One of the things we really enjoyed about our recent trip to Italy was cooking the local fare at our villa using only the freshest ingredients as all good Italians do. On the Amalfi Coast seafood is king and you eat in every which way from raw to marinated, grilled or stewed, it is the star of every meal. So much so that we got a little meat craving one night and decided to cook at home.
|Enoteca Cuomo, one of our favorite stops.|
|Fresh veggies brought in daily at the alimentari|
|San Marzano tomatoes in the garden|
|One of many lemon trees in the garden|
I also made a fresh tomato sauce using one of Lidia Bastianich's tried and true recipes that was absolutely delicious and very quick once you peeled the tomatoes. This recipe will follow the meatballs.
Meatballs on Lemon Leaves
2lbs Pork Sausage casing removed
1 egg lightly beaten
2 1/2 handfuls of plain breadcrumbs (I grated some day old ciabatta bread we had left over)
Grated peel of 1 lemon
1-1/2 handfuls of grated parmigiano cheese
salt & pepper
2 T. chopped parsley
24 lemon leaves washed and dried completely
-Pre-heat over to 350 degrees
-Combine sausage, egg, bread crumbs, lemon peel, cheese and parsley, mix with your hands until everything is well incorporated.
-Heat a little olive oil in a pan and make a small patty to test for seasoning (the amount of salt you add will depend on the saltiness of your cheese and sausage). Quickly fry it, taste and adjust accordingly.
-Roll the mixture into small cigar shaped patties, wrap with a lemon leaf and secure with a toothpick.
-Brush the leaves with olive oil and put on a baking sheet.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes, check at 20, you want the meat to be moist but not pink.
Fresh Marinara Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 pounds ripe fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (click here for instructions on peeling fresh tomatoes), or one 35 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid
Crushed red pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Parmigiano cheese for garnish
1lb cooked pasta
-Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, add it to the oil, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
-Carefully slide tomatoes and their liquid into the oil. Bring to a boil, and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat so sauce is at a lively simmer, and cook, breaking up tomatoes with a whisk or spoon, until sauce is chunky and thick, about 20 minutes.
-Stir in the basil about 5 minutes before sauce is finished. Taste sauce, and season with salt and red pepper if necessary.