Recipes of Southern Italy, anything south of Northern Italy!

Serves lots...

What you need
 Here is where you are going to find your basics: Chicken Parmesan, lasagna, Eggplant, lots of marinara and other red sauces, essentially everything that is not considered Northern.
Now, forgive me, the other side of my family is from Naples, so I get to take a few liberties here.

Southern Italian Specialties

How to
the same way we make our Northern Itallian food, with a warm heart and loving hands.

* below is an example of basic Chicken Parmigiano with Spaghetti, a typical dish in almost all of Italy .

Serves 8 to 10

What you need
     About a week or so ago I made a meat sauce.  The real old fashioned kind with homemade meatballs, sausage & pork ribs, thick and meaty.  Delicious over Spaghetti or Rigatoni, but with so much left over, I had to come up with a new idea.  Then it hit me, why not make a meat lasagna?  So here's my take on a meat lasagna - from the sauce to the lasagna:

1 Pot of Homemade Meat Sauce
   (*directions below)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
2 c. 1% Milk
1 tbsp herbs de provence
2 c. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 2% will work fine
1/2 c. Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 boxes No-Cook Lasagna Noodles

**you can also make this recipe vegetarian by simply using a marinara sauce and where the recipe adds the meat layer, you can add sauteed mushrooms & onions, zucchini & carrots, or any other vegetable you like.

*Meat Sauce
     In a large heavy bottom pot heat about 1/2 c. olive oil.  Brown about 8 sausage links (hot or sweet); 6 - 8 ribs (your favorite) and about a dozen meatballs [For meatballs, we use the same recipe as meatloaf, just rolled into balls], and set aside.  In remaining oil saute 1 pkg frozen chopped onions (about 1 large onion) until translucent (about 5 - 10 minutes) then add 2 tbsp chopped garlic, 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning, and 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes and cook about 1 more minute until fragrant.  Add 4 cans crushed tomatoes and mix well.  Add about 2 tbsp tomatoe paste and let simmer about 15 minutes, then return meat to the pot and bring to a low boil.  Reduce to a simmer when partially covered and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours. You will know its done when the meat just begins to fall of the rib bones.  Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
 

Meat Sauce & Lasagna

How to
    If you are using leftover meat sauce, heat it in the microwave until warm.  
     Meanwhile, make your cheese sauce:  In a medium saucepan melt butter and wisk in flour until combined and cook, wisking constantly for about 3 - 5 minutes.  Then add the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, wisking so that there are no lumps.  Each time you add more milk, the sauce will absorb the milk and thicken again.  Once your milk is used up you can decide if your sauce is too thick - keeping in mind you are going to add cheese which will thicken it even more.  If you need more liquid, add more milk.  Once your white sauce is done, wisk in the herbs, remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese, and parmesan, until melted.  Your cheese sauce should be quite thick, not drippy.   
    Now, to assemble the Lasagna:
    In a deep Lasagna Pan, coated with cooking spray, spread a thin layer of sauce, then line the bottom with a layer of the no-cook noodles.  I like the Ronzoni because they have ridges.  Be sure each noodle slightly overlaps the last so you have no empty spaces.  Take some of your meatballs, sausage and/or ribs and crumble them over the lasagna noodles.  Its ok to do this with your hands.  You should have about a half inch at least of meat, then top the meat with about 1/3 of the cheese sauce, then more of your red sauce.  Repeat with another layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of crumbled meat, 1/3 (or a bit more) cheese sauce, then red sauce.  Finally, a last layer of noodles, topped this time with only red sauce, then top the red sauce with dollops of cheese sauce. Spray the top of the Lasagna with cooking spray (so it doesn't stick to the foil).  
     Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 450 degree oven for approcimately 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or so until the cheese on top browns. 
     Its important to let it rest about 15 minutes before serving or the cheese will ooze out like it did when we cut it too soon!  But it was soooo good!!

***If you happen to have leftover cheese sauce, you can heat it up and serve it on the side (I never have enough cheese), or save it to put on top of some veggies your kids wont eat the next day.  It will refrigerate fine.

Serves 6 TO 10

What you need
     Last week, I came home to a couple of pounds of ground sausage defrosting, just waiting for me, no note, no requests, no indication whatever of what anyone wanted me to do with it.  I hadn’t been in the house for a few days, but I always keep a few staples on hand: crushed tomatoes, fresh and dried herbs alike and, of course, pasta.  Sounded like the makings of a Bolognese Sauce to me.  
This is my quick and easy recipe for Bolognese:   
**and for turning leftovers into lasagna.
INGREDIENTS
1 lb Pasta of your choice.  (I used Penne)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pkg (or one each) diced onions and peppers
1 tbsp minced garlic or garlic paste
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 c. red wine
2 lbs plain ground sausage 
   (if you use pre-seasoned Italian Sausage, adjust your spices accordingly)
4 cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 handful Fresh Basil Leaves
8 oz cream cheese. 

DEB'S QUICK SAUSAGE BOLOGNESE & PENNE

How to
In a large dutch oven heat olive oil until almost smoking and add onions and peppers, cooking until translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and Italian Seasoning, stir and cook another 1 - 2 minutes, then immediately add the wine.  
Let the wine reduce by half on High, then add the sausage, crumble with a potato masher and stir into the veggie mixture.  Let sit until brown on one side, then pour off or scoop out excess fat and drippings, stir and brown the rest of the meat.
When the meat is just browned, reduce heat to medium and add all four cans of crushed tomatoes.  The sauce should be thick.  Add about 1 cup of water to 1 can, swirl it around to use up the rest of the tomatoes in the can then pour it into the next can and repeat with all 4 cans, then pour it into the pot.  (Waste not want not!).  Stir, and simmer on low for about an hour.  
When ready to serve, prepare the pasta according to the package directions and keep warm. 
Whisk the cream cheese into the sauce, along with most of the Basil (chopped) and let simmer another 5 minutes.  Serve Pasta with Sauce, and additional Chiffonade (strips) of Basil. 


**So, everyone loved this sauce so much, I had to use it again, fast.  
DEB’S MEAT LASAGNA 
     With all the meat in it, I didn’t need much more than a salad, but I wanted something different.  From the pantry: No-Cook Lasagna Noodles, then all I needed was the cheese.  Before I made the lasagna, I wanted a little more kick to my sauce, so I browned a package of 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs and put them into the Bolognese, and let that simmer on low another 3-4 hours.  Nothing else to do during that time but stir occasionally, sit back and relax. 
When its almost time for dinner:
INGREDIENTS
2 Boxes No-Cook Lasagna Sheets
4 eggs, beaten
1 3 lb container Part-Skim Ricotta
1/2 c. grated parmesan 
1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
4 cups shredded or diced Mozzarella Cheese
Salt, to taste. 
DIRECTIONS:
     In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs, then add Ricotta, Parmesan, Parsely and pepper and combine. Add the Shredded Cheese and taste, then add salt depending on your taste (remember, cheese is salty).  Keep this at room temp.
     Spray a 4" in deep, 9x13” baking dish with cooking spray, and spread a layer of sauce on the bottom, then cover the bottom of the dish with the lasagna noodles, making sure to cover the entire dish.  Its ok to break them to fit.  Pour another layer of sauce over the noodles, then  spread dollops of the cheese mixture all over the sauce and spread carefully (try not to move the noodles around.  Cover with another layer of noodles, then sauce, then cheese; then noodles then sauce, then cheese, ending with a top layer of noodles, press down, then cover with the sauce.  Sprinkle additional parmesan on top, Bake at 400, covered, for 45 minutes, then if you like a crispy top, uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Serves 6

What you need
     This is a great pasta sauce recipe, full of healthfull Summer Vegetables, lots of flavor, and very little fat. Once the veggies are cut and ingredients are gathered the sauce is done within a half hour, no simmering for hours. The vegetables are tender but should still retain their integrity, brightness, and hopefullly some of their nutrients. (I have no idea whether this is a northern or southern Italian dish, or whether its even Italian at all.  But its delicious and makes a lovely presentation if you're having guests!)

2 regular size cans stewed tomatoes in juice with basil garlic and onion (you can also add fresh if you desire).
Worcestershire Suce
brown sugar
black olives
canned cici or garbanzo beans (a/k/a chickpeas)
tomato paste I use the tube kind
hand full of mini carrots
5 mini sweet peppers
3 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery
handful fresh parsley
1 good size zucchini
2 small yellow squash
olive oil
grated parmesan cheese
sea salt
1 lb pasta of your choice.  (This sauce goes well with a thick pasta, either parpardelli, mezze rigatoni, linguini)

Summer Vegetable Pasta

How to
Pre heat your pan then once hot add your oil.  Since the Zucchini is cut the largest start with that in the pan first constantly stirring after a couple minutes, cutting and adding each vegetable in turn: the carrots, celery, sliced peppers and a light sprinkle of salt continuously stirring after each addition.  Add a couple good squirts of tomato paste (half a tube) and let that cook a bit while lightly stirring, then add the garlic, cook for a moment or 2, and at this point add in your 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, and your sugar (if necessary, to taste) and tablespoon lol and part of your parsley.  Bring to a bubble for 5 minutes and add your black olives, cover and remove pan from heat let sit about 5-10 minutes.
Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and some good grated cheese and enjoy.

Serves 4

What you need
Zucchini Rigatoni is a light pasta dish that is perfect for the warm summer months. The zucchini, mushroom, and other vegetables combine to create an aromatic and different flavor than your average sauce, and its vegetarian! 

3 tbsp and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
3 tbsp butter
1 Serrano pepper, chopped with seeds removed
3/4 medium yellow onion, diced
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp dry basil leaves
2 tbsp butter
1/2 of one large zucchini
2 1/2 tbsp dry porcini mushrooms, chopped fine
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
14 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 16 oz Box Rigatoni pasta noodles
Parmesan cheese, grated

Zucchini Rigatoni Recipe

How to
  1. To a skillet over medium heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil, 3 tbsp butter, and the Serrano pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the diced onion to the skillet and cook until the onions begin to change color and are translucent.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the tomato sauce into the skillet along with the dry basil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer.
  5. In a pot, boil water for the pasta. When water begins to boil, add pasta noodles and cook until al dente.
  6. Cut the zucchini into thin medallions. I like to cut the zuchinni at a diagonal to create medallions with a greater surface area.
  7. In a separate pan, add 2 tbsp butter along with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat.
  8. Add the zucchini medallions, porcini mushrooms, flat leaf parsley, and fresh basil leaves to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When the pasta is ready, strain it and pour it into a large bowl.
  10. Coat the hot pasta with a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese, mixing it with the pasta noodles.
  11. Next, pour the red sauce into the bowl and mix it with the pasta. You may not need to use all of the red sauce. Use enough to coat all of the noodles.
  12. Add the zucchini mixture to the bowl to combine with the pasta.
  13. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if needed.

Serves 6

What you need
This recipe for Sausage & Peppers is perfect for a weeknight meal, and just as tasty and presentable for company on short notice. You should have all the ingredients in your freezer. I always keep some sausage on hand, and I find that turkey kielbasa is a convenient ingredient to have around because it keeps for quite some time in the fridge.

2 lbs sausage, sliced at an angle into 1/2 inch pieces
(hot, sweet, chicken, in the casing or out, kielbasa - any kind you like)
1 tbs olive oil
2 packages Birds-eye frozen peppers and onions strips.
1 package frozen peppers strips
3 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs garlic paste (you can use minced garlic if you prefer)

Sausage & Peppers

How to
In a large saute pan with high sides, heat oil and brown sausage. Once sausage is browned toss in the 2 bags of peppers and onions. Once melted and onions are slightly translucent, add tomato paste and garlic paste. Stir or wisk in to incorporate into drippings. Add the last bag of peppers, stir, cover the pot and take off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Done! They don't come easier than this!!
Serve over pasta, rice, or as we like to do, on crusty rolls with melted mozzarella on top.

**As a variation, you can start the dish by sauteing 1/3 pkg of bacon, chopped, then proceed as above - for a little extra kick. See photo below
.  (*photo credit to DGT)

Serves 10ish?

What you need
OF COURSE, NOW YOU NEED A MARINARA SAUCE. THIS IS MY FAVORITE, VARYING A BIT FROM MOM'S, BUT ITS VERSATILE, TIME SAVING AND YOU CAN USE WHAT IS LEFT AND TURN IT INTO ANY OF THE OTHER SAUCES NOTED BELOW.
2 tbs olive oil
1 pkg frozen chopped onions
2 tbs garlic paste
2-3 tbs Italian Seasoning (I prefer Emeril's because it has everything you need in it)
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh basil, about 1/2 cup.

In a large heavy bottom pot, saute the onions in the oil, until they just begin to turn golden. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add garlic paste (minced if you prefer) and crushed red pepper, along with italian seasoning, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly and working quickly so garlic does not burn. Add more oil if necessary. Add all 4 cans of crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour. When ready to serve, ladle some over your pasta (or whatever you are putting it on) and top with fresh basil ribbons.
(Basil Ribbons: stack all the basil leaves on top of each other, roll up from top to bottom and with a sharp knife, slice all the way through in very thin slices.)
Thats it!

VARIATIONS:
If you want a lighter sauce, dont use crushed tomatoes or tomato paste, use diced tomatoes. Drain as much liquid from the can as necessary for you to have the consistency of the sauce you want. For me, I would drain all the liquid, and use reserved pasta water if you need consistency in your light sauce.

If you want a VODKA SAUCE, add the vodka (about 1/2 c or so) and about a cup of cream cheese about half hour before it is done cooking. Yes, cream cheese. It will surprise you. You can also use sour cream if you prefer a more tangy taste.

If you want a MEAT SAUCE, dredge in flour and brown the meats (meatballs, ribs, shortribs, sausage - whatever you like) first, then add the onions and continue as above.

My personal favorite: CHICKEN GRAVY. Here, the chicken fat gives the gravy a smooth silkiness. If you never had it, try it.
simply brown up some nice pieces of chicken, skin on, then continue as in the meat sauce. Yes, it has some fat in it (you can skim any excess off the top) , but it is delicious.

Enjoy!

Marinara Sauce

How to

In a large heavy bottom pot, saute the onions in the oil, until they just begin to turn golden. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add garlic paste (minced if you prefer) and crushed red pepper, along with italian seasoning, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly and working quickly so garlic does not burn. Add more oil if necessary. Add all 4 cans of crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour. When ready to serve, ladle some over your pasta (or whatever you are putting it on) and top with fresh basil ribbons.
(Basil Ribbons: stack all the basil leaves on top of each other, roll up from top to bottom and with a sharp knife, slice all the way through in very thin slices.)
Thats it!

VARIATIONS:
If you want a lighter sauce, dont use crushed tomatoes or tomato paste, use diced tomatoes. Drain as much liquid from the can as necessary for you to have the consistency of the sauce you want. For me, I would drain all the liquid, and use reserved pasta water if you need consistency in your light sauce.

If you want a VODKA SAUCE, add the vodka (about 1/2 c or so) and about a cup of cream cheese about half hour before it is done cooking. Yes, cream cheese. It will surprise you. You can also use sour cream if you prefer a more tangy taste.

If you want a MEAT SAUCE, dredge in flour and brown the meats (meatballs, ribs, shortribs, sausage - whatever you like) first, then add the onions and continue as above.

My personal favorite: CHICKEN GRAVY. Here, the chicken fat gives the gravy a smooth silkiness. If you never had it, try it.
simply brown up some nice pieces of chicken, skin on, then continue as in the meat sauce. Yes, it has some fat in it (you can skim any excess off the top) , but it is delicious.

Enjoy!

Serves 12 - 16

What you need
In our family, we make our Baked Ziti differently than what you would get in an Italian restaurant. It is layered like a Lasagna. In fact, this is the same recipe you would use for Lasagna, simply substituting Lasagna sheets (even the no cook ones) for the Ziti. Enjoy.
2 boxes of Ziti or Penne pasta
1 large container of whole milk Ricotta
2 packages of whole milk mozzarella (packaged, not fresh)
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
handful of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 jars, or about 4 cups of homemade marinara sauce (recipe above)

Baked Ziti (or Lasagna)

How to
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Boil the Ziti as directed on package, so it will be al dente. It will cook more in the oven.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the ricotta, mozzarella (sliced and cubed, not shredded), parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and 2 eggs beaten. Mix well.
Note: We do not use shredded mozzarella because it melts into the cheese and disappears. We want to see and taste all the elements of our food.
In a large casserole dish or lasagna pan, cover bottom with a layer of sauce. Then add a layer of Ziti, enough so the bottom of the pan is entirely covered at least half an inch. Then spread enough of the cheese mixture (about 1/2) to cover the pasta, and cover with sauce. Repeat these steps of Ziti, cheese, gravy once again, then end with a layer of Ziti. If you have extra cheese mixtue, dot the top with it, or sprinkle with parmesan. Cover pasta and cheese with a light coating of gravy.
(Leave about 1/2 inch to the top of the rim for the pasta to expand, so it doesn't boil over in the oven.)
Cook covered for about 45 - 50 minutes until hot and bubbling, remove cover and cook 10 minutes more for a crispier top.

As noted, if you want to make a Lasagna, just substitute lasagna sheets for the Ziti. You can even use the no cook ones, which work fine and are much easier to work with.

As a variation, you can make this recipe with a meat or bolognese sauce. Or, add a layer of siced or small meatballs or shredded short ribs on top of the cheese layers.

This is what Baked Ziti is supposed to be!

Serves 12 - 24

What you need

1 pot of basic marinara sauce (Or 3 jars Vincent's Mild or Med Sauce)
24 (or so) slices of eggplant, sliced lengthwise, breaded and fried.
(or you can by them pre-fried from Ivarrone or Uncle Giuseppe)
1 large container of whole milk Ricotta
2 packages of whole milk mozzarella (packaged, not fresh)
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
handful of parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Eggplant Rolletini (or parmigiana if you prefer)

How to
In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mozzarella (sliced and cubed, not shredded), parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and 2 eggs, beaten. Mix well.
Note: We do not use shredded mozzarella because it melts into the rest of the cheese and disappears. We want to see and taste all the elements of our food.
In a large casserole dish or lasagna pan, cover bottom with a layer of sauce.
On a separate plate, place a large dollop of cheese mixture toward the smaller end of the eggplant slice. Roll, smaller end toward larger end and place in pan, open side down.
Repeat until you have used up all the eggplant and cheese.

**You will need to double this recipe to feed more than 30 people.


Serves 8

What you need

Ok, I know, its oxtails. But if you can imagine them braised until the meat falls off the bone, and the fat melds into the remaining ingredients, making a sauce that is at once delicate and hearty. If you have ever loved a short-rib, this is the recipe for you. In my house, the kids can't wait until I make it again

  • 2 tablespoons each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • 3-4 lbs of oxtails
  • flour for dredging
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 can beef broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bag frozen chopped onions
  • 1 bag frozen chopped peppers (or peppers/onions combo)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped

1 box orzo, prepared as directed, with added 1/2 stick of butter, and a handful of chopped parsley

Braised Oxtail Stew with Herbed Orzo

How to

Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with the salt, pepper and garlic powder mixture, dredge in flour and shake off excess flour.
Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof
Dutch oven with the olive oil. Once heated, add the oxtails and sear on all sides. Add additional oil if necessary so the meat doesn't burn. Remove and set aside. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add onions, peppers and carrots and saute in the remaining fat in the pot. Deglaze the pot by adding the beef broth (I prefer chicken), red wine, Worcestershire saute and garlic . Stir and bring to a boil. Add basil, oregano, bay leaves, hot sauce (you can omit the hot sauce if you prefer this without spice), tomato sauce, and the reserved oxtails. Stir to combine all ingredients together.

Cover tightly and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let the meat braise for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You will know if they are done when the meat falls off the bone. If you cannot pull the meat off the bone very easily, cook until you can.

Although you can serve the oxtails whole right out of the pot, they can be a little messy to eat, and to some people, unappetizing. I take the tails out of the pot, let cool a few moments, take the meat off the bone (here you can get rid of any unwanted fat) and then put the meat back in the pot and stir.

Serve oxtails with the vegetables over hot buttered orzo.

Serves 8

What you need

      Who does not want an easy, delicious recipe to cook during the week? Well, this one from Better Homes and Gardens. http://bhg.com is perfect:

3 cups dried bow ties, penne, or ziti (I used penne)
2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed (I had never cooked with these, but found them easily on the spice aisle at Krogerz)
1-3/4 cups milk
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin bite-size strips
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped



 

Prosciutto, Spinach, & Pasta Casserole

How to
1.
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain; rinse pasta with cold water. Drain again.

2.

In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic, covered, in hot butter about 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and anise seeds. Add the milk and chicken broth all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Stir in the cooked pasta, spinach, and prosciutto. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole.

3.

Bake, covered, in a 350 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand about 5 minutes. To serve, stir gently and top with chopped tomato

Serves 2 to an entire family

What you need

    We're going to go as far south as we can now, and jump on over to Sicily, where some say they're not even part of Italy. Well, geographically, they are, and I'm going to stick with that for now. 
   Although its cuisine is predominantly based on Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has Spanish, Greek and Arab influences.  Much of the island's cuisine encourages the use of fresh vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and fish such as tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, and swordfish. In Trapani in the extreme western corner of the island, North African influences are clear in the use of couscous.  Yes, couscous!
   An average dinner in Sicily usually includes an Antipasti (starter), Pasta, Entree, then Dessert, which seems to very important here where sweets are another specialty; examples include: frutta martorana, pignolata, buccellato, cannolo siciliano, granita, and cassata siciliana. Granita is particularly famous and well known. It is a semi-frozen dessert of sugar, water, and flavorings originally from the island.

SICILIAN FOOD & ENTERTANING

How to
  "For the main meal Sicilians drink mostly wine. The soil and the climate in Sicily are ideal for growing grapes, mainly due to Mount Etna, and a wine-making tradition on the island has operated since the Greeks set up their first colonies on the island. Today, all provinces of the island produced wine and wine by the introduction of modern methods of Sicily established itself on the European wine market.
   In addition, various dessert wines are produced, such as the famous Marsala, the Malvasia delle Lipari.  More typical Sicilian drinks are the limoncello, a lemon liqueur, and the Amaro Siciliano, a herbal drink, which is often consumed after meals as a digestive."  Information source: Wikipedia.com
   Celebrate the arrival of spring by dining alfresco; Sicilians believe everything tastes better in the open air. Try these recipes and tips for your weekend get-together and celebrate the rich traditions of Italian cuisine
. Photo courtesy Williams Sonoma.

Serves 8

What you need
   This Sicilian Potato Cake – torta di patate – is a staple in many a trattoria and it’s delicious eaten warm. Enjoy.
 
  • 2 1/2 lbs floury potatoes , such as King Edward or Maris Piper
  • 3/4 lb pancetta , diced
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1/2 lb parmesan , freshly grated
  • 6 slices Italian salami , chopped
  • 3 oz provolone or caciocavallo cheese , diced
  • 5 oz mozzarella , diced
  • handful flatleaf parsley , chopped
  • 2 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • handful fresh thyme leaves
  • Sicilian Potato Cake - Torta di Patate

    How to
    1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Boil the potatoes whole, in their skins, in gently simmering water until tender - about 30-40 mins depending on size. Meanwhile, fry the pancetta cubes until golden.

    2. Drain the potatoes and set aside. Put the milk and most of the butter in the potato pan to warm. Peel the potatoes, cut into big chunks, then tip back into the pan with the milk. Mash them (as long as you've used a floury potato you will get a light and fluffy mash by using 1an electric hand whisk, or a masher). Mix in the pancetta, eggs, garlic and all of the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs and thyme.

    3. Use the remaining butter to butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Coat the inside of the tin with about ¾ of the breadcrumbs and fill with the potato mixture. Smooth down the surface and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, pressing them gently into the potato.

    4. Bake for about 1hr 10 mins until the potato cake is set, with a slight wobble in the middle. Let it rest for 5 mins then loosen from the sides with a knife before releasing the tin. Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Serve hot or warm. Can be prepared up to the end of step 3 the night before and kept covered in the fridge.

    Serves 8

    What you need
       This recipe has become a favorite at my house. The cream cheese sauce and ground beef and tomato mixture combine for a fabulous casserole. Its almost easier to make than a Lasagna, and its fantastic!

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Sicilian Ground Beef & Tomato Casserole

    How to
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in heavy saucepan, stirring to break up ground beef. Add green bell pepper when beef is almost cooked; continue to simmer until beef is done. Drain well. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and dried Italian seasoning and stir well to blend. Let simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. 
       Meanwhile, cook elbow macaroni as directed on package. While macaroni is cooking, combine cream cheese and milk in medium bowl. Cook in microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from microwave and stir with wire whisk until sauce thickens and blends to form a smooth sauce. Drain noodles and add to cream cheese sauce along with sour cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; stir to combine. 
       In 2 quart casserole dish, place all of cream cheese mixture. Top with all of the ground beef mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until casserole is bubbly. 
       ( To freeze, add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to the cream cheese sauce. Prepare casserole as directed, except instead of baking, chill in refrigerator. Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, for 25-35 minutes, then uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until bubbly.)

    Serves 8

    What you need
       Before reading banish all previous perceptions about eggplant! “Involtini di melanzano con la béhamel” is a classic summer recipe and a proven crowd pleaser. This recipe is taken from Natalia Ravidà’s gorgeous cookbook Seasons of Sicily:Recipes from the South of Italy.

    3 medium-sized dark skinned eggplants thinly sliced
    sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.
    4 cups of extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup tomato sauce/ Salsa di pomodoro
     (**see recipe below, or you can use your own, or your favorite jar)
    fresh basil leaves for garnish
    2 oz butter (4 Tbls)
    2 oz butter (4 Tbls)
    3/4 pint milk
    2 Tbls freshly grated parmesan cheese

    Tomato sauce (salsa di pomodoro):
    6 lbs very ripe tomatoes (alternatively use a 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes)
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    3 Tbls Extra Virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
    6 fresh basil leaves
       Wash the tomatoes and bring to boil in a large stockpot with 4 cups of water until soft about 10 minutes. Drain in colander. Strain the tomatoes through a vegetable mill. Discard skin and seeds.
       Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan and gently cook the onion until translucent. Add the tomatoes, bring to boil and reduce over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Timing will depend on ripeness and amount of water in the tomatoes. Sauce must reach a light a creamy consistency. Season with salt and sugar if the sauce has a little acidity. Add the basil
       The tomato sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to one week or frozen in small plastic cups for later.

    Sicilian Eggplant Rolls w/ Be'chamel Sauce

    How to

       Arrange the eggplant slices in a large bowl and cover with salted water. Leave for 1/2 an hour to eliminate the bitter moisture and prevent them from absorbing too much oil when frying.
       To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mix until a paste is formed. Gradually add the warmed milk until thoroughly combined.
       Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until boiling point and switch off. Stir in 4 tablespoons of parmesan, add salt and set aside to cool.
       Drain the eggplant slices and pat dry with clean kitchen cloth.
       Heat at least 2 cups of EVOO in a 10 inch sauté pan with high sides over medium-high heat and bringing to frying temperature. Add a single layer of the slices and cook until golden on both sides, reducing the heat if oil begins to burn or the eggplants color too quickly.
       Transfer the cooked slices to a colander set over a plate to drain off excess olive oil. Repeat until all of the eggplant slices are cooked. If more olive oil is needed, add to an empty pan and bring to frying temperature before cooking a new batch.
       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
       Arrange the eggplant slices on a flat surface. Place a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) of the béchamel on one end of each slice and roll the eggplant around it. Arrange the eggplant rolls tightly in a oven-proof serving dish (or my cooper oval pan acquired from E.Dehillerin in Paris). Spoon the tomato sauce (see below) over the eggplant and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of parmesan.
       Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.
       Garnish with the basil and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This is the for perfect recipe for using up the over abundance of summer tomatoes we should be expecting too! The garlic salt brings out the juices in the tomatoes, it works as an acid, so there is no need for vinegar.  Great as a side dish or as a lite lunch! The ratio of vegetables can be adjusted to suit your own taste

  • 1/2-1 medium sweet onion, depending on how much onion you like (Vidallia is my favorite)
  • 3 -4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 -6 leaves fresh basil, chopped to garnish (depending on how much Basil you like)
  • Sicilian Tomato & Sweet Onion Salad

    How to
    1. Cut tomatoes into bite size pieces.
    2. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
    3. Peel a cut onion in half vertically.
    4. Along edge of open side, “sliver” cut onion and add to tomatoes.
    5. Add the rest of ingredients and toss lightly.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This recipe brings Sicily right to your door, with only 20 minutes and 6 ingredients. 

  • 1pound(s) dried penne, orecchiette, or shell pasta
  • 3tablespoon(s) white balsamic vinegar
  • 1pint(s) mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1medium (10-ounce) head radicchio, cored, shredded
  • 1cup(s) mixed pitted olives, halved
  • 1cup(s) crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese
  • Sicilian Pasta Salad

    How to
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions until al dente, about 10 minutes.
    2. While pasta is cooking, whisk 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in a large serving bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss until coated.
    3. Drain pasta and add to serving bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

    Serves 2

    What you need
       Pasta with Sardines. It's the Sicilian national dish according to Mary, the author of Sicilian Food by Mary Taylor-Simeti.  According to the book, the legend goes that Euphemius of Messina landed at Mazara del Vallo in Sicily in 827 with a Saracen army and instructed his Arab cooks to find some food. Because it was a fishing port, there were loads of sardines around. Then they found wild fennel on the hillsides, currants in the vineyards, and saffron and pine nuts in the market and mixed it all up. Oh, and there always seem to be breadcrumbs on top for a scrumptious bit of crunch.  This version omits fennel, only because its not my favorite flavor, but feel free to add in a bunch of fresh fennel greens cooked in the pasta water for 10 minutes.

    4 whole sardines
    ½ onion (or a handful frozen chopped onions) 
    1 oz pine nuts
    1 oz currants, plumped in hot water for 5 minutes
    1 oz toasted almond slivers (optional)
    4 anchovy fillets, chopped finely
    1 pinch of saffron, soaked in a tablespoon warm water
    a handful of capers (these are my addition so however many you like!)
    1/2 lb  pasta*
    1/4 lb  breadcrumbs
    handful of parsley
    lots of olive oil

    The recipe specifies bucatini or maccheroni. In Sicily it was busiate, which I suspect you can't buy in this country. I used fusili lunghi bucati because I thought they had a similar twisty turny long thing going on as busiate.

    Pasta Con la Sarde (Pasta & Sardines)

    How to
        Cut off the head, fins and tail of the sardines. Remove the scales, slit the belly and remove the guts. Then holding the fish belly upward between the palms of your hands, run your thumb along the backbone so that the fish opens like a book, the two halves remaining joined along the dorsal ridge. Remove the backbone.
       Put ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs and toast over a low heat until they are a rich golden brown. Set aside. (This made too many toasted breadcrumbs, but you can refrigerate them and use them on top of another dish!)
       Fry the onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil over a low heat until it begins to colour. Add the pine nuts, currants, almonds, anchovies**, and the saffron and water. Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
       Fry the sardines in 2 tbsp of olive oil, leaving two whole for the topping and mashing the other two with a wooden spoon, until they're "melted." (I prefer them all mashed, as I'm not a fan of whole sardines)  Its up to you.
       Cook the pasta. Mix with the oniony mixture and the mashed sardines. Top with the other sardines (if you left them whole) and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Serve the breadcrumbs on the side for more sprinkling.

    Serves 10 balls

    What you need
       These little balls are Arancini, deep- fried rice croquettes coated with breadcrumbs, filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas. The Sicilians have been making them for a thousand years.  Looking through Sicilian Feasts, I see that saffron is used in the rice mixture. It's also mentioned in Sicilian Home Cooking: Family Recipes from Gangivecchio. Depending upon where you live, the saffron could be the most expensive ingredient.  If you can't find it, or don't have it, an you want that lovely yellow color, add a pinch of Turmeric, and they'll be just fine

    2 cups of Arborio rice
    1 sachet of saffron
    Cup of thick Italian tomato sauce, or meat sauce with peas. I used 1/2 cup of frozen green peas.
    A cup of cheese. The Sicilian recipes call for canestrato fresco, but you'd have to be on Sicily itself to get that. Use shredded whole milk mozzarella instead.
    2 eggs
    3 cups of breadcrumbs
    Salt and pepper - A little olive oil - Vegetable oil for frying

    Sicilian Arancini

    How to
    MAKE THE RICE
       Cook the rice and saffron in salted water until soft and yellow. Drain.
       Add a blob of olive oil to stop the rice sticking
       Add the cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. Cool.
    MAKE THE BALLS FOR ARANCINI
       Beat the eggs with a little salt and pepper.
       Now to roll the balls. Wet your hand and spread some rice mixture, about one inch in thickness, on your palm.
       Add a dollop of the sauce into the middle of the mixture and close the rice into a little ball about the size of a small orange.* see below for bonus alternative filling.
       Close your hand to make a ball, ensuring the filling is completely enclosed by the rice. Squeeze it a little so that the contents are securely enclosed.
       Why the size of a small orange? The colour for a start, and the Italian word for orange is arancia. In Sicilian, arancici means "little oranges".
    COAT FRY BAKE & MUNCH
       When you've rolled up all the mixture into little balls, roll them one at a time in the beaten egg.
       Then drop them into a bowl of breadcrumbs. You can use a plastic bag for the breadcrumbs, drop in a ball at a time and shake the bag.
       Heat the oil and deep fry the balls until golden brown. Remove the balls and put them on a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.  (you know I'm not a big fan of deep frying, but these really should be fried. If you do a few at a time, just enough oil to cover would be fine.  I'm going to try baking them in a very hot oven the whole time and let you know what happens....
       Place in a hot oven for 5 minutes to brown them further and to make sure the filling is melted.
       Serve while hot and crunchy.   

    BONUS FILLING RECIPE -- PRAWN FILLING FOR ARANCINI GAMBERETTI
    Filling
    1 diced shallot
    Cup of shelled, deveined, finely diced prawns (shrimp)
    1/3 cup cream
    1/4 cup chopped parsley

    Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the shallot until it starts to wilt.
    Stir in the prawns, cook for minute more, stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper.  Briefly and briskly cook till it's fairly thick, stir in the parsley.
    Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool. Use in place of sauce & peas.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       Farsumagru , is a much celebrated Sicilian dish and very popular. There are variations in the stuffing and on the way of cooking it, accordingly to the province or even the neighbourhood.  Basically, it’s a stuffed roll of meat, either veal or beef. I found this recipe from Sicily Scene : A Welshwoman’s Life in Sicily, a wonderful little on line blog .
    To Make The Roll
    2 lb slice of veal (approx 8×12 inches). Beat the veal to size with a meat mallet between two sheets of plastic wrap to a thickness of about ¼ of an inch.
    4 tbsp olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/2 lb ground chopped veal
    1/2 lb Italian sausage meat
    1 hard boiled egg cut in quarters
    1/2 lb sliced pancetta
    1 finely minced clove of garlic
    ½ cup flaked parmesan or diced Provoletta cheese
    ¼ cup of your preferred grated cheese
    ¼ cup currants or raisins soaked in warm water
    ½ cup Italian parsley
    Salt and pepper
    Butcher’s twine to tie the rolled meat
    To Cook The Roll:
    The left over oil and fat from cooking the stuffing
    4 tbsp olive oil
    1 chopped onion
    1 cup white wine
    225g tomato paste diluted in 8 cups of water
    Basil leaves

    Farsumagru, Sicilian Meat Roll

    How to

       In a large sauté pan over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions and saute for about 7 minutes until golden. Add the finely chopped veal and sausage meat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
    Remove the meat. The oil and fat left in the pan will be used to saute the stuffed meat roll.
       Roll out the widest side of the veal. Sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. 
       Place the sliced pancetta to cover the meat and add flaked parmesan cheese.
    Lengthwise, spread the meat filling mostly in the centre and place egg quarters on top, then sprinkle on the grated cheese, breadcrumbs and the parsley.
       Roll the veal in the shape of a large salami and tie it with the butcher twine, gently winding it around and lengthwise. Run the twine two times around, making sure it’s not too tight.
       To cook the roll, use the saute pan where the stuffing was made. Use the remaining fat from cooking the stuffing along with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and over a medium flame saute the rolled veal.
       When it’s lightly browned on all sides, add chopped onion and keep the roll in the pan until the onions are lightly golden.
        Add the wine. Add diluted tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then simmer for one hour.
       Before serving, let the Farsumagru cool for 15 minutes. Remove twine, slice into ¾ inch thick pieces. Arrange on a serving dish, and finish with its sauce.

    Serves 1

    What you need
       Recipe courtesy of the lovely Nigella. This omelette is quick, filling and absolutely delicious despite the few ingredients. I love omelettes, and I prefer them creamy instead of set, and they’re even better with cheese. Perfect for brunch, lunch or for supper when you’re in a hurry.

    2-3 eggs
    a splash of cream/milk/water
    salt/white pepper
    butter for frying
    creamy goat’s cheese
    fresh mint

    Sicilian Omelette

    How to

       Beat eggs and liquid. Season. Melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat. 
       Pour in the batter and turn the heat down to low heat. Cook the omelette until it starts to set. 
       Add cheese and mint. 
       Fry until it had the consistency you prefer. Serve straight away.

    Serves 6 - 8

    What you need
       Be honest, have you ever actually eaten rabbit?  Or do you just see them as cute little easter toys?  Rabbit, if cooked correctly, can be delicious.  Braised, in a stew, roasted.  The meat is tender and rich, not like chicken, but not like duck.  Somewhere in between.  So when I saw this recipe for coniglio agro dolce, I was intrigued.  I'm not a big fan of "sweet & sour" but its not what you're thinking.  Here, the flavours here work in synchrony, nor harsh nor grating, and rabbit stands up well to them.  Just read the recipe.  You can always try it with cornish hens instead!

    2 young rabbits, cut into 6-8 pieces, ribcages discarded
    5 oz plain flour
    1/2 c. olive oil
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    1 celery stalk, finely chopped
    1 small carrot, finely chopped
    2 tbsps small salted capers, rinsed
    3 tbsps sultanas, plumped in water for about 5 minutes (golden raisins, or raisins)
    7 oz large green pitted olives, roughly chopped 4 tbsps honey
    1/2 c. red wine vinegar  (use half if you want your dish less tangy)
    3 c. chicken stock

    Coniglio agro dolce (Sweet & Sour Rabbit)

    How to

       Preheat the oven to 325F. 
       If you use a large (12 in) skillet with deep sides of 3" or so, you can do this all in one pan. 
       Lightly coat the rabbit with the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the rabbit in batches and brown all over. Remove all the rabbit from the pan.
       
    Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the capers, sultanas and olives and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
       
    Put the rabbit pieces back in the pan with the onion mixture (or if your pan is too small, put them in a large roasting tin and tip the onion mixture over the rabbit).  
       Mix together the honey and vinegar and, when the honey has dissolved, pour over the rabbit. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper.
       
    Cover with a tight fitting lid, or tightly with foil and bake for 1-2 hours, checking the rabbit every 30 minutes. When the meat starts to fall off the bone, the dish is ready.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This is a one dish dinner that consists of vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. To prepare it is easy and the combination of pasta, broccoli rape and Sicilian style sausage make it a tasty and appealing pasta recipe.
    If you add some flakes of red peppers to this delightful pasta you will enhance its flavor and give zest to it.  To make the vegetarian version, eliminate the sausages
    .

    1 lb. fusilli, shells or penne pasta
    6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    ½ small onion, finely diced
    5 links of Sicilian style sausages (less than 1 lb.)
    ¼ cup of white wine (optional)
    1 lb. broccoli rabe, washed a few times
    3 garlic cloves, sliced
    Crushed red pepper to taste
    Salt and pepper
    2 oz. of your preferred grated cheese

    Pasta w/ Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

    How to
       In a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, place 2 tablespoons of oil, the diced onion, and the sausages with the skin removed. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add wine and ½ cup of water, simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated.(If you cannot use wine replace it with water).
       Remove from heat, transfer to a dish using a slotted spoon and set aside.
       In a large pot, place 5 quarts of water with 2 tablespoon of salt over a high heat. When water boils, add broccoli rabe and cook for 3 minutes.
       Transfer broccoli into a large dish, cool a few minutes and very carefully chop coarsely.
    The Pasta
       In the same water, cook pasta al dente, following the package’s direction.
    The Condiment
       Using a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, place 4 tablespoons of oil, the garlic and sauté over a medium heat, when it is golden add broccoli and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add sausages and simmer until pasta is ready.
    The Assembly
       Drain pasta and save some of the water.
       Add pasta to sauté pan with the sausages and broccoli; toss it over a high flame until the pasta and condiments blend well. If it becomes to dry add some of the reserved water. Remove from the heat and add ½ of the cheese. Serve immediately, garnish each plate with grated cheese and serve crushed red pepper on the side

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This dish is from a town in Sicily called Aragona, where the Easter feast features a dish called Taganu (pronounced thuh-AH-new). It's an incredibly rich baked pasta, egg, meat and cheese dish, flavored with cinnamon (showing the area's Greek influence) and saffron (showing the Spanish influence).

  • 1 and 1/2 pound of Rigatoni
  • 18 eggs, beaten
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of Tuma cheese, sliced
  • 3 cups of Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/8 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, hot
  • 2 cups of red gravy, recipe below or you can use jar sauce since there is a minimal amount used in the recipe.
  • Enough slices of Italian bread or white bread to cover the bottom, sides, and top of a large clay pot. (or deep casserole if you don't have a clay pot)
  • A lot of Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped. Probably around 1 and 1/2 cups.
  • 10 meatballs, smashed, recipe below
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lasagna

    How to
  • In a large pot, cook the pasta in around 6 quarts of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • In a large glass baking dish beat together the eggs, Romano cheese, parsley and cinnamon. I used a Kitchen Aid to mix these ingredients then I poured the mixture into the baking dish.
  • Rub the oil all over the inside of a large clay pot.
  • Dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture and line the bottom and sides of a the pot.
  • Place a layer of Rigatoni on the bottom of the pot, cover with a few spoonfuls of egg mixture, then place a layer of Tuma cheese on top. Place a layer of meatball mixture over that and spread a little red sauce on top.
  • Repeat the layering process until the pot is filled to the top while seasoning each layer with a little salt and pepper.
  • Dip the remaining slices of bread in the egg mixture and cover the top.
  • With the back of a wooden spoon, place a hole down the middle of the pot and pour in the warm chicken broth.
  • Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 2 to 3 hours until all the liquid is absorbed but not completely dry. Insert a large knife to test if it’s done. If the knife comes out wet cook a little longer.

    Slice and eat warm or refrigerate and eat cold which is my favorite.