Today I must pay homage to one of the chefs that has had the most impact in my life. She has showed me things, taught me skills, refined my skills, trusted me with back of house operations at her place of work and also been like another mother to me as a teen. She yells and swears at the entire kitchen and serving staff except me. She puts cannoli's on the midnight buffet table, not because they were on the menu, but because they are my favourite and she makes an extra half dozen for me to devour. She has welcomed me into her family, let me sit at her dining table and invited me to Easter and Thanksgiving dinners. So today this post is dedicated to Teresa Fabrizio.
I decided to try two of her recipes from her cook book titled My Grandmother Used To Make These. I have eaten these dishes thousands of times but today was my first attempt making them. Just like when working beside Teresa in the kitchen the recipes were so easy to follow it was like she was there giving me the instructions herself. I made Calabrese Sauce and Calabrese Meatballs.
First for the sauce, what you need:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped onion
- 125 grams tomato paste
- dash of wine (I used an Italian sized dash, about 100ml)
- 2 - 24 oz cans or jars crushed tomatoes
- dash of salt and black pepper
- 1/2 lb stewing beef
The order in which you add ingredients is very important.
- Sauté the onion and the beef in the oil so that it is not under-cooked or burned. (Approximately 9 minutes)
- Add the tomato paste and wine.
- Next, quickly pour in the crushed tomatoes. (Note: add 2 cups of water if tomatoes are very thick.)
- Add the salt and pepper. Let simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. When the sauce is ready, the olive oil will rise to the top.
In making the Calabrese sauce it is important to use the finest of crushed tomatoes to get the best flavour. Jay Eatz tomato and olive oil might not have been up to par but they worked.
Again here is what you need:
- 3 lbs ground pork (or half pork, half beef but Teresa swears by 100% pork, since Jay Eatz was making the dish for fellow mangiacake's he opted for the 50/50 mix)
- 3/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, moistened with 1/3 cup of water
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, whisked
- fresh basil chopped approx 6 to 10 leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together.
In mixing the meatballs, make sure they are not too stiff but rather medium soft and about the size of a golf ball or even slightly bigger.
A rule to follow is always make one meatball to see if it holds together but is not as hard as a golf ball. (Jay Eatz had faith in the meatball and skipped this step, got lucky possibly) If the mixture is too soft, add some more grated cheese and breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too hard, add another egg and perhaps 1/4 cup of water.
Drop the meatballs into the ready Calabrese tomato sauce. Make sure the sauce is not too thick. Perhaps add 2 cups of water before you add the meatballs. In this way, the meatballs will be able to float easier.
When the meatballs float to the top of the sauce, they are ready to eat. (Jay Eatz divided his sauce and used about a 1/3 of it for the meatballs and added slightly more than a cup or 2 of water to allow depth for the meatballs to float)