(Recipes from an Italian Kitchen)
MINESTRA MARITATA - ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
3 qt. Brodo di Pollo, chicken stock or broth
1 lb. ground beef, veal or pork or mixed
1 T. fresh parsley (the flat-leaf Italian variety)
1/2 c. chopped onion (1 medium)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 slices bread dipped in milk
2 eggs, beaten
1-pound escarole or spinach, torn, not chopped
1/2 c. pastina or orzo pasta (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
In a stockpot, bring chicken soup to a rapid boil.
While broth is simmering, mix together all ingredients (except the greens and pasta).
Form the mixture into small meatballs, the size of marbles. Refrigerate for ten minutes.
Add meatballs to the soup. Simmer until meatballs are cooked, about 15 minutes.
Just before serving, add the greens to the soup and bring to boil. Do not overcook.
Add some al dente pasta to the bottom of each soup bowl before serving.
Serve with grated cheese, crusty bread and an antipasto salad for a complete cena.
Basic Potato Gnocchi
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of salt
6 Large Russet Potatoes
Dash of freshly ground white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Grated Grana Padano cheese for serving (optional)
Making the gnocchi:
Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large pot. Boil the potatoes in their skins about 40 minutes, until easily pierced with a skewer. When cool enough to handle, peel and rice the potatoes, and set them aside to cool completely, spreading them loosely to expose as much surface as possible to air.
On a cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the white pepper into the beaten eggs, and pour the mixture into the well. Work the potatoes and eggs together with hands, gradually adding 3 cups of the flour and scraping the dough up from the work surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take no longer than 10 minutes–the longer you work it, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become). Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough into six equal parts. (Continue to dust as long as the dough feels sticky.)
Using both hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope ½” thick, then slice the ropes at ½” intervals. Indent each dumpling with a thumb, or use the tines of a fork to produce a ribbed effect. (This helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi).
This recipe serves 6-8
Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling place shake off excess flour and place the gnocchi in the pot let simmer for 1-2 mins and remove them as they float to the top with a spider or slotted spoon. Cover/toss with your favorite sauce and serve.
1.5 LBS ZITI
8 CUPS MARINARA/MEAT SAUCE
2 LBS RICOTTA
1 CUP CHOPPED ITALIAN PARSLEY
½ CUP CHOPPED BASIL
3 LBS SHREDDED MOZARELLA
2 CUPS PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE
SALT & PEPPER
Non- Stick Spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente roughly 10-12 mins, then drain. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, parsley, basil, 1.5 lb. of cheese and 2-3 ladles of sauce. Then add 1 handful of pecorino Romano Mix thoroughly. Now add salt and pepper until desired taste is achieved. Add cooked pasta to the mix and fold it all together. In a large hotel pan (12 x 20 x 4) spray lightly with non- stick spray. Add several ladles of sauce to the bottom of pan and the pour in the Ziti/Cheese mixture. Level mixture in the pan with a spatula and top with some additional sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheeses(Mozzarella/Pecorino) over the top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until cheese is melted and you can remove foil and broil the top lightly is you desire browned cheese. Let stand 10 mins, serve and enjoy.
From the kitchen of James Ranieri
6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto/Cappicola
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cubes/slice Fontina Cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 Table spoons butter
Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto/cappicola atop each chicken cutlet.
Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.
Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach atop the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each and add Fontina cheese. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet as for a jellyroll. Secure with a toothpick.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and butter. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.