Calabrese Cheesy Chips



Thank you to Albert Vetere Lannon in Picture Rocks, Arizona for this delicious recipe & picture!

Arrange several handfuls of Southern Heat Sweet BBQ Potato Chips* on a microwaveable plate.  With spoon and finger drizzle and spread 2 to 3 spoonfuls (depending on desired heat) of Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread over the chips.  Drop a layer of Italian shredded cheese (Asiago, Provolone, Parmesan, Mozzarella) on top and microwave on high one minute.  Serve with plenty of napkins and eat with your fingers for lunch or snacks.  Yumalicious!

*Ok to use any of your favorite BBQ Potato Chips for this recipe.

Chicken Cacciatore Formato Brothers Style

Thanks to our wonderfully talented friend, Gary Marino, here’s a new version of Chicken Cacciatore, Formato Brothers Style

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup of Kalamata Olives
  • 1 Bottle of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Formato Brothers Hot Giardiniera


In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl as they are done.

Remove the skin from the chicken, pour the fat off from the pan and discard.  (Short cut:  buy precooked chicken, remove the skin and cut it up.)


Turn the heat down to medium then add chopped garlic and cook until the garlic begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low.

Add one bottle of tomato sauce

Add 1/2 cup Formato Brothers Hot Giardiniera

Add ¼ cup of Kalamata Olives

Stir and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.

Stir and simmer for 30 minutes to allow chicken to be flavored by the sauce mixture.  OMG……….the flavor is amazing if stored overnight in your refrigerator.

This classic Italian dish must have hundreds of versions, all resulting in a rustic braise of chicken, aromatic herbs and spices. “Some like it hot” my version uses Formato Brothers Hot Giardiniera as the heat and flavor component.  If you prefer a milder sauce then I suggest using Formato Brothers Muffuletta as the flavor enhancer.


Gary Marino, Formato Friend & Chef Extraordinaire

Spicy Muffuletta & Pepper Jack Cheese Bread

Bread 2 smaller sizeNot like I need a reason to enjoy baking / eating bread; however, now that Fall is almost upon us, I’m going to use that as my excuse. I love that freshly-baked-warm-bread dipped in olive oil & balsamic vinegar any time of the year, but it seems especially extraordinary in the Fall months. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the cozy feeling snuggled up to the warm kitchen. There are many bread recipes floating around out there, but this is what I’ve found works the best.


  • 4 packets regular active dry yeast (or if you’re like me and have bought the small jar of yeast, it’s 9 tsps)
  • 1 C warm water (~110°)
  • 1 C warm milk (~110°)
  • 4 C Bread or All Purpose Flour
  • 1 C drained & chopped Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta
  • 1 C cubed spicy pepper jack cheese
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 T reserved Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta oil
  • 1 tsp sugar


Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.  If you have a mixer with a hook attachment, you can use that.  If not, just use a large bowl and you will mix with your hands.  Mix/stir in milk, 4 C of flour, salt, drained & chopped Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta, 1T Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta reserved oil, cubed cheese, & sugar.  Add extra flour as needed to make sure dough is not sticky.  If using the mixer, dough is ready after adding enough flour that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is completely wrapped around the hook attachment (~6 min).  If kneading by hand, add enough flour so dough is springy and not sticky (~8 min).



Use the extra 1 T Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta reserved oil to lightly grease a separate bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubles (~45 min).




Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Gently push first into dough to deflate and pat dough into 14X10” rectangle on lightly floured surface.  Roll up tightly, beginning at 10-in side.  Place seam side down on cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise in warm place (~30min).


Heat oven to 450°.  Make 3 slashes, about ¼” deep, across loaf.  Bake 35 min or until loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.  If using an electric thermometer, the internal temperature should read just over 200°.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

You’ll find that you’ll have a little extra Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta left over, as we are not using the entire jar in the bread recipe (unless, of course, you want to!!!)  So my dad always taught me, “Waste not, want not.”  Oh wait, or was that Benjamin Franklin?  As I started early in the morning making this bread, I was getting a little hungry while waiting for it to bake.  So, I decided to whip up a healthy egg white omelet.



I diced some ham, threw it in a non-stick pan, added some egg whites, and topped it all off with the remaining Formato Brothers Hot Muffuletta.  I diced some cherry tomatoes I found lying around and added them as a side to my omelet.  It turned out fresh and delicious!


After the bread finished cooling, I sliced a few pieces and enjoyed with an Italian coffee.  You don’t need Fall to enjoy a delicious loaf of freshly baked home made bread, so use this recipe any time of the year!  Plus, you’ll feel better about baking bread using quality ingredients that are good for you and your family.  I’d love to see what you created using this bread – be it sliced alone with coffee, or toasted with butter as my brother likes to make.

Take a pic and post it to our Formato Brothers Facebook page!   We love learning from YOU as well!

–Andrea Formato

Pagliacci Italian Seasoning & Chicken Burgers

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Being Italian is awesome.  I love all the various types of cuisine from the different regions of Italy.  Some days I’m a marinara type of gal, & some days I want to snuggle with a creamy bowl of Alfredo.  however, on certain occasions, I do love a gold, old-fashioned American cheeseburger.  As to not make my inner Italian jealous, I’ve combined the best of both worlds to create a healthy variation on an American classic.  Here’s what I use:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 cloves (or more) roasted garlic *
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 T Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 T Pagliacci Italian Seasoning

* To roast garlic:  take a head of garlic & carefully cut off the tops of all the garlic bulbs, keeping them all in tact.  Wrap in aluminum foil & drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top.  Cover with foil & bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Let the garlic cool completely & squeeze the garlic out of the bulbs.  If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, 1 T of garlic powder will do just fine.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Note that I did not use salt or pepper in my ingredients.  The park cheese intrinsically has enough salt, & the Pagliacci Italian Seasoning has everything else I need!  Form into 4 patties.

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Spray your grill, indoor or outdoor, w/ non-stick spray & turn the heat to medium high.

Cook the patties on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

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Grab a few buns & toast if you like.

Place patties on the toasted buns & add your favorite toppings.  I like freely cut tomato, basil & a slice or two of mozzarella.  If you’re feeling spicy, add 1 T Formato Brothers Spicy Pepper Spread.

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This burger was healthy enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to hit the gym right away, & Italian enough so I didn’t feel like I was cheating on my heritage.  My only dilemma now is deciding which beer should accompany my burger:  domestic or imported?  : )

–Andrea Formato






Turkey Meatballs Sunday Night Dinner

Sunday Night Dinner (Turkey Meatballs)

If you’re like me, Sunday night is family night. It’s a time to settle down after a weekend filled with soccer and other nonstop kid-stuff. It’s a time to get together with family & friends and to be thankful for a wonderful Saturday and Sunday and look ahead to what the week holds before us. And Sunday night is definitely a time to enjoy a home cooked pasta dinner! My kids love being Italian and are always begging me to make my “famous” turkey meatballs with pasta. How can I refuse?FB Blog pagliacci sauce fabienelli pasta 8

This recipe is so simple and yet is bursting with flavor. You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge:

  • 1 lb ground lean turkey breast*
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • ¼ C Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ C Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Italian herbs seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

*Take out ground turkey breast about 30 min before you start making the meatballs. The turkey is easier to handle at room temperature; plus, you should cook meat straight out of the fridge.

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Preheat oven to 350º F & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until they are fully incorporated. Divide the meat into whatever size meatballs you prefer. I try to get about 12 meatballs from this recipe.

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In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of canola oil. When oil is hot (drop a tiny bit of breadcrumbs in the oil – it should sizzle up), place half the meatballs in the oil and fry on all sides for about 5-7 minutes until evenly browned. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Repeat this process with the remaining meatballs.FB Blog pagliacci sauce fabienelli pasta 4

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Place all meatballs on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 min or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reach 165º F.

I like to serve my meatballs with Formato Brothers Fabianelli Elbows Pasta & Pagliacci Roasted Garlic Sauce. Cook pasta & sauce according to directions on package. When pasta is done cooking, place pasta & sauce in a bowl and top with the meatballs. Add some parsley flakes for color, and enjoy!

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Kids aren’t the only ones who are grateful for being Italian! The good news is – even if you aren’t Italian, thanks to Formato Brothers, you can cook like an Italian! Enjoy your special Sunday nights, too!

–Andrea Formato Castner

Vigo Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix


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Vigo Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix

October 2014

Every year, the hubby & I visit New Orleans for our anniversary. It is a fun-filled week of listening to live Jazz & Zydeco bands on Frenchmen Street as well as visiting the local historical eating establishments sprinkled throughout the French Quarter. While we enjoying sampling all the food NOLA has to offer, there is one traditional dish I just can’t get enough of — JAMBALAYA! I love the mixture of Cajun spices, dirty rice, and shrimp all prepared harmoniously in one big bowl. My only problem is that before we know it, our vacation is over, and we must return to our daily lives.

Thanks to Formato Brothers, I don’t have to wait one year to visit NOLA and get my fill of jambalaya. Instead, I can easily whip up this spicy dish in the comfort of my own kitchen. It is so easy! I just followed the directions on the back of the Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix package (which is essentially: boil water, add butter & shrimp, add Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix, stir, and simmer for 25 min). If you are allergic to shellfish, don’t worry. You can add precooked bite-sized ham or sausage instead of the shrimp*.

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Now my only problem is saving some Jambalaya for the family!

*Quick note about using shrimp. I used frozen shrimp that I first thawed under cold water as directed on the shrimp bag. I elected to keep the shrimp tails on because that adds extra flavor. Be careful as little pieces of tail might break off while thawing. I added the thawed shrimp by hand (instead of dumping the bowl) so those broken shrimp tails didn’t fall in my pot.

–Andrea Formato

Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Pizza # 2 – Kristen’s recipe

Pizza Kristen 2014Here’s another great pizza recipe using Pastorelli Pizza Sauce.  Many thanks to our friend Kristen Clements  Mackey in Texas.

One package pillsbury pizza crust
One can of Pastorelli pizza sauce
Fresh buffalo mozzarella
Shredded kraft mozzarella
Fresh basil
Roma tomato
Sautéed mushrooms in tablespoon of butter and fresh chopped garlic
Assemble as desired and bake!

Soooo easy & soooo good!

Thank you, Kristen!