Big, Bold Italian Home Cooking from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine

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Big, Bold Italian Home Cooking from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine

By Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine

Paula’s cooking style and traditional Italian cooking have a lot in common. Both highlight recipes that are robust, meaty, cheesy, and seasoned with garlic and herbs. And both encourage friends and family to linger awhile around the table to enjoy food and fellowship. Here, Paula shares some of her top Italian favorites and the quintessential ingredients that make each viva italiano!

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna
Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2½ cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 2 medium)
1½ cups finely chopped carrot (about 3 medium)
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6-ounce) bags fresh baby spinach
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 large eggs
2 (24-ounce) jars tomato and basil pasta sauce, divided
1 (9-ounce) package oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 (12-ounce) packages sliced provolone cheese
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (16-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, and garlic; cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach, stirring until spinach wilts. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in basil, salt, and pepper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs; set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a 4½-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup pasta sauce in baking dish. Top with 4 lasagna noodles. Spread one-fourth of ricotta mixture over noodles. Top with half of vegetable mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce. Layer one-fourth of provolone over sauce. Top with 4 lasagna noodles. Spread with one-fourth ricotta mixture.
4. Combine chicken and shredded mozzarella cheese. Spread half of chicken mixture over ricotta.
5. Top with 1 cup pasta sauce, one-fourth of provolone, and 4 lasagna noodles. Spread one-fourth of ricotta mixture over noodles. Top with remaining chicken mixture, 1 cup pasta sauce, one-fourth of provolone, and 4 lasagna noodles. Spread with remaining ricotta mixture, remaining vegetable mixture, remaining 1 cup sauce, and remaining provolone cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
6. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Sun-dried Tomato and Arugula Bruschetta
Makes about 2 dozen

1 (4-ounce) goat cheese log, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sliced fresh basil
¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 baguette, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices and toasted
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¹/8 teaspoon salt
¹/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups arugula
Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese

1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pepper; process until combined. Spread evenly over toasted baguette slices.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add arugula, tossing gently to coat. Divide arugula mixture among
bruschetta. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Shrimp and Pea Risotto
Makes 4 to 6 servings

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
5½ cups warm chicken broth
1 pound peeled and deveined medium fresh shrimp
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until just tender. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until rice begins to brown. Add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Add warm chicken broth, ¾ cup at a time, allowing liquid to be absorbed after each addition, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and peas; cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp are pink and firm.
2. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic Focaccia
Makes 8 to 10 servings

1¼ cups warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads garlic
2 cups grated Asiago cheese
Garnish: thinly sliced basil

1. In a small bowl, combine 1¼ cups warm water, yeast, and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes.
2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt. Pulse several times to combine. With processor running, slowly add yeast mixture and oil; process until dough forms a ball.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover, and let rise in a warm place (85˚), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
4. Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut ½ inch off pointed ends of garlic, keeping cloves intact. Place garlic, cut ends up, on aluminum foil. Wrap garlic in foil, and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until softened. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic pulp into a small bowl. Mash garlic with a fork. Set aside.
5. Punch dough down, and let rest for 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450˚. Lightly spray 2 (15-inch) pizza stones or baking sheets with cooking spray; sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 2 (12-inch) circles. Place dough rounds on pizza stones. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make indentations at 1-inch intervals in top of dough. Spread roasted garlic evenly over dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.
Garnish with basil, if desired.

Italian Spaghetti and Colossal Meatballs
Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
½ cup red wine
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried basil
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Colossal Meatballs (recipe follows)
1 (1-pound) box spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, wine, parsley, bay leaves, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add Colossal Meatballs, and simmer for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with cooked spaghetti. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Colossal Meatballs
Makes about 15 meatballs

1½ pounds ground chuck
1 pound ground hot Italian sausage
¾ cup panko (Japanese bread
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over baking sheet, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, sausage, panko, cheese, garlic, parsley, basil, and salt. Add beaten eggs, stirring gently to combine. Shape mixture into 2½-inch balls. Place on prepared rack, and bake for 30 minutes.

Chocolate-Caramel Tiramisu
Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, softened
Chocolate Ladyfingers (recipe follows)
½ cup espresso or strong brewed coffee, cooled
1½ cups caramel ice-cream topping
Garnish: grated chocolate, caramel ice-cream topping

1. In a large bowl, beat cream at medium-high speed with a mixer until thickened. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese, beating just until combined.
2. In each individual serving dish, place 1 ladyfinger, flat side up. Brush ladyfinger with espresso. Top with cream mixture and caramel topping. Repeat layers as desired. Garnish with grated chocolate and caramel topping, if desired.

Chocolate Ladyfingers
Makes about 2½ dozen

²/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 eggs at room temperature, separated
¾ cup sugar, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375˚. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, sift flour and cocoa together.
3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites at high speed with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
4. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar at high speed with a mixer until thick and pale. Gently fold egg yolks into egg whites. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture.
5. Using a large round tip, pipe batter in 3-inch lengths onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until ladyfingers spring back gently when touched. Let cool completely.

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Just wishing Paula a Happy birthday this month

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