Lasagna

Well worth the effort.

Tomato Sauce
5 Roma tomatoes (skinned)*
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP olive oil
½ cup dry red wine
1 can of tomato sauce

• (To skin a tomato cut an X on the top and bottom of the tomato, drop in boiling water until the skin starts to come off, rinse in cold water and pull off skin, chop tomatoes)

In a large cast iron skillet sauté tomato paste in oil, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook on low for 2 hours. Periodically mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. After an hour of cooking when the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, mash the pulp again add ½ cup of red wine. Later add the can of tomato sauce and flavored olive oil and warm a little on low then cool.

Pasta
In a food processor, several pulses don’t over work:
1 ¼ cups of flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
Tad bit of olive oil

Knead the dough. Cut into six quarters, run through a pasta machine on setting 3 then setting 6. This will yield 6 pasta pieces.  Boil in water 1 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Eggplant
Slice the eggplant ¼ inch – 6 pieces. In a baking sheet paint olive oil on both sides and cook in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes.

Flavored Olive Oil
In a small sauce pan add:
2 TBSP EVOO
1 garlic clove sliced into coins
1 handful of fresh basil leaves

Sauté for ten minutes on low or until you can smell the fragrance of everything coming together.

Italian Sausage Meat
½ green pepper diced
½ red pepper diced.
½ onion chopped
1 lb. Fresh Mild Italian Pork Sausage (from sausage casings is good too)
1 TPSP olive oil

In a large cast iron Dutch oven sauté the peppers and onion then add the meat and slightly brown. Not too much as the oven later will finish them.

Ricotta
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil chopped
1 – 15 oz. container of ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs

In a large bowl mix all ingredients.

~~~

In a 2 ½ quart Corning Ware casserole dish layer as follows:

1st Layer – sauce, then pasta
2nd Layer – sauce, ricotta cheeses mix, pasta
3rd Layer – sauce, eggplant, pasta
4th Layer – sauce, meat mix, no-pasta on top
5th Layer – parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese

In a 350ᵒ oven bake Lasagna, let rest for 10 minutes and serve.

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Tomato Pie

This is nothing short of spectacular.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• Several fresh basil leaves
• ½ cup chopped green onions
• 4 tomatoes peeled and sliced
• 1 – 9” deep dish pie crust
• 1 garlic clove chopped
• 1 ¼ slice of black forest ham, browned on both sides and cut into pieces
• Salt pepper

Preheat oven to 350ᵒ

Mix cheeses and mayo with salt and pepper in a bowl

In the pie crust layer first the ham, garlic, green onions, tomatoes, basil and then the cheeses mixture.

Bake 30 minutes

Serve

Chicken Parmigiana w/Eggplant

This is a wonderful dish and easy to make.

• 2 large chicken breasts cut in half and pounded flat (~1/2 inch thick)
• 4 whole slices of eggplant
• 4 thick slices of Mozzarella (ask in the deli, mine comes from Wisconsin, not found in a bag)
• 4 large basil leaves
• Parmesan cheeses grated (for topping)
• Italian bread crumbs
• 2 eggs
• Thin spaghetti
• 4 Tbsp Butter and olive oil mix
• Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce or your special sauce
• Olive Oil (or Special Sunday Tomato Sauce olive oil, sauté 1 large garlic clove and several basil leaves in ¼ cup olive oil, let cool and strain)

Make your Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce before hand or use whatever sauce you like. It should be thick and full of tomato pulp. My sauce takes about 2 hours to make, mostly simmering.

Drag the chicken through egg and Italian bread crumbs and fry in butter/EVOO until golden brown on both sides. If you fry the chicken in batches, wipe the pan each time and add fresh butter. Set aside.

Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and paint EVOO on both sides and place in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes. Care is needed not to overcook.

Stack the ingredients. On top of the chicken place eggplant, then the basil leaves, (pour a dash of Special Sunday Tomato Sauce olive oil) or olive oil, then add the tomato sauce, then the Mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Place on baking sheet and cook in 350ᵒ oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve over thin spaghetti.

 

Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce

The Sicilian’s call a rich tomato sauce a Sunday Tomato Gravy. I have futzed around with this sauce for a very long time. Fortunately, I have two very important cooking influences. One is Cajun Gumbo Roux based foods and the other is New York/New Jersey style Italian cooking tomato gravy based foods.

The idea here on the Italian side is to make thick rich tomato gravy separate from the other stuff. Usually tomato gravy is cooked with meats. But, I find good Roma tomatoes with a lot of pulp and go to work on the tomato gravy separate and apart.

First I cut crosses on the tops and bottoms of each tomato. Then I boil them in boiling water for several minutes until the skin starts to come off. I remove them from the pot with tongs and place them under cold water and peel the skin off. I cut them up and place them into a small food processor where I chop them maybe 10 pushes of the button.

I fry them in a wide hot cast iron skillet with one TBSP olive oil and two TBSP of tomato paste for several minutes and then I put the fire on simmer and let the tomatoes cook where the fluids evaporate (~1 hour). Then I mash them with a potato masher and add a cup of dry red wine. I then simmer them again for another hour in the wine and turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. No salt, no pepper, no sugar, I’ll address that later.

In a separate small sauce pan I sauté on low heat a large chopped clove of garlic and a bunch of fresh basil from my garden in a ¼ cup of olive oil. I cook on low until I can see a little bubbling on the sides (~20 minutes). Remove from heat, let cool and strain the oil, discard the basil and garlic. I then add 4 TBSPs of the strained oil to the tomato gravy and mix. THE BEST!!! Tomato gravy, no sugar, naturally sweet from the basil and wine and strong.

I add that sauce to any dish, mostly on pasta.

BTW, pasta is so easy make. Put 1¼ cups flour and two eggs in a food processor with 1 TBSP olive oil and pulse until you got a big ball of dough…You got pasta dough. Cut it and put it through a pasta maker. Boil it one minute and serve…

 

 

Asian Mandarin Avocado Fish and Shrimp Salad

This is a very simple dish I have worked together with a perfect sauce. The sauce can be used for chicken and pork. Start with the salad dressing. All my salad dressings are a 6:1 ratio, 6 TBSP of oil and 1 TBSP of everything else.

Asian Salad Dressing/Marinade
• 6 TBSP peanut oil
• 1 TBSP soy sauce ( I added a tad more b/c I like a stiff soy sauce flavor)
• 1 TBSP sesame oil
• 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
• 1 TBSP minced fresh garlic
• 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
• 1 TBSP chopped scallions

In a bowl whisk all ingredients.

Fish and Shrimp (for 2)

• 6 large jumbo shrimp
• 2 white fish filets (You can use flounder, walleye, cod, tilapia, etc.)

Devein and peel shrimp and chop the fish filets cross ways 1 inch. Place the seafood in a plastic zip lock bag and then pour in half the salad dressing. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Salad

• Any green leafy salad, I used a romaine medley and escarole
• Cilantro – chopped
• 1 avocado – quartered
• 1 fresh mandarin – peeled and deseeded
• ½ cup frozen edamame (soy bean, without the shell)
• sesame seeds, for topping (optional)

Arrange everything on a plate except the fish.

Heat non-stick pan on medium heat. Remove fish from bag and set the dressing in the bag on the side, and sauté fish about 4 minutes, add the remaining dressing from the zip lock bag (this dressing has the fishy flavor) and cook another 4 minutes until the fish and shrimp are nice and tender. Remove the shrimp and plate three shrimp in line on both plates and then plate the fish. Add the pan cooked dressing to the remaining half dressing and whisk once more. Spoon the dressing equally amongst both plates and serve.

Can it be that easy?