Thursday, November 29, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Rigatoni with Sweet Sausage and Tomato Sauce

It's been a long time since I posted one of Carmela's recipes.
So, without further delay...

Back to Carmela's Feeding My Family in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

Ah... Rigatoni with Sweet Sausage and Tomato Sauce
It's a nice, basic family recipe.
And it uses up some of those sausages you bought on sale and froze.

Italians regard pasta the way they regard wine.
A light wine with a delicate fish.
A robust one with a more substantial meal.
Rigatoni is a large elbow macaroni, cut in 3 inch lengths.
That's a fair sized chunk of starch.
It can hold its own with the meat sauce.

But, if you don't have rigatoni, or prefer spaghetti, no problem.
Some folks do prefer a dry white wine with roast beef.
And there's nothing wrong with that, either.

Carmela seems to have ready access to fresh basil leaves.
Maybe she has a little greenhouse.
Or a pot or two on her window sill.
If you don't have either, a tablespoon of dried basil should do the trick.
Or more or less.
You know your family better than Carmela does, right?

And next time they're on sale, buy those Italian sausages.
They do freeze well.

Carmela chops the meat fine.
If you find the meat too chunky, chop it.
But, don't forget the meat will cook down a bit when it's simmered a while.
So, I wouldn't bother.

She also passed the tomatoes through a food mill.
If you'd rather chop or whir in a blender, I won't tell.
Suit yourself on Romano or Parmesan, too.
It is your dinner, after all.

                        Rigatoni with Sweet Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

1 pound Italian-style pork sausages
Remove the meat from the casings.

Into a large pot pour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat over medium heat.

the pork from the sausages
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is lightly browned.

1/2 Cup dry white wine
Simmer until most of the wine evaporates (about 10 minutes).

Stir in
1 28 to 35 ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens (about 75 minutes).
Stir in 
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits


In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound rigatoni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta.
In a large heated serving bowl, combine the rigatoni with the sauce.

Serve with
1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese 

Would I make Rigatoni with Sweet Sausage and Tomato Sauce again?
It's a nice hearty meal, perfect for winter.
And I have lots of sausages in my freezer.

One recipe down.  Seventy-three more to go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Haystacks, an Easy Chocolate Snack - Margaret Ullrich

Got an e mail... 
But, who needs a half package of cream cheese?

The kids are sooo beyond cream cheese and jelly sandwiches.
The adults, watching their fat intake, are not about to schmear it on toast.
So, what to do with half a package of cream cheese?

No problem.

The holiday season is coming.
Time for snacks and dainties.
Time for Haystacks.

This recipe uses a half package of cream cheese.
No oven involved.
The kiddies can make this.
And, as any Mom knows, if the kids make it, they'll eat it.


In a mixer bowl place
4 ounces cream cheese
2 Tablespoons milk
Mix well.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Add gradually
2 Cups icing sugar
pinch of salt

Fold in 
3 Cups miniature marshmallows

Place in a second bowl
8 ounces flaked coconut

By teaspoonfuls, drop the cream cheese mixture into the flaked coconut.
Roll around to coat the cream cheese.
Remove and place haystacks on a cookie pan.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Homemade Red Velvet Cake l Creamy Icing l Cream Cheese Frosting - Margaret Ullrich

It's funny how recipes go in and out of style.
Fondues, quiches, muffins, cupcakes...
Yep, we've eaten through them all.

Red Velvet Cake is currently enjoying a renewed popularity.
It's not a new recipe.
It's just back in demand.
So it goes.

Some folks prefer a traditional icing.
Others like cream cheese.
I've included both recipes.

Some folks prefer to slice each layer horizontally.
Gives them 4 layers of cake.
Suit yourself... 

                        Red Velvet Cake

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease and flour 2  9 inch round pans

Sift together
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 Cups flour

Stir together
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a large mixer bowl place
1/2 Cup margarine
1 1/4 Cups white sugar
2 large eggs
Cream together.

Beat in
2 teaspoons red food colouring
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Add the sifted ingredients.
Stir in the combined buttermilk/baking soda mixture.

3/4 Cup buttermilk
Beat until smooth.
Turn into prepared pans.
Bake 40 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove from pans and let cool completely.

Creamy Icing

Place in a saucepan
5 Tablespoons flour

Add gradually, stirring constantly
1 Cup milk
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Let cool.

Beat together until light and creamy
1 Cup margarine 
1 Cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beating well after each addition, add the cooked mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Spread over the cake layers and sides.

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a mixer bowl place
4 ounces cream cheese
2 Tablespoons cream
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Beat well.

Add gradually
2 Cups icing sugar
pinch of salt
Add water or lemon juice if it's too thick.
Spread over the cake layers and sides.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Light Fruitcake by Margaret Ullrich

Ah, fruitcake!
The stuff of memories, legends, jokes...

Ah, holiday recipes and the memories they hold...

Please, give this recipe a look.
I mean, the holiday season is coming.
Company will be at the table, hungry.
You are going to need a dessert or two.
And this recipe can be prepared in advance.

This fruitcake recipe is traditional, but open to suggestions.
And, it is actually good.

How many fruitcake recipes can say that?

About the fruits...
Over the years I've substituted 2 1/2 Cups deluxe fruitcake mix for 
the citron, peel and pineapple part.
No complaints.
And the nuts...
Almonds, pecans and brazil nuts - mixed or all of one - work well.

One year I used apricot nectar instead of the juice, and that was nice, too.
Another year I substitued raisins for half of the sultanas.
Like I said, this recipe is open to suggestions.

You know your family and guests.
If they prefer more of a particular fruit or nut, go for it.

Happy Holidays!!

                    Light Fruitcake

Grease 2   8 1/2 x 41/2 x 2 3/4" pans
Line with brown paper 
Preheat oven to 275º           
Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours

Mix together in a large bowl
1 Cup diced citron
1/2 Cup diced candied lemon peel
1 Cup candied pineapple (cut in 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 Cups whole candied cherries
3 Cups (1 pound) sultanas 
2 Cups nuts 
1 Cup flour

Sift together in a medium for the flour mixture
2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Place in a small bowl
1 Cup oil
1 1/2 Cups sugar
4 large eggs
Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon or electric mixer 2 minutes.

Stir oil mixture into the flour mixture ALTERNATELY with
1 Cup pineapple or apple juice 

Pour the batter over the floured fruit and mix thoroughly.
Pour the battered fruit into the two prepared pans.
After baking, let cakes stand in pans 15 minutes.
Remove the paper-wrapped cakes from the pans and place on a rack.
Let cool completely.
Remove the paper, and wrap in foil.
Store to ripen in a cool, dry place.

Makes 2 3-pound loaves

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Peaches and Cream Dessert / Peach Melba Pie by Margaret Ullrich

Have a cup of heavy cream in the fridge?
Left over from when you made a pumpkin pie?
Half pint too small, quart too much.
Isn't that always the way.

No one wants jello in November.
Not when it's so cold outside.
It would be a shame to throw the cream away.
So, don't.

Of course you have a couple of tins of peaches on the shelf.
Just sitting there.
Getting dusty.

So, make a dessert.

                    Peaches and Cream Dessert / Peach Melba Pie

grease a 9 x 13" pan         
preheat oven to 400º           
Bake 45 min.

Mix together
2 Cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cut in 
1/2 Cup margarine (or 3 ounces oil)

Stir in
3/4 Cup milk

Press the mixture in the prepared pan.

Spread on the dough after it has been spread in the pan
1 Cup raspberry jam
2 cans peach slices or halves
Place the peaches on the raspberry jam

1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup sugar
1 Egg
Pour the cream mixture over the peaches.
Sprinkle with
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Bake - cool - serve as a pie.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fruit Bars with Canned Pie Filling by Margaret Ullrich

Cranberries all gone?
Well, selling at 1/3 the original price was a good sale.
And we are talking Winnipeggers.

Still want to make some fruit bars.
Just have some canned pie filling?

                    Fruit Bars

grease a 9 x 13" pan         
preheat oven to 400º           
Bake 30 min.

Mix together
2 Cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cut in 
1/2 Cup margarine (or 3 ounces oil)

Stir in
3/4 Cup milk

Press the mixture in the prepared pan.
Cover with 
1 can pie filling, your choice of flavor
Bake - cool - cut into bars.

And remember to stock up next time...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cranberry Crumb Bars by Margaret Ullrich (Blueberry Crumb Bars)

Guess the fellow in the produce department finally noticed.
The cranberries at regular price weren't moving.
Just sitting there.
Getting dusty.

So he marked them down.

Now's the time to snatch up those babies.
No, I know you won't be cooking a turkey for quite a while.
No problem.
Cranberries freeze well.
Just toss the bag into the freezer.

Not all of them.
Leave a bag out to make some cookies.

                    Cranberry Crumb Bars

grease a 9 x 13" pan         
preheat oven to 375º           
bake 45 min.

Wash and drain
4 Cups cranberries

Mix together
3 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cut in (for coarse crumbs)
1 Cup margarine (or 1/2 Cup margarine + 3 ounces oil)

Stir in
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 Cup sugar
Toss with the prepared cranberries

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture in the prepared pan.
Cover with the berries.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top.
Bake - cool - cut into bars.

This recipe also works with blueberries.
And tastes better when the berries are on sale.

I mean, don't they always?