Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pizza Gana alla Momma

Pizza Gana alla Momma
(Mom's Meat Pie)
Makes 1 pizza 13x9x2 inches
This is a family Christmas tradition, it is rich and relatively expensive to make but well worth the cost.  Its rich, subtle flavour is addictive to those that taste it, so much so that one friend of ours travels 400 miles each Christmas to trade her special fudge for it.  The recipe multiplies nicely; merely keep the proportions the same.  Pizza Gana is also known as Pizza Rustica or Pizza Carne in some regions.



1/2 pound Prosciutto ham, sliced very thin
1/2 pound Cappacola ham, sliced very thin
1/2 pound Genoa Salami, sliced very thin
1/2 pound good Pepperoni, sliced very thin
1-pound Mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
3 pounds Ricotta cheese
6 eggs
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

pie crust (or use your own recipe or a commercial pie crust):

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/6 cups shortening
9 to 12 tablespoons cold water


Filling  preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 400º.  Into a large bowl, tear individual slices of each cold cut (except pepperoni) into pieces about the width and length of one's thumb (about 1"x 2" pieces).  Add the slices of pepperoni without tearing.  Toss the mixture to evenly distribute the different meats.

2.  Add the grated Mozzarella, Ricotta, eggs, and nutmeg and mix thoroughly with your hands until all ingredients have been evenly distributed.  Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste, insure you mix thoroughly after adding the salt and pepper.

Pizza crust preparation:

3.  Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with a fork until the pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture and toss with fork, push the moistened flour mixture to side of bowl.  Repeat until all the flour mixture has been moistened.  Divide mixture and form into two balls.

4.   On a lightly floured surface, flatten one of the balls of dough.  Roll the dough out, starting from the center, to a rough rectangle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a lightly greased, rectangular, glass baking dish (approximately 13x9x2 inches in size) and about 1/8 inch thick. 

5.  Place dough sheet into baking dish and form to cover the bottom and sides.  Add the filling mixture and distribute evenly.   On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second ball of dough to roughly the same size as the first and about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into strips of dough 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide.  Lay strips on filled pie at about 1 inch intervals across the width of the pie, fold back alternate strips and begin forming a lattice by interweaving strips placed at 1 inch intervals down the length of the pie (beginning 1 inch from the upper edge) with the strips along the width.   After the lattice has been formed, trim excess dough around the edges of the dish by running a sharp knife along the outer rim of the dish.  Seal edges.

6.  Place the pie in the middle of the preheated oven and bake until the latticed top of the pie is golden brown, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  Allow the pie to cool and set completely before cutting and serving (the pizza is customarily made the day before it is to be served and allowed to cool over night.  It is normally cut into 3-inch cubes for serving).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili 
serves 4
Cincinnati-style chili is an enduring American classic that I first tasted in the Cincinnati  airport while on  a business trip.  Whether prepared two-way (chili over spaghetti), three-way (with cheese), four-way (with onions), or five-way (with a finishing flourish of kidney beans) it's an interesting twist on both chili and spaghetti.


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons granular garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water*

4 cups finely grated cheddar cheese (optional)
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (optional)
1  15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed  under hot water and drained (optional)

3/4 pound dried spaghetti


1. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-high heat bring oil to the ripple stage.  Add garlic and half of the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes. 

2.  Add beef and cook, stirring, until  it  begins to brown.  Add the chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, celery seed, bay leaf, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Tilt skillet and spoon out and discard any accumulated fat. 

3.  Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, and water; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until somewhat thick*, about 25 minutes.

4.  For a two-way, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al  dente, 6-8 minutes; drain.

5.   Meanwhile, for a four way, heat beans in a small pot and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until hot throughout. 

6.  Divide spaghetti between 4 large bowls.  For a two-way, top each bowl of spaghetti with 1/4 of the chili;  for a three-way, top with cheese; for a four-way top each bowl  with some of the remaining onions; and for a five-way top with beans. Serve hot, with oyster crackers on the side.

*additional water can be added if chili is too "tight"

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