Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book review: Don’t Fill Up On the Antipasto

This book is totally adorable! OK, I’ll admit that I’ve been a huge fan of Tony Danza’s, like forever, and if there were ever going to be a man other than Mike hanging around my kitchen, I’d want it to be Tony. And if that man were going to be cooking, unfortunately I wouldn’t want it to be Mike! (Love you, Honey!) Really, honest…my interest in Tony is merely culinary.

This is a sweet little cookbook that showcases the favorite Danza family recipes. Tony’s son Marc, and even his grandson Nicholas get into the act. So it’s part Danza family history, and lots of great recipes. Maybe reading this will get you inspired to put together a cookbook of your own for your family!

You’ll find that most of these recipes are not quick; rather, they are for the family that enjoys cooking together and likes to smell sauce simmering all day. Here’s a sample recipe from that book, that you can find at Amazon:

Sunday Sauce with Meatballs

2 cans (35 ounces each) plum tomatoes with basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Meatballs and Ribs:

1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken, or any combination

2 eggs

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound pork spareribs, trimmed

In our family we use San Marzano plum tomatoes with basil. Strain the tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp. (This eliminates the bitter part of the tomato.)

Next make the meatballs. Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat along with 6 cloves garlic, the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and milk. Mix this all together with your hands. Wet your hands with water and continue to wet them as you pinch meat from the bowl and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs and sauté over medium-high heat, turning them, until they are brown all over. As soon as you can pick them up with a fork, they are ready. You don’t want them to be well done. (If the meatball slides off the fork when you pick it up, it needs to cook a little longer.)

Cut the ribs apart. Sauté them in the hot oil until very brown and remove. Return the garlic to the oil and add the tomato paste to the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Back to the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red and black pepper and sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the juiced tomatoes, red wine, Parmesan, and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. Add the meatballs and spareribs. Bring to an easy boil, then simmer over low heat for 2 hours.

Add the basil and simmer for 15 minutes more. The spareribs should be very tender, falling off the bone, and the meatballs should float in the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6
Copyright © 2008 by Marc Anthony Productions, Inc.

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