Paganini's Pantry (163)

Friday, 25 April 2014 07:17

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad

Serves 6

6 cups baby spinach
2 ruby red grapefruits, supremed
3/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 red onion, sliced thin

Olive Oil Vinaigrette:
Remaining juice from ruby red grapefruit (approx 1/4 cup
4 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Garnish with parmesan cheese flakes

Toss salad ingredients together in large bowl.  Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, blend togeter dressing ingredients and adjust to taste.  Toss with salad.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese flakes on top.

Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:22

Spring Pea Soup with Crème Fraiche

Serves 8

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup leek, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh tarragon
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 lb. fresh spring peas
1/2 cup cooked white rice
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup watercress, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, juice only
8 slices of toasted crostini
1 cup crab meat canned, cooked


To make the crème fraiche, stir lemon juice into heavy cream and stir to combine well.  Salt to taste, refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leek and tarragon and cook over moderately low heat until the leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and cooked rice and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the peas are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the watercress.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Strain the soup through a coarse sieve over another medium saucepan. Season the soup with salt and keep warm until service.

Ladle the soup into small bowls. Swirl in the crème fraiche and serve topped with crab and crostini.

Friday, 11 April 2014 05:55

Rosemary Cheddar Cheese Bacon Scones

Makes 16 scones


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. crispy bacon pieces or cooked pancetta, chopped
1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 5 oz.)
2 cups heavy cream
Egg wash

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add rosemary, bacon, and cheddar and stir to combine. Mix in 2 cups cream with a fork just until a sticky dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a pliable ball. Halve dough and form each half into a round. and cut each into 8 wedges.

Arrange wedges about 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash.  You will not use all the egg wash.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with butter.

Friday, 11 April 2014 05:52

Cherry Chocolate Scones

Makes 8 scones


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sweet liqueur, like Amaretto
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Egg wash (1 egg and 1 Tablespoons water)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Soak cherries in liqueur for 10 minutes to plump.  

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into flour with fingers.  Stir in milk and drained cherries and mix in chocolate chips. Do not over mix.  

On a floured board, pat out scone dough into an 8-inch circle. With a sharp, floured knife, cut into 8 wedges. Transfer wedges onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with an egg wash. (you will not use all the egg wash).  

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown.

Friday, 04 April 2014 07:05

Paleo Brownies


adapted from a recipe found on

Yields one 6 inch cake round

1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a 6 inch round cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick coking spray.

Mix by hand all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until incorporated and smooth.  Spoon into prepared cake pan and make sure the surface of the batter is even and equally distributed.

Bake for 22-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the batter comes out with just slightly wet batter.  If you wait until the toothpick comes out clean you wont get the fudgy texture when it cools.

Friday, 28 March 2014 05:31

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Serves 8

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted & room temperature
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 lg. eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup caramel topping


Preheat oven to 325° F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted chocolate, melted butter until incorporated.  Add sugar and extract and mix until incorporated. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Prepare an 8 inch square baking dish by buttering and flouring the pan.

Using a spatula pour in the batter and swirl in the caramel smooth the top.  Bake in the oven until mostly done (toothpick placed in center comes out with wet crumbs) approximately 30-35 minutes.

Friday, 21 March 2014 05:48

Pancetta Provolone Studel

8-10 pieces per strudel


5 sheets of phyllo per strudel
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 recipe pancetta provolone filling, cooled
1/3 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Spread one sheet of phyllo dough on top of a towel, brush with butter and sprinkle Italian breadcrumbs on top, top with a second sheet of phyllo and repeat so you will have five complete layers.
3) Place filling on top of the prepared phyllo
4) Roll up jelly roll style, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
5) With a serrated knife cut into slices, brush with butter.
6) Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
* The box of phyllo will have more sheets so you can prepare three more strudels by quadrupling the recipe. Bake or wrap and place in the freezer.


Pancetta Provolone Filling

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup zucchini, diced
1/4 cup Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups shredded Provolone Cheese

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Add onions and sauté until transparent.  Add zucchini, pancetta, garlic, tomatoes, and spices.  Sauté until vegetables are tender.  Remove and set aside to cool.  Mix in cheese.

Friday, 14 March 2014 06:25

Knit Top Cherry Pie

Makes two 8 inch crusts (for one cherry pie)


3 cups all purpose flour
4 oz. (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1/3 cup very cold water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Egg wash:
1 egg
3 Tbsp. water

Cherry filling:
1 1/2 lbs. frozen sour cherries, thawed and liquid drained
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, cherries, and vanilla & almond extract. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

In a food processor pulse together the flour, butter, and shortening until it resembles course corn meal.  Place flour mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Add egg, water, salt, zest, and vinegar to flour mixture and mix by hand just until mixture forms a dough.

Cut dough into two pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, flattening each piece into a disk. Chill in refrigerator for 45-60 minutes.

Once chilled remove one disk from refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a round shape.  Place dough lightly into pie pan. Fill pie with cherry filling and remove second disk from refrigerator.

Roll out second disk of dough until it is about 1 inch wider around than the pie plate. Cut dough into strips.  Take each strip of dough and weave over and under each other strip to create a lattice top. Carefully brush top with egg wash being very careful not to get egg wash in the cherry filling. 

Bake pie at 350° F until crust is a golden brown.  Serve cooled.

Friday, 07 March 2014 06:17

Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Serves 8


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups warm chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
½ lb. Asparagus, blanch & cut up
1 cup frozen baby green peas

1 lb. raw shrimp, shelled
½ tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese



In a pot of boiling water, blanch asparagus and peas. Set aside

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan with sides. Add onions and cook until transparent. Add garlic and dry rice. Cook until rice is coated and begins to become fragrant about 2-3 minutes. 

Add wine 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until it evaporates.

Slowly add 1/2 cup of warmed stock while stirring. Continually add stock in stages until it evaporates while constantly stirring rice for 23 minutes over medium heat.  Add shrimp and allow to cook in risotto. 

At the end of the cooking time, when risotto is "al dente", stir in remaining butter, asparagus, peas, zest, salt and pepper.

Add cheese and parsley, serve immediately.

Friday, 28 February 2014 07:30

Cranberry Pear Spice Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powderd
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp. cloves, ground
3 tsp. cinnamon, ground
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups pears, peeled, cored and small diced
Powdered sugar as desired

Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and salt.  Reserve for later use.  In a kitchen stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time annd beat mixture until it is light and fluffy.  Add the flour mixture one-third at a time and beat on low speed until smooth.

Add the egg yolks and the vanilla to the batter and continue mixing until fully incorporated.  Fold in cranberries and pear pieces.  Pour batter into a buttered floured pan and smooth surface.  Place on the middle rack of a 325 degree oven and bake until done, about 35 minutes.

When cake is done, remove from oven and cool.  Allow cake to cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve as desired.


Caramel Sauce (makes 1 cup):
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream

Use a larger pan then you think you will need as the mixture will bubble up when the cream is added.  In a non-reactive saucepan, heat sugar, water and lemon juice.  Allow mixture to melt and as cooking, turn a golden caramel color.  Pull sugar mixture off the heat and add heavy cream.  Be careful as mixture will bubble violently.  Mix in cream then add mixture back to the stove and allow to thicken slightly.

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