Cooking with Valerie Bertinelli

Where are my foodies? Who else loves to browse the cookbook aisles? There’s not much I love more than a new cookbook. Flipping the pages and checking out all the yummy recipes and making a list of all the new ones I want to try.

So when some folks reached out to me about Valerie Bertinelli’s (yes that Valerie! Most recently known from the Food Network but I can’t not mention “One Day at A Time” loved that show)  Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Recipes to Share with Friends and Family cookbook I was thrilled. Not only do I watch her on the Food Network but she’s an Italian girl. Like me! Ok maybe I’m not Italian but my hubby is so that counts, right? And I learned everything I know about Italian cooking from my mother in law and Valerie’s book is inspired by her family’s recipes so I knew this was gonna be a match made in Italian foodie heaven.

I chose 2 dishes I was going to make and review. The Spicy Arrabiata Penne and the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce.

The first one I tested out was the Spicy Arrabiata Penne. You can’t go wrong with a dish like this. It’s super easy to make and super flavorful. Both my hubby and I loved it. He agreed we need to def make it again. I feel like it came out looking just like the picture (minus the fact that I didn’t use shaved parm we ended up just using regular grated parm cheese but the shaved gives it that extra touch and makes it extra fancy.) My only suggestion would be for this dish is to adjust the red pepper flakes if you don’t love spice. It’s definitely got a kick so if you have kids I would maybe omit it in theirs. Also, I would not have reserved any of the pasta water. I typically don’t occasionally I will if I’m making a ton of gravy/sauce but not always. I felt that adding the 1 cup of pasta water really watered it down so I would just not add that and your sauce will be nice and thick and chunkier.

Photographer Leslie Grow, Food Styling Cat Steele, Prop Styling Lindsey Lower,
Spicy Arrabiate Penne

Wanna try this recipe yourself? If you try it let me know what you think.

“One of my all-time favorite meals centers around tomatoes. I have several photos on my phone illustrating this point. One shows a fresh harvest of tomatoes from our garden; they’re literally spilling out of bowls onto the kitchen counter. I think this was a message from our wonderful gardener, Carlos. The first year I planted tomato plants, the majority of them died. I went to Carlos, asking for help. I think he felt bad for me, and not only did he bring those plants back to life, he added more and somehow has them producing fruit well into the winter. Another photo shows my arrabiata sauce simmering on the stove, tomatoes quartered and afloat on a sea of luscious sauce full of spices. I swear I can smell the red pepper and garlic through my phone. Fresh tomatoes are a bonus, but obviously canned tomatoes provide the same classic taste. This is an easy dinner when I’m in a hurry, and with a green salad and a creamy dressing to balance the spice, along with fresh bread, you can rely on this as a Monday through Friday staple, as I do, or serve it for a casual Saturday night with friends.” – taken from Valerie’s cookbook.

Serves 6

Spicy Arrabiata Penne

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-pound) package uncooked penne rigate
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (26.46-ounce) package chopped tomatoes (such as Pomì)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • Shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the 1/4 cup chopped basil.
  3. 3. Stir the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water into the tomato mixture. Garnish with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and additional basil, if desired, and serve warm.
  4. Cooking Tip
  5. It’s important to generously salt your water. It adds flavor to your pasta. Don’t rinse your pasta after cooking, and don’t drain all the water; save some to flavor your sauce.
7.6.6
1
http://katiedevito.dreamhosters.com/cooking-valerie-bertinelli/

Up next I wanted to try the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce. We always love a piccata so I figured we would love this. I make chicken cutlets often and usually just cook them the whole time in oil on the stove so I liked the idea of just browning them first then popping them in the oven while the sauce is being made. Plus a lot of times I find when making recipes your meal is getting cold while the sauce is being made and we hate that. So this kept everything nice and hot.

Here’s my pic and here’s my pic with the book image. Clearly, they aren’t close. In the cookbook pic the sauce has a more yellow tinge to it and looks thicker. Mine came out clearer and more watery. The flavor was definitely good and I probably should have made some sort of side to go along with it as my plate looks pretty boring lol. We both agreed we liked this dish as well but next time I think I may add a touch of flour into the sauce to thicken it up just a smidge.

All in all we really liked both recipes and are looking forward to trying out more of them “One Day at A Time” (had to).

Did you try any of the recipes from this book? If so, share your faves with me. I wanna know what you think.

Credit: Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

*The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. I was provided this book for review.
**Recipe provided to me to use in post.

Take 5 with Teresa Giudice

I’m so excited that “Fabulicious” will be out in stores May 3rd! Your first book “Skinny Italian” was a huge hit. How does your new book differ from the first?

Both cookbooks are my traditional Italian recipes but this FABULICIOUS! covers it all-pot lucks, desserts, how to make homemade pasta and bread, you name it it’s in there.

Since you’re a mom on the go, what’s a 5 star meal that’s easy to make for other moms that are constantly on the go?

FABULICIOUS! is full of easy and kid-friendly recipes but one great recipe for mom’s on the go is the “Real Housewife Rigatoni Bake” because it has everything kids like with vegetables snuck in and leftovers for the next day.

Favorite Jersey restaurant?

Nicola’s in Totowa, NJ.

You have a jewelry line “Terese”. Where did you get the inspiration for your collection and where can people purchase items from your collection?

I love costume jewelry and this project is in its beginning stages.

I’m a born and raised Jersey girl and I’m a HUGE fan of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The new season starts May 16th at 9pm on BRAVO. What can we expect to see this season?

You’re just going to have to watch and see!

For information on Teresa’s new book, upcoming book signings and more, please visit http://www.teresagiudice.com/

It's Not Just Texas Chili

After years of experimenting with a wide array of chili recipes from books, websites and word of mouth, I am proud to say my search for the perfect chili has ended. All thanks to a little wedding gift I received called “Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook” by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford. I’ve been talking it up for a while now, so I figured I should pass along this killer recipe to all my friends.

If you are like me and prefer a more soupy chili rather than one that’s totally chunky and has no sauce… you’re search too has ended. This chili recipe is so unbelievably flavorful and feeds an army. Ok maybe not an army but it will totally feed a Boy Scout troop, no doubt.

I typically make my chili in the morning or early afternoon and let it sit so that the flavors develop even more. Before I’m going to serve it, I just heat it up for a few.

Here’s the dish on Texas Chili:

Whatcha Need:

1 Tbs. Bacon Grease or Vegetable Oil

2 Medium Yellow Onions, chopped

3 Tbs. Chopped Garlic

3 Tbs. Chili Powder

2 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Cumin

2 Tsp. Dried Oregano

1 lb. Ground Beef Chuck

1 lb. Italian Sausage Links, removed from casings and crumbled

2 Tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more as needed

2 cans (28 oz, each) Crushed Tomato Puree

1 can (15 oz.) Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 oz.) BBQ Baked Beans, drained

1 Tbs. Minced Canned Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce, plus more as needed

Heat the bacon grease (or vegetable oil) in an 8 quart heavy bottomed stockpot over medium heat. (I always use vegetable oil.) Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground chuck, sausage and 1 tsp. of the kosher salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary (I add a bit more of the chiles).

Serve the chili with some of these fixin’s:

Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Chopped Green Onion

Sour Cream

Crumbled Corn Chips/Tortilla Chips

Red Pepper Flakes

Chopped Jalapeno Chiles

Cornbread

This recipe is so tasty that you really don’t need any fixin’s at all, but it does make a lot. So if your not making this for a big crowd, you will have tons of leftovers and might want to switch things up a bit by adding some of the fixin’s for your leftovers.

I like it best with some shredded cheddar (my hubby prefers no fixins) and we either dip tortilla chips in it or eat it with some cornbread.

This is a great dish to bring to a World Series Party, Superbowl Party or to a Potluck Dinner. We like to have it on a cold rainy “stay inside” weekend while watching shows we DVR’d during the week, movies or re-runs of our fave 80’s shows.

 

Enjoy and let me know what you think. I’m certain that your search for the “perfect” chili has now ended.

 

Do you follow me on Twitter? @kdevito

Where do I begin?

I mentioned in my previous post, that I have decided to write a cook book. Why not, right? I’m currently unemployed and have lots of free time. I LOVE cooking and am good at it. So where do I begin?

Last Thursday I had my mom over for dinner. She loved the Pasta with Pepperoni! I told her of my interest in writing a cook book. She thought it was a good idea and said I should reach out to my cousin (a few times removed) Bob. Bob has written a number of books and they have been published. I also learn that he is not the only published writer in my family. So apparently its in my genes to do this. Besides the fact that I share a birthday with Julia Child. I have writing in my genes. Thank goodness my mom’s cooking isn’t in my genes (hi mom).

First thing Friday morning I emailed my cousin Bob. Letting him know what my plans are for writing a cook book, what his thoughts were, advice he had and of course… where do I begin? Bob wrote me back right away with lots of wonderful advice. He highly suggested that I purchase the most recent edition of the Writer’s Market. It lists publishing companies, informs you how to write queries and much more.

Lucky for me, I was already heading to the mall Saturday to try on a pair of Kenneth Cole 925 shoes. Rumor was that they are the most comfortable shoes in the world, and everyone believes what they see on Good Morning America. Needless to say, the shoes fit horribly. The salesman said oh they stretch out and then they are really comfortable. Ok, no thank you. I ran over to Barnes & Noble and picked up the 2010 edition of the Writer’s Market so I can begin this project.

I’m very excited to begin. I have lots of ideas already and have been compiling some information already. Haven’t started the book yet though. I reached out to a number of publishing companies and magazines inquiring about who I can contact to pitch a cook book idea to, as well as any freelance editor of contributing writer positions. I received a few responses. Sent out a few resumes. Plus I received some detailed information for what to do once I have gotten a bit further with my book.

I’m very excited about my project and hope you will stay with me along the way.

Julie, Julia & Katie

I’m inspired!

Last night Nick and I went to see Julie & Julia and might I say what a movie. As you may know, my birthday just passed (August 14th) and Nick mentioned around that time that Julia Child and I share a birthday. Jokingly I said “that explains a lot”. But it really does. Sitting in the theatre with my popcorn and various candies of sorts I realized, my life really mimics that of both Julie & Julia in the film. Everything from the love of cooking to the relationship with my husband.

I walked away from the theatre thinking 2 things. 1 – I should wear pearls more often. They are so classy. And 2 – I should write a cook book. I can’t share everything with you, because then nothing would be a surprise, but I have lots of ideas already. I even emailed a few publishers today. So if you know anyone in the industry, let me know. Or if you have any recipes you’d like to share with me, please feel free to contact me.

I’m so excited about my new venture. Not only is it something I’m passionate about, but it will keep me occupied until I find full time employment. (Sidebar: I have a promising interview next week.)