Blog Posts by Chow Ciao

  • Chocolate Bacon Muffins

    Fabio and guest Niecy Nash celebrate Mother's Day with a sure-fire dessert muffin destined to please your whole family. His amazing 'chef's cupcake' blends two favorites, chocolate and bacon perfectly together and is super easy to bake.Tips:Chocolate 101

    • Buy unsweetened chocolate before you buy bittersweet or semi-sweet: while unsweetened can always get sweeter, you can never take the sugar out of the others.
    • Cocoa powder quickly becomes chocolate with the quick addition of butter and sugar.
    • Never substitute milk chocolate for melting recipes calling for something else: the milk solids will affect the recipe.
    • When melting chocolate, always chop it up first so that it melts evenly. Also, when melting chocolate over direct heat, be sure to use a LOW temperature.
    • Sweet and Salty: So Happy Together! A hint of salt makes sweet treats taste better: salt awakens our taste buds, making them that much more receptive to sweetness. The proper balance makes two favorites, bacon and chocolate,
    Read More »from Chocolate Bacon Muffins
  • Fast Spaghetti

    As his own mother says, when it comes to spaghetti carbonara Fabio does it best. Pancetta, cream and eggs are frothed to perfection to make a masterpiece sauce for easy noodles in less than 10 minutes. He also shares other easy ways to dress up spaghetti on a dime.

    Tips:

    • Simple Sauces 101: Pasta is an easy way to feed yourself and your loved ones when your fridge or pantry is almost empty. Keep pasta, olive oil, garlic, butter and Parmesan on hand at all times, and you'll never go hungry again.
    • Using eggs in sauces adds a velvety emulsion texture to sauces like hollandaise, and béarnaise, but Carbonara is much easier and less fragile. The trick is to add the eggs to the dish away from the heat and keep things moving.
    • The easiest and most reliable way to test dry pasta for doneness is to simply taste it. Al dente literally means "to the tooth!"

    Spaghetti carbonara

    Spaghetti Carbonara

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yield: 2-4 servings

    Ingredients:

    ½ lb. spaghetti

    6 oz. pancetta, cubed

    ½ cup finely diced

    Read More »from Fast Spaghetti
  • Fabio's Perfect Lasagna

    Fabio whips up an easy béchamel sauce, then gives us his tricks & tips how to best prepare the ultimate comfort food: a hearty, easy lasagna that will for sure become a regular player at your house.

    Tips:

    • Another Mother Sauce: Like marinara, béchamel is the foundation to lots of dishes, and is easily transformed and infused with flavor. Use twice as much butter as butter to form the roux. Take the heat away from the sauce as you add milk for perfect consistency.
    • Fresh is Best: If you want the perfect lasagna, fresh noodles are the way. Fabio makes the case against "no-boil" noodles: they're too thin and risky, and nobody likes crunchy lasagna!

    Béchamel Sauce

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani

    Yields: 1 ½ quarts sauce

    Ingredients:

    1 stick (4 oz.) butter

    2 oz. all-purpose flour

    1 tsp. nutmeg

    1 quart milk

    salt and pepper to taste

    Method:

    Melt butter in deep saucepan.

    Reduce heat to low, and mix in flour.

    Add nutmeg.

    Remove from heat and slowly add

    Read More »from Fabio's Perfect Lasagna
  • Italian Fried Chicken

    If you love fried chicken, just wait till you sink your teeth into Fabio's succulent Italian version, bathed in herbs and fried up to crispy and tender perfection. He shows easy ways to cut up a whole chicken and shares chef's secrets to bathe your bird in the best flavors for frying.

    Tips:

    • Prepping the Bird 101: This money-saving option is not as intimidating as you think. Nothing is more important than a sharp knife with enough weight to help you cut through the bone. Start with the legs, and finish with the breasts. Cut the breasts in half so more people can have white meat.
    • Keeping it Crispy: marinating in buttermilk blocks chicken from absorbing grease and keeps it juicy, tender, and full of flavor with fewer calories than a batter made of eggs. Fabio imbues his buttermilk with garlic and herbs to deeply flavor the meat before frying.
    • Frying 101: It all comes down to the pan and the oil! Use a heavy pan to go from stovetop to oven, and always choose oils with a high
    Read More »from Italian Fried Chicken
  • Fabio's Perfect Bolognese

    After sharing some easy tips for cooking with wine, Fabio shows Dayana Mendoza (Miss Universe) the trick to whipping up a perfect Ragu (meat sauce), the same luxurious Italian staple he serves over pasta in his own restaurant.

    Tips:

    • For a perfect meat sauce, don't use ultra-lean meats: a little fattier meat means more FLAVOR! Try to get fresh ground from your butcher loosely packed for better texture. When ground beef is packed tightly in a log, it's harder to break apart and put into your sauce.
    • A perfect Italian meat sauce is built by layering flavors. Caramelize sliced carrots, celery and onion together first to make an intense base for your sauce.
    • Cooking with Wine 101: The wine you drink won't always be the wine you cook with, but the wine you cook with should always be wine you would drink! An easy rule is to use red for stronger flavors, and whites for more delicate ones.
    • Bolognese sauce originated in Bologna, Italy during the 1800s, but has evolved greatly across the globe.
    Read More »from Fabio's Perfect Bolognese
  • Fabio's Ultimate Easter Brunch

    Fabio takes on eggs again as he reveals secrets to baking them just in time for the ultimate Easter brunch. His spicy classic, Italian
    P!&$ed Off Eggs,
    revved up in his signature marinara sauce, is an over-the-top brunch dish you'll be craving any time of year.

    Tips:

    • Get to know your eggs. Fresh is best: if an egg floats, don't eat it! To test for freshness: if an egg sinks to the bottom of a bowl of water and lies on its side, it's super fresh! If it stands up, it's less fresh, but still edible.
    • Use less fresh eggs for cakes, sauces, or omelets, where the egg's texture and flavor aren't the star of the show.
    • Size Matters: Most recipes call for LARGE eggs, but if you're just cooking eggs on their own, any size will do.
    • Fabio's amazing baked egg dish comes together in less than 15 minutes using simple common ingredients. All you need to prepare ahead is have some of his amazing marinara sauce available. Easy to make a batch and store it!

    Chow Ciao










    p!&$ed off eggs!

    Recipe by Fabio

    Read More »from Fabio's Ultimate Easter Brunch
  • Fabio's Perfect Savory Pancakes

    Fabio whips up a super-simple and perfect breakfast, his blueberry and ricotta pancakes.

    Tips:

    • Pancakes are the comfort food of the world, great anytime of day. Blending the blueberries into the batter early makes a beautiful pancake. Adding ricotta at the end gives the pancake a perfect richness.
    • The key to fluffy pancakes is to let the batter get thick but not too thick, it needs to be just a touch runny. Use an extra hot griddle and pour the batter in one easy motion.
    • Fabio makes his a savory pancake so top it before serving with olive oil instead of syrup.
    Savory ricotta pancakes
    RICOTTA BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yields: 4 servings

    Ingredients:
    4 eggs
    4 ounces blueberries
    4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    pinch salt
    5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    8 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
    dash Smoked Paprika
    4 oz. Parmesan cheese

    Place eggs, blueberries and flour in a blender and blend till smooth (about 30 seconds.)

    Transfer mixture to a small bowl and season with salt.

    Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium Read More »from Fabio's Perfect Savory Pancakes
  • Perfect Homemade Doughnuts

    Fabio takes on his newest dessert passion: hot, sugary, fluffy doughnuts. Yum.

    Tips:

    • Perfect doughnuts come from soft dough that's never sticky. Italians make perfect dough from where you'd never expect it: mashed potatoes!
    • A few simple ingredients prepared well can give you a masterpiece sugary doughnut! Most of the work is done with a stand up mixer with a paddle attachment.
    • When frying up doughnuts don't overcrowd your pan. They'll cook more evenly because the temperature will remain more uniform in the pan.

    Doughnuts!!!

    PERFECT DOUGHNUTS
    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yields 1-2 Dozen, depending on size

    Ingredients:

    4 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
    1 cup plus ¼ cup milk, warmed
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    ¾ cup lard
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 package (or 2 ¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
    4 ½ cups bread flour
    1 tsp salt
    Extra light olive oil for frying
    1 Tbsp. butter, melted
    Additional sugar

    Method:

    Boil potatoes and allow to cool before mashing.
    In a stand mixer with the hook attachment, mix

    Read More »from Perfect Homemade Doughnuts
  • Perfect Fettucine Alfredo Sauce

    Fabio takes on the classic recipe and reveals his own secrets to making a perfect silky sauce.

    Tips:

    • This favorite buttery sauce finds origin in Rome. The Italian version relies on parmesan with butter, and the American version relies more heavily on cream. Fabio adds shrimp first to the butter to imbue it with great extra flavor.
    • Using milk lightens up calories from the cream yet still provides deep comfort in this recipes. DON'T STIR MILK INTO A HOT ROUX! For a luxurious, silky sauce, add the milk with the sauce pan off the fire. No lumps allowed.
    • Pasta (like fettucine) should be thicker with Alfredo Sauce. Thin noodles won't hold the sauce as well.
    Alfredo sauce
    SHRIMP ALFREDO
    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yields: 2 large servings

    Ingredients:
    6 oz. large shrimp, U10
    1 Tbsp., plus 3 Tbsp.butter
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    3 cups milk, room temperature
    ¼ tsp. nutmeg
    2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
    fettuccine pasta

    Method:
    Sauté shrimp in 1 Tbsp. of butter and season with salt and pepper until Read More »from Perfect Fettucine Alfredo Sauce
  • Fabio Makes Chicken Fingers

    Fabio shows how to encourage kids to make food that is fun and nutritious with a slam-dunk chicken finger recipe you and your kids will love to eat.

    Tips:

    • Make food for your kids that you want to eat! How else will they learn to love good food?
    • For perfectly cooked chicken tenders, slice chicken breasts into small, even size pieces.
    • Salting your egg wash will break apart the proteins in the eggs making it bind better to the breadcrumbs. Use panko for a great crispy base that doesn't absorb a lot of oil.
    • Never season chicken before it goes in the oil; wait until after or the seasoning will wash off.
    • For succulent tenders, don't over-crowd the oil with chicken or the temperature will drop.

    Chicken fingers

    Chicken Fingers
    Recipe by Fabio Viviani
    Yields: 2 servings

    Ingredients:
    2 chicken breasts
    3-4 cups all-purpose flour
    4-6 eggs, whisked
    salt
    3-4 cups panko breadcrumbs
    light olive oil for frying

    For the dipping sauce :
    ¼ cup honey
    ¼ cup prepared dijon mustard
    1 tbsp. extra virgin

    Read More »from Fabio Makes Chicken Fingers

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