Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baked Penne and Cheese with Broccoli

Below is another great macaroni and cheese dish. I like to refer to this meal as a baked pasta casserole. It is really easy to make and cost effective for a family of four. Serve it up with a great Caesar salad and garlic bread. Let me inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and try making this for your family or friends at your next get together. We cater lots of house parties on Long Island and in Manhattan. Very often we will serve this dish as a component to the buffet. It will often represent the "starch ". If your entertaining a large group try serving it with a whole roasted Filet Mignon drizzled with Cabernet demi, a delicious potato crusted Tilapia Provencal and a fabulous arugula salad.


1 lb. penne pasta cooked al dente
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. fresh broccoli crowns, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( blanched and sauteed with garlic and oil)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon prepared pesto ( optional)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites

salt and pepper to taste

hot pepper flakes to taste ( optional)

1 cup cut Grape tomatoes


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray Casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Cook penne al dente toss with a little olive oil and set aside. Blanch broccoli, saute with garlic and oil and set aside. Put ricotta in a bowl and mix in pesto( optional but recommended) and set aside. Cut tomatoes toss with a little oil, s&p and Italian seasoning and set aside.
Toss with penne. Add 3/4cup of the Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, eggs and egg whites, and tomatoes to the penne. Mix until well combined. Transfer to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmesan and a little extra shredded mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Creamy 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is a comfort food that is a favorite of kids and adults. I realize that most of you probably buy Kraft mac and cheese or simply add Velveeta to cooked pasta. Don't get me wrong, I love that. Let me inspire you to be a little bit more gourmet. The recipe below is a four cheese mac and cheese. We serve this at our parties as a passed "mini meal" or at kids parties as their main course. Try serving it in mini ramekins instead of in a big baking dish. This presentation is fun and contemporary. If you really want to impress the adults add a tablespoon of truffle oil to the mix prior to baking it and POW BOOM BAM !!!!


8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk


Cook Pasta in salted water ( al dente). If its a little under cooked that's good.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Lightly grease a Pyrex baking dish.
Spread the Provolone cheese over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a thin layer of macaroni. Top macaroni with Gouda cheese, another layer of macaroni, a layer of mozzarella and a third layer of macaroni. Top with a layer of Cheddar. Pour the egg over all, followed by the milk.
Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spiked Dessert Milkshakes

After dinner drinks are such a wonderful treat. Imagine combining dessert with a great cocktail. This is what we call, "The best of both worlds." Next time you entertain at home, whip up a batch of these spiked milkshakes , place them on a tray as pass them to your guests. Most of them will not be able to resist. You can serve it in a milkshake glass, a smaller highball glass, or even a shot glass. They will all be so impressed. Just make sure the kids can't get to them.


2 cups chocolate ice cream
3/4 cup whole chocolate milk
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 shots of Vodka
1/2 tsp. instant coffee
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
whipped cream and sprinkles


In a blender, process all the ingredients until they are just combined. Pour into a chilled glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alphabet Pasta Fagioli

Remember Campbell's Alphabet Soup? I loved eating it as a child. It was always a delicious treat. I don't know one child today who doesn't adore it. Did you ever consider making it from scratch? Pasta Fagioli is not quite a soup but has soup like qualities and makes a fabulous meal. Try making this scrumptious Italian classic with Alphabet pasta. Your children will love it. This dish is ten times healthier than the canned soup and is packed with nutrients and robust flavor.


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 16-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano,
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained
Salt and pepper
8 ounces alphabet Pasta cooked
Grated Parmesan


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic and sauté until brown
Stir in tomatoes and cook 6 minutes
Add parsley, basil and oregano and simmer until tomatoes soften, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Add beans and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Place pasta in bowl. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Pour sauce over and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

Creamy Cinnamon Scented Rice Pudding

I have awesome memories of visiting my grandmother and eating her cinnamon lemon scented rice pudding. It was so creamy and packed with levels of flavor. The recipe below belongs to her and her sisters. My executive chef chuckles when he reads it because instead of using whole milk etc. she uses canned condensed and evaporated milk. Still he can't deny how delicious it is and how simple it is to make. Let me inspire you to whip up this delicious dessert and serve it to your friends and family. They will love it


1/2 cup Valencia Rice
4/5th cup of water
1 pinch of salt salt
1 piece of lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


Boil water, place rice in boiling water. Bring to med/low setting, add lemon, cinnamon, salt and continue stirring. Add more water if necessary. You will end up with sticky, soupy rice (not runny). Add the three cans of milk and bring to a boil, then lower heat to med/low and add vanilla extract. Continue to stir until it becomes creamy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pea Soup in a Flash

My mom made pea soup once a year. It was always after Easter. She had to do something with the left over ham. I absolutely loved it. Pea soup made with a ham bone generally takes hours to cook. Below is a short cut to making a yummy pea soup in a flash!!!! Let me inspire you to whip up this creamy delicious soup for your friends or family. I would serve it with potato skins topped with cheddar, bacon sour cream and chives on the side.


2 Tbsp. Butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves

1 lb. bag frozen organic peas, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

6 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (14 oz) can chicken stock

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon

1/2 cup cooked smoked ham

1 cup croutons


Place butter in a soup pot over medium heat; saute onions and garlic with Ham till soft, about 5 minutes. Add peas, salt, pepper and thyme . Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs, then use a burr stick or blender to puree soup . Add back into pot and add stock. Cook another 10 minutes..add with bacon and croutons

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vegetable Soup and Sandwich Combo

I got onto the scale this morning ,big mistake( lol). I can't believe I gained 13 pounds since the summer. I worked so hard, zumba class by zumba class melting the pounds away. I swore, Id never gain it back again. You think it's easy working around food all day? OMG it is tortoreous(lol), but I'm hooked because I love what I do. It's, a cold day in New York and it's winter break so tons of kids are home this week. Its a perfect day to make a hearty vegetable soup, packed with vitamins and nutrients. Serve it to your family for dinner presented in an oversized coffe mug with perhaps a home made panini, pressed sandwich, or classic grilled cheese on the side.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced, peeled carrots
1 cup canned white beans
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add chopped onion and cook for 4 minutes or until just lightly browned.
Add stock, tomatoes, carrots, beans, celery, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic.
Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20- 25 minutes
Add macaroni; cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cucumber and Feta Oh Yeah!!!

It is a good idea to serve salad with every meal. Salad is obviously not cooked which means it is packed with nutrients. So it makes perfect sense to make it part of every meal. I want to inspire you to not just think of greens when you think of preparing a salad for your family. At our events we set up a Mediterranean station, which consists of a chef making chicken and lamb pita pockets to order stuffed with lettuce, vegetables and yogurt dill sauce. The crowd goes crazy for this cuisine. A side salad consisting of cucumber feta salad is often presented as a compliment and let me tell you even the kids love it. So tonight Id like you prepare a meal with a Mediterranean flair . It could be home made pita pockets or a roasted chicken seasoned with lemon and oregano. Serve this salad up as a side and wow!!!; you've create a culinary home run.


2 medium cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Fresh Dill


Cut cucumbers into 1/2-in. cubes; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Stir in onions. Combine with the cheese, lemon juice, chopped dill, olive oil and pepper. You can substitute the oil for sour cream if you wish . It is a little bit more fattening but delicious..

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake has been around forever. Seriously, who doesn't like buttermilk biscuits sweet plump strawberries and homemade whipped cream. This dessert recipe is very easy and quick . You can make your own buttermilk biscuits, as we do at elegant affairs, but in consideration for all of those busy moms that simply don't have the time or patience, I suggest you buy the pop in the oven kind ( pilsbury biscuits). I will insist ,however, that you make your own whipped cream. Cool Whip just won't cut it. You can give each person a biscuit once completed or serve it up "elegant affairs "style. Once we assemble the dessert, we simple take out a small cookie cutter and create strawberry shortcake minis. The choice is yours....Allow me to inspire you create this delectable dessert for your friends and family. Good Luck !!!!!!


1 can (10.2 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar

Whipped Cream

1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Dip tops and sides of each biscuit in butter; dip in 1/4 cup sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar. Set aside.
In another small bowl, beat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Assemble and serve

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marvelous Mozzarella at its Best!!!

So many of us love Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara sauce . However, I bet you a million dollars that you have never made it on your own. Its so funny how we always order them in a restaurant ( and they are probably frozen),but never think about making this yummy treat at home. At our events we use a variety of cheese cut into funky shapes and serve them as a pass around hors d'oeuvre. At home, this classic can be served as a snack while watching TV with the family, as a appetizer at a dinner party or get together or as a side to a fabulous pasta meal. Allow me to inspire you to make this delicious treat. It is very easy to prepare and a big crowd pleaser.


1 pound of Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup of flour

1 egg beaten

1 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of bread crumbs ( seasoned Italian)

4 tbs. parmesan cheese

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

A small batch of Marinara sauce


Cut cheese into desired shape. Add the parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to the already seasoned bread crumbs. Roll cheese in flour, then dip in beaten egg, then bread crumb mixture. Heat no more than 2 inches of oil. Fry for 20 to 30 seconds or until golden brown. Serve with your own homemade Marinara sauce.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Best Meatloaf Ever!!!!!!

Doesn't everyone love meatloaf? Its so 1950's. I am sure all of you have a memory of mom serving meatloaf with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and peas. It is very difficult to sell meatloaf as a dish at my events ( for obvious reasons). We do prepare a flat meatloaf, if you will, and then cut small circles out with a cookie cutter to create an hors d'oeuve base. We then pipe a dollop of mash potatoes out on top with a pastry bag and sprinkle with crispy fried onions. In essence we transform the meatloaf into a delicious pass around appetizer. And we certainly do not call it meatloaf. My executive chef Michael Purpura makes his meatloaf from scratch with all natural ingredients. However, I'm going to share my mom's recipe with you, which isn't quite as gourmet. None the less, It is the best meatloaf in all the world. Let me inspire you to try this recipe. If you do not agree with me after eating it and shout" Wow it is the best" name isn't Andrea Correale (lol)
1 lb chop meat
2 eggs
1 cup oats
1 tbs. horseradish
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk
1 package onion soup mix
1 tbs. horseradish
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. spicy mustard
Combine all ingredients well . Form a loaf and place in pyrex dish. Mix glaze in a seperate bowl. Once you form your loaf, smother the enter top and sides with all of the glaze. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Pasta A La Cognac....A Creamy Comfort Food

Its a cold and snowy day in New York. My office is closed so I am working from home; and all I can think about is "Ravioli a la Cognac". Why is it when we are snug at home, we often crave comfort food? I first had this dish at a small Italian restaurant in Farmingdale New York. It was so delicious. It is kind of like Penne A la Vodka but with a fabulous unique flavor. We offer it on one of our pasta stations at our parties and the guests always come back for more. They usually say, "OMG ..what 's in this?". So let me inspire you to make this amazing meal at home for your friends and family.


1/4 lb. prosciutto ham, chopped ( or pancetta)

1 lb. penne pasta / or cheese ravioli/ or tortellini

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. chopped onion

1 tsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tbsp. crushed bay leaves

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 c. cognac

1 c. heavy cream

2 c. Parmesan cheese


1. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes, prosciutto, parsley, bay leaves, red pepper, cognac and simmer for about 10 minutes in medium heat.
2. Cook pasta and drain.
3. Add heavy cream to sauce and cook for 2 minutes in low heat.
4. Mix pasta in sauce and add Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spicy Sweet Saucy Wings

Buffalo Chicken Wings!!! I know you are getting ready to eat them tomorrow while watching the big game. Stray away from the usual buffalo sauce and try these spicy sweet saucy wings..Finger licking good....


3 lb chicken wings
1/2 cup honey and
1/2 cup ketchup tomato
2 Tbs Worcestershire
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Tabasco to taste


Combine honey, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper and Tabasco .Add wings; toss to coat well. Refrigerate over night .Place wings on a barbecue grill; grill over medium high heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning often and basting with reserved marinade, until wings are cooked. For super saucy wings, reserve or make extra marinade....reduce on low heat on stove top and toss wings again once they are off the grill. Serve with a cilantro lime yogurt sauce.

Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce

Combine 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 lime juiced and zested , 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and 1 clove of minced garlic. Place in refrigerator for one hour before serving

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yummy Balls of Fire

Swedish Meatballs are a party classic,but sooo old school. Do you want to blow everyone away with culinary bliss? Try serving up these little dynamos. I guarantee you, they will tickle everybody's palate. I had a hard time being convinced to begin serving meatballs as an hors'd'oeuvre at our parties. I dont know, I guess I felt it wasn't elegant enough , but, boy was I wrong. This is one tray of appetizers that always returns to the kitchen quickly and empty.


3 pounds of chopped meat.

1/3 rd cup of quick oats

1/4 th cup of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

1/8 th cup of onion powder

2 eggs



Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and blend well. Form mealballs. Place on grill.


Basting Sauce

6 ounces of beer

1 bottle barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1/2 a cup of brown sugar.

Blend all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Use this sauce to baste your meatballs and watch them come alive

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Video on Amazing Superbowl Food Ideas

I was on NBC news the other night and did a great segment on entertaining for Superbowl Sunday. I featured, Kobe Beef Franks, Chicken Tacos, A creative spin on heros. Click the link below to watch lots of fun ideas.

Healthy Superbowl foods on Fox News

Don't want to spoil your diet on Superbowl Sunday? Watch this video on healthy Superbowl alternatives

Herb Toasted Croustades with Basil Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes

Here is another great appetizer idea!!! Try Herb toasted croustades with basil scented goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. They are simple to make and very attractive. We serve them at many of our parties and guests really like them. Good luck!!


Long Thin Baguette
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
log Goat Cheese (chevre)
Basil (chopped)
Thyme (chopped)
Coarsely Ground Pepper
1 Roasted Red Pepper or Sundried tomatoes


Slice the baguette into thin slices (about 1/2 inch). Mix chopped Herbs with 1/2 cup of olive oil. You can do this step a day or two before and set aside so the herbs infuse the oil.Brush the bread with the herb/olive oil mixture and place on a baking sheet.Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden.

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese with chopped basil and s&p to taste.Place in fridge until the goat cheese becomes somewhat firm.
Form the goat cheese into desired shape, place on croustade and top with a roasted red pepper slice or sundried tomato. Plate and serve

Monday, February 1, 2010

Italian Wedding oldie but a goodie

Last night I had some friends over for dinner. It was a last minute thing. I had no time to go to the supermarket so I had to think quickly on my feet. When you are a caterer you get used to thinking that way. Well, I had the ingredients to whip up the Italian classic, "Wedding Soup". I served it in over sized bowls with warm Italian bread and butter. My guests loved it so much that I have decided to offer it on our cafe menus at our Long Island and Manhattan venues. This soup is delicious, healthy , and hearty. The recipe below includes meatballs as the main protein,however, feel free to add chicken or white beans or both to the mix.

Italian Wedding Soup

24-36 meatballs fully cooked (mini)
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 quarts beef stock
3 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound spinach, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup orzo or acini de pepe
Romano cheese to taste


In a stockpot combine stock, celery, carrots, and onion; Simmer 1 hour.

While the stock is simmering,make your meatballs.

Bring the liquid back to a boil and add meatballs. Simmer until meatballs are cooked. Approximately 8 minutes before its finished add the pasta. Approximately 2 minutes before its finished add the spinach .

Beat remaining egg and pour slowly into soup, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and serve.
Add Romano cheese to taste.