6 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 cups polenta
½ cup grated Romano cheese, optional
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. SLOWLY add polenta in a steady stream while stirring gently. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick. Be careful, mixture can pop and sputter. It’ll take about 20-30 minutes to be done. Oil a large cookie sheet or Pyrex roasting pan and pour in hot polenta. Let set and cool slightly for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle grated cheese over polenta, if you are using it. Slice the set polenta and serve however you like.
2 lbs. of ground round
1-cup rice, cooked and cooled to room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 cup grated Romano cheese, generous
4-5 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, generous
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce, heated separately in a pan with 1 clove garlic and 4-5 sprigs of parsley, chopped
6 bell peppers, each halved
In a large bowl, combine ground meat, rice, garlic and parsley with your hands. Blend in cheese and eggs lightly with your hands until combined. Once sauce is heated in pan, pour some in bottom of roasting pan. Place pepper halves in pan and fill with meat stuffing as evenly as possible. Spoon remaining sauce over and around peppers and top each with grated mozzarella. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 30-45 minutes, until cooked through and cheese is nicely melted.
White Clam Sauce with Linguine
1 dozen cherrystone or littleneck clams or a 2 lb. bag of manila clams (approx.), opened and juices reserved
3 cups of reserved clam juice plus bottled clam juice or water as necessary to make 3 cups
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
¾ cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. dried oregano, or 1 tsp. fresh, chopped
Freshly ground course black pepper to taste
2 lbs. linguine
Soften garlic and both oils until aromatic. Do not brown. Add 3 cups reserved clam juice. Add parsley, oregano, pepper and a pinch of salt. Bring mixture just to a boil in a medium saucepan and shut off heat under pan.
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil with a dash of salt. Add linguine to pot and stir occasionally to keep from sticking together.
While linguine is cooking, clean clams. Over a small bowl or glass measuring cup cover with dampened cheesecloth, trim away any dark digestive sections of clam and discard. Chop up rest of clams and reserve in a separate bowl. Reserve juices caught while opening clams in the other bowl.
Bring pot of sauce to simmer and add clam pieces and any reserved clam juices. Heat only until clams are cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place linguine on serving platter and top with sauce as soon as clams are cooked. Garnish with more parsley and lots of freshly ground pepper.
Shrimp in Arrabiata Sauce
1 bag frozen raw shrimp, defrosted and cleaned
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. chopped pepperoncini
1 (15 ½ ounce) can tomato puree
4-5 sprigs parsley, chopped
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Pat dry cleaned shrimp and keep refrigerated wrapped in paper towels. Soften onion and pepperoncini in olive oil in a large frying pan. Add dry shrimp and sauté until almost cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Add puree and simmer with chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Cook for 2-3 minutes more and taste for spiciness. Add a dash of red pepper flakes, if you like. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti, polenta or grilled sliced Italian bread.