Blog Posts by Chow Ciao

  • The Perfect Steak


    Fabio gives away the secret on how to choose and cook the perfect steak.

    Tips:

    • The right cooking technique will improve any piece of meat -- leaner meats are best for roasting or grilling, fattier meat are good for braising and broiling.
    • Marbling determines how juicy your steak will be.
    • Always let the steak reach room temperature before cooking.
    • Searing 101: sear at a high heat immediately to crisp the outside of the steak. Turn the heat lower once the second side has seared to maintain the melt-in-your mouth pink on the inside.
    • Using a fresh herb brush to brush oil on to the steak will infuse the steak with amazing fresh flavors.

    The perfect steak

    THE PERFECT STEAK

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields 2 servings

    Ingredients:

    20 oz. Bone-in rib eye

    Pepper to taste

    2 Tbsp. plus 2-4 Tbsp. EVOO

    3 cloves garlic

    1 sprig rosemary

    1 sprig thyme

    Salt to taste

    1 Tbsp. butter

    Method:

    Season the steak with pepper on both sides.

    Heat skillet over medium high heat until very hot.

    Add 2 Tbsp. EVOO to the pan and

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  • Potatoes 101: Perfect Gnocchi


    Fabio explains potatoes 101 and prepares a super simple pasta dish starring the creamy and starchy stuff.

    Tips:

    • Pick a potato based on its shape. Oval are best for baking and smashing, round for roasting and boiling, and longer ones for frying.
    • Always cook potatoes starting from cold water. This will heat them through and prevent them from crumbling.
    • Gnocchi dumplings are served as often as pasta in Italy and for good reason. It's super easy to make restaurant-quality gnocchi at home.
    • The trick to perfect gnocchi is to start with a cold potato. Mix dry ingredients first, then add the potato slowly. Fabio's perfect ratio of ingredients is 3 pounds of potatoes to 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of ground nutmeg.

    Gnocchi

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 4 servings

    Ingredients:

    3 lbs. russet potatoes, baked

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup Parmesan cheese

    1 ½ tsp. nutmeg

    salt and pepper to taste

    Method:

    Bake the potatoes the night before and let them sit in the

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  • Drunken Spaghetti


    Fabio's mother helps him set the mood and the menu for a romantic dinner starring her stunning drunken red spaghetti.

    Tips:

    • To make a special meal, a bottle of opened red wine is worth splurging on to use as the liquid to boil pasta. Reserve some of the starchy liquid from the boiling process to use in your final sauce.
    • To measure portions for pasta, you can use coins (clean them first!) A child's serving is roughly the size of a dime. A hungry adult is usually about two nickels or a quarter's worth.
    • Ricotta, pancetta and fresh walnuts make this an Italian masterpiece dish, that's super easy to make!
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  • Italian Mac and Cheese


    Episode description: Fabio gives secrets on how to make a perfect cheese sauce and breadcrumb topping then combines them with pasta for his Italian mac and cheese, the ultimate comfort food.

    Tips:

    • Softer cheeses are better than hard ones for mac and cheese.
    • Make a cream bath to melt the cheeses together first by placing a bowl of cream over a pot of boiling water. This will ensure you have a great consistency to your mac and cheese and helps avoid the mistake of burning your cheese sauce.
    • Always use cheese and pasta in equal amount for a perfect cheesy balance. Add and reduce the cheese to the pasta to intensify the creamy, cheesy flavor.
    • Don't use boring breadcrumbs! Blending fresh herbs and lemon zest in your breadcrumbs helps deepen their flavor. Use the breadcrumbs to top the mac and cheese and bake off in the oven as a perfect finish to your dish.

    ITALIAN MAC AND CHEESE

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 4 large servings

    Ingredients:

    1 lb. dry macaroni pasta

    ½ cup grated Parmesan

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  • Italian Wedding Soup


    Fabio reveals chef secrets to get restaurant flavor in soups and cooks up a batch of his own decadent, Italian wedding soup for easy freezing. Tips:

    • Batch cooking is perfect if you know you want to be lazy in the future! Put in a little time now to have an easy, quick meal or date night later.
    • Soups can be hearty, sexy and very easy to make. All you really need are ingredients.
    • Caramelizing your veggies in olive oil before adding chicken stock will really deepen the flavors in your soup. Fabio recommends carrots, celery and onions as a great three-veggie base.
    • Parmesan in your meatballs helps deepen Italian flavors in the soup.

    Italian wedding soup

    ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields 6-8 servings of soup

    Ingredients:

    1 lb. ground beef (80/20)

    2 eggs

    1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

    3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

    3 quarts chicken broth

    3 cups fresh baby spinach

    1 cup carrots, diced

    1 cup yellow onion, diced

    1 cup celery, diced

    2 cups orzo pasta

    ½ cup (to taste) extra virgin olive oil

    Salt

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  • Chicken Piccata with Marsala Sauce


    Chicken cutlets are the word, as Fabio takes on unexpected twists with the bird and comes up with his own spectacular and unique recipe, Chicken Piccata with Marsala Sauce.

    Tips:

    • Chicken cutlets don't have to be a boring staple for dinner! It's very easy to imbue them with deep flavor and make a spectacular dish with a Marsala sauce.
    • Pounding the cutlets to the same thickness is an easy way to make them cook evenly. Covering chicken cutlets in saran wrap is a mess-proof and easy way to pound them.
    • Flouring the chicken breasts and pan-frying first in olive oil is the best way to start chicken cutlets.
    • Marsala is a very sweet wine and brings a lot of flavor to the dish, so you don't need a lot of extra seasoning.

    Chicken marsala

    CHICKEN PICCATA WITH MARSALA SAUCE

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 2 servings

    Ingredients:

    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    3 garlic cloves, smashed

    1 cup sliced oyster or shitake

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  • The Perfect Hamburger


    Fabio confronts the recipe that sank him on the popular series, Top Chef Masters and dishes about why he lost. The result? He makes the most delicious hamburger ever now for you! You win!

    Tips:

    • Ground beef and short ribs together will deepen the flavor in your burger.
    • DON'T OVERSEASON YOUR BURGER! The only seasoning you need is salt and pepper.
    • Grill at a high heat and let sear on each side. Don't touch the burger once you have it on the grill. Perfect burgers should be simple and left alone.
    • Make your burger in this way and you will have a better chance than Fabio at winning Top Chef!

    The perfect hamburger
    THE PERFECT HAMBURGER
    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 3 burgers

    Ingredients:

    1 lb. ground beef
    8 oz. short rib meat, ground
    3 potato burger buns
    3 cheddar cheese slices
    1 large tomato
    1 large red onion
    1 head butter lettuce
    3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
    3 Tbsp. ketchup
    salt and pepper to taste

    Method:

    In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and ground short rib, mix well.

    Form three 8 oz. burgers

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  • Slow-Cooked Short Ribs


    Fabio reveals secrets to slow cooking and braises dark beer and cracked pepper short ribs. His mouth-watering entree cooks for hours unsupervised, a perfect recipe for the lazy chef!

    Tips:

    • When slow cooking, always use meats that have some fat or will be a dry disaster.
    • Always brown the meat first to seal the juice in. This caramelization is key to making flavor-packed short ribs!
    • Don't place cold meat in the slow cooker, use it to keep food warm.
    • Dark beer and cracked pepper bring out the caramels and deep flavors in short ribs.
    • Reducing beef stock helps concentrate the flavors in your slow cooker. A little goes a long way.

    Short ribs

    Dark Beer and Pepper Short Ribs

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 3-4 servings

    Ingredients:

    1 ½ pounds boneless beef short ribs

    1 tsp. kosher salt

    2 tsp. ground black pepper

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

    1 Tbsp. butter

    2 ea. onions, sliced

    5 ea. garlic cloves, smashed with a knife

    6 fl. oz (about ½ of one bottle or can) stout beer

    1

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  • The Perfect Late-Night Sandwich


    Hungry and think there is nothing to eat? No way! Fabio whips up a super delicious sandwich that's super easy to make and gives up foolproof tips to make all your sandwiches better.

    Tips:

    • Sandwiches are the perfect snack: fast, quick and delicious and you can make them out of pretty much anything you find in your fridge. Any toppings will work, but egg, cheese and cold cuts are always a slam dunk.
    • Brush your bread with olive oil and use a toaster for perfect crispy results.
    • Cheese makes the sandwich. Use thinly sliced, easily melted cheese like cheddar, provolone, Swiss or Fontina to melt well on your sandwich. Cheese is a great first layer to go first against the bread.
    • When adding the cold cut, rip it up and help it give your sandwich texture instead of just laying it flat on the bread.
    • Add an egg to take any sandwich over the top.

    Late night sandwich

    PERFECT LATE-NIGHT SANDWICH

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields one sandwich

    Ingredients:

    2 slices ciabatta bread or whatever you have in your house

    3-4

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  • New Year's Eve on a Budget: Ricotta Fritters and Prosecco Cocktail


    Fabio resolves to have fantastic party totally inexpensively. The secret? It's the best Italian dessert you've not had yet! Plus, how to amp up a cheap bottle of sparkling wine.

    Tips:

    • You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a quality celebration at New Years. A few key ingredients can give you a dessert and a drink for less than $20.
    • Fried ricotta and chocolate is a fantastic tasting, super easy dessert. In minutes you can have fritters to rival any donut!
    • There are many sparkling wines besides Champagne to choose. Prosecco is Italy's contribution. Cava from Spain is also a great option.
    • Fruit purees make less expensive wines more forgiving to taste because you flavor them with fresh fruit.

    RICOTTA CHOCOLATE CHIP FRITTERS

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields about 15 fritters

    Ingredients:

    1 pound ricotta cheese

    ½ cup mini chocolate chips

    4 tbsp. all-purpose flour

    1 egg, beaten

    2 quarts light olive oil

    Sugar for dusting

    Method:

    Mix the ricotta cheese, mini chocolate chips, flour,

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