Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Italian Meatballs

meatballs

This recipe was adapted from a cookbook a friend gave me, ‘Journey into Cooking’, by Maria Gray. It’s even an autographed copy. There is more content in this book than any illustrated, commercial cookbook has nowadays, with 270 pages with 1-4 recipes per page.

Next time you go to the bookstore or Amazon.com to purchase the next celebrity chef’s new cookbook, go to the bargain section and look for an old-school, un-illustrated, un-trendy cookbook someone cared to pass on to you. You’ll find treasures.

Italian Meatballs (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup real bread crumbs (bread torn by hand)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup processed bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 quart tomato sauce

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak real bread crumbs in a cup of milk.

2) In large bowl, mix all ingredients except tomato sauce together. If you’re not afraid to get dirty, use your hands to mix. It is finished mixing when you get that springy, bouncy texture from the meatball mixture.

3) Gently shape meatball mixture into balls (little smaller than golf ball size), but do not handle them much, or they will be very tough after baking.

4) Cook sauce in pot over low heat.  Lightly drizzle olive oil to grease 2 cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, turning over once.

5) Spoon into sauce, simmer for 5 minutes – 1 hour. Serve over pasta.

 

*Substitutions/Tips:

- 1/4 cup sour cream instead of 1/3 cup milk

- The longer the meatballs simmer in the sauce, the more it enhances the flavor/saltiness.  You may want to add a little more salt to the meatball mixture if you don’t want them to cook in the sauce for a long time.

Breaded Zucchini

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Breaded zucchini. Be sure not to over fry them, or they get all soggy and limp.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • salt

Directions:

1) Slice zucchini into quarter inch slices.  Whisk egg into bowl, dip zucchini slices into egg. Pour bread crumbs into dish, cover egg dipped slices into bread crumbs.

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 2) Pour oil to coat bottom of pan, heat at medium high. Place zucchini slices in pan for one minute until brown, flip and cook for another minute. Remove and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle salt, serve.

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Garlic Bread

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Slice a baguette down the middle like you are making a sub. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp melted butter, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and salt. Brush mixture onto bread.  Toast in oven (set to broil) until edges are golden brown. Shouldn’t take more than a minute to toast, so watch it carefully in the oven. Can substitute butter with olive oil.

Lasagna should look messy, that’s what makes it good.

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 This is an authentic lasagna recipe from my neighbor who was from Italy. It doesn’t have ricotta cheese, and I don’t care what you think damnit, it’s authentic because it was from my italian neighbor.  It’s filling consists of ground beef flavored with green peppers, onions and celery, giving it alot of depth.  She made her own pasta, her own sauces, her own wine, and every Easter she gave us a loaf of homemade bread, and a basket of homemade chocolates and cookies.  She taught my mother and I how to make lasagna.  I remember seeing her walk around her yard anxiously like an expectant father in a hospital waiting room, waiting to see the results on our first attempt at this lasagna as the aroma of the ingredients drifted from our kitchen window into our backyard, to her backyard.  We called her over to our kitchen as we pulled the little guy out of the oven.  It was a success, she exclaimed!  We all hugged and cried.  Okay, we didn’t hug and cry.  But because of her our family branched out and tried new things other than daily cantonese cooking.  We were in a new world where pizza and spaghetti and lasagna and garlic bread existed.  It was wonderful.

Lasagna (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves crush garlic
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 16 oz. mozzerella cheese, sliced thin squares/circles
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 15 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 13 x 9 x 2  baking dish
  • 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce

This recipe makes 3 layers of noodles with 2 layers of meat/cheese and serves 8-12.

Directions:

1. On medium high, melt 1 Tbsp butter into skillet. 

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Add peppers, onions and celery.  Cook until onions are translucent.

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Add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste.

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Add one 6 oz. can of tomato paste, mix well.

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2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, ‘grease’ the bottom of the pan with a light coating of spaghetti sauce. Start building layers with 5 strips of noodles (4 across with 1 perpendicular), overlapping the noodles. Spoon half the meat mixture onto noodles, spread evenly. Layer sliced mozzerella covering surface of meat.  I add salt and pepper again because I find my cheese (beligioso) isn’t salty enough.  If you are using Polly-O mozzerella, you might be okay. Repeat this step again.

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Add the last 5 lasagna noodles to cover the top, cover with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle extra cheese if you wish.  Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes.

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This is what it should look like when it’s done.

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Freeze leftovers in airtight container. Serve with garlic bread in my next recipe.

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