Pepperoni Polenta Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup instant plain polenta
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red and/or green bell pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce
  • 10 slices reduced-fat pepperoni
  • 1/3 cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450˚. For crust, bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Whisk in polenta and salt. Reduce heat and whisk 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Pour into a 9″ pie plate or cake tin, cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge to chill to room temperature. Meanwhile, sauté onion and pepper with oil in a nonstick skillet until onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Pour marinara sauce over crust. Add onion, pepper, pepperoni, tomato and oregano; salt and pepper to taste. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and cook 2 more minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into 6 slices; serve immediately.

Tomato Sauce #1

This quick and easy tomato sauce is the base for two meals: spaghetti marinara and steamed mussels with tomato broth. We call for canned tomatoes because most of the fresh ones available in the wintertime have a bland flavor and mealy texture. Sugar will help round out the flavor if your tomatoes are too acidic. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like your sauce to have a bit of heat. The leftover sauce also freezes well for future meals.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (28- to 32-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional), or to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook onions and garlic in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, including juice, and salt, then simmer gently, uncovered, stirring and mashing tomatoes with a fork occasionally, until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5 cups, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  3. If sauce tastes too acidic, add sugar and cook 5 minutes more.

Makes about 5 cups

Note:
Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead, and can be frozen in an airtight container 3 months.

Simple Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce is found in Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside.
  2. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

If you are tight on time, you can substitute 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce for the Simple Tomato Sauce. Two cups of fresh bread crumbs can be substituted for the panko (they will shrink as they toast). Because these cutlets are breaded, we found that one cutlet per person was plenty—but try to buy the largest chicken breasts you can to ensure good-sized portions.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
  • 2 cups tomato sauce , warmed (see below)
  • 3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a
shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

2. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the
excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

4. Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted,
about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

Simple Tomato Sauce Preparation

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Chicken Cutlet Preparation

  1. Tenderloins tend to fall off or disintegrate during pounding, so they are best removed and reserved for another use.
  2. Halve breasts horizontally to form two cutlets. Cut this way, they need little or no pounding. If pounding, follow steps for small breasts.
    For Small Breasts
    Pour 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Turn one cutlet in the oil to
    coat. Top with a second sheet of plastic wrap and pound gently to an even 1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with remaining cutlets, adding additional oil as needed.
  3. Coat the dry chicken breast – liberally and evenly with flour before spanking the excess off, leaving only the barest film.
  4. Using tongs, dip the floured breast in the egg wash, taking care to coat the entire surface before letting the excess drip back into the pan.
  5. Good crumb depth is essential for an even, dry coating. Toss the chicken in the crumbs to coat and then press with fingers for even distribution.

Serves 6

Spaghetti and Meat Balls

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped and sauteed
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup pure olive oil

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed in a blender
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 basil leaves, chiffonade

Spaghetti:

  • 12 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 pound #8 or #9 spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Garlic Bread:

  • 1 stick soften butter
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 country loaf, cut into 3/4-inch slices

Meat Ball Preparation

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, except olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat the oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and fry until golden brown, but not cooked through completely. (remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.)

Tomato Sauce Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft.
  2. Add pureed tomatoes and juice, bay leaf and parsley, pepper flakes and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, add meatballs and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and parsley, add the basil and serve.

Spaghetti Preparation

  1. Bring salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
  2. Drain well in a colander, toss in sauce, serve with meatballs and Parmesan cheese.

Garlic Bread Preparation

  1. Combine butter and garlic. Spread evenly on bread and broil until browned.

Yields 4 servings.