Happy New Year, Everyone. I was hoping to get this recipe out before New Year's Eve, but a sudden snowstorm and slippery conditions delayed Jeff from coming home with all our ingredients. Since Jeff works in Boston, our ability to get fresh food makes our dishes that much better.
With list in hand, Jeff headed to our North End favorites to get all the pieces of our Italian feast. First stop was Bova's Bakery for a large round Italian bread, sliced, please! I find it goes further if I have it sliced. Perfect example, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch today. (I'll talk about my love for peanut butter sandwiches another day!) Two doors down is Monica's Mercato, they have the best homemade pasta. Never go in and buy one pound, buy at least two because once the guests leave, you want to be able to enjoy pasta a second time! The next stop is Sulmona's Meat Market for some freshly cut veal cutlets. If you want to watch some butchers in action, you need to stop in. You begin to realize that it is not just a job, it is an art. Between watching the butchers and the patrons interact in both English and Italian, I could sit and watch them cut meat and converse all day. It makes me wish I could speak another language. Finally, across Hanover Street to Salumeria Italiana for some Parmesan cheese and Prosciutto Crudo di Parma. Salumeria has a really nice selection of cheese, cured meats, breads and pasta. heading into Boston or Providence for fresh ingredients makes a big difference when you are cooking from scratch.
We began making dinner began at 4:00 PM and we kept cooking right up until our first guests arrived about 7:30 PM. Jeff and I are fortunate that we have good friends who love to come to our house for dinner. A few years ago we dubbed them our "guinea pig" guests. (Definition: a person who is subjected to experimental or other observational procedures) We invite them for dinner but don't necessarily know what we will be serving. They have been subjected to good meals and a few not so good, but it is fun to have an audience and share a few glasses of good wine!
We started with Onion Soup with Pecorino from Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy. Our friend, Elaine, brought homemade Maple Oatmeal Bread. The bread was amazing and worked very well sopping up the last of the Onion Soup, who would have thought. Our main course was Emeril Lagasse's Veal Parmesan. We have made this recipe a few times. The veal is always tender and the sauce is a little spicy. I love the warm kick you get while eating the veal and when you add homemade pasta. The only thing you can wish for is leftovers.
- 8 thin veal cutlets, about 2 1/2 ounces each
- Essence, recipe follows
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta or 3 strips bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
Cover a work surface with plastic wrap. Space the cutlets evenly on the plastic, leaving a 3-inch space between each cutlet. Cover all the veal with another piece of plastic. Using a meat mallet, pound the cutlets to an 1/8-inch thickness. Lightly season the veal on both sides with Essence, salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and season with 1 tablespoon of Essence. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl and season with 1 tablespoon of Essence. Beat the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl. Dredge the flattened veal chops in the seasoned flour and shake off excess. Dip in the egg wash, and then coat both sides with the breadcrumbs. Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the veal until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. Add the pancetta to the pan and fry in the remaining fat. Remove from the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, and cook, stirring, to de-glaze the pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the puree, the basil, parsley, oregano, and dried red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the cooked pancetta. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Arrange the cooked veal cutlets on top of the sauce, spooning sauce over each one. Top each cutlet with a sprinkling of Parmesan, then with a slice of mozzarella. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until the veal is tender and the cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately, 2 cutlets person, with herbed egg noodles.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
We finished with some Italian pastries along with Angie's Ricotta Cookies, Angie's Almond Slices, and Cranberry Almond Biscotti. We couldn't have rung out 2009 and rung in 2010 on a better note or with a better group of people. Thank you to Emil and Di Giordano, Jim and Maria Liddick and Elaine Brown. Cheers!