Chicken Pizza

January 28, 2012 Joe Sammartino, Menu No Comments

A few weeks back, Una Mamma Italiana and I hosted our first Food Challenge of 2012. We each brought to the table a dish that included a spirit/liqueur as an ingredient (Una Mamma going with Sambuca Shrimp, and I going with Tequila Lime Chicken Bites). We asked you to let us know which ingredient – tequila or sambuca – you would prefer to cook with. Now that the voting polls have closed on both of our sites, the results are in and it appears that both spirits are preferred almost equally! Regardless of which spirit, if any, you are partial to, I encourage you to try both of our recipes…you won’t be disappointed! You can click here to view both recipes.

And now I would like to take this time to introduce you to a friend of mine who will also be contributing occasionally to Cucina Domenico. Joe Sammartino is a certified personal trainer and a nutrition consultant, and is also the owner of Blue Steel Fitness. Joe takes pride in focusing on healthy attitude and lifestyle, and training his clients to better understand proper fitness and nutrition. Joe will be checking in every few weeks to share nutritional recipes with us! You can click here for Joe’s profile and special promotions that are offered! Also, be sure to visit his own web site,  

This week, Joe is sharing with us a recipe for home made chicken pizza. Take it away, Joe!

Courtesy of Joe Sammartino 

Here is a quick homemade pizza that people can make in order to eat what they like but with fresh ingredients instead of getting it from a fast service pizza joint. This pizza is great for anyone who is on a healthy nutrition plan because it has a good amount of protein, veggies, chicken, and is on a whole wheat pita bread. Plus it is homemade…can’t get any better.

I have tried it and it is good! Give it a try.


6 oz of cooked diced chicken breast
2 Tbsp of a good spaghetti sauce. ( you can use more if you desier but it is about the chicken and the veggies more than the sauce)
1/3 cup of low fat mozzarella cheese( shredded )
1 whole wheat pita bread
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste


Spread spaghetti sauce on one side of pita bread.

Top then with cooked chicken and veggies.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, salt, and pepper.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees  for 15 minutes or until pita bread is crusty.

** A Tip: When the pizza is nearly done, turn it to broil and watch it carefully as the cheese turns to a golden brown just like the real thing.

Nutrition Facts per serving:
• Cal 410
• protein 44g
• carbs 36g
• fat 10g



Asparagus Crab Risotto

January 19, 2012 Entrees, Menu No Comments

The cold winter air is finally settling in, which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. Soups, stews and chili always make for a great comfort food this time of year. But one of my favorite dishes to make during the winter months is risotto. Accented with anything from herbs and wine, to fish and vegetables, a creamy bowl of risotto is as much of a treat as it is a meal.

Grant it, making risotto successfully can be a bit intimidating to some. While you are only looking at about a half an hour or so of cooking, it’s non-stop dedication and focus that makes for the perfect consistency. Once you get past the constant ‘ladle/stir/ladle/stir’ rhythm, it’s well worth the effort.

This week I’m sharing with you two simple ingredients that will raise a standard risotto dish to a whole new, tasty level. By simply adding chopped asparagus and one can of lump crab meat,  you will have a risotto dish that you will not forget.


1lb fresh asparagus
3 tbspn plus 1 tspn butter
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (Chardonnay works well)
3-1/2 cups broth or stock (your preference of chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 small can lump crabmeat
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Prepare Asparagus

In a large sauce pan, bring a quart of water to a boil. Remove about 1-inch off of the tough end of the asparagus spear.

Place the asparagus into the boiling water, blanche for 2-3 minutes.

Remove asparagus from water and immediately place into a bowl of ice water to shock it (meaning to immediately stop the cooking process, yet keeping the vibrant green color).

Remove asparagus from ice water, pat dry, cut into 1-inch pieces, set aside.

Step 2: Prepare Risotto
The object of preparing risotto is to create a creamy texture by ladling simmering broth/stock over the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed, then repeating the ladling/stirring process until you run out of broth.

In a medium sauce pan, bring broth/stock to a simmer (not a boil).

In a large sauce pan, heat 3 tbspn butter over medium heat.

Add chopped shallots, cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add rice, toss until well coated.

Add the wine, stirring to allow rice to get fully coated. Once wine is absorbed, start to ladle in the broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir the rice constantly to avoid sticking. Once broth is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of broth. Continue to add broth in 1/2 cup increments once absorbed, and continue to stir rice. This will take a total of about 15-20 minutes.

Once all the broth/stock is added and stirred, remove pot from heat. Add the remaining tspn of butter, grated parmesan cheese, chopped asparagus and lump crabmeat. Gently stir, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


The Mamma Meets the Cucina: COOKING WITH SPIRITS!

So the holidays have come and gone and our liquor cabinets are pretty much cleaned out. But don’t write off those nearly empty bottles yet! With less than a cup of some of the most common spirits, you can have an awesome meal on the table with a huge wow factor. And the Mamma & the Cucina are battling again to show you just how to do it!

Be sure to let us know which spirit YOU prefer to cook with by using our voting poll below. MANGIA!!


Sambuca is one of the liquors I remember from my childhood. After dinner my parents and grandparents would have a small glass over ice, or even put some in their coffee. I, personally, never liked the stuff, but I find that the naturally sweet flavor really enhances savory dishes for a sweet & salty effect! Sambuca is often used in cooking with prawns or lamb, but I went with shrimp. So myfood-blogging brain did a little talking with my Italian stomach and I invented the following recipe:


12 shrimp, trimmed & deveined
1 TB olive oil
4 TB butter
3 TB minced shallots
juice of one small lemon
1/4 cup Sambuca
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste

Saute the shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter until transparent. (You want to sweat the shallots, meaning you cook them without any color or browning). Add in the shrimp and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and plenty of crushed red pepper. Cook for about 1 minute on each side. Remove the shrimp. Add the sambuca and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.

Then add the lemon juice and the remaining TB of butter and simmer lightly until you get kind of a thin glaze. Then, throw the shrimp back in and toss it all together. Turn the heat off (you do not want to overcook the shrimp,a s the heat alone will finish the cooking process). Serve immediately over rice pilaf, or alongside roasted veggies. I served mine with brown rice since we are trying to keep that New Year’s resolution of eating healthy!


Of all the liquors that I keep stored in my house (and aside from a variety of rums, there aren’t many others), tequila seems to be the least used. Just a nice margarita on Cinco de Mayo and maybe a grill-out or two is all the time that I usually have for tequila. Yes…my Cuervo ‘shot’ days are way behind me. So when I started to plan for our Cooking with Spirits post, I figured it would be a good time to dust off the tequila bottle and put it to some good use!

This recipe is very simple and only uses a handful of ingredients. The the tequila lime marinade leaves a refreshing, zesty flavor that, although screams for a summer grill-out, can be enjoyed all year round and makes for a terrific party appetizer.


6 uncooked skinless chicken tenders, cut into 2″ pieces
1/3 cup silver/white tequila
juice of 4 limes, plus zest of 1 lime
1 tspn honey
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 tblspn butter

Whisk together the tequila, lime juice, lime zest, honey and cilantro. Place the cut chicken pieces into tequila mixture, let sit in fridge for at least two hours (a plastic baggie works well for this).

Remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade. Quarter each piece of the prosciutto (adjust size accordingly to fit around each chicken strip). Wrap each chicken strip with one piece of the prosciutto and secure with a toothpick.

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Place the prosciutto wrapped chicken in pan, cooking the chicken evenly on each side, until chicken is fully browned and prosciutto is slightly crisp.


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