Recent Recipes

The Italian Mafia


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After a couple of days, we are settling in nicely...meeting new people, relaxing by the pool and most importantly....entertaining.  Last night we served a motley crew of new friends from Dallas.  Since Matt and I haven't been together in a while, I saw it only fitting to cook his favorite...Italian.

All parties were represented...Tony Soprano, the "boss" - played by Matt, Carmela, the consummate host - played by Me, Johnny Cakes (for obvious reasons - minus the leather S&M get-up) - played by Jon, Dr. Melfi - played by Amy, and Phil, Second-in-command, played by Zac.  As long as the wine was flowing and the food was good, there was no fear of getting knocked-off.

Well, one thing that I can say...the food was good!  For a WASP, I certainly can whip up some pretty good Italian food.  Last night was the "family" recipe Caesar Salad, Auntie's Meatballs and Baked Ziti....now, I would love to give you the recipe's for both the Caesar and the Meatballs, but I'm pretty sure my body would be with Hoffa, so the Ziti will have to do!

Baked Ziti
2 lbs. ziti - boiled in salted water
1 lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1 large contained of Ricotta Cheese
2 - 8 oz. bags shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese
1 egg
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
Tomato Sauce (recipe below)

Place cooked ziti and cooked ground beef in a large baking dish (I bought a disposable Aluminum one - lasagna size).  Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add to the baking dish.  Add sauce and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Cover with aluminum foil.  This can be done up to a day in advance.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375.  Bake for 45 minutes.  At final 15 minutes of baking, remove foil and top with more shredded mozzarella.

Tomato Sauce
1 jar Prego tomato sauce (I use something simple like tomato basil)
2 small cans of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. salt
pepper - to taste
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan and stir.  Boil over medium heat then reduce to low.  Let simmer for 1 hr.  Taste and season as necessary.

Seriously, everyone was fighting for the leftovers last night.  This meal could easily serve 10 people and each and every one of them enjoyed it.  It is pretty inexpensive for a group and very satisfying.

Ahhh....food therapy complete...