Do you want to leave your guests speechless?
Why not try Grandma Lenas’s Parmigiana (Melanzane di nonna Lena)?
Grandma Lena’s Parmigiana.
Meal preparation time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 15/20 minutes
Total: 3 hours and 15/20 minutes
Sauce ingredients: 2 bottles of tomato passata, I recommend the organic Sainsbury passata, 1 medium size red onion, olive oil, 2 leaves of basil. Prepare the sauce before you start frying the aubergines.
Sauce: Place some olive oil in a pot and add the finely chopped onion, keep it on fire until the onion goes golden, then add the tomato sauce. Stir and salt according to your taste and add some basil. Make it cook for at least 20 minutes @ low flame.
Peel the aubergines and cut them into regular slices (not too fine, nor too thick). Preserve them in salt for about 2 hours in order to remove the bitterness.
- Wash and dry them with a clean cloth.
- Put eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and beat them gently.
- Place some flour in a bowl and spread some sunflower-seed oil in a saucepan. Leave it over a high flame until it is hot.
- Flour the slices of aubergines, then put them in the egg mixture and fry them.
- Spread some tomato sauce in a pyrex and lay the first layer of fried aubergines. Add tomato sauce, mozzarella slices and parmisan.
- Repeat the procedure until the last layer of aubergines and cover it well with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmisan. Cook it in the oven for about 15/20 minutes @180 degrees and switch it off when the mozzarella has melt and become golden brown.
Pasta with fresh Pachino sauce by Dad Vincenzo
Meal preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15/20 minutes
Total time: 20/25 minutes
Serves 4 people
Ingredients: olive oil, half onion – thinly sliced, salt, basil, unsalted butter, 400 gr of pachino tomatoes.
- Slice tomatoes.
- Spread some olive oil in a saucepan, add the sliced onion and cook until golden brown.
- Add a spoon of white wine, pachino tomatoes, salt and 3 or 4 leaves of basil. Cook for 15/20 minutes mixing once in a while.
- In the meantime, put water in a pot, wait until it boils, then add salt and start cooking pasta (rigatoni or penne). Ensure the pasta it is still fairly firm and then drain it.
- Dress it with the Pachino sauce, sprinkle it with parmesan while the stove is still on and mix.
- Add a tea-spoon of unsalted butter and mix. When the parmisan has melt, switch off the stove.
Serve it on dishes, sprinkle additional parmesan and place a leave of basil on the top for decoration!
Grandma Lena’s Lasagne
“The word lasagna, which originally applied to a cooking pot, now simply describes the food itself”. by wikipedia
How to make the dough:
Ingredients: 300 g. of plain flour, a pinch of salt, 3 large eggs a little bit of water.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add a pinch of salt, the eggs and a drop of water. Mix the eggs and the flour by using a fork first and then your hands. Add some flour and water until the mixture resembles a coarse dough.
Now knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth, firm and soft. Leave it for 10 minutes (during this time, the tomato sauce and the Bechamel can be made). Put small pieces of pasta dough into a pasta machine and roll out as thinly as possible. Carefully put the sheets of dough on a chopping board, sprinkle some flour over the pasta and cut the sheets into rectangular wide shapes.
How to make bechamel sauce
Ingredients: 150g of butter, 100g of flour, 1 litre of milk, nutmeg (optional)
Choose a capacious pot. Melt the butter @ medium gas, slowly and always stirring add the flour little by little once the butter is all melted. Keep on stirring otherwise your sauce will be full of lumps.
Then, slowly add the milk. Keep on stirring until you achieve a medium dense béchamel sauce. You can add two or more pinches of nutmeg if you like. Do not cook béchamel too thick otherwise it will get very hard once cold and almost impossible to spread on lasagne.
Your béchamel is now done continue and make a delicious ragu sauce known in UK and US as Bolognese sauce.
Tip: in Italy ask for ragu as nobody knows what bolognese sauce is lol.
How to make ragù sauce: Ingredients (4 people):
1 minced carrot
1 minced onion , 1 stick of celery minced , 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
300gr of lean minced beef
2 bottles of tomato passata, salt according to your taste.
How to prepare:
Fry the minced carrot, onion and celery with the extra virgin olive oil until softened. Before it begins to brown, add the minced beef and mix well, using a fork to distribute the meat thoroughly among the ingredients, to avoid creating meatballs.
Add the tomato passata. Mix it all well and lower the gas to minimum heat. Once in a while, as the liquid cooks away, add a little of water and continue like this for the next couple of hours. (if in a hurry one hour should be fine)
You can now add the sauce on top of each layer adding some Bechamel sauce and Parmisan at the very top.
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