Sunday on CHIN TV!

If there is one show that always brings me back to my Italian heritage it is Festivale di Johnny Lombardi Sundays on CHIN TV. They celebrate everything about the Italian culture which includes sports, music, people and food just to name a few. What a wonderful family!
Today I'll be heading to College Street to share some yummy summer #grilling recipes from #perlafamiglia and some sweet treats as well! Here are the recipes, pictures to come!

Balsamic Lamb Chops

This is my fall back for an appetizer or main course when family and friends come over. It has appeared at so many family functions and holidays that many have asked me for the recipe. I never really wrote it down and just did it in the moment, as most Italian recipes begin. Inspired by delicious lamb chops I had at a cousin’s home in Calabria one summer they truly are a hit and super easy to make and enjoy.

4 racks of lamb, trimmed and cut into chops
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and fresh ground pepper
Balsamic Glaze

Place lamb chops in a large bowl. Add oil, mustard, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and using your hands; toss together to coat the lamb chops well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high and oil or spray lightly. Place chops on grill, turning once for about 8 minutes or until medium rare. Cook them longer if you wish, but we really enjoy them with some pink inside. Remove to a large platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze to serve.

Makes about 36 pieces.

Tip: To make your own balsamic glaze, combine 1 cup (250 mL) inexpensive balsamic vinegar with 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar and boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until syrupy.

Look for lamb chops that are similar in size for even cooking. 






Mixed Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad

Toasting the pasta gives a nutty flavour and golden colour to this salad. I love making this salad to bring to family gatherings and always make extra to pack up for lunches the next day. Toss in some chopped salami or cooked chicken and it’s a meal in a bowl.

1 cup baby shell or baby farfalle pasta
1 each large red, yellow and green pepper
Half a bunch of asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tub (200 g) mini bocconcini, drained
3 tbsp (45 mL) aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) basil or sundried tomato pesto
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
Pinch pepper
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped pitted oil cured olives (optional)

In small nonstick skillet, toast pasta, stirring often over medium high heat for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat.

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain well and rinse under cold water; place in large bowl.

Cut peppers into quarters; place in a large bowl with asparagus. Toss with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil. Place on greased grill over medium high heat and grill for about 8 minutes, turning once or twice until golden and tender crisp. Remove to cutting board and chop; add to pasta. Stir in artichoke hearts and boconccini.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and remaining oil and pesto, salt and pepper. Drizzle over pasta mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with olives, if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

You could also use about 3/4 cup (175 mL) of orzo for this salad instead of the small pasta.

You can substitute 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) chopped bocconcini or fresh mozzarella for the mini bocconcini.





Ricotta Olive Muffaletta Crostini

I love using ricotta as a base for crostini, it’s creamy and tastes delicious with so many different ingredients. With the combination of Spanish and black olives, carrots and cauliflower in this mixture each bite has a unique taste.

Half a baguette, sliced
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) ricotta cheese
Half a 500 mL jar muffaletta, drained

Brush baguette slices with oil and place on baking sheet. Toast in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool slightly.

Spread each with ricotta cheese and top with bruschetta before serving.

Makes about 16 crostini.

Tip: You can toast the crostini ahead and then just spread the ricotta and top with bruschetta before serving.

Serving drinks is another part of this season so make the most of it and enjoy some delicious classics like these!





Brown Sugar Mascarpone Tartlets

These creamy little tarts give your guests the impression you have been baking all day when really you don’t need much time in the kitchen. Frozen tart shells are easy to use and the only trick you need to remember is to remove them from their little tins so they look somewhat homemade. A little help in the kitchen is never a bad thing! Keep the tarts in the refrigerator for up to 2 days covered without the berries and simply garnish them with the berries before serving.
Look for an Italian mascarpone cheese for a very smooth and creamy filling. You can use the same amount of filling to fill 12 frozen tart shells if desired.

1 pkg (255 g) frozen mini tart shells, 2-inch (5 cm)
1/4 cup (50 mL) packed brown sugar
1 1/3 cups (325 mL) mascarpone cheese, softened
1 cup (250 mL) raspberries or fresh sliced strawberries 

1. Remove tart shells from freezer and place on baking sheet. Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.

2. Press brown sugar through fine mesh sieve into bowl. Add mascarpone cheese and using wooden spoon, stir to combine well. Scrape into piping bag fitted with star tip.

3. Pipe mascarpone mixture into tart shells to fill. Top with raspberries and serve.

Makes 18 tarts.

Grilled Fresh Pineapple Slices with Mint Sugar

Pick up a cored pineapple and enjoy the sweet juiciness of this tropical fruit. Grilling the pineapple increases that sweetness by caramelizing the natural sugar. This recipe adds another element of sweet with the crunch of mint sugar. Sprinkle it on while the pineapple is hot, and relish the contrast of melting sweet sugar and the crunch of each granule.

1 fresh sweet golden pineapple, peeled and cored
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh mint leaves, packed
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Cut pineapple into 8 slices and brush both sides with oil. Place on a greased grill over medium-high heat and grill for about 8 minutes, turning once or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, mash sugar and mint together, or pulse in a food processor until light green in colour. Sprinkle sugar over pineapple slices and garnish with mint leaves, if desired.


Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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