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Make an Italian fall feast: Potato and zucchini chips, chicken cacciatore and more

Planning a big dinner for family or friends? The Scottos from the restaurant Fresco by Scotto are sharing simple and savory Italian appetizer and entree recipes that will have everyone reaching for seconds. They're also whipping up desserts and a delicious cocktail in the fourth hour.Potato and Zucchini chips with Gorgonzola Cheese Fresco by Scotto Restaurant4 servings6 large baking potatoes 3 l
Today

Planning a big dinner for family or friends? The Scottos from the restaurant Fresco by Scotto are sharing simple and savory Italian appetizer and entree recipes that will have everyone reaching for seconds. They're also whipping up desserts and a delicious cocktail in the fourth hour.

Potato and Zucchini chips with Gorgonzola Cheese 
Fresco by Scotto Restaurant
4 servings

  • 6 large baking potatoes 
  • 3 large zucchini
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour 
  • 1 quart canola oil for frying 
  • 11/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 
  • Kosher salt to taste 
  • Fryolator or large sauté pan 

1. Peel potatoes, cut into very thin slices and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Cut zucchini into thin slices, place in a large bowl and toss with flour. Drain potatoes and dry on paper towels. 

2. In a heavy sauté pan, heat Canola oil to 325°F. Deep fry potato and zucchini chips for about 2 to 3 minutes until lightly brown; drain, season with salt and let cool. 

3. Add potato and zucchini chips to a large baking pan. Spread out evenly to make just one layer. Top with gorgonzola cheese and bake in a 350°F oven until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Italian Rice Balls Prosciutto di Parma, Mozzarella and Pecorino Romano Cheese 
Fresco by Scotto Restaurant
Makes 8 to 12 rice balls

For Rice Mixture

  • 4 cups Arborio rice cooked al dente lightly salted boiling water, cool slightly 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese 
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, chopped 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed 
  • 1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs 
  • 3 cups olive oil 

For Meat Mixture 

  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 pound ground beef 
  • 1 (16 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed 

1. To make rice mixture: In a medium bowl, mix together the rice, 2 eggs, Romano cheese, prosciutto, oregano, and pepper; season with salt if needed. 

2. To make meat mixture: In a medium saucepan, sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Add tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside to cool. 

3. To assemble rice balls: Place 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture in your hand and insert a cube of mozzarella and a teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center. Roll into a ball and repeat to form the remaining rice balls. 

4. To cook rice balls: In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs to form an egg wash. Dip each rice ball in the egg wash and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Heat about 11/2-inches of olive oil to 325°F in a large heavy bottom skillet. Fry the rice balls about 2 minutes on all sides until golden brown. 

Beef Meatballs alla Toscana Parmesan, Provolone, Ricotta and Tomato Basil Puree
Fresco by Scotto Restaurant
Makes 12 meatballs, 3 ounces each

Meatballs 

  • 2 slices Tuscan bread
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 2 pounds ground chuck beef (80% beef, 20% fat) 
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped fine 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 murrcup small diced provolone cheese 
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • 1 cup ricotta to top meatballs 

1. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk, then remove bread and squeeze any excess liquid from the bread then tear into small pieces. 

2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, bread, onions, parsley, eggs, provolone, parmesan, and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is dry, add some water. Mix well and form into meatballs. 

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil, add the meatballs and fry over medium to high heat until brown, about 10 to 15 minutes, turning them regularly. Dry the meatballs on paper towels. Place tomato puree in center of plate and top the meatballs with ricotta. 

Tomato Basil Puree

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1 large (28 ounces) cans Italian Plum Tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes 
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving 

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes, butter, red pepper flakes, basil, and salt, and cook uncovered over low heat, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and smooth. 

How sweet it is! Treat yourself to classic Italian cocktails, desserts

Today

Chicken Cacciatore Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms
Fresco by Scotto Restaurant
6 servings

  • 1 whole 3-pound chicken, cut in 8 pieces 
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, washed, and cut in half 
  • 2 red and 1 green pepper, cleaned, seeds removed, and cut into ½-inch wide strips 
  • 1/2 cup red wine 
  • 3 cups tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped fine 
  • Salt and pepper 

1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces, leaving the bones in and skin on. 

2. Season the flour with salt and pepper to taste and lightly dust the chicken pieces. 

3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, pan sear the chicken on all sides in ¼ cup of the olive oil until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. 

4. In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the garlic and onions until light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

5. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft. Deglaze with the red wine. 

6. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for about 30 minutes, or until cooked. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Today

Halibut in Cartoccio Asparagus, Baby Carrots, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Cipollini Onions 
Fresco by Scotto Restaurant
4 portions; 6 to 8 ounces each 

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 bunches baby carrots, cleaned, and cut in half lengthwise 1/2 pound small cipollini onions, cut in half 
  • 1 pint package heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried oregano 
  • 2 whole bay leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed 
  • 2 bunches thin asparagus, cleaned, ends removed, stalks cut into 4 inch lengths 
  • 4 halibut filets, 6 to 8 ounce pieces each 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil for drizzle
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 lemon wedges 

1. Preheat oven to 400°. 

2. Cut parchment paper or aluminum foil into 4 (18 x 14 inch pieces) with a few extra inches along the margins. Fold in half to make the center, and then unfold. Season halibut filets with salt and pepper on both sides. Place asparagus on the bottom of each parchment then add the halibut, then add the garlic, butter, carrots, onions and tomatoes. Top with red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaves, and fennel seed; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and then fold the paper over to enclose everything and then fold edges over all around, making a double fold to seal. 

3. Place the packages on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until packages puff up. Transfer each package to a serving plate. 

4. To serve, quickly but being careful, slash each package open with a knife or sharp pair of scissors, pull parchment open side to side. Serve fish with fresh lemon.