Tag Archives: beef

Green Chile Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Chipotle Cream Gravy

Comfort food should feel like a big hug.  Warm and gooshy like a Disney film.  Cloyingly sweet like the giggling female actresses on the original japanese Iron Chef, comparing bites of the most perfect food to kisses from teddy bears.  Too obscure a reference?

For me and my other half (my husband, not my other personality), meatloaf is such a go to for an instant comforting classic.  Accompanied by whipped potatoes and some sort of butter-touched frozen veg, it’s a taste of Americana with a dash of childhood and a smidge of old school TV dinner goodness.  I typically make a saucy turkey version that would slay the greatest meatloaf critic.  But tonight, in honor of our desert home, I feel that I must expand my traditions to fit my surroundings.  Green chili and chorizo become the base of a flavorfully moist meatloaf.  Potatoes are drizzled with a country gravy spiced with smoky chipotles.  Though the flavor profile is novel and different, it still tugs at the same heart strings as the more traditional version.

Recipe for

Green Chile Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Chipotle Cream Gravy

2 lbs. of ground beef
1 lb. of beef chorizo (fresh and removed from casings)
4 cl. of garlic, minced
3/4 c. of onions, finely chopped
2 tbs. of olive oil
1 1/2 c. of bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 tsp. of salt
21 oz. of roasted green chiles

2 tbs. of flour
1/2 tsp. of ground chipotle chile powder
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of garlic powder
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
2 c. of milk
snipped chives for garnish

1 lb. of potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cl. of garlic
2 tbs. of butter
a couple tablespoons of milk
pinch of white pepper
salt to taste

Heat a skillet on medium high and add the olive oil and onions.  Cook until translucent and allow to cool slightly.

Add the beef, chorizo, garlic, bread crumbs, sauteed onions, onions, salt and roasted chiles to the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large mixing bowl) and blend thoroughly.  Pour out the ingredients into a 9×13 pan and pat gently to form an oval, slightly rounded loaf.  Bake in a preheated 350° oven for an hour.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Salt well and add the potatoes and garlic.  Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and add back to the hot pot.  Add the butter and mash with a potato masher.  Add the milk in dribs and drabs until potatoes are chunkily mashed but smoother.  Season with salt and white pepper.  Cover to keep warm.

Carefully pour two tablespoons of the fat from the meatloaf pan into a sauce pan.  Turn the heat on medium and whisk in the flour.  Cook for a moment and then stream in the milk, whisking to keep smooth.  Season with chili pepper, garlic powder, salt and white pepper.  Once thickened, taste for seasoning.

Serve mashed potatoes with the chipotle cream gravy and slices of meatloaf.  Add roasted corn and red peppers to the party for a little more fun.

Tuscan Grilled Ribeye

Filet be damned, I want a ribeye.  I want a thick cut, well-marbled ribeye with a juicy center and a lovely charred edge.  I want nary the spice or marinade other than a smattering of coarse salt or crushed pepper, with olive oil to marry it all together and a brush of rosemary as a whisper of flavor with each bite.  In the words of Veruca Salt, “Don’t care how – I want it NOW!”

Kidding, I’m not a brat and I can totally whip this up for myself.  It’s the best kind of recipe in that it’s barely a recipe.  Making a steak at home is surprisingly forgiving and has more to do with the quality of the meat and the amount of time you give it to cook.  Letting the steak come to room temperature before cooking, letting it sit on the grill undisturbed before flipping, and letting it rest so that the juices redistribute are all necessary steps to the perfect bite of steak.  In addition, if you can splurge for a prime dry-aged steak, definitely do it.  It’s a total treat, and though pricey, a lot less expensive than a steak dinner out on the town.

When you are purchasing a ribeye, look for rosy, well-marbled meat where the eye (the round of fat in the middle of the steak) is intact.  This bit of fat keeps the meat moist during cooking and adds perfect flavor – shying away from the fat means you are denying yourself the succulence and juiciness that you so rightly deserve from your steak.  Other than that, there really isn’t that much to it – season, grill, rest and dig in.

Recipe for

Tuscan Grilled Ribeye

2 ribeye steaks, 1 inch thick
kosher salt and pepper
sprig of rosemary
olive oil

Heat a grill or a grill pan on high.  Liberally salt and pepper steaks on both sides.  Drizzle with olive oil and using the sprig of rosemary, rub the spices and oil into the meat.  Flip and repeat on the other side, rubbing the flavor of the rosemary into the meat.  Let steaks sit at room temperature while the grill heats up.

Grill the steaks, undisturbed, for 10 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Let rest for at least five minutes before slicing.  Serve.

Spicy Bucatini with Wild Boar Meatballs

Meatballs have been getting a lot of play lately.  From the incessant features on the Meatball Shop in NYC, to the meatball entrepreneur Joey on America’s Next Great Restaurant and his “Saucy Balls,” it’s as if ballmania has struck and there isn’t an end in site.  For me, though, meatballs have always played a part in my collective food memory.  Although I never got to know my Sicilian side of the family in person, their customs and traditions were passed down to me through my grandmother and mother.  Making a sauce, or gravy as it’s truly called, involved frying off scores of homemade meatballs, and I’d stand close by for the chance to snag a taste.  Apparently the tradition of searing all of the meatballs but one, and then cooking the last one through to give to someone you love came from my grandmother long before I learned it from my mother.  I like to think of my mom as a kid, indulging in the perfectly seasoned and seared meatball as the most loving of gifts in that it was rooted in tradition.  No kids of my own, I have been known to carry on the tradition with my husband – he himself grew up in a part-Sicilian household as well, and where my fam was doling out tastes of meatballs, his was doing the same thing with his mother’s expertly cooked chicken cutlets.  It’s only fitting that we’re together and I can carry on a legacy of culinary “sharing means caring” traditions.

For those in the know, the secret to a good meatball is a good crust on the outside and a tender, juicy center.  Although I’ll still sear off a meatball or two in a pan with olive oil, I’ve since converted to the baked meatball camp.  You still get the lovely outer crust and it’s a whole hell of a lot less messy since you don’t have to tend to these over a greasy stove top.  Because these babies were a part of my dinner party, the Feast of the Seven Boars, I used a combination of traditional ground beef and the less traditional but gloriously flavorful, wild boar.  If you can’t get your hands on any boar, feel free to substitute ground pork or veal.  Depending on how much time you have, you can simmer these the normal way on the stove in a lovely bath of San Marzano tomatoes OR you can take your sweet time and allow them to bubble away in a crock pot for a few hours OR you can be impatient and cook them in a pressure cooker for a mere 20 minutes.  Any way you cook them, you’ll be treated to a perfectly tender treat meant to be served atop a delicious mess of pasta – maybe some bucatini with a heavy dose of crushed red pepper.  Or you could just eat them straight away and skip the pasta.  It is tradition, you know.

Recipe for

Spicy Bucatini with Wild Boar Meatballs

3 lbs. of ground wild boar (or pork or veal)
1 lb. of ground beef
1/2 an onion, finely minced
6 cl. of garlic, finely chopped
1 c. of grated locatelli
1/2 c. of chopped parsley
1 c. of bread crumbs
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1 tbs. of crushed oregano

1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
3 large cans of whole san marzano tomatoes
1/2 c. of chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
salt to taste
handful of torn basil leaves
1 tbs. of olive oil
1 tbs. of butter
1 lb. of bucatini, perciatelli or similar long pasta

Preheat oven to 450°.  In a large bowl or a standing mixer, blend the meat, onion, garlic, parsley, eggs, crumbs, salt, pepper and oregano until thoroughly mixed.  Wet hands and form 1/4 c. of the meat mixture into round balls.  Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

In a large pot, add the tomatoes and crush gently with a spoon.  Add the garlic, chicken stock and salt and stir.  Add the meatballs and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes – longer if you can stand it.  When the meatballs are just about finished, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Toss with a cup or two of the meatball sauce, olive oil and butter.  Toss the basil leaves in the hot pasta to wilt and top with some of the meatballs.  Serve with grated cheese and extra crushed red pepper.

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

Challenge Entry in 3rd Annual Morel Recipe Competition
This recipe was my humble entry into the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition. Try as we might to garner a win for this exceedingly delicious recipe, we did not come up victorious (we were 3rd place in the popular vote).  But really, in all honesty, we feel as though we won the grand prize in simply getting to eat the mini wellington ourselves.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who voted and spread the word for folks to vote, and a special thanks to Karen M. for slaving with me in the kitchen.  You’re a doll!
I’m bored.  I want to have a party.  I want to have a full out blast and feast on a menu that is a hands down knock out from start to finish.  And to start it off, I want a dish that is worthy of some seriously expensive champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  I want to tuck into it with a big ol’ smile on my face and some hilarious friends nearby doing the same thing.  And I could care less about how many sticks of butter I kill in the process.


When I think of ingredients that get me truly excited, morel mushrooms are high on the list.  I mentioned to a friend that I was going to be crafting a recipe for the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition, and she asked what I’d do if I won 2 lbs. of fresh morels as the grand prize.  I told her I’d probably roll around in them in a giggle fit, I love them so.  The little earthy caps of goodness are so worthy of reverence, you can’t help but be overjoyed with the prospect of cooking something incredible with them.  They make me want to move to Minnesota, the state that has named the morel as their official mushroom.  Of course the morel mushroom has an invite to my party.

Since the chefs in the competition have been tasked to create “an original hors d’oeuvre recipe using dried morels,” I wanted to come up with something worthy of fireworks.  I mean, if this dish was to set off my party with a bang and feature the complex flavors of the morel mushroom, it’d need to be amazing. So of course I needed to invite filet mignon to the soiree and some bearnaise to bring it all home.  Now we’re talking!

Photo © Angela GunderThis mini version of beef wellington is elevated to the utmost of decadence with the addition of morel mushrooms.  Coupled with melted leeks and a delicate bearnaise soaked up by all the nooks and crannies in the mushrooms, the small bite belies huge flavors.  These can be served as small bites (speared with a sprig of rosemary for a fun take on a skewer) or plated with a pool of bearnaise and leeks to attack with a vengeance.  Either way, if this is your first bite of the night, know that the tone has been set for a party worth remembering.  You should totally come.  And bring that Dom P you know I like so much.  We’re getting bubbly tonight.

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

2 oz. dried morel mushrooms
2 c. of beef stock
2 c. of water

2 sprigs of tarragon
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
4 egg yolks
1 stick and 1 tbs. of butter, melted
1/8 tsp of white pepper
salt to taste

4 tbs. of butter
1 shallot
8 oz. of mild flavored mushrooms (oyster, white button, crimini or chanterelle), finely chopped
1/8 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp of tarragon
1 tsp. of salt

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only
3 tbs. of butter
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. of salt

3 filet mignon steaks
1 tbs. dijon mustard
12 slices of pancetta
salt and pepper
1 box of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs. of cream

Prep the Morels
Bring the beef stock and water to a boil.  Add morel mushrooms and turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the pot and allow the mushrooms to steep in the beef stock for at least a half an hour.

Make the White Wine Reduction
Add the white wine, wine vinegar, shallot and tarragon to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the liquid to about 2-3 tablespoons.  Strain mixture and set aside to cool.

Make the Duxelle
Melt butter over low heat in a skillet.  When melted, crank up heat to medium and add your chopped shallot and mushrooms.  Stir gently to keep from sticking, and keep heat on the low side so as to not color the mushrooms.  When veggies are tender, add black pepper, white pepper, tarragon and salt.  Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.  Continue to cook over medium low until the mushrooms absorb all of the juices released and the mixture forms a semi-dry paste.  Chop half of the morel mushrooms and mix them into the duxelle.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Melt the Leeks
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand.  Finely chop the leeks.  Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the leeks.  Cook gently until tender, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Assemble the Wellington
Preheat the oven to 425°.  Flour a cutting board and lay out your puff pastry. Flour a rolling pin and roll out sheet into a slightly larger square.  Cut into 6 squares and top each one with a slice of pancetta.  Spoon a few tablespoons of the mushroom duxelle on top of the pancetta.  Cut each of the filets into four cubes and season with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  Brush the cut sides with a small amount of dijon mustard and place on top of the duxelle.  Top with some more duxelle and bring the corners of the puff pastry together in the center to close up the package.  Place the mini wellington seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the cubes have been wrapped.  Cut a small cross into the tops of each of the parcels.  In a small bowl, beat together the egg and cream.  Brush the tops of the puff pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and lovely.  Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Make the Bearnaise
Melt the butter – I like to use a pyrex because it’s easy to pour.  Put the 4 egg yolks and vinegar reduction into the blender and mix on low. Slowly stream in half of the melted butter and allow to emulsify.  Crank up the speed to high and stream in the rest of the butter.  Your sauce will be thick and bright yellow, like a slightly loose mayonnaise.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.  Chop the rest of the morel mushrooms and fold into the bearnaise, along with half of the leeks.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Plate and Serve
To serve, spread a bit of the bearnaise on the bottom of a plate.  Slice one of the wellingtons in half.  Mound a small amount of the remaining leeks on the plate and top with a wellington half.  Add the morel mushrooms to the side of the wellington and garnish with chives or a rosemary sprig (or both).  Call up the crew and kick boredom’s ass with an impromptu party of the most fabulous kind.

If you’d like to serve as a passable appetizer, cut wellingtons into quarters.  Spear each quarter with a sprig of rosemary with the leaves removed from the woodier portion of the stem, allowing you to use it as a skewer.  Mix all of the leeks into the bearnaise and serve in a bowl on the side for dipping.

Breakfast Tacos with Potatoes, Chorizo and Egg

Breakfast Taco with Potatoes, Chorizo and Egg © Photo by Angela GunderSay what you will about Texas, but they get things absolutely right when it comes to fast food – chiefly, above all else, the glory of Taco Cabana.  The name is so misleading in its plebian nature, while the franchise dishes out tasty fillings in tender, pliant tortillas.  May all the Taco Bells be stricken from the earth in place of this bastion of tex mex wonders.

I first had Taco Cabana on a trip to Austin City Limits – the hubby and I woke up early at the hotel and decided to forage for breakfast.  We wandered out of the hotel and found a shopping center with a closed Whole Foods and a very open Taco Cabana.  With the best of intentions, we ordered a dozen mixed breakfast tacos in the hopes of bringing back the bounty to our friends back at the hotel.  But no – we lapsed into total food amensia and ate every single taco without even realizing what we were doing.  Dennis and I stared at each other in wonderment after attacking the mass of eggs, beans, potatoes, chorizo and cheese.  It was just so good, we devoured the goodness with no hesitation.

In that I don’t find myself in Texas too often (read: ever), I had to find a way to get my breakfast taco fix at home.  I’d be lying if I told you that I actually eat this for breakfast though.  This is the kind of home cooking that is thrown together at midnight and eaten directly from the kitchen island standing up.  Utensils be damned, eating this dish transports us back to that day where we found some serious goodness in a Texas parking lot in a moment of unexpected perfection.

Recipe for

Breakfast Tacos with Potatoes, Chorizo and Egg

2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tsp. of salt

1 lb. of fresh chorizo (pork or beef)
6 eggs
flour or corn tortillas

chopped tomato
shredded cheese
chopped onion

Add potatoes, garlic and salt to a small saucepan and cover with water.  Heat on high and boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the chorizo, breaking up the large pieces with a spatula.  When the meat is just about cooked through, add the potatoes and allow them to crisp up with the chorizo.  Set aside.

In another skillet, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil on medium.  Scramble your eggs in small bowl and slip into the pan with the oil.  Turn the heat to medium low and gently push the eggs around the pan, allowing curds to slowly form.

Assemble your taco by scooping some of the chorizo and potatoes onto a warmed tortilla.  Top with eggs and a bit of the condiments of your choosing – Dennis likes shredded cheddar, but I love a bit of cilantro, tomato and onion.  Dab with a bit of salsa and eat with reckless abandon.

Chickarina Soup

I don’t remember cans of Chickarina soup in my house as a child, but they were certainly a big hit during my college years.  When we went the route of a splurge, my best friend and I would throw a few cans of Chickarina into the cart for random lunches and dinners.  But because we went through them so quickly and couldn’t afford to get them all the time, Chickarina became a bit of a delicacy.  With my proclivity for making soups and stocks even back then, I’m surprised I didn’t attempt a homemade version back then.  No matter – I came around to it eventually 🙂


Upon researching this recipe, I tried to find out more of the history of Chickarina.  Like some deep, dark government secret, there is no true history available online.  What the hell?  There were a few mentions of a “chickarina” jingle from way back in the day, including this one from a site dating it back to the 60s.  And a whole lot of people labeling it as Italian Wedding Soup, which it’s not.  Though both dishes have mini meatballs and acini di pepe (mini pasta pearls – the name means “peppercorns” in Italian), the spinach or escarole is replaced with carrots and celery for a chicken soup + meatball experience.  It’s excellent through and through, and a lovely riff on home cooked goodness. Continue reading Chickarina Soup

Savory Meat Pie

From empanadas to pasties to pastel, the world loves a good meat pie.  This version, though similar in construction to the French Canadian tourtiere, is all its own – a hearty blend of meat, vegetables and spices that produce a pie that looks gourmet.  And yet, it only takes a few minutes of actual work – the meat becomes meltingly tender from simmering in milk and wine for a little under an hour, which you can leave bubbling away while you take care of other things.  Not a bad deal at all.

I use all beef in this version, but the pie holds up to absolutely any type of protein or game.  Pork works exceedingly well, as does bison or buffalo.  Venison, too.  You can even make a blend of what you’ve got on hand – ground turkey would be exceedingly happy in this pie when combined with beef or pork.  When you seal up the pie, you brush it with a simple egg wash to elevate store-bought pie crust to photo-worthy culinary majesty.  Truly, it’s a couple of little tricks that make this pie something worth keeping on hand for a rainy day.  Comfort food at its best 🙂

Recipe for

Savory Meat Pie

2 lbs. of ground beef
1 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme

1 tbs. of worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. of ketchup
1/4 tsp. of allspice
1/8 tsp. of cloves
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of dried sage

2 c. of milk
1/2 c. of dry white wine

1 c. of bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 tbs. of milk or cream
2 pie crusts (can be store bought)

In a dutch oven, brown the beef (or ground meat of your choosing).  When it’s no longer pink, add the onion, celery and garlic and stir.  Add the bay leaf and thyme and let cook until the vegetables start to release liquid, which should take about a minute.  Add the worcestershire sauce, ketchup, allspice, cloves, salt, white pepper, black pepper and sage and stir.  Pour in the milk and white wine and let simmer away on medium heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45-60 minutes.

Take the meat off the heat and let cool slightly.  Stir in the cup of breadcrumbs and let sit while you prepare the pie crust.

In a 9 inch round cake pan that’s at least 3 inches high (this is a deep crust pie) and grease with cooking spray.  Press one of the crusts on the bottom and sides of the pan.  Tear a slight bit of crust off the second pie crust and press into the pan so that there is more dough to cover the entire pie pan.  If you have slight tears, mend them by easing the dough together to repair.  Take your meat mixture and stir in two of the eggs.  Pour the meat into the pie crust.  Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges.  In a small bowl, beat together the remaining egg with the milk or cream.  Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash.

Bake in a 375° for 25 minutes or until the top is gloriously golden.  Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Italian Wedding Soup

Just as ancient tales are easily bungled by funky translations (like Charles Perrault’s original story Cinderella, with confusion over a slipper of glass [verre], squirrel fur [vair] or even iron [fer]…a hot mess that Cinderella was), so too do recipes often have translation mix ups.  Although Italian Wedding Soup, a popular dish in this country, hints at origins surrounding Tuscan weddings, the actual name of the soup is minestra mariata or “married soup” – a reference to the melange of greens, broth, meat and cheese.  An apropos name, given that all of the flavors in this soup blend together into something akin to a warm hug.  I’m all about that marriage, if I do say so myself.

Traditional versions of the soup involve a slow simmering stock that can include soup bones (prosciutto to be super authentic) and a variety of greens and broccoli.  I love this soup with pastina, or little pasta pearls that puff up in the broth, but this version, as inspired by the cracked-out craziness of the Canadian show “Bitchin’ Kitchen” uses cheese tortellini.  If you don’t have tortellini, you can swap it out for ditalini (short pasta tubes) or any mini pasta you’d like.  You call the shots – this is your wedding and I don’t want you getting all bridezilla on me.

Recipe for

Italian Wedding Soup

1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
1 lb. of pork
1 small hoagie roll
1/2 c. of parsley leaves
1 egg
1/4 c. of parmesan
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 clove of garlic, very finely minced
pinch of oregano

8 c. of chicken stock
baby spinach
cheese tortellini or ditalini

In a food processor, grind up the hoagie roll, parsley leaves and garlic.  Toss into a standing mixer or mixing bowl and blend with the beef, pork, egg, parmasean, salt, pepper and oregano.  Roll into very small meatballs, about 1/2 of a tablespoon of filling at a time.  Set aside.

In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add the meatballs and let simmer away in the soup for at least 20 minutes.  Grab another pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Salt the water and chuck in the cheese tortellini or ditalini pasta, cooking according to the package directions.  Drain.

To assemble the bowl of soup, add a handful of baby spinach and 1/2 c. of pasta to a large soup bowl.  Ladel over the broth and meatballs, top with some cracked pepper and parmasean cheese.

Post-Thanksgiving Stuffed Mushrooms

Thanksgiving leftovers go from absolute wonder to total boredom as the days pass after turkey day.  By day three, you’re still hiding under mounds of potatoes and gravy, but so over the leftover sandwich.  You don’t want to waste, but you’d like a taste profile different from the original meal.  While mashed potatoes are easy to repurpose (shepard’s pie, pierogies, croquettes), stuffing gets old.  But yet, with a little bit of ingenuity, you can make a glorious appetizer out of the remnants of the holiday.

These mushrooms are stuffed with a combination of ground beef, spinach and cheese to make a mini-meatball as a baked, one-bite delicacy.  Feel free to chuck in leftover vegetables (roasted red peppers or caramelized onions work well) or different greens (kale or swiss chard) to make the same deliciousness with whatever solid ingredients you have on hand.  You’ll be most pleased with the increased fridge space and the dying of the rumble in your tummy, not to mention the end of turkey malaise.

Recipe for

Post-Thanksgiving Stuffed Mushrooms

1/2 lb. of ground beef
1 c. of leftover stuffing
1/4 c. of spinach leaves, defrosted and squeezed of liquid
1 lb. of mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed.
1/2 c. of parmasean
1 tsp. of fennel seeds
1 c. of mozzarella cheese

Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the stems.  If you’d like, chop the stems and add to the filling that you’ll mix in a bit.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease with olive oil or melted butter.  Place the mushroom caps on the cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 375°.

In a standing mixer (or with your hands in a mixing bowl), blend the ground beef, stuffing, mushroom stems, spinach, parmasean and fennel.  Fill the mushrooms with a few tablespoons of filling, using a spoon to smooth the mounds into round balls.  Sprinkle with parmasean cheese and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden on top and cooked through.  Serve with toothpicks.

Lasagna Bolognese

This one, my darlings, is a labor of love.  With a toothsome, slow-simmering bolognese in the style of Marcella Hazan (which some might even call blasphemy for even mentioning her name in conjunction with a sauce that is not her exact recipe – to which I proffer that there are as many bolognese recipes as there are mammas in Bologna making their personal “secret” recipes) and a creamy bechamel in lieu of layer of ricotta and mozzarella, this true take on lasagne bolognese is something special.

Don’t be deferred by the time it takes to make this (at least 5 hours) and the list of ingredients – you’ll have lasagna for 6-8 comfortably, plus extra bolognese to dress around two pounds of pasta, so expect to not have to cook for some time afterwards while relishing in the glorious Italian leftovers.  The only time saver in the bunch comes in the form of the no-boil lasagna sheets – these babies, though instant, are lovely in their thin, delicate texture.  Much better than dealing with blubbery, curly edged classic lasagna noodles and far more refined in taste.  Though this is work, it’s very rewarding, and those that get to sample a bit will make you realize that maybe all that time was well worth it. Continue reading Lasagna Bolognese