Blog Posts by Chow Ciao

  • Finger Foods: Fabio's Fried Ravioli

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    When serving guests with picky palates, you can never go wrong with Fried Ravioli. Chef Fabio shares some easy tricks to make a cheesy treat perfect for kids of all ages.

    Culinary tips:
    --If you don't want to make Fabio's fresh pasta from scratch, fried ravioli are easy and delicious if you use fresh wonton wrappers!
    --Just Right: Don't over-stuff your ravioli, or they will be soggy. Don't under-stuff, or they will be dry inside.
    --Cookie cutters are a great tool for making ravioli with the kids!
    --Set up your breading station ahead of time to make the process quick and easy.
    --Use fine breadcrumbs for the best texture! Panko crumbs won't adhere as well, and the finer breadcrumbs help protect the pasta from the oil.
    --Test the oil for the perfect temperature with a wooden spoon: if it bubbles around the spoon, the oil is ready!
    --Don't use extra virgin olive oil for deep frying; the smoke point is too low and the

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  • Celebrate! Fabio's Lobster Tails with Italian-Spiced Butter

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    In honor of the 100th episode of Chow Ciao!, Chef Fabio prepares an elegant steamed lobster tail with a simple Italian twist: spiced butter that's good on anything from beef to vegetables. With herbs infusing both the steam and the butter, this easy recipe is bursting with flavor. Featuring special guest, the legendary Frankie Avalon.

    Culinary Tips:
    --Fresh or Frozen? Many markets sell frozen lobster tails. Be sure to defrost your tails in the refrigerator for the most tenderness.
    --Be careful not to overcook your lobster, or it will get rubbery and lose its mild, sweet flavor.
    --Ask your butcher to "piggyback" your lobster tails so that the meat rests on the tail shell. This way, the meat is elevated above the boiling water. To do it yourself, simply cut the top of the shell lengthwise, then gently lift the meat out until it rests on top of it.
    --Nothing like the real thing: Margarine is not recommended for this

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  • Fabio's Award-Winning Beef Chili

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    When it comes to chili, everyone's got an opinion on what makes the best "bowl of red," but no two recipes are the same. Check out Chef Fabio's Italian twist on this one-pot wonder! Featuring special guest Nikki Boyer.

    Culinary Tips:
    --Use a large, heavy pot when making chili: choose one that holds heat well, like cast-iron, and is big enough to hold a few gallons of the stuff. Check out this quick tip to make sure your pot is ready to work!

    --Sneaky veggies: oven-roasting fresh jalapeño and bell peppers is a great way to add veggies and flavor to your chili. Bonus: it's quick and easy!
    --Spice it up: 1/4 cup of chili powder is no typo…as they say in Texas, if you think there's enough chili powder, it probably needs more.
    ---Bring your beef to room temperature to optimize browning and avoid steaming your meat, which can make things tougher than they should be.
    --Dark beer adds more complexity and sweetness to chili than Read More »from Fabio's Award-Winning Beef Chili
  • Easy Italian Appetizer: Fabio's Bruschetta with Cherry Tomato Tapenade

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    With dinner party guests set to arrive in just 20 minutes, Chef Fabio whips up a flavorful and impressive ten-minute bruschetta appetizer with time to spare.

    Culinary Tips:
    --Fun Fact: While this appetizer is often called bruschetta, the name actually refers to the toasted bread, while the toppings can vary.
    --Cherry tomatoes are often one of the most abundant harvests from the home garden. Use this recipe to help use up some of your biggest crop!
    --While almost any tomato will work for this recipe, cherry tomatoes are not only the easiest on your food processor; they're also the sweetest, with plenty of juice to help keep your tapenade smooth and moist.
    --Kalamata olives are a fruity, meaty olive, which makes them perfect for this recipe: they can stand up to the food processor and still retain their texture, unlike some other olives. Just make sure you get the ones without pits!
    --Rub your bread with Fabio's Easy

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  • Movie-Night Done Right: Fabio's Gourmet Popcorn

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    Elevate your movie night with Chef Fabio's simple take on flavored popcorn! Layer seasoning at every step of the process for optimum zing! Skip the microwave and the chemicals that come with it!

    Culinary Tips:
    --While the corn itself is high in dietary fiber and low in fat, microwave popcorn is full of chemicals and artificial flavors. Buy loose kernels to save money and keep things naturally nutritious.
    --Pancetta is an Italian cured pork, similar to bacon. Rendering the pancetta fat adds flavor to your popping oil.
    --Use melted butter to help the seasoning stick to the popcorn. Season in small batches to avoid over-buttering and creating soggy kernels.
    --Leftover seasoning? Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for another day!
    Fabio's Gourmet Popcorn is perfect for Movie Night!

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yield: 1 big bowl to share

    1/2 cup popcorn kernels
    4 oz. pancetta, diced
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    3 tbsp. butter, melted
    ½ c. grated Parmesan
    2 Tbsp. dried

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  • Date Night: Fabio's Romantic Italian Meal

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    Save some money and bring the romance home with this easy to make, decadent meal! Utilizing a basic double-boiler method, Chef Fabio shares two indulgent recipes that combine to create a perfect romantic dinner for two: his pillowy gnocchi with three cheeses and Italian sausage, and handmade chocolate-covered strawberries!

    Culinary tips:
    --A double-boiler or bain-Marie is the perfect tool for easy melting of delicate ingredients like cheese or chocolate. The indirect heat keeps things moving at a slow pace, and helps you avoid overheating or scorching the bottom of the pan. Don't have a double-boiler? Just use a saucepan with a heat-safe bowl that fits over the top of the pan, but is too big to touch the bottom of it.
    --Dressing up familiar recipes, such as Fabio's Gnocchi, in new sauces is an easy way to expand your repertoire without too much difficulty. No time to make gnocchi? This sauce is also perfect for almost any kind of pasta!

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  • Behind the Stove: A Tribute to Joe Morabito

    Chow Ciao! with Fabio Viviani loves its fans, and we value the cooking community that has grown around our show. As such, we were devastated by the loss of one of our most enthusiastic and well-loved fans, LEP JOE MORABITO, who often cooked Chef Fabio's recipes for the troops while stationed in Afghanistan.
    Joe Morabito, 1958-2013
    Joe first posted to the Chow Ciao! Facebook page in August of 2012, when he shared a photo of 700 meatballs he'd made on his base in Afghanistan. We were so touched, and so impressed, that we introduced Joe to the rest of the Facebook community. When we spoke to Joe, we learned that he was a former police officer and restaurateur, and that he loved to feed people. Over the last 10 months, Joe became a friend to many of his fellow Chow Ciao! fans, and we all looked forward to his posts.
    Joe Morabito, 1958-2013
    On June 8, 2013, Joe, a civilian Law Enforcement Professional who trained Afghan police forces, was killed in a "green on blue" attack on his base in Afghanistan, when one of his trainees turned

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  • Independence Day Menu: Italian Beer-Can Chicken

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    Looking for 4
    th of July party ideas or a perfect summer meal? Celebrate with an Italian twist on a Southern favorite: Beer Can Chicken on a charcoal grill! Chef Fabio offers plenty of tips to help you make this drunken whole chicken stand on its own!

    Culinary tips:

    -Charcoal separators are inexpensive, and worth every penny! By allowing you to control where the hot coals go, the separators help you create an oven-like chamber with even, radiant heat, instead of a direct flame.
    -Always rinse your chicken with water and dry it completely, both inside and out: after all, nothing sticks to a wet chicken!
    -The beer creates flavorful steam from the inside, while the fire roasts the chicken perfectly from the outside. Experiment with flavor combinations in both the rub and the can!
    -Chop your herbs and lemon to a small dice to fit inside the can's narrow opening. You can also cut off the entire top of the can, if you'd prefer.
    -An herb

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  • Fabio's Three-Ingredient Spaghetti: Cacio E Pepe

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    Who knew a dish this simple could taste this special? Chef Fabio goes back to basics with spaghetti cacio e pepe, a famous Roman dish with a sauce comprised of just three ingredients: butter, pepper, and Parmesan. Once you master this technique, you'll never go back to plain buttered noodles!

    Culinary Tips:

    --Since this dish has so few ingredients, it's important to use the best quality ingredients you can afford.

    --This dish only takes as long as it takes for the pasta to cook, so be sure to grate your Parmesan ahead of time.

    --Practice makes perfect: if you don't master the perfect creamy texture the first time, don't despair! The pasta will still taste good, and you can always try again.

    --Ignore the instructions: reduce the box's cooking time by 1-2 minutes for perfect pasta al dente.

    --Save that pasta water! The starchy water is a crucial element to a proper emulsion.

    --This dish is extra special with Fabio's Fresh Pasta.

    Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe uses minimum ingredients, but delivers maximum flavor!


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  • Fabio's Ultimate Caesar Salad

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    Kick off summer salad season right! Hail Caesar! Looking at the king of Italian dressings, Fabio takes on the Caesar with spectacular results. Grilled lettuce, perfect croutons, a to-die for dressing... yes, this is the ultimate!

    Culinary tips:
    -It sounds crazy, but if you grill your Romaine lettuce, it will take your salad to the next level in seconds.
    -Coddling eggs is a simple procedure to help make the raw eggs safer for consumption.
    -Making your own croutons is an easy, cheap, and preservative-free way to add a homemade touch to even the most simple of salads.
    -An Italian chef living in Mexico invented the Caesar Salad.

    A salad this fresh is full of flavor, not preservatives!

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yield: 4 servings and 1 quart of dressing

    For the Dressing:
    2 eggs
    3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
    1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    1 tsp. white pepper
    2 tbsp.

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