Mangia Questo!

No purists beyond this point.

My Favourite BBQ Sauce March 30, 2009

Filed under: finds,grill/bbq,minimal effort — mangiaquesto @ 8:53 pm

Welcome to Busters Barbeque Restaurant

Photo from

With the warm weather coming and summer fast approaching, there’s no better time to discover a new BBQ sauce favourite.  This stuff tastes like no BBQ sauce I’ve had before.  It’s called Busters Blueberry BBQ Sauce, and it’s made in Northwestern Ontario.  It is to die for on grilled chicken, and I recently tried it on pork side ribs and was amazed.  The blueberry flavour is not prominent, but it is fruity and smoky with a little spice.  Word on the street is it’s now available at Sobey’s across Canada, so you won’t have to make the trek to Vermillion Bay to get some.  If you are lucky enough to be in the area, you can also enjoy it in-house at Busters BBQ Restaurant.  As an added bonus, it’s more reasonably priced than most of the “gourmet” sauces I see at craft and home shows.  It’s a must-have for BBQ season.  Mangia!


Home-Made Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Walnuts January 18, 2009

Filed under: finds,grill/bbq,Italiano,one-dish,Uncategorized,vegetarian — mangiaquesto @ 1:23 am

Pumpkin and squash season is winding down, so here’s a way to use them while they’re at their best.  This recipe is more of a project than an everyday meal idea, but the good news is that it’s not something you can really mess up.  It might take a while, but you’ll like the results…and you’ll feel like a master chef.  I find this kind of cooking therapeutic, and more of a hobby than a necessity.  If you’re in a rush, but still want a similar end result, I’ve included some time-savers in case don’t want to make the recipe completely from scratch.  To make four servings, you’ll need:

Home-Made Pasta, 1 batch

If you don’t want to make your own pasta from scratch (I don’t blame you, it’s fairly labour intensive), you could use wonton wrappers, or buy the fresh lasagna sheets from the refrigerated pasta section.


One pie pumpkin or other squash (butternut, acorn, hubbard…whatever is available)

1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese

a pinch of nutmeg

salt & pepper, to taste

I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use canned pumpkin puree instead of fresh pumpkin, as long as it’s not seasoned.


1/3 cup butter

1 tbsp olive oil

40 fresh sage leaves

1/3 to 1/2 cup of walnut pieces

If you’re using fresh pumpkin or squash, the first step is to roast it.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Pour some water into a shallow baking pan (a cookie sheet with edges is fine, you just need enough water to cover the bottom).  Break off the stem of the squash or pumpkin, cut it in half and remove the seeds and stringy inside (this isn’t part of the recipe, but roasted squash and pumpkin seeds are delicious, so you could soak them in some water to clean them off, wrinse and drain them, then salt them lightly and spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes).  Back to the current recipe:  Bake the pumpkin or squash halves cut-side down for about 1 hour, until soft (you can tell they’re done when you can easily piece the skin with a fork)

Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and place it in a medium mixing bowl.  Mash it well with a fork or use an immersion/hand blender.  Add the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Now the real magic happens.  If you made your own pasta, I suggest flattening out one sheet of pasta at a time and laying it on your counter.  Use a round glass to cut circles out of the pasta sheet, making them as close together as possible.  Like cookie dough, you could roll the scraps into a ball when you’re done and run them through the pasta machine to make another sheet.  If you’re using wonton wrappers you can have square ravioli instead.  On every second pasta circle, place a little bit of the filling (about a tablespoon), leaving about a quarter inch of edging all the way around so you can close the ravioli.  Place another pasta circle on top and press the edges first with your fingers, then with a fork to make a good seal.

Once the ravioli are made, place them in a large container (or on a plate) lined with damp paper towel and cover it with damp paper towels as well.  Separate layers of ravioli a with more damp paper towel.

In a large pan, melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat with the olive oil, sage leaves and walnut pieces.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.  Add the ravioli and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain the ravioli (don’t rinse!) and add it to the pan with the sage butter sauce.  Serve and enjoy all you hard work!

P.S…This is also pretty good reheated in the microwave.


Easy Marinated Steak August 22, 2008

Filed under: grill/bbq,minimal effort — mangiaquesto @ 2:49 pm
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I don’t know if it’s obvious, but I’ve gone barbecue crazy this summer. Most of my grocery shopping revolves around grill-able things. Here’s something else you can try if you’re tired of burgers and hot dogs. I marinated my steaks overnight, so although it’s easy, it does take some planning ahead.

You need:

Grilling or marinating beef steak (I used sirloin)

A big container of some sort for marinating

Italian salad dressing (enough to cover the steaks)

First, get the steaks marinating. Pour a little salad dressing in the bottom of the container, drop the steaks in and let them sit overnight in the fridge. Turn them over once or twice if you can.

The next day, heat up your grill to a high temperature and drop the steak onto the grill, searing both sides over the high heat for about 1 minute on each side, then turn the heat down to medium and continue grilling (this is a tip from Cumbrae’s, the amazing butcher down the street from me).

Admittedly I’m not much of a griller, so if you’re not either you can read up on cooking times and steak cuts.

When you think the steak is done to your liking, remove it from the grill and let it rest on a plate before serving so the juices won’t all run out when you cut it.

Bonus: If, like me, you happened to make way too much steak, try this idea for leftovers: Place the steak on a piece of aluminum foil and add a little bit more italian dressing on top. Wrap it up well in the foil and place it in a preheated toaster oven or oven for about 20 minutes at 300F. Serve with eggs any style and some toast for a hearty, greasy-spoon style breakfast.


Salmon Teriyaki August 18, 2008

Filed under: grill/bbq,healthy — mangiaquesto @ 6:18 pm
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Another grilling idea! This is so easy that I wouldn’t even call it a recipe, but it will make you feel like you’re at your favourite sushi place. The frozen salmon steaks you can buy in a package (Highliner or Seaquest) are great for summer grilling. Take out as many steaks as you need (one per person is usually good) and drop in a bowl or container. Pour a generous amount of teriyaki sauce (Diana Marinade is good) over the salmon, turning the steaks to coat them. Leave it in the fridge overnight to defrost, turning a few times, then grill over medium heat the next day.  It’s good on its own or served on a bed of rice.


Ontario corn August 5, 2008

Filed under: grill/bbq,minimal effort,vegetarian — mangiaquesto @ 8:37 pm
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As a student, August can be a bit of a downer. But with the end of summer coming too quickly, there is at least one bright spot: Ontario sweet corn. Find some at a farmers’ market near you or a roadside stand (where I got mine) for the ultimate in freshness, or find it at a grocery store and try one of these easy ways to prepare your corn. I suggest leaving it un-husked so you can keep your options open for cooking methods.

1. BBQ-ed Corn on the Cob

Pull off the outermost husk leaves and discard. Leave enough husk so that all of the kernels are covered. Peel back the remaining leaves but do not pull them off. Remove as much silk ask you can and replace the husk.

For the next part, I’ve heard mixed opinions as to whether or not you need to soak the corn. I haven’t tried it un-soaked yet, so I can’t weigh in, but I soaked my corn in water for 15 minutes.

Heat up the BBQ around medium and grill the corn for 10-15 minutes, turning a few times for even cooking. Peel back the husk and enjoy. I suggest spreading a bit of margarine or butter over the kernels after cooking and salting lightly. Mmm.

2. Boiled Corn on the Cob

This is easier and (I think) equally delicious. Peel off all husks and silk and toss corn into a large pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until kernels are tender. Again, I suggest spreading a bit of margarine or butter over the kernels after cooking and salting lightly.