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.Tomato Sauce from the Vine

One big batch of fresh San Marzano tomatoes

Run the tomatoes through a tomato miller. This mill machine separates the seeds and skin from the meat. This yielded exactly 56 oz. of meat.

In a large pan, add all the these ingredients.

1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flake
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
56 oz. milled tomato meat

In a small food processor chop:
½ onions
4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP fresh oregano
1 TBSP fresh basil
1 TBSP fresh mint

Cook all on a low temp until the water evaporates and the sauce gets thick. Maybe 3 hours or more on low.  Refrigerate overnight.

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

Knead the dough. Cut into six quarters, run through a pasta machine on setting 2, then 4, then setting 6. This will yield 6 pasta pieces.  Boil in water 1 minute. Remove and set aside.  You might not need all this pasta but it better to cook more so you are not short.

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.

Italian Sausage Meat

½ Lbs. ground beef
½ Lbs. round pork
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (herbs)
1 TBSP olive oil

Mix together in a large bowl. In a large pan add the oil and lightly brown the meat. Set aside.

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.

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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, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese

In a 350ᵒ oven bake Lasagna 1 hour, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

As of 8/28/21

Chicken Piccata

Piccata is referring to a sauce.  Piccata in general is made with veal.  In this case chicken breasts.  This dish is fried chicken with a buttery lemon sauce.

Serves 2

First boil water for the pasta.  When adding the pasta at about half way cooking add the spinach listed below. All dried pasta takes exactly 12 minutes to cook in boiling water.

Slice the chicken in two pieces and then slice the thick part down the middle flat ½ inch thick.  Pound if need to make ½ inch by placing plastic over chicken and gently pound the chicken just a little.  Salt and pepper the chicken. 

Flour chicken:
Dredge the chicken in flour.  Add two TBSP olive oil and heat. In a 12″ fry pan get the oil hot shimmer, add chicken and brown golden for ~ 4 minutes per side.  When the chicken is browned, remove, place on a platter.

Sauce:
½ cup white wine
1 TBSP capers
1 TBSP chopped Italian Parsley
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 TBSP butter
¼ cup chicken stock

In the pan drippings, add the capers and then the wine to de glaze the pan and then add the rest of the ingredients and finish on low temp.  Return the chicken and coat in the sauce. 

Pasta:
Thin Spaghetti
Fresh baby spinach
1 TBSP butter
Reserve some pasta water to reheat

No matter what time zone or country of origin you are in, all dried pasta takes EXACTLY 12 minutes to cook in boiling water.

As of 6/20/21

Osso Buco (Bone with a Hole)

(click on pics to enlarge)

(Osso = bone) + (Buco = hole)

This meat is a shank cut. The best part is the marrow in the center of the bone when cooked. Mostly, it is made with veal shank. However, veal shank can be expensive or impossible to find. Since the meat will cook for an hour and one-half or more, I substitute the veal with a beef shank. I can find beef shank for a third of the cost of veal and actually I think it has a place in this dish.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 beef shanks
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce or puree. (I make my own each year from scratch and freeze)
½ cup of dry red wine (dry white will also work)
Polenta
Flour
EVOO
Salt and pepper
Meat broth as needed (I use veal stock when available but chicken broth works fine also.)
1 clove garlic (pressed)

Mirepoix:
2 carrots chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 half onion chopped
2 celery stalks cut into ½ inch pieces

Bouquet Garni:
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs oregano or thyme
1 bay leaf

Gremolata (Chopped herb garnish, mix all ingredients in a bowl):
1 lemon grated for its lemon zest
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley finely chopped
¼ tsp. dried sage
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped

Cooking Directions:
Salt and pepper the meat and then dredge in flour. Brown in a Tbsp. or more EVOO in an oven proof pot. I use a 5 quart cast-iron pot with a lid.  Remove meat after browning and set aside.  The shank should be served whole with the bone in but I also find it better to cut it up in squares and serve the bone along with it.  It makes it easier to manage on the plate.

Add another Tbsp. EVOO and sauté the mirepoix.

Mix the red wine and tomato paste in a cup or bowl until the paste has dissolved.  Add the wine mixture to the mirepoix and stir.  Add one cup of stock or broth and stir.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a light boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Add bouquet garni and simmer 20 minutes.

Return meat to the pot and then add pressed garlic. Add remaining stock or broth until the meat is covered. Then add a dash more of wine.

Place pot with a lid (Dutch oven) in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 1½ to 2 hours.  An alternative is to simmer on top of the stove for nearly 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat tender.

Serve on a bed of cooked Polenta or Risotto and garnish with Gremolata to serve.

As of 2/21/21

Creamy Fish Fettuccini

Serves 2

Ingredients
• 6 oz. fettucine
• 1 cup of broccoli florets
• 1 TBSP butter
• 3 cloves garlic
• ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
• ¼ dry white wine (Chardonnay)
• 2 TBSP lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
• 1 Lb. of fully cooked fish (I mixed .5 Lb. salmon with .5 Lb. Pollock)
• S&P
• 1 cup shredded cheeses (Grana, Pecorino, dash Romano and Parmesan)
• 1 TBSP dried basil
• 2 tsp capers
• 2 tsp grated lemon zest
• Olive oil

Oil the fish and salt and pepper. Cook 12 minutes in 425° oven. Remove and cut into bit size pieces.

Boil water for pasta in salt water and cook the pasta in the boil for 7 minutes. Add the broccoli florets to the water and cook another 5 minutes. Drain all and add a dash olive oil to the pasta and toss it a little to keep it moist.

In a cast iron skillet melt the butter and sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic on low. (Just to add garlic flavor to the butter.) Add the cream and cook on medium cooking the cream down to a thick cream then add the wine. With a cooking spatula keep moving the cream so it won’t clump or stick.  Cook down while continuing to move the creany sauce in the skillet to evaporate the fluid and to get everything thick. Add the lemon juice and zest, cheese, dried basil, capers and S&P. Mix and get thick. The idea is to cook out almost half of the fluid.  If it gets to thick add more wine or water retained from the pasta boil.

Add the pasta and broccoli into an oven proof Pyrex or Corning pot with a cover.  The reason is so the pasta will be easier to clean after putting this dish in the oven.  Then add the fish and then the cream mixture from the skillet. With tongs mix and toss together. In the 425° oven cover and cook another 10 minutes until the pasta gets hot enough to serve. Serve.

As of 2/29/20

Zabaglione

Italian Desert Custard

6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup Madeira (or Marsala)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
Pinch cinnamon
Vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream
Blue berries (any fruit)

Fill a sauce pot with water half way. Bring water to light boil and reduce heat to slightly under medium. Use a round bottom metal double boiler. Place over the pot of water and add all the ingredients except the blue berries (fruit) in the round double boiler and whisk on low heat until the mixture makes a custard. Thius might take a little while.  Be patient.  When it is the desired thickness, remove and place in a large bowl to cool. When cooled add a cup of whipped cream (Cool whip) and whip until it gets peaks. In something like a wine glass, add the fruit, then the Zabaglione, more fruit, then cool whip. Cover the glass with plastic wrap and cool in the frig until it’s time to eat. This dish is enough for four people. It is very rich. But, can be served in smaller quantity.  It has a very bold flavor.

“Main differences: Marsala is from the town Marsala in Sicily. Madeira is from the Madeiros Islands in the Atlantic. Madeira is made from Malvasia, Verdelho grapes.”