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Posts Tagged ‘Extra Virgin episodes’

Toasting Grandma’s Biscotti

An tradtional Italian dessert: Biscotti and a glass of Vin Santo.

I love baking biscotti for family events and potluck parties, and especially during the holidays, when I make several batches and ship them as presents to family and friends. They are perfect gifts to make on a small budget, and they travel very well.

Cantuccini di Prato, the traditional Tuscan name for the biscotti we make, are the real reason Italians start drinking at a young age. Usually grandparents are to blame. Well… at least in my case!

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A Pizza My Heart

Gabriele Corcos

Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar star in Extra Virgin, Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT.

I started making pizzas when I was 10. My mom celebrates her birthday in June, and every year we throw a great garden party with anywhere between 80 and 100 guests. Needless to say, lots of food is prepared and many jugs of wine are consumed. One of the staples during this amazing celebration is pizza, which we bake in a 14th-century bread oven, built under the porch of our farmhouse.

Back when I was younger, my parents would call in our local pizzaiolo, Carlo. He owned the most famous pizzeria in Fiesole, and was always the evening’s attraction—flipping dough through the air, his face stained by charcoal and his hands white with flour. He fascinated me, and always let me help out during the evening. An average of about 200 pizzas came out of the oven over the course of an evening; it was like working in a factory. By the time a new pizza hit the cutting board, it was gone.

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Perfect Pasta, Every Time

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Guest contributor Gabriele Corcos and his wife Debi Mazar star in Extra Virgin, Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT.

As I said before, pasta is everything for Italians. But getting perfect pasta doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a simple task that I would like to demystify. Here are my tips for getting it right every time:

Always salt your boiling water—always! I use two palmfuls of coarse salt as a first step in seasoning my dish. Start practicing with your own quantity, and do not be afraid—the pasta can be rinsed in the colander it it’s too salty, or you can add more at the very end if it’s needed.

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Perfect Pasta, Part 2

Sausage and Radicchio Orecchiette

Guest contributor Gabriele Corcos and his wife Debi Mazar star in Extra Virgin, Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT.

Last time, I wrote about how Italians enjoy pasta in all different shapes and sizes, and talked about the various long cuts of pasta. Today I want to tell you about the different short pastas we cook in Tuscany.

Penne, Ditalini, Ziti, Wheels and Fusilli all have a casual feel, and allow for an easier and more relaxed approach than cooking spaghetti. Almost every recipe works well with these cuts—red sauces, vegetable sauces and meats are the most common dressings.

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Pasta Perfect with Extra Virgin

Gabriele Corcos and his wife Debi Mazar star in Extra Virgin, Wednesdays at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT.

For Italians, pasta is everything. It’s our heritage, our comfort food, our excitement and enthusiasm—pasta is pure sexiness!

Italians cook with both fresh and dry pastas, but don’t be fooled! They are very different from each other and they are absolutely not interchangeable.

We cook fresh pasta for special occasions or with special sauces: Grandma prepares it for the Sunday family lunch; the local bakery sells fresh ravioli or tortellini; and your favorite restaurant might offer fresh pappardelle to honor the wild boar that was hunted, prepared and cooked over the weekend by the locals.

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Extra Virgin: Tips for Tuscan-Style Grilling

Gabriele Corcos and his wife Debi Mazar star in Extra Virgin, premiering tonight at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT.

Italy is a microcosm of regional cuisines, but all Italians love to grill. Where I come from in Tuscany, people have a pretty straightforward way of thinking when it comes to seasoning and cooking meat on the grill. Steaks are not overly salted or oiled—maybe some pepper, that’s about it. Then a touch of salt if you really feel like it, when it gets to your plate.

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