Friday, January 29, 2021


This grinder is the Italian-American version of a French dip. This is one hearty sandwich or "manwich." I roasted a 4 pound Black Angus piece of beef the day before and saved the natural juice. The next day I made the eggplant slices, sliced the roast beef and heated up the natural juice. 

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 loaf crusty Italian bread
4 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 thin slices provolone cheese
Roasted red bell peppers
8 oz medium-rare roast beef, thinly sliced (enough for 2 sandwiches)
Natural beef juice

Prepare roasted eggplant according to my Eggplant Parmigiana recipe.
Cut the bread in half to get two pieces, each about 6 inches long. Then slice the pieces lengthwise to make sandwich rolls.

Place 2 slices of roasted eggplant on the bottom half of each sandwich roll.
Top with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese and 1 slice of provolone cheese.
Add a layer of roasted red bell peppers and top with a generous amount of roast beef.
Place sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 F degree F oven for 10 minutes, just to heat the sandwich.
Cut in half and serve with a small bowl of natural beef juice from the roast (au jus).

Makes 2 sandwiches

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SPAGHETTI, PIRATE STYLE - Spaghetti alla Bucaniera

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in southern Italy. Very ripe little tomatoes called pendolini (little hanging ones) are used in making fresh sauces. This pasta dish reminds me of the one I had in the small town of Praiano at the ristorante “Il Pirata” sitting above the emerald water of the Marina di Praia. This is very important: read through the recipe and have everything chopped and set aside, ready to add to the skillet. If you love seafood with pasta, this recipe is for you! You can choose any type of shellfish that you like...frutti di mare del giorno.

10 fresh mussels
½ lb small fresh clams
6 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
½ lb medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1 large shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2 t red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ lb spaghetti or linguine
½ lb squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch rings, including tentacles
1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped

If using wild mussels, remove the beards with a pair of “kitchen only” needle-nose pliers.
Scrub the mussels and clams with a brush under cold running water.

In a large skillet big enough to hold the pasta and sauce, heat half of the oil over medium heat.
Add the shrimp and sauté until the shrimp are pink about 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet and sauté the shallot for 3 minutes, or until soft.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
Add the white wine and tomatoes and simmer for 3 more minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan fitted with a lid, add 1-inch of water and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels and clams, cover and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they open. Scoop the mussels and clams out of the pot with a large slotted spoon into a bowl (save the liquid), discarding any that failed to open. Cover with a plate to keep warm.

In the meantime, boil the pasta in salted water for about 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente.
Drain and set aside, saving about ½ cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce, if needed.

Add about ¼ cup of the shellfish water to the sauce in the skillet and cook another minute.
Add the squid and cook another 2 minutes and then add the arugula.
Add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix, adding the pasta water.
Divide between 2 warm pasta bowls, leaving a little sauce and juice in the skillet.
Arrange the shrimp, mussels, and clams around each bowl and pour the sauce and juice on top.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Serves 2