Tag Archives: sauce

Daddy's Sicilian-Style Stracotto

Rigatoni with Sicilian-style stracotto sauce4/6 Servings

I wish I could take credit for this recipe but…nope! Not even a teensy bit. This red, opulent dish comes straight from my dad’s childhood memories.

When he visited us for the holidays (yeah, he left but my mom is still here – Stefano, stop making that face!) he showed me how to make it and he shared his family story behind it. Well, that story was so long and full of details about my grand parents and about certain unkonwn-to-me grand aunts that it was a miracle I didn’t fall asleep. And don’t even get me started on describing my mother’s face during our story-telling session. 😉

Anyway, since today I feel very generous towards the human species (believe me, it does not happen often), I decided I would spare you the torture.

Let me just say that what I love about this dish, beside its richness, is the “2 courses in 1 deal”. When you make it, by going through one cooking process, you’ll end up with both the tomato sauce for a pasta course and a meat course. Don’t get me wrong. Cooking is great. However, if I can manage to cook a great meal in less time and have more time for my other passions (books, movies, myself ;-)), my first reaction is always “where should I sign”?

Now, let’s focus on the important stuff.

Sicilian-style stracotto

Ingredients:

3/4 of 1 cup, minced onion
5 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
about 11 oz, veal stew
about 13 oz, boneless pork chops
3 pork sausages (about 10 oz)
4 potatoes
1/2 cup, red wine
2 cans, San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp, tomato paste
4 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese (to be used only for the pasta course)
salt

Directions:

Cut the potatoes into medium-sized pieces and set aside. Cut the pork chops into stew-like pieces and set aside. With the help of a fork, make small holes into the sausages. Process the tomatoes through a food mill and set them aside.

In a large non-stick pot, put the olive oil, the onion, the veal stew, the pork chop pieces, the sausages and the potatoes and start to saute. When the meat is well sauteed, add the red wine and keep stirring until the wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, some salt (to taste) and keep cooking on a very low heat, stirring often, until the tomato sauce gets thick and is not watery anymore.

If you decide to serve pasta, remember to cook it al dente and to dust the top of each plate with the parmigiano cheese.

Buon Appetito! 🙂

Melba Sauce

Yup! Nicole is right. I like to finish my meals with fruit. However, I allow myself to indulge in something sweet once in a while and her rich, creamy and delicious cheesecake is my exception to the rule. Just to keep the fruit in the equation, I like to complement her cheesecake with some Melba Sauce.

Now, I know I’m going straight to the guillottine with this recipe 😉 but what’s life without taking a little risk? The Melba sauce is indeed a French masterpiece. It was created by the famous French chef August Escoffier to honor the Australian soprano Nellie Melba at the end of the 19th century. I can totally see the frowning foreheads of our French readers (led by my French teacher) asking themselves: has she lost her mind?

Well, I tell you what: of course I do not have Escoffier’s recipe nor has any French ever taught me how to make this gorgeous sauce, but I’m a huge believer in constructive criticism. Therefore, I invite you all (regardless of your citizenship) to comment, correct and/or complete my recipe as you see fit!

After all, what are bloggers for? 😉

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/8 Tsp lemon juice

Directions:

Rinse the raspberries with water, put them in a strainer over a bowl and let them drain fully.

Transfer the raspberries, the sugar and the lemon juice in a blender or a food processor and blend until you obtain a creamy mixture.

Place a small strainer over a soup bowl. Pour some of the raspberry mixture in the strainer and, with the back of a spoon, push the mixture through the strainer so that the seeds remain in the strainer. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the raspberry mixture.

Pour the sauce in a little pitcher and serve it.

Et voilà, simple et délicieuse! Vive la France! 🙂

Bechamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce

Just the name was totally intimidating to me! It shouldn’t have though!

I have watched my mom making her own béchamel sauce since I can remember. And yet, up to five years ago, I had never made it. Then, one day, I went to a cooking class expecting that some magical ritual would finally be revealed to me so that I would be enabled to recreate so creamy a beauty myself… only to find out that it’s just a question of process and practice… as is the case for many things in life. 🙂

Let me pass on to you a couple of helpful tips that I retained from that cooking class: (1) keep whisking for at least 20 minutes otherwise the flour stays raw and (2) a good non-stick pot is the key to a successful sauce. I know that pots can be very expensive but, as one
of my teachers used to say, “Ladies, less shoes more kitchen tools!” – I have learned from experience that he was right, and so will you. 😉

Ingredients:

4 3/4 Tbsp, butter
½ Cup, flour
7 Cups, whole milk
Salt
Ground black pepper
Nutmeg

Directions:

In a large non-stick pot, pour the milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg (to taste) and heat until the milk is just about to boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate non-stick pan and on a very low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and stir until you obtain a golden mixture (the professionals call this mixture a “roux” – a French word that is pronounced “roo”).

Add the roux to the milk and cook on low heat, whisking continuously, until very smooth.