All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

Basil Pesto — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, June 25th, 2012

basil pesto
A fresh, no-cook sauce that takes just moments to prepare, basil pesto is a must-have summer sauce that’s most traditionally made with bunches of fresh basil leaves, plenty of garlic, crunchy pine nuts, mounds of Parmesan cheese and fruity olive oil. If you’ve never made homemade pesto before, start with Food Network Magazine’s Basil Pesto (pictured above) — it’s an easy, versatile recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Though pesto is often featured atop pasta noodles, it can shine in salads, soups, appetizers and more. Check out Food Network’s pesto-based recipes below and let us know your favorite way to enjoy pesto.

With a smooth sauce and rich flavor, Food Network Magazine’s five-star Pesto Cream Tortellini is a go-to weeknight dinner that features tender tortellini — pillow-like pasta that is stuffed with either meat or cheese — and good-for-you broccoli. Pick up a package of store-bought tortellini to save time in the kitchen.

Giada’s Farro With Coarse Pesto is an Italian-style salad that can be featured as a hearty side dish or healthful light lunch. When making the pesto, Giada processes the basil mixture just until it’s coarse — the uneven texture will stand up well to the hefty weight of the grains. Be sure to boil the farro in vegetable broth or water, instead of chicken broth, to maintain a meatless dish.

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Kid-Friendly Burgers — Weekend Cookout

by in Family, Recipes, June 23rd, 2012

This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s dishes are sure to please your youngest eaters.

Though picky eaters may not yet be fans of Asian-style ribs or sausage kebabs, they’ll flip for juicy, pint-sized Smashed Sliders made just for them. The key to searing these five-star burgers is to press down on them with a spatula while they’re cooking; this will make the patties thinner than traditional burgers, but because they’re not cooked for as long a time, they’ll still be moist and tender. Nestle these easy-to-eat burgers inside slider-style buns and let your kids dress them up with their favorite toppings — ketchup, mustard and pickle slices are no-fail classics.

Main Course: Smashed Sliders
Side Dish: Mix and Match Pasta Salad
Dessert: Praline Ice Cream Sandwiches
Drink: Berry-Guava Lemonade

Planning on making one of these dishes? Snap a photo and post it on Food Network’s Facebook wall.

In Season: Blueberry Pie

by in Recipes, June 22nd, 2012

The secret to making the best pies is using the best-possible ingredients. In the fall and winter, when apple season is at its peak, warm, tender apple pies line holiday tables. Come springtime and its bounty of rhubarb, strawberry-rhubarb pies are the must-have variety. But now it’s summer, which means that bright blueberries are ripe for picking. This season, slice up one of Food Network’s favorite blueberry pies below, each an indulgent dessert of fresh fruit, light, flaky pastry and sweet summertime flavor.

5. Blueberry Pie With Chantilly Cream – A fancy name for vanilla-scented whipped cream, French Chantilly cream tops this decadent pie, built atop a sweet crust and filled with a mixture of thick blueberry compote and whole blueberries.

4. Frozen Blueberry Pie – Though Alton’s pie is served at room temperature, it’s made with fresh whole and mashed blueberries that he freezes with citrus and sugar then bakes.

Get the top three blueberry pie recipes

Farmers’ Market Salads — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, June 18th, 2012

Summer cooking is all about choosing the lightest, brightest, most in-season ingredients and letting them shine in simple recipes. Whether you shop at a farmers’ market or neighborhood grocery store, look for the freshest summer produce and let that determine what you make for dinner. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite summer salads below and visit our Summer Produce Guide for more fresh ideas.

With only a handful of ingredients, Food Network Kitchens’ Fresh Corn Tomato Salad (pictured above) is a refreshing no-cook dish that can be made in only 30 minutes. Because the cherry tomatoes and husked corn are eaten raw, they’ll pop with deliciously juicy sweetness and that just-ripened taste. Add chunks of cool mozzarella cheese for an indulgent bite and dress with a simple vinaigrette and lots of torn basil before serving.

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Barbecue Essentials — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 15th, 2012


This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread is all about barbecue.

The secret to creating down-home barbecue is cooking it in a way that lets the meat become tender and juicy. In this video, Pat and Gina Neely, the self-proclaimed “First Family of Barbecue,” share simple tips and tricks — like using hickory chips to smoke the meat and tongs to turn it — for grilling succulent pork, brisket, ribs and more every time.

The Neelys’ overflowing pork sandwich from Food Network Magazine (pictured above) is representative of Memphis-style barbecue, dry rubbed and with a vinegar-based sauce. Check out these step-by-step photos to see how Pat and Gina prepare this barbecued beauty.

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