Friday, February 18, 2011


Tune into WCNC's midday programming from 11 am - noon each day and you'll find me cooking on air LIVE the second Thursday of each month.

Then, I appear the third satruday or sunday on WBTV's The Morning Show to share a seasonal recieps once again.

For February, on WCNC I prepared a wonderfully delicious Classic Italian Lasagna, similar to the recipe I've featured in my Food, Wine and Conversations of Italy Cooking Classes.
On WBTV, I've prepared on of my favorite hors d'oeuvre recipes - spanekopeta.
Both recipes are here witht he links to the video and some photos too - hope you enjoy....firs the lasagna recipes and then scrolldown for the spanekopeta.

For the very best lasagna results, I suggested using fresh sheets of pasta, available locaaly in Charlotte at Pasta & Provisions on Providence Road.

Ingredients for the spanekopeta are available at any grocery story but made even better with the additon of local goat or feta cheese from Charlotte's own Bosky Acres - buy some this weekend at the Yorkmont Road Regional Farmers' market or the Matthews Community Farmers' Market.

Meatless Lasagna Classica
From Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto

As seen on WCNC's Charlotte Today Feb 10,2011
Click here to see the video

2 carrots, finely minced
2 stalks of celery, finely minced
½ red onion, finely minced
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup hearty red wine ( optional)
6 cans diced or whole tomatoes, with liquid, mashed
About ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, shredded ( or cut in a chiffonade)

Heat the olive oil for a minute ro so in the bootm of a large sauce pan. Add the minced carrots, celery and onion. This veggie mixture is called a mirepoix and it will be what flavors the sauce. Add the dried oregano to the mirepoix and saute until the veggies are very tender. Add the wine and allow it to reduce until almost no liquid is in the pan. Add the tomatoes. Stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for 30 minutes or so. Add the shredded basil leaves and adjust seasonings to taste.

For the Besciamella:
2 sticks of butter
½ gallon whole milk
2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
ground nutmeg (pinch)
salt to taste
½ cup of all-purpose flour

Bring to a boil, but be careful not to let the milk flow over pot. In a large pot, melt butter and add olive oil. Add flour sifting it into the pot and stir vigorously. Cook on medium heat until mixture turns golden brown. Then pour in milk (all at once) and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Stir constantly so the mixture thickens but doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Set aside and let cool. If necessary, add more hot milk or hot water, in case the sauce is too thick.

Assembling the Lasagna:
2 lbs fresh pasta sheets from pasta and Provisions
2-3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

In a wide pan, at least 4” deep, pour both Marinara sauce and Besciamella at the bottom to cover the entire surface. Add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Then cover with sheets of pasta. On 2nd layer: pour Marinara sauce to cover all sheets of pasta, then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over entire surface. Add another layer of pasta. 3rd layer: cover with Besciamella, then add another layer of pasta. Continue alternating Marinara with Parm + Pasta layer + Besciamella until reaching top of pan. Allow about a half inch ofspace formt he to layer to the top of the side of the pan. The last layer should have both Bolognese and Besciamella, covered with an abundant dose of grated cheese.
Place in preheated oven (375 degrees) for about 40 minutes or until top surface is slightly browned and crispy. Take out and let cool. Cut into single portions and serve, but don’t forget that lasagna is even better the next day!

SPANEKOPETA and Variations
Recipes by Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto

As seen on WBTV’s The Morning Show with Kristin Miranda
Saturday Feb 19, 2011

Click here to view video

2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
½ lb. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. dill weed
1 pkg. phyllo dough, defrosted
1 lb. butter
Defrost spinach and squeeze dry. Combine with cheeses, eggs and dill weed. Spread phyllo on your work surface two sheets at a time. Spread liberally with butter. Cut dough into 6 strips. Place a ball of the spinach filling at the bottom of each strip and roll the phyllo up and around the spinach as if you were folding a flag (or making a paper football). Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so until nicely browned.
Freeze before baking if you would like. To bake, Bring back to room temperature and then bake according to recipe directions.

Variations – stuff with this sausage and sun dried tomato mix in place of the spinach:
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, thin sliced
½ lb. ground sausage, uncooked
¼ cup minced spinach leaves
2 Tbsp. dried oregano leaves
1 cup shredded or crumbled white cheddar
2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley leaves, minced
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, blending well. Fill phyllo dough as directed above. Brush finished rolls with a bit of butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake as directed above.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

At Home with Heidi February 2011 Cooking Classes

Here's how it all works - All of the classes are held in the intimate setting of my south Charlotte home.
Reservations are a must! - Email or call to reserve your spot and then your reservation is confirmed by your cash or check payment. Once your reservation is confirmed I'll send you detailed directions to my home.

Class size is limited. You and your fellow classmates can watch or lend a hand
if you'd like and together will learn to chop, slice, simmer and saute along the way.

It's always a blast! Wine parings with every dish, recipes packets and wine notes for each class participant. Cost is $55 - $75 per person depending on the class.

February's Cooking Class Line-up

Sat. Feb 5 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $75

Cake College with special guests Tiz Benson and Anita Stack from Tizzerts
Only Four Spaces Now Available

Tiz Benson and Anita Stack from Tizzerts will be holding one of their wonderful cake decorating classes as a part of my winter class series and guaranteed, this one will fill up fast!

The class begins with a champagne toast to all that is sweet in life and continues with a facinating and informative demonstration on assembling, frosting and decorating a cake. Class winds up with some hands-on instruction on decorating cupcakes, making icing roses and more!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Tues. Feb 8 6-9 pm Cost $55

Tip Top Tapas

Time for some easy but elegant Winter Hors d'oeuvres all with a bit of Spanish flair.

This class will focus of food and wine of Spain in the guise of little plates called tapas that make any party so much fun.

Our menu includes house-marinated olives with manchego cheese and homemade flatbread, saffron shrimp and scallops, tapenade crostini, cabrales souffles with grilled pears, roasted potatoes in smoked paprika and of course, homemade Sangria! Ole!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat. Feb 12 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $65
Class is FULL
That's Amore! The perfect class for you and your Valentine...FOOD, WINE AND CONVERSATION ( or shall we say, pillow talk!) OF ITALY with special guest NADA VERGILI
Heidi Billotto and the entertaining Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy join forces in the kitchen for and afternoon of fun and flavor!

As class participants watch and work with Heidi to prepare an entire authentic Italian meal perfect for entertaining your special someone, cooking class guest Nada Vergili will be teaching us all about this beautiful regions of Italy as well as fun little Italian expressions, sayings and phrases - plus how to talk with our hands! All as we eat and drink our way through the afternoon. Menu includes the classic Tuscan Bread soup - Ribollita, an antipasto tart salad, from-scratch ravioli with a variety of fillings so tasty they'll make your Valentine swoon and Nada's own authentic panna cotta - the perfect creamy dreamy finish for your Valentine dinner for two!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sun. Feb 13 1-4 pm Cost $65 -

This class was so popular we decided to run it a second time to accomodate everyone who wanted to attend. Same format and recipes as listed above.

That's Amore! The perfect class for you and your Valentine...FOOD, WINE AND CONVERSATION ( or shall we say, pillow talk!) OF ITALY with special guest NADA VERGILI

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat Feb 19 - 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $55

Food and Wine of France

A classic menu of French Cuisine and the perfect way to start learning the basics of culinary technique. We'll cover the ins and outs of making a sauce, how to make classic French onion soup and a basic French vinaigrette. Our menu centers around a wonderful seafood dish in which a finished seared fillet appears on the plate with crispy potato scales and for dessert - chocolate, but of course. French wines are paired with each course. Bon Appetit!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sun. Feb 20 1-4 pm Cost $55

Cheesey Does-it

This class is all about cooking with one of everyone's favorite comfort foods - CHEESE! We'll do an entire meal, each course featuring a different type of cheese and a different culinary technique. Menu includes a classic cheese souffle, grilled beef and cheese panini with caramelized onion, Pat's brie and mushroom bisque, chicken cordon bleu and for dessert a contemporary new take on Southern shortcake - biscuits with Bosky Acres goat cheese and homemade tomato jam - Yum!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Tues Feb 22 6-9 pm Cost $55

Wok on the Wild Side

Time to stir-fry things up a bit with a fun Asian inspired menu. Chicken sate with homemade peanut sauce, crispy fried tofu with Asian greens and buckwheat noodles, potsticker dumplings, and pineapple pork fried rice. For dessert: peanutty sweet half moons!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sun Feb 27 1-4 pm Cost $55

Tex Mex Dinner for Four

Who doesn't have a taste for some spicy south of the border fare - delish!

Menu includes toasted spanish rice with grilled chilis rellenos, sure-to-please chicken enchildas, beefy fajitas with jalapeno-studded easy, breezy, cheesy cornbread and homemade churros for a sweet treat at the end.

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Save the date -More great classes Coming Up in March

Among many others, two popular classes will run again in March and I wanted to give everyone a heads up 'cause they'll fill up fast for sure - menus to come, but you can certainly make your reservations and guarantee you space now....

Saturday March 12 - 11 am - 2:30 pm A springtime version of Food, Wine and Conversation of Italy with Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy. Cost $65

Sunday March 20 - 1-4 pm - Spring in the Season Cooking On the Farm, once again, at Proffitt Family Farms in Kings Mountain. Cost $65