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Winter comfort recipes

The Scott family, Marion, John, Rosanna, Anthony and Elaina, from "Fresco by Scotto," share delicious Italian food that sticks to your ribs.
/ Source: Weekend Today

The Scotto family, Marion, John, Rosanna, Anthony and Elaina, from "Fresco by Scotto," share delicious Italian food that sticks to your ribs.

Spiedini alla Romano (serves 6)Ingredients1 loaf of good quality sliced Pullman Bread Note: Do not use Wonderbread or soft, sliced, ordinary white bread. Use a firm, fresh loaf of bread with a dense quality, preferably from a neighborhood bakery. 2 pound good quality supermarket fresh mozzarella, such as, Pollo or Sorento brand, can be used for this recipe; store brand is much drier than fresh. 1 pack 5-inch wooden skewers 1 cup All Purpose Flour 4 eggs for egg wash 2 cups non seasoned dry bread crumbs 1 quart extra virgin olive oil

Anchovy Sauce8 pieces Anchovy filet 1 clove fresh garlic crushed ¾ cup unsalted butter ¼ cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Procedure1. Trim crusts and ends of bread. Cut bread into thirds that are the size of sticks of butter. 2. Cut mozzarella the same size as the bread. Cut each piece of cheese ½-inch thick. 3. Place cheese on slice of bread and make a double cheese sandwich. 4. Gently thread bread and cheese sandwiches on skewers and flour on both sides, i.e., place in egg wash and then in bread crumbs. 5. Sauté on both sides until golden brown. 6. Place on a plate and spoon on Anchovy sauce.

Penne Gratin (serves 6)Ingredients1 pound uncooked penne pasta1 cup diced prosciutto3 tablespoons olive oil½ cup unsalted butter1 cup heavy cream4½ cups grated parmesan cheese½ cup fontina cheese, diced½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, dicedpepper

Procedure1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, or 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and keep warm. 2. In a sauté pan over low heat, sauté the prosciutto in the olive oil for about 3 minutes, or until prosciutto is wilted. 3. Preheat the broiler. 4. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the prosciutto, heavy cream, 3½ cups of the Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of pepper. 5. Bring the sauce to a light boil, add the pasta, toss, and transfer the pasta into a shallow baking dish. 6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese on top and broil for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Red Snapper Al Forno with Potatoes, Tomatoes and Olives (serves 4)Ingredients2 pounds red snapper filets, deboned, skin on 2 pounds yukon gold or waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices 1 can excellent quality whole Italian plum tomatoes strained of juice and tomatoes cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed 3 garlic cloves, sliced ¼ cup pitted assorted Italian olives, rough chopped ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more to brush fish 3 shallots, thinly sliced 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed ½ cup dry white wine 1 large oven proof ceramic or earthenware casserole or large steel sauté pan

Procedure1. Preheat oven to 400°. 2. Brush bottom of casserole with extra virgin olive oil. 3. Layer potato slices and tomatoes in bottom of casserole. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Place casserole uncovered in preheated oven for 15 minutes. 5. After 15 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle potatoes and tomatoes with shallots, garlic and olives. 6. Place snapper filets on top of potatoes and sprinkle fish evenly with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. 7. Add wine to casserole and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until fish is done. 8. Drizzle fish with excellent quality extra virgin olive oil and serve guests fish directly from casserole. Serve with lemon wedges.

Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Creamy Polenta (serves 4)Ingredients½ cup olive oil6 pounds short ribs of beef, cut 2 inches widefreshly ground black pepper to taste1 cup prosciutto, diced1½ cups finely grated carrots2 cups finely grated onion1 cup finely grated fennel (1 trimmed bulb)¼ cup chopped garlic1 tablespoon grated lemon zest1 tablespoon grated orange zest1½ cups tomato puree1 cup red wine1 cup beef stock1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakessalt and pepper to taste

Procedure1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and put about a third of them into the skillet. Sear them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Until browned, and transfer to a roasting pan. Sear the remaining ribs in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan with the ribs. 2. Reduce the heat to low, add the prosciutto to the same skillet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the fat is rendered. Carefully pour off the fat and discard, keeping the prosciutto in the skillet.3. Add the carrots, onion, fennel, and garlic and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Add the lemon and orange zest, tomato puree, wine, stock, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt  if necessary and continue to cook for about 5 minutes longer. 4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.5. Pour the sauce over the ribs in the roasting pan, making sure they are nearly covered. If necessary, add more stock or water so that the liquid comes three-quarters of the way up the sides of the ribs. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1½ hours. Remove the foil and bake for about 1 hour longer, until the ribs are very tender. 6. Transfer the ribs to a warm serving platter. Pour the sauce remaining in the pan into a saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until reduced to about 3 cups. Serve the ribs with the sauce.

Polenta3 cups milk1 cup water1 cup instant polenta½ cup mascarpone

1. To make the polenta, heat the milk and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. While it is simmering, slowly add the polenta. Stir constantly for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. 2. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone. 3. Plate polenta and top with braised shortribs. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream
Cheese Frosting (serves 12) Ingredients 8 eggs 3¾ cups granulated sugar 1½ cups vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups All Purpose Flour 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder 4 cups grated carrots

Whip eggs and sugar on high speed until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Gradually add oil with mixer running. Sift together dry ingredients, add to egg mixture. Fold in carrots. Pour into 2 (10-inch) cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Frosting 1 pound white chocolate, melted and cooled 1 pound powdered sugar 1 cup butter 2 cups cream cheese 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream butter and sugar. Add cream cheese a little at a time. Mix in vanilla and white chocolate.