwich yielded to his desire, juices dripping from his chin as he blissfully enjoyed every mouthfull!

Our family restaurant served Italian Beef and when I was young, it was the only beef I knew, not like regular roast beef like other families had.  My father taught my brother and I how to make Italian beef with Inside Rounds, huge pieces of beef that he roasted overnight in the pizza oven, a practice my brother continued to do when he owned his pizzeria, Pizza Sam.

Here is my home version of Italian Beef, don't forget the bread and giardinara!

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Making Pizza (Recipes)

Making Pizza

 Nothing that I ever made at home is as well received as when I am making pizza!

Don't deny yourself the great taste of a homemade pizza made with fresh quality ingredients. 

  It doesn’t matter how round your pizza is or if it’s in a pan, thin, thick, traditional or with exotic ingredients! The pizza was made by you, your family and guests will appreciate it! So make some pizza today! 

If you've never made pizza before it can be intimating, what if I mess up? I never did it before? forget it I'll just order out!  Trust me, it's worth the time and effort! Making Pizza at home is one of the most rewarding culinary tasks.

All anticipate when the pizza will be ready, take a sneak taste of the cheese and ingredients ,savoring the aroma as it permeates through the kitchen!

For me, it is most rewarding when I see the face of my children when the pizza comes out of the oven! It's a family event where all participate.

I roll out the dough; the kids add their sauce and toppings (of course I have to make sure they don’t go crazy with the sauce and ingredients). 

When the pizza is topped, I man the oven baking each one at a time on a preheated oven stone.

I also like pan style, fantastic for a fried crust bottom and a foccacia pizza taste.  

Pizza in a pan is a must for those who love the Sicilian Pizza where it it’s simply topped with herbs, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.  This was my Mother, Anna Marie's favorite who loved it also with slivers of onions on top. Making Sicilian Pizza is great for the all day pizza graze!  I’ll make a few and just leave them on the counter and we whittle away on them thru the day!

Are you inspired to give it a try?  Great!


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