Venice Style Liver: you must try it!

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Our lives are most of the time marked by a routine. Jobs, meals, time with the kids, TV and couch time, everything at a certain point of our life becomes repetitive.

At least once a week we should make an effort to get out of our routine- to make or do something different which will help satisfy our souls and spirits. And accordingly, we should sometimes try different kinds of food, at least to get a bigger spectrum of nutrients into our diet, and be healthier.

Liver (don’t make that face, it is a kind of meat as any other! 😉 ) is a very good choice for our body thanks to the incredible quantity of vitamins, proteins and minerals it contains. As per the last one, I have always had to fight with my low level of iron. Well, adding liver once a month to my diet not only made my cooking habits more exciting (oh my, it is so delicious!) but has given me the mineral I needed to feel stronger and healthier.

Venice Style Liver (finely sliced liver with gently stewed onions) is one of the most classic Venetian dishes (along with Mozzarella in Carrozza), and probably one of the most popular around the world. Even those who do not usually like liver will enjoy it, because white onions’ sweet aroma mitigate the strong flavor of the liver, to create a sophisticated gourmet dish.

All in just 30 minutes!

So forget your distrust, follow this recipe, and – I promise – you won’t regret it!

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

1 lb. beef liver (better if veal liver) – mezzo kg. di fegato di vitello

3 lbs. white onions – 1 kg e mezzo di cipolla Bianca

2 Tbs rosemary – 2 cucchiai di rosmarino

2 tsp. crushed red pepper – 2 cucchiani di pepperoncino

salt to taste – sale quanto basta

about 5-7 Tbs olive oil – circa 5-7 cucchiai d’olio di olive

DIRECTIONS

Cut the onions not too finely and rinse the liver, dry it thoroughly with paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch strips.

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In a pan, pour 5 Tbs. olive oil, add the onions and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.


When the onion becomes translucent, add the liver strips, the rosemary, the crushed red pepper and salt, and let cook – stirring from time to time – for about 5-8 minutes.

 

The meat should change color, but not be overcooked to avoid it to becoming tough.

A few minutes before taking the pan off the stove, add some sea salt if necessary and a couple of Tbs. of olive oil.

The perfect side dish for Venetian Style Liver would be – for sure – “Polenta” (Italian Corn Meal) or mashed potatoes.

Your gourmet dish is ready to be enjoyed!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – The downside of liver: it contains a high quantity of cholesterol. This is why it’s recommended not to consume it more than once a month.

           – Another great thing about this dish: it is super cheap! You can buy a pound of liver for less that $4. So go ahead and try it! You will broaden your horizons by trying something new, and if you don’t love it as much as I do, you will only be out $5. 🙂

           – I suggested you add the olive oil *after* cooking because raw oil is healthier than cooked, more digestible and less harmful for our body.

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do, share it, like it, leave a comment, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

Ricotta and beef meatballs. An Italian classic!

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In the collective mind of Americans, spaghetti with meatballs is one of the most popular Italian dishes.

Actually, this is partly true, considering that in Southern Italy they do dress spaghetti with meatballs and sauce.

But since I come from Northern Italy, I grew up eating just the meatballs as a main dish, possibly accompanied by mashed potatoes.  The meatball recipe I’m excited to be sharing with you this week is one of my grandmother’s “classics”!

She used to make a lot of meatballs all at one time, and then she cooked part of them immediately by simply frying them in olive oil.  The rest were cooked in a tomato sauce, and eaten in the next few days.  This is why I give you the quantities for a big pan of meatballs; they are just as delicious as left-overs, or you can freeze them, without loosing any of the taste.

Meatballs are a simply delicious meal, and like many other dishes that I’ve already described in my past posts, this one also finds its roots in the tradition of the Veneto Region.

 

INGREDIENTS for the meatballs

2 lbs. ground beef  (1 kg. carne macinata)

1 lb. plain Italian sausage- without fennel seeds (1/2 Kg. salsiccia)

1 lb. ricotta (1/2 kg. ricotta)

3 eggs (3 uova)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (1 pugno grana)

sea salt to taste, I suggest about 3 pinches (3 bei pizzichi di sale)

2 pinches nutmeg (2 pizzichi noce moscata)

1 pinch dry rosemary (1 pizzico rosmarino)

1 tsp. fresh or dry parsley (1 cucchiaino di prezzemolo)

optional: a clove of garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup bread crumbs (1 pugno pan grattato)

all purpose flour for breading (farina per la panatura)

olive oil or vegetable oil for frying (olio d’oliva per friggere)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

5 tbs. olive oil (5 cucchiai d’olio d’oliva)

30 oz. (2 cans) tomato sauce (2 barattoli di polpa di pomodoro)

1/2 medium white onion, chopped (mezza cipolla tritata)

1 clove of garlic (1 spicchio d’aglio)

salt and pepper to taste (sale e pepe qb)

1 tsp. crushed red pepper (1 cucchiaino peperoncino)

1 tsp. rosemary (1 cucchiaino rosmarino)

1 tsp. basil (1 cucchiaino basilico)

DIRECTIONS for meatballs:

In a big bowl mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, and spices/herbs (all ingredients except breadcrumbs).

When all the ingredients look amalgamated, add the bread crumbs, and keep mixing.

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Put the mix in the refrigerator to chill, and meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce.

 

 

DIRECTIONS for tomato sauce:

In a large pan, brown the chopped onion and the garlic clove in olive oil.

When the onion looks golden, add the tomato sauce and all the herbs/spices.

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When the tomato sauce reaches boiling, turn the burner to low heat, and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, covered.

If the tomato sauce becomes too dry before 15 minutes, add a couple tbs. of water.

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While the tomato sauce is cooking, take the meatball mix out of the refrigerator and start to make small balls.

 

BACK TO THE MEATBALLS

Each meatball should be made with about 1 tbs. of meat mixture (remember that the smaller your meatballs are, the taster they will result).

Then flour each meatball evenly.

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Into a large pan pour about 5 tbs. of olive, switch on the heat, and when the oil is hot, start to brown the meatballs all around.

Cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes. They have to become brown slowly, so they don’t stay row inside.

Considering that you will obtain plenty of meatballs, you’ll probably run out of olive oil in your pan.  So, I suggest to rinse and wipe out the pan when the oil in the pan begins to burn, and use new oil to brown the remaining meatballs.

You can eat the fried meatballs immediately, or mix them in the tomato sauce.

Once the tomato sauce is ready, take the garlic clove out of the pan, mix the browned meatballs in it, and let them cook together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, to allow the tomato to get the meatballs’ taste!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT,  LOVED IT!

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Tips:

– I’ve never made spaghetti and meatballs because to me meatballs are already rich enough, but if you want to make them to dress your pasta, you’ll get a really great entree!

– As I told you in the header, if you make the meatballs before dinner, you can just fry them and enjoy them without tomato sauce.

– As side dish, I suggest mashed potatoes or any other veggies.  Of course with french fries the combination would be perfect…  if you just don’t care about calories 🙂

– If you have meatballs leftover,  freeze them only once they are cooked and mixed with the tomato sauce.

Beef, ham, and lava cheese roll: lucky I got this picture, since everybody wants to devour them immediately!!!

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This recipe is one of those which makes me recall when I was little.  This is the first reason I love it; the second reason is because it is absolutely delicious!

When my parents were young and starting to build their home, they had to be very shrewd with money, and my mom had to select groceries very carefully so as not to spend too much.

Plus, as many other children, my brother and I were not big fans of meat, so she had to reconcile two issues:

1) make sure that her kiddos would eat meat and 2) spend the least amount of money she could.

These beef rolls were her (absolutely scrumptious) solution.  Not only kids, but all of your family and guests will love them,

plus they also are super easy to make and inexpensive.

The crunchy outside of the roll hides a melted cheese heart and a light taste of ham.

Hard to believe that such a “poor”dish, can have such a symposium of tastes!

INGREDIENTS for 6 rolls:

6 slices beef top round, extra thin cut for milanesa

12 slices smoked ham

6 Swiss cheese singles

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 beaten egg

Vegetable oil (to fry)

sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

For each roll, spread a slice of beef on a chopping board.

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Along one edge of the beef slice, arrange 2 slices of ham, overlapping each other as shown.  Then place 1 cheese single, folded in thirds, on top of the ham.  Fold the ham around the cheese (top and bottom, then each side).  Be sure to fold the ham around the cheese very well to avoid gaps where the cheese could seep out of the roll during the frying phase.  Flip the ham and cheese pocket over so the folded edges face down, to help keep it from coming open.

Now wrap the ham and cheese pocket with the slice of beef, tucking in the top and bottom edge of the beef slice as you roll.  When you have the ham pocket covered completely, cut off the surplus (you could use it later, for a delicious Bistecca alla Milanese).

Once you have all your rolls done, dredge with the beaten egg and then breadcrumbs, coating evenly.

Fry each side of the rolls in a greased pan, until they become golden all around.

Salt the rolls, and serve immediately to get the best result, crunchy outside and melted inside.

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

 TIPS:

– If you are planning to make the rolls for dinner, you can prepare them in the morning, and keep them refrigerated until dinner time, so you just have to fry them before serving.

– Since I try to eat the least processed food I can, I use plain breadcrumbs made out of baked bread. To see how I make them, click here.

– The perfect side dish to these rolls, for sure would be fries, but considering that they are pretty rich (in taste and calories), I suggest serving them with  a “light” side dish, like a mix of boiled carrots, peas and potatoes.