Co-owner of the world renowned Rao’s in New York, which now has branches in Las Vegas and Hollywood, and feaatured chef in Vegas Uncork'd, Frank Pellegrino Jr. stopped by THE TALK to serve up a hearty Italian meal that will feed a hungry crowd.
1½ cups Vegetable Oil
1 pound Sausage, a combination of hot and sweet, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 2½-pound Chickens, cut into 12 small pieces, bone in
2 large Bell Peppers, red, green or yellow, cored, seeded and cut, lengthwise, into ¼-inch slices
1 large Yellow Onion, cut, lengthwise, into ¼-inch slices
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
½ cup Chicken Broth
½ cup dry White Wine
½ cup drained Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers, cored, halved crosswise, and seeded
½ cup drained Pickled Hot Cherry Peppers, cored, halved crosswise, and seeded
½ cup Brine from Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers
½ teaspoon dried Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté sausage for about 8 minutes until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan and set aside to drain. Reheat oil so that it is hot but not smoking, pat chicken dry, and sauté chicken for about 15 minutes or until it is almost cooked through.
2. Stir in bell peppers, onion, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown. Drain off all excess oil. Return sausage and chicken to pan.
3. Add wine and chicken stock to chicken, sausage, and vegetables and bring to a boil. Stir in hot and sweet pickled peppers, brine, oregano, and salt and pepper. Again, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer slowly for about 10 minutes or until flavors have combined and sauce has reduced. Remove from heat and serve.
Note: You can, near the end of cooking, add 2 or 3 sliced boiled potatoes to this dish. Potatoes seem to have an affinity for the intense vinegar flavors, lustily absorbing the sauce.
Rao’s Pasta Salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil
Makes 6 Servings
12 ripe Plum Tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced (about 8 cups)
1 (7-ounce) ball Fresh Mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces
2¼ cups Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
8 large fresh Basil Leaves, torn into dime-sized pieces
2 teaspoons diced Red Onion
1½ teaspoons dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
½ teaspoon minced Garlic
1 pound short Pasta, such as fusilli (spirals) or farfalle (bow ties)
6 whole fresh Basil leaves for garnish
1. Mix together the tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella, parsley, torn basil, red onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. (The tomato mixture can be made and refrigerated up to 12 hours ahead.)
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 2 cups of the tomato mixture to a bowl to use as a topping and set aside. Add the pasta to the larger amount of the tomato mixture and the whole basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Green Bean and Potato Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings
3 white-skinned Potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 pound Green (String) Beans
½ teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
¼ teaspoon minced Garlic
¼ cup pure Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
¼ Red Onion, cut into thin half-moons
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Lemon wedges for serving
1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook just until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold running water. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
2. Fill the saucepan with fresh water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a big pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook just until the beans are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans under cold running water. Let cool.
3. Transfer the green beans to a large bowl. Whisk the vinegar and garlic together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Pour over the green beans, add the lemon juice, and toss. Add the potatoes and red onion and gently fold them into the beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Serve chilled with lemon wedges.
Laura’s Grilled Pound Cake with mixed berries
Makes 6 servings
For the berry compote
½ cup sugar
1 (6-ounce) basket fresh raspberries
1 (6-ounce) basket fresh blueberries
1 (6-ounce) basket fresh blackberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened
1 store-bough pound cake, cut into six 1½-inch slices
Whipped cream for serving (optional)
1. To make the berry compote: Bring the sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the syrup cool. Combine the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries and stir in enough of the syrup to sweeten the berries to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
2. Prepare an outdoor grill for direct cooking over medium-low heat (350ºF).
3. Brush the cooking grate clean and lightly oil the grate. Spread the butter over both sides of the pound cake slices. Place the cake slices on the grill. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 4 minutes.
4. For each serving, place a cake slice on a plate and top with the berries and their juices. Add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.