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






Formato Brothers Caliente Olive Spread


1/3 bottle Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread
1 cup roughly chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup roughly chopped stuffed green olives
1 cup roughly chopped artichoke hearts
1/3 cup good olive oil

Drain olives & artichokes before chopping.

Mix together in a glass bowl, cover, refrigerate over night.  Serve w/ rustic baquette cut into pieces.

Many thanks to our wonderful friend Gary Marino for his ongoing recipes using Formato Brothers products.  Keep ’em coming, Gary Boy!

Bruschetta a la Formato

1/2 bottle Formato Brothers Mild Pepper Spread, drained

1 generous Tbsp Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread, drained

1 medium tomato, diced

1/4 lb Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, diced

That’s it!  4 ingredients….you can make this quickly,,,try it!

Spread EVOO on cut up bread pieces (1 1/2″ square), then toast in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mix first 4 ingredients & spread on toasted bread pieces.  REturn to oven for about 10 minutes more until cheese has melted.

Buon Appetito!

Casa Giulia Orange Jam: Unexpected Guests


One of the great things I love about living so close to my family & friends is that I get to see them almost every weekend.  It’s so great to plan our special weekends, which always include delicious Italian food.  However, every now & then at lunchtime I get that unexpected knock at the door with a group of people behind it asking, “What’cha cooking for lunch?”

No problem…I got this.  “Come on in!”  Lucky for me, my kitchen is stocked with the essentials:  a loaf of Italian bread on the counter, ricotta cheese in the fridge, & a few jars of Casa Giulia Orange Jam & Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread in the pantry.

First step is to get some app’s out right away.  I decide to make some Casa Giulia Orange Bruschetta:

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  1. Slice the loaf of bread in to one inch slices, lightly butter, grill on your indoor or outdoor grill, approx 2 minutes on each side.
  2. Take the bread off the grill & then spread approx 1 Tablespoon of ricotta cheese (any kind is fine, I prefer Part Skim) on each slice.
  3. Top each slice with 1 Tablespoon of Casa Giulia Orange Jam, garnish with a basil leaf, serve to your guests!

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Blog Orange Jam 2 0113Meanwhile, I happened to be cooking some chicken breasts on the grill before my unexpected guests arrived.  Perfect!  All I needed to do is whip up a nice sweet & spicy dipping sauce for my grilled chicken.

  1. On the stove, in a small saucepan, warm 2 Tablespoons (not drained) of Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread on medium heat.
  2. Add an entire jar of Casa Guilia Orange Jam to the saucepan.
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice & salt to taste, if desired.
  4. Stir for 5 minutes until all ingredients are mixed.
  5. Serve as a dipping sauce for the chicken.Blog Jam Chicken Dipping Sauce 0113

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It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a special get-together or if you have unexpected guests arrive on a Saturday afternoon, as long as your kitchen is stocked with Casa Giulia Orange Jam  & Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread, you’ll be able to accommodate anyone!

Buon Appetito!

–Andrea Formato

Pepper Poppers



Such an easy appetizer or snack with 3 ingredients:

Sweet Mini Peppers
Ready made artichoke & jalapeño cream cheese dip
Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread

Mix 1/2 tsp of Hot Pepper Spread (drain oil) into 1 1/2 cups dip.
Spoon into sliced, cleaned peppers.

Other filling suggestions:  Cream cheese & Hot Pepper Spread; another flavor of prepared cream cheese spread, chopped crabmeat spread, your choice.

Picture shows pepper poppers with blackberries, the flavors blend beautifully!

Spicy Sweet Potatoes


5-7 Sweet Potatoes
(ok, you may use yams if you want the traditional orangey autumnal color)
5 tsp butter
5 tsp Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread (include the oil)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Trim off the ends to make the process easy for yourself, then peel the sweet potatoes, then cut into small pieces (but not too small).

Steam the pieces/chunks/cubes (or whatever you want to call them) for a few minutes
(but don’t let the water burn under them….been there…done that).

Drain, mash, add butter & Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread.

Ta Da!  Serve warm.  That’s it!  Enjoy!

A very autumnal dish….and yummy.  Buon Appetito!