Categories
bacon Italian recipes

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

A couple months ago, my friend Steph asked me what was in Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, which just so happens to be one of my favorite Italian dishes. The minimalist combination of tomato sauce, fried pancetta and chili flake tossed with noodles (usually spaghetti or bucatini) is comfort food at its simplest and best.


Bucatini All'Amatriciana

I first fell in love with Amatriciana when it was a regular menu item at Buca di Beppo, the chain of kitschy, obnoxious, family-style Italian-American restaurants. I would have been happy replicating something similar to that version, but I was extremely pleased to see that Babbo Ristorante had posted their recipe online.


Italian Tomato Starter Sauce

Mainly due to laziness and because guanciale is not the readily available at Safeway, I took a few liberties with the ingredients. I picked up a box of Trader Joe’s Italian Tomato Starter Sauce, which I felt was basic enough to use instead of making a batch of tomato sauce as outlined in the original recipe. I also picked up some chopped pancetta because I couldn’t find whole or sliced pancetta. You can substitute bacon in a pinch, but you’ll get a much bolder flavor than intended. (which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it…) I used bucatini (thick round noodle with a hole in it) for this attempt, but my wife’s not a big fan of bucatini, so next time I do this, I’ll just use regular spaghetti.

Overall, this dish was really easy to make and the final results were great. If you’re not into spicy food, then adjust the amount of chili flakes to taste. Also, the Trader Joe’s Starter Sauce is a shortcut I’ll gladly take when making this dish again.

Categories
Italian Neapolitan Northern California pizza reviews

Pizzaiolo

Chef Charlie Halliwell is one of the many Chez Panisse alumns opening restaurants around the Bay Area, and his Pizzaiolo in Oakland’s Temescal District has quickly became a local favorite. After heaping tons of praise on L.A.’s Pizzeria Mozza and Larkspur’s Pizzeria Picco for their amazing wood-fired pizzas, I thought I should pay Pizzaiolo a visit since it’s much closer to home. Pizzaiolo has received its share of rave reviews, including a nod from San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer and mentions in Food and Wine and Condé Nast Traveler.

Pizzaiolo is committed to supporting locally grown, seasonal, and organic meat and produce, so the menu changes daily based on what’s available. We decided to split an appetizer, a pasta dish and two pizzas for our party of three.

Categories
Italian reviews Southern California

Angeli Caffe

I was catching up on my podcasts today, listening to one of my favorites, KCRW’s Good Food with Evan Kleiman. I’ve been listening to Good Food for a few years now, and it’s exposed me to lots of new and different perspectives on food and eating, and influenced where I eat when I go home to Southern California. Kleiman also owns Angeli Caffe, a cozy Italian restaurant on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood, and I really wanted to know if Evan the chef was as good as Evan the radio host. I’m happy to report that she is!

On our first visit, we were seated by the front window and throughout the meal, I could see my wife’s darting back and forth, watching everyone that walked by. The guy at the table next to us said that sitting facing Melrose is like watching television.

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When you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you notice is the open bread station and oven. It’s always comforting to know when a restaurant is making things in house. As we perused the menu, a plate-sized loaf of hot, freshly baked bread was immediately brought to our table. The bread was amazing…a bit salty, which was nice. It went well with the olive oil but was also wonderful on its own. I was tempted to order one of the pizzas after devouring the bread, but I’ll save that for another visit.

Categories
Best of Inuyaki Italian Neapolitan Northern California pizza reviews

Pizzeria Picco

In the April 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine, Mario Batali declared the pizzas at Larkspur’s Pizzeria Picco “the best in the country—the margherita pizza is so good, it’s enough to make you cry.” That’s a big statement from Batali, who happens to own a few pizza places himself, including my own personal favorite, Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.

Ironically, Pizzeria Picco first appeared on my radar when I saw a tantalizing picture Picco’s housemade salumi plate on Susannah’s blog, Amuses Bouche. Considering that Susannah and I share a love for Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn, Pizzeria Picco instantly joined our list of places we had to visit.

As luck would have it, my friend Nina Storey, an incredible singer/songwriter based in L.A., was in the Bay Area a few weekends ago to play a show in Larkspur just down the street from Picco, so our Friday night was destined to be great. The pizza was so good, we returned the next weekend with a friend (another Pizzeria Mozza fan) for more.


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Picco specializes in authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas that are baked in a 900-degree wood-burning oven for around 90 seconds (but never exceeding 105 seconds). What results is a crust that’s crispy and still has bite to it, and I always love seeing the beautiful black spots of char on pizza. Combine that with fresh local ingredients, including a really nice housemade sausage, and you really can’t go wrong with anything you order. During our two visits we sampled four of their pizzas.

  • Marin (roasted garlic, young potatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, rosemary oil)
  • Cannondale (sausage, roasted peppers, seasonal onions, mozzarella, basil)
  • Margherita (tomato, basil, hand-pulled mozzarella, parmesan
  • Pizza of the Day (sausage, tomato sauce, garlic, mozzarella, and wild nettles)

While all of these pizzas were excellent, the Marin was a standout and the only pizza we felt compelled to order on both visits. There’s just something about potatoes on pizza, and the rosemary oil added a depth and flavor that made us say “ooooh” while we were eating it. I haven’t been a fan of white pizzas until recently, but with the Bianco Pizza at Mozza and Picco’s Marin, let’s just say I’m officially a convert. The Pizza of the Day is probably my second favorite of the bunch and was as beautiful as it was tasty. It was a perfect combination of sauce, cheese, meat and veggies. This is to take nothing away from the Margherita or the Cannondale, which are great pizzas in their own right. In fact, the Margherita might be the finest cheese pizza I’ve ever had (if you think of a classic cheese pizza from your childhood that’s just tomato sauce and cheese).

Aside from pizza, the aforementioned salumi plate was another decadent treat. All the meats are made in house and feature lardo, salumi, soppresata, coppa, and mortadella. When our plate arrived though, the lardo was missing. We asked our server and she said that they didn’t include it because most of the time, it’s just left on the plate. She told us that she’d have the lardo brought out to us, and when it arrived, the chef that delivered it cheerfully thanked us for requesting it. It’s a shame that a majority of their customers seemingly have no appreciation for this beautiful fatty goodness.


salumi plate   lardo

We finished off our respective meals with some incredible soft serve ice cream. Normally, I don’t really go for soft serve, but when it comes from Straus Dairy, that’s a different story. We tried the chocolate soft serve on our first visit (because they were out of vanilla) and got it drizzled with some pumpkin seed oil and sea salt. The chocolate was rich and smooth and didn’t really need the other additives, although the sea salt was a pretty nice combo. The combination they’re famous for is the vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt, which we got on the return visit, and it’s amazing. If you only come here once, that’s the dessert to get.



So is Pizzeria Picco the best pizza in America? That’s a really loaded question, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide for yourself. Personally, I still like Pizzeria Mozza a little better mainly because of the wider selection of high-quality toppings and the more diverse menu. My wife and friend also put Mozza ahead because they liked Mozza’s crust better than Picco’s. If we’re just talking about the Bay Area, I’d put Pizzeria Picco at the top of the list.

How long will it reign? I’ll let you know after I visit Pizzaiolo in Oakland.

INFORMATION
Pizzeria Picco
320 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939 map
415.945.8900
Web site

Categories
Best of Inuyaki Italian Mario Batali reviews Southern California

Osteria Mozza

Since the mid 90s, the restaurant location on Melrose and Highland has been, for lack of a better word, cursed. Ever since the long-standing Emilio’s closed its doors, it’s been hard for another restaurant to gain a solid footing in that space. This changed in 2007 as both Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, joint ventures by culinary luminaries Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery, Campanile), Mario Batali (Babbo, Iron Chef, Iconoclast) and Joseph Bastianich (son of Lidia and Mario’s business partner), look like they’re ready to set up permanent shop at this famous Hollywood intersection and transform Southern California into the West Coast epicenter of fine Italian cuisine.

Osteria Mozza was the third stop on our wedding anniversary eating tour, and we were excited about this new restaurant after our visit to Pizzeria Mozza, as well as the incredible meal we had at Batali’s flagship restaurant, Babbo, when we were in New York last May. Could Osteria Mozza possibly live up to our expectations?

If you want reservations, you need to call in advance up to one month before your desired dining date. I managed to get through after a few tries and got a 7pm reservation. (When I called for Babbo, it took me 4 hours to get through, and the only tables available were at 5:30pm or after 9pm.) We were 15 minutes early for our reservation and were seated on arrival. The room is dark with lots of espresso wood furnishings. The mozzarella bar is in the middle of the space, and it was nice to see Nancy Silverton back there working her magic. And while Mario’s influence on the cuisine is undeniable, Osteria Mozza really belongs to both Nancy and Executive Chef Matt Molina, a Batali protege who’s running the show at the tender age of 29.


On advice from our server, we started with two antipasti—grilled figs wrapped in pancetta and the burrata with bacon, marinated escarole and caramelized shallots served on crostini. The concept of pancetta-wrapped fruit is irresistable, and the grilled figs had a beautiful smokiness and sweetness that was incredible. The burrata was really nice, especially when accompanied by the smoky bacon, but the crostini was a bit hard, which made this a bit of a challenge to eat. Nonetheless, the melding of flavors and textures here was wonderful.

Our primi was the Orrechiete, an ear-shaped pasta served with fennel sausage and a light, delicious sauce. After one bite, I was beaming with joy. I actually giggled. The sausage was chopped fine enough so that it got trapped inside every piece of pasta and every bite was hearty and flavorful. This is the kind of dish that you would eat a bowl of on a cold, rainy night…sitting on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and watching a movie or sitting by the fire. This was definitely the the best dish of the night.

That’s not to take anything away from our secondi, which were delicious in their own right. My wife’s Monkfish was outstanding. It was served with a wonderful tomato-based sauce, greens and generous scoop of seasoned breadcrumbs on top that provided a crunchy complement to the tender, meaty fish. I ordered the Beef Brasato, a melt-in-your-mouth beef short rib that was served atop a polenta and horseradish gremolata. I have a bit of a love affair with beef short ribs, so this dish was basically perfect. The polenta was a little bland on its own, but once it soaked up the flavors from the meat, it was creamy and delicious.

For dolci, my wife ordered the Roasted Olive Oil cakes. Served with an olive oil gelato and some salt (maybe fleur de sel?), the cakes were like a mini muffin with a nice olive oil flavor. I didn’t taste the olive oil in the gelato, but my wife said it was very distinct and went great with the salt. I ordered the Bombolini, little round donuts served with lemon mascarpone and Fruiti di Bosco sorbet. The bombolini are similar to the malasadas you can find in Hawaii, only denser, and they have a wonderful creamy interior that’s a nice contrast to the crispy exterior.

Service was on point, much more efficient than the experience we had at Babbo. In fact, I’d say that it might have been too efficient. I’ve been starting to appreciate longer gaps between courses so that we can rest and savor the previous course before diving into the next one. It was nice not having to wait too long for our food, but if it had arrived five minutes later, that would have been fine too.

To say that Osteria Mozza met our expectations is an understatement. It was in many ways a much more satisfying experience than Babbo, which may have a lot to do with what we actually ordered. But when you combine the excellent service with amazing food, and the fact that L.A. is much more accessible than New York, Osteria Mozza comes out on top.

INFORMATION
Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038 map
323.297.0100
Web site

Categories
Best of Inuyaki Italian Mario Batali Neapolitan pizza reviews Southern California

Pizzeria Mozza

Pizzeria Mozza LogoAt lunch, the dining room at Pizzeria Mozza is bright, sunny and bustling. It’s a relatively small space and Pizzeria Mozza’s popularity ensures that is always packed. It was apparent when we walked in that Pizzera Mozza isn’t your ordinary pizza joint. I mean, would you really expect the ordinary when Chefs Silverton and Batali join forces?

We started with Nancy’s Chopped Salad, an upscale take on the classic antipasto salad that featured iceberg, radichhio, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes, red onions, mozzarella slices and some delicious salumi (I think from Mario’s dad in Seattle). I thought it was a bit overdressed, but it was still delicious, especially the salumi. I even took a couple bits and wrapped it around the skinny, crunchy breadsticks that are on the table.

I ordered the Bianco Pizza (three cheeses and sage) and added some sausage to it (a tip from my favorite food writer, the LA Weekly’s Pulitzer Prize-winner Jonathan Gold). The fennel sausage at Pizzeria Mozza is the most heavenly Italian sausage I’ve ever had, and it complimented the cheeses perfectly. My only complaint was that the middle of the pizza was really oily, probably due to the thin crust and all the cheeses, but the pizza was still really good. Find a way to get some sausage on your pizza, even if it means adding it as an extra. My wife’s squash blossom, burrata and tomato pizza was fantastic. The toppings were really fresh, especially the burrata (mozzarella mixed with cream), and the crust was perfect…no sogginess to report.



We finished off the meal with a gelato/sorbet combination (3 choices for $7). We had chocolate hazelnut and caramel vanilla gelatos, along with the Frutti di Bosco sorbet (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry blend). The vanilla was okay, but the chocolate hazelnut mixed with the fruity sorbet was sinful.

If it wasn’t for the soggy pizza, Pizzeria Mozza would definitely get five stars, but I really want to go back. There’s so many things on the menu I want to try.

UPDATE: We’ve been back to Mozza several times since this first visit, and I really love the creativity of the pizzas, especially the fresh and sometimes exotic toppings. This is more than enough to warrant a half-star bump for a full five-star rating.

INFORMATION
Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036 map
323.297.0101
Web site

Categories
Best of Inuyaki Italian Mario Batali New York reviews

Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

In the world of celebrity chefs, Mario Batali was never really one of my favorites, but I always respected his culinary skills (especially on Iron Chef America) and appreciated the joy he gets bringing “authentic” Italian food to the masses. But on our last trip to New York in May, the one place everyone kept telling us to go was Mario’s flagship restaurant, Babbo.


Babbo

Because of its popularity, getting a table at Babbo is challenging. They take reservations 30 calendar days in advance, and when I called, the phone was busy for hours before I got through to a reservationist. The only seating times open were 5:30 and something after 9pm, so we took the early seating.

We arrived for our 5:30pm reservation and were seated upstairs, which I think is preferable to the darker downstairs because the sun was still out and brightened up the room through the enormous skylight. We fell for the old antipasti, primi, secondi” format of dining, which was fine because it let us sample a lot of the menu. We ordered three antipasti, one primi to split and we each got our own secondi. Our menu consisted of:

ANTIPASTI
Asparagus “Milanese” with Duck Egg and Parmigiano
Warm Lamb’s Tongue Vinaigrette with Chanterelles and a 3-Minute Egg
Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette

PRIMI
Maccheroni alla Chitarra
with Oven Dried Tomatoes, Red Chiles and Bottarga di Muggine (Grey Mullet Roe)

SECONDI
Barbecued Skirt Steak with Asparagus “alla Piastra” and Salsa Verde
Roasted Veal Loin coiled in Sage and Housemade Pancetta and served with Caramelized Cauliflower (the nightly special)
Tilefish cooked with Pancetta and Giant Leeks

Of the antipasti, the grilled octopus was the standout. It was charred perfectly but had a sweetness to it that was an amazing combination. The asparagus was thick and it was perfectly cooked (you know how most restaurants overcook asparagus so that it’s limp and mushy? NOT here.) The lamb’s tongue was good, very tasty, and not as weird as it sounds.

The highlight of the meal might have been the primi. The Maccheroni alla Chitarra was at once spicy, salty and sweet (leaning towards spicy) and it was amazing. This was split between the three of us, but I was longing for a whole bowl all to myself.

After an amazing first two courses, the secondi were all just pretty good, but nothing really amazing. My wife liked her fish but wasn’t blown away by it. Our friend’s skirt steak was good and the pesto sauce it came with was really nice, but she ordered it medium well, so it was a bit chewy and probably would have been better cooked medium rare or medium. The veal loin wrapped in pancetta was probably the best of the three (I mean, it was wrapped in pancetta!), but I think that sans pancetta it would have been average.

Things picked up again for dessert. The warm chocolate cake was served with a hazelnut gelato that was amazing. The blueberry/coconut crostata with buttermilk gelato was awesome and by the blueberries tartness, you could tell that they were fresh. The warm pineapple cake was extremely sweet, but it wasn’t overpowering and a nice contrast to the other desserts.



Presentation of all the dishes was gorgeous, as it should be at a place like this. I have to say that one dish caught my eye multiple times as it made its way across the room…the deconstructed osso buco for two. It smelled great and looked like a lot of meat for just two people. I really think it could feed four.

I didn’t give Babbo five stars mainly for our lackadaisical service. There were times where we were just sitting there (waiting to order, waiting for our plates to be cleared, etc.) and I thought our server could have been more on the ball. Maybe he was gawking a bit because Luke Wilson was dining with a lady friend on the other side of the room, but that’s really no excuse. Otherwise, we had an amazing meal, and I would defintely go back to Babbo if I had another opportunity.

INFORMATION
Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca
110 Waverly Pl,
New York, NY 10011+9109
212.777.0303
Web site

Categories
Best of Inuyaki entertainment Italian recipes

Timpáno alla Big Night

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

Big Night DVDRemember the movie Big Night and that final climactic dinner scene? The centerpiece of the meal was the Timpani, which is basically a “drum” filled with layers of pasta, meat, sauce, eggs. My wife and I are big fans of the movie, and one day, when we were watching the movie again on cable, I said, hey, let’s make that!

After a little research, I found a couple recipes. One is actually from the family cookbook of Stanley Tucci, who played Segundo in the movie. (Tony Shaloub played his older brother Primo.) You can buy the cookbook at Amazon.com.

The other recipe I found is from the recipe collection at Toni’s Garden. I ended up using it because it was inspired by the Tucci family recipe, and the directions were more in depth. I also thought the Sunday Sauce recipe that accompanied it sounded delicious, and I wanted to try to make the sauce completely from scratch. I’m posting this recipe here so I can include some of the pictures we took while creating this incredible dish.

We’ve made Timpáno twice. The first time, it cost us $100 because we went out and bought top-of-the-line ingredients. The second time it only costs us around $50 because we used cheaper (but still good-quality) ingredients, and it tasted just as good. You’ll save yourself a lot of time if you buy some premade pizza dough, but if you’re adventurous and want to make it from scratch, the dough recipe is also here.

INGREDIENTS
The Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
Butter and Olive Oil to prepare the pan

The Filling
2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch Genoa salami pieces (approx. 3/4 lb.)
2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch sharp provolone cheese pieces (approx. 3/4 lb.)
12 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, quartered lengthwise and then each quarter cut in half to create chunks.
2 cups little meatballs about 1″ diameter
8 cups Sunday Sauce following the note at the beginning of recipe.
3 pounds, ziti or penne, cooked very al dente (about half the time recommended on the package) and drained (18 cups cooked)
2/3 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
4 large eggs, beaten

A Few Notes Before Starting
Make your sauce the day before. The meat that is not being used in the timpáno makes a great dinner the night before, along with a salad. Also, the sauce always tastes better the next day.

The dough for the timpáno is rolled into a 1/16″ thick round, the diameter which is determined by the size of your pan. Add together the diameter of the bottom and top of your pan, and double the height of the pan. The pan I used required a 30-inch diameter circle. I used an enamel basin similar to the one on the right. You can use almost any pan or bowl of similar shape.



Finally, read the recipe through a couple of times until you are familiar with the process. Although there are a lot of steps and preparation involved it is not a difficult recipe. Your experience will be less hectic if you take the time to prepare and measure all of your filling ingredients ahead of time. This is a great job for those guests that want to help! Enjoy!



Making the Dough
By hand

  1. Mix the flour and salt together on a clean , dry work surface or pastry board. Form into a mound and then make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the center of the well and lightly beat them with a fork. Stir in the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the water.
  3. Use the fork to gradually incorporate some of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
  4. Continue mixing the dry ingredients into the eggs, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands to make a well-mixed, smooth, dry dough. If the dough becomes to sticky, add more flour.
  6. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Bring to room temperature before rolling.

Using stand mixer

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl except for the water.
  2. Turn the mixer on slowly and add 3 tablespoons of the water.
  3. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board to make sure it is well mixed.
  5. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
  6. Bring to room temperature before rolling.

Finishing the Dough

  1. Flatten out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 1/16″ thickness, dusting with flour and turning from time to time, to prevent sticking.
  2. Generously grease the pan with butter and olive oil. Fold the dough in half and then in half again, to form a triangle, and place it in the pan.
  3. Open the dough and gently press it into the pan against the bottom and sides. Allow the extra dough to drape over the sides.

Cooking the Pasta
Cook the pasta in a very large pot of salted water until it is half done (it will finish cooking in the oven). place in a large bowl and toss with 2 cups of the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350F

Filling the Timpáno


  1. Make sure the salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, and sauce are at room temperature.
  2. Begin layering the Timpáno by distributing 6 generous cups of the pasta on the bottom of the timpáno.
  3. Top with 1 cup of the salami, 1 cup of the provolone, 6 of the hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of the meatballs, and 1/3 cup of the Romano cheese.
  4. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over these ingredients.
  5. Continue layering with 6 cups of the remaining pasta.
  6. Top with remaining 1 cup of salami, 1 cup provolone, 6 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of meatballs and 1/3 cup Romano cheese.
  7. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over these ingredients and top with remaining 6 cups of pasta. (The ingredients should now be about 1″ below the rim of the pan.)


  8. Pour the remaining 2 cups of sauce over the pasta.
  9. Pour the beaten eggs on top.
  10. Fold the pasta dough over the filling to seal completely. Trim away and discard any double layers of dough.


 

Cooking the Timpano

  1. Bake the timpáno until lightly browned, about 1 hour, then cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking until the timpáno is cooked through and the dough is golden brown, about 30 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 120F.


  2. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30-40 minutes. The timpáno should not stick to the pan. If it does, carefully run a knife around the edges to loosen.
  3. Placing a serving platter or cutting board on top of the pan, and then quickly and with confidence, invert the timpáno onto a serving platter.
  4. Remove the pan and allow timpáno to cool another 20 minutes.
  5. Using a long, sharp knife, slice the timpáno as you would a pie into individual portions. Serves 16.


Categories
Italian recipes sauces

Sunday Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

This sauce is the real thing…the all day preparation, slow-cooked sauce. Best made a day ahead. Not only does it taste better the next day, but the layer of fat that has risen to the surface is easily removed.

The important thing is the ingredients. The tomatoes are critical. You can also add things like beef shortribs or braciole or even a small lamb shank. You may also notice that there is no garlic in the sauce…contrary to popular belief, Italians don’t put garlic in everything!

Remember, this sauce is an event. Be prepared to spend several hours in the kitchen, preparing and cooking. Turn on some music, enjoy the aroma and remember to have fun! It’s worth every minute you spend.

Note: If you are making the sauce for timpano, add an additional can of tomatoes, and 2 or 3 pieces of pork. Boneless country-style ribs work very well. The sauce needs to be thinner for timpáno so there is enough moisture for the pasta to finish cooking.

INGREDIENTS
3 large cans (28 oz. each) of San Marzano Tomatoes
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon/pancetta drippings

Meatballs
Use your own meatballs, fresh or frozen, or make this really good Italian Meatball recipe.

Sausages
Find 6 of the best-quality mild or sweet (it’s the same thing) Italian sausage that you can find. Poke a couple of holes in each one and steam them in a little water until cooked. Brown them well and set aside with the meatballs.

The Sauce

  1. In a large, heavy bottom pan, sauté 1 medium to large, thinly sliced onion in either olive oil, or better yet, bacon or pancetta drippings. Cook until nice and brown.
  2. Add one small can (6 oz.) of tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes with the onions.
  3. Take 3 large cans of good-quality whole Italian (San Marzano) tomatoes and put in your blender for about 2 seconds. Do not overblend, you don’t want tomato juice! Also very important…do not use crushed tomatoes or tomato puree…they just don’t have the same quality.
  4. Add tomatoes to the pot and stir.
  5. Add your cooked sausages and meatballs, bring slowly to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 4 hours, stirring occassionally.
  6. About 1/2 an hour before serving, add 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves.
  7. Serve over your favorite pasta or make manicotti!
Categories
beef Italian recipes

Italian Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef 15% fat (anything less than that is too dry and has no flavor)
1/2 lb. ground pork
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped fine or pressed
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated romano cheese (good cheese is a requirement, no cheating here)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1 cup dried plain breadcrumbs (home made if possible)
just a couple of grindings of black pepper—not too much at all

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour breadcrumbs over the top of the meat mixture and sprinkle with a little water to moisten, about 1/4 cup.
  4. Mix together until combined.
  5. Roll 1-inch diameter meatballs with your hands. If you want to make them more uniform, use a 1-inch scoop.
  6. Place all the meatballs evenly spaced in a baking dish and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until brown.