Recipes adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Meatballs & Tomatoes
1. Soak the bread in the milk until it has absorbed most of the liquid. Mash the bread up with a fork into a paste. Set aside.
2. Mix the beef, onion, parsley, egg, olive oil, parmesan, a few grates of nutmeg, the bread and milk mixture, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Knead the mixture with your hands until fully incorporated.
4. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll the balls in the breadcrumbs.
5. Heat vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. You want the oil to come up about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan.
6. Carefully place the meatballs in the oil and cook them—browning on all sides.
7. Remove from heat and spoon off as much of the fat from the surface as you can. Return the pot to medium heat and add the tomatoes and their juice and a pinch of salt.
8. Turn the meatballs over so that they’re coated in the sauce. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to keep the sauce on a steady simmer. Cook for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Eggplant Patties with Parsley, Garlic, & Parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place the whole eggplants on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack of the oven. Bake until very soft and tender—about 40 minutes.
3. Take the eggplants out of the oven and let them cool. Once you’re able to handle them, peel the skin, and cut them into large pieces.
4. Put all of the pieces of eggplant in a colander and set over a deep dish to let most of the liquid drain from the eggplant—this should take about 15 minutes.
5. Chop the drained eggplant very fine and combine it in a bowl with breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
6. Form patties with the mixture about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Lightly coat the patties in flour and set aside.
7. Heat up vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat—the oil should come about ½ up the sides of the pan.
8. Once the oil is very hot and shimmering, carefully lower the patties into the pan—making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
9. Once they have formed a golden brown crust, flip them and cook until golden brown on the other side. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them over a cooling rack.
10. Season with salt and serve with marinara or on their own.
Braised Sunchokes & Scallions
1. Cut the sunchokes into thin ¼ inch slices. Trim off the roots of your scallions and cut each scallion into two long pieces—leaving on the green tops.
2. Heat the butter over medium high heat in a saute pan. Once it starts foaming, add the scallions and turn the heat down to medium. Add a ½ cup of water and cook until the water is nearly evaporated—turning the scallions here and there.
3. Add the sunchokes and talk and pepper to taste. Add another ½ cup water and cook at a steady simmer until the water evaporates once more—stirring occasionally.
4. Once the sunchokes a tender enough to poke with a fork (you might need to add more water and cook longer if they still aren’t tender once the water has evaporated) season again with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.