Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Cooking Tip of the Week (June 3, 2015)

Posted by William Abruzzo on June 5, 2015 at 12:15 AM

Minced Prosciutto Adds Rich Flavor to Your Dish!



        Prosciutto adds an extra depth of wonderful pork flavor to any seafood, pasta or vegetable dish. The unexpected rich flavor compliments just about anything. Adding some diced prosciutto to sautéed vegetables, shellfish steamed in white wine or even a hearty meat ragu is very simple, and it will surely impress your family and dinner guests.


         You can purchase prosciutto sliced fresh from the deli counter or pre-packaged. The pre-packaged brands are sliced very thin, and the slices of prosciutto are separated with wax paper. The authentic Prosciutto di Parma and other imported Italian brands, such as San Daniele, tend to be very expensive. If you are adding prosciutto to a dish for flavoring, a good quality domestic prosciutto is all that you will need.


         If prosciutto is available at the deli counter, ask the attendant to slice it in a slab. Simply dice it up and throw it into the frying pan as you are sautéing aromatics or creating the sauce for your dish. Let the prosciutto saute with the aromatics or simmer in the sauce for a few minutes to extract its flavor. As prosciutto tends to be salty, be sure to season the dish with salt at the very end. If you are using pre-packaged thinly sliced prosciutto, remove all of the wax paper and lay the slices in a pile. Set the prosciutto in the freezer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the prosciutto is semi-frozen, it will be much easier to dice or mince.


Categories: Cooking Tips

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1 Comment

Reply Jack P.
11:54 AM on June 26, 2015 
I like this tip. Freezing it makes sense.

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I offer private cooking classes for up to six people. Cooking classes are held in my home, or if suitable, yours. I specialize in all aspects of Italian regional cuisine, including soups, vegetables, pasta, risotto, meat, seafood and desserts. I will design a cooking class around whatever interests you –whether it is a specific recipe you wish to learn or a skill such as pasta-making. For more details, please go to the "Catering/Cooking Classes" page or take a minute to become a member of my website and contact me via internal email at . 

Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

Just Picked From My Italian Vegetable Garden!

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My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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