Been a long while

Well I have been finishing my dissertation and I feel that I should start writing some of my mom’s recipes” ricette….. They are good old Italian stand bus that were modified because of living in America. I have begun to realize that like my fellow 1st generation Ital-Amer that we have created a new Italian heritage and culture. We are the preservers of past Italian culture. And we have modernized the old recipes, “ricette”.

So here is one that I think is really good,     Instead of using American or old Italian bread, use Panko bread crumbs…  You can season them with Italian dry special herbs and cheese of your choice. I like to mix the cheeses in different quantities.

Panko seems to absorb the flavors; when making meat balls, they come out moist.

I like adding Marsala wine to my chop meat, I use all three kinds of meat.. A wonderful friend loved using lamb to make her gravy….  I like to sue the old favorites.. I found sometimes the chopped lamb meat is gamy… it is all a matter to what you are used to eating and tasting.   So add panko bread crumbs and make those meatballs or “polpette”.

Okay I also have for years made turkey without stuffing it…   My Mom never liked the idea of stuffing the cavity.   I always clean the turkey with salt water and then a cold rinse x 3, pat dry, and then I would add oranges, lemons, and apples.   By doing this you keep the breast moist and adds a lovely flavor, I also stick soft butter seasoned with Italian herbs finely ground under the skin of the turkey.  I also took a course with an Italian chef who told us that Italians do not cook the whole bird but rather debone it and spread out the breast just pound slightly. I then lined the rolled out turkey with prosciutto, then filled it with my special risotto stuffing that contains wild mushrooms and Italian salumeria. I very carefully rolled the turkey and tied it and secured the ends….  saute the skin for color and then bake it at 350 in your oven, you can baste it with white wine and chicken broth that has been flavored with some onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. it takes less time to cook. check with a thermometer.  Once done, rest the turkey rollatino for at least 20 minutes.. Prepare the gravy from the wonderful drippings and cooking liquid I add Marsala wine and a touch of balsamic vinegar( 1 tbsp.). it is wonderful and I also did this dish out on the grill… Depending how big is your breast, use the weight to determine how long to cook… I always use my thermometer.

I have experimented with different kinds of  stuffings,  I also recommend cornbread, Italian sweet sausage, mushrooms, and butter with roasted pine nuts or walnuts…

I also removed the bones form the legs and added the studying to the legs. tie them up and serve them like a large spring roll with stuffing of your choice…

I was taking a course with Mary Beth Clarke she has a wonderful ricette for butter nut squash . Italians do not cream things like we do, but saute and allow the vegetable to carmelize slightly that adds to increase flavor. I did this with sweet potatoes and yams it was a winner

Butternut Squash  or Sweet Potatoes or Yams with Walnuts in Marsala Sauce
Zucca con Noci in Salsa di Marsala

In the spirit of serving squash for the Holidays, try combining it with dry Marsala. These days it’s so easy to prepare butternut squash, either using whole squash purchased from the local farmers’ market or using pre-cut squash or sweet potato or yams cubes purchased at your grocery store. Dry Marsala makes an amazing sauce for so many ingredients, with its hint of dry-sweetness and nuts, similar to a dry sherry. Emphasize Marsala’s character by adding crunchy walnuts to the gorgeous yellow-orange colored butternut squash,  or my version with sweet potatoes or yams..and you’ll add a luscious Italian touch to your Holiday Table

Serves 6 as a contorno

  • 4 to 6 cups butternut squash sweet potatoes otr yams cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2cup chopped walnuts
  • 5 tablespoons dry Marsala
  •  salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1. To make the best sauteed sweet potato or yam, it is important to cook the squash with a 2-step process.  cut the neck horizontally into 3/4-inch thick slices, making disks. Cut off the skin or rind. Then cut into 3/4-inch cubes by making thick strips, 3/4-inch wide, then cutting crosswise into squares.
  •  In a pot or broad saute’ pan, bring lightly salted water to a boil and cook the squash for about 8-10 minutes or until barely tender. Insert a fork into some squash cubes, there should be a little resistance since the squash will be cooked a second time. Do not fully cook!! (If the squash is boiled until soft, it tends to fall apart during the sauteing stage.) Cool at this point and reserve in the refrigerator up to 2 days or continue cooking as follows:

Have all ingredients ready for sauteing since this dish cooks quickly, it is complete within 6 minutes. If you are making this dish with boiled sweet potato or yam that was stored in the refrigerator, please take it out 30 minutes before sauteing and rinse the boiled cubes under cool water to re-moisten, then drain well. * This is very important, so the sp/yam remains moist and firm. If the sp/yam is dried out, it will absorb the oil-butter like a sponge because it lacks moisture. The result would be a dry dish with very little sauce.

2. In a non-stick saute’ pan, add the oil and butter. Over medium heat, warm the pan until the butter is melted, then distribute the cubes across the bottom of the pan. (When you add the squash cubes, they may splatter the oil-butter if there are obvious drops of water clinging to the squash, so pat dry if needed.) Turn the heat to medium-high and watch the pan, prevent the vegetables from burning. Total cooking time of the squash is 4-6 minutes. Cook the cubes for 1-2 minutes without moving so the cubes’ sides on the bottom of the saute’ pan becomes golden. Quickly but carefully turn the cubes over and repeat sauteing for 1-2 minutes. Add the walnuts during this second time and let them brown lightly. Not every side of the squash cube will brown evenly since you are sauteing, there will be lightly caramelized sides and soft sides for textural and flavor contrast. Be attentive of the heat source and pour the dry Marsala directly into the saute’ pan. (If you prefer, turn the heat to low then pour in the dry Marsala, then turn the heat up to high volume.) It will reduce quickly and concentrate within 1 minute. Immediately slide the pan off the heat. You’re done. Season to taste, plate and tuck in…this is one of my favorite ways to prepare sweet potato or yams. You can use butternut squash…

Enjoy A Mary Beth Clark Dish…

here is a variation of  Mary Beth Clarks ricette”

She used butternut squash,,,,

Felice Giorno del Ringraziamento

About maryberger

Professor of biology and educator science researcher. Working with Plasma physics has opened a whole new area of interest and science investigations! As a professor these last several years, I have really embraced my personal motto of E^3. Enrich, enhance and Empower scientific and theological thought in how we treat our world and our scientific discipline of Biology, Chemistry, and PHYSICS! Yes, physics! Looking toward the future by teaching and learning from the past(evolution) and influencing the economics, political, scientific, and educational policies for transformation changes Futurist is defined as one understands how to use the different learning environments for different learning styles to implement the necessary, responsible, and productive changes. Science is the focal discipline in which my educational philosophy is the delivery platform. There is still time to save our world by listening, thinking, and practicing our beliefs. There is still time to perform good experimental science and change the world.
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