Monday, October 19, 2020

Chef Michael Pirolo Spaghetti & Clams

 By: The Food Hunter

With at-home entertaining enduring as a crucial aspect of our social lives as we move into fall, the ever-reliable dinner party has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. This vermouth-enhanced pasta from Chef Michael Pirolo, is sure to impress friends and family at your next dinner party this autumn.

Spaghetti & Clams


4 oz fresh spaghetti (can be purchased through Macchialina) 

1.5 tablespoons diced leeks

1 garlic clove thinly sliced

½ shallot sliced

3 scallions whites, whole

3 scallion greens sliced

4 cherry tomatoes halved

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon zested

2 Tbsp toasted Panko Breadcrumbs

Celery leaves to garnish

¼ c Noilly Prat

12 ea clams

1 tsp chili flakes

¼ lemon, juiced


1) In a large sauté pan add the olive oil and leeks, garlic, scallion whites, chili flakes, & shallots and sauté on low heat until translucent

2) Add the clams and the Noilly Prat and cover until the clams open

3) Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water. Once cooked, drain and add to the sauté pan and cook together until the sauce has a nice consistency.  Finish with scallion greens and lemon juice.

4) Plate and top with lemon zest and toasted panko breadcrumbs.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Olive, Onion & Sage Farinata served with a Celery, Tomato & Feta Salad

 By: The Food Hunter

 Farinata is a typical Liguarian street food made with chickpea flour and often topped with herbs. This version features a delicious combination of black olives, sage and sauteed onions. And while the farinata is perfect served alone a refreshing salad pairs well with it also.

This makes a wonderful light lunch or appetizer course.


Olive, Onion & Sage Farinata

Makes 1

1/2 cup chick-pea flour
1 cups cold water
1  teaspoons salt
2  tablespoons olive oil
1/4 large white onion, thinly sliced
15 Niçoise olives, pitted & chopped
15 fresh sage leaves, chopped

At least 1 hour before making farinata, set a pizza stone on rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 550°F.  You can also make this on an outdoor grill using a pizza stone.

Whisk together chick-pea flour and water until smooth, then whisk in salt and 2 tablespoons of oil. Let stand at least 30 minutes at room temperature. 

Cook onion with salt to taste in 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes, then cool. 

Put a seasoned 10-inch cast-iron round griddle on pizza stone and heat 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add 1/2 tablespoon oil, tilting to coat evenly. Working quickly, stir batter and ladle evenly into pan (batter will sizzle and start to set almost immediately). 

Quickly scatter the onion, olives, and sage leaves over the batter and carefully return pan to pizza stone. If using an oven with a built-in broiler, bake 12 minutes, then turn oven setting to broil for 1 to 5 minutes. If using an oven with broiler underneath, bake 15 minutes, then transfer pan to broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Edges should be golden brown and crisp and top flecked with golden spots. 

Slide farinata onto a cutting board.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fresh Fig & Ricotta Cake

 By: The Food Hunter

The figs in the market right these days are beautiful. So, when a friend mentioned this Ina Garten fig cake I knew I was going to be making one soon. The cake is simple to put together and tastes fantastic. The only changes I made from the original was upping the amount of lemon zest and adding some orange zest. I also don't think it would benefit from being served with crème fraîche so I removed that from the recipe.

If figs are in season where you live I strongly urge you to give this recipe a go....I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

Fresh Fig & Ricotta Cake
(recipe: Barefoot Contessa)


  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room
  • temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large (or 12 medium) fresh figs, stems removed, quartered through the stem
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform pan, tapping out the excess flour.

Place the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on medium low, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing until smooth. Add the ricotta, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix until combined. Don’t worry; the ricotta will make it look lumpy.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the figs on the cake, cut sides up, in snug but not -overlapping concentric circles. Sprinkle with the turbindo sugar and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a baking rack for 15 to 20 minutes, transfer to a cake plate, and serve.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Steak & Fresh Fruit Salad

By: The Food Hunter

As the days become shorter and busier, my meals get increasingly easier. And for me there is nothing easier than throwing together a delicious protein-packed salad. A variety of fruits & veggies and good quality meat are all it takes to have a healthy meal on the table in minutes. 

I used cherries in the recipe below but this salad is delicious with mango too! I encourage you to use what is in season at your local market

Steak & Fresh Fruit Salad

One 10 ounce sirloin steak
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

3 small shallots, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

6 celery ribs, thinly sliced, plus leaves for garnish

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved (10 ounces)

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning, until browned on the outside and still rare inside. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice against the grain.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the ½ cup of olive oil with the lime juice, sliced shallots, jalapeño and garlic. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. 

In a large bowl, toss the steak with the sliced celery, cherries and half of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with celery leaves. Serve; pass more dressing at the table

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Nutella Filled Baci Cookies from Piedmont

 By: The Food Hunter

Baci di Dama, otherwise knows as Ladies Kisses, are cookies that you find in pasticcerias all over the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. They are typically made with hazelnut flour and filled with your favorite flavors. I chose to use Nutella for the sweet treat below.

The Piedmont region of Italy is also widely known for its Barolo. A traditional Italian meal in Piedmont would therefore feature some sort of hearty meat dish served with the 2016 Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG followed by these delicious cookies.



  Nutella Filled Baci Cookies from Piedmont

1 cup Bob's Red Mill hazelnut flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbs hazelnut liquor (optional)
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 325.  Line baking pans with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add hazelnut liquor if using.

Mix sugar with hazelnut flour. Fold egg whites into hazelnut flour/sugar mixture.

Using wet hands roll dough into small balls and place on prepared pan.  Press down slightly on the top.

Bake 20 minutes or until firm and golden on the outside. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack. Serve as is or spread Nutella on bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie.