Blog Posts by Chow Ciao

  • Fabio's Philadelphia Cheesesteak

    Fabio goes to Philadelphia to take on his favorite sandwich with the locals, a true Philly cheesesteak 'wit' onions.

    Tips:

    • Use rib-eye steak for the best flavor. Slice it as thin as possible. For easier slicing, put the rib-eye in the freezer for 20 minutes to par-freeze it. Don't salt the steak: you'll draw out too much moisture and dry out your sandwich.
    • Cheesing your Steak: Slice, shred, grate, or cube cheese before melting it: a block of cheese is not going to melt well at all. Soft cheeses melt best.
    • A quick cheese primer: Cheez Whiz: a thick, bright orange, processed cheese sauce. American: a mildly flavored processed cheese that melts easily and is often used in sandwiches. Cheddar: a hard yellow or white cheese originating in England. No Philadelphians use Cheddar on their cheesesteaks…that's near blasphemy. Provolone: a white, semi-hard Italian cheese made from Cow's milk and originating in Southern Italy. The only cheese of choice, according to cheesesteak connoisseurs, who
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  • Fabio's Osso Buco

    An out-of-control, restaurant-quality Osso Buco (Italian for "hole in the bone") is easier than you might think. Fabio shows how to sear a meat shank in a cast iron pot and braises his masterpiece to a glorious finish in the oven.

    Tips:

    • Secrets to braising. Sear the meat first! Crispy caramelization on the outside of the meat makes every bite worthwhile. Whether you use veal, pork, or beef shanks, you should only braise meats when there is a good amount of marbled fat in between the muscle. Braising a filet mignon would be ridiculous! Cooking the meat low and slow lets the proteins break down to tender perfection.
    • Osso Buco sauce: the sauce of kings. Because you use a bone-in cut, the bone marrow helps create collagen during the cooking process, which add silkiness to the sauce. Because braising makes strong flavors more mild, be bold with the seasoning! Ingredients like orange peel and lots of garlic add to the density and complexity.
    • Never allow your braising liquid to come to a
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  • Fabio's Pasta and Bean Soup

    Nothing is better for families on a budget than the classic Pasta E Fagioli, Fabio's super simple and delicious one pot soup with pasta and beans. It's so flavorful, you'll forget that it's VEGETARIAN!

    Tips:

    • Beans 101- High in protein and virtually fat-free, these delicious pods are versatile and packed with nutrients. The secret to cooking dry beans without soaking them overnight? Choose smaller beans.
    • Find the Perfect Pasta for Your Soup- Soup is a great place to use up spare pasta: break up large noodles, or just add small shapes. Don't add it until the last few minutes of cooking, and keep pasta on the side when storing soup for later use.
    • Cast-Iron Cookware-The Perfect Soup Pot. Cast-iron is able to maintain and withstand very high temperatures, so pots and pans are able to go from stovetop to oven with no hassle. Their heavy weight distributes heat evenly, ensuring perfectly cooked dishes.

    Pasta e Fagioli








    Pasta e Fagioli Soup

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yield: 6 servings

    Ingredients:

    3

    Read More »from Fabio's Pasta and Bean Soup
  • Fabio's Ultimate Chicken Parm

    Fabio kicks off going back to school with the best chicken parmesan from his childhood. The secret is a perfectly fried chicken breast that stays crisp under mounds of parmesan, marinara sauce and silky mozzarella.



    Tips:
    • Use a meat mallet to pound your chicken evenly. For best and easy results, cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap before pounding.
    • Bread the chicken in flour before the egg. The flour will stick to the chicken and help you build a spectacular coating with the eggs and the Panko breadcrumbs.
    • Fry the chicken thoroughly to build a crisp "juice jail" for the pounded chicken. You want a nice brown color for ultimate crispness. The secret so it won't get soggy underneath the marinara? Cover the fried chicken with a blanket of Parmesan cheese before putting the marinara sauce on top of it. The cheese will protect the fried chicken, giving you a perfect texture.


    Chicken Parmesan
    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 2-4 servings

    Ingredients:

    2 cups light olive oil
    2 boneless Read More »from Fabio's Ultimate Chicken Parm
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli

    Fabio reveals how to choose the best squash and restaurant secrets on how to turn it into a perfect buttery textured filling wrapped up in decadent ravioli.

    Tips:

    Squash 101:

    • Spaghetti squash has a unique noodle-like texture makes it a great gluten-free alternative to noodles, but is also delicious simply roasted. It also freezes well!
    • Acorn squash tend to be small, making them great for simple roasting with butter.
    • Kobocha squash is extremely versatile and can be cut up into strips and baked for a low-carb and delicious French fry.
    • Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty flavor, making it great for sweet-savory dishes. Its non-stringy texture makes it perfect for ravioli.
    • Pick squashes that feel solid and sound hollow when tapped gently. Acorn and Kobocha squash should be mostly dark green, butternut should be dark tan, and spaghetti should be bright yellow.
    • Squash can be stored in a cool dark place for up to six months!

    RAVIOLI FILLING 101:

    • Add dry, crunchy cookies to the
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  • Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce

    Fabio and Lou Diamond Phillips rock the kitchen with PENNE ALLA VODKA, featuring a flavorful, simple sauce made in less than 20 minutes. When the spirits start flowing, the flavor and the fun get rolling.


    Tips:

    • Penne 101: Penne is perfect for dishes where the sauce is the star! The hollow center fills with sauce, and the angular ends act as simple scoops.
    • Cooking with Booze 101: Use alcohol to awaken dormant flavors and enhance them. Vodka is a good ingredient because it imparts depth without flavoring (the way wine would.) Igniting a bit of vodka helps caramelize your sauce. All of the alcohol will never burn off, but most of it will. Make sure to reduce to avoid an overwhelming boozy taste.
    • Vodka cream sauce is an extremely versatile sauce and goes great on almost anything. Remember when cooking that vodka lowers the boiling point in cream and cheese sauces.

    Penne alla Vodka








    Penne alla Vodka

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 2-servings

    Ingredients:

    1/2 lb. dry penne pasta

    1 tbsp. of butter

    ½

    Read More »from Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce
  • Chicken Cacciatore

    When Fabio bathes bone-in chicken legs in his marinara sauce, he comes up winning big game. It's his Chicken Cacciatore, based on the Italian peasant food he ate as a child, and it's so good, so cheap and so easy!


    Tips:

    • Chicken 102: Whether braising, stewing, or grilling, chicken legs are a low-cost way to pack your meals with protein, and they're always a hit with kids. Dark meat has more vitamins than white meat, and is typically more flavorful.
    • Fabio already taught the secrets of cooking with boneless, so now it's time to conquer bone-in chicken without frying. The secret to great textured chicken skin is to flour the chicken first before frying.
    • Onions, mushrooms and olives are a great flavor base to build your Cacciatore sauce. Once they caramelize at a high heat, lower the fire, add the crisped chicken, and braise with red wine and tomato sauce. In less than 30 minutes, you can eat a peasant meal fit for a king!

    Chicken Cacciatore








    Chicken Cacciatore

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yield: 3-4

    Read More »from Chicken Cacciatore
  • The Perfect Chilled Soup

    Fabio takes tomatoes cold for his ultimate Gazpacho, a phenomenally deep-flavored, chilled soup. What's the secret to making soup this good anytime of year? Hint: You don't really need fresh tomatoes!



    Tips:

    • Use canned tomatoes for extra flavor and great texture without cooking.
    • De-seed hot peppers to control the heat.
    • Chill thoroughly to optimize the blending of flavors: since you're not cooking anything, the veggies need time to react to the vinegar, salt, and each other.
    • Eat Fresh: gazpacho may not be cooked, but the vinegar will react in such a way that the soup will get "fizzy" and go bad after just a few days.
    • Batch-cooking: Gazpacho that's made without bread, like this one, is low in fat and can be easily frozen!
    The Perfect Summer Soup









    Cold Gazpacho
    Recipe by Fabio Vivani

    Yield: 4 Servings

    Ingredients:

    1 quart tomato juice

    2 red bell peppers

    1 green jalapeno

    1 large English cucumber

    20 leaves of fresh basil

    pinch salt

    3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

    1-2 cloves garlic, minced

    6 canned plum tomatoes

    additional

    Read More »from The Perfect Chilled Soup
  • Ultimate Eggplant Parmesan


    Eggplant Parmigiana

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yield: 6-8 servings

    Ingredients:

    light olive oil for frying

    2 medium eggplant

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    6 eggs, beaten

    3 cups Panko breadcrumbs

    1 quart Fabio's Marinara

    4 4 oz. balls of Buffalo Mozzarella, hand-shredded

    1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

    4 sprigs fresh basil

    2 sprigs fresh oregano

    extra virgin olive oil

    fresh ground black pepper, to taste

    Easiest Eggplant Parmigiana














    Method:

    Preheat oven to 425°F.

    Heat light oil in a deep sauté pan, over medium high heat.

    Peel and slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1" thick pieces.

    Bread each piece of eggplant by dredging in flour, then egg wash, then Panko.

    Fry each piece of eggplant in oil until golden brown.

    To begin layering, start with a small layer of sauce on the bottom of a square baking dish.

    Next, layer with fried eggplant, trimming larger pieces to fit.

    Top with Parmesan cheese, then shredded Mozzarella, and top with more marinara.

    Repeat for a second layer, and add basil and oregano before the final layer.

    The

    Read More »from Ultimate Eggplant Parmesan
  • Ultimate Pressed Sandwich

    To celebrate Italian sports, Fabio makes basil Pesto alla Genovese, great for making anything more Italian. He takes home the gold when he shares secrets to the ultimate Panini flat-pressed sandwich. It's a mouthful to be believed.


    Tips:

    • Pesto 101: Another great basic sauce. Taken from the word PESTARE (to crush), pesto comes in many variations, but Pesto alla Genovese is the ORIGINAL.
    • It's SO easy to make with a food processor. Pesto also stores easily, just remember to cover with a layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.
    • Good on pasta, bread, pizzas, anything, even with chips and veggies as a dip.
    • Panini 101:Simple sandwiches don't need a ton of toppings if you use strong flavors!
    • In Italy, panino refers to the type of bread used (small rolls), not the pressing of the sandwich.
    • No Panini Press? Place the sandwich in a hot pan, and weigh the sandwich down with another heavy skillet. Flip after a few moments, and repeat.

    Only a few simple ingredients melt together for an easy perfect combination

    Basil Pesto Panini

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yield: 2

    Read More »from Ultimate Pressed Sandwich

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