Skip to content

Archive for

Baked Egg Casserole

I usually make this on the stovetop but adapted it to bake in the oven primarily because I entered this recipe in a Whole Foods Baked Breakfast contest. I actually like it better baked in the oven so from now on that’s exactly how I am going to make this. I must confess I try to have a healthy smoothie or shake for breakfast every morning but every now and then and I want something filling and warm and well, with runny eggs, cheese and bread.  This certainly satisfies me in every way and its quick and easy to make to boot. It consists of a baguette cut into cubes, cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven, eggs and a quick and easy no fuss cheese sauce.

  • 1 small baguette cut into cubes
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs (preferably organic and pastured)

Preheat oven to 450 Tear off 2 sheets of foil and lay on baking sheet, on one sheet place bread cubes and drizzle with olive oil, on the other sheet place tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes until bread is lightly browned and tomatoes are soft. Remove from oven. Mix the grated cheese and heavy cream together. Keep oven at 450 degrees. Butter a gratin pan and scatter the bread cubes in the pan so that they cover the bottom. Add the tomatoes next and distribute evenly with the bread, now carefully break the eggs on top nestling them into the bread and tomato, season the eggs with a little salt and pepper, now spoon the cheese and cream on top of the eggs making sure its evenly distributed. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minute until the egg whites are somewhat set, now turn on broiler and broil for 1- 2 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned, Note: Watch carefully oven temps vary and it make take a little less or more time depending on your oven and the size of the baking pan, I used individual gratin pans and it took 8 minutes to bake and a bit over 1 minute under the broiler.

Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

This is a terrific recipe for meatballs, we didn’t have them very often usually my Mom’s sauce was either meatless (Marinara) or cooked with chunks of beef and pork, but I do remember her meatballs being delicious, the consistency was soft and after leaving home I tried to make them like hers but never quite got there. I had never asked her for the recipe until last week and it was one of those Ah-ha moments when she gave me the list of ingredients. She adds Italian sausage meat, I had made them with ground pork and beef but never sausage. The taste is distinctive, the meatballs are very soft and moist (sometimes meatballs can be rubbery). They are seared and then cooked in the sauce slowly just about all day. Have it over pasta or make a meatball sub or grinder, anyway you serve it it’s delicious.

Makes: 16 large meatballs and approximately 8 cups of sauce


3 cloves garlic thinly siliced
1 shallot minced
4.5 oz tube tomato paste or 3/4 of a 6 oz can
3 28 oz cans whole tomatoes
olive oil for pan
5 leaves fresh basil +3 after sauce is cooked
salt and pepper to taste
NOTE: You can add a little sugar if your sauce is too sour (it happens sometimes)
1 lb ground beef (80%fat) I like chuck
1 lb sausage meat
handful italian parsley chopped
1/2 cup grated parmigiano or pecorino romano cheese
2 large eggs
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs from day old bread (I like to use ciabatta)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp salt
several turns of the peppermill
You will need a large mixing bowl, add the meat and mix with spoon or with your hands. Pulse the bread in the food processor add to the meat along with 1/2 cup water, add the parsley, cheese, eggs and salt and pepper. Mix together until it’s all combined. Form into meatballs, I like mine about the size of a handball. In a non stick skillet heat some olive oil, place the meatballs about 1 inch apart and fry so they are browned on each side but not cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Keep the oil and drippings in the skillet you will need it for the sauce.
To dutch oven add  the oil from the meat that was fried (only enough to coat the bottom of the pan)  then the shallot and cook until soft, add the garlic and let it cook until the garlic just starts to brown (takes only about 3 minutes) on medium high heat. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly until it caramelizes. Puree the tomatoes in the blender or food processor until smooth and add to the onion,garlic and tomato paste, stir to combine and then add the meatballs and slow cook on medium/low heat covered for at least 3-4 hours stirring frequently, or if cooking  all day use low heat so it just simmers, stirring occasionally.

Italian Cheesecake

This is my Mothers recipe for Ricotta cheesecake, I stuck to the recipe for the most part but I can’t help but add my own touches, I added some mascarpone and though a minor change I feel it made for a creamier texture. The minute I tasted it it took me back to  the kitchen of my childhood.  The cake is flavored with lemon, rum and vanilla and it has a short crust, The original recipe calls for a 8 inch pan with 3 inch sides, I used a springform pan and only had a 9 inch. I didn’t have quite enough dough to cover the top of the cake as instructed in the recipe so I doubled the recipe so there would be enough. As you can see from my cake I didn’t have quite enough of the dough so it didn’t look like the one my Mother made but the taste was exactly as I remember it.

Short Pastry

3 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbs ice cold water, add 4 to start and see if you need more
Mix flour, salt and sugar until combined, cut in shortening or butter. Add egg and enough water so that dough forms a ball. Add water 4  tbs to start and more if needed.  I made it in the food processor, add flour, sugar, salt and butter and pulse until it resembles crumbs.Beat egg with 4 tbs water and with motor running add through feeding tube, pulse until dough forms a ball. Add more water if you notice the dough is dry. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. NOTE: I had to double the recipe because I used a 9 inch pan you will have some leftover dough.
 2  lbs ricotta (4 cups)
1 cup mascarpone
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs rum or marsala
3 tsp vanilla extract
 Strain Ricotta in a sieve lined with cheese cloth until the water has drained. Beat ricotta mascarpone and sugar until fluffy and smooth, add the eggs one at a time beating until each egg is combined. Add the lemon juice,zest, rum, and vanilla and stir to combine.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
You will need a 9 inch springform pan, roll the dough as thin as possible and make sure it is at least double the size of your pan you will need to cover the top of the cheesecake almost all the way only leaving a quarter size hole in the center. Add filling and cover with the overhanging dough. Bake for 2 or 2 1/2 hours, believe me it takes that long my cake took a full 2 hours, it’s almost souffle like and you want the filling to be set completely before removing from the oven. The crust will be golden brown and as it bakes the filling rises almost causing a dome, it’s supposed to do that, it goes down when removed from the oven. Let cool completely in the pan. You do not have to refrigerate overnight like a regular cheesecake.  Serve when cooled, and if not serving after cake has cooled cover and refrigerate.
Not quite enough crust but still delicious