Bagna Cauda (Piedmontese Warm Garlic-Anchovy Dip)

Author Notes: This recipe comes from my friend Jessica Theroux’s cookbook, Cooking With Italian Grandmothers

 

Serves 6 as an appetizer

  • 3whole heads garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 1cup olive oil
  • 5anchovy fillets, rinsed if salted and finely chopped
  • Blanched or raw vegetables for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and gently drop in the garlic cloves. Boil gently for 10 minutes and then remove and drain the garlic cloves. Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle or however else you choose.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a small, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the anchovies and the garlic, bring to a simmer and lower the heat so the liquid is barely bubbling. Cook very gently for half an hour, stirring occasionally so that the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Blanch and cut up the vegetables while the dip is simmering and arrange them on a large platter.
  4. When the bagna cauda is ready, add lots of black pepper and some more salt if necessary. Serve warm with the vegetables.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

 

Author Notes: A Roman classic and a favorite of neighborhood osterie, this is traditionally made with guanciale, cured pork cheeks, but pancetta or even slab bacon can be substituted. Bacon is definitely not used in the original—it will give the sauce a smoky flavor.

While it seems like a fairly straightforward dish, how exactly pasta all’Amatriciana is made is the subject of endless squabbles and debates. Some people say it should have onion, some say no. I have been told that parsley never goes in it and I’m not sure about it, but personally I like the brightness fresh chopped parsley gives it. Some will tell you to simmer the tomato sauce for hours and some will say it should just be quickly heated through. In the end, like with so much Italian food, everyone swears their version is the only way to make it and still have it be Amatriciana.

I just make it how I like it and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. In Rome, it is traditionally made with bucatini, long hollow pasta—like big spaghetti with a hole in the middle—but it’s also good with just about any other pasta shape, from spaghetti to spaghettoni to penne rigate to rigatoni.

 

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1large garlic clove, minced
  • 1medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2ounces cured pork, preferably guanciale (or pancetta, or bacon), diced small
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1drained 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 2small spicy dried chili peppers such as Calabrian or pequin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1pound (500 grams) bucatini or other pasta (see head note)
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated aged Pecorino Romano or grana padana cheese
  1. Combine the garlic, onion, and pork with the oil in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the meat just begins to brown and render its fat, add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands as you add them. Stir to mix and continue to break up the tomatoes in the pan, using the side of the spoon.
  3. As soon as the tomatoes start to bubble, turn the heat down and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is dense, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and plenty of black pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta.
  5. As soon as the pasta is al dente, drain it and turn into a warmed serving bowl. Immediately pour the sauce over the pasta and serve, turning the pasta and sauce together at the table and passing grated cheese.

Cacio e Pepe

 

Author Notes: Although cacio e pepe is merrily served all over Rome as a quick and easy dish, the technique for making it right is a little tricky. The key is to emulsify the cheese into a little bit of reserved starchy pasta cooking water so you get a creamy, luscious sauce that coats the pasta. Unfortunately, if you don’t get it right, the cheese clumps up, but the good news is that it’s still perfectly delicious if that happens.

I heard a lot of variations when trying to figure out how exactly to make this dish—most of which didn’t work. I made one with a slurry of cheese, fizzy water, and cracked black pepper that was supposed to sit in the bottom of the bowl so the hot pasta would melt the cheese to coat the pasta strands. It didn’t work. Butter is a common addition in American versions of the recipe, and while it might work, it’s not Roman.

After all my experiments, this recipe was the winner. Enjoy.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2tablespoons whole black peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle or 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2tablespoons sea salt
  • 500grams spaghetti
  • 3/4cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 3/4cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • About 3/4 to 1 cup of cooking water
  1. In a pot over low heat, heat the crushed peppercorn with the olive oil.
  2. In a pot large enough to cook the spaghetti, bring water to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat off under the olive oil and add about 1/2 cup of the hot cooking water from the pot into the pan, then set aside.
  4. When the pasta water comes to a rolling boil, add the salt, stir, then add the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti until 2 minutes under the lowest time recommended on the package. Using tongs (you don’t want to get the rid of the water), add the pasta to the pot with the pepper. Turn the heat onto very low and turn the pasta continuously until most of the water is absorbed. At this point, remove from the heat and transfer to a warm bowl.
  5. Still tossing, begin adding the two grated cheeses, a couple handfuls at a time. If it starts to get dry, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta water. Keep turning and turning, adding cheese and pasta water, a little at a time, until all the cheese has been incorporated and you have a lovely creamy sauce coating each strand of pasta. Eat immediately.

Authentic Italian Sugar Cookie Recipe

Here’s a list of the ingredients and some simple directions for making the sugar cookies if you got caught up watching Clara and didn’t manage to get her sugar cookie recipe written down:

3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour (add more if needed)
Pinch salt

Beat eggs and sugar together, add flour and salt, and mix until it forms cookie dough. Shape cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F until a golden color. Allow to cool before serving with coffee.

Remember, Clara said they are great for dunking!

Authentic Italian Meatballs

There are as many “authentic” Italian meatball recipes on the web as there are stars in the sky with each chef making slight changes to their recipe to differentiate it from the others.  Of course my recipe dips back into the hallowed mists of antiquity to come up with something that an Italian would be proud to claim as their own.  Italian food was introduced into the US during the 1890’s during the great wave of immigration from Europe.  It really didn’t come into it’s own though until the depression era when “Italian” food usually meant spaghetti with ketchup or some thin sauce and meat when it was affordable.  This recipe is adapted from “The St. Mary’s Square Cookbook”, St. Michaels, Maryland.  It was printed in 1966 but the recipes are older having been treasured family heirlooms shared with the museum to help in the restoration of the little old house built c.1700.

Authentic Italian Meatballs

1/2# Ground Chuck
1/2# Ground Pork or 1 Link Fresh Italian Sausage, casing removed

5 sprigs fresh Parsley (about 1/4C)
1 small white onion (2-3 oz)
2 cloves garlic
1 Egg
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Basil

1T Grated Romano Cheese
Breadcrumbs, 1/2C to start
1/2tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (Optional)

Start by peeling your garlic and mincing it fine periodically smashing it down with the flat of the knife, add to mixing bowl.  Mince onion extremely fine or grate with the fine side of a grater and add with garlic, finally pull leaves from stems of parsley and mince very fine adding to onion and garlic.  Throw in rest of ingredients and mix well with hands.  The consistency should be slightly damp as in a meatloaf and it should form a smooth ball readily.  If too dry add a touch of milk, too wet, a touch of breadcrumbs.  Place in refrigerator for 15 mins to let ingredients come together and rest. Remove from refrigerator and form into balls the size of a golf ball.  You should end up with about 16 meatballs.  Heat a heavy frying pan and add 3T oil to cover bottom.  When hot add meatballs taking care not to overcrowd the pan.  Using a spoon carefully turn meatballs to brown all sides.  When done remove to plate lined with paper towel and let drain.  A serving is about 5 meatballs placed on top of plate of cooked pasta and covered with sauce of choice.  Alternately, instead of frying, meatballs can be dropped directly into pot of sauce on stove and cooked until done.  Take care when stirring not to break apart meatballs.

Italian Tomato Sauce “Gravy”

Some call it Tomato Sauce and others call it “Gravy”, whatever you call it is a must have for the Italian Family kitchen.

I have fond memories of a large pot of Gravy simmering all day on on Saturday !  The simple pleasure of dipping Italian bread in to the sauce as it is simmering or cheating a piece of sausage or ameatball as a prelude to the meal to come.

 

Start your Gravy it in the morning as your day goes by and  your home will be filled with the feeling of warmth and comfort! As the children come is they will ask it it is ready yet and eagerly ask if they can have some before dinner is ready. You give in…..

As you lovingly scrape down the sides and stir the gravy up from the bottom you are overwhelmed with a deep sense of satisfaction as well as the pride that comes with following family tradition.

I know it is just a recipe for tomato sauce but for me it is so much more, it is love!

 

Italian Tomato Sauce  “Gravy’

Ingredients

2 cans 28 oz San Marzano Tomatoes crushed

1 can. 28 oz Italian Tomatoes puree

1 large can Tomato paste

1 medium bulb garlic peeled and chopped

1/8 cup fine grated carrot

1 cup fine chopped onion

1/8. cup fine chopped celery

1/2 heaping tbsp Mexican oregano

1 heaping tbsp leaf basil

1  tbsp dry Italian parsley

1 tsp black pepper

2 pinches crushed red chili

1 tbsp salt or to taste

1/8 cup lard (or olive oil)

1/8 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 cup red wine

1/8 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley

5 large fresh basil leaves torn

2 cans water

Method

 

  • In a large pot, heat the lard till it crackles when a drop of water is added.

 

  1. Reduce heat to medium Add garlic and brown lightly Add onion,carrot, celery and cook till soft
  2. Add all dry herbs, and wine hold back the salt pepper, chilies, fresh herbs and parm till end Reduce till almost dry.
  3. Add all tomato products and water Mix well add salt. pepper.chilies and parm.
  4. Simmer the “gravy” till thick and not watery. Stir often to assure it does not burn. When the sauce is done about 2 hours add the fresh herbs, stir and serve or use in your favorite recipe.

Freeze in small containers If you are making meatballs you may add them to your gravy while it is cooking. Same for Italian Sausage.

* Try browning Pancetta and using the natural drippings instead of lard

* When making Italian Meatballs start your sauce in the same pot you fry them in or be sure to de-glaze the pan and add the drippings to your sauce. Enjoy!

Vintage Italian Crescent Casserole Recipe

There’s no good reason to mess with a classic, so we didn’t. This Vintage Italian Crescent Casserole Recipe is pretty close to the Pillsbury favorite of the 1970s.

Crescent casserole recipes are the perfect combination of hearty meat and sweet, soft dough. They’re great for family dinners because they’re so quick and easy, which is why crescent casseroles have stuck around for decades. If you’re a fan of Italian flavors, our Test Kitchen creation won’t disappoint you. Perfectly seasoned ground beef served in a sweet, flaky crescent crust is enough to get our stomachs’ rumbling.

Give this Vintage Italian Crescent Casserole recipe a try and you’ll see that it’s an instant hit!

 

Vintage Italian Crescent Casserole Recipe

Serves 8

 Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced fine
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Italian dry seasoning (including red pepper flakes if desired)
  • 1 cup Mariana-type spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 8-ounce tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat for about 5 minutes, breaking up meat with a spoon and stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, and seasonings and cook, stirring for 5 more minutes. Drain if necessary, then add the spaghetti sauce and heat just until bubbly
  3. Spoon meat mixture into a deep-dish pie plate.
  4. Mix mozzarella cheese and sour cream together in a small bowl and spoon evenly on top of the meat.
  5. Unroll crescent rolls and cut apart at perforations. Position them around the top of the pan with points in the center.
  6. Stir together the Parmesan and butter and brush over the top of the rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes until rolls are completely baked in the center and top is golden brown. Cut into wedges to serve.

 

4th of July Rosemary Rib Eye Grille 4th of July Rosemary Rib Eye Grille

Everything for your 4th of July celebration is on this plate! From rosemary-balsamic steaks topped with pineapple- red pepper salsa, to white pepper laced corn, it is all grilled to perfection.

Ingredients
Serves 6
  • Steaks:
  • 6 (8-10 oz.) well-trimmed rib eye steaks
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salsa:
  • 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, well drained (save juice for another use)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Corn:
  • 6 fresh ears corn on the cob, all but the first layer of husk removed and soaked in water for 15 minutes then drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Garnish:
  • 6 basil sprigs
Directions/Steps
  1. Place steaks in a large resealable plastic bag.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree remaining steak ingredients and pour over steaks.
  3. Seal and shake to evenly coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. For salsa, place pineapple and pepper squares in a separate large resealable plastic bag. Stir remaining salsa ingredients together and pour over pineapple/ pepper mixture.
  5. Seal and shake to evenly coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  6. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Oil grill grates.
  7. Place corn on grill. Cover and grill for 15 minutes, turning every 3 minutes.
  8. Remove husks and silks. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Grill for 2-4 minutes more until char marks appear, turning every minute. Remove from grill. Cover and keep warm.
  10. Meanwhile, remove pineapple mixture from refrigerator and drain well. Skewer pineapple and pepper squares on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers.
  11. Place on one side of grill and grill for 8-10 minutes until grill marks appear, turning once.
  12. Remove steaks from bag and place on other half of grill, cooking skewers and steaks at the same time.
  13. Grill steaks for 4-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness.
  14. Remove pineapple chunks and pepper squares from skewers.
  15. Cut pineapple in half and pepper squares into fourths. Place in a bowl.
  16. To serve, place each steak on a serving plate.
  17. Divide salsa onto steaks.
  18. Garnish with basil sprigs.
  19. Add an ear of corn to each plate.
  20. Serve immediately.

Ingredients Related Recipes: All Recipes All Recipes Portate/Courses Entree Recipes Recipe Category Meat Recipes Holiday Recipes Memorial Day Recipes 4th July Recipes Labor Day Recipes Barbecue Recipes Difficulty Level Easy Recipes Serves 6 Steaks: 6 (8-10 oz.) well-trimmed rib eye steaks 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Salsa: 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, well drained (save juice for another use) 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 tablespoons minced onion 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil Corn: 6 fresh ears corn on the cob, all but the first layer of husk removed and soaked in water for 15 minutes then drained 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper Garnish: 6 basil sprigs xxxx Directions/Steps Place steaks in a large resealable plastic bag. In a food processor or blender, puree remaining steak ingredients and pour over steaks. Seal and shake to evenly coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours. For salsa, place pineapple and pepper squares in a separate large resealable plastic bag. Stir remaining salsa ingredients together and pour over pineapple/ pepper mixture. Seal and shake to evenly coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Oil grill grates. Place corn on grill. Cover and grill for 15 minutes, turning every 3 minutes. Remove husks and silks. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 2-4 minutes more until char marks appear, turning every minute. Remove from grill. Cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, remove pineapple mixture from refrigerator and drain well. Skewer pineapple and pepper squares on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers. Place on one side of grill and grill for 8-10 minutes until grill marks appear, turning once. Remove steaks from bag and place on other half of grill, cooking skewers and steaks at the same time. Grill steaks for 4-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Remove pineapple chunks and pepper squares from skewers. Cut pineapple in half and pepper squares into fourths. Place in a bowl. To serve, place each steak on a serving plate. Divide salsa onto steaks. Garnish with basil sprigs. Add an ear of corn to each plate. Serve immediately.