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Chef’s recipes put hearty meals on your table |
Food & Drink

Chef’s recipes put hearty meals on your table

Mary Pickels
| Sunday, January 20, 2019 1:30 a.m
Polenta with marinara sauce at Rizzo’s Malabar Inn restaurant.

Nanny’s Famous Orange Cookies


1 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

112 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk

4 cups flour

Juice and rind of 1 orange


Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, milk, orange juice and rind. Mix well.

Sift together dry ingredients. Add to wet mixture. Stir until well combined.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.


2 cups powdered sugar

Juice of one orange

Stir well and ice cookies after they cool.

Marci’s Health Notes

Substitute coconut oil for the shortening.

Use local honey in place of the sugar.

Choose from organic, unbleached flours in a variety of grains.

Substitute the milk with almond milk.

Forget the powdered sugar in the icing. Swirl on top: honey mixed with the orange juice.

Source: Marci McGuinness

Venison Stroganoff

Cut 1 pound of venison into 1-inch cubes.

Brown in butter with one-half small onion chopped, one minced garlic clove and 10 fresh sliced mushrooms.

Add enough water to cover, simmer one hour. Add one can organic cream of mushroom soup, season to taste with garlic powder, pepper and salt.

Stir in a scoop of plain yogurt, serve over rice or noodles.

Source: Marci McGuinness

San Marzano Pork Ragu


3 pounds skinless pork shoulder (Boston butt)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons DeLallo Tomato Paste

½ cup full-bodied red wine

2 cups of water

1 (28-ounce) can DeLallo San Marzano-Style Whole Peeled Tomatoes

½ cup basil, chopped

1 tablespoon oregano

2 bay leaves

1 9.2-ounce box DeLallo Instant Polenta

4½ cups broth

¼ cup butter

½ cup DeLallo Grated Parmesan Cheese


Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook pork, turning often until evenly browned, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour off drippings.

Add onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to brown and caramelize, 12-15 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-8 minutes.

Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, 5-8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, then add basil, oregano and bay leaves. Stir in 2 cups of water. Add pork with any juices accumulated on the platter, season with salt and pepper.

Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered until pork is falling-apart tender, sauce is thickened and flavors have melded, 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Using 2 forks, break up pork into pieces, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook polenta according to package instructions. Stir in butter and cheese.

Spoon polenta into bowls and top with pork and sauce.

Source: DeLallo

Polenta Rizzo Style


1 jar Rizzo’s Malabar Inn Marinara Sauce

9 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

3 cups instant polenta

14 cup butter

14 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

10 ounces aged Asiago cheese, crumbled


Place marinara sauce in a medium size pot and bring to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.

In a deep, heavy pot, add water and salt; bring to boil. While constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly pour a fine, steady stream of polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring. Add butter and Romano cheese. Stir until polenta is cooked, 3-5 minutes.

Spread polenta in a deep, oven-safe casserole dish and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Cover polenta with shaved Asiago cheese and place under broiler until cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with simmering marinara sauce.

Source: Rizzo’s Malabar Inn

Pasta and Beans (pasta e fagioli)


2 large smoked ham hocks

8 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

4 ounces fresh basil leaves, trimmed

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

10 cloves garlic, cleaned and halved

4 gallons water

2 jars Rizzo’s Malabar Inn Marinara Sauce

7 (20-ounce) cans cannellini beans, or great northern beans

3 pounds ditalini, more or less as desired

Romano cheese, grated


Place ham, celery, basil, salt, pepper, garlic and water in a large stock pot and simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.

Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Strain broth and return to stove. Add marinara sauce. Drain beans, reserving some of the liquid. Add beans to broth. A small amount of the reserved bean liquid may be added to thicken the broth; the more added, the thicker it will become.

Remove meat from ham hocks and shred or dice, then return to broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large pot of salted water, boil pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta and add to broth. Allow soup to return to a boil. Ladle into bowls and top with grated Romano cheese before serving.

Source: Rizzo’s Malabar Inn

Italian-Style Breakfast Strata


1 pound loose Italian sausage (hot, sweet or a mix of both)

1 tablespoon plus ¾ cup DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 (12-ounce) jar DeLallo Roasted Red Peppers, cut in strips

½ pound DeLallo Red Pepperazzi, halved

½ pound DeLallo Calamata Olives, halved

½ pound DeLallo Roasted Tomatoes, halved

1 bunch green onions, chopped

6 eggs

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

16 sheets filo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


Heat oven to 350°F. Drain and chop peppers, pepperazzi, olives and tomatoes. Set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Saute until browned, breaking it up into small bite-sized pieces, about 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, pepperazzi, olives and tomatoes and sauté for about 4 minutes. Transfer to the same bowl with the sausage and add the green onions and parsley. Mix everything together until well-combined and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Set aside.

Mix the melted butter and oil with a fork.

Brush a heavy 9×13-inch baking pan with a bit of the butter-oil mixture.

Place 16 sheets of the filo dough on a clean and lightly damp kitchen towel. Trim the filo sheets slightly with a pair of scissors, and cover with another clean and lightly damp towel. Keep the filo covered as much as you can while working.

Line the baking pan with 1 filo sheet. Brush generously with the butter-oil mixture. Fold in excess filo. Repeat with next seven sheets.

Sprinkle the top of the last filo sheet with grated Parmesan cheese.

Lay the next eight sheets of filo, one sheet at a time. Brush each sheet with the butter-olive oil mixture, but do not fold in the excess. Drape any excess filo to make a “nest” for the filling.

Spread the strata filling evenly across the pan lined with filo dough. Pour in the egg-milk mixture, and fold in the excess filo to encase the filling.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the eggs dry and the strata filling puffs up. Remove from heat; wait 4-5 minutes and cut into 12 squares. Serve warm.

(Source: DeLallo)

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, or via Twitter .

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