Category: Italian

Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (8-oz) onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
¼ – ½ cup dry white, or dry red wine (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried ground fennel
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
2 whole cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering; add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and tender.  Add meat and cook until no longer pink.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, wine (optional), and fish sauce (optional); add remaining herbs, spices & seasonings. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves prior to serving.  Sauce is best when made a day more in advance and reheated. 

To serve, boil desired pasta as directed; drain retaining a some of the pasta water in a separate bowl.  Place enough warmed meat sauce to coat pasta in a serving bowl and stir in a small amount of pasta water; add pasta and stir to coat.  Serve topped with extra meat sauce and freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or both).

Grandma’s Lasagna

Grandma’s Lasagna

In the 1960s and 70s, most of our family parties included the Berg family.  Tom, Evie, and their daughter Donna were always there.  Their son Tommy was serving in the military, so we didn’t see him and his wife Linda as often, but all of the Bergs have always felt like a part of our family.  Grandma’s Lasagna recipe actually came from Donna Berg sometime in the 1970s.  Donna served this at a birthday party and it was such a hit that our family has since used this lasagna recipe exclusively.


INGREDIENTS
Lasagna:
⅓ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup water
½ tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp basil
1 whole clove, crushed
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (or 1 cup of each)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz lasagna noodles, prepared

Besciamella:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
small pinch nutmeg


DIRECTIONS
Lasagna:
Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender; add meat and brown.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Place ½ of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan.  Spread ½ of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with ½ of the meat sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Besciamella:
Thoroughly heat butter and flour.  Whisk in remaining ingredients; cook until thickened.

Slice and serve lasagna topped with besciamella.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

3 chicken Breasts, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 cup white cooking wine
2 cloves garlic
1 1⁄2 tsp Italian seasoning
12 leaves fresh basil
1⁄2 jar marinated sundried tomatoes
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 bag baby spinach
1 bag cheese tortellini
1⁄2 pt heavy whipping cream toasted pine nuts (optional)

Cook chicken in olive oil (or basil-infused olive oil), white wine, garlic, Italian seasoning (McCormick Gourmet Collection Italian Seasoning) and fresh basil leaves. Add tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and simmer 5-8 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach; cook until wilted. Add cooked tortellini. Add whipping cream and Italian Seasoning (to taste). Simmer. Add more cream if needed. Optional pine nuts should be added just before serving.

Tortellini Italiana

Tortellini Italiana

3 chicken Breasts, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 cup white cooking wine
2 cloves garlic
1 1⁄2 tsp Italian seasoning
12 leaves fresh basil
1⁄2 jar marinated sundried tomatoes
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 bag baby spinach
1 bag cheese tortellini
1⁄2 pt heavy whipping cream
toasted pine nuts (optional)

Cook chicken in olive oil (or basil-infused olive oil), white wine, garlic, Italian seasoning (McCormick Gourmet Collection Italian Seasoning) and fresh basil leaves. Add tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and simmer 5-8 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach; cook until wilted. Add cooked tortellini. Add whipping cream and Italian Seasoning (to taste). Simmer. Add more cream if needed. Optional pine nuts should be added just before serving.

Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

1⁄4 cup butter
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1⁄4 tsp sambal oelek (or 1⁄8 tsp red pepper flakes)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
4 medium summer squash, sliced and quartered
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh basil (2 pkgs)
chopped fresh parsley to taste
salt and fresh pepper to taste penne or ziti pasta
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (or roasted peppers)

Melt butter in large skillet. Add garlic and sambal. Add mushrooms and squash. Cook covered for five minutes or until squash is cooked through. Stir in green onions, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook together for three minutes. Toss with hot pasta. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with peppers and fresh parsley.

Spaghetti with Crispy Prosciutto and Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Crispy Prosciutto and Tomatoes

350g spaghetti
2 tbsp fresh basil. shredded
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
6 slices prosciutto (90g), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 sm tomatoes (600g), quartered
1⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Cook spaghetti. Meanwhile, combine basil, parsley, oil, juice and vinegar in screw-top jar; shake well. Heat extra oil in wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry prosciutto and garlic until prosciutto is crisp; drain on paper towels. Stir fry tomatoes until just soft. Combine all ingredients; stir fry until hot and serve.

Spaghetti in Red Clam Sauce

Spaghetti in Red Clam Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp anchovy paste or 2 fillets
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
2 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams in juice
3 cups tomato sauce (plus 1/4 cup water to rinse jar)
parmesan cheese to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta
fresh basil (or parsley) to taste

In a cold sauté pan add olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovy paste and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium and sauté until oil is infused with the flavors in the pan (about 5 min). Donʼt brown the garlic. Add wine and reduce for about 5 minutes. Pour the juice from the cans of clams into the mixture. Add tomato sauce. Increase heat slightly and simmer for 8-10 minutes. When the pasta is about 1-2 minutes away from being done add clams to the sauce mixture. Drain pasta when undercooked by 1 minute; pour sauce over pasta and cover with lid for 3 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and basil, stir and serve.

Ricotta-Spinach Balls

Ricotta-Spinach Balls

2 lbs spinach, washed and chopped
11⁄2 lbs ricotta cheese
1 tsp. salt
1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 egg yolks
1⁄4 cup flour
2 qts. simmering water
1⁄2 cup melted butter
1⁄4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Cook spinach in 1 cup water for 5 minutes. Squeeze spinach dry and mix with ricotta cheese, salt, parmesan cheese and egg yolks. When well mixed, shape into small balls; dust with flour and drop into simmering water, a few at a time. Simmer the balls for 4 minutes after the balls rise to the surface. Remove and repeat process until all balls are cooked. Sprinkle with melted butter and Parmesan and serve immediately.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta Cheese

1 gallon whole milk
1⁄4 cup white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
1 qt heavy cream

Pour the milk and cream into a large, non-reactive sauce pan and slowly heat to 200°, stirring to prevent the mixture from scorching. When the milk has reached the desired temperature, add vinegar (or lemon juice). The milk should curdle instantly, separating into water and smallish white curds and foam. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes, with an occasional stir. Place a colander lined with cheesecloth in the sink and slowly pour the entire contents into the colander. Allow the ricotta to drain and cool until the cheesecloth can be handled comfortably. Gather the ends of the cloth up and tie into a bag; suspend over the sink until it stops dripping (approximately 1 hour).

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

1 cup butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
6 chicken breasts

Melt butter; set aside. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Dip chicken into butter and then into bread mixture. Place in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 350º for 50 to 55 minutes. Serve with pasta and marinara sauce.

Manicotti

Manicotti

1 box (8 oz) manicotti, prepared
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 bag (6 oz) spinach, chopped
2 eggs
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese

Over medium heat, heat oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in spinach; continue cooking 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Beat eggs lightly in medium bowl. Stir in ricotta, basil and salt. Stir in mushroom mixture.

Spread 3⁄4 cup spaghetti sauce over bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Fill manicotti with mushroom mixture; place in dish. Pour remaining sauce over filled manicotti; sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Lasagna with White Sauce

Lasagna with White Sauce

3 chicken breasts, halved, skinned an boned
1 can (14oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3⁄4 cup butter
1⁄2 cup flour
2 cups milk
11⁄2 cups whipping cream
1⁄2 tsp rosemary
1⁄2 tsp tarragon
1⁄2 tsp beau monde
dash nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 1⁄2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb lasagna noodles, prepared
1⁄4 lb prosciutto, shredded
1 pkg baby spinach
mozzarella cheese, grated
ricotta cheese

Cook chicken in broth, water, wine and garlic until tender. Reserve liquid. Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks. In a saucepan, melt butter, mix in flour whisking constantly over medium heat. Add milk, cream and reserved liquid stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Stir in spices and salt. Remove from heat and whisk in parmesan cheese. Lightly butter a 9×13 baking dish. Layer noodles, sauce, chicken, prosciutto, spinach and cheeses. Bake bake, uncovered, at 350º for 35 minutes.

Lasagna

Lasagna

4 lb ground round
vegetable cooking spray
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped & divided
1 can (20-oz) plus 1 can (14-oz) whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 can (14-oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 can (8-oz) no-salt-added tomato sauce 1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1⁄4 tsp pepper
2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
1⁄2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 container(15-oz) nonfat ricotta cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded provolone cheese fresh oregano sprigs (optional)

Cook meat in a large saucepan over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble; drain and set aside. Wipe pan with a paper towel. Coat pan with cooking spray; add the onion and garlic, sauté 5 minutes. Return meat to pan. Add 2 tbsp parsley and next 7 ingredients; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover; simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine remaining 2 tbsp parsley, cottage cheese, and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; stir well and set aside.

Spread 3⁄4 cup tomato mixture in bottom of a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over tomato mixture; top with half of the cottage cheese mixture, 21⁄4 cups tomato mixture, and 2⁄3 cup provolone. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread the remaining tomato mixture over noodles.

Cover; bake at 350º for 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining provolone; bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano, if desired.

Gnocchi di Ricotta

Gnocchi di Ricotta

2 lbs ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs
4 cups flour

Place ricotta in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg. Mix well. Gradually add flour, one cup at a time until dough is not too sticky (the amount of flour will vary depending on the dryness of the ricotta). Remove dough from bowl and knead gently on lightly floured board.

Cut into pieces and roll into sausage-like shapes. Cut into 1” pieces. Roll each piece and into a gnocchi by gently rolling and pressing with thumb (or fork). Allow gnocchiʼs to dry (gnocchiʼs can be frozen at this point for future use).

Place gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water with about a tablespoon of oil. Once gnocchiʼs float to top, boil for 20 minutes. Drain and serve with pasta sauce and Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

2-3 lg baking potatoes
2 cups flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup butter, melted
1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
optional: nutmeg, pepper, ricotta cheese

Boil potatoes until tender; mash. Measure flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs and potatoes. Combine with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth.

Shape bits of dough into sausage-like rolls. Cut into pieces 3⁄4 to 1 inch in length and form into a ball. Use a fork to shape the gnocchi. Bring a large pan of water to boil. Boil gnocchi in 2 to 3 batches for 8-10 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Remove with a strainer and keep warm. Place boiled gnocchi in a butter baking dish and dribble with butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (and optional items) Bake 10-12 minutes, or until hot. Or, toss with your choice of sauce.

Fresh Tomato, Basil, and Ricotta Sauce

Fresh Tomato, Basil, and Ricotta Sauce

2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄8 tsp pepper
1 lb uncooked pasta

Allow ingredients to come to room temperature. Combine basil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and oil in large serving bowl. Stir in ricotta cheese, salt, and pepper; set aside.

Cook pasta in large saucepan of salted boiling water. Drain immediately. While pasta is still very hot, toss with sauce in large bowl and serve immediately.