Friday, August 3, 2012

Tomatoes and Sauce and Lasagna and Bracciole and Pesto...Whew!

The garden has been very generous this year!  I found myself with a bumper crop of roma tomatoes and basil that had to be used soon or would be lost.  So my lovely daughter and sous chef, Carolyn, and I went to work getting some things in the freezer to be used during our upcoming beach trip and also made a yummy dinner for tonight.

Anyone who knows me knows that the only TV that I really watch is the Food network, cooking channel, Say Yes to the Dress,  What Not to Wear,  and Project Runway.  A couple of my foodie shows lately have featured Italian Bracciole.  So with a bumper crop of tomatoes we set about making some tomato sauce (apparently called tomato gravy up North?) and some bracciole to cook in it.

Here is the result - a patchwork of different recipes and a few of my own ideas.

Bracciole with homemade tomato sauce and polenta

I love a savory dish with a pop of sweet so the filling is bread crumbs, celery, carrots, onions, pine nuts, egg and golden raisins.  I was really happy about how it came out.  Just the right amount of sweet.

Usually Bracciole is served over pasta, but we decided on a twist and used a tube of polenta that we had in the fridge.  Just cut into 1/2 inch slices and brown in butter and olive oil (just like a grilled cheese sandwich).

Our other project was to make a couple lasagnas to freeze for our upcoming trip to the beach.  The recipe I was using called for pesto.  Pesto?  I have basil!

Beautiful basil - the essence of summer!

A couple years ago my sister found this  recipe on the foodnetwork site.  I  cut down on the oil a bit by adding about 3/4 of the 1/2 cup and then subbing water for the rest.   There is no difference in taste.  I add a healthy palmful of salt and several good grinds of pepper and a little more garlic than the recipe calls for.

All the ingredients in the food processor ready to turn into pest!

I love how you don't add the cheese until you are ready to use it.  Also, adding the last of the olive oil over the top at the end really helps to preserve the nice bright green color even after freezing.   We made a lot of this last year and froze it in some of the small plastic containers that you can buy in the grocery store.  We ate up the last of it just as this year's basil was ready to use!

Presto!  Pesto!

So...a very productive day with a delicious dinner waiting at the end:

Tomato sauce - check
Pesto - check
2 lasagnas - check
2 loaves zucchini bread  -check
Meat for Fajitas marinading in the freezer -check
And...Bracciole to finish the day -check

Feeling very Rachel Ray Week in a Day!  :-)  

Pam's Very Non-Traditional Bracciole

1-1/2 pounds top round steak thin sliced (You buy it this way)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup minced onion
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
Tomato sauce

1.  Saute the onion, celery and carrots until just tender and the onion begins to brown slightly
2.  Add the pine nuts and raisins and saute 2-3 minutes
3.  Add the bread crumbs and allow to brown slightly
4.  Beat the egg in a medium size bowl
5.  Add the bread crumb mixture and mix until combined
6.  Lay out the top round steaks and salt and pepper the steaks.  Divide the bread crumb mixture so that you have a small (1/3 cup) on the widest end of the steak.  
7.  Starting with the bread crumb end, roll up the meat - tucking the sides of the rolls in as you go.
8.  Tie the rolls around both ends with cotton cooking twine
9.  Brown the meat rolls in a non-stick skillet in a small amount of olive oil until well browned and carmelized on all sides.
10.  Add tomato sauce about 1/2 - 3/4 up the meat rolls (homemade is best, but jarred marinara sauce would also work.)
11.  Bring sauce with meat to a slow simmer and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until meat is fork tender.
12.  Cut twine off of the meat rolls. Cut each roll in half diagonally and serve with polenta slices or pasta and plenty of sauce.

I hope that you are enjoying summer's bounty!

No comments:

Post a Comment