La Cucina Italiana magazine offers these simple, authentic dishes of the Italian countryside. From fettunta, the quintessential way to savor new olive oil, to schiacciata alla Fiorentina, Tuscany’s timeless sweet flatbread, the flavor of new olive oil shines through. Each recipe serves 8.
• 2 eggs
• 2/3 cup sugar
• grated zest of 2 oranges
• 1 tbsp. orange juice
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
• 2 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, orange zest, and orange juice. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil and milk; whisk into the egg mixture. In a third bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Fold into the egg mixture until smooth (do not overbeat).
Lightly oil and flour a square or rectangular baking sheet. Shake off excess flour. Pour the batter into the baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden and soft. Cool on a rack. Cut into squares
If you like olives, you’ll want to make this flat bread for its own sake. But even if you’re not a fan, try it with Caldo Gallego. Dunk it. The way the olive paste blends with the tomato meat broth is terrific.
A great thing about this dough is that you can make it, let it rise, shape it and bake it. Or, you can make the dough several hours in advance, even the day before and let it rise in the refrigerator. It just depends when you want to bake it. By putting the dough in the fridge, you can come back to it when you want. Cold dough is also easier to work with.
• 2 cups warm water
• 1 package dry yeast (2-1/4 t.)
• 1 cup flour
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (crush it in the palm of your hand)
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 4 to 4-1/2 cups flour
• 4 tablespoons olive paste
• olive oil for brushing
• yellow cornmeal for dusting the pan and bread
1. Whisk the water, yeast, and 1 cup of flour together until smooth. Then stir in the oil, herbs, and salt. Start stirring in the 4 cups of flour. When the dough gets too thick to stir, turn it onto the counter and knead in flour until the dough is satiny and moist without being sticky, about 10 minutes. (It’s okay if you use a little more or less flour.) Smear with a few drops of oil, return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it double is size. (1 hour + or—on the counter, or in the refrigerator.)
2. When you’re ready to go, turn the oven on the 400 degrees F. Dust your counter with flour and put the dough on the counter. Press it out to be about the size of a magazine. Spread the olive paste on one side (leave a little margin) and fold the dough over. Press the edges together.
3. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to the size of your cookie sheet. Be gentle, but if any olive past squirts out, set it aside.
4. Brush olive oil on the cookie sheet and dust liberally with cornmeal. Lay the dough on the cornmeal. Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite fir. Smear any squirted-out olive past on top, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Put it in a warm place to get puffy (On the stove is perfect).
5. When the dough is puffy—20 to 30 minutes , bake until well-browned, about 30 minutes.
Olive paste—This is great stuff and it keeps forever in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, at the moment you’ll only find it in gourmet stores or upscale supermarkets. You’re looking for jars, probably near jars of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives…. It is literally a purée of black olives and, depending on the brand, capers, herbs, and maybe anchovies. There’s a green olive paste that I like too, but I can’t find it as often.
Anyway, even though I like it in focaccia, I use the vast majority of it as a condiment. A glass of wine, some good bread or crackers smeared with goat cheese and a thin film of olive paste…we’re talkin’ bon.
This is a wonderful wintertime salad. The flavors are all strong and fresh.
Trim the tops from the fennel and any bruised outer leaves. Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly (a mandolin works well here but watch the fingers). Toss with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Ridge calls this ‘Disappearing Chicken’ because there’s never any left. Easy, quick, and incredibly good. It works with any kind of poultry; simply adjust the cooking time.
This is best done on a Weber-style grill, using the indirect cooking method in which you place the fire on both sides of the bottom, and put the chicken in the middle of the grill. But it can also be done in a hot oven (450°).
Start the fire, or pre-heat the oven.
Wash and dry the chicken inside and out. Mix a fistful of salt together with about a tablespoon of pepper, and sprinkle about a third of it inside the cavity. Stuff the garlic, onion, and rosemary into the cavity. Rub the skin with lemon olive oil, then rub the rest of the salt/pepper mixture into the skin. [Note: You can add some finely-chopped rosemary to the rub for more flavor.]
Put the chicken breast down in the rack and place it in the middle of the grill/oven. If using a grill, close the cover, but be sure to leave the vents open. If using the oven, put the rack in a roasting pan.
After 45 minutes, simply turn the rack upside down, ‘dumping’ the bird either onto the grill (on the Weber), or into the roasting pan (in the oven). After 30 minutes more, or when the drumsticks wiggle easily and the juices run clear, take the bird off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes.
We usually separate the legs and wings, cut the breast meat into quarters, drizzle lemon olive oil over it, and stand back!
Serves 2-4 people. Roasted new potatoes make a great side dish.
These owe their start to the amazing Ray Tang, who blew away an entire tour group of chefs who were visiting us at the farm. I was busy doing the tour, so Ray, who is one of the best chefs on the planet in my humble opinion, stepped in.
Life has never been the same since.
3 or 4 eqqs per person
Extra Virgin olive oil (30-Weight or Dry Creek Estate)
salt & pepper
herbs, mushrooms, whatever
3 or 4 eggs per person seems like a lot, but we guarantee no leftovers! Crack them into a bowl and blend them gently with a fork, just enough to break up the yolks. Salt them lightly.
Put a non-stick skillet over low heat and pour in enough extra virgin olive oil to make a layer about an eighth of an inch deep. Let it warm for a minute or two, then pour in the eggs and start stirring and folding gently with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula – no wire hangers!
Nothing will happen for what will seem a very long time, but don’t lose heart! The eggs will come together at the end; watch them carefully, stirring gently but constantly. They’re done when they look soft-scrambled; resist the temptation to overcook them. Serve immediately with some coarse, fresh-cracked pepper and a pinch of Kosher salt.
You can fiddle with the recipe by throwing in some herbs, wild mushrooms, or even a little fresh salsa as the eggs cook. (Or try our Sparklers – yeow that’s good!) But start with the basic recipe first – it’s delicious!
La Cucina Breast of chicken with sage and olive oil
This is a very tasty traditional recipe from Italy for chicken breasts. Do not be put off by the amount of olive oil, as the lemon and sage add extra flavour.
4 chicken breasts ¼ pint (150 ml) of olive oil 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced large handful of fresh sage 2 tbsp of lemon juice salt and pepper
Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts with a sharp knife.
Place them in a large heavy-based frying pan or saucepan.
Pour the olive oil over the chicken breasts.
Add the sage and the sliced garlic to the pan.
Cook over a medium heat in the olive oil, stirring occasionally. The oil should bubble slightly but not boil. Cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the chicken breasts over and cook the other side for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir well.
Season with the salt and pepper.
Serve with fresh vegetables and fresh crusty bread.
• 3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
• 1 pound ground veal or turkey breast
• 2 ounces mortadella or genoa salami, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet of waxed paper. Coat a large baking sheet with oil.
2. Place the veal or turkey, mortadella or salami, Parmesan, parsley, and salt in a bowl. Mix with your hands just to combine. Shape into balls the size of large marbles.
3. One at a time, dip the meatballs into the egg mixture. Lift out and shake off the excess egg, then drop each meatball into the bread crumbs. With the other hand, toss some crumbs over the meatball and roll it to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the meatballs are breaded. Coat all sides with oil from a mister or drizzle all the meatballs lightly with oil and roll them gently to coat with the oil.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until sizzling. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should register 160°F.
Note: The breaded meatballs may be covered with aluminum foil and refrigerated for 24 hours before baking. Coat with oil before baking.
• 3 ounces of dried soba noodles, if not available, whole-wheat spaghetti
• 2 Tbl Pepper Oil using Olive Oil * (Recepie follows)
• 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
• 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
• 1 Tab. Peeled and grated fresh ginger
• 1 medium carrot peeled and finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic minced
• 4 cups of preferably organic, low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 Tbl Low sodium soy sauce
• 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½ cubes
• 1 cup edamame
• 1 cup of soy milk
• ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
* Crushed Red Pepper Oil
• ½ Tbl Crushed Red Peppers
• 1 Cup Olive oil
Heat the peppers over med heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and heat for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package (but a little underdone). Drain it immediately cool it down. Toss with 1 Tbl Of the red pepper olive oil. In a large sauce pan or soup pot, over medium heat, add remaining red pepper olive oil and when it is hot, add onion, celery. Saute until soft, making sure not brown the onion or celery. About 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, carrot and garlic, sauté for 1-1/2 minute, making sure garlic doesn’t brown. Add the chicken broth and soy sauce, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil. Add the diced chicken and edamame; continue at light boil until chicken is completely cooked, taking approximately 3-4 minutes. This can be left of low heat until ready to serve, increase to medium, add the soba noodles and soy milk and cook until the soup heated thoroughly, but do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in Cilantro and ladle into bowls, top with diced tomato.
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 garlic clove (or 2 shallots), minced
• 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
• 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 pound cod fillets
• ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1. Sauté onion in medium skillet in olive oil 5 minutes or until tender.
2. Add garlic and stir.
3. Add tomatoes, basil, thyme, parsley, and pepper.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. While sauce simmers, dredge fish in flour to coat on both sides.
6. Sauté fish in a large skillet in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until lightly browned.
7. Pour sauce over fish in skillet and simmer for 15 minutes until fish is no longer translucent and flakes easily.
Serves 1/2 Cup
•1 clove garlic crushed
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1/4 teaspoon dried salad seasoning
•1/4 Cup Olive Oil
•1/4 Cup white wine vinegar*, or lemon juice, divided
1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, salt, mustard, pepper, and salad seasoning.
2. Whisk in olive oil and vinegar until thoroughly mixed.
3. Store dressing in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 1 week.
4. Shake well before using.
Note: * Dressing may be varied by using tarragon vinegar
Serves 4 to 6
• 1/4 cup Olive Oil
• 2 green or red bell peppers
• 1 large onion, sliced
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 6 to 8 eggs
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 4 to 6 large Italian bread rolls or Kaiser rolls, split
1. In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until golden. Add the oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Place the pepper mixture in a bowl; set aside.
2. Preheat the oven broiler.
3. Set the skillet over medium-high heat. Break the eggs into the pan. With a fork, pierce the yolks, but do not beat. Season with red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until set. Remove from the heat. Place the rolls, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat source for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Place the eggs, pepper, and onions on the rolls.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
• 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
• 1/2 small red onion, sliced
• 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 tablespoon Red Vinegar
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 6 ounces mixed leafy greens
1. Place the cucumber and onion in a bowl; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover with ice water; set aside for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, pepper, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Tear the greens and add to the bowl; set aside.
3. Drain the cucumber and onion. Rinse well under cold running water. Add to the salad bowl. Toss just before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
• 8 leaves romaine lettuce
• 2 tomatoes cut into eighths
• 1 medium red onion, sliced or 3 green onions, chopped
• 1/2 cucumber sliced
• 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 8 oil cured black olives
• 4 anchovies (optional)
1. Slice lettuce with knife into 1/8 inch wide strips.
2. In a medium bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, cheese, parsley, olives, and anchovies, if desired
3. Serve with French Salad dressing.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
• 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
• 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 to 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
• 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
• 1 bunch scallions, all parts, sliced
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1. In a saucepan, heat the broth and water. Keep warm over low heat. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the rice and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
2. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the broth mixture. Start timing the cooking. Cook, stirring frquently, until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. After 18 minutes of cooking, start testing the rice. The rice should be tender but still hold its shape. When it is cooked, remove from the heat. Stir in the scallions and lemon zest. (All of the broth mixture may not be needed.)
Makes 10 to 12 servings
• 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans
• 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can cut green beans
• 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can yellow wax beans
• 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, sliced
• 3/4 cup cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup Olive Oil
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse and drain kidney beans; drain green and wax beans.
2. In a large bowl, combine beans, bell pepper, onion and celery.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and sugar. Pour over bean mixture; toss until lightly coated.
4. Cover; refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Store salad, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Makes 4 servings
• 1/4 cup Olive Oil
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced into rounds
• 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
• 1 (8 ounce) package thinly sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 3 tablespoons shredded fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and garlic. Brush 2 tablespoons olive oil mixture over onion slices.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until beginning to brown, turning halfway through cooking time.
3. In a large, shallow, heatproof serving dish, arrange slightly overlapping slices of onion, tomato, and mozzarella. Whisk vinegar into remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil mixture; drizzle over onion mixture. Broil, 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese just begins to melt. Sprinkle with basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 1 1/4 cups dip
• 1 (16 ounce) can chick-peas, rinsed and well drained
• 5 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Few drops hot pepper sauce (optional)
• Additional lemon juice (optional)
• Assorted cut-up fresh vegetables
• Pita bread wedges
• Oil-cured black olives (optional)
• Additional Olive Oil (optional)
1. In blender container or food processor, place chick-peas, 5 tablespoons lemon juice, water, tahini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and cumin; process until mixture is thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce, if desired. Adjust consistency with additional lemon juice or water, if desired.
2. Transfer to serving bowl. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with vegetables and pita bread; garnish with olives and drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.