Tag Archive: John Contratti


Cooking With Mr. C.’s Lentil Soup

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Ingredients:

1 cup dry lentils

2 medium sized carrots (diced)

2 medium sized celery stalks (diced)

1 medium size onion (diced)

3/4 lb. small red potatoes (cut into 1/2 in. pieces)

1 garlic clove (minced)

1 16 oz. can of Italian Style Stewed Tomatoes

8 cups chicken broth

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 small head escarole ( about 1 lb.) (thinly sliced)

3 cups water

olive oil

Directions:

1. In a 5 quart pot, add 3 tbs. of olive oil. Over a medium heat, warm oil and add carrots, celery and onion. Cook until tender and stir occasionally. Add garlic and stir until garlic browns. Add salt and pepper.

2. Stir in stewed tomatoes (with the liquid), lentils, chicken broth, potatoes, and water. Stir with spoon. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 50 minutes. While soup is simmering (about 20 minutes in) add the shredded escarole. Stir escarole and continue to simmer. Add a pinch of salt if needed. You can serve with some grated cheese on top.

Serve hot. Serves 4-6 people

 

 

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If you’re a fan of Donna Summer music, then check out “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street. I visited backstage with the very talented Jared Zirilli after the performance. Also, check out Jared’s very talented wife, Whitney Bashor this Fall in the new Off-Broadway musical, “Ordinary Days”.

http://www.keencompany.org/main

It’s always a pleasure getting the opportunity to hang out with Fran Drescher. Today we both took in Renee Taylor’s “My Life On A Diet” at the Theatre at St. Clements on West 46th. You have until September 2, to check it out. A wonderful time for any true “Nanny” fan.

A wonderful evening on Broadway with a backstage invite from Marilu Henner. Check her out in “Gettin’ The Band Back Together” at the Belasco Theatre.

A real treat to be invited to meet movie icon Hayley Mills after her performance in the play “Party Face”. What’s your favorite Hayley Mills movie?

Cooking With Mr. C.’s Homemade Lasagna

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Ingredients:

2 lbs. tomato sauce

2 lbs. ricotta cheese

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1lb. box lasagna noodles

Directions:

1. Boil lasagna noodles according to directions on the box, drain well and let cool a few minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, eggs, half of the grated Parmesan cheese, dried parsley, sea salt and ground black pepper.

3. To assemble, in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish, evenly spread 3/4 cup of the sauce mixture. Place a layer of lasagna noodles.

4.  Use half of the cheese mixture and spread evenly. Add 1/4 cup sauce on top. . Repeat layers twice. Top with 3 noodles, remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree  oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Get My New Children’s Storybook, “Mr. C. Takes Manhattan”  from Mascot Books and Amazon.

Italian Baked Clams

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ngredients:
3 (6 oz.) cans of minced clams in juice
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 tsp. oregano (fresh preferred)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbs. parmesan cheese
2 tbs. of olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
2. Using premade (aluminum) clam shells, stuff each one. Depending on how much you stuff each one, you will need about 12 clam shells.
3. On a baking tray, put stuffed clam shells.
4. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes or until tops of clams are slightly crispy.
Serve with lemon.

 

 

Dark Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

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Ingredients:
4 tbs. espresso powder
1 tbs. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs ( beaten )
1 lb. dark chocolate (chopped) * a good brand
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Mix espresso powder and vanilla extract.
2. In a large bowl, add sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add eggs and espresso and vanilla to flour. Mix well.
4. Cut dough in half. Shape each half into a 2 1/2-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-tall log.
5. Put parchment paper on a baking pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until dough is firm.
6. Let cool for about 25 minutes.
7. With a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal
8. Put biscotti, cut side down, back on baking sheets. (use parchment aper)
9. Bake for another 15 minutes until biscotti is golden brown.
10. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 hours.
11. Melt dark chocolate. Dip one side of the biscotti and let dry on wax paper. (You can put them on a pan and in the freezer for five minutes for chocolate to dry faster.)
*Keep in a sealed container.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Walnut Nutella Cookies

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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

6 oz. dark chocolate morsels (get a good brand)

3/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

sea salt (optional)

1 jar of chocolate Nutella

confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put parchment paper on baking pans.

2. In a bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, brown sugar and butter. Beat until creamy.

3. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

4. Slowly beat in dry ingredients into egg mixture.

5. Add chocolate and walnuts. Stir it in with a wooden spoon gently. Make sure it is well blended.

6. Use a heaping tablespoon and place on baking pan. (about 2 inches apart)

7. Optional: Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of each cookie.

8. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. If you made larger cookie bake about 15-16 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if they’re baked.

*Makes about 2 dozen if you use a tbsp. for each cookie. *12 cookie sandwiches

9. Let cookies cool. When cooled, spread Nutella on the inside of each cookie. Put two cookies together to form a cookie sandwich,

10. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. (powdered sugar)

My new children’s picture book “Mr. C. Takes Manhattan” debuts this Fall. A fun filled factual story about the many wonderful places to see and visit in Manhattan, New York.