Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garlic cream sauce over Tortellini


  • 4 cups of cheese Tortellini 
  • 1/2 finely sliced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 anchovies (filets)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 chili pepper with seeds (finely sliced round)
  • 2 cups of sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup of thick bite size lean ham pieces
  • 1 quart of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Parsley (chopped handful)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Boil water and cook the tortellini for about 7 minutes if frozen then drain. 
  2. Melt the butter on a large hot pan along with the anchovies.
  3. After about a minute add the onions, the garlic, and the chili pepper.
  4. Once the onions start to caramelize add the mushrooms, the ham, and a couple of Tblsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Break two eggs in the pan and break them apart mixing into the sauce.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  8. Add the heavy cream and the parmesan cheese.  You can add more cheese if you'd like.  I used about 1/2 cup. 
  9. Heat for another two minutes on medium heat stirring frequently.
  10. Add the tortellini to the sauce and cook another minute.
  11. Once you remove the pan from the heat add the parsley and serve in a bowl topped with fresh cut tomatoes and parmesan cheese.


This dish reminds me of my dad.  When we came to America he used to work in an Italian restaurant where he learned about a lot of dishes.  He used to make something similar to this all the time for us when we lived in NJ.  I modified it somewhat but the principle is still the same.  You can use any pasta you like.  I just happened to have tortellini and it worked out great!  The ham and mushrooms are also optional.  I just love the combination but you can use chicken breast or shrimp too!  Either way this is a crowd pleaser!  The amount I made is good for 6 people.  Definitely garnish it with fresh tomato because it helps break down the strong heavy sauce.  The chili pepper gave it a great kick and provided a surprise fusion taste to what seems to be an Italian dish.  Make it tonight!  You're gonna love it! Just remember to season your food!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Carne de porco à Alentejana"


  • 1.5 lb of pork stew meat (cubes)
  • 1.5 lb of shrimp
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups of white wine
  • 2 Tblsp Pepper Paste (massa de pimenta)
  • Flour, salt, pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6 large potatoes peeled and cut in cubes
  • Parsley
  • Vegetable pickles
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Vegetable/Canola Oil

 Preparation (yield 6 servings) 

  1.  Marinade the pork cubes (the smaller it is the softer it'll be but not too small) with the wine, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper, and pepper paste for at least 2 hours.
  2. Drain the marinade and save.
  3. In a large pan pour some Vegetable/Canola Oil to fry the drained pork.  Pour some flour on top in order to keep juices in the meat.
  4. After about 5 minutes frying add the marinade you set aside and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the meat becomes softer. 
  5. In a separate pan fry the potato cubes.
  6. Once pork is almost done add the shrimp.
  7. Taste for salt.
  8. Don't over cook the shrimp. Once it's pink it's done! 
  9. Add the parsley after you turn the heat off. 
  10. Let the fried potato cubes rest on some paper towel and then lay them out on a platter.  
  11. Pour the pork and shrimp over the potatoes and serve with some lime or lemon and some vegetable pickles. 


This was definitely one of my favorite dishes EVER!  I will be making this very often because it not only tastes amazingly good it is also very easy to prepare if you get deveined shrimp and pre cut pork meat.  Mirella and I were very happy with the results and we pigged out on it!  I had plenty left over for the next day but the potatoes were gone.  I made some rice and poured the meat over it!  That worked out great too.  This is a dish to impress your guests with your culinary skills.  The pepper paste is the main taste of the dish and it will not be Portuguese without it!  Just writing this post is making me crave it again! You can use any type of seafood like mussels, clams, and scallops.  I chose shrimp because I love shrimp!  Here's a video that my friend Sonia sent me to give me the idea to make it!  It's in Portuguese but you can see how she makes it. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Pão De Queijo" - Brazilian Cheese Bread


  • 2 cups of "polvilho doce" (Sweet Manioc Starch or Almidón Dulce de Yuca - AMAFIL is a good brand)
  • 1 cup of natural parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt 
  • 2 egg yokes
Preparation Yield 50 
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix it all together with your hands for about 20 minutes or until all ingredients are well combined.  
  2. Let dough rest for a few minutes (optional)
  3. Spray three cookie sheets with cooking spray or just spread butter around it so that the bread doesn't stick.
  4. With your hand grab the dough and circle it around your palms making the shape of a ball (about half a Tblsp worth although you can make it bigger if you'd like. Just be aware that the yield would be less)
  5. Preheat oven to 350
  6. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart so they don't join. 
  7. Bake the cheese bread for about 30 minutes.  When their bottoms are golden brown they are done.  Don't let it get too dark on the bottom or else they'll burn.


I will be making this quite often!  The smell is amazing and the taste is even better!  The suggestion is to make it a "pão de queijo" party!  Thanks for the idea Vera Silva!  You can set up platters with spreads and other fill-ins like bacon in sour cream, cold cuts, and preserves.  We ate ours with a great apricot preserve.  The combination is incredible!

For my next "pão de queijo" I will be experimenting using asiago cheese instead of parmesan and I'll also use mozzarella (usually that's the cheese used instead of monterey jack).  In the Brazilian culture and especially for people from my home state of Minas Gerais, "pão de queijo" is a must have at get togethers!  We just love it!  Kids love it too.  Summer begs for it almost every single day!  You can find the manioc flour in Brazilian grocery shops.  I also included the name in Spanish in case you need to go buy it in a Spanish grocery shop.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fish filet with yellow pepper garnish


  • 1 large fish filet (8oz) (any white fish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic
  • 1/4 yellow pepper (diced into small pieces)
  • 1 Tblsp of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tblsp chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & ground pepper
  • All purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Season the fish filet with salt and pepper
  2. Cut into 4 smaller pieces (2oz)
  3. Cover filet pieces with all purpose flour
  4. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan
  5. Add fish to the oil and cook on high about 2 minutes on each side
  6. Remove from pan and set aside on serving plate
  7. Melt the butter on the same pan on high heat
  8. Add garlic and diced yellow pepper and let cook for about 2-3 minutes
  9. Season with salt and black pepper, squeeze the lime, and add the basil
  10. Add mustard and stir to combine all ingredients
  11. While hot pour with a spoon the pepper and mustard garnish over the filet pieces

This garnish came out great!  Mirella loves mustard on food so she really liked this dish.  I served it with some good tortellini in an olive oil garlic tomatoes and broccoli mix.  It tasted great with Romano cheese on top!  You can serve it with some white rice and it would allow the fish to be more of the "show" on your plate.  I might do that next time!  

If you want to this garnish can also be used on top of chicken breast!  I might also try that next time!  Prepare the chicken breast the same way I described the fish preparation.  The reason the chicken is soft and moist on the inside and absorbs the garnish or sauce is because of the coating of flour on it!  Try it!  Guaranteed success!  Easy quick recipe!  Just remember to chop your pepper really small.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Italian Sausage Sandwiches

  • 5 Italian sausages (mild or hot)
  • 4 large Italian hard crust hoagies
  • 2 bell peppers (red and orange. Round slices)
  • 1 large red onion (thin round slices)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tblsp butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Crushed red pepper

  1. Place sausages in a large pan and fill it up with water to just about cover the sausages. Poke the sausages with a fork a little bit.  Bring water to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. This will cook the sausages on the inside without burning the casing.
  2. In a separate frying pan add some olive oil and sautee the onion, the peppers, and the garlic.Add more olive oil on top of vegetables for more taste. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Throw out the water and return pan to stove to brown the sausage casings (about 3 to 5 minutes)
  4. Remove the sausages and cut them into diagonal pieces for easy assembly on the bread. 
  5. Return to the pan and add the vegetables from the other pan.  Mix and cook for about a minute or two to blend all the tastes.
  6. Cut the hoagies length wise and place in the oven to broil for about 2 minutes.  
  7. While the bread is broiling melt the butter with a little bit more olive oil and the other minced garlic clove.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven and brush the melted butter on each hoagie so that it soaks up all that good garlic butter taste.
  9. With a tong place the sausage and the vegetables inside each hoagie.  

I had the pleasure of showing Austin, our friend, how to make this dish.  She helped me from the start and I had a great time putting it together and eating it!  Cooking the sausages in the water first is great because you don't get that burned smoky smell around the house that you get when you cook it straight on the pan.  They were perfectly cooked on the inside and browned on the outside.  Slicing them up into smaller diagonal pieces made it easier to eat too.  I served it with some roasted garlic golden potatoes and my sister made us a lettuce and tomato salad with some red wine vinaigrette!  All in all we had a good time and enjoyed some good food!  Oh, PLEASE don't use regular soft white bread for this!  Hard crust italian bread is the way to go! 

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