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Lesson 6, Part 2:Cooking Instruction
Melanzane alla Parmigiana/Eggplant Parmesan
This is a light version. In the classic recipe, the eggplant is deep friend (alone or dipped in egg and covered with bread crumbs.)
Ingredienti per 4-6 persone
Two large melanzane/eggplants
One spicchio d'aglio/ garlic clove
One L di passata di pomodoro/plain strain tomatoes, we used 1.5 box of Pomì
Parmigiano grattuggiato (grated, about 100 g, but decide by eye and taste)
Mozzarella grattuggiato (grated) or a fette (in slices), about 1 cup
Basilico fresco /resh basil, a few leaves
- Spices of your choice (e.g. red crushed pepper, nutmeg)
- Wash the eggplants and cut them; max one centimeter thick.
- Let the the eggplant slices sit in a colander covered with abundant coarse salt. You can make many layers of eggplant and salt: this procedure removes the bitterness from the melanzane.
- After 30 minutes, drain, rinse very well, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Grill the eggplant slices at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes (or more, based on the thickness). Alternatively, grill them in a nonstick pan without oil on the stove or on the bbq.
- In the meantime, prepare a tomato sauce with a soffritto of garlic.
- Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the tomato sauce.
- Place a layer of eggplant over the sauce.
- Sprinkle with grated mozzarella, grated parmesan, and basil leaves (as a whole or minced, as you wish)
- Repeat to make 3-4 layers ending with sauce
- Top with the remaining mozzarella and parmigiano
- Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
Le melanzane alla parmigiana is delicious eaten immediately and the day after is even meglio/better. Prova/Try!
La Bruschetta/Le Bruschette
Pronunciation: Remember: che in Italian reads keh in English. Pronounce brus-keh-te.
Listen to the pronunciation:
- One baguette, or better some pugliese or toscano bread (one large crusty loaf)
- Two pomodori/tomatoes or a large handful of pomodorini/cherry tomatoes
- One spicchio d'aglio/garlic clove
Basilico fresco/fresh basil, a few leaves
Olio extravergine d'oliva/extra virgin olive oil
- Chop the tomatoes and mix in a bowl with salt, olive oil and basil (You can use the whole leaves or mince them, as you prefer).
- Cut the bread in disks and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes (400 degrees F). During the summer you can grill the bread on the bbq.
- Option 1: rub the garlic on the toasted bread
- Option 2: add the garlic (as a whole or minced) to the tomato mix. Leave in the fridge for at least a few hours.
- You can either put the chopped tomatoes on the bread yourself, or for a big group, you can serve the bowl on one side, the bread on another, and let everyone help themselves.
Spezzatino in Bianco/Beef Stew
Spezzatino means "little broken thing" = stew. In bianco refers to the fact that we are not using tomatoes. This is my mom's recipe! If you serve it with polenta, then I suggest to make it without potatoes.
Ingredienti per 4 persone
- One kg (about 2.2 lb) of manzo/beef for stew
- 1/2 cipolla/onion
- One spicchio d'aglio /garlic clove
- One carota/carrot
- One stalk of sedano/celery
- Two patate/potatoes
- One twig of rosmarino/rosemary
- A couple of leaves of alloro/bay leaves
- One dado/bouillon cube
- Olio d’oliva
- Optional: Two pomodori/tomatoes/ or passata di pomodoro (e.g. Pomì)
- Chop the carrot, onion, celery and garlic.
- Put in a pressure cooker with a little olive oil over low flame to make a sweat (soffritto). Then add the meat and the bouillon cube.
- When the meat outside is brown (extra step: in a few years, add a glass of wine and let it evaporate) cover with water and add the [whole] rosemary twig, bay leaves, and if you want other spices.
- Close the pressure cooker and pressurize (i.e. until the pressure cooker begins to whistle), cook for about 10-15 minutes.
- Depressurize, add the potatoes (washed and cut in big chunks) and cook again under pressure for another 10-15 minutes.
- If you use a regular pot or a slow cooker, cook at low heat for 2-3 hours, covered, mixing from time to time. While it cooks you can do your Physics homework ;)
- If most of the water has evaporated, simply add water (you can make the stew more or less thick based on your taste).
- When it is ready (be sure that both meat and potatoes are cooked and so soft that you can cut them with a fork) add salt if needed.
- You can make the sauce more creamy by mixing a spoon of sifted flour.
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