Healthy Italian Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Beef

100_0817 - Copy

Stracotto  translates literally from the Italian as “overcooked,” but the term has come to refer to beef stews and braises – especially in the northern Italy.The important part of the recipe is the slow cooking of the meat at a very low temperature to tenderize even the toughest cut of beef. The recipe starts with a soffritto of onion, carrot, celery and, sometimes, finely diced pancetta or the fat from prosciutto and continues with the addition of red wine, beef broth, tomatoes and tomato paste.

There are as many versions of this dish as there are cooks. In much of Tuscany, the meat to be roasted in the pot is seasoned with a minced mixture of celery, carrot, onion and parsley, but never garlic, whereas the cooks of Arezzo use garlic and juniper berries to season the meat.

In Lombardy, the meat is marinated overnight  in the red wine. In northern Italy, especially the Parma area, leftover stracotto becomes a filling for ravioli.

In Florence, before the discovery of America and the importation of tomatoes, stracotto was cooked with agresto – a sauce made from crushed, tart grapes, boiled and flavored with cloves, cinnamon and the juice of a squeezed onion. Chianti is the wine of choice in preparing this dish in Florence and porcini mushrooms are often an important ingredient.

In Bologna, a veal roast is used for this dish. In Sicily, the meat is cut into chunks, stew like, before braising.

Italian Jews also make stracotto with wine and tomatoes that is eaten both as a shabbos lunch and as a Friday night dinner. Rome resident, Celeste Pavoncello Pipenro, recalls eating stracotto throughout her life, “I remember Grandmother Celeste cooking stracotto in a special crock pot that she used just for this dish. It was very important to her to cook the stracotto in the crockpot. Also, my father, Marco, cooks the stracotto quite often and he puts some chocolate in with the meat just to add a different flavor.”

The dish originated in the Piedmont area of italy and here is an early recipe translated from Italian to English.

Piedmontese Pot Roast of Beef with Barolo Wine

Ingredients for 6 persons
1 Kg of lean beef, Italian parsley, sage, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, a
little flour, one bottle of Barolo wine, olive oil, butter, nutmeg, salt
and pepper.

You place in a casserole dish some spoonfuls of butter, olive oil
and sliced onions. Saute these ingredients, then brown the meat
after dredging it in the flour. Cover with the parsley, garlic, the
herbs and the rest of the chopped vegetables. Brown the meat on
all sides to seal it, then add the Barolo wine. Simmer a while to
reduce the liquid & evaporate the wine, then add salt and pepper.
Cover and place in a preheated oven(150C/300F/Gas 2). Continue
cooking for approximately three hours in the covered casserole.
Slice the meat and serve the dish with its gravy, straining the gravy if
you prefer smooth gravy.

Barolo wine is traditionally used for this dish in Italy and in Italy it is possible to find inexpensive Barolo wines that are perfect to cook with. Unfortunately, that is not the case in America. Because you don’t want to pour a fifteen or twenty-dollar bottle of wine over a four-dollar piece of meat, I recommend cooking with a flavorful inexpensive red wine and reserving the Barolo to serve with dinner. For tender, flavorful meat, it is best to prepare this dish several hours or, even better, a full day ahead of time. Reheat it in the oven before serving.

100_0810 - Copy

Italian Pot Roast (Stracotto)

I also include slow cooker directions for those who prefer that method for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 lb chuck roast
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz Cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup beef stock
1 container crushed tomatoes (26-28 ounces)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Polenta, recipe below, or Spaghetti

Directions

100_0811 - Copy

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Salt and pepper the roast, then brown it on both sides.

If using a slow cooker, put the roast in the cooker. If you’re using a Dutch oven, put the roast on a plate.

100_0812 - Copy

Sauté the vegetables in the oil that remains until they’re soft and a little browned.

100_0813 - Copy

Add the wine to stir up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.

100_0814 - Copy

Add the herbs, tomato paste, tomatoes and beef stock.

100_0815 - Copy

For the Dutch oven put the roast back in the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer and keep at just a simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours.

100_0816 - Copy

If the liquid begins to boil, you may need to place the lid ajar. You don’t want a rapid boil, just a few lazy bubbles or the meat will get tough.

If you’re using a slow cooker, add the vegetables, wine, stock, herbs, tomato paste and tomatoes to the cooker and turn on low for 6-8 hours.

When the meat is tender, remove and cut into thin slices. To thicken the sauce, especially if made in the slow cooker, boil for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Serve the sliced beef with creamy polenta or spaghetti and a green salad. An Italian red wine, like Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, will be great to use in the recipe and to drink with dinner.

6a010535d7df4f970b0120a90c858a970b-800wi

Quick Creamy Polenta

3 cups water or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, if using water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup quick cooking polenta

Directions

Bring the water/broth to a boil. Add salt and butter, then while stirring, slowly pour in the polenta. Stir until there are no lumps, then turn the heat down to a bare simmer. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the pan until ready to serve.

About these ads

Steak Night

How do you tell a good steak from a regular steak?

There are a few things to look for when buying a steak:

First, there is the grade. The grade speaks about the quality of the meat based on marbling and age.

The second factor is the cut. Different cuts have different qualities. Finding the right cut for what you want to cook is probably the most important part of an excellent steak.

The third factor is the diet of the steer and how it was raised.

Grade: The age of the animal and the marbling of the meat determine the grade of the meat. In the United States grades are prime, choice and select, with prime being at the top and select being the bottom. Prime grade beef makes up about 2% of all the beef produced in the United States and typically ends up exported or sold to fine restaurants. What you will normally find on the shelves at the store is choice and select. Since prime is difficult to find, your best option is to purchase a choice cut.

Marbling is an important factor in steak selection. To visually determine the marbling of a steak take a good look at the texture of the meat. If the meat is free of all fat then the cut has little or no marbling. Though, this is leaner and often more tender, it is not as flavorful. Small streaks of fat through the meat will produce a more flavorful steak. Marbling should be thin streaks of fat. Thick lines of fat means the steak contains a lot of connective tissue that will make it tough. The meat should be bright red and the fat, a creamy white, evenly distributed throughout the meat.

Cuts of steak can be broken down into three sections. Starting on the upper back and moving down to the mid-back you have the rib, the short loin and the sirloin.

The rib contains cuts, such as the Rib Roast, the Rib-eye Steak and the back ribs. This is the least tender section of the three.

The short loin produces the T-bone, Top Loin Steak, Tenderloin and the Porterhouse steaks.

The sirloin produces the Sirloin Steak and the Top Sirloin.

Strips steaks, like the New York Steak, is cut from the T-bone portion. The most tender cut of beef is the tenderloin. From this area you will also get cuts like Chateaubriand, filet mignon and tournedos. Though these cuts are tender they are less flavorful. Rib-eye or rib steaks are less tender but far more flavorful. The same holds true for the sirloin cuts.

Grass-Fed: There are lots of good reasons to choose grass-fed beef over conventionally raised beef – environmental, nutritional and concerns about the animals being treated well and eating what is natural to them. On all of these fronts, grass-fed beef beats feedlot beef hands down. However, over 95% of the beef sold in the U.S. is from feedlots. This means that beef from cattle which are entirely raised on pasture is more expensive and it also tastes a little different from the beef people in the U.S. are accustomed to. Additionally, the optimal cooking times, particularly for steaks, is a little different as well.

How to Prepare Steak for Cooking:

ALWAYS let your meat come to room temperature before doing anything to it.

Then, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and let it stand 60 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
Use 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt per side for a steak up to one inch thick. After sitting for an hour, wash the salt off the steak, dry it well with paper towels and sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper. Cook immediately. TRUST ME. This method really works. I have tried any number of ways to prepare steak and always come back to this method. Any type of steak, including grass-fed steak and sirloin, prepared this way is flavorful and tender. Forget marinades and rubs – you can add the seasoning after the meat is grilled.

How to Grill Steak:

If you’re using charcoal you’ll want very hot coals. Use the 2 second rule to test them; you should be able to hold your hand a few inches over the grill for only about 2 seconds before it’s too hot. Once they are hot, move them to one side of the grill so you can have both direct and indirect heat. If you’re using a gas grill, turn all the burners to high and let it heat for at least 10-15 minutes. Oil the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil.

Use tongs, extra long ones, to move your meat around, not a big fork. Puncturing your steak will only let the juices run out and cause them to be dry and tough.
Place the steaks on the hot grill to sear. Don’t move them for 2-3 minutes. If you want diagonal hatch marks, you can rotate your steak 45 degrees after a couple of minutes and then finish searing. Use the tongs again to turn the steaks and sear the other side.

If you cook the steaks at the super high heat level the entire time, the outside will be burnt by the time the center cooks. So after searing, turn the gas off on one of the burners. Move the steaks to the indirect heat side of your charcoal/gas grill to finish cooking.

When it comes to steak, you can’t follow exact times because it will vary with every cut and every grill. Temperature is the most reliable guide. Remove the steaks when they are a few degrees from your desired degree of doneness and let the steaks rest for five minutes before slicing.

Medium rare steak should be warm through the middle and most of the center of the steak should be reddish pink. The sides should be well browned, the top and bottom charred to a dark brown color. This steak should have a firm surface but soft in the middle.
Internal Temperature 125 to 135 degrees F. This is the recommended level of doneness for a good steak.

Medium Rare

Medium Rare

Medium steak should have a thick band of light pink through the middle but more brown than pink. The sides should be a rich brown color and the top and bottom charred darkly (but not black). This steak should have some play through the middle but feel firm to the touch.
Internal Temperature 140 to 150 degrees F. If you are grilling for a large group of people, this is the best level of doneness that pleases the most people.

Medium

Medium

Medium well steak should have a hint of pink in the very middle of the steak. The surface should be a dark brown with good charring on the top and bottom. This steak will be very stiff but still have a little squish in the center. Internal Temperature 155 to 165 degrees F.

Medium Well

Medium Well

Well Done steak is the most difficult to cook. This steak should NOT be burnt on the outside. While there is not the faintest hint of pink in the middle, it should be browned through, not burnt through. This steak should feel solid to the touch.
Internal Temperature 170 or higher degrees F. The secret is to do it low and slow. It’s the only way to prevent burning while fully cooking it through the middle.

Well Done

Well Done

Cooking Grass-Fed Beef Steaks:

I usually use a gas grill and heat the grill to the hottest setting. Sear the steaks for about two minutes per side. Reduce one or two burners (depending on whether you have a 2 or 3 burner grill) to medium and turn off the second or third burner. Move the steaks to the indirect heat side of the grill and close the cover. Finish the cooking over indirect heat and use a thermometer to determine how long to leave the steak on the grill. For charcoal, move the steaks to the side of the grill without the coals underneath. For a pan on the stove, just lower the heat.

Grass-fed steaks are best cooked rare or medium rare. Even if you usually like your steaks cooked longer, do give less cooking a try – or cook them in a sauce at a lower temperature. Cooking at a high temperature for a long time will definitely produce a tough steak. I find the best way to tell when a steak is done is to use a good instant-read thermometer (inserted from the side) and the best setting for grass-fed beef steaks is 125 degrees F to 130 degrees F.

Recipes for the Grill

Steak Night 3

Ribeye Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter and Mushrooms

Makes 4-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 beef Ribeye Steaks, boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 12 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 medium Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (about 1-3/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt

Blue Cheese Butter:

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Combine garlic, thyme and pepper. Set aside.

Place steaks on the grill and cook according to the directions above. When you move the steaks to the indirect heat, sprinkle with the garlic mixture.

Brush mushrooms with oil and after you move the steaks to indirect heat, place the mushrooms on the grill over the direct heat side. Grill about 10 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine Blue Cheese Butter ingredients in small bowl until well blended.

Slice the grilled mushrooms. Arrange the steaks on a serving platter. Top each steak with a tablespoon of Blue Cheese Butter and slices of mushroom.

Steak Night 4

Strip Steak with Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce boneless beef top loin (strip) steak, cut about 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 thin asparagus spears, trimmed (6 oz.)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup low salt beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

Directions

Prepare steak as described above.

Place the asparagus in a shallow dish and drizzle with the oil.

For the sauce:

In a medium skillet stir together the broth, wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in mustard; keep warm.

Preheat the grill. Place steak on the grill rack and cook according to directions above. Grill until steak iscooked to your desired temperature.

Place the asparagus on the grill (gas – close the cover) for the last 2 to 3 minutes or for an uncovered grill (charcoal) the last 4 to 5 minutes of grilling. Cook asparagus until crisp-tender.

Spoon sauce on a serving plate. Cut steak in half crosswise. Serve steak halves atop sauce with asparagus on top. Makes 2 servings.

steak night 5

Grilled Grass-Fed T-Bone Steaks Florentine

2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 (3/4 to 1 inch) thick T-bone grass-fed beef steaks

Directions

Blend the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing cup and set aside. Prepare steaks according to directions above and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

Heat barbecue and cook steaks according to directions above.

When the steaks reach the desired temperature, remove them to a large plate with a rim.

Pour the reserved sauce over the steaks and let them rest for five minutes before slicing.

Recipes for the Stovetop

Steak Night 1

Sirloin Steak with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

You may use mixed bell peppers as a substitute for the mushrooms to change theflavor ot the recipe the next time you make it.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef sirloin steak
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions

Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat steak dry using paper towels. When oil is shimmering in the pan, add steak. Cook to desired degree of doneness (4 minutes per side for medium, more or less, depending on the thickness of steak is recommended). Remove steak from the skillet and keep warm on a serving platter.

Return skillet to heat. Add tomatoes, scallions and mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes (if skillet begins to look too dry, add a few tablespoons of water). Remove skillet from the heat. Stir in basil and pour mixture over the steaks.

Steak Night 2

Round Steak with Lemon, Capers and Green Onions

Cuts of beef from the round or hind leg section are less tender than the loin, sirloin or rib. They can, however, offer the best combination of texture and flavor for many steak lovers. The top round comes from the inside thigh portion of the round. Because these muscles are used less than the outer ones, they are more tender than other cuts from the round.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound top round steak cut into 4 slices
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley and lemon zest for garnish

Directions

Mix flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Pound steaks thin between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Dredge each steak in the  flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown steaks on each side 2 to 3 minutes, depending on desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from the pan, place on a serving platter and keep warm.

Without cleaning the pan, add green onions to the pan and cook briefly. Deglaze the  pan with the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil. Lower heat slightly and allow stock to reduce, about 5 minutes. Stir in capers and lemon juice and remove from heat.

Pour sauce over steaks and garnish with parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

What’s for dinner tonight? How about a casserole, chili, lasagna or meatloaf made with the ultimate dinner staple – ground beef. Ground beef has long been considered a meat-stretcher, easier on the wallet than full beef cuts. Perhaps for this reason, there are a lot of inventive ways to use ground beef other than for burgers, meatloaf and meatballs, including some interesting mock gourmet recipes.

Grocery stores carry a variety of ground beef options (sometimes also labeled as hamburger beef). Most stores label ground beef either with the percentage of fat it contains, the percentage of lean meat it contains or the lean/fat ratio. For example, beef that contains 20 percent fat would be listed as 20 percent fat, 80 percent lean or 80 percent/20 percent. Ground beef with a higher amount of fat costs less, swaying consumers into thinking that it is the more budget-friendly option. However, keep in mind that ground beef with a high amount of fat results in a lot of shrinking during the cooking process and less overall meat.

So what’s the best choice? There’s no right answer, but rather a trade-off between flavor and health. People concerned about their health will want to go with leaner meat, but they’ll be sacrificing some of the flavor. The general recommendation is using ground beef that is 85 percent lean/15 percent fat, which will bring plenty of beef flavor without being overly fatty or result in shrinking during cooking.

Ground beef may also be labeled based on the cut of beef from which it originated. The three most common cuts used for ground beef, ranging from leanest to fattiest, are round, sirloin and chuck. After purchasing ground beef, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; otherwise, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • Generally, the higher the cooking temperature, the greater the shrinkage, so cook ground beef at a moderate temperature rather than high heat. Overcooking will result in dry, tasteless meat as the juices evaporate.
  • To avoid ground beef sticking to your hands, dip your hands in cold water before handling the meat to make burgers or meatballs. Do not overhandle the meat when making patties. Keep a light touch and do not over-compact. There is nothing wrong with digging in with clean hands to mix seasonings into ground beef, but do not overdo it. The heat from your hands and the friction of mixing can break down those bits of fat that you want to preserve for a juicy result. Overworking ground beef can turn it into flavorless mush.
  • You can substitute ground veal, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey or sausage in most recipes for a different flavor. Since poultry has a milder flavor, when substituting ground poultry for ground beef, add slightly more seasoning than a recipe using beef . Because of the difference in texture, you may also need to decrease any added liquid by one to two tablespoons when using ground poultry.

Mediterranean Meatball Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground round
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow and/or red bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Parmesan cheese, garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, egg, half of the garlic, half of the rosemary and the black pepper. Add ground beef; mix well. Shape meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Place meatballs in a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until meatball centers register 160 degrees F. Set aside.

In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, peppers, onion and the remaining garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beef stock, the water, Great Northern beans, barley and the remaining rosemary. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until barley is tender.

Add meatballs to soup mixture; heat through. Stir in spinach just before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Polenta Lasagna

For the polenta:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Italian polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the lasagna:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef  of choice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups homemade or store bought spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

For the polenta:

Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in polenta in a steady stream. Continue whisking until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter and pepper. Keep warm.

For the meat sauce:

In a deep, heavy skillet, saute mushrooms in olive oil over high heat until they release their liquid and turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add the ground beef and onion to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Saute about 5 minutes, breaking up meat, until it is no longer pink. Add garlic and saute 1 additional minute. Add tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in mushrooms.

For the lasagna:

Coat a medium baking dish with vegetable spray. Spread half of the cooked polenta over the bottom of the dish. Spoon meat mixture evenly over polenta layer and finish off with the remaining polenta on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (The lasagna may be covered with foil and refrigerated up to 8 hours at this point. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and broil for 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Beef Stuffed Swiss Chard

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef of choice
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium onion chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
  • 2 minced garlic cloves, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 16 large Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add beef, half the onion, the bell pepper and 1 minced garlic clove. Saute just until meat loses it red color. Combine beef mixture with, bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Place two chard leaves together to form 8 piles. Divide beef mixture evenly on the lower half of each set of leaves. Fold the sides of the leaves over the beef mixture and tightly roll up the chard leaves into a cylinder. Place each roll, seam-side down, in the empty skillet. Pour in broth, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chard is tender, about 15 minutes. Pour off any remaining broth and reserve for another use.

Heat remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thickened.

Serve the chard rolls topped with sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Steak Burger with Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups reduced sodium beef broth, heated
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Buttered egg noodles, for serving

Directions

Gently mix together the beef, onion, sage, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands, divide meat into 4 equal portions and shape into oval patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Brown the patties, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, scraping up any browned bits. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, then whisk in the hot beef broth and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

Return the patties and any juices from the plate to the skillet. Simmer until the patties are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over noodles.

Mini Meatball Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef of choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound prepared Pizza Dough (whole wheat or regular)
  • 1 recipe Pizza Sauce, recipe below
  • 2 cups shredded provolone cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup thin strips yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thin strips red onion

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a large (14-15 inches) pizza pan and sprinkle lightly with semolina flour or cornmeal.

In a large bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, cheese, milk, oregano, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add ground beef; mix well. Shape into 1-inch meatballs.

In a large skillet cook meatballs in hot oil over medium-high heat until no longer pink (160 degrees F), turning to brown evenly. Drain on paper towels. Cool slightly; cut in half.

Place room temperature pizza dough in the prepared pan and press the dough to the edges of the pizza pan.

Top pizza dough with the pizza sauce and then the provolone cheese; then the meatballs, followed by the bell pepper and onion.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. To serve, cut into wedges.

Pizza Sauce

Makes 3/4 cup.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces canned crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

In a medium saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot olive oil over medium heat about 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, salt and red pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.


Cooking over an open fire is the oldest cooking technique known to man and it’s still one of the most universal. This popular style of cooking, with its smoky flavors and mouth watering aromas, offers endless opportunities to create a world of satisfying and delicious beef dishes.

Basic steps for successfully grilling some special cuts of beef.

Flank Steak

This lean, flavorful cut of beef can be tough and stringy if not cooked correctly. It is often marinated and should be cooked medium-rare. Slice flank steak into thin pieces across the grain to serve. Sometimes, London Broil, a thick cut from the top round or sirloin, is also called flank steak.

To grill flank steak:

Prepare grill for direct cooking.

Sprinkle both sides of the flank steak with salt and black pepper.

Place the steak on the grill.

Grill steak, covered, over medium-hot heat 10 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness is reached, turning halfway through the grilling time.

Use tongs to turn the steak. Piercing with a fork will release the juices.

Use tongs to transfer steak to a carving board. Thinly slice beef across grain, holding knife at 45-degree angle to cutting board.

Skirt Steaks

This long, thin cut has always been a Latin American favorite and is the traditional cut for fajitas. Like flank steak, it is lean and full of flavor. Skirt steak should be grilled over high heat to medium-rare and cut across the grain into thin slices.

To grill skirt steaks:

Flatten skirt steaks to tenderize and insure even cooking.

Place steaks between pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with the flat side of meat mallet to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut each steak in half. Marinate steaks, if desired.

Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking.

Brush steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks on preheated oiled grill.

Grill steaks,  uncovered, 6 inches from heat 3 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness is reached, turning once.

Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers

Made with 1 pound ground chuck, ground round or ground sirloin.

To grill hamburgers and cheeseburgers:

Prepare grill for direct cooking

Form seasoned ground beef into thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

Keep your burgers relatively thin so they cook evenly and quickly.

Place burgers on preheated oiled grill.

Grill burgers, covered, over medium high heat 8 to 10 minutes for medium or until desired doneness is reached, turning halfway through cooking time.

If you’re making cheeseburgers, place 1 slice of cheese on each burger to melt during last minute of grilling. If desired, place rolls, cut sides down, on grid to toast lightly during last 1 to 2 minutes of grilling.

Meat Loaf

Made with 2 lbs ground chuck, ground round or ground sirloin.

To grill meat loaf:

Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking.

Shape meat loaf mixture into an oval loaf 1-1/2 inches thick, about 9 inches long and 5 inches wide.

Shape the meat loaf on a cutting board or cookie sheet so you can carry it out to the grill.

Place loaf on preheated oiled grill.

Grill meat loaf, covered, over medium-hot heat 10 minutes.

Carefully turn meat loaf over using 2 large spatulas.

Brush meatloaf with BBQ sauce, if desired, and continue to grill, covered, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-well or until desired doneness is reached. Using an instant-read thermometer, insert it into center of the thickest part of the meat loaf and it should register 160 degrees F for medium-well. Let meat loaf stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Steak Kabobs

 Boneless top sirloin or beef tenderloin are the best cuts for kabobs.

To grill steak kabobs:

Cut steak into 1-1/4-inch pieces. Marinate, if desired, reserving some of the marinade to use as a basting sauce.

Prepare grill for direct cooking.

Drain beef, if marinated. Alternately thread beef pieces and choice of vegetables onto skewers. Use reserved marinade to baste kabobs.

Thread beef cubes on skewers with vegetables that will cook in approximately the same amount of time.

Place kabobs on preheatedoiled grill.

Grill kabobs, covered, over medium-hot heat 5 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade, if using; turn and brush again. Discard remaining marinade.

Continue to grill kabobs, covered, 5 to 7 minutes for medium or until desired doneness is reached.

Boneless Beef Roast

Some boneless beef roasts are naturally tender. Others, such as brisket, tri-tip and chuck need extra steps (marinating or sealing in foil) to make them tender. Long, slow smoking is often recommended for brisket.

To grill boneless beef roast:

Prepare barbecue grill for indirect grilling with a rectangular metal or foil drip pan placed under the grates on the indirect side of the grill.

Insert meat thermometer into the center of thickest part of roast.

Place roast, top side down, on grill directly over drip pan.

Grill roast, covered, over medium heat 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until thermometer registers 150 degrees F. for medium-rare or until desired doneness is reached.

Two tools that help make grilling a whole roast practically foolproof are a foil drip pan and a heatproof meat thermometer.

Transfer roast to a carving board; tent with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Tri-Tip Roast on the Grill 

The tri-tip roast holds its own as one of the most tasty and also under-appreciated cuts of beef. The term “tri-tip” is derived from the fact that the tri-tip roast is triangular-shaped and it is the tip of the sirloin. Up until the 1950′s, this very lean cut of beef was typically made into ground beef. If not sliced thin and against the grain, it can be quite chewy, so it was just easier to grind it into burgers. Our friends out in California are credited with changing all of that when the tri-tip itself became a local specialty in Santa Maria. It was so popular that the tri-tip roast is still occasionally labeled the “Santa Maria Steak”.  Since there are only 2 tri-tips on each steer, it actually is a little harder to come by in some supermarkets or areas of the country these days. Another sign that the tri-tip has come a long way since its ground meat days.

Use a simple rub and cook slowly over an indirect heat source for best results.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tri-tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine the rub ingredients together thoroughly and then rub a generous amount over all of the surfaces of the tri-tip.

Leave the rubbed-down roast on the counter at room temperature for about 45 minutes before cooking.

Light your grill and prepare for indirect grilling. This means lighting one side of the grill on high, while leaving the other side unlit. If you are using a charcoal grill, pile the coals to one side of the grill.

Once the grill is hot and ready, place the tri-tip roast on the hot side and sear for a few minutes on each side.

After you have seared all sides of the roast and have the color you like on the outside, move the tri-tip over to the cool side of the grill and then close the lid.

Each tri-tip roast and grill is different, so you really need to use a meat thermometer to make sure the roast is cooked to perfection. To most, that means medium-rare, or around 140 degrees. Remove the roast at 140 degrees, which will allow the temperature to rise about 5 degrees while it rests.

Remove it from the grill and let it rest on a platter for 10 minutes.

Slice the roast thin and against the grain for maximum tenderness.

Rotisserie Roast Beef

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 5 lb rump roast
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Gravy directions below

Directions:

Combine the seasoning ingredients and rub all over the rump roast.

Thread the roast beef onto the rotisserie, right down the middle and make sure you secure it with the forks so that the spit is locked into the rump roast.

Configure your grill’s rotisserie per the owner’s manual.

Make sure you place a pan under the roast to catch drippings,

Turn on the rotisserie motor.

After about an hour, check the internal temperature of your roast with a meat thermometer. As a reference point, a 4.5 pound rump roast takes about an hour and a half on a rotisserie.

Roast the rotisserie beef until the desired doneness (medium-rare is 140 degrees.) Remember that the roast will continue to cook for a little while once removed from the heat, so take it off about 5 degrees shy of your desired temperature.

Remove the rotisserie roast beef from the grill, place on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to rest for about 15 minutes.

While the roast is resting, make a rue using 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir in the roast beef drippings and 1 cup of beef broth Stir until thickened.

Carefully remove the rotisserie spit from the roast and slice thinly, against the grain, for maximum tenderness.

Beef Kabobs with Peppers and Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound top sirloin or beef tenderloin
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

If you are using bamboo skewers, start by submerging them in water using a dish or a paper towel to hold them underwater. Let them soak for 30 minutes. Use double skewers as it makes it easier to turn without having the ingredients spin on the skewer. You can use two bamboo skewers or double prong skewers.

Marinade

In a stainless or glass bowl large enough to hold the meat, add the wine, salt, sugar, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix the marinade. Optionally, you can marinate the veggies in Italian dressing. Cut the steak into 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Add the cubes to the marinade bowl. Let it rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator Then remove it from the refrigerator and let it come back to room temperature and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Skewer Kabobs

Cut the onion in half and then cut each half into quarters. Cut the peppers open and clean out the seeds. Cut them into 1 inch squares (or close to square as you can).

Alternate meat between onions and peppers, as they add great flavor to the meat while cooking. After assembling the kabobs, brush some oil on the skewered meat and veggies at this point, to keep them from sticking.

Prepare the grill

If using gas, heat the grill on high for 10 minutes prior to cooking. If cooking on coals, it is best to use natural hardwood charcoal. Add enough coals to cook over a high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Grilling

Place the kabobs on the hot grill directly over the flame or coals. Keep the lid open. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating 90 degrees every 4 minutes, until the meat is cooked to desired level of doneness. Remove the kabobs from the grill and let them rest for 3 or 4 minutes before serving.

Yogurt and Rosemary Marinated Grilled Beef

Serves 8

Marinade:

  • 1 6-ounce container fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds sirloin or round steak

Directions:

In a bowl, mix yogurt, buttermilk, garlic, rosemary, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Place steak into a large zip-close plastic bag. Pour marinade into bag and make sure it covers all the surfaces. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator 24 to 48 hours, turning the bag over from time to time.

Heat grill to high. Take the beef out of the refrigerator and remove from the marinade. Scrape the marinade off the roast and discard. Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then grill over high heat about 5 minutes each side. Lower heat and continue cooking, turning from time to time, until beef reaches desired degree of doneness. Let beef rest about 10 minutes, covered with foil. Slice across the grain and serve.

Barbecued Meat Loaf

Serves: 8 to 10

MEAT LOAF

  • 1¼ pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1¼ pounds ground beef (93% lean)
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

SAUCE

1/2 cup bottled or homemade barbecue sauce or make one of my recipes from the post: http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2013/05/14/a-bbq-sauce-for-every-occasion/

1/4 cup ketchup

Directions:

In a large bowl using your hands, gently combine the meat loaf ingredients.

Divide the meat loaf mixture in half and form into two loaves, each about 4 inches wide and 6 to 7 inches long. Place the loaves on a sheet pan.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (about 350°F).

In a small bowl mix the sauce ingredients. Set aside half of the sauce to serve with the meat loaf. Top each meat loaf with 3 tablespoons of the remaining sauce and coat thoroughly.

Brush the cooking grates clean and oil them.

Using a metal spatula, gently pick up each loaf from the sheet pan and place directly on the cooking grate.

Grill the meat loaves over indirect medium-low heat, with the lid closed, until a thermometer inserted horizontally through the top of each loaf registers 155°F, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the loaves from the grill and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Once removed from the grill, the loaves will continue to cook, allowing them to reach the recommended 165°F for ground beef.

Cut the loaves into thick slices and serve with the reserved sauce.

 


Best Beef Steaks For The Grill

Choosing the correct cut of meat is very important when grilling. Some of the best steaks for grilling are the premium cuts. Thickness of the steak is very important. Each cut should be between 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches thick. The strip steaks and top sirloin should be a little less expensive than the filet mignon, t-bone, porterhouse and rib eye.

Filet Mignon is a cut taken from the center of the beef tenderloin that has outstanding taste as well as texture. They’re the most tender steaks you can buy, though not the most beef flavor.

Also known as:

Tenderloin

Tournedos

Chateaubriand

Beef Medallion

New York Strip is an excellent cut for grilling. This is the steak that many grilling experts prefer.

Also know as:

Strip Loin

Shell Steak

Kansas City Strip

New York Strip Steak

Rib Eye is another classic cut that has marbling throughout the meat – making it one of the juiciest cuts as well as very tender.

Also know as:

Scotch Fillet

Delmonico Steak

Porterhouse is a very large steak that is actually a combination of two steaks: the New York strip on one side and a tender filet on the other. Many believe these to be the best of all steaks.

Also know as:

T-Bone

Short Loin

 

T-Bone is named for its distinguishing T-shaped bone. This choice cut is almost identical to a Porterhouse steak, only it doesn’t have as much of the tenderloin muscle in it. It is both a strip sirloin (with the bone) and a tender filet mignon.

Also known as:

Short Loin

Porterhouse

Club Steak

 

Top Sirloin is near the rump, so the meat’s a bit tougher than cuts from the loin or the rib. The top sirloin is a juicy cut taken from the center of the sirloin – the most tender part and is a great cut for grilling.

 

Flank steak has great beef flavor at a low price. However, it can be a little tricky to grill, because it is easy to overcook. Due to its low fat content and pronounced grain, it becomes tough and nearly inedible, if cooked past medium rare. First of all, make sure the meat is at room temperature. Placing cold meat on a hot grill will make it seize up, toughening it. Also, it will be more difficult to get the steak to cook evenly if the meat is cold in the center. Also, make sure the grill is hot – very hot. The key to keeping flank steak tender is to sear it quickly over high heat.

Rub flank steaks with a little olive oil, then salt and pepper both sides heavily. The salt will bring some of the meat’s juices to the surface and help to form the brown crust that is the hallmark of good grilling. You can also use a marinade.

Place the meat on the grill and do not move it for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes are up, turn the meat over and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the second side, again without moving the meat. Provided that your grill was hot enough, this should give you medium rare on the ends and rare in the middle. If you prefer it a little more done, increase the cooking time on each side to 4 minutes. Do not cook past medium rare, or the steak will be tough.

The last step is actually the most critical. When the meat is done, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When the meat has rested, determine the direction of the grain – in flank steak, the fibers run along the length of the steak, and you will want to cut across the grain, in thin slices. Cutting thinly across the grain gives you short fibers in each slice, resulting in more tender meat.

Cooking Perfect Steak: on the stove, in the oven or on the grill.

Pan-Searing Steaks:

In a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little so they don’t stick to the bottom, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Using this Pan-Searing technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to any sauce you are making).

Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.

Sear-Roasting Steaks:

Preheat oven to 500°F (a very hot oven produces a juicy interior). Place a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron skillet and place on range over high heat (the pan and the handle will be extremely hot – be careful).

Immediately place steaks in the middle of a hot, dry pan (if cooking more than one piece of meat, add the pieces carefully, so that they are not touching each other). Cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving; turn with tongs and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and put the cast iron skillet with the steaks in it into the oven. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and degree of doneness you like. Using the Sear-Roasting technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to your wine sauce). Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.

Grilling Steaks: 

Using dry heat from a grill is another great way to cook quality steaks. Remove steaks from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and wipe any excess marinade (if used) off the steaks.

When you are ready to grill, preheat the grill and coat the grates with oil or non-stick kitchen spray to keep the steaks from sticking to the grill. Place steaks on a hot grill. Only turn the steak once. Let it cook on one side, then let it finish on the other side.

Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the grill and let sit 15 minutes before serving (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven).

Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Fennel Sauce

A great way of presenting the meat to be served is to cut out the bone, slice both sides of the steak and then reassemble the steak on the plate in its original form.

3 to 4 servings

Fennel Sauce

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 (1/4-inch-thick) slice of lemon
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Vegetables

  • 3 bell peppers, red, orange, yellow or a mix, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large head radicchio, cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges, keeping root ends intact
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges, keeping root ends intact
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Fine sea salt

Steak

  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) Porterhouse steak (2 inches thick), at room temperature.

Directions:

FOR SAUCE: Cook fennel and lemon in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water; discard lemon. Transfer fennel to the bowl of a food processor; add 5 tablespoons of the cooking water, oil, chives, mustard and generous pinch salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl.

FOR VEGETABLES AND STEAK: Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium-high heat for gas. Grill vegetables, turning as needed, until slightly charred and tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and season with salt.

Grill steak, shifting meat every 30 seconds or so to avoid flare-ups and brown evenly, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and repeat procedure on second side. Using tongs, prop steak up and grill edges until browned. Grill sides of steak again, until meat is cooked to rare (about 120° on an instant-read thermometer inserted 1 1/2 inches into steak; meat will be cooler near the bone). Total cooking time will be 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice steak; serve with vegetables and sauce.

Steak with Herb Sauce

Sauce:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
  • 2 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons. packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon. packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh tarragon leaves

Steak:

  • Four (6- to 8-ounce) New York strip, porterhouse or T-bone steaks (about 1-inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Prepare Herb Sauce: Place garlic and next 7 ingredients (garlic through lemon juice) in a blender and pulse until emulsified. Add herbs a little at a time and blend until they are incorporated. Scrape down sides of blender jar as needed. The sauce should be thick and very green with the texture of pesto.

Prepare the grill and heat to medium high.

Prepare steak: Remove steak from refrigerator and let come to room temperature (about 1 hour). Pat dry with paper towels. Just before grilling, brush both sides of steaks with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place meat directly on the grill grate and cook over medium-high direct heat about 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking 5 minutes for medium rare. Cook longer for medium. Remove from grill to a clean platter and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Herb Sauce.

Grilled Mediterranean Steak

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb boneless beef top sirloin or rib eye, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed, chopped, fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • Sliced fresh tomatoes

Directions:

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Grease grill grates.

Rub both sides of each piece of beef with garlic; sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning.

Place beef on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 9 to 11 minutes, turning once, until beef is medium rare.

In small bowl, mix together spinach, feta and olives. Spoon over beef. Serve with sliced tomatoes on the side.

Sirloin Steaks with Barbaresco Glaze

You defrosted the steak and it is raining! Make this dish instead.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups Barbaresco wine
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 sage sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • Four 1/2-pound sirloin steaks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

In a 1-quart pot, bring Barbaresco wine to a boil with shallots, sage and rosemary. Reduce by half, about 15 minutes over medium heat; strain and discard the shallots, sage and rosemary.

Dredge sirloin steaks in the flour. Heat the olive oil in a 14″ skillet. Cook the steaks 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Add the Barbaresco reduction. Cook 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Remove the steaks to a platter; keep warm. Reduce the cooking juices until thickened to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Pour the glaze over the steaks and serve immediately.

Grilled Flank Steak with Zucchini and Tomato Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients:

Steak

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak (3/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Zucchini Tortini

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2/3 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

FOR THE STEAK: Combine fennel seeds, peppercorns and salt in a mortar and pestle or small processor. Grind to a fine powder. Place steak in a baking dish; rub on all sides with ground spices and oil. Marinate, chilled, 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare sauce.

FOR THE SAUCE: In a large saucepan combine bell pepper, tomato, onion, oil and pinch salt. Bring to a simmer. Gently simmer, covered, until vegetables are very soft, about 12 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, uncovered, 1 minute more. Process sauce with an immersion blender or in a processor, then transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium-high heat for gas. Remove marinated steak from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while you prepare zucchini.

FOR THE TORTINI: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 375  degrees F. and set rack in middle of the oven.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, garlic, parsley and a pinch salt; toss together to combine. Cook until zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes; remove from heat.

On prepared baking sheet, overlap enough of the zucchini to form 4 single-layered, 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon cheese. Repeat with remaining zucchini and cheese to form 4 (4-layered) tortini.

Grill steak 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board to rest. While steak is resting, bake tortini until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Transfer tortini to serving plates. Slice steak. Serve with tortini and sauce.


Now that the holiday dinners and festivities are over, it is time to get back to the normal routine. After all the rich food, it is time to eat more simply and more healthfully. After the hectic pace of the holiday season, it is time to move at a slower pace.

Now what about all those leftovers from the holidays in your refrigerator or freezer? What can you do with them that won’t be tons of work and, at the same time, healthy?

Instead of tossing those holiday leftovers to avoid more over-indulging, use them to your advantage. Here are some practical tips and recipes to help you reduce food waste and space out the calories.

Most foods will stay fresh for up to seven days, but if it looks or smells even a little funky, throw it out!

Leftover Tips:

Serve small portions of leftover turkey, roast beef or ham along with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for sandwiches, salads, wraps or a light main course.

Mix leftover veggies and seafood with small portions of pasta or brown rice.

Reduce portions of high calorie favorites by adding fresh or frozen vegetables to creamy soups, rich pastas or leftover mashed potatoes.

Combine herbs and roasted root vegetables along with a pinch of low fat cheese to make quesadillas, minis pizzas or omelets.

Toss leftover cookies in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse those gingerbread folks and sugary stars into tiny crumbs. Put them in ziplock bags and freeze for up to two months. Use the sugary mixtures to make a pie crusts, a base for bar cookies or toppings for cobblers.

You can pulverize candy canes and use the bits and peppermint dust to flavor ice cream treats for months to come. Sprinkle the candy mixture on top of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Cut the holiday ham or pork roast into small pieces or cubes and use to make quick frittatas or stir-fries. If a turkey or a beef roast was the centerpiece at your Christmas table, shred the leftover meat and add to your favorite chili mixture. Freeze in containers that hold from 4 to 6 cups, and you’ll have a quickie dinner to thaw and serve in January.

 

Recipes for Leftover Ham 

 Glazed Pineapple Baked Ham Recipe

Ham and Bean Soup

Serve with good rye bread and a salad for a quick weeknight meal.                                                                                                                                  

8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound fully cooked ham; cubed
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 16-oz cans Great Northern Beans; rinsed and; drained
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup potatoes; peeled, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots; diced
  • 3/4 cup celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley; minced

Directions:

In a 3 quart saucepan, saute ham, onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender.

Add the next seven ingredients; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add peas and cook for 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve.

Ham-Stuffed Jumbo Shells

8 Servings

1 Serving equals 3 stuffed shells (274 calories)                                                                   

Ingredients:

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or Wondra instant flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine flour and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the mushrooms, onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Reduce heat; add the ham, 1/2 cup Swiss cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved sauce. Drain pasta; stuff each shell with about 3 tablespoons of filing.

Place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350° F. for 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley, paprika and remaining Swiss cheese.

Vegetable and Ham Casserole                                                                                                     

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour or Wondra instant flour
  • 1-1/4 cups 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 2-1/4 cups frozen cauliflowerets, thawed
  • 1 cup cubed fully cooked lean ham
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray

Directions

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add cheeses; stir until melted.

Place vegetables in a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with ham. Pour sauce over ham. Place bread crumbs in a small bowl; spray with butter-flavored spray. Sprinkle around the edge of casserole.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Yield: 5 servings. 1 serving equals 227 calories

Recipes for Leftover Beef 

 Roast Beef Tenderloin with Port Sauce

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound leftover beef roast, tenderloin or steak                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour or Wondra instant flour, divided
  • ½ cup reduced sour cream
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Cooked egg noodles or rice, for serving

Directions:

Cut the meat in slices about 1/3 inch thick, then the slices into strips 2 1/4 inches long. You should have about 4 cups. Set aside.

Heat the broth in a small saucepan until hot.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms become tender and start to release their juices, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Add 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper and stir. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Add the hot broth and stir until smooth.

Add the beef to the pan, stir well, and warm just to a simmer, about 3 minutes. Stir the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour into the sour cream, add to the pan and season with salt to taste. Warm gently over low heat until hot, about 7 minutes. The sauce will thin a little; do not boil or the sour cream will break up. Spoon over the noodles. Serve with a green vegetable.

Leftover Roast Beef Italian Stew                                                                                                           

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Leftover roast beef, diced or shredded
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 -24 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 cup bottled whole mushrooms
  • 4 small Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 6 ounces pre-prepared sliced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Remove leftover roast and trimmings from refrigerator. Skim off all the visible saturated fat (hard white fat that rises to the top when chilled). Place roast beef on cutting board. Using a sieve, strain the liquids into a bowl, removing any solids and additional fat solids.

Chop onion and green pepper into 3/4-inch pieces. Dice beef into 1 1/2-inch pieces or shred the roast beef . Quarter the potatoes and slice carrots. In a dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat, saute onions in olive oil for 3 minutes, then add green pepper and saute for 3 minutes more.

Add beef, strained beef stock, diced tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, oregano, basil, celery salt, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if desired. Add whole mushrooms just long enough to heat through. Serve hot.

Note: If you have leftover potatoes, green beans, peas, or carrots, feel free to use those. Since they are already cooked, add those with the mushrooms just long enough to reheat.

Potato Beef Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups finely diced leftover roast beef                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour or Wondra instant flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes

Directions:

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened and lightly browned. Add beef and sauté for about 1 minute longer. Stir in the flour until blended. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and peas and carrots. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. If using leftover mashed potatoes, warm them in a saucepan with a little milk until softened. Spoon potatoes evenly over the beef layer and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until hot and bubbly. If desired, turn on the broiler to brown the top for just a minute or two, but watch carefully to prevent burning.

Recipes for Leftover Turkey

Turkey and Mushroom Risotto

4-6 Servings

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • 8 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups assorted fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup shredded leftover turkey meat
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent and just beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, and any liquid released has evaporated, 5-7 minutes.

Add rice; stir to coat. Add 1/2 cup warm broth and stir constantly until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock by 1/2-cupfuls, stirring constantly, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Add leftover turkey meat, stir to combine and to warm through, adding a little stock or water if necessary to keep mixture creamy, about 3 minutes.

Stir Parmesan into risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among warm bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 4.

Turkey Pasta Salad                                                                                                                                       

4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup cubed cooked turkey
  • 1 can (3.8 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat salad dressing

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a serving bowl, combine the pasta, turkey, olives, peppers and feta cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving

Pesto Turkey Club                                                                                                                             

1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons prepared pesto
  • 2 slices pumpernickel bread
  • 1 ounce sliced turkey
  • 1 slice turkey bacon, cooked
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices tomato

Directions:

Spread pesto on bread. Top 1 bread slice with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and remaining bread slice.

 


Christmas Lights in Saint Mark’s Square

Christmas is by far the most important holiday of the year in Italy—the festivities last from December 24th. through January 6th. Family gatherings are the most important part of the holiday. This is the time of year when families reunite from whatever corners of the world they may have scattered and it is around the table or, a tavola, that Italian families come together. These holidays allow parents and children, siblings and in-laws, friends and sweethearts—and sometimes a grandfather (nonno) or grandmother (nonna), or an old beloved aunt (zia)—the opportunity to see one another after long separations, spending significant time together over splendid food and drink.

Italian children write letters to Santa Claus or Father Christmas asking for presents and in Italy the main day for gift giving is the Epiphany. These presents are brought by La Befana, a kindly old witch, who fill children’s stockings in the night with sweets, “i dolciumi” if they have been good or with coal, “il carbone” if they have been bad. Santa Lucia brings the gifts in Venice and Mantova, while in other regions, it is the Baby Jesus or Gesu’ Bambino who brings the presents. The children also write to their parents to let know how much they love them. This letter is placed under their father’s plate and he reads it at the end of dinner.

Christmas Time, Little Italy, New York City

Among the traditions, customs and other rituals typical of the Christmas season are:

  • The main focus of decorations is the presepe, Nativity scene or creche. The churches have a presepe outdoors and traditional bonfires are assembled in the main square of town.
  • Ceppo known, as The Tree of Light, is a wooden frame with a pyramid shape; it is several feet high and supports many shelves or tiers. The ceppo has on the bottom a manger scene and on the shelves above are placed small gifts of fruit, candy and presents. It is also decorated with gilt pine cones, colored paper, little candles and pennants. At the top is placed a star or a small doll.
  • Urn of Fate: they are wrapped presents for each family member. If you get a present with your name on it, you keep it; otherwise, you try again.
  • Zampognari and Pifferai: Bagpipers and flute players dressed with traditional costumes entertain the people at religious shrines.
  • In the Vatican City, the people go to the square at noon on Christmas day to receive the Pope’s blessing; he appears at his balcony.
  • Another tradition is the burning of the Yule log, which must stay lit until New Year’s Day.
  • The cribs are usually handed down from generation to generation.

Christmas Dinner In Italy

Again it will almost certainly start with a selection of antipasti – perhaps including salami and Parma ham, and a glass or two of sparkling Prosecco. Then there will be a hearty filled pasta dish, such as agnolotti, ravioli or tortellini. Most families will follow this with a roast – often poultry, served with vegetables; others might have a local meaty speciality, such as a stuffed pig’s trotter. Although Italians don’t usually indulge much in desserts, at Christmas, most people will make an exception and follow the meat course with some panettone – a light but buttery sponge cake or other sweets. In some regions people might also have some pandolce, a heavy fruit cake with pine nuts.

The most significant meal of the Christmas Day is the lunch or il pranzo. In Italy the following  dishes are often served:

  • Lo zampone – the skin of the lower pig leg, including the toe little bones, filled with minced meat and sausages                                                                 
  • Il cotechino – pig’s foot stuffed with spiced minced meat 
  • Sausages
  • Turkey stuffed with chestnuts
  • Lamb is also enjoyed with mashed potatoes and lentils
  • Tortellini in chicken stock
  • Crostini with liver pâté

Desserts such as:

  • Torrone – Nougat
  • Il panettone – the Milanese fruit cake filled with candied fruit
  • Gold bread – the traditional cake
  • Il pandoro – similar to il panettone, only without fruits or raisins
  • Il panforte – Gingerbread with hazelnuts, honey and almonds

The traditional drinks are:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  • Vin brule – mulled wine
  • Bombardino – Italian version of eggnog
  • Punch of rum, mandarin and orange flavors

 Christmas Dinner Memories

When I was a child, Christmas was a very special time in our house. We all looked forward to this season: my parents, my grandparents, my maternal aunts and my siblings. It was a busy time shopping, wrapping presents, baking and decorating the house and the tree.

When Christmas arrived, we were up by 5 A.M. to open presents. After we had time with our new gifts, my father would take us to visit his relatives in Little Italy, while my mother started dinner preparations. My father had a large family so this took awhile. By the time we had wished my grandmother and all my father’s brothers and sisters, a Merry Christmas, it was time to head home. My mother never needed to make dessert for Christmas dinner, because after the rounds of visiting the relatives, we went home with a number of special homemade Christmas treats.

Struffoli

Zeppole

Anise Cookies

In fact, before the day was done we had more sweets than we could eat in a week. My mother’s father would come for dinner and he would always bring Italian pastries, ice cream and Hershey bars. What a day!

Dinner was held early in the afternoon and began with a typical antipasto of Italian meats, cheeses, olives and vegetables.

The next course was always Lasagna with little meatballs in the sauce. This was followed by a pork roast with roasted potatoes and a green salad. Lots to eat – and don’t forget those desserts!

Christmas Dinner At My House

Because several members of my family are vegetarians, I often serve vegetarian dishes alongside the non-vegetarian dishes.

Onion Soup

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1-26-ounce container Pomi tomatoes
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 slices of thick crusty bread
  • 6 slices of provolone cheese

 Directions:

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil and set on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and let sizzle for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn. Add the onion slices and sprinkle with the salt. Stir into the olive oil with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and slowly cook them for about 15 minutes – stirring frequently. The onions will reduce in size and begin to develop a light browned color.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and 4 cups of water. Stir in the onions. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes, letting the soup thicken a bit.

When ready to serve, toast or grill the bread and immediately top with the provolone cheese to melt a bit. Alternatively, you could toast the bread quickly under the broiler, then add the cheese and brown and melt the a bit. Add bread with cheese to the bottom of a serving bowl. Ladle the soup mixture over the bread

 

Beef Tenderloin

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Combine garlic, mustard and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in oil and process until the ingrdients are very finely chopped. Rub mixture over beef and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Transfer beef to baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake about 40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 135 F. for medium-rare. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

 

 

Gnocchi with Creamy Pesto

(dilute pesto sauce with a little half and half)

See recipe: http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/10/16/how-to-make-homemade-gnocchi/

 

 

Spinach Casserole

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 16 ounces organic baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups Sargento Italian six cheese blend

 Directions:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach (it may be necessary to do this in batches) and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach wilts. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, parsley, dill, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the spinach mixture and the Italian cheese, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and bake until the top has browned and set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Roasted Squash and Cauliflower

Dessert

Italian Cookies see post: http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/12/14/my-childrens-favorite-christmas-cookies-part-2/



dreamdiscoveritalia

Discovering Italia one trip at a time

From Alfredo's With Love

A passion for food in words, pictures and recipes...

CrandleCakes

Recipes, stories, tips, and other adventures from a culinary Texan.

Joe Gande's Blog

Music, Food, Family, Italy, Thoughts, Life...

Young and Hungry

delicious doesn't have to be difficult

Eating Well Diary

A vegetarian's notes on healthy cooking

Lovely Delight Bite

For delicious moments......Find out about my secret special treats for yourself, family and friends

Family Life Is More

Think Confidently. Love big. Perform well. Manage it all. Real-ly!

Mirror of Health & Natural Beauty

Where healthylicious tips create the healthy lifestyle

Poem and Dish

Poetry and Food Lover's site...

News Anchor to Homemaker

From deadlines...to diapers and delicious dishes

Piglove

Adventures of Bacon and Friends

Shivaay Delights

Sharing my passion for cooking and baking ♡

Dolly Rubiano Photography

Wellington-based food photographer. Blogs about her experiments in the kitchen and doesn't cook anything that has four legs.

Andrews' Family Cookery & Household Management

Households that create happiness, and Foods that celebrate life

Back Road Journal

Little treasures discovered while exploring the back roads of life

Tuscas värld

Smaker, dofter och gömställen kring Medelhavet

Eating My Feelings

Because food just makes life so much better.

LauraLovingLife

Lover of cooking ~ Wanting to share my adventures in the kitchen!

Il mondo di Macdelice

Il blog rosa di Maria Cavallaro

Good Food Everyday

From the heart of the Mediterranean ....

Culinary Adventures of The Twisted Chef T

Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours!

therapy bread

no, not just bread: crafting edible creations as a way to feed the spirit, body, friends and family <3

healthy.yogi.mama

Fitness, recipes and babies in NYC

The Good, the Bad and the Italian

food/films/families and more

SOLE Food Kitchen

SUSTAINABLE. ORGANIC. LOCAL. ETHICAL. THAT'S HOW WE ROLL.

vinicooksveg

Amazing & fun.........Indian cooking!!

What's Cooking

Fine dining my way

Like to cook? Like to eat? Be a part of the conversation.

Chocolate Spoon & The Camera

A clumsy newbie in the kitchen. Una principiante ai fornelli.

An eye for food

Food is to be admired as well as desired. It should speak to you visually and make you want to taste it!

mycookinglifebypatty

Adventures in Healthy Living

Things My Belly Likes

Where eating to live and living to eat are not mutually exclusive

Our Growing Paynes

A journey about gardening, cooking, and knitting.

gotta get baked

musings of a baking fiend

thewhitedish

Just another WordPress.com site

on the road with Animalcouriers

pet transport through Europe and beyond

jittery cook

recipes worth sharing

soulofspice

delicious nourishing energizing spice

pattytmitchell

site for Patricia Mitchell, author

Something Sweet Something Savoury

Family friendly recipes from a chaotic kitchen

Simply Sophisticated Cooking

Effortless home cooking recipes, tips and methods for busy lives to encourage fine eating in instead of out.

FARMINISTA'S FEAST with Karen Pavone

Farm to Table Adventures in California's Beautiful North Bay

Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures www.wendiedonabie.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,462 other followers

%d bloggers like this: