Roast Filet Mignon

For a holiday gathering or a comforting winter dinner with the people you love; whole roasted beef tenderloin is the perfect centerpiece.



1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (5 to 10 pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and rub all over the meat. Let the meat marinate for about an hour. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade, pat it dry (removing excess moisture but allowing the seasonings to adhere) and transfer to a warm roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, then check temperature with a meat thermometer; 125 degrees is medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. Serve with your favorite sauces and side dishes. As pictured, I cut the filet into 1/2 inch thick slices and served it with roasted potatoes and arugula salad. Enjoy!

Minestrone with Pesto

Forget the diner cliché; this hearty soup deserves respect!

Minestra is Italian for thick soup and minestrone is a large or rich minestra.

There is no rule for making minestrone. The only secret…fresh vegetables.


Cauliflower, turnips, carrots and other fresh vegetables may be used in place of or in addition to the ingredients called for.

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 lb. swiss chard
1/4 lb. spinach
2 small zucchini
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
2 japanese eggplants, peeled and diced
2 cups tubetti pasta
2 cups cooked white beans
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Pesto:
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. grated parmigianno-reggiano

  1. Soak mushrooms in 2 cups warm water until soft. Remove, rinse, chop and set aside. Pour mushroom water through a coffee filter and set aside. Wash chard and spinach. Trim and discard stalks from chard and stems from spinach. Chop leaves.
  2. Bring mushroom water and 6 cups salted water to boil in a large pot. Add mushrooms, chard, spinach, zucchini, potatoes, eggplant and olive oil. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  3. For pesto, pulse pine nuts and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add garlic and basil and drizzle in olive oil. Add parmiggiano-reggiano and process into a smooth paste.
  4. Add pasta to soup. Cook pasta for about 10 minutes; add beans and cook 5 minutes longer. Stir in 2 tbsp. pesto, reserving the rest for another use, and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with additional grated parmiggiano-reggiano.


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Maiale Umido – Stewed Pork

I love a good snow stormand a delicious stew! I don’t think I’ve ever made two stews exactly the same (sort of like snowflakes), but the tasty and comforting results have always been consistent.

This Pork Stew requires minimal effort and is uniquely flavored with paprika, caraway seeds and marjoram.


Take some pork butt and cut it into large stew pieces. Alternately, you could buy the pre-cut pork stew meat. Season and brown the pork meat in a large hot pan coated with olive oil.

Finely chop some celery, carrots and onions and add it to the pork. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Season with paprika and caraway seeds.

Add tomato paste or some crushed tomatoes. Add whole sprigs of fresh marjoram and rosemary and cover everything with fresh meat stock and a bottle of red wine. Cover and simmer for almost 2 hours.
Taste, season and serve!



  • This stew works well with homemade potato gnocchi. The lighter Ricotta Gnocchi are too delicate for this rich sauce.
  • If serving over pasta, you can remove the pork pieces, purée the sauce and then return the pork to the sauce.
  • You can make this stew even heartier by adding whole baby potatoes or by cutting your vegetables into larger chunks.

Osso Buco

I could not imagine winter passing without the smell of Osso Buco permeating my house at least a few times during the season. Osso Buco is Italian for “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole) and refers to the bone and marrow of the shank. When the best milk-fed veal is used and it is properly cooked, the resulting  osso buco will be extremely tender, falling away from the bone.

The most well-known preparation is  Osso Buco all Milanese where the shanks are served with a saffron risotto that has been cooked with some of the marrow. There are, however, endless ways to cook your osso buco and just as many delicious accompaniments. This version is the easiest you will find.

Flour, Olive Oil, White Wine, Garlic, Carrots, Mushrooms, Onions
Chicken Stock, Veal Shanks, Rosemary, Thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly dust the veal shanks with flour, salt and pepper. In a hot pan large enough to hold the shanks and vegetables, add some olive oil. Add the veal and brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.

In the same pan cook the garlic, onions, carrots and mushrooms over medium heat. Add more olive oil as needed and cook until the onions begin to soften. Add the veal shanks and a few cups of wine. Turn up the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat and season with salt and pepper. Top with the fresh herbs.

Cover the pan, put in the oven, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

Remove the pan from the oven, take out the veal shanks and scoop the marrow out of the bones. Add the marrow to the sauce and simmer to reduce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve the sauce on top of the shanks.

The marrow may also be left in the bone and enjoyed at the table with crusty bread or it can be added to risotto as in the classic Risotto Milanese.

Some chefs insist on using white wine, while others say you must use red. I say, use what you like or what you have on hand. Red wine will give you that rich, burgundy-colored  sauce and white wine will produce a lighter, more elegant sauce. I do however, remember the first time I made osso buco with white wine and then enjoyed my meal with a Chardonnay…Not to be missed!

Other Great Serving Suggestions:

  • Remove the bones, cut up the meat and serve over pasta
  • Serve Osso Buco with your favorite potatoes
  • Add some cooked rice to the sauce just before serving
  • Legumes are always wonderful accompaniments

André Tchelistcheff is Alive and Well!

It is quite rare that we are offered the opportunity to taste a wine from our birth year. Tonight I had that privilege, and what an honor it was!

The 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Estate Bottled ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir from Napa Valley.
For those of you who are new to wine or new to tasting older vintages, wines are truly like people…The great ones really do get better with age!

First of all, this wine is a very rare bottle of BV Pinot Noir from the time when the Latour family still owned the winery and the great André Tchelistcheff still had his hand in the wine-making process; a man whom Robert Mondavi referred to as…”a fascinating man, brilliant, stimulating, creative – a catalyst for the world of wine.”…“I know of no one who has been more helpful to the industry.  His teachings and consultations internationally, without doubt, improved the quality of winemaking in our country. 

When we first opened the wine, I thought…”it’s dead…it’s done…past peak…what a shame”. But we decided to leave it in the glass to see what would happen. Well…she opened up and began to express herself in all her glory!

A truly elegant wine with notes of truffles, dark cherries and licorice. The sweet nose was addictive and the fruit showed surprisingly well for a wine this old. It had all the qualities that you would find in a great Barolo but without the tannic grip.

We enjoyed it with herb-roasted chicken, which always pairs well with older red wines.



Champagne Lallier Premier Cru Rosé Brut NV
Spicy Grilled Shrimp, White Beans & Smoked Bacon
Involtini of Eggplant, Ricotta & Pomodoro
Baked Clams

2004 Bouchard, Meursault Perriers
Fresh Linguine with Seafood, Garlic, Wine & Butter
Seafood Risotto

1968 Beaulieu Vineyard, ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir
1999 Luigi Einaudi, ‘Nei Cannubi’ Barolo

1998 Clinet, Pomerol
Herb Roasted Chicken, Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes