Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms

We tinkered a paleo recipe replacing bacon fat or lard with paper thin slices of prosciutto di Parma. Tangy, rich caramelized flavors of Villa Graziella Organic 8-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar di Modena make it an easy to prepare, week night side dish. Pair perfectly with protein rich grilled chicken, fish or steak. Makes 4 servings.

Easy Ingredients

  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms

  • 3 slices of prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele

  • 2 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Balsamic Vinegar

  • ½ tablespoon Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely minced

  • 1 Small onion, finely minced (approx. 1/3 cup)

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper to taste

Simple Directions

  1. Wash & dry mushrooms, slice in half, set aside

  2. Place prosciutto slices in a large skillet, cook over medium heat

  3. Turn periodically as slices begin to brown

  4. Add garlic to prosciutto, cook 3 minutes

  5. Add onion, cook 3-4 minutes until translucent & prosciutto is browned

  6. Add mushrooms cook 10 minutes, allowing water to evaporate & mushrooms to become tender

  7. Add vinegar & oil to the pan, stir & cook for 2-3 minutes

  8. Add salt & pepper, stir to coat evenly

  9. Sprinkle with parsley

  10. Serve & enjoy

      Click here for the inspiration recipe!



RecipesAmy WrightComment
Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Fire up the grill for marinated chicken kabobs! We modified a spruce recipe for an easy, flavorful main dish. Using fresh, seasonal orange & yellow bell peppers with red onion, you can also use fresh mushrooms, zucchini or squash. Serves 2 to 4.  

  Easy Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh, boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-1/2" chunks
  • 1/4 cup Villa Graziella Organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic 8 year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena
  • 2 large bell peppers-1 each green, red, orange or yellow 
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed & chopped
  • 1 small shallot clove sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh herbs-your choice of basil, marjoram, sage, rosemary, oregano or thyme  

Simple Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, sea salt & pepper-mix well 
  2. Add chicken chunks to bowl, turn to coat, cover & refrigerate for 3 hours
  3. Cut peppers into 1-1/2" chunks, cut onions into 2" chunks set aside
  4. Soak bamboo skewers in cold water
  5. Preheat grill to 160°F
  6. Drain the chicken, reserving marinade 
  7. Thread chicken & vegetable chunks onto skewers, do not over load skewers, leave 2 inches bare on end to turn skewers
  8. Lightly brush marinade on skewers, discard remaining marinade
  9. Place skewers on hot grill, cook 10-12 minutes, turn occasionally until vegetables are tender, & chicken is thoroughly cooked-test the temperature with a food thermometer
  10. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Artisan Crafted IGT Rosato Toscano wine made with organic grapes 
  11. Kitchen tip: We marinated the chicken for 3 hours, long enough to absorb flavors without becoming too soft. Lemon & vinegar acids break down meat causing it to become mushy if marinated too long.    

Click here for the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Grilled Balsamic Burger

Did You know August 27th is National Burger Day? We celebrated with a foodbabbles recipe swapping out beef for turkey. Serve with seasonal grilled veggies & quinoa for a delicious weeknight dinner & healthy next day lunch. Makes 4-6 burgers

Easy Ingredients

  • 6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 5 slices of preferred cheese; Swiss, cheddar or Fontina optional 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Simple Directions

  1. Combine ground beef or turkey, 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, egg, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper in a bowl
  2. Mix well, form into 4-6 patties depending on desired size of burgers, set aside
  3. In another bowl, whisk together ketchup with 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, set aside
  4. Preheat grill to 160°F
  5. Place meat patties on grill, cook thoroughly, test the temperature with a food thermometer
  6. Top patty with cheese slices, allow to melt
  7. Remove from grill, plate & let rest for 3 minutes
  8. Place burgers on a roll, balsamic ketchup, & if desired, lettuce & tomatoes
  9. Serve & enjoy!

Click here to view the inspiration recipe!


RecipesAmy WrightComment
Balsamic Grilled Peaches & Vanilla Ice Cream

What to do with your market fresh peaches? We kept the grill going with a quick & easy recipe. Gluten free & the perfect finish to a summertime meal. Serves 4.  

Easy Ingredients

  • 4 fresh peaches, halved & pitted
  • ¼ cup Villa Graziella Organic, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1-pint vanilla bean ice cream

Simple Directions

  1. Cut peaches in half, discard the pits
  2. Combine balsamic vinegar, honey & vanilla bean paste 
  3. Brush half of the glaze on the peaches flesh side up  
  4. Place on grill over medium heat 
  5. Grill for 4-5 minutes, turn half way through
  6. Remove from heat 
  7. Place grilled peaches on a platter 
  8. Drizzle with remaining balsamic glaze 
  9. Scoop vanilla ice cream on top of each peach half
  10. Serve warm & enjoy
RecipesAmy WrightComment
National Panino Month

August is National Panino Month, Panino-sandwich comes from the Italian word pane-bread. Perfect your panino, grill or toast the bread, brush quality extra virgin olive oil on top & also the flip side for extra crunch. Add favorite meats, cheeses, veggies & brush balsamic vinegar for added flavor. Healthy & delicious! Makes 4 sandwiches

Simple ingredients:

·      ½ cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus extra to flavor

·      ¼ cup Villa Graziella 8-year aged Balsamic Vinegar di Modena

·      4 Italian ciabatta or country bread rolls split

·      8 slices of fresh Italian mortadella or capicola, ham, salami & turkey

·      8 slices of smoked provolone, cheddar, gruyere, Havarti or Swiss cheese

·      Fresh ground pepper

Easy Directions:

1.     Brush grill or panini machine with 1 teaspoon of olive oil

2.    Heat surface to medium heat

3.    Brush ½ tablespoon of olive oil along the inside center of each roll

4.    Turn over & repeat process on other side of bread with ½ tablespoon of oil   

5.    Assemble panino starting with meat, followed by cheese

6.    Brush panino evenly with ½ tablespoon of vinegar

7.     Season with pepper

8.    Cook 5 to 8 minutes, 3-5 minutes each side

9.    If using a frying pan, press sandwich down with a lid & cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until bread is fully toasted

10. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Organic Toscano red or white wine

Panini Pro Tips

·      Use 1 or 2-day old bread instead of fresh, it holds ingredients better & grills evenly

·      Cut cooked panini with a straight edged knife not a serrated for a smooth separation

·      For crustier, toasty panini without burning, cook on lower heat for longer time, instead of a higher heat

·      Avoid mushy panini, add greens after grilling. Insert arugula, basil, lettuce or spinach, red onions or tomatoes, before serving for a soggy free sandwich.

·      Place bulkier, wet fillings like avocado chunks or tuna fish in the middle of the panino


RecipesAmy WrightComment
Chef Becker’s Pasta Puttanesca

Do you know the legend behind Pasta Puttanesca?

Resident Chef Scott Becker at Binny's Highland Park recently shared the tale where Neapolitan prostitutes needed a sauce they could make in between customers. Using available ingredients; anchovies, garlic, onion & tomatoes, they made a quick & easy sauce for pasta. Chef Becker’s creation includes capers & olives for a satisfying, savory & super flavorful dish!

Simple Ingredients

·      ½ cup Villa Graziella Organic, Extra Virgin Olio Nuovo olive oil, plus extra to flavor

·      1-28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

·      12 oz Kalamata black olives, pitted & halved

·      15 anchovy filets, chopped

·      12 garlic cloves, peeled & thinly sliced

·      1 ½ cup of capers

·      1 red onion, diced

·      Red pepper chili flakes 

·      Sea salt & cracked pepper

·      Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Easy Directions

1.     In a large pot, over medium heat, lightly sauté onion, garlic & anchovies in olive oil until the garlic & onion begin to brown

2.     Add capers & olives to the pot, cook 2 minutes

3.     Add crushed tomatoes including the juice

4.     Season with black pepper & chili flakes to taste

5.     Reduce heat to low, simmer until sauce thickens & flavors blend, about 1 hour

6.     Cook pasta, (linguine or other long shaped pasta) according directions

7.     Drain pasta & toss with sauce & 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

8.     Adjust seasonings & oil to taste

9.     Garnish with chopped parsley

10.  Serve immediately, enjoy with Villa Graziella Organic Chianti DOCG red wine

Expert tip; Careful how much salt is added to the water as all the ingredients are very salty, as the sauce cooks, the salty flavors will become more concentrated & pronounced. This sauce freezes well, make a large batch & freeze in smaller portions.

Interested in learning more about wine, cooking classes & demonstration?   Visit

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Julia Child Birthday Quiche

Did you know Aug. 15th is Julia Child’s birthday?  Colleagues & fans fondly recall her keen sense of humor, passion for French wine, great food & authentic gusto for life. We’re paying tribute to the author, chef, journalist & television personality with one of her favorite dishes, quiche. Bon anniversaire Julia! 4-5 servings.

Simple Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cups diced spring mushrooms
  • ¼ cup sliced yellow onions
  • ½ glove garlic minced
  • ½ cup cubed pancetta or thick cut prosciutto
  • ¾ cup sharp, cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup milk, (we used nonfat)
  • 1 9-inch prebaked pie crust shell, (we were short on time)
  • Sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Easy Directions:

  1. Prebake pie crust shell according to directions, set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms to pan, cook until moisture is released, approx. 6 minutes.
  4. Add cubed pancetta, minced garlic& onions to pan, sauté until golden do not overcook.
  5. Season with pepper, remove from pan & set aside.
  6. In a mixing bowl, beat cream, milk & eggs, season with pepper & a touch of sea salt.
  7. Sprinkle half the cheese in baked pie crust, distribute mushroom, pancetta & onion mixture evenly over crust.
  8. Add cream, milk & egg mixture over vegetables & pancetta, sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake until mixture sets & browns at the edges, approx. 20 minutes. Let quiche cool 10-15 minutes.
  10. Slice, serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Toscano IGT Rosato rosé wine.

Click here for the inspiration recipe! 

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Chef Becker’s Grilled Asparagus with Blistered Tomatoes

Need an easy side dish for your summer barbeque?  Resident Chef Scott Becker at Binny's Highland Park recently treated us to fresh grilled asparagus & blistered cherry tomatoes.

Healthy & delicious, what could be better?

Simple Ingredients

  • 1-pound fresh green, asparagus
  • ½ cup Villa Graziella Organic, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena, plus extra to flavor
  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olio Nuovo olive oil, plus extra to flavor
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons organic Sugar in The Raw
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper

Easy Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat or oven to 400F°
  2. Snap off the fibrous, woody bottom part of each asparagus stalk, it will break off naturally where it is tough
  3. In a small pan over low heat, combine balsamic vinegar & sugar.
  4. Simmer until reduced by a quarter & thick, remove from heat, set aside & allow to thoroughly cool
  5. Place asparagus on a wide cookie sheet, evenly coat with olive oil, pepper & sea salt
  6. Place stalks on grill, turn occasionally, cook until tender, char marks should appear, remove from heat & set aside
  7. In a bowl, toss tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt & pepper
  8. Place tomatoes on a sheet pan, roast for 20 minutes or until the skins start to split, remove from heat & set aside
  9. Drizzle asparagus with balsamic vinegar, garnish with tomatoes & parmesan cheese
  10. Serve immediately & enjoy with Villa Graziella Rosso Toscano IGT red wine



RecipesAmy WrightComment
Walnut Zucchini Bread

What to do with all your garden-fresh zucchini?  Aug. 8th is National Zucchini day! Celebrate with walnut zucchini bread, skip the cinnamon, decrease the sugar & use Villa Graziella Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of vegetable oil. A healthy breakfast or delicious on the go snack. Makes two 9 x 5 loaves.

Simple Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil extra for brushing the pan
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature beaten
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini with excess moisture drained (3 medium zucchini -1 1/2 pounds
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx. 1 pound)
  • ¾ packed cup light brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 7 oz.  plain whole Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Easy Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F & grease two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with olive oil.
  2. Grate zucchini & drain excess moisture with a clean cloth dish towel. Place zucchini in a large bowl, discard excess moisture.
  3. Add olive oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract & sugar to grated zucchini, mix ingredients.
  4. Add eggs & mix until sugar is dissolved.
  5. In another large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder & lemon zest.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients & blend until flour is fully incorporated into a thick batter, fold in chopped walnuts, do not overmix.
  7. Scrape batter into the 2 prepared loaf pans, dividing batter evenly.
  8. Bake on middle rack until a tooth pick or knife inserted in the center comes out completely clean, approx. 55 minutes. Checking after 45 minutes & continue to check every 5 minutes until done.
  9. Set loaf pans on a rack, cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges to release & flip loaves.
  10. Slice, serve & enjoy. Zucchini bread will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature wrapped in foil, if it lasts that long!

Helpful Tip: Drain excess moisture out of the grated zucchini for a lighter, less dense version. 

Check out the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Chef Becker’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Did you know couscous originated with the Berber tribes in North Africa?

Made from ground durum wheat, it means well-formed or well rolled in the ethnic group’s language. Resident Chef Scott Becker at Binny’s Highland Park demonstration kitchen took us on a fantastic culinary tour creating a Mediterranean couscous with fresh seared halibut. Using our organic, extra virgin olive oil, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar the dish was delicious & light.

Simple Ingredients

  • 4 cups Israeli Couscous cooked
  • 6 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olio Nuovo olive oil, plus extra to flavor
  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic, 8-year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena, plus extra to flavor
  • 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup fresh French or Greek Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green, bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 1 green onion of scallion thinly sliced
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper

Easy Directions

  1. In a large bowl toss together the couscous, cucumber, onion, peppers & tomatoes
  2. Add crumbled Feta cheese & gently mix, set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper
  4. Drizzle oil mixture over couscous salad and lightly toss to coat
  5. Garnish with sliced green onion & serve as a side dish or as an entrée with protein such as seared halibut on top
  6. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Bianco Toscano IGT white wine
  7. Tip: Cover & refrigerate 1-day in advance 

RecipesAmy WrightComment