Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cooking for the Family

I've been doing a lot of cooking this week, good therapy for me and puts big smiles on my family's faces. I've neglected to post the recipes, promise to be better about that this week!

Today I'm making Baked Ziti. I loosely follow the Soprano's recipe below but sans meat. To appease the vegetarians in the Castle, I use a meat-free sauce and serve meatballs on the side. I'm posting the original recipe below. Enjoy!

Ziti al Forno

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1 pound ziti
Sunday gravy made with meatballs (recipe below)
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup ricotta
8 ounces mozzarella -- cut into small dice

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spoon half the ziti into a shallow 3 1/2 quart baking dish. Spread the ricotta on top and sprinkle with the mozzarella and half the remaining grated cheese. Pour on 1 cup of the sauce. Top with the remaining ziti and another cup sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover the dish with foil. (The ziti can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight, at this point. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.)

Bake the ziti for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 to 30 minutes longer, or until the center is hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 12.

"Sopranos Family Cookbook"
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Soprano's Sunday Gravy
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4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tomato paste
Three 28- to 35-ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves -- torn into small pieces

To make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Pat the pork dry and put the pieces in the pot. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browns on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate. Brown the veal in the same way and add it to the plate.

Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides. Set the sausages aside with the pork.

Drain off most of the fat from the pot. Add the garlic and cook for about two minutes or until golden. Remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

With a food mill, puree the tomatoes, with their juice, into the pot. Or for a chunkier sauce, just chop up the tomatoes and add them. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork, veal, sausages and basil, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.

To make the meatballs:

Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. (Note: If you are making meatballs for lasagne or baked ziti, shape the meat into tiny balls the size of a small grape.)

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides. (They will finish cooking later.) Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

After two hours, add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the meats very tender.

"Sopranos Family Cookbook"

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Allan said...

We will have fun, and I will introduce you to real Italian food.

mangocheeks said...

Wow, how come I ain't seen this book in the Scottish bookstores. Thanks for sharing.