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Video: Scottos cook Italian feast for fall

updated 9/20/2006 6:43:52 PM ET 2006-09-20T22:43:52

Recipe: Baked Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts with Prosciutto and Grilled Romaine

  • For Romaine
  • Preheat grill to highest setting
  • 3 heads of romaine hearts, cut into quarters lengthwise, lightly brushed with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
  • For Figs
  • 12 ripe seasonal figs
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola Cremificato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon honey (to drizzle on figs after they are baked)
  • 4 to 5 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma

1. Preheat oven to 500°F.

2. Remove stems from figs. Make a crosswise cut through almost the entire length of each fig, but leaving the bases intact. Place in an oven proof casserole dish or cookie sheet.

3. Gently open each fig like a flower large enough to hold a cube of cheese.

4. Roll cube of cheese in pine nuts and gently stuff each fig with cheese, then sprinkle each fig with fresh thyme.

5. Bake figs for 6 to 8 minutes, and at the same time, grill the romaine hearts over high heat until they wilt slightly but still have enough color.

6. Lay three to four slices of prosciutto on four separate plates. Place romaine hearts across center of each plate. Add three figs off center of each romaine and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with remaining pine nuts and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Pappardelle with Duck and Wild Mushroom Ragu

  • 1 pound boneless duck meat, breast and legs, skin on, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound mixed seasonal wild mushrooms (available in September: Puff Ball, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles; if unavailable, use combination of oyster, shiitake, and crimini mushrooms)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups good quality poultry stock
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 pound fresh or dry pappardelle pasta
  • Parmesan cheese for grating

1. In a 6 to 8 quart heavy bottomed casserole or Dutch Oven, heat olive oil over high heat until it is just smoking. Season duck chunks with salt and pepper, and sear pieces on all sides until browned. Remove the browned meat to a plate and set aside.

2. To the same pot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add all the mushrooms and repeat process, and then add the tomato paste. Stir thoroughly and cook until a rusty red brown color appears on bottom of pan, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add red wine, chicken stock and rosemary, then bring mixture to a boil. Return the browned duck meat to the pot, submerging it in liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until meat is tender, soft, almost falling apart; approximately 1 1/2 hours. It is very important not to boil.

3. After meat is done, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce with a small ladle. Continue to cook sauce over low heat until the consistency is thick and chunky. Adjust the seasoning.

4. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Add pappardelle noodles, and drain when they float to the surface; do not wash.

5. Add noodles to a large sauté pan and ladle ragu over noodles. Toss gently together to coat noodles with ragu. Divide among six bowls, grate parmesan over each bowl, and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Recipe: Torta Di Mele Della Nonna (Grandma's Apple Cake with Figs, Dates, Raisins and Pine Nuts)

  • For the Apple Mixture
  • 12-inch diameter round cake pan
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vin santo
  • For the Cake
  • 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup pine nuts

To make apple mixture:
Two hours before preparing cake, peel and slice apples thin, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Put sliced apples in a large bowl, add figs, dates, raisins, toasted pine nuts, and cinnamon; mix well. Stir in Vin Santo, then cover bowl and set aside.

To make cake:
Melt the butter in a bowl over some hot water, then let cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt and the sugar. Add butter and mix again. Add vanilla and grated lemon zest. Mix in milk and then the cake flour together with the baking powder.

To assemble:
Add apple mixture and mix until all ingredients have been incorporated, then pour mixture into a buttered, floured, round baking pan, 12-inches in diameter.

Sprinkle top of cake with the reserved pine nuts and bake in preheated oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes. The cake should separate from the sides of the pan when done.

Recipe: Marinated and Grilled Lamb Chops alla Romana (Braised Swiss Chard and Cannellini Beans)

  • For the Lamb Chops
  • Preheat grill to highest setting
  • 8 to 12 lamb rib chops
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 fresh lemons cut in half
  • For the Braising Greens
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 whole shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1 head swiss chard, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch wide ribbons, washed, and dried (Note: Escarole or any other hearty, heavy leaf green can be substituted. Use kale, dandelions, turnip tips or all four.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • Cannellini Al Aglio Olio
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, presoaked for 6 hours
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves

For The Lamb Chops
1. Lightly pound lamb chops to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper, chili flakes, and rosemary.
2. Grill very quickly over a hot fire or in a very hot cast iron skillet, turning once and grilling 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side for medium (pink color). When ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve immediately.

For The Braising Greens
1. Heat 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium to high heat. Add garlic, shallots, chili pepper flakes, and lightly brown. Add all greens and cook, mixing thoroughly until wilted, about 7 minutes. Continue to cook until tender.
2. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over mix, and serve immediately.

Cannellini Al Aglio Olio
1. Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium size skillet and sauté onions until lightly brown. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes more and set aside.
2. Rinse soaked beans in colander. Place beans in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Add cooked onions and garlic, wine, rosemary, and salt and continue to simmer for 45 minutes, adding water or wine as needed. The liquid should cook down nicely toward the end and should be slightly thick.
3. When beans are tender and cooked through, drain any excess liquid, stir in remaining extra virgin olive oil and re-season.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Halibut Saltimbocca alla Romana (Roman Style Halibut Steak)

  • 4 halibut filets, 6 ounces each, boned, and skinned
  • 4 whole sage leaves
  • 4 thin slices Speck (Smoked ham from Trentino, Italy)
  • all purpose flour for dusting
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 lemon wedges for garnish

1. Place 1 sage leaf and 1 slice of Speck on each halibut filet, and fold over to form a tight package. Make sure that Speck slice is long enough to wrap around and completely enclose filet so Speck will not become unraveled.

2. In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and extra virgin olive oil over high heat until there is a glaze. Season filets with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and shake off any excess flour. Add to hot pan and cook 4 minutes per side, making sure filets are golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Pour wine into the same pan and bring to a boil. Scrape pan with wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season sauce with salt and pepper.

4. Return filets to pan, lightly coat with sauce, and then transfer to dinner plates. Pour remaining sauce over filets, garnish with fresh lemon wedges, and serve.

Serving Size

Serves 4


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