It’s been a while, so I figured with the end of the summer I would add something new.
Pizza can start many an argument. I love all styles of pizza, as long as they are done well. But when it comes to homemade pizza, I know only one style. This is the style I grew up with being made by my mother and grandmother. This is the only way I make pizza at home. I guess you would call it Sicilian or sheet pizza. It has a thicker, doughy crust and you cut it in squares. It is the kind of pizza I was eating from street vendors in Italy.
So if you like your thin crust or New York style or Chicago style, that’s great. But this is how it’s done in my house.
Dough (makes a 2lb dough)
2 packages of dry, active yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups plus one cup of flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
Put yeast, water and oil in a bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes to activate yeast. In a large bowl, put 3 cups flour, sugar and salt. Make a well and add yeast mix. Mix well. Fold dough on a floured board. Kneed in last cup of flour.
Cover dough and let rise for 1 1/2 hour.
1 2lb dough
about 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
Spread dough on a half sheet pan or cookie sheet. I use an 18x13x1 half sheet pan. Spread mozzarella evenly over the dough leaving about half an inch to an inch from the edge. I use shredded mozzarella, but the same idea applies to chunks or slices. Lightly spread tomatoes over cheese. Less is more; just a very light coating. Sprinkle sugar, salt, pepper and oregano over entire pizza ensuring you hit every area covered by tomato. Use a healthy handful of Romano evenly over the same area. Finish by drizzling olive oil over entire pizza. Rub oil into exposed dough.
Cook for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
My dear Autie JoAnn has been following my recipe posts and likes to share how differently she does things. I love it. That is the beauty of food. After I posted my Alfredo sauce recipe, she told me that it was nothing like her recipe. Her recipe came from my grandmother; she even has the hand written version to prove it. So, on a snowy Saturday, I made it and wow, it was amazing.
Here it is.
Egg noodles or fettucine
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup parmesan
1/2 cup romano
1 tbsp parsley
Cook noodles. Heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Drain noodles. Add cheese (to noodles). Toss lightly. Add milk and butter warm. Toss again until noodles are well coated.
My grandmother’s words. An amazing recipe. Thank you, Auntie JoAnn.
*Per request of Meighan Giotta*
So this recipe is not quite the same as my mother taught me. She uses both Romano and Parmigiano; I only use Romano. I also remember there being milk and cream involved. This is how I make it.
1 pint heavy cream
1 stick of butter
2 big handfuls grated Romano cheese
Handful of chopped parsley
In a sauce pan, put cream and butter. Turn heat to medium. Let butter melt and cream come to a light simmer. Let simmer for no more than a minute. Whisk in the cheese. Whisk until cheese has completely melted.
You know you have enough cheese when the sauce sticks to the back of a spoon.
Pour over whatever macaroni you choose. Though traditionally fettuccine (as pictured below), any will do. Add parsley and stir (I guess I forgot parsley this night).
Here is the key: you have to let it sit. The macaroni absorbs the sauce and everything gets nice and creamy. If you prefer soupy, dig in, but I think letting it stand for 10-15 minutes makes it that much better.
This is another summertime specialty. This works best with larger zucchini from the garden or farm stand; not the little guys from the grocery store.
1 good sized zucchini
1 cup of breadcrumbs
Dried basil and mint (2 basil to 1 mint)
Salt and pepper
(See Cutlets for images on amounts)
1 medium onion
Cut zucchini in half the short way and then cut both pieces in half the long way. To create a shell for the stuffing, cut out the pulp from the zucchini and reserve.
Roughly chop the onion. Cut zucchini pulp into 1/2 inch or smaller cubes. Use roughly the same amount of pulp as you use onion. Mix breadcrumbs and all its seasonings in a bowl. Add onion and pulp. Add just enough crushed tomatoes to hold the mixture together.
Season zucchini shells with salt and pepper. Fill shells to the top. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until stuffing is crusted and zucchini is soft.
This recipe works for chicken, beef, veal or pork (as I used in the pictures). The seasoned bread crumbs measurements are, shall we say, far from exact, so I took pictures each step of the way so you get the idea. I always taste along the way to make sure they are the right flavor. Heavy on the herbs is never bad; heavy on the salt can be deadly. If you mix too much bread crumbs, they will keep in the refrigerator, as long as kept dry, for as long as you need them.
1-1 1/2 lb of meat
Grated Romano cheese
Dried basil and mint (2 basil to 1 mint mix)
Oil for frying
First, pound meat until about 1/4 inch thick.
Start with about 2 cups of bread crumbs
Two handfuls of Romano
A handful of basil and mint mix
About 2 tps of salt
About the same for pepper
And a few sprigs of parsley, chopped.
Create a dredging station of flour, egg and bread crumbs.
Dredge meat in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Coating is thin, but will expand as fried.
Heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a deep frying pan on medium high heat. Make sure oil is hot enough to sizzle when meat is added or the coating will absorb the oil and make cutlets heavy. If oil is too hot and smoking, cutlets will burn.
Cook on first side for about 4 minutes or until cutlet moves loosely in the pan.
Cook on the second side for about three minutes or until moves loosely in the pan.
Eat them hot, room temperature or cold out of the refrigerator.
This is a great summer side dish, one I always make with my first harvesting of green and wax beans. Easy and only one pot. This is good for 2-4 people, depending on what you are having with it.
1/2 lb green, wax and/or flat (Italian) beans
3 medium or 6 small potatoes cut into quarters (I used 6 baby red potatoes in the pictures)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and cut into large chunks
Boil a pot of salted water, big enough to fit and cover all beans and potatoes.
Add potatoes, beans and garlic to water. Cook until potatoes are soft 8-10 minutes. Strain beans, potatoes and garlic. Let sit to dry for a few minutes.
Drizzle with olive oil before serving.
So, here I am going to post recipes for everyone. These are mostly going to be family recipes; things I grew up eating; things handed down to me through my mother, mostly. So you can guess these will primarily be of the Italian flavor. Use them, share them and most of all, enjoy them.