Ciao, everyone!

We are busy getting ready for the Christmas Celebration at Grandma Rotolo’s!  We are arriving at her house on Christmas Eve, so The Chef had to get dinner “started” and frozen so that we could celebrate in the only way that we know how….antipasto (not frozen, of course) and Chicken Cacciatore with none other than Marie’s Tomato Sauce and Meatballs!  There’s absolutely no other way to do it in our family!  And since Marie Rotolo’s (my mom) sauce and meatball recipes are delicious and oh-so-simple to make, we decided to share them with you.  You will not be disappointed!

tomato sauce cans

Marie’s Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped, undrained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can of tomato Sauce
  • 3 (6-ounce) cans of tomato paste

Directions:

1. In a 8-quart cast-iron pan, heat oil over medium heat and add the garlic.  Sauté for a couple minutes stirring with a wooden spoon and then remove the pan from the heat.  Don’t burn the garlic!

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.  Add a can full of warm water for each can of tomato products added.  Stir with wooden spoon to mix well.

3.  Add meat balls (see Marie’s Meatball recipe), sausage or pork chops; as desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Heat the sauce until it boils, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from burning. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer 60 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

meat for sauce2

Marie’s Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Italian Style Breadcrumbs (as needed)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, salt and pepper with your hands.  Add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and mix.  The mix will likely be very moist, so you should add more breadcrumbs until the meat can be formed into balls.  If too many breadcumbs are added, add warm water until the correct consistency is achieved.
  2. Form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.  Then place them in a cast iron skillet that has been coated with oil.  Continue until the skillet is full.
  3. Place the skillet on the burner and heat the meatballs over medium heat. Use tongs to turn the meatballs until they are browned on all sides. They do not have to be completely cooked if you are going to finish them in tomato sauce (see Marie’s Sauce above).

OPTION: Ground Turkey tastes terrific too!

OH, and add some pork to the sauce, too!  Adds such a nice flavor.

Mmmm, I’m am so looking forward to enjoying this feast on Christmas Day.  I hope you’ll give it a try some day soon and let us know what you think.  I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed!

Sauce and meat2

A presto!

Katherine and The Chef

Savory Vegetable Soup

Savory Vegetable Soup

Ciao, everyone!

Brrrrr!  Winter is rearing its head and I am shivering to prove it!  I’ve never been a cold-weather person so, needless to say, Summer is my favorite month.

Fortunately for me, however, The Chef loves to brew up the most heart and body warming soups!  This week it was Savory Vegetable Soup!  Yum certainly is the operative word here.  Here is his take on it:

“If you are looking for an easy to make soup that will warm you up on these cold nights, try this recipe. Serve with a side salad and crusty homemade bread.”

Savory Vegetable Soup

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 quarts of chicken stock or canned broth

¼ cup of Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of sea salt

3 medium onions, chopped

2 large carrots, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, minced

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, minced

1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Just add salad!

Just add salad!

Directions:

1. In a large sauté pan or Dutch Oven, heat the oil.  Then add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.

2. Add the parsley, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and cook for another minute.

3. Add the chicken stock or broth and bring the soup to a boil.  Then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Finish with grated cheese.

Options:

1.  Add a can of drained cannellini or kidney beans when you add the broth.

2. Add 5 cups of tomato juice with chicken broth for a tomato soup that serves 6.

Ahhh, yes, the ultimate warm-me-upper!  Give it a try and shake off the shivers on a brisk, wintery night.  Let us know what you think!

A presto!

Katherine and The Chef