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Recent Chef on a Shoestring Recipes

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Q. Where do I find the recipe for the dessert and salad made on a recent broadcast of Cooking on a Shoestring?

A. The Chef on a Shoestring series, which takes a prominent chef and gives him or her a whopping $30 to produce a three-course meal for four in front of the camera, is a regular feature of The Early Show on Saturday mornings on the CBS network. The series has already spawned one book.

The recipes are available online. The Early Show staff doesn't appear to be doing a great a job of keeping up their recipe archive, making it a little difficult to find current recipes by the date of broadcast. (Perhaps they're getting ready to produce a new book and would rather you wait for the book rather than download all the recipes directly (for free).) But with a little digging, you can find the recipes you want.

Your recipes were prepared by Nick Stellino, host of a number of cooking shows that have run on public television and author of many cookbooks, including Nick Stellino's Passione: Pasta, Pizza, and Panini (Canada, UK), Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen (Canada, UK), and Nick Stellino's Glorious Italian Cooking (Canada, UK). From his $30, Stellino made Salad with Tuna and Cannellini, Summertime Pasta, and Baked Ice-Cream Pie with Strawberries or Torta Gelato al Forno.

You can also have the Chef on a Shoestring recipes mailed to you, by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
Chef on a Shoestring
6960 Eastgate Blvd.
Lebanon, TN 37090

Salad with Tuna and Cannellini


6 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
1 six-oz. can of water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
2 15-ounce cans Cannellini (great northern) beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
1-1/2 cups Roma (pear) tomatoes, or firm tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of iceberg lettuce


Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together, adding white pepper, salt, and oregano. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for the lettuce. Toss with the dressing, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and chill for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Remove from refrigerator and serve the dish chilled rather than ice cold. Serve over a bed of chopped iceberg lettuce.

1/2 cup chopped, pitted Greek or Sicilian black olives would be another flavorful addition to this recipe.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 people

Summertime Pasta

Sauce Ingredients:

One 28-oz. can of Italian-style peeled tomatoes, drained, chopped and juices reserved
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Additional Ingredients:
1 lb. pound of Penne Rigate Pasta
6 Tbsp grated Romano cheese.


Mix thoroughly all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain it well. Pour it into the bowl with the sauce; stir well to coat the pasta, add the cheese and serve. Can be served at room temperature.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Baked Ice-Cream Pie with Strawberries or Torta Gelato al Forno


1 (16-ounce) frozen Pound Cake
6 Tbsp of Cassis liqueur (optional)
1 quart strawberry or vanilla ice-cream
1-1/2 cups of fresh quartered strawberries, or any berries of your choice
3 egg whites
4 Tbsp of sugar


Marinate the strawberries for 30 minutes with the Cassis and 1 tablespoon of sugar. At the same time, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for 1/2 hour. Strain the strawberries and reserve the marinade.

Eight hours before serving, or preferably the day ahead, pour the softened ice cream in a large bowl and fold in the drained strawberries. If the ice cream is still too hard, let is soften some more until it becomes easier to mix with the strawberries.

Line a loaf pan, approximately 9" x 5" x 3-1/2" or slightly bigger, with plastic wrap, leaving about 3 inches overhanging on all sides. Cut the pound cake in half, then in 1/4-inch slices by length. Lay them on a baking sheet or cutting board and brush them with the reserved marinade.

Line the inside of the loaf pan at the bottom and on the sides with the slices of pound cake, pushing down to mold them to the shape of the pan. Do not worry about tears; they can be easily patched by pressing over them with smaller pieces of cake, cut out for this purpose. Pour the softened ice-cream halfway into the pan. Cover with one layer of cake slices. Pour the rest of the ice cream up to about 1 inch from the top. Save any leftover ice cream for other uses. Cover the ice cream with one more layer of cake slices. Fold the plastic wrap over the cake and place the pan in the freezer, to harden.

Just before serving preheat the oven to 450F (235C). Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the remaining sugar and beat until the egg whites start to turn into the consistency of meringue with stiff peaks and a shiny gloss, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag equipped with a star tip. Take the cake from the freezer. Remove it from mold onto an oven-proof serving dish, peel off all of the plastic wrap. Pipe the meringue over the entire cake surface. Bake in the oven until the top of the meringue peaks start to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 6-8

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