1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and the garlic together in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the other vegetables and stir well. Add 1/4 cup water and cover. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with some of the salt and pepper.
Season the tilapia with the rest of the salt and pepper. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice, and then the remaining tablespoon of oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven. Heap the vegetable mixture over the fish and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the fish looks opaque when flaked with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Note: Use any combination of fresh veggies that appeals to you or that's left in your refrigerator, Giudice suggests.
CALABRIAN PORK CHOPS WITH PEPPERS AND POTATOES (S)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 pounds medium red potatoes, cut lengthwise into sixths
6 hot or sweet fresh cherry peppers, tops removed, seeded and quartered
In a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of oil with the vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Mix in the pork and let stand another 15 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, letting the excess marinade drip back into the bowl. In batches, add the pork to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until the pork is browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the browned pork to a plate. Leave any remaining fat in the skillet.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the potatoes and fresh peppers and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the potatoes are almost tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Return the pork to the skillet; cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Note: The Calabria region of Italy is known for spicy dishes, but you can adjust the ratio of sweet to hot peppers to suite your taste. Jarred, pickled cherry peppers can be substituted for fresh. They don't need cooking; add to the potatoes with the browned pork.
HOLY CANNOLI CUPCAKES
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ricotta impastata
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1-2/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips for decoration (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Put paper liners in a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
To make the cupcakes: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter, yogurt, egg and yolks, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes (set a timer), occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Divide the batter evenly among the cups. Bake until the cupcakes are golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
To make the cannoli cream: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, confectioner's sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Stir in the 1/4-cup mini chocolate chips. Transfer to a quart-sized resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, snip off 1/2-inch from a closed corner of the bag. You will use the plastic bag as a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes.
Using a small knife, cut a deep, inverted cone out of the center of each cupcake. Set cones aside. Use the plastic bag to fill the cupcakes with the cream. Use a knife to smooth the top of the filling flush with the cupcake.
To make the cocoa whipped cream: In a chilled medium bowl, combine the heavy cream, confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
Snip 1/2-inch from a closed corner of a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Insert a large star tip (such as Ateco 825) in the bag and poke it through the snipped end. Transfer the cocoa cream to the bag. Pipe swirls of cocoa whipped cream over each cupcake. Sprinkle each with about a teaspoon of mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to serve. Makes 12 cupcakes.