Recipes, Small Bites

Arancini -Risotto Balls

Risotto is one of my favorite things to make, which is why this is one of my favorite Sicilian appetizers. 

To make these Sicilian cheese-filled appetizers, you first have to make risotto, then use the risotto to make cheese-stuffed balls, then coat them with breadcrumbs and fry them. 

It’s definitely a labor of love but they are absolutely worth it. 

These are the perfect appetizer for the holidays or if you have left over risotto. 

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE RISOTTO

¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

½ medium yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 

Salt and black pepper

1 cup arborio rice 

⅓ cup white wine 

2 cups chicken stock, warmed

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

FOR THE ARANCINI:

½ cup Mozzarella, shredded

½ cup Fontina cheese, shredded

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated  

Salt and black pepper

1 ½ quarts vegetable oil

1 cup tomato sauce (fresh or store-bought), warmed

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare the risotto: 

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium. 

Add onion, garlic and Italian seasoning. 

Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice until coated, about 1 minute, then add wine. 

Cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Stir in 1/2 cup stock. Cook, stirring frequently, until stock is almost absorbed, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining stock, adding 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until absorbed before adding the next cup, about 15 minutes.

Once all the stock has been absorbed, the rice should be tender and creamy. 

Stir in the Parmesan, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and seasoning. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Pour into a large bowl and let for at least 20 minutes. 

In the same bowl, mix in the mozzarella, fontina cheese. 

Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 or 3 days.

Once the risotto is chilled, use a cookie scoop and gently roll each into a ball. Repeat with remaining risotto balls. (If you’re not planning to fry them right away, arrange them on a small baking sheet in a single layer, cover and refrigerate until cooking, up to 2 or 3 days in advance. If the risotto mixture isn’t cold, it can fall apart in the hot oil.)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. (If you have a candy thermometer, now is a good time to use it: Heat the oil to about 350 degrees.)

Prepare the breading: 

Add the flour to a shallow bowl, then add the eggs to another shallow bowl and beat the eggs to combine. In a third bowl, combine the Panko, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.

Working with one arancini, roll it first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the bread crumb mixture, taking care to coat it on all sides with each roll. Transfer to a clean baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining arancini.

Fry the arancini in batches, leaving at least one inch between each ball, until golden and crisp on the outside, about 5 minutes. (By the time the crust crisps, the cheese filling will melt.) 

Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining arancini. 

Spoon warmed tomato sauce onto small plates or into bowls and top with warm arancini, or set sauce in a bowl for dipping and arrange arancini on a serving platter. 

Sprinkle arancini with finely grated Parmesan.

On the Side, Recipes

Creamy Parmesan & Thyme Polenta

Creamy Polenta!

Looking for a twist on your side dish for Easter? Look no more!

This light and fluffy polenta is perfect for serving with ribs, chicken, pork, lamb, or veal, and is also great with roasted veggies.

What Is Polenta?

Polenta is a porridge type dish popular in Northern Italy. In the United States, it is usually made with coarsely ground cornmeal. Think of polenta as an Italian version of grits! But made with yellow corn instead of the white corn of grits.

How to Make Polenta

Making creamy polenta is so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.

It all starts with caramelizing up finely minced garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil in a large saucepan.  

Once the garlic is brown in a medium-size pot in olive oil, add in the chicken broth and water, and bring it to a boil.

When the stock is boiling pour in the cornmeal while whisking constantly to ensure there are no clumps in the polenta. Turn the heat down to medium-low. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the creamy polenta is finished it should be smooth with no crunch to it.  At this point stir in some whole butter, Parmesan cheese, thyme, onion powder, and salt, and pepper.

I like to serve my polenta as the base of my dish with the meat on top with polenta absorbing the sauce from the main dish.

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

Instructions

In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic. 

Then combine broth and water, onion powder,  salt, and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal. 

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer polenta, whisking frequently, until thickened and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter and thyme and season with salt and pepper. 

Garnish with thyme, and serve. If polenta thickens upon standing, stir in a little hot water.

Note: If preparing polenta in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat on stovetop or in the microwave (about 5 minutes on high), adding more liquid if necessary. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Healthy, Recipes

Keto Meatball Casserole

Juicy, flavorful meatballs cooked until golden and then covered with tomato sauce and cheese.

If you are looking for a new dinner this Keto Meatball Casserole should be it. 

I love this keto friendly meatball casserole because it’s really simple to make and delicious.  It’s also great for meal prep!

I took my grandparent’s meatball recipe, made a couple of changes to make these keto/low carb meatballs. They make epic leftovers… so great for meal prepping! 

The Meat

My personal favorite meat combo when it comes to meatballs is a fifty-fifty of ground beef and Italian sausage. 

The Breadcrumbs

As you know, meatballs traditionally call for breadcrumbs for the binder. It’s purpose is to add moisture and keep the proteins in the meat from shrinking and becoming tough. I used crushed pork rinds! They work surprisingly well in lieu of breadcrumbs and they really play up the flavors.

To Pan-fry or to bake?

This is a great debate between Italian cooks – whether meatballs should be baked or pan fried. 

I grew up watching my grandmother, Meme pan-fry her meatballs. So in this house, we pan fry! Pan frying meatballs produces superior caramelization and a flavorful outer crust. You really do get the best flavor. 

Having said that, you can definitely bake up these too. 

The Sauce

Nothing fancy here, just simple and delicious! One can of crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup of red wine, I recommend Scout & Cellar Gallivant Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cheese

You choose the shredded cheese… Mozzarella, Provolone, Monterrey Jack, Cheddar… I personally like a combination of Mozzarella and Provolone. 

Serve warm on top of zucchini noodles or your with a side of your favorite vegetable. 

Ingredients

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ⅓ cup grated or shredded parmesan
  • 2/3 cup crushed pork rinds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt and Pepper

Casserole Ingredients:

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix thoroughly. 

Make about 24 meatballs

Heat an oven safe skillet over medium heat. (I used my cast iron skillet)

Drizzle one tablespoon in the skillet. 

Place meatballs into the skillet and cook for two-three minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. 

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, pour the crushed tomatoes and wine over the meatballs. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for another ten minutes. 

Once the sauce is bubbling, sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for an additional 8 minutes until the cheese is melted. 

Optional: I broiled for 3-4 minutes at the end to toast the cheese. Watch it carefully if you put it under the broiler. The cheese can burn easily.

Pasta, Recipes

Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

There’s nothing better than a bowl of pasta!

Here’s a super easy pasta dish with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce loaded with garlic, mozzarella & parmesan cheese!  You can add in your favorite meats and/or veggies – the possibilities are endless.

Did you know?

Italians originally dried tomatoes on their ceramic rooftops. And it’s thought that the technique may even date as far back 700 AD when Aztecs would salt and dry tomatoes in the sun to preserve their freshness. Well, whoever started this process, I am beyond grateful. I seriously rather eat Sun-dried tomatoes than raisins any day! Not only are they delicious in pasta dishes, they are a great snack too! 

This recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar…

 Fiddleneck Sauvignon Blanc, pairs very nicely with this rich, creamy sauce. 

Or 

Che Fico Pinot Grigio is another great match – With bright acidity and notes of citrus, it’ll pair well.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounce sun-dried tomatoes – not in oil
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ Parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. box of Angel Hair pasta

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water and set aside- about 1/2 cup.

While pasta cooks,  saute garlic, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

Saute for 1 minute until fragrant. 

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes more.

Add Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese, half and half and chicken broth to the skillet and bring to a simmer. 

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in reserved pasta water and cooked pasta, coating the pasta in the sauce. 

Adjust seasoning, sprinkle with parmesan, and more crushed red pepper if desired. 

Enjoy!

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala with Cauliflower rice

Perfect for weekend OR weeknight cooking, this is one chicken recipe you will make time and time again. This Chicken Marsala recipe is equally as good as what you’ll get at an Italian restaurant so it’s the perfect thing to make on your own, and of course a great dish to serve to guests. It’s a classic dish that does not disappoint!

It’s no wonder it’s one of the most ordered chicken dishes in restaurants! Made with golden, crispy, pan-fried chicken, crispy prosciutto, a mushroom-filled creamy Marsala wine sauce and a good kick of garlic, this Chicken Marsala recipe is next-level!

So let’s talk about wine pairings. You don’t want to go too big with this dish. A big red like a Cabernet will overwhelm not only the chicken, but the subtle sweetness of the Marsala sauce. You’re better off going with a full bodied white like Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ Chardonnay, or Pinot Gris. Not a white wine fan? Go for a light to medium bodied red like Pinot Noir. 

So there you have it, my easy and delicious Chicken Marsala recipe, and the wines that I recommend with it. Crack open a bottle of something awesome, and get cooking. 

INGREDIENTS 

For the chicken:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly grounded pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Marsala sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, as needed
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced and diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 small shallots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • flat leaf parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200°F. 

Mix the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Pound the chicken thin. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place inside a gallon zip-top bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness. 

Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with the remaining breasts.

Return the flattened breasts to the bag and add the flour mixture. Seal the bag and shake to coat.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the butter, followed by 2 of the chicken breasts. Fry until golden-brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. 

Remove the browned chicken to a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 chicken breasts. 

Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and place in the oven to keep warm.

Keep the heat on medium-high. If there isn’t grease left from frying the chicken, add up to 2 tablespoons more butter to the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat

Add the mushrooms and cook until their juices start to release, about 3 minutes.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add the Marsala and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned pieces. Add the broth and simmer until reduced by half and starting to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Add the cream and return the chicken to the sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is well-coated, 3 to 5 minutes.

Plate the chicken, then top it with the mushrooms and sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley. Viola, fini! 

That was easy huh!? Why go to an Italian restaurant and pay $15-20 when it’s so easy to do at home?

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Blogs, Recipes

Sausage Pizza Stuffed Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin as you can tell from many of my posts. When prepared correctly, pork tenderloin is quite juicy and flavorful. It also is great reheated. 

Pork tenderloin is perfect for an easy dinner, but when you butterfly it and stuff it with a delicious filling, it gets even better.

I love creating new stuffings for it. We love pizza but are trying to cut out some carbs so I thought why not stuff a pork tenderloin with our favorite pizza toppings! And BOOM, this Sausage Pizza Pork tenderloin was born! 

Pair this meal with Scout and Cellar  2018 DOVE HUNT DOG PINOT NOIR and you have yourself a delicious fancy but simple dinner! 

Not a wine drinking, pair this with Coppertail’s Free Dive IPA. 

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin, garlic herb marinated
  • 1/s lb. Italian sausage
  • ½ Yellow Onion, diced
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms, rough chop
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of flour
  • Parsely, chopped, optional
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded, for serving
  • 2 cups Tomato sauce, for serving

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Saute the diced onion,until translucent. 

Add the mushrooms, italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. 

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Remove from the heat. 

Add the Italian sausage to the same skillet and cook until browned. 

Remove from heat and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the grease. 

Butterfly the pork: Make a 1-inch-deep incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like a book so the tenderloins lie flat.

Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick, starting from the middle and working outward. 

Sprinkle ½ of the  mozzarella cheese over the tenderloin. 

Spread the onion and mushroom mixture over the cheese.

Spread the sausage on top of the  onion and mushroom mixture. 

Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top of the sausage. 

Starting with a long side, tightly roll up each tenderloin. Secure the seams with the toothpicks or tie with twine. 

In a large dish, pour ½ cup of flour and spread out. 

Carefully roll the rolled stuffed tenderloin in the flour, covering all sides. 

Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, place tenderloin in the skillet (toothpick-side-down) and sear about 2 minutes per side (6-8 minutes total). Transfer the skillet with the tenderloin to the oven and bake at 350˚F for 18-20 min or until an instant read thermometer reads 145-150˚F in the thickest portion of the meat.

Transfer to a cutting board, brush with the pan drippings and rest 10 minutes before slicing into rings. Brush with pan drippings for more flavor and garnish with parsley if desired.

Slice into rings and drizzle tomato sauce over top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Blogs, Recipes

Grouper Piccata

Living in Florida has many benefits, sunny days, beautiful beaches, and it also comes with the benefits of AMAZING fresh fish. 

I was lucky enough to grab some grouper fillets from my local fish market but you can also score some at your store’s frozen section. If you are unable to find grouper fillets, you can use snapper, cod, catfish or even chicken. 

This sauce highlights the fish without taking over. In this recipe, I use a simple piccata sauce with lemon and capers to create an easy meal that everyone will love! Oh, and this is a one pan dish! Hello easy clean up! 🙂

I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan but since I received a bottle of Scout & Cellar Fiddleneck Chardonnay I thought I’d give it a try. I am now a Chardonnay fan! The Fiddleneck Chardonnay is the perfect pairing to this recipe! It’s not oaky like most Chardonnays I have tried in the past. It’s light and refreshing with notes of yellow apple, candied lemon peel, and ripe pineapple. It truly is delicious with the buttery lemon flavor of the grouper piccata! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 6-ounce grouper fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Sprinkle grouper fillets with salt and pepper. 

Dredge fillets on all sides in flour. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large skillet. 

Add fillets to skillet; cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove fish from skillet.

Add garlic, lemon juice and wine to the skillet, scraping browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. 

Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Tip: if the sauce is too bitter, just add ¼ cup of chicken broth at a time. 

Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, capers and parsley.

Serve sauce over fish.

I served mine with a side of angel hair pasta and baby broccoli.

Blogs, Recipes

Roasted Garlic & Lemon Butter Risotto

I love risotto! I much rather have a bowl of risotto than Mac and Cheese any day of the week. 

I’m not going to lie to you. This creamy risotto is hands on. You do have to stand there and stir, and add liquid, and stir, and monitor. But I promise it is worth every minute! My friend Amy says risotto is a labor of love. 

I have several risotto recipes, that’s how much I love it!

This recipe is  buttery with hints of lemon! And the roasted garlic takes it up a notch! 

Roast Garlic is absolutely delicious! It will fill your house with the most irresistible, and mouth-watering aromas imaginable. I’m talking about the whole head of garlic roasted with olive oil until each individual clove is completely golden and butter-soft. It will just squeeze out! Roasted garlic is perfect for spreading a piece of bread or mashing into dishes like this risotto. 

This risotto recipe is a perfect side with baked cod or breaded chicken!

Looking for wine to compliment this dish?

Try the Scout & Cellar 2019 ADELANTE SAUVIGNON BLANC, bright and clean with lemongrass, lime zest and green apple balanced by a subtle minerality on a zesty, light-bodied frame with a refreshing finish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic, roasted- see instructions below
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoon. Brandy, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon. chopped fresh chives

Roasted Garlic 

  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Roast Garlic 

Heat the oven to 400°F: Set a rack in the middle position.

Peel (most of) the paper off the garlic

Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.

Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.

Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

Risotto

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth stock to boiling; keep hot over low heat.

In a 2-1/2-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to foam and turns brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add shallots, onions  and cook, stirring until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Stir in rice until coated with butter. Make a well in the middle of the coated risotto and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot. Stir until combined. 

Add brandy and simmer, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of broth and lemon juice and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Add lemon zest and stir until combined. 

Continue adding broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each batch to absorb before pouring in the next. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes total. 

Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon of the chives; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer risotto to two serving plates and garnish with remaining chives.

Recipes

Zeppole

In 2007, my family and I took a Carnival cruise around the Mediterranean coast. My Papa, grandfather had the biggest sweet tooth and loved to try all the Italian desserts. While we were in Naples, we stopped at a cafe for Limoncello. In the bakery case, they were selling fried dough dusted with powdered sugar, Zeppole. Naturally, my Papa ordered us some to go along with our Limoncello. We were handed a brown paper bag filled with Zeppoles.

We explored Naples, carrying that beautiful greasy bag, pulling Zeppole out one at a time, getting the sugar all over ourselves. We were two very happy people! 

Zeppole are tiny Italian doughnuts – crisp, light and incredibly fluffy, usually served in a brown paper bag or wrapped in parchment paper.

Zeppole make the perfect Hostess gift. Brian and I made them for our Friends Thanksgiving at our friend’s Jason and Paul’s house.

As it turns out, Zeppole are really easy to make at home and take almost no time at all — about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of unsifted flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Confectioners Sugar for Dusting or maybe Cinnamon Sugar
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Crack your two eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until foamy.  

Add all of your dry ingredients into the eggs in the mixing bowl while on slow speed and then add  your ricotta and vanilla right away.  

Continue to mix on a slow speed till it is all combined.  The batter will be thick…creamy and sticky.  It is not a cookie dough consistency…it is a rich thick waffle type batter. Do not over mix.

Have your oil ready in your favorite pot.  I use a cast iron  dutch oven.  Your oil should be approximately 375 degrees.

I use a small cookie dough scoop …first I spray it with oil so that batter doesn’t stick …then scoop up the batter (no exact measurement here : ) and carefully drop it into the oil…repeat with consecutive scoops but don’t let them touch…

Zeppoles will turn themselves over. Fry them for about about 3 minutes…if they are a little bigger…a little longer.

Once you get to that nice deep golden brown it is time to scoop them up and place them on brown paper or paper towels to drain. Continue with another batch. 

Sprinkle them with Confectioners sugar or some Cinnamon Sugar. 

Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian comfort foods.
The one thing to keep in mind when cooking eggplant, is eggplants hold onto moisture, like a sponge. So if you’re not careful you can end up with a mushy mess.

So the best method to make eggplant parmesan is to pull the moisture out of the eggplant prior to frying it.

How do we pull moisture out of the eggplant?

You sprinkle salt on the eggplant slice and let them sit for 45 minutes to one hour.The salt pulls out the moisture from the eggplant. 

It also helps to cut the bitterness of the vegetable and makes it “sweat”. You will notice little drops of moisture on the surface of the disks. Removing the moisture from the eggplant will prevent it from releasing it during cooking. 

After the 45 minutes, all you have to do is just pat them dry and dust off the excess salt and then you’ll be ready to start making your eggplant parmesan! I guarantee you will have a much crispier and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish! 

Now of course, you can bake or roast the eggplant for eggplant Parmesan, and they are tasty but frying the eggplant gives the dish a deep caramelized flavor that can not be mimicked by baking. 

I like my eggplant a tad thick so I slice mine about ¼ thick, using a sharp knife. Grab two shallow dishes, crack two eggs in one dish and whisk. I like to add some seasoning, like granulated garlic and black pepper, to my whisked eggs but that is totally up to you. Pour 1 ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in the other dish. I love cheese and feel you can never have too much so I sprinkle ¼ cup of grated Parmesan into the breadcrumbs and whisk until combined. 

Take each slice, dip it into the egg mixture, roll in the bread crumbs and shake off any excess. Place the breaded eggplant slices on a plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. I always use my cast iron skillet but any skillet will work. I have become a big fan of cast iron in the last year. Check out my Tips & Tricks page for why. 

Once the skillet is hot, slowly slide two-three breaded eggplant slices into the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, they should be a nice golden brown. The first batch will take longer than the rest as the oil heats up. You will want to keep a close eye on them and watch out for oil splatters. 

Line a large sheet pan with foil, this will make for an easy clean up. Add a layer of eggplant slices then dollop 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn’t to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. The more cheese the better, in my opinion. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I use the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown – you don’t have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh basil. It reminds me of my grandparents’ backyard when I was a child. My grandfather, Papa, always had a basil plant in his backyard. Here’s a great tip for cutting basil. Stack the basil leaves on top of each other and roll up like a cigar. Then make thin slices from one end of the basil cigar to the other. Sprinkle on top of your eggplant parmesan and serve. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups whole milk mozzarella shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves sliced, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt.

In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and in the other. Dip both sides of the eggplant slice into egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on a plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two-three eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until you’ve pan-fried them all.

On a large sheet pan, add a layer of eggplant slices then using dollop 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn’t to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I use the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown. 

Serve hot and top with sliced basil.