sorry, but the original recipe of carbonara dont need peas and garlic, at least sliced onions

cucinacasatua

Don’t be sorry friend!  First, I never stated that the recipe was an original.  If anything, I stated that I was working with what I had and that did not include a pig head.  Second, when you are working with what are considered “peasant” foods, which carbonara is, you should be more careful when saying there is an “original” recipe.  There isn’t.  Peasant foods were all created by using what lower class families could put together on the cheap.  They didn’t run to the store to grab onions and pancetta if onions and pancetta weren’t readily available, they simply did without.  Do some research and find out for yourself!  Thank you for the input though!

Carbonara!! Ingredients! Bacon!! Pasta and Peas Please.

Pasta Carbonara is definitely a feel good food.  This simple, delicious meal’s name is derived from the word carbonaro, which means charcoal burner in Italian.  Word has it that it was a nice filling meal for charcoal workers in Italy.  Works for me.  There are many variations on this dish as well.  If you want to get super authentic, the meat you would use is called Guanciale, which is cured pig jowls.  Because I didn’t have any pig heads laying around, I decided to use a nice thick slab of bacon, pancetta is also acceptable.  Besides that, I tried to stay pretty authentic by not using heavy cream to cheat the silkiness of the sauce.  I’ll explain that later.  For now, here are the few ingredients you’ll need to have to create this incredible dish!!

  • 1 lb. Spaghetti
  • 1/4 lb. Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1 Cup Peas
  • 1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

I mentioned in past recipes that mise en place is essential.  (Mise en place is French for “everything in place”.)  For this recipe it is the difference between good food or bad.   Timing is absolutely everything here.  So, cut your bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and mince your garlic.  Also, grade your Parmigiano into a mixing bowl and beat your eggs into the cheese.  Make sure there are no clumps at all, it needs to be super smooth!   That wasn’t hard now was it?

First, start boiling your seasoned pasta water.  At the same time start heating a deep pan on medium for your sauce.  When your pasta water is boiling, put in your spaghetti, and immediately after, put a swirl of olive oil in your pan and add your bacon.  Here is where the timing comes into play.  Your pasta should take about 8 minutes to cook, so that is the time we have to make this sauce.  Cook the bacon for about 5 minutes, it should be nice and crispy by then.  Add your minced garlic to the sauce pan and stir it around for about 2 minutes, so its nice and soft.  At this point, your spaghetti should be finished, so strain it and add it to your sauce pan along with your peas, mix them around and let everything incorporate for a minute.   Now, remove the pan from the heat and add the egg/cheese mix you prepared earlier, and mix it constantly for another minute.  When you add the egg/cheese mixture, it needs to be off direct heat so the egg does not scramble, at the same time the egg needs the pasta to be super hot so that it does solidify into a nice creamy sauce.  Many people cheat and use heavy cream; no one likes a cheater.

Now serve this deliciousness into a bowl, hit it with from fresh cracked pepper, and you are ready to grub!!  Enjoy!!

Dig in!! Ingredients! Prep the veg. Sausage cooked and cut. Cookin the veggies. The sausage is back! Hello tomato.

I love a good sausage and pepper sandwich.  I’ve seen this put together many different ways, and while many of the recipes are very good, this one is the best.  This meal is really simple to put together, all you need is one big pot, a few ingredients and you’re good to go.  This recipe serves about 14.  I usually fill a few rolls up for sandwiches and use the rest with pasta. This recipe functions equally well as a sandwich filler and a pasta sauce.  Here’s what you need to get started!

  • 1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 6 Bell Peppers 
  • 2 Yellow Onions
  • 2 28 oz cans San Marzano Tomatoes
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Sharp Provolone Cheese
  • Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

In a large sauce pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Poke a few holes in each sausage and put them into the pot to cook.  You don’t want to sear the sausages, so make sure your heat isn’t too high.  Make sure to turn the sausages so they cook evenly and when they are cooked through, remove from the pot and slice them into 1/2 inch pieces.  Now, immediately add your peppers, onions, salt and pepper to the same pot and turn the heat up a bit.  You want to cook the veggies down so the onions are translucent and the peppers are nice and soft, this should take about 7 to 10 minutes depending on your heat.  Make sure to stir the veggies constantly so as not to burn anything. When everything is cooked through, add the sausage back to the pot along with your tomatoes and reduce the heat back to medium.  While everything is cooking, break down the tomatoes with your stirring spoon to create a nice thick sauce.  Let the sauce simmer and cook down for about an hour while stirring intermittently. Now that all the flavors are mixed together, split open a roll, put some shaved provolone cheese on and top it off with your sausage and peppers.  You are now ready to grub!  Enjoy!!

Whiz Witout Ingredients! Slice it thin. Get that pan hot!

Cheese Steaks, or GTFO.  I’ve lived right outside of Philly for my entire life, and I pride myself in knowing and loving our city sandwich.  It still amazes me that no one outside of Philadelphia, for the most part, can even come close to making a good cheese steak.  It’s a very simple sandwich, there are very few ingredients and people still manage to mess it up.  For me, the Philadelphia Cheese Steak can be ordered two ways, “whiz wit” or “whiz witout”, A.K.A - cheese whiz with sauteed onions or cheese whiz without sauteed onions.  For me, its whiz witout, and I’m eating 3 of them, assuming that I have a buzz going.  Here’s what you need to come pretty damn close to the real thing.  

  • 2 Steak Rolls (Not too hard, not too soft)
  • 1 16oz Sirloin 
  • 1/4 Cup Cheese Whiz
  • Canola Oil, Salt, Pepper to taste

Something that tastes this good, should not be this simple to prepare.  

Slice your steak up as thin as you can, I’m looking for about an eighth of an inch. Season your steak with just a little bit of salt and some fresh ground pepper.  You have to keep in mind that the cheese whiz has a salty flavor to it that will be over powered if you add too much salt in the beginning.  Next, heat some canola oil in a pan over medium high heat and add your slices of steak to the pan.  Because your steak is cut into such thin pieces, you will only need about 1 minute in such a hot pan to completely cook it through.  Now remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese whiz directly to the pan.  The residual heat will melt the cheese and let it mix in with the steak.  Carefully slice your rolls open, add you steak and cheese and you have your cheese steak.  Many people like to add ketchup or hot sauce, try it out to see what you like.  In any case, its time to dig in.  Enjoy!  

Dig in!! Ingredients! Meat and Tomatoes! Saucey. Layer it up! Lookin' Good!

Sunday lasagna is the best.  Just a few ingredients make this old favorite, well, an old favorite.  Lasagna can seem intimidating to prepare, but it really couldn’t be any easier. Get your sauce together, prepare the lasagna sheets and cheese, and in the oven you go.  In just about an hour, you have a feast on your hands.  Here’s what you need to get started!  

  • 1 Lb. Lasagna Sheets
  • 2 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 2 Lb. Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 3/4 Lb. Sliced Mozzarella
  • 1 28oz. Can San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 4oz. Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper, Basil, Oregano, Parsley to taste

First, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven, toss in your minced garlic and onion and let them sweat until translucent.  At the same time you can mix your sausage and ground beef together with salt and pepper, then add to the dutch oven. Let the meat cook through and then add your spices, tomatoes and tomato paste.  You want to mash up the tomatoes to make your sauce, but you can leave them a little chunky for a nice rustic feel.  Cover up the dutch and let the sauce cook for 30 minutes.  At this point you want to break an egg in with your ricotta cheese and stir it very well, this is to improve the cheese for baking.  

You want to prepare the layers in a baking dish, starting with your meat sauce, followed by a layer of pasta sheets, a layer of mozzarella and a nice spread of the ricotta cheese, then more pasta .  That is one full layer, keep layering on until that baking pan is filled up.  It’s always important to end the lasagna with a healthy topping of sauce and cheese so the lasagna doesn’t dry out.  Pop that into the oven for 50 minutes at 350º, with an extra two minutes under the broiler to get the top a little crispy.  I like to let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before cutting, this gives it time to settle and makes it easier to serve.  Now you can cut yourself a big portion oozing with meat and cheese and sauce.  Now it’s time to dig in!!

    Soup! Ingredients! Choppin' Mis!! The building blocks meet meat coming together! Roux!

    Today was my first unofficial day of fall.  Time for hoodies, holidays, jeans and comfort food.  I decided to kick the season off with an old favorite of mine, beef stew.  My grandmother used to make tons of this stuff back in the day, and I could never get enough of it.  This is a fun dish to make on a nice cold lazy day.  It’s just easy and it’s delicious, what more could you ask for? This recipe makes about 16 servings.  I suggest making it and freezing it if you can’t find enough people to scarf it down.  That really shouldn’t be a problem though.  Here’s what you need to get started.

    • 20 oz Angus Beef for Stew
    • 64 oz Beef Broth
    • 1 Large Yellow Onion
    • 1 Cup Celery
    • 1 Cup Carrots
    • 1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms
    • 4 Red Skin Potatoes
    • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • 3 Tbsp Butter
    • 3 Tbsp Flour
    • Salt, Pepper, Vegetable Oil

    You know the first step, mis en place.  Start off by chopping your onion, celery, and carrots, a.k.a mirepoix.  Mirepoix is a 50% onion, 25% celery, 25% carrot mix that is the building block of just about all classic recipes.  Also, everything in soup needs to be cut up so that you can eat any ingredient with a spoon.  This may seem obvious, but I have always been surprised how often this is overlooked.  You do not want to be eating a piece of meat in soup that you need to cut with a knife, it’s annoying.

    First, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large soup pot at medium high.  You want to start the soup by browning your meat in the pot.  After about 7 minutes, add the mirepoix and let everything sweat until the vegetables become soft.  Now add your mushrooms, potatoes, worcestershire and bay leaves, followed by the beef stock.  At this point, bring everything to a boil for a minute then reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 1 hour.  Now it is time to prepare your roux.  

    A roux is a thickener that is made of equal parts flour and butter that will add a nice, thick, silkiness to your soup.  You make this simply by putting a small pan on medium low heat, melting your butter and then adding your flour to the butter. This will thicken in just minutes. When the roux has a nice blonde color, add it to your soup. After the roux is added, cover the pot and let your soup simmer on low heat for another hour.  Like all stews, this will be much better the next day.  The more time the flavors have to mix with each other the better, but I know it’s not possible to wait that long to eat this beautiful stew, so fill up a bowl and serve with bread and butter and dig in!

    Wangz! Ingredients! Fryin' Up. Hot Lava Style.

    There is absolutely no shortage of ways to prepare wings.  Wings can be fried, baked, grilled, hot, sweet, sour or spicy, just to name a few.  Because of the texture and flavor we like to batter and fry our wings.  We also keep the sauce traditional for the most part.  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  Here’s what you need to make wings that are better than 99% of what you get at any restaurant, guaranteed.  

    • 1 lb. Wings
    • 2 Eggs
    • 3 Cups Flour
    • 3 Cups Hot Sauce (We use Frank’s)  
    • 1/4 Cup A1
    • 3 Tbsp Sriracha
    • 1 Tbsp Spicy Deli Mustard  
    • 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt, Old Bay, Cayenne Pepper
    • Canola Oil

    To start off, prep all of your ingredients.  In one bowl, mix together the hot sauce, the A1, the Sriracha and the Mustard.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, Old Bay and cayenne.  And in a third bowl beat your eggs.  Now wasn’t that easy?

    One thing I hate to see on wings is sauce that is too thin and won’t stick to the chicken.  To prevent this you want to reduce your sauce down a bit so it becomes thicker.  In a deep sauce pan, put your hot sauce mix in and let it cook down on medium heat while you are preparing your wings.

    In a deep cast iron skillet, heat up about an inch of oil to 350º.  Now dip your wings in the egg wash, dredge it through your flour mixture and set on a clean plate.  By this point your oil should be to temperature, so very carefully set your wings in the skillet.  Because the wings are relatively small, they should only take about 5 minutes on each side to become nice and crispy.  When they are finished, remove them from the oil and let them rest on a plate with a paper towel to drain some of the excess oil.  After a minute, place the wings in the sauce pan and mix them around so they have a nice thick coat of your hot sauce.  Now set the wings on a plate, grab some celery and blue cheese, and dig in!!

    Uhhhh Ingredients! Get that dough! Fry 'em up! Biscuits Baking. Gravy Train!

    Chicken and Biscuits with Gravy…yes please. I typically reserve my comfort food for when the cold weather comes around, but because we have natural disaster week going on, I’ll make an exception. This is an awesome meal for any time of day. It’s great for packing on some calories for a back breaking day at work, and even better for spending the day stuck in the house on the couch. Either way, the textures and flavors in this dish are out of this world. Flaky, buttery biscuits. Crispy, savory chicken. Creamy, black pepper gravy. This dish will spoil you. So if you’re preparing to be stuck at home with this hurricane, run out and grab these ingredients.   You’ll thank me later.

    • 3 Chicken Breasts
    • 3 Cups Buttermilk
    • 3 Cups Whole Milk
    • 3 Tbsp Butter
    • 2 Cups Flour
    • 2 Tbsp Sriracha
    • 2 Tbsp Cayenne, Paprika, Garlic Salt
    • Canola Oil, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
    • Bisquick

    First thing first, mis en place. Trim the fat off the chicken breasts, cut in half and let them soak in the buttermilk and sriracha for at least 3 hours. Mix up your flour with cayenne, paprika, garlic salt, kosher salt and pepper. And I know I’m going all “Sandra Lee” with my biscuits, but I’m not a baker, so give me a break. Now let’s get started.

    Heat your canola oil to 290º in a deep cast iron skillet. You’ll want enough oil to cover the chicken about half way, that’s about an inch of oil in the skillet. Now take your chicken out of the buttermilk and dredge it in your seasoned flour, do not shake off any excess flour. When your oil is up to temperature, carefully place the chicken breasts in the skillet. This oil will be super hot, you don’t want any splashing around. Let each piece cook for about 7 minutes on each side. You’ll want a nice golden brown, crispy outside. I usually put my biscuits in the oven about halfway through the frying process, they take about 8 minutes to finish. When your chicken is finished, remove from the skillet and set your heat to low. Leave about 3 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet to make the gravy. Add your butter and 4 tablespoons of flour to the oil and mix them together until smooth. Now add one cup of milk and one cup of hot water to the skillet while continuously stirring. The gravy should become thick in just a few minutes. When the consistency is to your liking, add salt and pepper to taste.

    Now everything should be ready to go. To plate this beauty, just split a biscuit in half, place your chicken in the middle and top it off with a healthy serving of your gravy and you are ready to grub!! Now eat and repeat. Enjoy!!

    The Italian Chicken Cutlet.  Unfff. Ingredients! Flattened, floured, egged and breaded. Cookin!

    In my experience, an Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich can either be wonderful or horrible, there isn’t much room for mediocre.  The flavors are always similar; the spices in the bread crumbs and flour, the bite of the sharp provolone, and the bitterness of the broccoli rabe are always present. The difference between the wonderful and the horrible comes down to how much care is put into the timing and preparation of the ingredients.  It is quite easy to really mess up and dry out a beaten up, pan fried piece of chicken.  But when executed correctly, this can be one of the juiciest, most flavorful sandwiches you will ever have the pleasure of tasting.  I highly suggest trying this recipe, you’ll be happy you did!  Here’s what you need.

    • 1 - 8oz. Chicken Breast
    • 4 Oz. Broccoli Rabe
    • 1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
    • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
    • 1 Large Egg
    • 1 Clove Garlic
    • 1/8 Cup Sharp Provolone Cheese
    • 1 “Steak” Roll
    • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

    As always, you want to begin with getting all of your ingredients prepared.  Mince your garlic, cut the stems off the broccoli rabe, trim all of the fat off the chicken.  In three separate shallow bowls, fill one with flour, one with a beaten egg and one with seasoned bread crumbs.  Mis en place.

    The first step in the process is to wrap the chicken breast in saran wrap and flatten it out with a mallet.  Try your best to have an even thickness throughout, about 1/2 inch. Next, take the flattened chicken breast and dredge it in the flour, then the egg, and then in the seasoned bread crumbs.  

    At this point you want to heat two pans to medium high.  This is when the timing comes into play.  Hit one pan with a big swirl of olive oil, enough to cover the pan well. Carefully place your chicken cutlet in the pan, don’t just drop it in, the hot oil will splash and it will hurt.  Be careful!  After 4 minutes, or when the cutlet is golden brown, flip it over.  At the same time, hit the second pan with another swirl of olive oil, when it’s hot drop in garlic and let it brown lightly. At this point, put in the broccoli rabe.  It only takes about 2 minutes to cook, so keep a close eye that it doesn’t burn. Now, slice your roll in half, place the chicken cutlet down and top that with the shaved provolone cheese.  Finally, put the hot broccoli rabe and the top half of the roll on, and you have yourself an Italian Chicken Cutlet sandwich.  Be careful, this one could be addictive!  Enjoy!!

    Ingredients! Grinding! Smart. Hard Sear! Toast the Buns!

    This burger is no joke.  This burger is not cheap, nor is it convenient.  This burger will leave you with a messy kitchen and loads of kitchen equipment to be cleaned and put away.  What this burger will not leave you with is the desire to have any other burger, ever.  It kills all other burgers, it puts them to shame.  

    "But this burger doesn’t look special”, many of you might ignorantly be saying right now.  But the secret is hard to see.  The secret is in the meat.  That secret is called….deckle.   Deckle is the heavily marbled and delicious outside layer on ribeye steaks.  Typically, a burger patty has an 80% lean to 20% fat content.  Our burgers up the fat significantly.   This in turn raises the flavor and juice in that burger.  If you are a burger guy or girl, this is the “creme de la creme”, and you need to experience it.  Here’s what you need.

    • 2 - 1 lb. Ribeye Steaks
    • 4 White Burger Buns
    • 4 Pieces Yellow American Cheese

    Optional

    • Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Ketchup, Mustard, Etc.

    —Side note—

    The white burger buns and yellow american cheese just work here.  But use what you like!  I hate when people chastise others for liking a burger med-well, if that’s how they like it, that’s how they like it.  So this is just a guideline, do what makes your mouth water!! Rant is over.

    Now, first things first, remove the deckle from both ribeyes.  You should almost be able to pull it off, but use a knife, carefully, to help pull away from the leaner part of the steak. Cut the deckle into small pieces and push it through your meat grinder so it looks like you have regular old ground beef.  Now use something around the house that looks like it’s the shape of a burger patty, maybe a jar lid, or small piece of Tupperware.  Fill this with plastic wrap, and then with your burger meat, so you now have nice, tight, uniform burgers to work with.  Smart.  Toss them in the refrigerator for about an hour so they can tighten up a bit.

    Now preheat your oven to 350º, and get your cast iron HOT, HOT, HOT.  We are going for a super hard sear on this burger.  It is vital for the crispy texture outside, and the juicy tender inside.  When your cast iron is literally smoking hot, put those burgers in.   Because of the high fat content, we need no oil or anything to grease the pan, we’re already covered.  Sear the burgers for about 7 minutes then flip them over and put them in the oven for about 7.  Right now is a good time to lightly toast your burger buns, it adds a nice texture for the meat.  Pull the burgers back out, turn off the heat, cover them with cheese and cover the pan to let the cheese melt with the residual heat from the pan.  After about 5 minutes, the meat has rested and the cheese has melted.   Set that beauty on a lightly toasted bun, hit it with whatever fixings you prefer, and dig in!!