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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pasta con Salsa di Pomodoro Panna

Translated: Pasta with tomato cream sauce.


This is a new recipe I tried out tonight. We had some leftover grilled chicken from last night and I didn't just want to reheat it. Blech. So I decided to slice it up and put it over pasta.

The components are simple. The recipe takes 20 minutes, tops. It's a fast, delicious, and impressive. Here's what I did (approximately, since I typically don't measure much when I'm cooking).


1 Onion, diced (I used a Vidalia, but a regular white or yellow onion would be fine)
1 Clove garlic, pressed or minced
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, NOT drained
2 teaspoons basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
heavy pinch of black pepper
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon butter

Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil over medium low heat, being careful not to burn it.
Once the onions are soft, add spices and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Boil 5-10 minutes until a lot of the juice has evaporated. This is going to make for a nice robust tomato-ey taste.

Remove from heat, add butter and cream. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour over pasta and you're golden. I added grated parm and a bit of sliced grilled chicken. I used penne pasta because of its ability to hold the sauce so well.

Mangiare Bene!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mangiare Zeppole!

Ah, zeppoles. Light, fluffy pieces of heaven. (-:

Really though....they are quite divine.

Here's the recipe:

1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
2 T ground cinnamon
1 stick of butter
a heavy pinch of salt1 cup water
1 cup flour4 eggs
oil for frying


Mix vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Set aside

Put butter, 3 T sugar, salt, and water in a medium saucepan and put on medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring once in a while. Remove from heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Put back on medium heat until the dough comes into a ball. Remove from heat.
Put butter/flour mixture into a bowl and use an electric mixer (hand or stand) to mix in eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated into batter before adding the next. Don't drop an entire egg shell in like I did or you'll be picking egg shells out of the batter for 20 minutes. :-/

Heat your oil to 375 degrees. You can use a stainless or cast iron dish on the stove or an electric fryer. Just make sure you're at 375 or your zeppoles will be mushy. No one likes mushy zeppoles. Not even my dogs. Not that I've had this experience......

Drop batter by tablespoon-fuls unto the oil. I use my small cookie scoop. It works like a charm. If you don't have one, you can use 2 small spoons. Don't crowd your pan/fryer! These babies puff up to about 3 times their size. And you don't want to drop the temp of the oil drastically. In my electric fryer, I do about 4-5 at a time and that's pushing it. If they have lots of room to move around, they'll likely flip on their own. If not, you might have to help them by giving them a poke.

Fry about 5-6 minutes (until golden brown). Toss in our cinnamon/sugar mixture and move to a paper towel to drain. If you'd like, you can toss them in powdered sugar instead and forget the vanilla/sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Buon divertimento! (Enjoy!)


So, after making that last recipe I posted, I decided that I didn't like that recipe much. Too eggy for my liking.

So I decided to pull out my husband's grandmother's recipe. She's full blooded Italian and her parents came over on a boat to New York from Italy. So she's first generation Italian-American.

1 egg
2 T oil
¼ C water
2/3 C milk
½ t salt
2 T Baking Powder
2 T sugar
2 C flour

Combine egg, oil, water, and milk in a bowl. once mixed thoroughly, add salt, baking powder, sugar, and flour. Stir (or cheat and use an electric mixer on low) until the lumps are gone.

Drop by spoonfuls into 375 degree oil. Flip as necessary. Fry about 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and then shake in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. (-:

These were MUCH better (in my opinion). Try both recipes and let me know which one you like.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Tonight I made a traditional Italian dish for my friend who recently had a baby. The best things about this recipe are that it is SUPER easy to make and most people have most of the ingredients on hand. Apparently my friend and her husband (and their 3 year old son) thoroughly enjoyed it. So I decided to share the "oh so easy" recipe. (-:

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara


1 lb box of spaghetti1/2 lb bacon (or was traditionally prepared with guanciale, but we DEFINITELY can't find that one in our little one horse town)
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3-4 Tbsp EV Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Cook spaghetti according to directions.Meanwhile, cut up bacon into smallish pieces and pan fry them in the olive oil (heat the olive oil in your skillet first). You want crispy pieces....they'll get bogged down with the sauce later on.
When your pasta is done cooking, put about 1/2 cup of the pasta water in with your egg yolks and beat with a fork. Add pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon) and a cup of cheese into your egg yolks.

Add the bacon (grease and all) to your pasta and mix to coat. Immediately add the egg yolk mixture to the pasta and mix. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg yolks. Add salt to taste. Dress with some chopped, flat leaf parsley and the remainder of the cheese.

That's it! You're done! And you end up with an amazing Italian dish!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Three-Ingredient Meatballs

I've come to realize that not everyone knows this recipe. I usually just assume it's the one that everyone uses because it's so darn easy. However, it never fails that when I take my meatballs somewhere, people comment and want the recipe....and I laugh.

Here's the recipe for Three-Ingredient Meatballs:

Mix one bottle of chili sauce and one small jar of grape jelly over medium heat. Whisk until smooth. Put a couple pounds of frozen meatballs (sometimes I DO make my own....but for simplicity's sake, we'll stick with frozen) into the slow cooker. Pour sauce over meatballs. Turn slow cooker on low for 2-5 hours. Voila! You're done!

Now, if you like spicy foods and want to try something a bit more challenging, try this recipe:

Chili Lime Meatballs (adapted from a Pampered Chef recipe)


1/2 cup + 1tbs brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1ts fresh grated ginger

1/2 tbs sesame seed oil

3 large cloves garlic pressed

2 tsp Thai red curry paste

2 tbs lime juice

Just put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer till it thickens, about 15-20 min.


1lb lean ground beef

1/4 plain dried bread crumbs

1 egg

2 tsp Thai red curry paste

2 green onions sliced

lime wedges [optional for a fresh squirt after or for garnish]

Combine all ingredients, then make your meatballs, it makes about 40 small sized ones. Cook over med high heat with a bit of canola oil, until browned. Make sure to turn so all sides brown up. You can serve two ways, pouring glaze on meatballs when on plate or use glaze as a dipping side....I've done both depending on if it's an appetizer or main dish.