Monday, November 18, 2013

As the days get colder, SOUP is a great way to warm things up!

It has been a very busy and interesting end of summer and beginning of the fall season, and quickly moving into the holidays. I launched my new Pisconeri Private Chef service at the end of the summer to great success. I am now bringing my great food menu to families in the greater Atlanta area. My menus feature fresh, delicious and healthy prepared meals with in season and locally sourced ingredients. I have also prepared menus for my clients with dietary restrictions as well so they can enjoy the same great convenience and freshly prepared meals. If you are interested in my custom Private Chef meal services you can contact me at or by phone at 706-383-1045. I would love to discuss your meal needs and work out the details !

Colder weather is a great time to make home made soups for your family.  Here is one of my recipes for an authentic Italian favorite Tuscan Bean with Rosemary soup. Some hot crusty bread and a glass of robust red wine tops off this hearty meal.

 Tuscan Bean Soup with Rosemary

 Makes approximately 6-8 servings

 This is an authentic country Italian soup with the taste of pancetta, a wonderful Italian
 bacon, and rosemary. Any white bean can be used. Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini beans
 all work great.

 1 pound white beans sorted and washed
 6 cups vegetable
 1 cup onion, diced
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 ½ cup celery, diced
 ½ cup carrots, diced
 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
 ¼ pound pancetta (Italian bacon) diced. Bacon can be substituted for pancetta (optional)
 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (about ½ to 1 tsp. to taste)
 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
 Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
 Freshly ground black pepper
 Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and finely minced rosemary


 Soak the beans overnight, or boil for 2 minutes and cover for one hour. Drain.

 Place the beans in a large stockpot.  Add stock, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and pancetta
 (you can brown the diced pancetta first if you like). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low simmer. Cook
 until the beans are tender (about 2 hours). When the beans are fully cooked add the tomatoes and

 Simmer for another 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 Makes approximately 6-8 servings

Monday, July 15, 2013

Oven Roasted Beet and Pear Salad with Goat Cheese and Dijon Vinaigrette

Roasting whole fresh beets in the oven is the easiest and most flavorful way to cook this colorful root vegetable. Because the beets are not cooked in water, they retain all of their flavor and especially their deep magenta color. This cooking technique works well with all varieties of beets.

Buy firm fresh medium to large size beets that have their root and stems intact. Make sure they are fresh and free from mold or slimy surface. Wash the beets and scrub off any dirt. Trim stems to about 1 inch away from the beet root. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and roast in a preheated 375 – 400 degree oven for about 90 minutes. You can test to see if the beets are cooked through by piercing them with a knife.

Let the beets cook in the tightly wrapped foil. Then when they are cook the peel will slip off the beet easily. Then trim the root and stem off and you have perfectly roasted beets.

Watch the surface, clothing…etc. that you are using to prepare these beets as they will stain whatever they touch. Remember the color has not been washed out by cooking in water.


3 to 4 medium fresh beets (stems and root intact) *Note: If the stems and leaves are fresh and in perfect condition they can be sautéed and prepared as a great side dish of greens.
2 Ripe Pears (d’anjou or bartlet) add a little lemon juice to the pears to keep them from turning brown
4 oz. Goat Cheese or Chevre
2oz. Toasted Walnuts
¼ cup Basic Dijon Vinaigrette
Fleur de Sel or Kosher Salt and Freshly Crack Balck Pepper to taste


Slice roasted beets into julienne strips. Slice the pears into julienne the same size and layer both on your salad plate.
Crumble goat cheese over the beet and pear mixture.
Toast the walnuts just until they are fragrant and nutty. Crumble over the top of the salad.
Dress salad with the Dijon Vinaigrette and serve.
Makes 2 dinner servings or 4 side salad servings.

 Served with a cherry tomato salad and roasted Brussels spouts.

Basic Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
Kosher salt and ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper), to taste

Combine the mustard and vinegar in a glass or stainless steel bowl and whisk them together briefly.
Place the mustard-vinegar mixture along with the oil, honey and seasonings in a blender and mix for about 10 seconds or until fully combined.
Transfer to a glass bowl and let stand for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.

Makes 1 cup of dressing.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zucchini Noodles with Thai Chili Coconut Sauce

 Here is a fresh, raw, delicious Thai Zucchini Noodle recipe that makes a great main course or a fantastic side dish. The fresh Chili Coconut Sauce gives the freshly shredded vegetable noodles an authentic Thai taste. Spicy, coconut, pea-nutty flavor with some heat from a habanero or Thai chili pepper.




1/2 cup young coconut meat
2 Tbsp. raw coconut butter
1 habanero or Thai chili, seeds removed
2 Tbsp. raw peanut butter or almond butter
Coconut water as needed (or filtered water)
1 small 1/2 inch piece ginger
1 clove garlic
Sea salt to taste
Juice and zest of a small organic lime

4 small zucchini cut julienne or spiralized
1 bell pepper, cut julienne
1 medium carrot, cut julienne
1/4 cup finely shredded dried coconut plus more for sprinkling
1) In a blender, combine the sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
2) In a large bowl, combine the sauce with the zucchini and bell pepper, carrot and 1/4 cup coconut and toss to coat.
3) Place on two plates and sprinkle with additional coconut.  Serve!

You can purchase an Asian vegetable spiralizer at your local Asian grocery store, farmers market, or online. This model is the Cook Help vegetable spiralizer from William Sonoma. You can also get them at Sur La Table online for $59.95. There are other less expensive models that achieve the same shredded noodles. Just look online.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quick ways to get in touch with Chef Tony Pisconeri

My Email:
My Food Blog:
My Twitter: @piscochef
Phone Mail: 706-383-1045

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Drying Herbs the Italian Way

Many people ask me about my dried herbs and how I get them so dry, but retain the green color and vibrant flavor. Well…I use the Old Italian method that I learned from my grandmother when I was a young child. If you went to her house and looked in the basement you would see sheets of newspaper laid out all over the place, and on it you would find basil drying. The basement smelled amazing of the pungent basil.

Drying herbs is easy. Harvest the herbs in the morning when they are fresh and dry of any water or dew. Pick the leaves off the stalks and lay them out in a single layer on sheets of plain old newspaper that has been placed on a tray. Then put the trays in a dry place out of direct sunlight and wait for the herbs to dry. The newspaper may not be popular to read any more but it is fantastic for drawing out the moisture in the herbs. Make sure that the paper is clean and dirt free, of course.

It can take a couple of days or a couple weeks for your herbs to dry depending on the moisture level of the herbs and the humidity level or you house/drying area. Make sure that the herbs are completely dried and no moisture is present. If they are not completely dry let them dry some more. They will mold if they are stored with any moisture in them.

When the herbs are dry you can crush them or cut them up and store in air tight containers. I use Mason jars for my herbs. Grandma used a Mason jar with a sheet of waxed paper and a rubber band for the lid. Good old Italian ingenuity.

Get out there and dry some herbs. This is a great way to preserve your harvest and not waste what you have grown. Also you will have delicious herbs throughout the year to use in your recipes.