Italian Heritage Month — Ahhh, the Pastabilities

This year, we’re tackling our tailgating menu with a little style, including some easy, slightly elegant appetizers to feed your foodie-fan appetite — a little something extra to mix the game up a bit!

We’ll take any excuse to celebrate Italian food, and what could be better than an entire month dedicated to showcasing one of the finest European cuisines ever? With a deliciously rich history of simplicity and nuance, the Italian menu brings us bright flavors, savory cheeses, exquisite desserts and hearty entrées.

From pastas and sauces to olive oils and cheese, we bring you the very best of Italian food and recipes from our own Chef Janice, a tribute to the Italian Table — Mangia Italiano!

Italian Beef

Compliments of Chef Janice Kirich

Prep Time: 10 min.

Cook Time: 1-1½ hrs.

Serves: 16

  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lbs. Nature’s Basket roast
  • 1½ cups DeLallo Giardiniera mix, hot or regular
  • 2 cups Nature’s Basket beef broth
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 16 pieces (6-inch each) crusty Italian or French bread, split
  • Horseradish sauce (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place all ingredients, except bread, in a large roasting pan.

Cover and cook in oven, until tender and meat thermometer registers 145°F. Allow 20-25 minutes per pound.

Remove roast from the liquid (reserve braising liquid) and slice across the grain into very thin slices. Add sliced beef to back to the braising liquid; cover and heat through.

Serve beef on crusty bread with horseradish sauce.

Chicken Francese

Compliments of Chef Janice Kirich

Prep Time: 20 min.

Chill Time: 20 min.

Serves: 4

  • 4 Nature’s Basket boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 2 large egg, beaten with 3 Tbsp. of water
  • ¼ cup Market District extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, ½ thinly sliced with rind & ½ zested and juiced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley (garnish)

Put a chicken breast between a folded piece of plastic wrap. Pound the chicken flat with a flat meat mallet until it is ¼-inch thick. Repeat with remaining breasts.

Mix flour, salt and lemon pepper in shallow platter; set aside.

Place beaten eggs and water in a large bowl; set aside.

Preheat oven to 325°F and have a deep baking pan available.

In large skillet, heat olive oil until medium high.

Dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely.

Place in skillet and brown on both sides for 2 minutes each. Remove to deep baking pan and keep in oven while completing the rest of the chicken. Finish chicken in oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, approximately 10 minutes.

When chicken is almost done, toss the lemon slices into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, add wine, broth and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken sauce. Finish by whisking in butter.

Pour sauce over chicken in oven and sprinkle the parsley to garnish before serving.

Prosciutto e Melone (Melon Wrapped in Prosciutto)

The ultimate Italian appetizer made with prosciutto di Parma.

Makes: 36

Prep Time: 30 min.

Serves: 12 as an appetizer

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • ½ lb. thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
  • 36 small mint sprigs
  • Market District balsamic vinegar

Cut cantaloupe in half and remove seeds.

Scoop melon into balls.

Slice prosciutto into strips small enough to wrap around a melon ball once.

Wrap a prosciutto strip around each melon ball, seal with a mint sprig.

Place on serving tray. Right before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.