Columbus Day Recipes

Columbus Day is traditionally associated to be Italian-American. Though he was possibly not an Italian, but Italians are proud of him. So on this day we are bringing you some Italian recipes for you. Just scroll down, and have a bit of Italiono on your kitchen. Don’t be limited to Columbus day, you can cook them in anytime you want, and they would taste just as great!



Make in any amount desired

This is an appetizer, to be used as a starter or a salad. You can tweak with the ingredients, using only the ones you feel are important. Remain flexible in its preparation, and use your creativity and personal touches. You can also substitute some of the ingredients for the ones you like more, or the ones that are more convenient to get. You can also buy some of them off the shelf.

Chunk tuna, in bite-size chunks
Asiago cheese, cut in thin strips
Provolone cheese, cut in thin strips
Italian fontina or fontinella cheese, cut in thin strips
Parmesano Reggiano cheese, shaved into curls
Anchovy filets, rinsed and patted dry
Prosciutto, sliced very thin (Italian ham)
Salami, sliced very thin
Copacola, sliced very thin (this is made from pork)
Chunk tuna, in bite-size chunks
Green olives
Ripe olives
Pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
Pickled cherry peppers
Asiago cheese, cut in thin strips
Provolone cheese, cut in thin strips
Italian fontina or fontinella cheese, cut in thin strips
Parmesano Reggiano cheese, shaved into curls
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Marinated mushrooms
Marinated artichokes
Marinated Red Peppers
Green olives
Ripe olives
Pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
Pickled cherry peppers
Sliced Hard-Cooked Eggs
Romaine lettuce leaves (to line platter)

Lay the lettuce leaves on a large platter to form a bed. Roll the meats into cigar or funnel shapes. Place all of the items on the platter in an attractive manner, either center to outside or side-by-side. I would use the marinated and pickled items in between the various meats and cheeses. Think of the colors as you separate. The Parmesan cheese curls can be randomly placed on top of the other items. The platter can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated until about 30 minutes before serving, then brought to room temperature.

Notes: If you prefer to marinade your own vegetables, a basic marinade starts with olive oil to which a little balsamic (or red wine) vinegar, oregano and/or basil, salt and pepper are added. Serve some good Italian bread sticks, crostini or bruschetta on the side.

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2 fresh pheasants (or Chicken)
5 slices pancetta or bacon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and black pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brandy

Wash and dry the pheasants, removing any lumps of fat from the cavity. Make the dressing by chopping the bacon, herbs and garlic. Mix well. Spoon the dressing into the cavity and truss the birds. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the birds on their sides on a rack and bake at 350 degrees, turning every 15 minutes. The breast should remain down to keep it from drying out. After 30 minutes add the wine and continue roasting and turning the birds for another 10 to 15 minutes. Increase the heat to 450 and brown the skin. Cook the pheasant for 5 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.

Cut the birds in half. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large frying pan, with any stuffing that falls out and the pan juices. Add the butter, and cook over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or till traces of pink are gone. Add the brandy and flame them. Serve at once spooning the pan juices and stuffing on top. Wild rice makes a fine accompaniment

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Flat pita bread makes a great substitute for pizza crusts, and they are perfect for individual pizzas. This recipe includes some of my favorite toppings, although I don't always use all four cheeses, especially when I don't have the ricotta salata on hand. You may use any toppings you prefer, or have several available so each person can choose what he or she likes. This is an excellent main dish for casual entertaining, because it is quick, easy and versatile, and everyone can get involved by assembling their own pizza. Make this recipe in any amount needed.

2 medium pita breads, about 8-inches each
Olive oil
4 large plum or other tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces freshly grated Romano cheese

Place a pizza stone or a large baking sheet in the oven on the lowest rack. Preheat oven to 475° F. Meanwhile, place the tomato slices on paper towels and salt lightly. Place a paper towel on top and let drain for about 30 minutes to remove some of the excess juice. Lightly brush the tops of the breads with olive oil. Top the pizza first with the tomato slices, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and parsley. Then layer with the cheeses in the order listed. Drizzle the top with a little more olive oil and add more pepper. Place on the hot stone or baking sheet and bake until the cheeses are melted and the crust is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: Flat pitas are best for this recipe because they are thinner than pocket pitas. You can use other types of flatbread, even flour tortillas. I prefer to use whole wheat pitas for their flavor and nutritional boost.

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Baked clams have become a standard in the Italian-American restaurant repertoire. So standard, in fact, that they have become something of a cliche and are usually represented by frozen, mass-produced little clods of garlic-flavored bread crumbs and rubber bands. Here is how the dish is properly done.

2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C. (250 ml) bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
1/4 C. (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. (60 ml) finely chopped parsley
3 Tbs. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
36 small clams such as cherrystones, shucked, 36 half shells reserved
2 Tbs. (30 ml) lemon juice
4-6 Tbs. (60-90 ml) butter, melted
Lemon wedges for garnish

Combine the garlic, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Coarsely chop the clams and combine with the lemon juice in a separate bowl. Place the clam shells on a baking sheet, using a thin bed of rock salt to stabilize them if desired, and divide the chopped clams between them. Top with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle with the butter. Cook under a preheated broiler until the topping is golden brown and the clams are bubbling, about 2 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 4 to 6.

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2 Slices Ciabatta bread
50 grams Borlotti beans
50 grams Lima Beans
50 grams Cannellini beans
50 grams Red onion, finely sliced
1 lemon Juice
60 ml Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Soak beans separately overnight. Drain well and boil in salted water until soft. Drain beans and allow to cool (note: do not use the soaking water to cook as this can cause stomach upset)

In a mixing bowl, combine beans, onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix together with a fork to lightly crush the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toast the ciabatta bread

Spread the bean mix evenly over both slices of toasted ciabatta bread. Garnish with torn basil

For something extra special; drizzle with truffle oil – it will give the dish an entirely new dimension

Serve immediately

Note: Canned beans may be used as an alternative, however ensure they are well drained and rinsed

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Serves 1

6 Whole tiger prawns peeled & de-veined
50 ml Pure olive oil
50 grams Butter
50 grams Grated Parmesan
250 ml Fish stock
2 pinch Saffron strands
2 tbsp Diced tomato
2 tbsp Green peas
200 grams Risotto base
Salt & pepper To taste

Heat oil in saucepan and sauté off prawns until they change colour

Add stock and saffron

Once stock is hot add risotto base and stir

When liquid is almost all absorbed taste the rice - it should be soft but with a little bite

Stir in butter cheese peas and tomato and season to taste

Serve immediately

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Ditalini (short pasta): 300 g. (18.60 oz.)
Mussels: 1 kg. (2.20 lbs.)
Boiled white beans: 150 g. (5.30 oz.)
Tomato pulp: 200 g. (7 oz.)
Garlic: 2 cloves
Extra-virgin olive oil: 4 table spoons
Minced parsley: 1 table spoon
Spicy chili: 1
Salt and pepper

Clean the mussels and make then open in a pan on the high flame. Shell them and filter half a glass of their water.

In a large pan brown the garlic cloves in the olive oil, add the chopped chili, the mussels, the tomato pulp and, after 5 minutes, the boiles beans.

Continue boiling on a low heat.

Boil the pasta al dente in 3 liters (3.20 qts.) of average salted water, drain and put it into the pan with the sauce. Add the filtered liquid of the the mussels, raise the fire and let it evaporate, always mixing.

When it's cooked, sprinkle with the minced parsley and the pepper.

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Macaroni: 350 g. (12.35 oz.)
Tomato pulp: 700 g. (24.70 oz.)
Mozzarella (milky buffalo cheese): 200 g. (7.00 oz.)
Sliced salami: 100 g. (3.50 oz.)
Sheep cheese: 80 g. (2.80 oz.)
Butter: 20 g. (0.70 oz.)
Tomatoes: 2
Little onion: 1
Bread crumbs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Slice the mozzarella.

Brown the little onion in some spoonfuls of olive oil, add the tomato pulp passed through the vegetable mill, adjust with salt and pepper; cook this sauce for about 30 minutes, mixing now and then.

Boil the macaroni in plentiful salt water and drain them; put them in a buttered heat-resistan pan, layer by layer, alternating pasta and salami slices and mozzarella slices and tomato sauce and sheep cheese.

End with a layer of pasta.

Put the previously half cut tomatoes, browned with little olive oil, on the surface.

Then sprinkle with some spoonfuls of bread crumbs, a little salt and a little oil and gratinate in the hoven at the suggested temperature.

Take out of the oven when the surface is browned.

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Spaghetti: 350 g. (12.35 oz.)
Lean lamb meat: 200 g. (7.05 oz.)
Chili pepper (capsicum): 2
Ripe tomatoes: 3
Garlic: 2 cloves
Laurel: some leaves
White dry wine: ½ glass
Extra-virgin olive oil: 4 table spoons
Salt and pepper

Strew the lamb meat, cut in small pieces, with salt and pepper minced at the moment.

Brown the unbroken garlic cloves and the leaves of laurel in a pan with the olive oil.

After few minutes, add the lamb meat, turn it round some times and brown it on the high fire. mixing now and then.

As soon as it becomes brown, pour the ½ glass of white wine, raise the fire and let it evaporate little by little.

After 10 minutes, add the tomatoes, peeled, minced and without seeds, and the peppers, without seeds and fibres and cut in strips.

Add some other salt and proceed cooking, on the very low fire, until the meat becomes tender; if necessary, add some boiling broth.

Boil the Pasta in plentiful salt water, drain underdone and season with the ragout.

Optionally, you can add some other minced pepper.

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A delicious pasta and chicken dish with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Use the dry packaged sun-dried tomatoes instead of the tomatoes packed in olive oil. The sauce can be kept, covered, for one day in the refrigerator; heat again over low heat. Try it with some crusty bread if desired.

INGREDIENTS 1 Tbs. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. sun-dried tomatoes
Chopped mushrooms
1 C. chicken broth, divided
1 C. heavy cream
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
8 oz. dry fettuccini pasta

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 3/4 C. of the chicken broth; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and sauté chicken. Press on chicken occasionally with a slotted spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes per side or until the meat feels springy and is no longer pink inside. Transfer to a board; cover and keep warm. Discard the fat from the skillet. In the same skillet, over medium heat, bring 1/4 C. chicken broth to a boil; stirring the pan juices. Reduce slightly and add to the cream sauce; stir in basil and adjust seasonings to taste. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, transfer to a bowl and toss with 3 to 4 Tbs. of the sauce. Cut each chicken breast into 2 to 3 diagonal slices. Reheat the sauce gently if needed. Transfer the pasta to serving plates; top with chicken and coat with the cream sauce; serve.

Makes 4 servings

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These are perfect for every holiday season. They are great for mailing and keep for weeks!

1/2 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. white sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
3 C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. chopped candied cherries
1/2 C. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large cookie sheet. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the almond extract. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in candied cherries and mini chocolate chips. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into two 10 inch long loaves. Place rolls 5 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to 3 inch width. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set and light golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange slices cut side down on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Turn, and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Cool completely. Melt white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate. Store in tightly covered container.

Yield: 3 dozen

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8 cups water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups whole milk
2 cups quick-cooking polenta or fine cornmeal
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups fresh ricotta
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small dice
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8x12-inch ovenproof baked casserole or 10-inch oval gratin baking dish

Preheat oven on broil setting.
Bring water, olive oil, and milk to a boil in 4-quart sauce pan. Add polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Lower temperature and cook while stirring until polenta is broad as porridge, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in ricotta equally through polenta then fold in mozzarella and fontina, cheeses will begin to melt. Flavor with salt and pepper.

Butter an 8x12-inch casserole or gratin dish equally. Pour boiling polenta into casserole and extend evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese evenly transversely top of polenta. Put in oven on broiler set on center rack and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until peak of polenta is golden brown. Take away from oven, set to the side for 5 to 7 minutes and then serve up.

Letting polenta respite will let cheese to melt evenly in casserole, which also needs to chill down because of it being so hot.

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Pesto originally comes from the region of Liguria where it is most often paired with trenette – a small, twisted type of pasta noodle.

Servings 4

1 lb trenette For pesto
1 oz basil
½ oz pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 ½ oz grated Pecorino cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place into a mortar (or into a modern mixer) well-washed basil leaves, finely chopped garlic and pine nuts; add the necessary oil bit by bit.

Once you have quite a creamy mixture, blend in cheese to bring everything together, and salt to taste. Cook the "linguine" until "al dente" in abundant salted boiling water, drain well and pour into a tureen.

Dress with pesto sauce and, should it be too thick, slightly dilute it with a glass of pasta cooking liquid. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve immediately.

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