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Missing your favorite restaurants? Try some of their recipes in your kitchen

In 2017, a handful of local restaurants shared favorite recipes with the readers of Mid Rivers Newsmagazine. Now, with “dining in” temporarily suspended, it seemed an ideal time to reprise those recipes.

Vito’s Signature Arancini [Source: Vito’s in the Valley]

Vito’s Signature Arancini

Recipe provided by Vito’s in the Valley Now offering delivery and curbside pick-up; view menus and order at vitosinthevalley.com.

Rice ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 3 eggs

Stuffing ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste with roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • oil for frying


• To make rice: in a large saucepan combine water, rice, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Transfer rice into a bowl and cool. Mix in 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese and 3 eggs.

• To make stuffing: in a pan over medium-high heat combine oil, onion, garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning, cook for 5 minutes. Add ground beef and salt, cook for 5 more minutes, breaking beef into chunks. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

• To make rice ball: scoop a small handful of rice and roll it into a ball, flatten it out and make small indentation in the middle. Scoop a tablespoon of meat stuffing into the center of rice patty and working with your hands fold the rice over the meat, forming it into a ball. Coat the rice ball in bread crumbs.

• Heat oil to about 350°F and cook rice balls in batches for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain off any excess oil. Serve with marinara sauce.

Kale Salad [Source: Walnut Grill]

STL Kale Salad

Recipe provided by Walnut GrillOpen for delivery through Uber Eats, Door Dash and Post Mates and carry out; visit eatwalnut.com for details.

  • 1 bunch kale, tough stems removed and then chopped.
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet drop peppers or 2 tablespoons of pimentos if drop peppers not available
  • 3 to 4  tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • 6  tablespoons olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 small can  artichoke hearts, drained


  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl in order.  Hand squeeze artichoke hearts to break them up, making sure the juice stays in the salad. Toss salad until ingredients are well coated.
  • Transfer salad onto individual plates. Top with a bit of shaved Asiago or Parmesan.

Walnut Grill suggests: Salad is the perfect complement to steaks, chicken or fish. When preparing steaks, or roasts, be sure to let them sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. To obtain the perfect sear when cooking meat or fish, make sure to pat dry the fish or meat and use a hot skillet with a small amount of fat. The meat or fish will tell you when it is done by easily releasing itself from the pan.

Sicilian Chicken [Source: Favazza’s]

Sicilian Chicken 

Recipe provided by Favazza’s on the HillOffering lunch, dinner and family-style meals to go; visit favazzas.com for details.

This recipe features a sauce that is to be used sparingly to taste.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

All ingredients can be adjusted to taste.


  • Add lemon juice, fresh garlic, oregano, kosher salt and pepper to mixing bowl, slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

Chicken ingredients:

  • 4 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded or sliced to an even thickness and marinated overnight in Favazza’s House Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil to dip chicken in before dredging it in breadcrumbs
  • Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs to coat chicken before grilling


  • Dip chicken lightly into olive oil and dredge in Italian breadcrumbs before grilling. [Editor’s note: grilling can be done on a well-oiled indoor grill pan. Chicken also can be baked. Chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 160º F on a meat thermometer.]
  • To serve: Stir Sicilian Sauce and spoon a couple of tablespoons over the top of the chicken cutlets, preferably while the chicken is still hot so it absorbs the sauce.
Penne Borghese [Source: Charlie Gitto’s]

Penne Borghese

Recipe provided by Charlie Gitto’s All locations currently closed


  • 2 ounces yellow onion, diced small
  • 1.5 ounces prosciutto, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 3 ounces brandy
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Charlie Gitto’s Pomodoro Sauce
  • 8 ounces penne noodles, cooked
  • Olive oil to sparsely coat the pan for sautéing
  • Parmesan cheese as garnish


  • In a medium-hot skillet add prosciutto, onions and parsley; sauté with oil until onions are browned and prosciutto is crispy.
  • Deglaze the pan with the brandy and flambé [briefly set alight].
  • Add cream and Charlie Gitto’s Pomodoro Sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer and add pasta. Toss and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon pasta into a bowl or platter and garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Charlie Gitto’s suggests: When cooking pasta, use enough water to allow the pasta to move [about 5 quarts of water per pound of pasta]. Let the water come to a rapid boil and add salt [about 2 tablespoons] before adding the pasta to the pot. Give the pasta a few quick stirs to prevent it from sticking. Cook until al dente, literally “to the bite” or a little firm when bitten. Drain the pasta and add the sauce. Hot pasta more fully absorbs the sauce.

Mushroom Tart [Source: Adobe stock]

Missouri River Valley Mushroom Tart

Recipe provided by The Inns at St. Albans – closed through April 17

Whether you feature this delicious mixed mushroom tart as part of a dinner or brunch buffet, this is a recipe you’ll return to time and again.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup [1 stick] chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons [about] ice water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 2 cups chanterelle mushrooms
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons brandy [or a non-alcoholic substitute such as apple juice or apple cider vinegar]
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, thyme works exceptionally well as do tarragon, rosemary and parsley
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg

Crust directions:

• Blend flour and salt in processor. Cut in butter using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to blend dough. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic, chill 45 minutes.

• Roll out dough on floured surface until it mimics the shape of the desired tart pan – rectangular, round or minis. Transfer the dough to the tart pan; note, removable bottoms for larger tarts and silicone tartlet trays make removing and serving the tarts much easier.

• Trim edges, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang in to form double-thick sides. Press tart edges to raise dough 1/8 inch above pan. Chill 30 minutes.

Filling directions:

• Heat oil in large heavy skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms. Season with salt; sauté until deep golden, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.

• Add brandy [or its substitution]. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.

• Mix in 1 tablespoon herbs. Cool.

Assembly directions:

• Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans; bake until golden, about 15 minutes.  Remove foil and beans. Maintain oven temperature.

• Sprinkle half of each cheese in crust. Cover with mushrooms.

• Whisk cream, egg, egg yolks, remaining herbs and seasoning in bowl. Pour custard over mushrooms. Top with remaining cheese.

• Bake until filling is set and top is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on rack 15 minutes.

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