"Her cookbook is full of elegant and rich traditional dishes from the L'Aquila region. . . . This wonderful book . . . will appeal to foodies and cooks looking for effortless Italian cooking."
"For the cook with the sophisticated side, and an affinity for family-style Italian meals, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is the perfect book."
—Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts
"The new George Clooney thriller currently in theaters, The American, is set in Italy's Abruzzo region. With the movie, cookbook author and food stylist Maria Filice has found herself uniquely poised to talk about Abruzzo's food."
Maria is honored to be featured on Cookstr, a cooking site dedicated to providing great recipes from the best chefs and cookbook authors. Take a look here.
What started out as a "Pizza bianca" (the Roman classic: olive oil, salt and rosemary sprigs), I covered it with a blanket of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged Asiago and topped with fresh mozzarella! Love the creative rule breaking and a little of this and that approach!
Sometimes the best creation in the kitchen are indeed 'a little of this and that' creations. It's freedom and authenticity ..... I prepared a chicken salad exactly this way by adding roasted garlic, chopped almonds, green apple with fresh lime juice, dried cranberries and roasted corn. Yum......here's the recipe and hope you enjoy it!
1 roasted chicken - deboned and chopped in small chunks (add both dark and white meat)
1 medium red onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
4 celery stalks (chopped)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup (sliced almonds)
6 garlic cloves (I had them roasting with the chicken)
1 cup of corn (removed from two cobs of corn), boiled
2 granny smith apples (cut in small chunks), add juice of two limes (prevents apple from browning), ps I ran out of lemons and substituted with limes
Dressing: 1/4 cup of each brown mustard and yellow mustard, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, pinch of red chilli flakes, roasted garlic, salt and pepper (to taste).
In a large bowl, add chicken, red onion, carrots, celery, cranberries, almonds, corn and applies (including juice). Add dressing and mix.
Serve with nachos, salad, your favorite crusty bread or your favorite fork! Serve with plain toasted waffles and crisp bacon, tomato and lettuce: BLTW
Depending on how you cut (ie. thickness) will depend how long the zucchini cook. For this salad, I cut the them on an angel (thin cut). I cooked on my stove top grill pan (medium-high). Spray the grill with your favorite cooking spray. Turn the zucchini (one minute on each side) and place in a platter.
Spices: Add salt, red chili flakes, one clove garlic (thinly sliced), chopped fresh mint. Add extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar.
The perfect side with your favorite cheese, fish or meat. Takes 10 minutes from prep, prepare, place in platter with crusty pane!
ps - Call Andy about the perfect olive oil pairing when you contact him at 416 902 9060 (they ship to Canada and the USA). Tell him Maria sent you!
A different way to serve a sandwich or salad - Tuscan Bread Salad made with leftover day old bread. What I love about this salad, is how you turn day old bread into a salad with a few of your favorite vegetable toppings. Beware: if you use fresh bread, the bread becomes soggy! If you don't have day old bread, you can cheat by toasting cubed bread in the oven.
There are a lot of variations of this salad - here's one of my favorites: leftover roasted peppers, roasted artichokes, roasted garlic, pitted olives, fresh tomatoes and fresh chopped basil. Measure 1/2 cup of each of the toppings to five cups of cubed bread. Drizzle your favorite extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Asparagus is available year-round, but spring is the best season, since crops are normally harvested from late February to June. What I love most about asparagus is its rich taste, whether it's boiled, steamed, stir-fried, roasted, grilled, or, yes, even microwaved. Still, I must confess that I rarely use my microwave for asparagus because it only takes minutes to cook.
Whenever my grandmother made frittata with asparagus, it was always a family favorite and there were never any leftovers. With her large skillet, she created the most delicious open-faced frittata. She would start by frying onion and asparagus for a few minutes, add the beaten eggs, and then top them with fresh ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella cubes, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. The mixture would cook over a very low heat for at least 10 minutes. "Nanna" would then grab the skillet with both hands and transfer the frittata to a large plate. She would then flip the plate and continue cooking the frittata, allowing the top to cook for a few more minutes. Finally she would slice it and serve it warm with fresh crusty Italian bread. Such great memories!
Laying the asparagus flat in a large pan with a lid, I steamed it for a few minutes and then served it warm with the dressing. I have seen fancy asparagus steamers that include a basket inside the pot. Using these pots, the asparagus is cooked standing up, with the idea that the stems require additional cooking. I am very versatile in the kitchen, and so I will spend money on the basic pots.
My helpful asparagus tip (no pun intended) is to cook it "al dente," like pasta. Why "al dente"? Asparagus are very delicate, and if you overcook them, then they end up mushy. If you are serving them cold, stop the cooking process and plunge the cooked stalks into an ice-water bath. If you are serving them hot, stop the cooking process a couple of minutes before they are completely cooked. The asparagus will continue to cook in their own heat.
In this recipe, I added leftover asparagus tips to a fresh bowl of rigatoni pasta and pesto. It's not cheating, though. It's just the traditional, old-school method of finding new ways to use leftovers. Fresh and delicious!
One of my favorite vegetables is eggplant (available all year). So simple to prepare and a delicious side or meal.
I like to grill eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh mint. In this recipe, I cubed one eggplant (leaving the skin) and grilled in the oven (10-15 minutes), until tender.
In a bowl, add some chopped fresh basil, pitted kalamata olives (1/2 cup), 1/2 cup of julienne sun dried tomatoes. Add a pinch of red chili flakes (optional), drizzle extra virgin olive oil (or 3 tbsp.). Squeeze a fresh lemon and rind 1tbsp. of lemon.
Mix and ready to serve! A perfect side for your favorite grilled fish, chicken or meat. Adding goat cheese for a vegetarian meal is also delicious!
Cookstr.com featured my Orange Glazed Pork as recipe of the day and Chef of the Day! Wanted to share it with you. I also altered the recipe with chicken, beef and fish. The citrus taste of orange is a fresh flavor that you can use in your favorite dishes! This recipe is in my cookbook, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila.
Depending on the appetite of your crowd and what else you will be serving, you may want to double this recipe as it really allows for one chop per person. This orange-scented pork is perfect served with an arugula salad.
Yield : Serves 6
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
6 center-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
2 oranges, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon orange zest for garnish
Orange glaze: cook orange juice in a saucepan over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until it is reduced by half and there is about a cup of glaze. Set aside.
Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chops (you’ll probably have to cook them in batches, and it is important not to overcrowd the pan) and turn the heat to high. Cook the chops for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are brown.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the wine and garlic and cook until the wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the orange glaze and sliced oranges, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice until the chops are tender but not dry.
Remove the chops to a serving platter. Continue cooking the pan juices, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced slightly. If you need to add more liquid, add a bit more orange juice combined with water or chicken stock. Pour over the chops, top with the orange zest, and serve.
Maria Filice, first-time author and food stylist, is a first-generation Canadian-American Italian. Maria grew up following her Calabrian family’s old country values. She learned from the best—her mother, grandmother, and aunts—whom she watched from the time she could barely walk. While she observed her relatives cooking together, with a little of this and a little of that, she listened well. Today, her relatives and friends are delighted as she entertains them in her kitchen with her storytelling and her cooking.
In both her kitchen and her professional life, Maria’s philosophy is to live life to its fullest. Her lack of formal training cannot diminish her passion or dissuade her from taking risks with her cooking. In truth, her fresh eye has allowed her to excel. Her natural flair for food styling reflects her personal style and demonstrates how a simple recipe can look beautiful. Maria’s warmth, humor, and gregarious personality always make guests feel motivated to discover their own style in the kitchen.
Today Maria Filice resides in Upstate NY as publisher of Telos Press, as well as publisher, author, and food stylist for Food and Fate Publishing.