Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Titina's Leftovers--Not a Turkey in Sight

Italian food is a great antidote for too much turkey. After that third helping of stuffing and cranberries, every one's ready for a change of pace, a change of flavors and something that comes together quickly.

This week in Titina's kitchen--a cooking class recipe that fits the bill perfectly. Spagetti Crespati is part of her private class menu, but pair it with a salad in your kitchen and you have a great light meal for a busy weekend. Other advantages? Spaghetti Crespati is easy to make. It is an omelet, after all. It will feed a crowd but you can cut the recipe down easily. And it uses leftovers--leftover spaghetti, if you have it. Otherwise, cook a little pasta and drain. Simple stuff.

Here's the recipe plus another holiday menu tip provided by Titina's health-conscious son, Raffaele. If you're sensitive to blood sugar spikes after big meals, new research suggests that adding vinegar to the meal could make a big difference. And the easiest way to add vinegar to a meal is a well dressed salad. Check out this interesting New York Times article at

And don't forget, Capri Flavors sells some lovely Italian vinegars that will make you give up your bottled supermarket dressings and never go back.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Titina's Spaghetti Crespati

1 lb. spaghetti, cooked and drained (or left over from previous day)
8 Tbsp. butter
6 eggs
1 cup mozzarella cheese, chopped
1/2 cup salami, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, or a sprinkle of dried parsley
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Serves 6; Preparation time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes; Level of Difficulty: Easy

If using dry spaghetti, cook in a large pot of lightly salted water until al dente, drain, and mix with 8 Tbsp. of butter.
In a bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add pasta, mozzarella, salami, parsley, salt, and pepper.

If you want to make one large frittata: In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and make sure that it is evenly distributed over the pan’s surface. Cook until the eggs are almost set. Cover the pan with a plate, flip the omelet onto the plate, then transfer back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.

To make individual-sized frittatas: In a small skillet, add a little oil. When the oil is warm, add one cup of the egg mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip the omelet onto a plate, then transfer back in the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Slide the omelet onto a platter and serve warm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Celebration Menu

Lobster classes are the most popular in Titina's kitchen. Maybe that's because lobster is always special, and many of Titina's students are celebrating big events. Birthdays, anniversaries, good grades, achievements at work--Titina's classes are very often given as gifts to mark important occasions. In fact, Monday night, every student in Titina's Kitchen was there thanks to someone else--something to think about with the holidays coming up.

The gift cards are generic. Students call for reservations. They can book any class that's not full. There's also a money saving class package (4 or 5 at a reduced rate) that makes a really memorable holiday gift. Phone (919-462-9255) or e-mail Capri Flavors for more about these special deals.

Fall classes are winding down--but the new menus are coming soon. Titina likes to pull them together from favorite recipes that reflect Italy's different regions. From the meats and risottos of the north to the tomatoes and seafood of the south, Italian food is intensely regional. And her classes reflect that.

Here's the rest of this week's menu from Parma, famous for it's hams and cheeses. Plus Titina's surprisingly quick and easy way with Lobster.

Parma Menu

Crespelle al Formaggio e Prosciutto (Cheese and Ham Crepes)

Aragosta al pomodori (Lobster in tomatoes)

Melenzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan)

Torta di Capri al limoncello (Capri Cake with Lemoncello)

Titina's Lobster in Tomatoes

¼ cup butter
1 onion, finely chopped
11 ounces tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed or 1 can pomodori Annalisa
1Tbsp. tomato paste
6 Lobster tails, shelled
Scant ½ cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
Serves: 6; Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking Time: 15 minutes;
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Mix the tomato paste with 2 tablespoons warm water, stir into the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process to a puree, then, return to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the lobster and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until the sauce has thickened. Arrange the lobster on a warm serving dish and spoon the sauce over them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Desert to Celebrate!

This week in Titina's kitchen at Capri Flavors--a desert with ancient roots. Pastiera Napoletana- a ricotta filled tart associated with Easter because it celebrates Spring and renewal.

Neapolitans love it. They've been eating it forever.

Many of the ingredients are symbolic--cooked wheat grain (spelt) and eggs for new life, plus the perfume of flowers.

The pastry is critical. It must be flaky, thin and have a lattice top. Lemon peel and candied citron flavor the filling. And there's also a touch of cinnamon--traditional in many Italian celebration deserts, it is one of the spices that made Venice richest city of it's day.

But Pastiera Napoletana is Southern Italian to the core.

Titina's husband Costanzo, who often joins the class for family-style dinner, believes it is the star of the Napoli menu. And that's saying a lot. Naples is a great food city--the birthplace of many Italian classics--pizza, pasta, Sophia Loren.

Here's the rest of this week's Napoli menu from Let's Cook With Titina.

Gnocchi di Patate (potato dumplings)

Braciole al Ragu’(Beef Rolls in Heavy Sauce)

Piselli al Prosciutto (Peas and Prosciutto)

Pastiera Napoletana (Italian Easter Cake)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Eat like an Italian

Great flavors come together in this week's cooking class menu--Ham and cheese, chicken and chestnuts, chocolate and almonds.

All of Chef Titina's students go home with a class recipe book and lots of hands-on instruction so they can prepare the dishes at home. But one of Titina's most important lessons is never written down. It's experienced. A Capri Flavors cooking class teaches students that very Italian art of coming together for a long, leisurely meal.

Her husband, Costanzo uses the Italian word, "conviviale" to describe the way classes bond around the table...feasting on the food and conversation, lingering for espresso and perhaps a tiny cup of Titina’s homemade Limoncello.

No one looks at the clock or hurries home.

It's something we should all do more of. A long relaxing meal is good for the digestion, Titina would say. Also good for the soul.

Here’s the rest of this week’s Menu from Titina and Costanzo’s home Island of Capri.

Limoncello (Lemon Liquor)

Bomboloni Capresi (Friters Filled with Mozzarella and Ham)
Pollo alle Castagne (Chicken with Chestnut Sauce)

Cavolfiori al Gratinati (Cauliflower Gratin)

Torta Caprese (Almond and Chocolate Cake)