Friday, July 1, 2011

Grilling Burgers with Porta Mangiare Mixes

Three great recipes for making tasty hamburgers for the grill:

Spicy Burger

  • Porta Mangiare Spicy Meatball Mix - 1 container
  • 2 Links of Hot Italian sausage - removed from casing (about 1/2 pound)
  • Ground Beef - 1 1/2 pounds
  • Provolone Cheese - 12 ounces, shredded
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten

Gorgonzola Burger:

  • Porta Mangiare Traditional Meatball Mix - 1 container
  • Ground Beef - 2 pounds
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese (or Bleu Cheese) - 5 ounces
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten

Inside-out Bacon & Cheese Burger:

  • Porta Mangiare Traditional Meatball Mix - 1 container
  • Ground Beef- 2 pounds
  • Crumbled, cooked bacon (or Pancetta) - 8 ounces
  • Provolone Cheese (or Fontina) - 12 ounces shredded
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten


Mix all ingredients well.  For best results, mix the dry ingredients like cheese or crumbled bacon with the  Porta Mangiare Mixes first, then incorporate the meat and eggs.  Form into quarter pound patties and grill!  Simple and flavorful - the Porta Mangiare Mixes make the hamburgers light and add a great blend of herbs and spices.

Each recipe makes about 8 great burgers.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eggplant Parmigiano

2 medium eggplants
Flour for dregging (about 2 cups)
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano (for frying)
5 eggs
A 26 ounce jar of Pasta Sauce (or see recipe for "Sunday Gravy")
Olive oil for frying
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese - sliced thin
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmigiano (for baking)

Preheat oven to 350 degree.
Peel the eggplant and slice very thin - about 1/8"
(Optional: Lay the slices on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.  After 30 minutes, rinse and drain the slices)
Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. 
Pour the flour into a shallow dish and stir in the pepper.
In a second shallow dish, beat 5 eggs and stir in the grated cheese.
Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, then the egg/cheese mixture.  Then place them in the heated oil to fry in batches to a golden brown, turning each slice once.  Drain the slices on paper towel.  You will probably need to replenish the oil about half way through the process. 

In a 13x9 baking dish, place a thin layer of sauce all over the bottom.  Add a layer of the fried eggplant, overlapping slightly,  and another thin layer of sauce.  Then arrange slices of mozzarella cheese, covering the sauce and sprinkle a little of the grated cheese.  Repeat at least 2 more layers - eggplant, sauce, cheese.  Depending on how large the eggplants were, you may have some left over.  On the top of the last layer, arrange smaller slices of mozzarella decoratively in a pattern that will guide slicing each portion while serving.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese begins to brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve as a vegetable course.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Marinara Sauce - aka 'Sunday Gravy'

3 28oz cans of peeled Roma tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes are the best)
1/2 small onion - chopped fine
3 cloves garlic - minced
3 Tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
1/4 cup of a hearty red wine
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper - to taste
2 Tablespoon dried basil (or Oregano, but not both)


This is the only hard part of this recipe - in order to avoid the bitterness of the tomato seeds, use a food mill to separate them from the pulp. Alternatively, you can fillet each tomato (if you have the patience) removing as many seeds as possible, then dice the fillets.

In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute gently for 2 minutes until somewhat translucent. Then add the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the red wine and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the liquid is reduced and the alcohol is evaporated. The onions, garlic and simmering wine make an unbelievable aroma in your kitchen!

Now it's time to add the tomatoes. At first you'll need medium heat to get the sauce going. Stir frequently to keep the sauce temperature even. As the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat. Keep stirring and reducing the heat in order to maintain a gently simmer.

Here's where many recipes go astray. Italians do not typically cook their sauce for a long time. Twenty to forty minutes is usually enough. This leaves the sauce with a light flavor and a bright texture.

To serve in the traditional style, spoon a small amount onto your pasta and stir it in. Your guests may want to spoon more onto their plates, but traditionally, the pasta is the highlight of the course and Italians do not drown their pasta in sauce.

While there is no salt in this recipe - it tends to add some bitterness - you may add a little bit halfway through the simmer if you like. If you have been diligent about removing the seeds, you will not need to add any sugar or other ingredients to 'correct' the taste.

Here's an interesting story about "Growing up Italian" in the United States in the '50s.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

World's Best Bruschetta

(also known as the world's most complicated bruschetta)

2 french baguettes

For the Mixture:
3 cloves garlic -minced
7 medium roma tomatoes - chopped fine
4 green onions - diced, including some of the green stems
12 oz. jar of roasted sweet pepper - drained
2 Tablespoons capers - rinsed and drained
15 asparagus spears - tender tips only - sliced diagonally very thin and blanched
1 Tablespoon oregano flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons EV Olive Oil

For the Topping:
Pesto spread - e.g. Classico Basil Pesto
Crumbled Gorgonzola or Bleu Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar - 1/4 cup reduced by 50% over low heat

Slice the baguettes diagonally in 1/2 inch slices and lightly toast the baguettes on a grill or under the broiler until golden.
In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the Mixture, but drain any excess juice from the tomato or peppers before adding the olive oil.  This will help the flavors blend. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
To assemble the bruschetta, lightly spread a little pesto mix on each piece of toasted bread.  Spoon a generous mound of the Mixture, topped with a few crumbles of the cheese.  Drizzle a little (about a half teaspoonfull) of balsamic over everything and serve.
It's best to assemble the bruschetta just before serving so the toasts don't get soggy. 

By the way, the proper pronunciation is with a hard "k" rather than a soft "ch," as in "bruce kett ah"   This is, of course, a vegetarian recipe.  If you leave off the cheese & pesto, it is vegan as well.