Friday, February 6, 2009

Recipes of the week

What's better than a big bowl of hot soup and delicious Italian food on a cold day? And seeing that it is actually cold in LA too (not to mention the rest of the country) I thought this series of warm and comforting recipes were perfect for us Culturistas :)

Onion Soup with Fontina and Thyme
[courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis]


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 slices ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 4 ounces sliced fontina cheese
  • Special equipment: 4 (1 1/2-cup) ovenproof ramekins


In a medium, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and broth. Simmer, uncovered, until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes.

Divide the soup between the 4 ovenproof ramekins. Divide the cubed bread among the ramekins. Top each with slices of fontina cheese. Place under the broiler, until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pasta Bolognese

[Courtesy of Michal Chiarello of Food Network Magazine]


  • 4 to 6 dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) ground veal
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) ground pork
  • Salt (preferably gray sea salt) and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup veal stock (or quality chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce or tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


Soak the mushrooms: Place the porcini in warm water; soak for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, then chop the porcini. Start a large pot of salted water boiling for your pasta.

Saute the onions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently to "sweat," about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about a minute, or until the garlic is lightly browned.

Add the veal and pork: Stir in the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms; cook for about 4 minutes to caramelize the meat. Meanwhile, boil the pasta.

Finish the sauce: Add the wine and 2 tablespoons porcini juice; cook for 1 minute to evaporate. Add the stock and parsley; cook for 2 minutes. Add the marinara and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water; simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta and the parmesan. Garnish with more cheese.

Chocolate Macchiato
[Courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis]


  • 4 shots espresso (or 1 1/3 cups regular coffee)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chocolate liqueur
  • Whipped cream, recipe follows
  • Cocoa powder, for sprinkling


Pour each shot of espresso into a mug. To each mug, add 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the chocolate liqueur. Top each mug with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Whipped Cream: (you can always buy store bought whipped cream to make your life easier)

1/2 pint heavy cream, chilled

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoons powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, whip the cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and the sugar and continue to beat until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream.

Have a great weekend and stay warm :)

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