Marie Barone isn't the only one...
I have been holding onto a secret for quite some time… or rather, secret recipe.
Did you ever watch the show, Everybody Loves Raymond? Marie Barone was one of my favorite characters. I mean, she could cook some beautiful foods, though she was very secretive of this. One recipe in particular got my gears moving and my curiosity on high alert. It was steak pizzaiola, a name that I memorized and thought about quite a bit.
Carne Pizzaiola means “meat in pizza style,” and is mostly made with cheaper cuts of beef, but can be other meats such as chicken. Basically, it is a wide range of combinations that you can use. The best way to put it is that the meat is a replacement for pizza crust. I have no idea on where in Italy this dish was first made, or even when, but I thank the Italians for such lovely fare.
I decided to look a recipe up and you’re probably going to giggle at where I found it at… I hijacked Martha Stewart’s recipe for her easier version (she has both that and traditional). I made it the first time several years ago, but right away I decided to change what I saw because her recipe seemed so… well… herbless? She was using round steak, which is quite lacking of flavor to begin with, and there wasn’t much in the way of even Oregano. I don’t even remember if she used it or not.
I thought about how I like my pizza in general and went for it. My family gobbled it up, including my very picky dad who didn’t like flavor much (aka, he had a bland pallet, the poor man). Guess what? It’s actually very easy to make, and you don’t even have to tenderize the meat because it’s a slow cooked, one pot/pan meal!
Totally optional but worth it, refined method:
Serve with pasta or bread if desired!
Note: I omitted the paste because that is how I like the sauce, so it might look different on my plate than it will look on yours if you use the paste.
The best part of this recipe is that you can play with it, adding what you like on pizza. If you are so inclined to add mushrooms, or other meats, or what have you. I like to keep it simple, closer to traditional. If you use a different meat, your cooking time might change, Chicken breast is better added back into the pan close to the end of the sauce cooking so it doesn’t dry up, chicken thigh would probably work better.
Funny story about a different protein that I used once for this recipe… My dad absolutely loathed venison. He swore up and down that he would be able to tell if it was deer or not. My sister asked me to cook dinner for a Christmas gathering, perhaps a few years back, knowing that dad would throw a fit if he knew it was Bambi in the pan and not Heifer. Challenge accepted. I made one of my best batches of pizzaiola that evening, making sure I was there before everyone else so dad wouldn’t see the venison before it was cooked. It turned out so tender and delicious that dad ate seconds… I had fooled him into eating deer meat!
When I told him a year or so later that we fed him Bambi, he said, “I knew it all along,” in that tone of voice a kid gets when they find out they’ve been duped.
And I laughed and laughed. (I kid)
With that all being said, I bid you good day and:
Sometimes the joy of food blogging is more than just about getting to try new things... It is also about getting to interact with my readers, offering to take requests for recipes because sometimes it's good to learn about foods you didn't necessarily know about before. For instance, I had no idea that I would get to make this kind of thing and never even heard about Frittelle before this experience. My friend didn't directly request this particular recipe, but a recipe from Italy, or more specifically, from Venice, as she is big into Venetian and Italian culture. I went looking for the perfect recipe that I could hopefully afford, and I saw Frittelle.
This was a new experience for me in general... Not just the fact that I get to make Italian donuts, but the fact that I had never fried a donut in my life. I worked in a department store bakery where the donuts were frozen and had to go into the ovens at night to get packaged for mornings so people could grab their breakfast and go... Furthermore, rum soaked raisins? I had never gotten to make those before either and I will tell you how to do that too. My grandmother actually gave me an entire, unopened fifth of rum to play with, but otherwise, the booze is the only expensive part and it's optional to put the raisins in anyways. I suggest you do it just for the experience, however, as the flavors somehow work.
I had so much fun playing when it came to this food. The rum soaked raisins are so easy that there is no need for a recipe... You just take a container (I used a plastic jar), put as many raisins as you are going to use and pour in enough rum to cover the top of them. That's it. Once you are done with the raisins, don't get rid of that rum -- You can put more raisins in or use it in another recipe (like rum balls). Let the raisins soak for at least 24 hours, though the longer you let them pickle, the better they will be.
The making of the donut pastry itself was easy peasy and didn't take much ingredients at all. The best thing about it was the smell of the lemon zest, which definitely added a certain amount of freshness to the experience. I initially thought that the rum raisins would be weird in there after tasting one, but it actually worked really well with that citrus. All in all, I was glad to have been able to have this experience and I think I will definitely be making these again!
This tastes so fresh and has a light crisp as opposed to that heavy feel you might get with some donuts. I suggest a light dusting with the powdered sugar as opposed to completely coating it so that you can show off the pastry (that and it doesn't really need a heavy hand with the sugar). As I said, I had SO much fun with these and I showed restraint by only making three at a time (and I gave some of the dough away). They were so yummy that it was hard not to want to eat a bunch!
If you have a request recipe, please do let me know! I had a blast! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Happy Eating, foodie friends!
I have already established to you all that Spaghetti is my all time favorite, or one of my favorite meals to make and eat. Sometimes, though, you have to change it up so it's not always the same thing. Sometimes I like to change how I cook the onions and the green peppers, caramelizing the one and roasting the other in order to elevate the flavor. Sometimes I like to add fennel seeds or use the sauce for a different pasta with different meals in mind. Once you have the sauce down, you have many possibilities for what you can do with it. One thing that I do upon occasion is make meatballs.
Making meatballs is an artform. If you know how to make meatballs, you pretty much know how to make a good meatloaf as they are similar in how you prepare them. The key to a great meatball is to make sure they aren't rubbery or crumbly, and that is all in how you work the mixture. It's like a good biscuit, you don't want to overwork it!
Either way you look at it, this is a good recipe to have under your belt (or any good meatball recipe) just for the sake of opening up new doors in your list of things you can do with dishes.
I wish I had some awesome story from my past I can tell you about these, but I just like Meatballs. That's all.
As I said, I wish I had some cool story to tell you about how I learned to make meatballs, but I don't, I just... like them. Although, I did dislike them as a kid. I guess tastebuds change? Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short blog post.
I am not Italian. I was born with mostly Germanic blood, a handful of Irish, and a smidgen of Sioux, but not Italian. If I could claim to have such a rich heritage I would, but alas, not I. I’m saying this because I love to cook pasta more than anything in this world, particularly Spaghetti. I dare not call my sauce “traditional,” though- oh no! That would be blaspheme… I do try to stay as close as possible, but my ragu is not your Nana’s.
This is one of my older recipes from the old site, but it is still a favorite of mine. I want to start off by saying that this is MY take, and is not authentic, Italian Ragu or Marinara. Before I get to the recipe, though, I would like to share the story about my sauce with you.
I had stated in the post prior to this one, that my mother taught me basics like spaghetti... The sauce wasn't ever home made, however, it was from a jar or a can because nobody in the household knew how to make home made spaghetti sauce. I didn't care that it was from a jar, though, because it wasn't about that for me. I was spending time with my mom and she was teaching me something.
Once I went to culinary school, I learned how to make a bunch of things like spaghetti (noodles and all) from scratch, and oh man... If you have never experienced the texture of a home made spaghetti noodle and the sumptuous feel of sauce that you made from fresh ingredients? You, my friends, are missing out.
When I got home from school, the first thing I wanted to do for my mom was to make her as close to that as I could get. Since I didn't have all of the tools, like a food mill or a pasta maker, I had to meet childhood and adulthood spaghetti somewhere in the middle. It is not from scratch, but it is mostly home made.
Now my mom can't stand eating it if it is in a jar... It was pretty cool knowing that I taught my mom how to elevate something SHE taught me how to cook!
In a large skillet or a dutch oven (On Medium-High):
Saute the meat with the onions, the peppers, and half of the amount of seasoning you want to use.
Once the meat is browned and the vegetables are soft:
Drain any excess grease, making sure to leave some for flavor, and drop in your tomato paste.
When the tomato paste starts to smell sweet:
Add your remaining ingredients, being sure to adjust seasoning.
Cover the pot/skillet and turn down to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some of your pasta water to marry the sauce to the pasta.
When the sauce is ready, toss some into your pasta as you would dress a salad, as this keeps the noodles from clumping. Then top with more of the sauce, as much or little as you like.
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe with me, and please do share it with others as I have shared with you, my foodie friends.
This is and will always be one of my favorite things to eat because it brings me back to a simpler time in life and being able to spend time with my mom in the kitchen.
This is from my table to yours.
Please feel free to leave a question or comment for me, and I will do my best to give you an answer.
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.