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One-Skillet Braised Chicken with Tomato-Coconut Broth

We were inspired to try our spin on this one-skillet braised chicken dish from the moment we peeped our (salivating!) eyeballs on Colu Henry’s recently featured recipe in NY Times Cooking.  Being an Italian/Indian household, this sublime (and easy!) one-skillet meal hit all the “YES PLEASE!” marks at our blended dining table!  We’ve adapted it here, using our Due Cellucci Traditional Sauce and other changes.  We think you’ll love it as much as we did!

• 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, at room temperature
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 2 tablespoons of quality coconut oil (olive oil is great too!)
• 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
• 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 (2-inch) nob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes (*we added a full teaspoon for extra hot!)
• 1 jar of our Due Cellucci Traditional Sauce (Arrabbiata or Tomato Basil Great too)
• 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
• 10-20 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
• Steamed Basmati rice, for serving
• 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped cilantro or basil
• Fresh limes, quartered, for serving

1. Pat chicken thighs dry, season with salt and pepper. In a deep large skillet or cast iron, heat oil over medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until nicely browned – 5 to 6 minutes. You can check to make sure you’re not burning the skin side after about 2-3 minutes into the searing.  Turn and brown the other side, 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Turn heat to medium-low, add the red onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with some salt and pepper.

3. Add in one jar of your preferred Due Cellucci sauce (we used Traditional) and add in the can of coconut milk.  Stir all until combined, scraping along bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.  Place chicken thighs back into the skillet along with any juices that have accumulated, skin-side up. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Sprinkle in the halved cherry tomatoes among the chicken thighs, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.  Taste for salt and pepper, adjust as needed.

5. Serve chicken on top of bowls of rice, spooning additional sauce all over.  Top with chopped cilantro or basil and squeezed lime, if you like.

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Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Red Chard

This warm and hearty soup (stew) cuts right to the bone (in the best way!) on a cold winter’s night — a one-pot complete meal with loads of legumes and vegetables packed in!  You could easily make it vegetarian by skipping the sausage and chicken broth.  And too, you could veganize it by skipping the grated cheese at the end.

3-6 tablespoons of olive oil
2-4 large links (about 1 pound) of sweet or spicy Italian sausage
1 large brown onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced into half-moons or diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced (reserve about half to add toward the end of the cook)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 jar of our Due Cellucci sauce.  We like Tomato Basil or Arrabbiata for this recipe
6 cups of water or low-sodium chicken broth
1 entire bunch of red or rainbow chard, ribboned or chopped (keep the ribs!)
1/4 cup or more of chopped parsley for garnish
Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese to finish
Drizzle of fresh olive oil to finish (optional)


1. Heat some of the olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of a large pot, on medium-high heat.  When hot, add the sausage links and brown them all around.  Don’t worry about cooking them fully.  Once browned, reserve them to the side to cool.  Then slice the links into 1/2 coins or chop all into a chunky dice/crumble, depending on how you prefer them in the stew.

2. Add a little more olive oil to the pot, if needed, then the onion, celery, carrots, and about half the minced garlic.  Sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring throughout, just to lightly soften.

3. Add the rinsed and drained lentils, the bay leaves, and water or broth.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are about half way done, sort of al-dente, then you can add the jar of Due Cellucci sauce, some salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.

4. When the lentils are cooked, add in the rest of the minced garlic, the chopped chard and cook until the leaves and ribs are just tender, about 3-5 minutes more. Discard the bay leaves. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust as desired.

5. To finish, divide among bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with fresh Romano or Parm and chopped parsley.  Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.


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Tomato Basil Soup & Scrumptious Crunchy Grilled Cheese Sammie!

Have lunch (or dinner!) on the table in 5 minutes!

1 Jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce
1/2 cup Chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/4 cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Simmer Tomato Basil sauce and broth in medium stock pot over medium heat for 3-5 minutes (until hot).  Using a hand-held immersion blender (or conventional blender), purée the mixture until smooth.   If a creamy tomato soup is desired, add heavy cream and simmer about a minute more.  Makes about three 1-cup servings.

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Tomato-Braised Butter Bean Gratin (Fagioli Casserole!)

Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat them, the more…  you will fall madly and deeply in love with BEANS!!  We wanted to create a hearty fall casserole, replacing the usual pasta with something new, something hearty enough to be a meal in and of itself, and BEANS (Fagioli in Italian!) fit the bill – perfect for a rustic hearty casserole, specifically, a Butter Bean casserole!  (For a meaty version, see sausage add-in below.)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
1 large carrot (or 2 regular carrots), small diced
Salt & Pepper to taste (and red pepper flakes if desired!)
1-2 loose cups kale, well chopped, ribs removed (we used Lacinato kale)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white or red wine, (we used red)
1 Jar Due Cellucci Sauce – Traditional, Tomato Basil (or Arrabbiata for spicy)
4 cans of Butter Beans (rinsed and drained)
3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
3/4 cup of shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Fresh Basil or Parsley for garnish

NOTE: We love spicy food – but feel free to omit (or kick up) the cayenne or red peppers if desired.

OPTION:  For a MEATY VERSION, mix in 2-3 large Sweet or Spicy Italian sausage links, well chopped and sauté them along with the initial vegetables (Step 2 below)

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

1. Chop all vegetables.

2. In a deep sauté pan, braiser, or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high.  Add the onion, celery, and carrots.  Season with some of the salt and pepper.  Keep stirring and cooking until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes or more.  You want to build up some brown bits and flavor.

3. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck brown bits, then simmer until it disappears, about 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add the chopped kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until well collapsed, then add the tomato sauce and bring back to a simmer.

5. Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick, add up to 3/4 cup broth or water, 1/4 cup at a time.  Simmer the mixture together over medium/low for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.  *Keep in mind that the cheeses you add will impart some sodium too.

6. Turn off heat and mix in a little of the Parmesan and Mozzarella.  Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart casserole baking dish.

7. Sprinkle the top, first with mozzarella, then the Parmesan and Panko on top of that (mix these two together in a small bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil), and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper colour, you can run it under the broiler (Carefully!).  Garnish with chopped basil or parsley.


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Spicy Manhattan Clam Chowder

A friend recently made a hearty spicy chowder for a delicious dinner party – we loved it so much, we decided to adapt it in our own DC kinda’ way!

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb smoky bacon slices, diced (can also use pancetta)
4  carrots, peeled and medium diced (about 2 cups)
1  large onion, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
4  celery stalks, sliced into half-moons or diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
4-5  cloves garlic, finely minced
2  tsp dry oregano (fresh is great too!)
3  tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2  bay leaves
1  tsp cayenne pepper (or some red pepper flakes)
2  fresh large tomatoes, diced
2  medium-large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4  cans Bar Harbor chopped sea clams and juice (26 ounces) – or 28 ounces fresh chopped clams
2  8-ounce bottles of Bar Harbor clam juice (or any desired brand)
2  cups of water
1  jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil or Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce
2  large handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped – 1/2 added to final minutes of cook, rest added as a garnish at the table

(NOTE: We love spicy food – but feel free to omit (or kick up) the cayenne or red peppers if desired)

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add in olive oil, then add the diced bacon – cook a couple of minutes to render the bacon fat.

2. Add in all diced vegetables (except the potato) and sweat over medium-low heat until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

3. Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves, minced garlic, and cayenne – give a stir.

4) Add 1 jar of Due Cellucci sauce and all fresh diced tomatoes.  Give a good stir.

5) Add both jars of clam juice and 2 cups of water.  REDUCE heat, partially cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

6) Add the diced potatoes and handful of chopped parsley, and continue simmering another 10-15 minutes or so.

7) Season some with salt and pepper – rest can be added to taste toward end of cooking

8) Stir in all 4 cans of chopped clams and juice, and continue to simmer another 10 minutes

9) Serve hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh parsley for garnish, with a side of crackers or garlic bread

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Fresh Pasta Dough

Making fresh pasta at home is much easier than you would think. And it’s really fun to do!
To decide how much to make, our rule of thumb is 1 egg per 2 adults for a main course portion of pasta. If you want to make sure there are leftovers go with 1 egg per adult.

Ingredient ratio per egg:
1 egg
75g unbleached flour
25g semolina flour
pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
dash of oil (about 1/8 tsp)

Note: For 10 eggs use about a 1sp of salt and oil

1. Make a well in the center of the flour (you can prepare the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface). Sprinkle salt around the flour.

2. Add the eggs and oil to the center of the well.

3. Using a fork beat the egg, then start allowing the flour to fall into the well. Keep folding in flour until you have formed a sticky dough ball.

4. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic and even in color. It should not stick to your hands.

Note: To knead the dough, push down on the ball with the heel of your hand, then give the dough a quarter turn, fold it over onto itself and push away from you again with the heel of your hand. Continue until you achieve the desired consistency – this usually takes approximately 10 minutes.  If the dough seems too dry, sprinkle some water on top; if it seems to sticky, add a little flour.

5. Once you have finished kneading, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30minutes.

Tip: You can make the dough the day before and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature before you start rolling and cutting.


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Chana Masala

My mother-in-law makes one of my favorite versions of Chana Masala.  Using our sauces as a base for Indian cooking saves time because we’ve already spent hours simmering and building flavor. This is a quick and simple one-pot recipe that I know you will love!  

3 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil or grapeseed oil or whatever oil you have in a pinch!)
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, small chop
2-3 fresh serrano peppers, finely minced with seeds (or no seeds if you don’t want it too spicy!)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp. Garam Masala spice.
1 jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil or Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2+ tbsp lemon juice
1/2-1 tsp sea salt (a few cranks on the grinder if you’re using coarse salt)

(NOTE: We love spicy food! As is this dish is pretty spicy. If you would like less heat do not use the seeds with the serrano peppers and or reduce the number of peppers you use.

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, onion, cumin, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and green chilies. Cook for a minute and then add coriander, chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala and stir to coat. Add a little more if the pan is looking too dry. Cook for another minute.

2. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and salt. Rinse the Due Cellucci jar with a little water to get all the yummy sauce off the side and add to the pot.

3. Increase heat to medium-high until it reaches a rolling simmer, then reduce heat to low or medium-low and maintain a simmer (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.

4) When thickened, taste and adjust any seasoning to your liking.

5) Remove from heat and add lemon juice and cilantro. Stir to mix, then let cool slightly before serving.

Serve garnished with chopped cilantro on top of rice with warm Naan bread. Enjoy!

This dish freezes well.

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Grilled Eggplant Ragu

We love the idea of mixing fresh ingredients, like eggplant, with our tomato sauces.  This eggplant ragu is great for fall. We love using parpadelle but any long pasta will do.

1 jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce (or Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce)
3 small/medium eggplants (or 2 large), cut in half lengthwise
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 large onion well minced
4 Roma tomatoes OR 6 Campari tomatoes
2-3 tbsp of olive oil (plus another 2-3 Tbsp to finish dish)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Fresh Basil – a handful or more of torn basil
Grated parmigiano, for finish if desired
1lb long pasta of choice (parpadelle, fettucine, spaghetti, etc)

1) Brush both sides of Eggplant with olive oil.  Using stovetop grill pan, grill both sides of all eggplant to a nice golden brown (don’t burn). Turn off flame and cover with lid and let finish in steam (for maybe 10 minutes… while your chopping and prepping other ingredients). Dice eggplant and set aside.

2) In large sauté pan, heat oil on medium/high heat.  Add minced onion to oil, cook to translucent (not brown so stir often).

3) Lower heat and add minced garlic. Cook for a minute just until fragrant.

4) Add in diced tomatoes, stir on low. Add in diced eggplant. Stir well for a minute or 2 and then add in one jar of Due Cellucci Tomato Basil. Season with salt/pepper (to taste), Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes. Simmer on Low for about 5 mins.

5) Remove from heat, add in basil and finish with a couple of glugs of olive oil (a glug is about a tbsp so maybe 2-3 tbsp)

6) Stir well and mix in cooked pasta of choice.

7) Plate and sprinkle with grated parmigiano and serve!

Optional.  Add cooked sausage to the dish at step 5.  We liked the idea of a cooked crumbled sausage (the insides without the casings)


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Chicken Cacciatore – Hunter’s Stew

Northern Italian “Hunter’s Stew” or Chicken Cacciatore (*with mushrooms added and finished with a little red wine, for optional yum!)

2-3 lbs of chicken: about 8 large chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless) or a mix of thighs and legs.  (your choice skin or skinless)
3-4 tbsp olive oil.
1 large brown onion, small diced.
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced.
1 each red and orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ long slices.
2-3 medium sprigs of fresh Rosemary, destemmed and chopped.  About 2-3 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
1-2 bay leaves.
1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock.
1 to 2 cups good dry white wine.
1 jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce
3 tbsp of tomato paste
1 package of mushrooms, sliced. (*optional)
3/4 cup of a deep red wine. (*optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste.
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley, some for finishing the dish while cooking and some for garnishing at table.
Prepare polenta, spaghetti or mashed potatoes for serving.

1. Heat about 2 tbsp of the oil in large sauté pan or dutch oven, medium heat,
2. Salt and pepper the chicken, then brown all pieces, turning as needed (let protein sit until it comes away from pan without tearing), about 4 minutes each side, to a golden brown.  Does not have to be cooked through yet.  Remove chicken and set aside.
3. Add rest of oil and saute the diced onions and sliced peppers until softened, about 5-6 minutes, add in garlic and continue stirring and softening for about 1-3 minutes more.
4. Return chicken and any juices to the pan.
5. Add wine and cook until alcohol evaporates, about 5 minutes, stirring and turning chicken occasionally.
6. Add entire jar of DC sauce, tomato paste, chopped rosemary, bay leaves, and half of the chopped parsley.  Stir well, simmer on medium-low, occasionally turning chicken as needed.
7. As sauce starts to reduce a bit, slowly add in chicken stock in intervals, about a 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue simmering and adding the rest of stock.
8. Cover and simmer on low for an hour or longer.  If you chose to use a dutch oven, feel free to transfer covered pot to hot oven and cook at 350 for an hour or longer.  Either way, check dish as needed and stir occasionally, turning chicken pieces in the sauce.

*At stage 8, I personally prefer to add a large package of brown mushroom, sliced. Crimini or Baby Bella mushrooms work great, and continue slow cooking with the addition of about 3/4 cup of a nice deep red wine!

Taste sauce for richness and flavor.  Adjust as needed with salt & pepper, additional sprigs of rosemary, any preferred seasoning, a thread or more of additonal olive oil.  Serve hot over polenta, spaghetti or mashed potatoes.