Italy's Finest Home Cooked Sicilian Cuisine

Italian Sicilian Step by Step Cooking Recipes Made Simple

                     Sausage and Peppers in Gravy

This is the real Italian way to make Sausage and Peppers in Gravy. Here we allow the flavor of the Sausage to infuse itself into the Gravy along with the Peppers and Garlic. It is very simple and should be started about 1 hour before eating because we want to simmer for as long as possible. You have a choice here of using Prepared (seasoned) Gravy or large can of Puree. As with all recipes feel free to adjust the quantities of the ingredients. And remember any leftover Gravy can be refrigerated and used on some Pasta for tomorrow’s lunch!

You will need:

1 Large Frying Pan with high sides or a Pasta Pot preferred)

1 Large Can about 32 ounces of Tomato Puree or Prepared Gravy

2 Pounds of Sweet Bell Peppers. A Red and Green mix looks nice but not necessary. Slice thin.

2 Pound of Sweet or Hot Sausage. Your choice or a mix

4 Cloves of thin sliced fresh Garlic

Olive Oil

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Pepper

½ Teaspoon Oregano

½ Teaspoon Parsley Flakes

Heat Oil in the Pot or Pan on medium heat and simmer your Garlic until light brown and remove.

Raise heat to medium high heat and brown your Sausage. Brown only!

Lower heat to low medium heat and add your Puree or Gravy and bring to a simmer.

Now add all the ingredients and stir. Then add your Sausage.

Cover and simmer low for at least 1 hour.

You have just made The Real Deal Sausage and Peppers by infusing the flavors!

Enjoy!

              Linguini In White Clam Sauce (Vongole)

 

You will need:

1 Large Frying Pan

1 Large Pasta Pot

Ingredients:

2 ½ Pounds of Little Neck Clams (Vongole)

1 ½ Tablespoon of Olive Oil

½ Cup of Olive Oil

3 Cloves of Chopped Garlic

¾ Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

1 ½ Teaspoon Chopped Parsley

2 Tablespoon Salt for Water

1 Pound Of Linguini Pasta

 

Add 1 ½ Tablespoon of Olive Oil to your Frying Pan and heat to High Temp

Add your Wash and Scrub all of the Clams and wipe off excess water

Clams and cover pan. Shake pan and cook Clams until they all open up. (If any do not open throw away)

Remove Clams from Pan and into a bowl then separate most of the Clams from their shells letting the juices fall into the bowl to save. Leave some Clams in their shells to use on top of Linguini. Do not discard the juices left in the pan.

Boil your Linguini with 2 Tablespoons of Salt added to the water.

To the same Frying Pan add ½ cup of Olive Oil, the saved Clam Juice, Salt and Pepper, Parsley and last all the Clams. Cook over Medium High heat for about 2 minutes.

Pour the White Vongole Sauce over your Linguini and Top with a few Clams we left in their shells and Serve!

 

              Sicilian Sunday Gravy

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lrg. cooking pot (all cooking is done in one pot)
  • 4 cans of Tomato puree - (28 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Pounds Italian sausage (Hot & Sweet sausage - or all hot or all sweet) 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Pounds Pork Neck Bones
  • 1 Pound of cubed Veal or Veal bones (optional)
  • 4 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium red Onion sliced very thin or diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic sliced very thin or diced
  • 1 tsp. each Salt & fresh ground Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Parsley flakes - fresh Parsley is preferred
  • 1 Tbs. Basil - fresh Basil is preferred
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • Red or Burgundy house wine to taste (optional)

Okay, let's get started:

Put 4 Tbs. of olive oil in your pot, set heat to medium-high.  Add meat (sausage, pork bones, veal) and brown on all sides, turn as needed.  The meat will stick to the bottom of the pot, but that is good.  When meat is brown on all sides remove from pot and set aside.

Lower heat to medium, add more olive oil if needed.  Add garlic & onions, and saute stirring as needed until softened but not burnt - this won't take long.

Add the Tomato puree, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and sugar.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Then set heat to low and let simmer.  Next, add the browned meat to the gravy and stir gently.  Let simmer at least 2 hours, stirring frequently - for better results simmer for 3 to 4 hours. 

Actually, the longer the simmering time the better.  An old Sicilian secret is to let it simmer all day, this allows the gravy to become infused with the flavors of the meats.  Taste often, and add additional spices to adjust to your taste.  The best way to do this is to dip a piece of Sicilian bread into the gravy!  (See, recipe for Sicilian bread below)

Serving time Italian style!  Remove the meat and a little gravy from the pot and place in a large bowl, set on table.  Next, spoon red gravy over cooked pasta of your choice, top with shredded or grated fresh Parmesan cheese or any cheese you like.  Serve and enjoy!

This recipe will make enough red gravy to serve up to 12.  However, you can make your gravy for dinner for four, and freeze remaining gravy - makes about 3-4 nice size containers. 

To Freeze:

Important, allow gravy to cool to room temperature.  Do Not freeze hot gravy!  Freezing hot gravy causes it to lose its flavor and become very bitter. 

Sicilian Tip:  Old timers used fresh ripe red tomatoes to make their puree.

Recommended Puree Brands:  Having tried most brands I do have a preference, however I will not disclose that information at this time.  However, I will suggest that you use Italian brand names! 

     And while your sauce simmers..sip some fine Wine

wine.com 

    Cavatelli and Broccoli    Brocolli and Macaroni

This is a very simple old time favorite and to my surprise many have not heard of it. For lunch or dinner this hot hearty dish hits the spot. This dish is detailed un-modified as tradition suggests.

Pasta and Broccoli

1 Large Pasta Pot

1 Bag of Frozen Cavatelli's (my choice) or
1 Box of Ditalini
1 to 2 Packages of Frozen Broccoli Chopped or 1 Head of fresh Broccoli Chopped
5 Cloves of fresh minced or thin sliced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
Olive Oil
Grated Cheese of your choice

In your Pasta Pot swirl Olive Oil to coat bottom and sauté your Garlic.

When sautéed add your water for your Pasta add the Salt and Bring to a boil.

Defrost your Broccoli just until it breaks apart and set aside.

Drop your Pasta into the boiling water and boil for HALF the time suggested on the
package of Pasta but don't turn the heat off.

Now add your Broccoli and Pepper, allow water to boil for the remainder of the Pasta cooking time or until as tender as you choose.

Serve in a Large Pasta dish or Individual Dishes topped with Grated Cheese

              Italian Bread Sicilian Style

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Cups Bread flour
  • 1 Cup Hot water (100 to 110 degrees)
  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Egg white beaten
  • 2 - 4 Fresh garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • Cornmeal
  • Sesame or Poppy seeds
  • Olive oil or Cooking Spay (for coating)

UTENSILS:

  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • Cookie Sheet or Baking Stone

Heat Water to 100 to 110 degrees, add sugar and stir, add yeast and stir to disolve.  Set aside for about 10 minutes allowing it to ferment and foam undisturbed.

In a mixing bowl add bread flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Mix thoroughly.

When the yeast is fermented add it to the bread flour mixture.  Next, add fresh chopped garlic, mix well with a rubber spatula until liquid is absorbed into bread flour mixture.  Lightly flour your hands, and form a ball with your dough.  Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface.

Knead dough for aproximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Note: You cannot over knead, so don't worry about that.  It should be a smooth, not sticky, round ball of dough when you are finished.

Coat your second mixing bowl with some Olive oil or cooking spray.  Place your ball of dough into the bowl and gently roll it around to coat it thoroughly.  Next, cover the bowl with plastic wrap then place a damp cotton towel over the bowl.  Set the bowl in a warm place for about 60 to 90 minutes; this will allow the dough to rise.  Do not disturb, the dough should double in size.

When your dough has risen, coat your cookie sheet or baking stone with cornmeal,  remove your dough ball from the bowl and place on the cornmeal.  Punch the dough once, then invert the bowl and place it over your dough.  Set aside for about 15 minutes to let dough rise again.

Next, gently roll and shape your dough into a loaf about 12 inches long.  Use the palms of your hands to shape the dough, and make sure that the seam is on the underside.  Cover with a loose piece of plastic wrap and let sit for approximately 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make sure the oven rack on the middle slot or on the slot beneath it, but not on the botton.

Beat egg whites.  Use a sharp knife to make a 1/8 inch slice in the center of your dough along the length of the loaf.  Coat with beaten egg whites, and sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.  Tip:  Internal temperature should be 195 to 200 degrees.

Important: DO NOT cut the bread before it has rested and cooled for at least 30 minutes.  Cutting fresh baked bread before it has cooled and rested will release the internal gasses too soon, and this disrupts an important part of the baking process.

         Pasta Fagioli (pronuonced - Pasta Fazool)

I am going to give you the "real" original recipe here.  Basic and delicious.  You will find most other Pasta Fazool recipes have been modified with different ingredients changing this dish to a watery, soupy consistency.  If you want soup make soup.  That is not the true recipe...this is!  And it's easier!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 32 oz. can or 2 16 oz. cans of Cannellini Beans (do not drain)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 box of Ditalini Pasta
  • 3 Fresh garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1/2 Red or Yellow Onion sliced very thin
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt (Add more to your taste later since the beans contain some salt.  And since we are going to top with your favorite grated cheese it's best to limit the amount of salt added.)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Fresh ground pepper
  • Olive Oil (Of Course!) 

You will need 2 medium sauce pans - 2 quarts or larger

In one sauce pan add a few swirls of the Olive oil.  Set to low heat add garlic and onions and simmer until soft, and maybe turning color just a bit.  Next, add 16 oz. of Cannelli beans and stir to soften a bit.  When soft I want you to crush these beans with a fork or spoon.  Crush them to a thick paste.

Add the rest of the beans but do not crush them.  Allow to simmer until the whole beans soften to your liking.  You may add just a bit of water if you want a thinner consistency.

While the beans simmer boil your Ditalini Pasta in the other sauce pan.

When the pasta is done the beans should be also, so just mix them together in a large bowl.  Top with your favorite grated cheese and serve.

Enjoy!  Compliments of Vecchio

          Fried Calamari (Calamari Fritta)

Fried Calamari, in Italian Calamari Fritta, in American Fried Squid has been served by your favorite restaurants for years. Why? Because it's a delicious favorite! Now you will learn how to make it yourself for half the price and in most case's fresh and better. These golden fried rings are easy to prepare and take a very short period of time to cook.

You will need:
1 Skillet with high sides or a pot or a Deep Fryer
1 Mixing bowl for Seasoned Flour mix

INGREDIENTS:

Seasoned Flour Recipe

1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Thyme (optional)
1 Papper Bag or Plastic Bag
1 Pound of Calamari

Note: You can buy your Calamari fresh and cleaned from your Seafood store with a choice of tubes or a mix of tubes and legs. Most prefer just the tubes but I like them both.I suggest in all case's of buying fish to get it fresh. If you can find Calamari already cut into rings...better yet.Frozen Calamari, often found in a box, requires much more cleaning, cutting and preparation.

Oil about 1 quart of a seed based. Canola, Corn, Rice, etc. No need for Olive Oil.

Lets Cook:

Prepare our Seasoned Flour. Add all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix well. Then put it into the bag.

Prepare you Calamari by cutting the tubes into rings or circles. Rinse with cold water and squeeze excess water off leaving damp and moist. Place in refrigerator to keep cool. The reason for this is that Calamari cooks very fast and we want the outside to crisp while not over cooking the inside.

Place enough oil in your skillet or pot, one to two inches, so your Calamari can float. Heat to about 375 degree's.

Take your Calamari rings and drop them into the bag with your Seasoned Flour Mix and shake to coat.

One handfull at a time grab your rings, shake off excess flour and gently drop into the oil frying until Golden Brown.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a papper towel. Salt to your taste if you wish.

Serve with a lemon wedge and a side of Hot or Sweet Gravy. A fresh sprig of Parsley make a nice presentation!

 

       Baked Pasta with Cheese and Mushrooms

1 lb Mushrooms Sliced Thin

2 Cloves Garlic Sliced

5 Tablespoons of Butter

½ Teaspoon each Salt and Pepper

1 Box of Ziti, Penne or Rotini.

8 to 12 Ounces of sliced Cheese Parmesan or your favorite also works well

½ Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Cup of Heavy Cream, If you feel the sauce is too heavy add a bit of milk

1 Frying Pan

1 Casserole

Saute You Garlic and Mushroom in 3 Tablespoons of Butter over Medium High Heat for about 5 minutes then remove the Garlic, we wont need it anymore.

Lower Heat and add your Salt and Pepper and cook for another 4 minutes or so then bring to a low, almost off, simmer

Start Boiling You Pasta.

Drain your Pasta and put it back into your boiling pot then stir in remaining butter.

.Coat the inside of your Casserole Dish with a light coat of Butter

Now your going to layer as follows

Layer some Pasta then Your Mushrooms, Sliced Cheese and a Tablespoon of Parmesan

Repeat until you get to the top of the Casserole Dish

Now pour Your Heavy Cream over the top, cover with foil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for about 10 more minute or until you see the top start to brown

Enjoy!

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                     Meat Balls Italian Style

Original Meat Ball Recipe.....With all the Ingredients! Even the one most missing from most recipies. 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Pound Each of Ground Pork, Beef and VEAL. Yes Veal!
1 Jumbo or 2 Small Eggs
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Minced Onion
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Basil
1/4 Cup Parmesan Grated Cheese
3 Slices White Bread or better yet a cup of the inside of Italian Bread
Olive Oil
1 Cup of Milk

UTENSILS:

1 Large Frying Pan I use a 50 year old cast iron one
1 Mixing Bowl
1 Pair Of Clean Hands

LET'S MIX:

In your mixing bowl add all your meats and gently break it up....don't squeeze and mash it

Crack, and add your eggs

Add all your ingredients EXCEPT the Olive Oil and Milk and Bread

Dip your bread once in the milk and add to your bowl

With your fingers start mixing. Don't mash or squeeze, just mix.

When well mixed start rolling your mix into balls in the palms of your hands, then set aside in a dish

Add about 1/4 of Olive Oil to your pan, and heat to medium

Fry your Meat Balls browning on all sides. Test for doneness? Taste and add salt to taste

These are the Meat Balls that seem to disappear as soon as they come out of the pan!

 

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Watery Lazagna or Calzones?

Here is why!

Ricotta  Cheese has a vey high moisture content. To resolve this you should always drain your Ricotta through Cheese Clothe or a Strainer in your refrigerator  several hours before using or better yet the day before. Place a plate on top of the Riccotta to help push the moisture out.

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