Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fennel (seeds and ground) - Margaret Ullrich

Okay...  Fennel ain't famous.
But, it's still good.

And you've probably been enjoying it already.
Really.

Do you like sweet Italian sausages?
Surprise!
You can thank fennel for that.

You can also turn plain sausage meat into sweet Italian sausages by working in 
fennel seeds and sage and refrigerating the sausages overnight before cooking.


Wondering what else you can do with the seeds?
Add a few to a hearty fish soup.
Homemade or canned.
Perfect for Lent.

Stir some fennel into bread dough or sprinkle a few on top of loaves before baking.
Add fennel seeds, peppercorns and thyme to a marinade for olives and carrot slices.


Bought ground fennel?
Great!!
Sprinkle some lightly over a sausage pizza for a bit of a zing.
Stir a half teaspoon of ground fennel into coffeecake batter.
Mix some into bread crumbs to coat fish before pan frying.
Add a pinch to eggs or fish sauces.

Fish...  Eggs...
Just call Fennel Lent's best pal!

Don't forget that you can easily grind Fennel seeds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Anna Sultana's Easy Homemade Hot Cross Buns

One a penny, two a penny... hot cross buns...
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.

Yeah, right.  Try getting 2 buns for a penny. 
Even when they are on sale.
As they are now, now that Lent is here. 

Okay, these will cost more than a penny to make, but they are cheaper than 
store-bought, and you can serve them fresh and warm from the oven.

And the recipe includes cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Allspice can add a kick, too.
If you've found that you like one spice more than another, adjust.


Hey, Lent isn't just about depriving yourself.


                        Easy Hot Cross Buns
          
grease a large cookie pan         
preheat oven to 400º           
bake 25 minutes 

Combine
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 Cup warm water
Let sit 10 minutes.

Stir in
2 Cups warm water
4 Tablespoons margarine
2/3 Cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat in
4 eggs
1 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup currants
1/2 Cup diced citron
8 - 9 Cups flour
Knead dough on a floured board 15 minutes. 
Place in a greased bowl, cover, let rise 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and divide evenly into 24 balls.
Shape into buns and place on prepared pan.
Cut a shallow cross on top.

Combine 
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Brush buns with egg mixture.
Let rise 35 minutes.
Bake 25 minutes.
Cool 15 minutes.

While the buns are cooling, combine for icing cross
1 Cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
enough water to make a firm frosting
Spoon icing in cross grooves on the buns.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday / A New Start - Margaret Ullrich

Ash Wednesday.  The start of Lent.
Don't worry.  I'm not trying to convert you.
We Catholics aren't exactly the most assertive bunch.

Who could forget Father Mulcahey on the TV show M*A*S*H?
Remember how on one show he was trying to comfort a young soldier, 
who then admitted that he wasn't Catholic?
The best Mulcahey could muster was a shy, "Would you like to be?"
And how about when Ned Beatty went into a stirring Holy Roller rant?
He nearly converted Mulcahey.
Hell, Beatty nearly converted me.


Back to Ash Wednesday...
The moon is in the New Moon Phase.
The New Moon is the time for new beginnings.

The Chinese New Year happens at a New Moon.
The Hindu holiday Diwali happens at a New Moon.

See, I told you this isn't just a Catholic thing.


Got a few New Year's resolutions that got neglected?
Take advantage of the New Moon's energy.
Give those resolutions another chance.
At least for another 6 weeks.
More or less.

Sure you can!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Apple Cobbler & Apple Crisp (also Rhubarb and Peach Variations) - Margaret Ullrich

Who couldn't use a few more apple recipes?

By the way, these recipes also work with other fruit.
I added the rhubarb and peach variations after the basic recipe.

Enjoy!


                        Apple Cobbler

9 x 13" pan
Preheat oven to 375º
Bake 25 minutes

Combine in a large pot
6 apples, cored and sliced                  
1/2 Cup sugar (more or less)             
2 teaspoons cinnamon                       
1 Tablespoon lemon juice                    
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 Cups water                              

While stirring, bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer 8 minutes.
Pour into the 9 x 13 pan.

While the fruit is cooking, prepare 

TOPPING

In a large bowl combine
1 1/4 Cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder               
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut in
1/3 cup oil                                        

Mix together
1 egg                                               
1/2 cup milk                                     
Add to dry ingredients all at once.
Drop dough on hot fruit.

Sprinkle on topping
cinnamon sugar 
Bake.
Serve warm.

----
Rhubarb Cobbler
6 Cups diced rhubarb (or mix rhubarb with strawberries or raisins)
1 Cup sugar (more or less)
1/2 cup water

Peach Cobbler
6 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

********

                        Apple Crisp

Grease a  9 x 13" pan
Preheat oven to 375º
Bake 40 minutes

Arrange in pan
12 apples, cored and sliced 


In a large bowl combine 
2/3 Cup margarine
2 Cups packed brown sugar          
1 1/3 Cups flour                           
1 teaspoon cinnamon                   
Rub together to form coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle on fruit.  
Bake.
Serve warm.

If you prefer it more crunchy, some oatmeal can replace 
some of the flour.

----
Rhubarb Crisp
8 cups diced rhubarb (or mix rhubarb with strawberries or raisins)
1/3 Cup sugar (more or less)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Peach Crisp
12 peaches, pitted and sliced

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spicy Apple Oatmeal Cookies - Margaret Ullrich





Apples are on sale this month.
So buy a big bag... or two.

Don't worry about finishing them off at one sitting.
They're great in all sorts of desserts.
Including cookies!

Hope you bought some allspice, too.



                        Spicy Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Grease 2   9" x 13" pan
Preheat oven to 350º
Bake 45 minutes

In a medium bowl combine
2 Cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large mixer bowl combine
1 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
Add
1 Cup dark butter or margarine
Cream together.
Beat in
4 large eggs
Add
the flour/spice mixture
2 Cups chopped apples
1 1/2 Cups oats
1 Cup raisins

Spread in prepared pan.
Bake.
Let cool  5 minutes in the pans.
Cut into 2" x 3" bars.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples - Margaret Ullrich

One of my favorite movies is Mr. Mom.

Remember the scene where Michael Keaton went to get a few groceries?
Ham and cheese.
What could be simpler?
So he thought.

Remember the varieties that were rattled off at him in the deli section?
The poor guy didn't know what had hit him.
Michael really thought there was only one kind of cheese.
And only one kind of ham.


Well, there's a world of choices out there.
In the deli section.
And in the produce section.

Welcome to apples.
Don't panic.
Try a couple of varieties at a time.
They're all good.


Here's a quick quide to get you started:
Ambrosia - aromatic, sweet
Braeburn - tart, spicy
Cortland - mild, sweet
Fuji - juicy, sweet
Granny Smith - tart, tangy
Honeycrisp - crisp, juicy
Jonagold - snappy, sweet
MacIntosh - tangy, classic
Pink Lady - tangy, crisp

And they all keep the doctor away!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Allspice (whole berry or ground) - Margaret Ullrich

Allspice!  
A spice for all seasonings!

Just so you know... allspice is not a blend.
It's a fruit.
Just like a berry.
Really.

In 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered allspice in the West Indies.
It's the berry of the West Indian tree Pimenta dioica of the myrtle family.
Lucky for us.

It looks like a dark peppercorn.
It has a mildly pungent flavor.
And it goes with just about everything.


Whole allspice is a handy thing to have...
  Add 2 or 3 to the peppercorns in your peppermill for extra flavor.
  Drop 1 or 2 along with a strip of orange peel to hot tea.
  Add 6, more or less, to the pot when making soup stock.

The addition of a few allspice berries will give a flavor boost to pickling liquids, marinades, meat gravies and poaching liquid for fish.


Speaking of pickling...
If you don't want to buy bags of spices, buy a bag of pickling spices.
A few favorites are in there, including allspice.
So, if you want to have an assortment of spices, get pickled.


If you've bought a bag of whole allspice, you can have the best of both worlds.
As explained earlier, allspice can be ground in a pepper mill (or blender) 
or bruised by crushing in a pestle to release the flavor.


And the joys of ground allspice...
  Add a pinch to cherry pie filling.
  Stir into creamed or buttered spinach.
  Add to tomato sauces.
  Add to chocolate cake and puddings, as well as hot chocolate.
  Add to other baked goods, especially fruit cakes, pies and puddings.
  Sprinkle on beets, squash or other yellow vegetables.
  Add a dash to chili or tomato sauce, and to green tomato pickles.
  Allspice complements the flavor of lamb and adds a flavor touch to meat casseroles.


Allspice is quite assertive, so use it cautiously.
But do use it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Easy Stewed Chili Chicken - Margaret Ullrich

Got an e mail asking for another quicky chicken recipe.
No problem.

This recipe uses chili seasoning.
Which you've just made.
With the red pepper.

Kismet or what?


Variations:
If you want to make this a one pot meal, add a few peeled and sliced carrots 
to the pot while the chicken is simmering.
A few quartered potatoes can also be added, if you don't want rice.
You might also want to add a little more liquid.


                        Easy Stewed Chili Chicken

In a dutch oven combine
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili seasoning
1 Tablespoon dry minced garlic (or 1 clove, minced)

Place in the seasonings in the dutch oven
3 pounds cut up chicken
2 onions, quartered
Stir the chicken and onion around to coat with the seasonings.
Marinate 1 hour.

Add
1/2 Cup chicken broth or water
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Serve with hot cooked rice and some veggies.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Fudge Cake - Margaret Ullrich

Carmela Soprano's Baci Cake is sure popular.
Especially around holidays.

Since the recipe was posted on January 8, 2011, it's had over 300 hits.

But, it is a bit of a hassle to make.
Here's a simpler recipe.
It's your Valentine's Day, too.
And you have way better things to do than make a cake.

Well, I sure hope you do.


                        Fudge Cake

grease 
13 x 9 x 2 inch pan
        
preheat oven to 375º           
bake 50 minutes

Put in heatproof bowl
8 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 Cups milk
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 Cup margarine
Place over simmering water, uncovered, until softened.
Stir until chocolate is melted.
Remove from heat and let cool.

Sift together
2 1/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a medium bowl, beat until stiff
4 egg whites

In a large bowl, beat
4 egg yolks
Gradually add the chocolate mixture.
Stir in the dry ingredients, blending thoroughly.
Fold egg whites into the cake batter until no streaks of white remain.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake.  Cool 10 minutes.
Turn out and cool completely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Easy Chicken Paprikash and Homemade Spatzle - Margaret Ullrich

When you're right, you're right.
That recipe for Chicken Paprikash and Spatzle is a hassle.
Not the best thing for a weeknight dinner.
Especially when you have to help the kids with a project that's due tomorrow.


This recipe is quicker.
Not quite as good as the other recipe.
Well, what quickie ever is?

But, if you're in a rush, it'll do jusy fine.
Life's too short to stress out over a chicken dinner.
Who knows?
Your family might even prefer this version.


                        Easy Chicken Paprikash 

Chicken Paprikash 

Rub
3 pounds cut up chicken
With a mixture of 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

In a dutch oven heat
3 Tablespoons oil
Brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time.
Set the chicken aside.
Pour off excess fat.

In the remaining fat, cook a few minutes
1/4 Cup chopped onion
Add
1/2 Cup chicken broth or water
Heat to boiling.
Add the cooked chicken.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Cover and simmer 1/2 hour.
Remove the chicken and place on a platter.

Stir into the liquid in the pot 
3/4 Cup sour cream
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Serve with rice, noodles or spatzle.


Spatzle

While the chicken is simmering, bring to a boil
2 Quarts water
2 teaspoons salt

In a medium bowl combine
2 1/3 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Combine
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Cup water
Add flour/salt mixture
Stir until smooth.

Drop by half teaspoonfuls into boiling salted water.
Do not crowd.
After noodles rise, boil gently 5 - 8 minutes.
Remove noodles with slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.

Toss the spatzle with 
1/4 Cup butter (or margarine)


As with the other recipe, the chicken can be prepared in advance and reheated.
Green beans or broccoli go well with the chicken and sauce, too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crushed Red Pepper / Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix and Taco Seasoning Mix - Margaret Ullrich

I know how it is.
You're in a rush.
They're both red and they looked the same.
Some twit had put a bag in the wrong place.


Got an email asking if crushed dried red pepper can be used in place of paprika.
Ah... not really.

Paprika is ground from dried sweet red peppers.  
Crushed dried red pepper is made from hot red peppers.
Paprika is milder than crushed dried red pepper.
Trust me.


If you want to substitute red pepper for paprika, you can.
It'll just have more of a kick and be a little different.
Maybe not the best thing as a garnish for that fussy preschool eater.
Or if the guests expect the chicken paprikash to taste a certain way.


Don't panic and think you have to return the bag of red pepper to the store.
Crushed dried red pepper is very useful, too.
Especially with the older kids.
Especially if they like chili or tacos.


Whip these blends up at home and save a few bucks.
If the gang likes it hot, add some more crushed dried red pepper.


Chili Seasoning Mix

2 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons dry minced onion
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Makes 1/2 Cup


Taco Seasoning Mix

1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 teaspoons dry minced onion 
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Makes 1/2 Cup

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Paprikash and Homemade Spatzle - Margaret Ullrich

You're absolutely right.
I shouldn't have posted about Paprika without including a recipe.

Sorry.
Here's a nice chicken recipe.

Like the Beef Stew, you have to start this a couple of hours before you need it.
But, it's an easy recipe.
And the stove does most of the work.

You just can't throw Chicken Paprikash together at the last minute.


Hint:
Brown the chicken a few pieces at a time.
If you want Spatzle with less salt and more egg, use the German recipe.


Try Chicken Paprikash.
It's worth the wait.


                        Chicken Paprikash and Spatzle

Chicken Paprikash

Cut up
1 chicken

Combine in a bag or large pot
3/4 Cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
Coat the chicken parts 
(If the flour mixture is in a bag, shake the parts in the bag.)


In a dutch oven cook slowly
8 slices bacon
Add
1/4 Cup finely chopped onion
Cook until golden.
Remove bacon and onion from the pot.
Increase heat.
Brown chicken, skin side first.
Lower heat.
Place all of the chicken in the dutch oven.
Add
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
Cover pot.  Simmer 30 minutes.


While the chicken is simmering,
in a large saucepan heat
2 Tablespoons oil
Blend in
2 Tablespoons flour
Heat, stirring, until bubbles form.
Remove from heat.
Stir in
1 Cup chicken broth
Return to heat.  Stirring, bring to a boil.
Cook 2 minutes longer.

Add gradually
2/3 Cup milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
When heated, remove from heat.

Add gradually
1 1/2 Cups sour cream
Mix in the precooked bacon and onion.
Pour sauce over the chicken.
Cook over low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Cover tightly. Turn off the heat.
Let stand 1 hour (occasionally spoon the sauce over the chicken).
Reheat the chicken before serving.


Spatzle

While the chicken is standing, bring to a boil
2 Quarts water
2 teaspoons salt

In a medium bowl combine
2 1/3 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Combine
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Cup water
Add flour/salt mixture
Stir until smooth.

Drop by half teaspoonfuls into boiling salted water.
Do not crowd.
After noodles rise, boil gently 5 - 8 minutes.
Remove noodles with slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.

Toss the spatzle with 
1/4 Cup butter (or margarine)


The chicken can be prepared in advance and reheated when you make the spatzle.
Green beans or broccoli go well with the chicken.

Enjoy the paprika!! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anna Sultana's Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs, Maltese Style


What is it with Carmela's recipes?
I'm thinking about her Sunday Gravy / Tomato Sauce.
Don't get me wrong.
Her recipes are good.

But, if you have to watch what you eat - or are on a budget - her recipes sure can give you and your wallet ajita.
Ma's recipes are a bit easier.
And healthier.
And cheaper.
Much better recipes for when you're paying off the holiday bills.


Like I said before, Ma wasn't working at Lily Tulip because she thought it was 
a fun thing to do.


Small notes: 
If you like your meatballs with a bit of a crispy surface, sear them under the broiler 
at high heat for a few minutes, stirring them to crisp all sides, before adding them 
to the sauce.
If you like a sauce with a meatier flavor, add the meat drippings to the sauce.


                        Tomato Sauce

Makes about 4 - 5 cups

The Sauce

Chop (if they're whole tomatoes)
One 28- to 35-ounce can Italian tomatoes

Heat in a large heavy pot over medium heat
 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add
 1 medium onion, minced
 1 garlic clove, minced
Fry a few minutes until golden.

Stir in
 1 small can tomato paste (optional)
 1 Cup water
 1 bay leaf
 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
 1/2 teaspoon pepper
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 Tablespoon sugar
  the canned tomatoes
Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. 
If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.


While the sauce is simmering, make 
The Meatballs

Combine in a large bowl
 1 pound ground beef or a combination of beef and pork
 1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
 1 large egg, beaten
 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Mix together thoroughly.
Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 1-inch balls.

Heat in a large heavy skillet
 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides.

After the sauce has simmered for an hour, 
add the meatballs and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaf.

Serve the sauce and meatballs with 
your favorite pasta, cooked and still hot.

Sprinkle with

Heart Smart Eating

February is Heart Month.

Here are some tips from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  

Please check out the recipes!

Be well!!

Top 10 tips for heart-smart eatingBy Cara Rosenbloom, RD

Choosing better-for-you foods and using heart-smart cooking techniques can help you control risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. Here are 10 ways to be good to your heart. 
  1. Cook heart-smart. Choose cooking methods that use less salt and calorie-laden fat. Steam, bake, broil or grill instead of frying. Reduce salt by avoiding bouillon or salty broth (use water instead); add lots of herbs and spices to enhance flavour.
    TRY: Making your own salad dressing and sauces.
  2. Choose whole grains. The fibre in whole grains like oats, quinoa, whole wheat and barley can help lower blood pressure. People who eat more whole grains have a 29 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who don’t. Aim for 3-4 servings each day. 
    TRYNo-stir barley risotto.
  3. Nix trans fat. Linked to clogged arteries and high cholesterol, trans fat is a no-no for happy hearts. Even a small amount is harmful. While the use of hydrogenated oil with trans fat has declined, it may still be found in some cookies, crackers and baked goods.
    TRY: Reading Nutrition Facts labels and only choosing items with no trans fat.
  4. Control your portions. The amount we eat has increased over the past two decades. Choosing smaller portions can help limit calorie intake, which helps with weight control; being overweight is linked with heart disease.
    TRY: Using smaller plates and bowls.
  5. Cut back on sodium. More than 70% of Canadian adults exceed their upper limit of 2,300 mg of sodium per day, which raises the risk of high blood pressure. And more than three-quarters of that sodium comes from packaged foods.
    TRY: Cooking from scratch more often and comparing Nutrition Facts panels to choose products with less sodium.
  6. Max out vegetables and fruit. With their heart-healthy combo of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, getting at least six daily servings of vegetables and fruit is a winning idea. 
    TRY: Starting meals with salad, snacking on fruit, and filling half your plate with vegetable side dishes. 
  7. Eat more beans. Legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are high in cholesterol-lowering fibre. 
    TRY: Adding chickpeas or navy beans to salad, pasta and soup; throwing some in a blender with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice for homemade hummus; having edamame as an appetizer.
    TRYRed beans and rice or Baked chickpea patties.
  8. Cook from scratch. When you control what goes into your food, you can cook with less salt, sugar and fat, and add more vegetables and whole grains. 
    TRYHeart and Stroke Foundation recipes to get started.
  9. Drink skim milk: Since getting two or three daily servings of low fat dairy products can help reduce blood pressure levels, it’s important to have milk and yogurt in your diet. 
    TRY: Sticking with low-fat options such as skim or 1% milk and yogurt.
  10. Enjoy fish more often: The healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fat found in fish may help decrease blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which helps lower heart disease risk. Aim for 2-3 servings (75 g) of omega-3-rich salmon, tuna, trout, sardines or mackerel each week. 
    TRY: Enjoying salmon or tuna sandwiches or sushi, or Orange glazed salmon.
Posted: February 2012 

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Carmela Soprano's Sunday Gravy (Tomato Sauce with Meat) and Homemade Meatballs


    Okay... it's February.
    The holiday bills have been coming in.
    And they're doozies.
    Oh, well, Christmas comes but once a year.
    Yeah, I know, that doesn't help.


    Unfortunately, the gang wants to eat real dinners.

    Recently Safeway had a sale on pasta.
    Guess even store manager got their holiday bills.


    Whether it’s Sunday dinner at Tony’s house or at Artie Bucco’s Nuovo Vesuvio restaurant, food was definitely a central part of The Sopranos.

    The Sopranos Family Cookbook, by Artie Buco, has a recipe for Tomato Sauce.
    Okay... he called it Sunday Gravy.
    Right. 
    Whatever.

    I'm sure he gave Carmela the recipe.
    And Tony called it whatever he wanted.


    Small notes: 
    If you're making meatballs for lasagne or baked ziti, shape the meat into tiny balls.
    Artie suggested shells or rigatoni.
    Don't panic.


                            Tomato Sauce

    Makes about 8 cups

    The Sauce

    Puree or chop
    Three 28- to 35-ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes

    Heat in a large heavy pot over medium heat
     2 Tablespoons olive oil
    Pat dry and put into the pot
     1 pound meaty pork neck bones or spareribs
    Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. 
    Transfer to a plate.

    Brown in the same way and add to the plate
     1 pound veal stew meat or 2 veal shoulder chops
     1 pound Italian-style plain or fennel pork sausages
    Drain off most of the fat from the pot. 

    Add 
     4 garlic cloves
    Cook for about two minutes or until golden. 
    Remove and discard the garlic.

    Stir in and cook for 1 minute
     1/4 Cup tomato paste
    Add the canned tomatoes

    Add 
     2 Cups water
     Salt and freshly ground pepper
     6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

    Add the pork, veal, and sausages and bring the sauce to a simmer. 
    Partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. 
    If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.


    While the sauce is simmering, make 
    The Meatballs

    Combine in a large bowl
     1 pound ground beef or a combination of beef and pork
     1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
     2 large eggs
     1 teaspoon of very finely minced garlic
     1/2 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
     2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
     1 teaspoon salt
     Freshly ground pepper
    Mix together thoroughly.

    Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2-inch balls.

    Heat in a large heavy skillet
     2 Tablespoons olive oil
    Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides.
    Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

    After the sauce has simmered for two hours, 
    add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes.


    To serve, remove the meat from the sauce and set aside.
    Toss with the sauce
     1 pound shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot

    Sprinkle with
     Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

    Serve the meats as a second course, or reserve them for another day.