Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1885
Posts tagged ‘Italian recipes’
Posted: October 31st, 2013

italian foodThanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Great Homemade Soups: A Cook’s Collection,” by Paul Gayler. The winner is Pamela A. Mackowski. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Pamela A. Mackowski, you are eligible to enter the drawing for “Crazy for Italian Food: A Memoir of Family, Food & Place with Recipes,” by Joe Famularo.
The book includes lovely descriptions of Italy and his Italian friends and family, all of whom inspired in him wonderful food.
The book would be a treasure to anyone who feels a tug toward the homeland of pasta, pizza and canolis. Every chapter ends with several recipes appropriate to a short tale. This one looked good to me:

Escarlole Soup With Beef Meatballs

Serves 6 - 8
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Soup
Misc Serve Hot
Region Italian


  • 1 medium slice Italian bread (crust removed)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3/4lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cups grated (Parmesan cheese)
  • 1 large egg (well beaten)
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt, pepper (to taste)
  • 1 head escarole (about 1 pound)
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken broth (homemade, or)
  • 5 cups chicken broth (canned, and 5 cups water)


Step 1
1. In a small bowl, soak bread in milk until bread is thoroughly moist, about 5 minutes. Squeeze dry and crumble bread into a larger bowl.
Step 2
2. Add beef, 1/4 cup cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into marble-sized balls, about 60 in number, and put them on waxed paper or on a plate.
Step 3
3. Trim and separate the escarole leaves. Rinse well and cook in boiling salted water until tender, 5 minutes. Drain and put leaves in cold water, drain again and squeeze dry. Thinly slice the leaves.
Step 4
4. Bring broth to boil over medium heat, add meatballs and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Add escarole and, partially covered, cook 10 minutes longer. Serve in large bowls and pass remaining cheese.

To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT. I don’t share or store this information.

By the way: Happy Haunting!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 24th, 2013

Take leftover cheese, tomatoes, rotini, herbs for a spin. Image from www.all-creatures.org.

Take cheese, tomatoes, rotini and herbs for a seasonal, savory, meatless spin.

The other night I was stuck with a fridge full of ingredients that elicited from me nothing but a yawn. I almost just shut the fridge door and reached for a frozen pizza.
But aging cherry tomatoes gazed up at me from their basket on the counter, forsaken and forlorn. A container of shredded fresh mozzarella and a hunk of good Parmesan peeked out from behind the milk and relishes. I squinted at the clock: an hour until the husband was due home.
I forgot about the frozen pizza and went to work and, a rare feat for me, made up a dish on the fly.
Call it Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese. Because who can resist the phrase “and cheese?” You’ll at least look at it, right? Well, feast your eyes:

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 12-ounce box whole-wheat rotini, cooked
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup shredded regular mozzarella (sold in a pouch in dairy section)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spread out the tomatoes. Drizzle them with olive oil and push them around to evenly coat with oil.
2. Roast tomatoes 30 minutes, or until collapsing and beginning to char.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saute pan and fry onions over medium heat until starting to brown. Turn the heat down to low, and let onions cook slowing until well-browned, stirring occasionally.
4. Prepare rotini to al dente, per package instructions.
5. Combine tomatoes, pasta and caramelized onions in a large bowl. Toss in cheeses and seasonings. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes to let the cheese melt. Serve.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 18th, 2013

dreamsThanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining: 100 Plus Recipes and 30
Party Plans.” The winner is Carolyn Totten. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Carolyn Totten, you are eligible to win the drawing for “Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life,” by Tessa Kiros.

This cookbook is special. Many good ones entwine family and cultural history and narrative with recipes, but this one brings to mind a day in your grandmother’s attic as well as her kitchen. Old framed photos, stories, old-fashioned jewelry, lace, roses, mementos, stunning food and still-life photography grace super-thick cardlike paper that I wouldn’t dare get a spot of food on. To use it, I’d make a copy of the recipe I want and put the book safely away.

I think I might actually have a little crush on this book and am sorely tempted to keep it, but I’m afraid it would languish on my shelf, like a beautiful blank journal I’m reluctant to write in lest I mess it up.

To enter the drawing, please send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS, and NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT. I do not store or share this information.

Oh, yeah, and the recipes look fabulous, too. Here’s a simple one:

2 1/2 tablespoons sliced red onion
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 anchovie fillets, chopped coarsely
1 heaping tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
5 slices country-style bread, roughly 2 1/2 inches in diameter
About 4 tablespoons mascarpone

1. Soak the onion in cold water with the splash of vinegar for 20 minutes or so. At the same time, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water to plump them up.
2. Drain the tomatoes and chop them into quite large, long pieces. Put them in a bowl with the olive oil. Drain the onion and add to the bowl, along with the anchovies, parsley, rosemary, and a few grinds of black pepper.
3. Broil the bread. Roughly spread a couple of teaspoons of mascarpone over each crostino, then top with the anchovy mixture and serve.
Makes 5 crostinis
– “Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life”

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 24th, 2012

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Bake It In A Cupcake,” by Megan Seling. The winner is Katy Lemmer. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

This week we’ll get off the dessert cart with "Lidia's Favorite Recipes: 100 Foolproof Italian Dishes, from Basic sauces to Irresistible Entrees," by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. (I’m pretty sure I spelled those right. Just don’t ask me to say them out loud.)

The book contains about half recognizable Italian classics, such as Eggplant Parmigiana, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Wedding Soup, right alongside recipes that broaden your horizons, including Tagliatelle With Wild Mushroom Sauce and Spaghetti in Tomato Apple Sauce.
If you are not Katy Lemmer, you are eligible to enter the drawing, send me an e-mail at jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Please include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and the NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT.

Here’s a simple, elegant dish from Lidia’s book:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oi, plus more for the finished zuppa
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups water
5 1/2-inch slices stale Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 fresh basil leaves, washed
Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot. Add the onion and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, crush the tomatoes with your hands or a vegetable mill.
2. Add the tomatoes and their juice to the pot, add the water, and bring all to a boil, stirring occasionally.
3. Once the tomatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, add the bread to the pot and bring back to a boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the basil leaves and adjust the level of heat to maintain a simmer.
4. Cook, uncovered, whisking occasionally to break up the pieces of bread, until the mixture is dense and silky, about 40 minutes.
5. If desired, remove garlic cloves and basil leaves. Season the soup to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in warm bowls, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and shreds of fresh basil leaves and sprinkled with the grated cheese.
– “Lidia’s Favorite Recipes”

Posted in: Uncategorized

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