October 2009

Tagliatelle Bolognese (Recipe)


Tagliatelle Bolognese


I have to omit that growing up I had no clue what Bolognese sauce was!

  It makes sense since my family’s origin was from the Naples region.  The main difference between Naples and Bologna's version is how the meats in the sauce are used as well as the amount of tomato in the sauce.

The Bolognese version uses very finely chopped or ground meat while our family’s version uses meats like Pork, Braciole made with flank steak Sausages and Meatballs.  With the flavor marrying into the sauce and the meats served on the side.

In my sauce I replace white wine with a red wine, and use lard or olive oil, and lots of fresh basil leaves.  It seemed weird to me to add milk or cream to a "gravy" only exposed to this later in my cooking career. With that said I never really had the opportunity to have a real Bolognese sauce!

In all the restaurants our family went to the menu would say Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  I would get it and be hugely disappointed thinking that these guys don’t know how to cook, but that’s the way it is made most of the time in America not like we Naples style at home!   In Bologna you will find that this is served with  tagliatelle,  a fresh egg pasta.

The Naples version would be mostly served with Spaghetti, Bucatini, and Ziti.

My friend David swears to Marcella Hazans version from "The Classic Italian Cookbook" and says he leaves it cooking for at least 5 hours!

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Burrata (Recipe)



I came across this Burrata recipe on the internet and discovered it was written by Chef Frank Bonanno of Luca d'Italia in Denver!


Sharon and I loved the Burrata there and I wanted to make it at home so I started to think, what if I bought fresh mozzarella and microwave it to melt the cheese , flattened it out, filled it with ricotta and folded it over?

Well, it was not as flavorful as the Burrata at Luca but it is worth making assuming you have great ricotta and a high quality fresh mozzarella.



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Italian Beef (Recipe)

Mozza Italian Beef 
with Peppers and Red Sauce

Italian Beef! My first memory of Italian Beef goes way back!

  Not sure what date it was but I must have been about six years old.  My father took us to the suburbs or was it Little Italy in Chicago, I'm not sure?I do remember a place called Carmie's Beef & Hot Dogs. I remember a red neon sign in the window and walking in wondering where all the chairs were to sit?

Well this was a "stand" it had counters of Formica on the sides and near the window.  The counter was chest high to my dad, it had a lower area with napkins and this stuff that looked like green chopped vegetables in oil.

I learned later on it was one of my favorite foods of all time, Giardinara!  I could see over the edge of the counter a open grill with Italian Sausages on a skewer cooking over a open grill!

The aroma of this place was amazing!


The people in the restaurant seemed to be from some Italian Beef eating cult!  They were staring in anticipation at the menu board, I'm not sure why?

They were a savvy bunch that knew what they were there for and projected it in confidence when they ordered! My Dad yelled out in yeoman style, " Yeah, gimme two small beefs and I'll have a large combo with sweet and hot, wet!" A Coke and two Green Rivers (Green River is lime soda found in Chicago)


The man behind the counter grabbed a loaf of long Italian Bread then sliced it on a counter where you could see the worn knife marks.  He sliced a hinge into the sliced loaf and opened it wide.  With a quick flip of his wrist he grabbed a perfectly charred link of Italian Sausage, nested it into the bread and topped It with paper thin slices of Italian seasoned roast beef, which was held in it's natural juices!


He then dipped the edges of the sandwich in the juice like a dive bomber and topped the sandwich with roasted sweet bell peppers and some of the hot giardinara. We received our sandwiches wrapped in white butcher paper.  My Dad walked over to the counter opened our sandwiches so we can eat. 


I watched him as he took the "Italian Stance" he stood over the paper holding the sandwich resting his elbows on the counter, stepped back and spread his legs a bit for balance.

  This ritual was so the juice from the sandwich wouldn't go all over your shirt. (Business men flip their tie over the shoulder)

He then took his first bite, I watched as this abundantly stuffed  Italian beef sandwich yielded to his desire, juices dripping from his chin as he blissfully enjoyed every mouthfull!

Our family restaurant served Italian Beef and when I was young, it was the only beef I knew, not like regular roast beef like other families had.  My father taught my brother and I how to make Italian beef with Inside Rounds, huge pieces of beef that he roasted overnight in the pizza oven, a practice my brother continued to do when he owned his pizzeria, Pizza Sam.

Here is my home version of Italian Beef, don't forget the bread and giardinara!

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