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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Meat and Seafood [CoTM Sept 2006 and Nov 2013]

September 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your reviews of meat and seafood recipes from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Roast chicken w/ lemons. Excellent.
    Chicken cacciatora. Ditto.

    1. Veal scallopine w/ marsala & cream. Mmm, mmm.
      Beef stew w/ red wine and vegetables. Very, very good. Simple and easy too!

      1. My contribution, plus a question: what are people thinking abbout the Silver Spoon cookbook?

        Salmon Foam - not so good

        Broccoli and Anchovy Sauce - Excellent, a standard in our house, but I use rabe

        Sauteed Snapper or Bass w/ Finocchio, Sicilian Style - good, but stint on the oil

        Pan Broiled Steak w/ Marsala and Chili Pepper - You can substitute rib steaks for the sirloin and madeira for the marsala, and it's quite nice. Use a milder chili, e.g one serrano/steak is too much (and I LOVE chilis).

        Stewed Pork w/ Porcini Mushorroms and Juniper - This is GOOD. I grind the juniper berries and the bay leaves, and just add them to the whole mess. If you have rib trim (e.g. you were BBQing the night or two before), it works fine in lieu of shoulder. You may not want all of the mushroom soak water. Boosting the amount of anchovies, onions, and marjoram is, to your taste, a good thing.

        Eggplant Parmesan - THE BEST. But triple or quadruple the amount of basil, also I usually use a homemade garlicy tomato sauce rather than just tomato. I also use a mandoline to slice the eggplant thin.

        Diplomatico - Yummy, and I do NOT like chocolate

        3 Replies
        1. re: candace

          Just a query. I have always thought that bay leaf could be harmful if eaten and always remove them from my dish. Is it all right to eat it ground. I have heard a person can choke.

          1. re: candace

            Pan Broiled Steak w/ Marsala and Chili Pepper (Essentials, p. 386)

            I made this dish over the weekend - delicious. I didn't have fresh chili pepper, so I added dry. I loved the subtle, interesting flavor that the fennel seed added. This dish is listed in her menu suggestions at the back of the book and I followed that menu, serving spaghetti with butter/rosemary sauce first, then the beef with asparagus (dressed with olive oil and shaved parmesan), followed by fennel salad. The sirloins I bought were huge - a pound each, so we had a lot left over which I sliced and heated up with the remaining sauce the next day. I only used two sirloins, but made the full sauce recipe as my DH is a sauce lover. Also, I found that the cooking time for the meat cooked the meat more to medium rare, than rare, though that may also have been my use of an electric stovetop with which I am unfamiliar.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Pan Broiled Steak with Marsala and Chilli Pepper Pg. 386

              Well here we are some 7 years later and I must say I agree with MMRuth's review from 2006, a very nice recipe with a very different/interesting flavour profile.

              The only issue is the timing, which in my case was a tad too long, just as MMRuth said (wish I would have read her review before cooking). That said, the dish was still very good and I thought that the heat from the thai chilli I used combined with sweetness from from the tomato paste and Marsala, almost reminded me of a sweet and sour flavour with some kick. I was a bit worried about the whole fennel seeds, but the end result was very good with just a little burst of fennel flavour when you bit in to a seed every so often. It sounds a bit odd I know, but it really worked!

          2. Eek. Just realized I have mushed together various parts of the meal in one post. Ok, will start resorting. Apologies.

            1. Grilled Shrimp Skewers: maybe my favorite dish in the book. So very much more than the sum of its parts.

              Fricasseed Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Juice: wonderful.

              Spareribs Pan-Roasted with Sage and White Wine, Treviso Style: it still makes my mouth water just to type the title of the dish, but when I made it, it was simply swimming in fat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: heidipie

                Just reading the title "Pan Roasted Spareribs" makes my mouth water. ;-) LOVE that recipe! Yes, it is swimming in fat. But such great tasting fat! Although the recipe doesn't call for it, I usually pour off most of the fat and degalze the pan with either water or white wine. We love that sauce so much, I always serve plain white rice with the spareribs just to have some way of sopping up the juices.

              2. Can I make a suggestion? Could people start making comments about one dish per reply, rather than listing everything you've made at once? Then other people who have made that dish can add to that thread.

                That said, my contribution is Baked Bluefish Fillets with Potatoes in the Genoese style. The potatoes are thinly sliced and tossed with garlic, olive oil, parsley, salt & pepper. That's it. Then baked half-way before the bluefish fillets are added. The potatoes end up with delicious crispy bits and the bluefish have an intense flavor with a buttery texture. The combination of the strong-flavored fish with the potatoes is perfecto. I was extremely proud of myself, as it was the kind of fish dish I would be thrilled to eat in a restaurant. It was also extremely easy, making it a perfect impressive dinner party dish.

                Unfortunately, bluefish has extremely high levels of mercury--unknown to me until after I consumed a pound of it--but I imagine that mackerel and other similarly flavored fish would make good substitutes.

                3 Replies
                1. re: AppleSister

                  That sounds delicious - adding it to my list to try. Thanks!

                  1. re: AppleSister

                    I made this dish tonight, though w/ cod rather than blue fish. It worked pretty well.
                    Have to say that had it not been for the cookbook of the month project, I probably would have gone to a more standard non-Marcella (Bittman?) technique. So I'm appreciative of the impetus to search out a Marcella technique for what I had to cook with.
                    The potatoes are sliced very thin (I used thin setting on food processor), tossed w/ Marcella's usual OO, parsley & garlic, and the fish, ditto. Not any drippings available for basting, so I used more olive oil! Worked well overall. DH liked the potatoes; not a big fish fan. I like both! Served w/ swiss chard sauteed w/ garlic. I would probably return when I want some potatoes w/ my baked fish. That Marcella, she's nothing if not dependable!

                    1. re: AppleSister

                      We make this regularly, it is terrific, one of our fave bluefish preps

                    2. Well, on the "News and Guidelines" post, Redwood mentions that they were hoping "that folks would be able to discuss recipes before making them, and then perhaps small groups of people could decide to try the same recipe together".

                      Because of this thread,


                      I decided to try this recipe this weekend, but wantged to mention it if anyone else wants to make it also, and we could compare notes. In the Essentials book, it's "Tuscan Meat Roll" with white wine and porcini. Would also love to hear any tips if you've made it before. Thanks!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rubee

                        Hi Rubee,
                        I was also hoping to join a small group of people to cook the same dish and compare notes. Thank you Rubee for taking the initiative! So Tuscan Meat Roll it is!

                        Can we get anyone else to join? If you are interested but don't have access to the Essentials recipe (pg. 403 in my version), I'd be happy to post a paraphrased version.

                        1. re: mielimato

                          Hi Rubee,
                          I just noticed that Redwood posted a new topic specifically intended for menu planning and for people to discuss recipes before making them. I will re-post in that section.


                      2. Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore new version.

                        I've owned this cookbook for many years, it was probably the first book that transformed me from the one who cooks dinner in the family to one who thinks about what to cook for most of the day. Anywho, up until now I have had wonderful results with every recipe I've tried, and I've tried almost all of them. But tonight I tried a new one. I've made the chicken cacciatore many , many times before and it is fantastic, but tonight I tried the new version for the first time. When I read the recipe first, I was worried that the onions would get too dark before the chicken could crisp up, if at all. And this is exactly what happened.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: knuckles

                          Thanks for posting. I'm confused though...from which book does the new version come from and how about the old?

                          1. re: knuckles

                            Chicken Fricassee, Cacciatora Style (p. 330)
                            Online recipe here:

                            Made this a couple nights ago and thought it was pretty good, but it didn't have me swooning. The recipe was simple to follow, and the ingredients were all things that would be easy to buy or staples that I'd have on hand.

                            Pan-frying the lightly floured chicken made it beautifully golden and helped to cultivate good bits of fond (even though some flour looks burnt, the final dish didn't taste burnt):

                            One pot meals such as this make life easy. It's almost done simmering:

                            Finished dish which I paired w/ roasted veggies on hand, but would have been ideal w/ soft polenta:

                            Ultimately, I can't really get into chicken skin that is sogged over from sauce. The flour gave the sauce a nice consistency, but I thought it made the chicken skin taste a bit gluey.

                            I restrained myself from dry-brining the pieces in advance to follow Marcella's exact instructions, but I will do that in the future. I don't quite understand why this recipe seasons the chicken AFTER pan-frying. I feel like more and well-timed salt additions would have released every bit of flavor and made the dish sing. I would make it again but w/ my own modifications.

                            In general, I've noticed that Marcella doesn't really emphasize salting, so I think cooks should take liberties to salt when appropriate.

                          2. Minestrone - I know!!! It sounds lame that vegetables in broth can be something to rave about. But I can tell you that following her directions exactly make what I can only say is the best Minestrone I've ever eaten.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Chas

                              Plus one on the minestrone. I think it is the combination of her meat broth, and the parm rind.

                            2. Roast Chicken with Lemons

                              I was planning on trying the roast chicken with garlic and rosemary because I've made the justly famous chicken and lemons so many times, but it's hard for me to try a new recipe when that one is SO good and SO easy. If you're not familiar, there are only three ingredients in this recipe - the chicken, lemons, and salt and pepper. Basically you poke two small lemons all over with a skewer, put them in the cavity, close the opening up, and roast the chicken, turning once. It's always fantastic, juicy, with a flavorful tangy sauce, as many Marcella Hazan fans will tell you. The only difference I did was to dry-brine it a la Zuni. Also, mine never puffs up, I wonder if it's because I never buy small lemons and always end up using one large one. Any thoughts?

                              Anyways - I tried to get a pic that shows how golden and juicy it ends up:


                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Rubee

                                I have only had it puff up once. I think it was because I started separating the skin from the flesh to put some rosemary sprigs under there. I opened the oven to check on it and it was all puffed up, but when it was time to take it out it deflated. So I guess I really haven't helped you at all. I made this last night as well, no puffing....

                                1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                                  Hmm. I'll try separating the skin. Thanks, that was helpful!

                                2. re: Rubee

                                  I made the roast chicken with two lemons tonight, though not from the cookbook (I have requested it from the library but it isn't available); from a reprint in the NYT. I usually roast a chicken with a lemon in the cavity, but I usually halve it rather than piercing it. I've never cooked a roast chicken breast side down first, though I know the technique exists. The chicken was extremely moist and flavourful, although the skin didn't get as crisp as it usually does when I rub a little fat into the chicken. The skin didn't puff up, either, and a little tore in the thigh (though the skin on the breast didn't tear when I turned the chicken).

                                  My chicken was already trussed so I didn't bother trussing, but I followed all the other steps, including the fussier ones like rinsing the chicken out and washing the lemons in cold water. Because I'm using a recipe reprinted in the NYT I can't comment with complete confidence as they may have streamlined it or removed chatty headnotes, but the writing seemed quite clinical and the steps were fussy without having any explanation as to why it would be effective to carry out certain steps.

                                  Still; really flavourful - amazing what just a few ingredients can do. My second ever Marcella recipe, too.

                                  1. re: limoen

                                    It sounds to be a pretty accurate writing of Marcella Hazan's recipe. She says to poke holes in 2 small lemons. I usually get lemons at Costco and they are BIG, equal to 2 small. I quarter it and just cram it in and tie the legs together with string, don't bother trussing. I only like to eat white meat (relatives and my cats get the dark) and the meat is perfect, not dry at all.

                                    Maybe, at the end at 400 you can cook it for 25 min instead of 20 -- when I do it, the skin is crispy, just fine. Was your chicken 3 1/2 - 4 lbs? I cook mine in an All Clad stainless steel roasting pan, clean up very easily.

                                    1. re: walker

                                      It was the correct size; I roasted it in a small ceramic square pan. I did think that maybe a metal one would be better for crispy skin but I had already plopped the chicken in by the time that thought occurred to me. I did roast it for about 25 minutes at the end, and tested it with a thermometer

                                  2. re: Rubee

                                    Roast Chicken with Lemons Pg. 327

                                    My turn for this one last night. I have to say I never have much luck with Roast Chicken. Not to say I don't like it, I do, but I usually find them a bit bland without gravy. In this case I was encouraged by many good reviews of this chicken so I thought I would give it a try. On the whole I thought it was good, but not spectacular.

                                    My lemons seemed quite small to me, but I still could only fit 1 in the cavity of my 3.5 lbs chicken. I used the tooth pick method to mostly seal the opening, and then tied the legs loosely as called for. The skin didn't puff up, but it did become nice and crispy, but I can't help but thing a bit of olive oil would have made it brown more. In terms of the flavour, I thought the chicken was nice and juicy with a good hint of lemon, but I still wanted gravy.

                                    Total roasting time was about 80 minutes, but I think it could have done with 85 because the dark meat was done but I didn't serve some of the meat around the joints as it seemed a bit shy of where I would like it. That isn't the recipes fault though, it was mine.

                                    On the whole this was good, but nothing to write home about for me.

                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      I'm so glad I caught wind of this thread--- this is an exceptionally no fuss dish, and the results are delicious. I like that Hazan's recipe requires no brining, no additional fat, and no roasting rack to scrub afterwards.

                                      I used wooden skewers to poke holes in the lemons and then used two of them to seal the cavity. As a bonus, they provided nice little resting beds for the legs, so I didn't need to truss the bird at all!

                                    2. Amazing picture Rubee!! Sorry to be a copy cat, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve had Zuni Chicken and Bread Salad on the brain recently so I HAD to try the Two Lemon Chicken and Panzanella, or Bread Salad recipes for this special project! :)

                                      I admit, I’ve always been afraid of cooking whole chicken. I once had one in the Freezer for gosh knows how many months because I couldn’t even remember when I bought it, because I would never BUY a whole Chicken (I did bake it rosemary style and it was okay). After a trip to Zuni (Where I wanted to suck every last bone of that chicken) and after reading the raves and how easy this recipe would be, I was eager to get back on the horse.

                                      As Rubee said this recipe is SOOO easy... probably the hardest part was getting the two chickens stuffed in there!


                                      I checked the chicken at the time the recipe said it should be done and saw that it DID get nice and puffy (especially around the legs!!) !!! I check the temp and it was still a little low inside, so I poped her back in, hoping the chicken would get all nice and crispy like the Zuni Chicken...


                                      When my temp alarm went off a few minutes later, the Skin had gotten crisper, but not nearly as caremely as the Zuni Chicken. Ah well, I rather had moist chicken than crispy skin anways, so I carved up and served it along side the bread salad.


                                      Overall, it made for a GREAT dinner. As you can see, the skin did have a slight crisp edge, but it was still to flabby at bits for me to really enjoy it. The chicken was done PERFECT. I used a Kosher Chicken from TJs. The bread salad was a great accompaniment with it too. The flavors of tomatoes and sharpness of the dressing really helped amp up the chickeny flavor.

                                      No, it wasn’t as mind blowing as the Zuni Combo though, also, while the aroma of Lemon was astounding, it really did not impart that much lemony flavor to the chicken. Ah well... I would defiantly do it again because it was so easy, quick and yummy! :




                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: Dommy

                                        I agree - it doesn't get as crispy as the Zuni (which I think is cooked at 475 the whole time), but I find I make the lemon chicken more often since it's so easy and so juicy and delicious. I actually find a nice lemony taste to mine, but I really soften the lemon and poke it 20-30 times. At least you did the experimenting for the bread salad combo - if I'm craving that, looks like Zuni is the way to go!

                                        1. re: Dommy

                                          Thanks for your report, Dommy! I'm glad you're starting to conquer your fear of roasting a whole chicken at home. It is really easy, and Marcella's recipe is esp. good for a beginner. I'm impressed that you even trussed yours; I think I rigged mine shut w/ a sturdy toothpick.

                                          The chicken gets very juicy and fragrant. I love lemony flavor, so I carefully sliced the hot lemons in half and squeezed some directly onto the cut chicken. Here's a previous post to add:

                                          (And I'm glad you liked the Zuni chicken. No other recipe gets the skin as perfectly crisp and caramelized!)

                                          1. re: Carb Lover

                                            We always squeeze the lemons over the carved chicken, too (even though Marcella warns you not to), and we don't even cut them in half first, we just carefully (and slowly) squeeze the juice out through the holes we've skewered in with a pair of tongs. We've never been squirted with hot juice.

                                          2. re: Dommy

                                            I made this two days ago too. I'm still not sure how much I like it. I wet-brined the chicken beforehand which Marcella does not specify, but I wouldn't cook chicken that wasn't brined, it makes such a big difference.

                                            I found the chicken very moist, the skin a little leathery and not crisp. The aroma of lemons was intoxicating but the chicken had little lemon flavor. I'm not sure what the point of the lemons is - can someone enlighten me?

                                            Of the 3 recipes I've tested recently for roast chicken - ATK, Zuni and Marcella I still rate ATK the highest for producing very crisp skin with juicy chicken meat. I think I'd rate Marcella's recipe higher than the Zuni method because I found the Zuni chicken way too dry for my taste, although the crisp skin is wonderful. But I absolutely love Zuni bread salad. I think for ease, Marcella's recipe is great. I'll try squeezing the lemon juice over the chicken as other posters have said. It would add to the flavor of the nicely moist meat. But overall if I want killer roast chicken, I'll do ATK's method with root vegetables under the chicken, then put the chicken pieces over bread salad a la Zuni. This gives me the best parts of both recipes.

                                            I roasted the chicken over a bed of root vegetables - potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, parsnips - which were beautifully caramelized and tasty from the chicken drippings.

                                            1. re: cheryl_h

                                              Thanks for reporting back. Doesn't sound like you were very impressed w/ this recipe. Did you poke lots of holes in the lemons? I used a skewer and poked at least 20-30 holes per lemon. Even w/o squeezing the lemon juice onto the chicken at the table, it had a lovely lemoness streaming through it.

                                              I chose to dry brine and wonder if the wet brining contributed to the leathery skin since it's cooked on lower heat? My skin wasn't super crisp, but it was beautifully golden and tasty enough.

                                              Funny how rankings can differ; mine is the exact opposite of yours! Zuni, Marcella, ATK. Ah, the roast chicken debate continues... :-)

                                              For something new, I'm planning on making another of Marcella's chicken recipes tonight...most likely the cacciatora (old version). I want to dry brine badly (I'm an addict), but I'm forcing myself to follow the recipe...or I may go sprinkle on some salt before I leave for work...

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                I did poke lots of holes, the lemons were dripping when I put them into the chicken. The part of the chicken around the cavity was lemony, but nowhere else. So breast meat was nicely perfumed but wings and drumsticks not. When I took the lemons out and they cooled down, they were quite soft so I think they lost a fair amount of juice.

                                                I don't know if the moistness of the chicken meat was due to the lemon or not. I've roasted chickens similar to this recipe before (no lemons) and not had such good results. So perhaps having the lemons in the cavity is the reason? I don't know. To me having juicy meat is the most important part of roast chicken, followed by the crispness of the skin. So I like this recipe, but it could stand some tweaking.

                                                I'm also puzzled by the skin texture. The only other times I've had this is when I've smoked poultry at low temps for long times. The first turkey (unbrined) I did in our smoker (6 hours at 200 F) had skin like shoe leather, it was completely impenetrable even though the meat was moist and tasty. But I've never experienced it with chicken brined or unbrined.

                                                I think Marcella's chicken might be improved with higher heat at the end to get crispier skin. It's such an easy recipe I might do it just to see what happens. Or I might take my blowtorch to it - that's always such a blast.

                                                1. re: cheryl_h

                                                  The lemons do add to the moistness and juiciness, in my experience. My mom always adds citrus (either lemon or orange) inside her turkey cavities since she swears it keeps the flesh moist.

                                                  Did you see JoanN's post where she used a Marcella prep/Zuni high heat method? May need to scroll down thread.


                                                  1. re: cheryl_h

                                                    "Did you see JoanN's post where she used a Marcella prep/Zuni high heat method? May need to scroll down thread."

                                                    Did you know, Carb Lover, that if you click on that little doohickey that sits just to the left of "X days ago X whatever" you can go directly to a specific post rather than just to the thread that contains the post? For example,

                                                2. re: cheryl_h

                                                  If you brine the chicken, it won't pick up nearly as much flavor from the lemons.

                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    Interesting point. I might try it without brining to see if it makes much difference. We squeezed lemon over some of the leftover roast chicken which obviously gave it a lot of lemon flavor.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      I agree that the brine would get in the way of the lemons, and really isn't necessary for this prep. That's the point of the holes in the lemons, is to add juice from within, so to speak. I've made this a billion times and it is never ever dry.

                                                  2. re: Dommy

                                                    Oh my Gosh, Dommy. Your bird looks really, really tasty. You said dinner is at your house tonight at what time? tee hee. I've also been intimidated by whole birds, too. But I'm gonna try this......and soon.

                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                      I usually don't respond to my own posts, but two worlds of mine came into a massive collision course this afternoon.

                                                      On my lipgloss board, one of the girls just got engadged. Someone made a joke about the "Engadgement Chicken" working. Well, we were all curious about what that meant and then someone posted the recipe...


                                                      Supposedly this recipe was in an issue of Glamour and since then, they've gotten lots of letters saying that it works. So not only has Marcella created a recipe that is easy and tasty, but also can land you some bling... LOL!!! :



                                                    2. Fricasseed Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Juice (pg 334)

                                                      Made this tonight and it was fantastic!!
                                                      Wouldn’t change a thing.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: kitchensalli

                                                        Fricasseed chicken with rosemary and lemon juice

                                                        This is one of my very favorite cookbooks and every so often I like to delve into it and try something new. This is one of those wonderful recipes in which a very few ingredients are combined to add up to much more than the sum of their parts. To make, chicken pieces (I used legs and thighs) are browned in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Three whole garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary are added to the pan, followed by a bit of white wine. The chicken is simmered, partially covered, until fully cooked. Remove chicken to a plate, spoon off most of the fat, and add lemon juice and zest to the juices in the pan. Reduce a bit, pour the sauce over the chicken, and serve. This is a fantastic dish! Succulent chicken, bright from the lemon, and the garlic and rosemary shine through. Plus it couldn't be easier to prep as the only work is peeling three garlic cloves! I love recipes like this. Highly recommended.

                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                          Your post describes this dish in such an enticing way Westminstress. I have to admit that while I love cooking Italian, I didn't learn of Marcella until joining CH in late 2010. That said, I've likely only cooked a couple of dishes from this book.

                                                          You've made me want to make this one. Quick question, you mentioned the garlic flavour...did you mash the cloves into the sauce or remove them?

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I didn't mash the garlic into the sauce but that's not a bad idea! I think it would be good that way too.

                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              I made this recipe last night and enjoyed it.
                                                              Regarding the garlic, I would not necessarily mash them into the finished sauce as that might over power the other ingredients- at least not all three of them. However, next time I would smash the cloves with the broad side of a knife before adding them to the simmering chicken. I followed her instructions which were to add them whole and they did break down some but I think the garlic flavor would have been enhanced with smashing them first.
                                                              This is the same ingredients and preparation as Pan Roasted chicken on p. 329. Only difference is Fricasseed Chicken p. 334 has lemon juice finish which I would recommend.

                                                        2. I think this is where I post my results from last night's Tuscan meat roll. Fantastic recipe as written. I was a little worried about the amount for my guests so i upped the amounts by a half -- ie: one and a half pounds of beef and the corresponding increases in everything else. I also added some italian flat leaf parsley because I had it in the fridge. I chilled the roll for a couple of hours before cooking to try to firm it up / hold it together while browning. No other modifications.

                                                          The only dodgy part was turning the roll -- a couple of times it did look like it would fall apart but as it cooks it firms up and it becomes easier to turn. I basted it more in the begining and turned it more toward the end. The pancetta / prociutto (I used a little of both) sort of disappears into the meat mixture and you can't taste it though it imparted some richness to the meat. The sauce is incredible -- it thickens up beautifully and the porcini white wine and tomatoes make a great tangy deep combination. My only quibble is the meat itself came out a little dry but I also left it in the pan for an extra 30 minutes because we were too busy eating buratta and drinking wine to sit down immediately.

                                                          There were a few leftovers and I did NOT offer them to my guests to take home because I want it all for me.

                                                          14 Replies
                                                          1. re: yumyum

                                                            Interesting. I made this too over the weekend (using the recipe from Classics (1973) which I think is the same except it uses 2 T tomato paste instead of chopped tomatoes) and I was under-impressed. I agree that the sauce is incredible, but I found the meat dry and firm to the point of almost being rubbery and somewhat underseasonsed. I diagnosed this as a combination of not enough fat (in Classics she says to get a lean piece of beef, trim all visible fat, then grind it; I used 93% ground sirloin), all beef w/o any veal for lightness and seasoning amounts typical of 30+ year old recipes. If I made it again, I would sub at least half ground veal for the beef, increase the amount of chopped pancetta/prosciutto, increase other seasonings and likely add parsley as you did, and probably increase the amount of sauce since it was truly the highlight. Alternatively, I might just make the sauce to go over my standard meatloaf.

                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                              The Essentials version calls for gound chuck (80/20), with added pancetta or prociutto. I used both and also seasoned quite assertively with salt and pepper garlic and onions as the recipe calls for. I found chopping the onions really fine (in the mini-prep) boosted the flavor. Wonder if others had the dry meat issue?

                                                              1. re: yumyum

                                                                Well, ground chuck would certainly be an improvement. I had reservations about the lean meat instruction (I normally use chuck in meatloaf) and wish I had listened to them.... Based on reviews by you and Rubee (and since I still have a bunch of porcini) I will try this again.

                                                            2. re: yumyum

                                                              TUSCAN MEAT ROLL

                                                              I made for Sunday lunch for a few friends and was reasonably satisfied with the results. I followed the Essentials recipe so I used a fattier cut of meat. As a result, the meat was very juicy and tender. Sometime meat loafs recipe calls for too much bread or fillings and the result ends up tasting less of meat and more of bread. This was not the case. My meat load was very meaty, juicy and tasty.

                                                              Things to consider:
                                                              1) Some suggested using food processor to finely cut the onions and prosciutto. I did not do this but wish I had. In addition to evening out the flavors, there are practical reasons as well. I left my onions chunky but this created air bubbles which made it more difficult to turn the loaf without it breaking apart. In the end, my meat roll stayed in tact but there were some tense moments in the kitchen.
                                                              2) I agree that the meat roll would have benefited from some additional spices or herbs. Rubee's idea of adding truffle butter sound amazing. The addition of parsley (by yumyum) is also a great idea. I would do this in the future.
                                                              3) I would have thought the porcini's would have been tastier. When I mentioned this, one of my guest said, "there were mushrooms in the sauce?" Maybe next time I'll but more in? Maybe I put too many tomatoes which over-powered the porcinis? I don't know what I did wrong here.
                                                              4) The book says that this recipe feed 4-6. I made this for 4 people along side the braised carrots, a side of steamed rice and a pretty elaborate first course and I thought that was barely enough. Everyone was full but I didn't have any leftovers. If I were to do this again, I would have increased the amount by 1.5 for 4 people.

                                                              Overall, I thought the meat roll was juicy and tasty. Pretty easy to make. But I also agree that the recipe needs to be tweaked (e.g. adding parsely or truffles) for additional flavor.

                                                              1. re: mielimato

                                                                I assume you used dried porcini. Sometimes, they are just too old and have lost their oomph. I also find that the dried porcinis from Italy, especially if purchased there are a little more reliable. When you open the package you should get a good whiff of the earth, foresty aroma of the mushrooms. That said, I have had good luck with the very reasonably priced dried mushrooms from Costco. They should be in the stores soon. I divide them into small packets and freeze to keep them fresher.

                                                                1. re: faijay

                                                                  Thanks for the suggestions! I did use dried porcinis. When I reconstituted them, I did not pay much attention to the amount of water I used. Maybe I put in too much and diluted the mushroom water which was later added to the dish. I ended up with quiet a bit of leftover water which I did not use. I think that may have contributed to the problem. Oh well, practice makes perfect!

                                                                  1. re: mielimato

                                                                    A couple of the tips she also suggests are to look for the packages that have large, light-colored pieces (those with the most flavor are "predominantly creamy") and to reconsitute 3/4-1 ounce of porcini with 2 cups of water. When I made it, the porcini flavor really came through.

                                                                    1. re: mielimato

                                                                      Yeah, never waste water from dried mushrooms. If there's too much, reduce it.

                                                                  2. re: mielimato

                                                                    I also made the Tuscan Meat Roll this weekend. We were quite happy with it, the sauce is lovely and this would be suitable for company. I mostly followed the recipe except 1) completely omitted the bread soaked in milk (made it after work on a Monday and just blanked on it) 2) used dry vermouth in place of white wine .

                                                                    I had no problem with the roll staying in tact but I did make sure to brown it well on all sides. I also did a considerable amount of patting and tapping when forming the roll.

                                                                    Things I would do next time:
                                                                    - Definitely use parsley in the roll and added to the sauce at the end.
                                                                    - Decrease tomatoes slightly or perhaps use tomato paste - the sauce was really tasty but I found it a bit too acidic/tomatoey.
                                                                    - Increase mushrooms as Mielimato noted, they were barely noticeable.
                                                                    - I love Rubbee's idea to swirl in some truffle butter!

                                                                    I do have leftovers and I'm looking forward to seeing how they held up.

                                                                  3. re: yumyum

                                                                    Questions on the Tuscan Meat Roll.

                                                                    And, I know this is really silly. The 2x2 slice of white bread... Did you buy a whole loaf just for the one slice? Has anyone subbed the white part of a baguette? I know, silly, but I don't want to buy a loaf of bread for one slice and there isn't enough room in my freezer for it.

                                                                    Has anyone rolled the meat in panko bread crumbs v. regular bread crumbs?

                                                                    How long and tall was the meat roll? I don't have an oval or rectangle pan and am trying to visualize what this thing will look like. I just keep picturing a meat shaped baguette.

                                                                    Any assistance would be appreciated. I am making the meat roll this weekend. I am also being completely unoriginal and using Rubee's sides.


                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                      I think substituting the white part of the baguette is fine. I doubt that it would make any noticeable difference.

                                                                      I forgot to mention in my write up that I did not have bread crumbs at home so I just omitted it completely. I think it worked out fine.

                                                                      I did not have an oval or rectangle pan so I just used a medium sized, round saucepan and shaped by loaf so that it would fit. My loaf was about 2.5-3 inches in diameter and about a foot long.

                                                                      The only tricky part about making the dish is when you have to turn the loaf around. I used 2 spatulas and need my husband's assistance. It is the most delicate when it is uncooked but over time it firms up nicely. But in the end, if it breaks, who cares? It will taste great anyways!!

                                                                      Good luck!

                                                                      1. re: mielimato

                                                                        Thanks mielimato and Rubee. I'll post results early next week - so long as I don't lose the thread. I can't wait.

                                                                      2. re: beetlebug

                                                                        I actually bought a loaf of unsliced bread - but only because I planned on using the rest for bread crumbs. I figured I'd freeze them and then I'm all set for any other recipes we do this winter.

                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                          Tuscan Meat Roll

                                                                          I made this last night and it was a hit. As I joked with my guests, Tuscan Meat Roll was a fancy term for meatloaf with tomato sauce. Four of us had this along with the braised carrots and mashed potatoes (on the veggies board).

                                                                          Like yumyum, I was concerned with the portions so I upped the meat ratio. I used 1.5 lbs of meat and I had about 2 slices left over. I increased the other ingredients proportionately. I ended up using two egg yolks (because I wasn't about to split one in half) and I used the insides of 4 french rolls (from Iggy's) instead of the slice of white bread. I don't think I added enough milk to the bread, but it didn't matter. Also, when mixed the meat with the other ingredients, the bread tended to clump with the meat so that there was noticeable bread clumps. But, all in all, it didn't matter. The last substitution was that I used panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs. I meant to add parsley to the mix but I totally spaced and forgot it.

                                                                          After I assembled the log, I chilled it for a couple of hours until I was ready to cook it. I think this made rolling it easier. What also helped was that I had to cut the meat roll in half. I didn't have a pan large enough to hold the roll. I used a cast iron skillet that held the two halves perfectly.

                                                                          I didn't encounter any dryness issue, but I also took the meat roll out after an hour. The sauce was runnier than I liked, so I turned the heat up and reduced the sauce. The porcini mushrooms with the tomatoes were outstanding. The sauce was definitely the high point. We were all scooping it up. It tasted especially delicious with the potatoes.

                                                                          Thanks for all the tips. It's a high maintenance meatloaf recipe, but well worth repeating.

                                                                      3. Tuscan Meat Roll with White Wine and Porcini Mushrooms

                                                                        I also made this over the weekend (along with the braised carrots and Bolognese potatoes), and it came out delicious. The combination was excellent, and I'll post reviews of the side dishes on the vegetable board. In fact, I think my husband had a superlative comment for the meal every other bite (including his second helping). I used some of the tips that YumYum had given me - I used the mini-chop to chop the onion, and pancetta finely, which gave the roll a wonderful flavor as it really integrated into the meat. I also prepped and chilled it ahead of time. We both thought it was a great meal, and I would definitely make this again. I used an oval Le Creuset to cook, and two spatulas to turn. I agree with YY about the sauce - it thickens up nicely and is so delicious with all the juices from the meat, the porcini, white wine, and tomatoes. The only modification I made was a tablespoon of black truffle butter (from D'Artagnan that I had in the freezer) to finish the sauce, and I also used 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef, upping other ingredients slightly. I had no problem with dryness - browned it and then cooked it for exactly an hour. I did baste it often. It's interesting that Gretchen mentions in the "Classics" Marcella suggests lean meat, and in "Essentials" she calls for ground chuck.



                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                          what page are the bolognese potatoes? can't find.

                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                            p. 384 in "Classics" (without nutmeg), p.518 in "Essentials".

                                                                        2. This weekend I am making Drunken Pork Roast. I hope some of you will join me.

                                                                          1. Too many Chowhound dinners and other food-centric plans coming up, but I'll make the Drunken Pork Roast by the end of the month - great suggestion!

                                                                            1. I am thinking of making Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream and Porcini tonight, anyone ever made this? Sounds pretty simple, but she calls for browning both sides of a 3/4" chop, and then cooking it for 45 minutes. That obviously is the braising part, but it seems like such a long time for a chop.
                                                                              I will try to follow the recipe, but I hate dry pork, and I hate when I ruin my own dinner more!

                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                                I don't think I've made that, but I think I have cooked another braised pork chop recipe that called for cooking it for a long time and the meat turned out very tender and juicy.

                                                                                1. re: rabaja

                                                                                  i would use a thich chop and braise it very slowly. also, try and use pork thats not too lean like berkshire.

                                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                                    did you make this pork dish? I'm thinking of making it tonight, and would welcome suggestions for sides. Also, can't figure out if brining would be helpful or a bad idea.
                                                                                    I've made long-braised pork chops (w/ apples, cider & sweet potatoes) that came out fab, so I made a third time!

                                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                      Yes, I made the dish last night and it was very good. Much more rich than most things I cook, but good none the less, and I can definitely see making it for a dinner date.
                                                                                      I tried to follow the recipe, but in the end, modified just a little. I used a small Staub dutch oven rather than a saute pan, and I halved the recipe, so the meat fit in the pan well.
                                                                                      The only ingredients I didn't halve were the dried porcinis, I used a full ounce and threw in two dried morels too(these were part of the one ounce). Someone mentioned not getting a lot of mushroom flavor in a different MH recipe, so I figured why not? Plus, I love mushrooms.
                                                                                      I seared the meat on both sides, added the other ingredients as instructed, and it was basically done. This is a very simple dish to make, it goes very fast, the last 45 minutes of cooking are largely unattended.
                                                                                      I should fess up though, once the dish had been simmering 25 minutes very gently with the lid ajar, I turned it off and went to the gym! When I got home, I gently rewarmed it and served it with whole wheat orzo and brocollini. The meat was indeed tender, and the sauce was very flavorful. Probably would have been even better if I'd done it as instructed, though.
                                                                                      I thought about brining or salting the meat, and eventually did salt the pork lightly about an hour before searing it off, definitely needed more salt. As others have mentioned, salting a little earlier than the recipe suggests is the way to go. I was worried a wet brine would do wierd things to the sauce, but I would be more liberal with the salt and pepper on the meat next time.
                                                                                      The tomato product I used was homemade roasted tomatoes, without the skins, these melted down nicely in the sauce.
                                                                                      Thanks for the suggestions I got re; this dish, I had a pretty thick chop (1 1/2" I think), with a nice amount of fat on the outside.

                                                                                    2. re: rabaja

                                                                                      made braised pork chops w/ tomatoes cream & porcini. It came out great. followed the recipe, though I used fresh plum tomatoes (peeled & seeded) rather than canned.
                                                                                      Made w/ Marcella's long braised cabbage, and roasted fingerling potatoes w/ thyme, oil & garlic. yum!

                                                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                        Did you brine, salt or deviate at all?

                                                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                                                          I pretty much adhered to the recipe for braised pork chops, tomatoes, cream porcini, except that I used fresh plum tomatoes rather than canned. Did not brine; after contemplating I thought: well, unlike grilling, braising should keep the pork moist. And it did. A fine recipe, a good dish, but not one I'm eager to return to. I'm not wild about the cream base for the braised pork -- much of the mushroom flavor was lost. I prefer the juniper/bay flavor route (sans cream) or apples -- I have a simple recipe for pork chops braised w/ apples, cider and sweet potatoes which I stick in the oven (Marcella uses the Italian technique it seems exclusively of stove-top braising). The apple enhances the pork; I think cream does not.
                                                                                          The 1-1/2 hr cabbage was not a good choice for a side -- something more springy in texture rather than wilted would better suit braised meat. Roasted fingerling potatoes were excellent (though Chez Panisse recipe, not Marcella)

                                                                                        2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                          Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream, and Porcini Mushrooms Pg. 421

                                                                                          This was dinner for us last night and I have to say I was a little dissapointed. The Sauce is excellent, I wouldn't change a thing, but the pork chops were tough and dry.

                                                                                          I used rib chops with a bit of fat on them that were the required 3/4 inches thick, and also followed the directions of the recipe very closely. Which means that I cooked the chop for about 45 minutes after I browned it on both sides, I thought this would be far too long, but I hoped the liquid would help tenderize it. I was wrong as the resulting chop was lovely looking but far too tough for my taste. I have to say I rarely make pork chops, for this specific reason. I wonder if a brine would help, as some of the other posters have mentioned.

                                                                                          The sauce however is a real winner. The wine combined with the tomato and cream provides a lovely base for the mushrooms flavours, both dried and fresh. I also love her technique of reducing the soaking liquid and then using it to enrich the sauteed fresh mushrooms. Delicious!

                                                                                          The sauce is so good that I might try this again with brined chops.

                                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                                            Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream, and Porcini Mushrooms, p. 421

                                                                                            When DH saw I had this cookbook out and open to this page, he offered a bribe (a bit of gardening) if I'd make these even though we'd just had pork chops. They were as delicious as ever.

                                                                                            I've made these numerous times--sometimes w/tweaks--but went ahead and followed her recipe to the tee this time. I used (Berkshire) loin chops, and they were pretty tender by the end of the braise, but to be honest, I'm sure we'd find shoe leather tasty in this sauce. I have used plain supermarket chops in this recipe, and while they never got truly tender, we still always enjoyed this. But the Berkshire pork is definitely better.

                                                                                            I am thinking about trying this recipe with chicken thighs, which I think would be delicious.

                                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                                              Delys--I would think your rib chops would be the better choice than the loin MH stipulates for this recipe, but if using regular supermarket chops, you may indeed find that brining would result in more tender chops in the end.

                                                                                              Braising (or "smothering" in onions) is about the only way I cook pork chops because of the toughness problem so I do know what you mean. Since I've found a way to get BS pork at a reasonable price, I never buy ant other chops.

                                                                                              But isn't that earthy, creamy sauce just divine?

                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                Oh it was NMC, just delicious!. There is a butcher nearby my office who has some heritage breeds, might be worth trying some out with this recipe. to be honest, I usually do buy my pork at Costco, which is perhaps why I have never been a huge fan of pork chops.

                                                                                          2. re: rabaja

                                                                                            Well the best laid plans! I forgot to order the Berkshire Pork so I made aquacotta (soup thread) and cauliflower gratin (vegetable thread) I took a Pork shoulder out of the freezer today and will try the drunken pork roast this weekend and report.

                                                                                            1. re: rabaja

                                                                                              I made this recipe of Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, cream and porcini over the weekend. I probably overcooked the chops a bit, but the braising liquid gave me a bit of a wider margin of error. I think it's hard to find well marbled pork at the grocery store meat counter, this may have contributed to the slight dryness.
                                                                                              That said, we all enjoyed the pork chop and the delicious mushroom-y sauce! A keeper!

                                                                                            2. Iìve made that receipe and it comes out great. You need to use a thick pork chop, and it needs to be a real pork chop with a little fat in it, and not one of these new supermarkey fat free pieces of pork. Obviously this is not a low cal dish, so in for a penny.....

                                                                                              I love this cookbook, and have never made anything that didn't come out great.
                                                                                              Favorites include roast chicken with two lemons, pasta with clams (alhtough I've always made it here in Rome using real vongole veraci) and the Milk braised pork loin.

                                                                                              1. Chicken Fricassee with Porcini Mushrooms, White Wine, and Tomatoes

                                                                                                Made this tonight-- chicken was good, but the sauce was outstanding. Amazing what those porcinis, the reserved soaking water, wine, and tomatoes cook into after an hour. I used four leg quarters instead of a whole chicken but otherwise followed the recipe pretty faithfully. Paired with mashed potatoes and yellow wax beans-- wish we'd had more potatoes to soak up the gravy from the chicken.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: redwood2bay

                                                                                                  Chicken Fricassee with Porcini Mushrooms, White Wine and Tomatoes p. 332

                                                                                                  http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1275... (Marcella does not include garlic or crushed red pepper- those are the blogger’s additions


                                                                                                  Chicken pieces (we used thighs) are browned and deglazed with wine then simmered with chopped reconstituted porcini, porcini soaking liquid, and chopped tomatoes (Pomi). Lightly simmer for 50 minutes until chicken is tender. Remove excess fat from sauce, boil the sauce down to get the right consistency and swirl in butter.

                                                                                                  I’m always conflicted about braised chicken recipes, because they start with beautifully brown and crisp skin and end with limp skin. In this case, the skin was limp, but the chicken was tender and we enjoyed the sauce. Everything melds together to make a rich and silky gravy.

                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                    I hear you BigSal. I love chicken skin and I hate to see it go from crispy to flabby in a braised or stewed dish. I have found however that I can sometimes preserve my crispy skin. What I do is I use my le creuset braiser which is quite broad and shallow. This often allows me to pile the chicken on top of whatever vegetables are also in the dish, and hopefully therefore have the chicken resting above some of the liquid. This doesn't completely protect the skin as it is a wet environment with the liquid and the steam, but at least if they aren't completely submerged I can then take them out at the end, pop them onto rack in a backing pan and slide them under a pre-heated broiler to crisp the skin a bit again.
                                                                                                    It doesn't always work, but I have found that it works pretty well most of the time. Plus I often have to reduce my braising liquid anyway, so the chicken typically has to come out at the end for a bit anyway.

                                                                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                                                                      Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely try it the next time I make braised chicken.

                                                                                                2. I think we're seeing a theme w/ marcella's reliance on porcinis as the flavor vehicle. They are good, and a very good technique indeed to reduce the porcini soaking liquid and then pour that into sauteed fresh musrooms to soak in the flavor.

                                                                                                  1. Having worked my way through a lot of recipes in Marcella's two main books on Italian Cusine, I can say without a doubt that every recipe turned out the way she stated it would. No bad recipes. Period. She is a wonder and if she ever reads this (Ithink she's still with us) my felicitations to her for her wonderful work!

                                                                                                    1. I made braised pork chops with sage and tomatoes, using fresh organic farmers market heirlooms, organic pork loin chops, sage from the garden--every ingredient top notch, anticipating a home run. I used more than the required amount of chopped tomatoes, and I'm glad I did, as the sauce was exceptionally delicious. The chops combined well with the mashed potatoes bolonese style and accompanying braised carrots with parmesan, (brief review posted in the appropriate thread). Small quibble, the chops were a little chewy, not as meltingly tender as when braised in milk, and other than the extra tomatoes, I followed the recipe exactly. The amazing sauce compensated. Big compliments from the family.

                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Babette

                                                                                                        I have a question about this dish. I made it last night, and the sauce really was delicious, but my sage burned really quickly when I put it in to brown the chops, as instructed. I didn't want to have a burnt taste to my sauce, so I took out all the charred leaves. I used sage from my container garden, so the leaves were smaller than usual, and I only did two pork chops not 4. Could that have made the sage cook faster and burn?

                                                                                                        1. re: AppleSister

                                                                                                          If I remember correctly, I added the tomatoes pretty quickly after browning the chops, because the sage was cooking very rapidly, but it didn't burn. Plus I used extra tomatoes, and the sauce cooked down quite a bit anyway--but it was so good! I would just wait longer before putting in the sage. Did your chops come out very tender? If they did, I wonder why mine weren't more so.

                                                                                                          1. re: Babette

                                                                                                            No, mine weren't very tender either. I bought organic pork at the farmers' market and assumed they would be less dry than supermarket lean pork, and was sad that they weren't meltingly tender. But my friend was also 30 minutes late for dinner, and I was reluctant to turn the stove off completely, so I may have just overcooked.

                                                                                                            1. re: AppleSister

                                                                                                              If you can get Berkshire Pork in your area it is worth the search and cost. It is much fatter than the modern breeds and twenty times tastier. I hate to quote Emeril, but, "Pork fat rules".

                                                                                                          2. re: AppleSister

                                                                                                            This is a standard in our house that I make quite often in the winter as it is so simple & easy. I've always made it with at least 4 chops. The first couple of times I stood there watching the sage leaves and yes, many did seem to burn while the chops were browning but I just shrugged and went ahead and did not notice any burnt taste in the sauce. I'm not sure how you could avoid it really since she calls for you to quickly brown the chops at a medium/high heat and throw the leaves in at the same time with the chops. I've made it so many times now I don't pay so much attention but I would say many of the leaves always tend to get very dark in color - even bordering on blackish (depending on how fast I'm browning the chops & how high the heat is) but I no longer pay much attention since it doesn't negatively impact the finished dish. One modification I make to this I'm almost embarrassed to admit but I think the recipe calls for 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves and I probably use somewhere around 20 (large & small leaves). I do tend to be excessive but I always ask my SO and whoever else might be eating with us if it has too much sage and the answer has always ben negative...

                                                                                                            1. re: queenie

                                                                                                              Thanks for your thoughts! Glad to hear the dark sage leaves don't taste burnt. The sauce was so delicious, I will definitely try again.

                                                                                                          3. re: Babette

                                                                                                            I've made this dish a few times now, and I just love it. I make it with 2 thick Berkshire pork chops and add extra sage leaves (20-25 leaves). In future I will also add extra tomato as the sauce is so incredibly delicious and there is never enough of it. The preparation could not be easier: brown floured pork chops w sage leaves in mix of olive oil and butter, add s&p and tomatoes, cover and braise over low heat for 45-60 minutes. The pork does not dry out despite the long cooking time. I like to serve this dish with polenta but mashed potatoes would work well too. Yet another hit from this wonderful book.

                                                                                                            1. re: Babette

                                                                                                              I made this dish about a decade ago and remembered it having a delicious sauce, but being very dry. I made it again tonight with the same results. This time, I used thicker and higher quality chops. By 45 minutes, the chops felt like rocks. I let the meat rest for 10 minutes out of the pan and it was dry and saved only by the sauce.

                                                                                                              Are people who've made this successfully using bone-in or boneless chops (we used boneless), and have they done it successfully with only two chops as we did? Any other tips would be appreciated!

                                                                                                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                Sorry, I just saw this post now! As the weather cools I am getting ready to make this delicious dish again soon. I have made this recipe a few times and never ever have I had dry chops. I always cook only two chops. I use pastured pork that I buy at my local greenmarket, and it has plenty of fat. The chops I use are bone-in and quite thick (one inch or more). I think the keys to this dish are (1) using some kind of fatty heritage pork as supermarket pork is too lean; (2) make sure to turn the heat down very low for the braise. I really think the main factor though is the pork itself.

                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                  Thanks for the response! I'll try again with some extra tomato sauce and some bone-in chops. I'll be really mindful of the temperature too next time.

                                                                                                                2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                  I am chiming back in because I just made this dish again recently, and as it happened, due to what was available at the greenmarket I had to make it with two different cuts of pork.

                                                                                                                  One was what I normally use -- a bone in center cut pork loin chop, very thick, over 1" at least. The other was boneless, also very thick, and was labeled sirloin end. This was a fattier cut and the greenmarket purveyor claimed that it would work even better in my recipe due to higher fat content.

                                                                                                                  However, that was not the case. Despite having less marbling, the bone-in chop was more tender and juicy at the end of the cooking time. The boneless chop was actually a bit tough/dry (though saved by the sauce) which has never happened to me before.

                                                                                                                  I used about 25 large sage leaves which was not too many. I could have even used more but I am a big fan of sage leaves cooked in butter. I increased the tomatoes to 11/4 cups because this recipe never makes enough sauce. This was a mistake. With more tomatoes, the sauce didn't reduce in the same way and wasn't quite as delicious as usual. That could also have been because there were fewer bones in the sauce to contribute flavor.

                                                                                                                  With all the experimentation, I have concluded that it is better to do this recipe as written (but do add extra sage leaves). Use bone-in chops.

                                                                                                                  With the leftovers, I like to saute a little onion in butter, then add the rest of the can of tomatoes that I didn't use the first night, and whatever sauce and meat is leftover cut into small pieces, and the bones, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper, and simmer until it makes a really yummy pasta sauce. This works well if you have a lot of meat or only a little -- whatever you have will add good flavor to the sauce. (This is why I finally decided I don't need to add extra tomatoes on night 1, since I add them anyway to the leftovers, duh)

                                                                                                                3. re: Babette

                                                                                                                  BRAISED PORK CHOPS w/SAGE and TOMATOES, MODENA STYLE (Essentials 422)

                                                                                                                  A very easy recipe with a tasty sauce: I followed it pretty closely except that although I halved it, I used the full 3/4 c of tomatoes as I knew 6 T would not yield much sauce (and I was serving this with leftover pappardelle). I also ended up using probably 12-14 fresh sage leaves.

                                                                                                                  Two Berkshire loin chops, dredged in flour, browned nicely in butter/oil combination, but, as others have noted, my initial 6-7 sage leaves burned quickly so I fished those out, added the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and another 6-7 sage leaves, turned fire to low and covered the pan, lid slightly ajar, and let it cook for about 50 minutes. The sauce was pretty pasty at this point, and the meat was tender. Served atop the pappardelle, with roasted brussels sprouts and a simple green salad for sides, this made for a nice meal.

                                                                                                                  My husband did say, however, that he thought the sauce would have been improved with a little cream. I might try that next time as MH's Braised Pork Chops w/Tomatoes, Cream, and Mushrooms is one of our favorites. I've made it many times, with various small tweaks (adding fresh sage or subbing wild mushrooms for the white), and it is always wonderful.

                                                                                                                  I did take a photo, but since you can't even tell what's in the pan, I'll spare you.

                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                    Sounds good NMC, I love sage and pork together.

                                                                                                                4. Pork Sausages w/ smothered onions and tomatoes (p. 429)

                                                                                                                  I chose this recipe because I had 4 sausage links and lots of fresh tomatoes to use up. I really appreciate Marcella's low ingredient list recipes because it's very easy to spontaneously make a dish based on what's on hand.

                                                                                                                  The recipe couldn't be easier. Basically, you saute about 2 c. of thinly-sliced onion in a few TB of veg oil over med. heat. Cover and let onion wilt, about 5-10 min. I also added a little kosher salt. Uncover pan, turn up heat to med-high, and cook onion til it's brown and golden. Should get very soft. Then add 1 c. canned chopped tomatoes (I used about 1.5 c. fresh that were peeled first), S&P and cook uncovered for about 20 min. I cheated and only did this for 10 min.

                                                                                                                  Skin one yellow or red bell pepper (I left skin on) and cut into thin strips. Add to tomato-onion sauce. Put in 1 lb. of pork sausage (she recs mild, but I used a German Weisswurst and French wine) that have been punctured w/ fork several times. Cover and cook over medium for about 20 min., turning sausages and stirring sauce now and then. She instructs to spoon off any fat, but mine didn't render too much so I didn't worry about it. I served w/ some sauteed carrots, mushrooms, and peas in a light butter-wine-tarragon sauce.

                                                                                                                  Overall the tomato sauce was really delicious. Similar to her tomato sauce w/ onions and butter, except it didn't have the silky mouthfeel and flavor of dairy. Her minimal (or lack of) use of strong seasonings in the recipes I've tried has been enlightening. In general, her style has really won me over. Hope to try my hand at something a little more interesting (not just tomato sauce based) soon...

                                                                                                                  Photo of sausages nestled together in pan:

                                                                                                                  Photo of my plate:

                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                    How funny, I made the same dish last night. I had everything on hand so it was super easy to put together. I agree, you can't beat the simplicity of this recipe. Instead of fresh tomatoes I used Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes and I used a pretty basic mild Italian sausage. All of the other indgredients were the same as the recipe requirements. I used my electric skillet so the sauce and the sausages ended up having a carmelized aspect to it, not very saucey. Since I love carmelized anything it was a nice surprise, very tasty. I particularily liked how the sausages tasted like they had be braised for a long time. I served soft polenta along side and a nice green salad with some heirloom tomatoes and radishes from my CSA box. We also had a old vine Zinfandel from Ravenswood, Lodi. Overall an excellent meal.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                      I particularly love the way the bay leaves perfume this dish

                                                                                                                      1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                                                                        not sure which comment you are responding to, but there are no bay leaves in the sausage and pepper dish.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                          From Marcella's Italian Kitchen, there is a sausages, tomatoes etc. dish with lots of bay.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                                                                            I made this (the sausages, tomatoes, bay, onions, potatoes dish from MIK) and reported on it in the other thread. The potatoes are amazingly good, but my sausage ended up overcooked and chewy. This may very well be because I used chicken sausages, though.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              Chicken sausage is naturally more chewy and if you bought a prepackaged kind I think they are pre cooked. Our deli case has the raw sausage for turkey and chicken.

                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                I got the raw ones from Whole Foods with lamb casings. But I definitely agree that using chicken sausage made it more likely that they'd quickly overcook.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                        Pork Sausages w Smothered Onions and Tomatoes (p. 429)

                                                                                                                        Marcella's version of sausage and peppers, and what a delicious version it is! I followed the directions (including skinning the peppers), using two peeled and diced fresh tomatoes and very plain (but very tasty!) pork sausage bought at my local greenmarket. I was a little disappointed at the appearance of the sausage in this dish -- it is not browned and so has a grayish color which is a bit on the unappetizing side. But I was blown away by the flavor. The sauce was so silky, sweet and succulent, yet just bursting with fresh flavor. Peeling the peppers (I didn't try to get every spot of skin) is worth the effort in order to achieve that silky texture. I think the recommendation to use a mild sausage is spot on as well. It provides a perfect foil for the very simple sauce, and fennel, chilies, etc. would be distracting. This is a perfect dish for this time of year, when tomatoes, peppers and onions are sweet and juicy. Really wonderful dish.

                                                                                                                      3. Osso Bucco Milanese

                                                                                                                        Decided to make this for Sunday night dinner - I've never eaten osso bucco, though it is one of my DH's favorite dishes. The recipe is for 6-8, and calls for 8 pieces of veal shank. I cooked four for the two of us but for everything else I followed the recipe - my DH loves sauce. We ate all the marrow, but the meat from two of them is left. I made it in the morning and it took about an hour to get it ready to go in the oven, and then another two hours. I think I was impatient and didn't let the oil get hot enough before I put the shanks in the pan to brown, but did get a lovely deep (but not dark) brown crust on them. I found it a pain to brown the sides and spent a lot of time holding pieces with tongs to get the sides brown. Realized at the end that a better method would be to perhaps first put all of them in "wide side" down, then when that side is done, turn two over to the other side, and then fiddle with getting the short sides brown on two of them, and then reverse. The recipe said to "stand" the shanks in the pot, but since I just had four of them, I "sat" them in the pot. I managed to forget to add salt and pepper, which I only realized when I removed the pot from the oven and tasted a piece of meat. Since I was going to be reheating it, I added some salt and pepper at that point and stirred up the still hot contents - I'm sure it would have been better if I'd not forgotten this step, but I don't think it suffered.

                                                                                                                        The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful, and the marrow was out of this world. I served it with Risotto Milanese and sauteed green beans. The dog got his first bone last night and was in seventh heaven - even insisted on taking it out for his evening walk, but as soon as he saw another dog, he turned around and trotted home with his bone! I look forward to trying the other osso bucco recipes as well.

                                                                                                                        My first pics:

                                                                                                                        http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k16... (the compulsive part of me has to say that usually I would have wiped off the drops of sauce on the side of the plate but by that point I was quite annoyed with my DH for writing emails (necessary though they were) when the risotto was on the table, so I didn't bother!

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                          That looks positively yummy! And LOL about the dog taking the bone as his new companion.

                                                                                                                          I've made the osso bucco recipe before, and though it turned out well, I don't think I had the best cut of veal shank for it (had trouble finding the hind shank with the larger bones). I was hoping to make it again this month but don't know if I'll get around to it. Your photos certainly make me long for the dish, though!

                                                                                                                          1. re: redwood2bay

                                                                                                                            I have made it often, as well as the recipe from Biba (her recipes are also great, and delicious). I do not buy Provimi veal, especially for osso buco. It is to delicate and to me lacks flavour. I use a cheaper osso buco that has more fat and taste.

                                                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                            I made the Osso Bucco tonight, and wanted to add to this thread to rave about it. I made it as a birthday meal for my mom (it's one of her favorite things), and it was really pretty incredible. I had two very large shanks for the two of us, but I kept all of the other amounts the same -- I've had problems in the past with cutting the braising liquid when I'm cutting recipes and it not turning out well enough, so I just kept everything the same this time, and I think that was definitely a good decision, especially since the sauce was so flavorful and tasty. I didn't try to brown the sides of the shanks (it didn't even occur to me to do so), and it was still fine. This was a really easy dish to put together, and the results were excellent. I cooked it in the oven for the directed two hours, but at a slightly lower temperature than Marcella called for, since I knew that I was going to be reheating it later on, and that worked out very well. I served this with mashed potatoes (my mom doesn't like either risotto or polenta, which would have been my first choices) and a good baguette, which was a must to scoop up the incredible sauce, and to use to smear the marrow on. This might be my new favorite braised meat dish, because of the ease of preparation and the great result. The veal shanks were a little pricey, though, which would make me hesitate to make this for a crowd, unless they were people that I *really* like!

                                                                                                                            I can see how your dog loved the bone, MMRuth, and your note about that made me sniff a little that I don't have a dog anymore to give the bone to.

                                                                                                                            1. Veal Cutlets Milanese (p. 375)

                                                                                                                              Pounded veal, dipped in egg, then bread crumbs. I did them as the variation she calls "Sicilian Style with Garlic and Rosemary" - flavoring the butter/oil with smashed garlic cloves and sprinkling the cutlets with minced fresh rosemary after dipping in egg. Great classic recipe. Side dish was "Sauteed Green Beans with Parmesan Cheese" (p. 472).


                                                                                                                              1. Okay. I had said I was going to make “My Father’s Fish Soup” from Essentials, and I finally got around to it yesterday.

                                                                                                                                The recipe calls for 3 or 4 pounds of firm, white-fleshed fish including at least three fish heads. Well, I got to Citarella early in the morning, and they didn’t have any heads yet so, after all my research on exactly what fish are “firm” and “white-fleshed”, I threw myself on their mercy and ended up with 2 butterfish and 3 sea bream, all with heads. It came to about 31⁄2 pounds. And I bought cockles instead of littlenecks, because I thought they looked cute (and I knew I was going to leave them in their shells, which is not what the instructions call for).

                                                                                                                                Did my mise en place. (Was just reading in I’m Just Here for the Food to stack the mise dishes—I use custard cups—with the one you’ll need first on top, last on the bottom; super idea.)


                                                                                                                                Followed instructions, except for leaving the cockles and mussels in their shells. Used the crushed red pepper option.

                                                                                                                                Cooked the fish heads as instructed.


                                                                                                                                I was a bit apprehensive about getting the meat off the heads. She says it’s messy. But, although perhaps not for the really squeamish, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad I thought it might be. Put what remained through the food mill. The resulting puree is clearly critical to both the flavor and the texture of the dish. In fact, now that I’ve tried it, I may well use that technique on other fish soups and stews.

                                                                                                                                So, how did it come out?


                                                                                                                                First, it’s definitely not a soup, it’s a very thick stew. We never reached for spoons. It had somewhat more bones than I would have liked, but that may well have been because I used the wrong fish. And, even though I cooked it a few minutes longer than called for, I still had to put some of the fish pieces back in the pot for about another five minutes to make sure they were cooked.

                                                                                                                                It was good, very good, but not great. Although, as seems to be a recurring refrain with all Hazan’s recipes, we did mop up every little bit of sauce with a great Pain Pugliese. And I suspect that if we’d been eating this in on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean we’d have thought more highly of it. Glad I tried it. I’ve wanted to for a long time. But I’ll still be looking for my ultimate fish soup. This just wasn’t quite it.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                  Nice post, thanks. I've long wanted to make fish stock but the idea of cooking the heads and then (egads!) putting them through the food mill really puts me off. Did the heads squish? And the eyes stayed where? I'd like encouragement to try it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, it was the eyes part that had me little tentative, too. LOL! But the instructions specifically say you should remove as much bone as possible before putting the remaining meat in the food mill and it was really quite easy to get all the meat off the bone around the eyes without having to touch them. They just sort of stayed attached to the bone and got thrown out with it. Nothing squished. That part of the process was a whole lot less icky than I was afraid it might be. In fact, not really icky at all. Go for it. You'll be pleased with the results.

                                                                                                                                2. Even tho it was Oct. 1st, I decided since it was such a beautiful day here in the midwest to grill outdoors. Since I still have Essentials,(from Library) I decided to try one last recipe. All have been winners so far and these fish recipes are wonderful too. This was a great book and one I will cook from many times. Grilled Fish, Romagna Style---I used fish fillets, but other than that followed recipe exactly. The fish was moist, juicy and flavorful. Terrific recipe and very simple. I also made the grilled shrimp skewers. They too, were juicy and tender. If your still able to grill in your area, I highly rec. these.

                                                                                                                                  1. Pork Sausages with Red Cabbage (pg. 428)

                                                                                                                                    This was a winner dish. Perfect for a winter's evening and fast and easy. As Michael Scott would say, win, win, win.

                                                                                                                                    Essentially, you saute chopped red cabbage with olive oil and garlic. You stir it down and cook it at medium heat for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, you brown the sausages and then place the sausages in the shrunken cabbage and cook (lid on) for another 20 minutes. The resulting cabbage was just so silky and smooth. It had an incredible mouth feel, yet it didn't tasted overcooked at all.

                                                                                                                                    So, here a few minimal changes that I made and some observations:

                                                                                                                                    1) I used 4 chicken sausages instead of pork. 2 were chicken herb and the other 2 were spicy. Marcella calls for mild pork sausages and I agree with mild flavored sausages. The spicy ones just clashed with the beautiful cabbage taste.

                                                                                                                                    2) Before browning the sausages, Marcella says to prick holes in the casings and the sausages will brown in their own fat. Well, I didn't think that chicken sausages would have that much fat so I browned them in olive oil. I didn't prick them. Also, I poured the resulting juices from the sausage pan into the cabbage pan.

                                                                                                                                    3) I used the requisite 1.5 lbs of cabbage. I didn't think it was enough. Next time, I would probably use double the amount of cabbage. C and I were scrapping the bottom of the pan, fighting for the last shreds of cabbage. It was that good.

                                                                                                                                    I forgot how simple Marcella's recipes are. And, when I say simple, I mean that there aren't a lot of ingredients but the techniques causes the flavors to subtly come out. This is definitely a keeper recipe.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                      Pork Sausages with Red Cabbage, p. 428

                                                                                                                                      I've had a half a red cabbage kicking around in my fridge for several weeks because I am just DONE with cabbage. You know when you get to that point in the year? I was truly unable to face this cabbage, and then I remembered this recipe and thought I would give it a try. And I agree completely with BB, this is a great dish. I followed the recipe exactly, using a sweet Italian pork sausage with no herbs or spices per Marcella's recommendation. I was a little doubtful all the way through as even at the 45 minute mark, my cabbage did not appear on its way to deliciousness. Well, something magical happens in that last 20 minutes of braising with the sausages. My cabbage just melted, becoming silky-sweet and also intensely savory from the sausage juices. This recipe only has six ingredients (olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red cabbage and pork sausage) but they are utterly transformed by the cooking process. Great recipe.

                                                                                                                                    2. Sauteed Snapper with Mushrooms – p. 296 – Fish & Shellfish

                                                                                                                                      I have to admit that even though mr bc and I are tremendous fans of Italian food, I haven’t done a ton of cooking from Marcella’s books. Given that she keeps coming up as a COTM contender I’m going to make a concerted effort to make some dishes from her books so I have something to contribute to the nomination debate. That said, earlier this week I turned to Marcella for inspiration in preparing some snapper filets.

                                                                                                                                      I should note that Marcella intends that this dish be prepared w whole, gutted and scaled fish but since the fish are not stuffed, there was nothing in the preparation process that precluded making the dish w filets.

                                                                                                                                      The dish combines two recipes from the book; this one for the fish and the “Mushroom” component is the “Sauteed Mushrooms with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley – Method 1” from p. 509 in the Vegetables section. Here’s a link to my review of that portion of the dish:


                                                                                                                                      Prep for the fish is quick and simple. Garlic, onions, carrot and parsley are chopped. An anchovy is chopped then mashed to a pulp. A bay leaf is crumbled.

                                                                                                                                      Onion is cooked in olive oil until it’s translucent at which point the carrot is added and cooked for 2 mins then the garlic is stirred in until golden then the parsley, bay leaf, wine and anchovy are added in. Once the wine has evaporated by half, the fish is added and the pan is partially covered to allow the fish to cook, after 8 mins the fish is turned and the process is repeated for 5 additional minutes before adding in the mushrooms to cook through. I reduced my cooking time as the filets cooked much quicker than the whole fish would.

                                                                                                                                      In the end this produced a flavourful, hearty dish. We especially enjoyed the subtle flavour that the anchovy imparts and felt it somehow brought out the earthiness of the mushrooms. I garnished this w fresh chives to reinforce the onion flavours in the dish. We really enjoyed this and I’d make it again.

                                                                                                                                      1. Veal Scaloppine with Lemon - p. 362

                                                                                                                                        First use of this recipe as I continue in my commitment to try some of MH's recipes (I've had this book on my shelves for years but have only recently started cooking from it.)

                                                                                                                                        That said, this is a very common dish that I've been making with and without a recipe forever it seems. That said, Marcella's cooking process differs from those I've seen in the past in that she browns the veal, removes it from the pan, makes the sauce then returns it to the pan to to warm the pieces before serving. Such a simple step that makes total sense. I'll be doing that from now on. My lemons were quite bitter so I used less juice than MC calls for. A solid recipe for a tasty, classic dish. Sorry, no photo, just back from a mini vacation and totally forgot!!

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          Veal Scaloppine with Lemon, page 362

                                                                                                                                          This is very similar to how I often cook scaloppine, with one minor difference. I generally season the meat before dusting in flour. I did that here as well.

                                                                                                                                          My veal is not traditional veal. He played in the pastures for several months before being "harvested" so the meat is not tender or white. It is more like young beef, so I did do some pounding to tenderize.

                                                                                                                                          Garnishing the meat with thin slices of lemon was a lovely addition, but we all still wished we that the lemon flavor had been a bit more pronounced. When I heated the leftovers, I actually spritzed the meat on the serving dish with a wedged lemon.

                                                                                                                                          Served with soft polenta and Fresh Mushroom with porcini, and Rosemary, page 511.

                                                                                                                                        2. I understand that this thread is 5 years old but since I know a lot of CH'rs use Essentials, I assume that others might be looking for new recipes to try out of the cookbook like I am.
                                                                                                                                          I haven't seen mentioned my two favorite recipes from Essentials:

                                                                                                                                          Clam Soup (p.121) - not what I would really consider a soup actually but an amazing steamed clam recipe. I always use Manila clams (the smaller the better) and don't even think of making this without having some great bread (personally love Ciabatta) to soak up the sauce. I have also found that I like this prepared with Chardonnay best. The wine will make a huge difference in flavor.

                                                                                                                                          Fried Tidbits of Swordfish or Other Fish (p.294) - I've never used swordfish as it's not something my husband catches. It's fabulous with Sea Bass and Lingcod or other similar fish. The recipe is amazingly simple and absolutely fabulous. I almost always forget the parsley. Doesn't matter.

                                                                                                                                          1. Pan Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic, and White Wine Pg. 329

                                                                                                                                            This was a relatively quick evening meal that I would likely repeat but I might tweak a bit. I used all thighs (7 medium sized) and browned as directed. I added the wine, garlic, salt, and rosemary and continued to braise for about 18 minutes, at which point I checked and my chicken was done. I may have been going on a slightly high flame, but the pan was far from dry as a good amount of fat had rendered and added itself to the 3 tb of fat that went into the pan at the beginning. As directed I spooned much of it off and removed the garlic. She doesn't say what to do with the rosemary but I also removed it at this point. I then tried to bring up the fonds but I found that it wasn't coming up nicely as there was not enough liquid in the pan.

                                                                                                                                            I did serve the chicken drizzled with a bit of the pan sauce, and it was nicely browned with a touch of garlic and rosemary on the nose and the palate, but I found the pan sauce just too fatty. I would definitely repeat but this time I would remove all but one tablespoon of the fat from the pan at the end, and toss in another 1/2 cup of the wine to bring up the fond properly and to dilute the fat. I would also keep one clove of garlic and mash it into the pan sauce.

                                                                                                                                            Overall, the dish has good bones, but I would tweak it as indicated above.

                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                              I have some chicken thighs in the freezer and was looking at this recipe. Thanks for the tips; making note. Sure looks good.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                Thanks Joan, I'm curious to see what you think.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                I made this tonight pretty much as written - apart from I used five thighs and halved the butter and olive oil. I used dried rosemary, as I was too lazy to go into the garden in the cold and dark! I borrowed delys77's idea of smushing the garlic into the pan sauce, which worked well.

                                                                                                                                                We thought this was delicious - and I didn't find the pan sauce too fatty. There wasn't actually that much fat to spoon off, possibly because I used free-range chicken. Anyway, this is way better than the sum of its parts - a definite make-again. A bit of cream stirred into the pan sauce would also be good.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                  Good to know greedygirl, it is entirely possible that my chicken was on the fattier side. Glad you enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                  This seems to be the exact ingredient list and instructions as Fricasseed Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Juice (p. 334), which I made tonight with success. Chicken was super tender and flavorful. The lemon addition in the sauce at the end is a nice touch in the recipe on p. 334. I would recommend that for anyone who tried the one on p. 329.

                                                                                                                                                  I agree with delys77, I would reduce the oil next time since the chicken with skin ended up being a lot of fat in the pan. I used 1.5 pounds thighs, 1.5 pounds drumsticks. Served with garlic herbed mashed potatoes and a cauliflower/capers/kalamata olives/sun dried tomato pesto creation.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                    Sounds delicious! So all tolled about lbs of chicken parts, I think my thighs likely added up to a few lbs.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                      I posted about this dish up thread. I loved it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                        Thank you, Westminstress, I did see that but wasn't sure posters were still here at CH in the conversation since they were dated 2006 and 2012. I will add my two cents in that thread too. I realized reading delys77's post that it was the same recipe and technique. I loved it as well!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                          With the new software it's easy to reply to old posts -- everyone will see it because the new posts are highlighted (if you're logged in, that is ). I live that feature! Glad you enjoyed the dish.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                      Pan Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic, and White Wine, p. 329

                                                                                                                                                      Such a simple, relatively quick dish. We thought it was lovely. I made the recipe pretty much as directed, but with only four thighs and double the garlic cloves. I was glad to have some use for fresh rosemary, if only a sprig, as I have a massive bush (shrub?) right off my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                      I did not find I had too much oil (I used 1 T ea. butter and oil), but did have a really nice pan sauce. We smeared the garlic cloves on baguette slices.

                                                                                                                                                      I can see myself doing this often ("with potatoes, please, next time," says DH).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                        That looks delicious, and you are right that the pan sauce looks great NMC. I must have just had some flabby chicken.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Rolled Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Pork and Rosemary Filling, page 340

                                                                                                                                                      _sigh_ It just wasn't my night, I guess. Marcella has some verbose instructions on how to prepare the chicken breast which I thought I had followed correctly. She states that chicken breast is too delicate to pound, so instead the chicken breasts are cut lengthwise. Having done this a gazillion time before, I was fairly sure I understood.

                                                                                                                                                      Next you prepare the filling. Some oil is heated over medium and then you add some crushed garlic. Cook until golden. Then add the pork and minced rosemary and cook for 10 minutes. On medium heat, 10 minutes would have been too long, so I reduced the heat. The pork is strained to a plate, removing the garlic. From here the pork moves to the chicken where she instructs you to roll, inserting a toothpick lengthwise. There was no way this chicken was going to roll lengthwise AND have pork inside. The breast was simply not deep enough so I rolled the other way, with a sinking heart.

                                                                                                                                                      She instructs you to drain the excess fat from the sautee pan, but there was no fat. I used a sirloin piece of pork, ground fresh, and there just wasn't any fat. Add butter to the pan and when it stops bubbling, add the chicken turning. Cook for 1 minute. Since I had rolled it the other way, one minute was not anywhere near enough time. I kept browning and browning and finally threw the chicken in the oven to finish. To make the sauce, deglaze the pan with some white wine, pour over the chicken and serve immediately.

                                                                                                                                                      With the rest of the meal waiting, I finally just pulled out the chicken and we ate the three pieces that were cooked enough.

                                                                                                                                                      The good news? This was delicious! But, in the future, I would just sautee some chicken breasts and then make a sauce with some butter, pork, rosemary, garlic, and wine. The presentation was not pretty enough for "company" so why not just make it easy?

                                                                                                                                                      1. I know this is an old thread, but I see it's reactivated, so

                                                                                                                                                        Yesterday made one of my old favorites - Pork Loin Braised in Milk. Haven't really modified it, but you do need to make sure you have the right size pot for the size pork you are doing, and your stove needs to be able to keep a slow flame.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm hoping there is a receipe for Osso Buco. Anyone ever tried it?

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KMERC

                                                                                                                                                          There are three. One for a Milanese style, on p. 355, another for Ossobuco in Bianco (in white wine, with no tomato), on p. 358, and one for Stinco, which is a Trieste style, also with no tomatoes, on p. 359. I'll probably try to make one before the month is out.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                            Don't have the books in front of me, but the Ossobuco recipe from The Classic Italian Cookbook (most of the recipes from that first book of hers are also in Essentials) is an old favorite, highly recommend.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: KMERC

                                                                                                                                                            I love this dish as well. It's been a long time since I've made it. I prefer it with pork shoulder, which stands up to the braise better I think (she gives the shoulder option in the head notes). I have found in the past that my milk has never reduced all the way, as she claims it will. I usually wait until the clusters are nut brown, then remove the pork, skim fat, and zap with immersion blender.

                                                                                                                                                          3. Sauteed Veal Chops with Sage and White Wine, The Classic Italian Cookbook; p.272

                                                                                                                                                            Such a coincidence - soon after I noted this recipe as "looks easy and good", and made a mental note to be on the lookout for veal chops, I found veal loin chops at Costco. And because their thickness was very close to the recommended 3/4", the cooking time of 8-10 minutes in a hot skillet produced chops that were the perfect "rosy pink" and juicy.

                                                                                                                                                            I did not cut the sauce ingredients in half even though I made just two chops - a quick glance at the amount of wine, sage and butter that gets boiled together in the pan after the flour-dusted chops are seared didn't seem like it could be too much for only two chops (and it wasn't - definitely double the sauce if making four chops!).

                                                                                                                                                            The result, juicy chops paired with a lovely sauce infused with sage, were excellent. This seems to be one of those great recipes where just a few quality ingredients can really produce a memorable dish, in a very short amount of time.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Thin Lamb Chops Fried in Parmesan Batter (page 412)

                                                                                                                                                              This was a spur-of-the moment decision. Friend had stopped by and we were planning to go out for dinner. But it was cold and drizzly. He’d been telling me about the article in yesterday’s NYTimes magazine about Marcella Hazan and mentioned this recipe. Coincidentally, in continuing to clean out the freezer pre-Thanksgiving, I had a rack of lamb defrosting in the fridge, so we decided to stay in.

                                                                                                                                                              This was a Costco rack, so the backbone and corner bone had already been removed. All I had to do was cut them apart and flatten them with a meat pounder. They’re pressed into grated Parmesan, dipped into beaten egg, turned in breadcrumbs, and fried in hot oil—seasoning with salt and pepper while they’re in the pan—until crispy on both sides. I served them with a simple salad.

                                                                                                                                                              My friend said, “You had eight chops. How come you only made four of them?” But I think he was kidding. These were so rich that two each was more than plenty.

                                                                                                                                                              I’m conflicted as to whether or not I’d make these again. They were tasty, no doubt about it. And easy and super quick to prepare. An Atkins diet wet dream, to boot. But all in all, at least for me, it was just too, too. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if I were fantasizing about these chops a month or so from now.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                "Too, too" as in they are "battered"?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't understand why she calls it a batter since there's no batter involved. At least, not in the traditional sense. They were just too rich. And that's something I don't hear myself say very often.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Meatballs with Cabbage page 400

                                                                                                                                                                I can't believe I am the first person to make these. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first.

                                                                                                                                                                I made a few changes/substitutions. I used double the pancetta because I had one thick slice fromt he deli. I also didn't heat the milk before soaking the bread in it. I also used seasoned commercial breadcrumbs instead of plain and my parm wasn't freshley grated. I prefer a very fine texture of meatball besides fruit or nut addtions for the most part so my onions and pancetta took a spin in the mini prep. Basically you combine the ingredients for the meatballs, roll the balls in the bread crumbs and fry. Then they are tossed and heated with the cabbage tomato mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                The meatballs were excellent and I would definitely make them again.

                                                                                                                                                                The cabbage was also very good. I had to use napa instead of savoy but I stuck to the curlier pieces. I think t softened faster than she said it would. even without the tomatoes the cabbage and garlic were nice and fragrant and probably would have been fine alone. After adding the tomato which was to be drained I added back just a few tablespoons of the juices.

                                                                                                                                                                The meatballs were deliciously crispy after they came out of the oil. I think that it is the secret to the breadcrumb coating. They retained a good amount of texture even after adding to the cabbage.

                                                                                                                                                                I served with a small side salad of plainly dressed greens an an Italian dressing (homemade) and a bit of garlic bread. No need for a starchy side, the cabbage takes the place of this for you. This would be great for a lower carb crowd with the minimal bread/crumbs. I could see omitting the milky bread even but the balls may be a little stiffer.

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                  Great! I rarely make meatballs but I was thinking about these as I have half a head of Savoy cabbage hanging around.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                    Oops! I think i got the name of the dish wrong. I believe it is Winter Meatballs with Cabbage.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                      This caught my eye because I quite like braised cabbage, thanks for the report.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. New to Marcella Hazan and picked up the cookbook a few weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                                      Tonight's dinner was the fricasseed chicken with cabbage. Very satisfying and with so few ingredients (chicken, salt, pepper, oil, onion, garlic, red cabbage, and some red wine). The dry red wine cut the sweetness of the cabbage but left no astrigency or overt wine taste - the chicken was tender and the cabbage and onions cooked down to make a thick marmalade almost. This is going into the regular dinner rotation now.

                                                                                                                                                                      A few weeks ago I made the pork braised in milk, which again for so few ingredients (butter, oil, pork, salt, and milk) turned into more than the sum of it's parts and was such a hit that we'll be making this for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. I had followed a blog post (just prior to acquiring the book) and I realized they specified an amount for the salt (1 tsp.), whereas Marcella didn't. The next time I will likely cut down on the salt just a touch, but even so the resulting dish was ridiculously tender with these addictive salty, savory clusters of sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: amishangst

                                                                                                                                                                        You've picked two of my fav go to recipes! Glad to hear that someone other than me finds those clusters of sauce addictive. They aren't pretty, mine are more like clumps than clusters, but sure are yummy

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Oxtail, Vaccinara Style, Essentials p. 446-448

                                                                                                                                                                        I made this partly because it's one of the only recipes for oxtail I've seen that doesn't call for a long premarinading, and partly because it uses white wine rather than red, and I needed to use up a bottle of dry Riesling.

                                                                                                                                                                        The major change I made to the recipe was using bacon instead of pork jowl, pig's feet, or pork hock, just because I had the bacon and the only pork hocks I had were smoked, which would have been overwhelming. I'm sure it would have had a very different consistency with the added gelatin from the feet/hocks and I will try it that way sometime in the future
                                                                                                                                                                        Like many of MH's recipes, her seasoning is subtle. The vegetables are parsley, garlic , onion, carrot, tomtatoes, and celery - plus salt and pepper, nothing else. I added a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, a bay leaf and cap mushrooms. Cooked in a dutch oven on top of the stove, and I simmered it for about 40 minutes more than the recipe called for. The meat was tender and coming off the bone, but slightly chewy. We ate it over spaetzle.

                                                                                                                                                                        Overall I really liked the lightness of this dish, since oxtail stew is usually very rich and heavy, and this was delicious without being heavy.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Stewed Pork with Porcini Mushrooms and Juniper

                                                                                                                                                                          I made this a couple of weeks back but haven't had time to report until now. This wasn't a big hit with us, but some of that was user error. Cubed pork shoulder is stewed with white wine, anchovies, porcini, marjoram, bay and crushed juniper berries. I had a bit more pork than suggested so I upped the spices a bit and as a result I totally overdid the juniper and marjoram. These ingredients were unfamiliar to me and, as it turns out, are not among my favorite flavors. I also had a less than ideal cut of pork (pre-cubed stew meat, which was tougher than shoulder and never tenderized in the time I had available for cooking). Although I definitely messed up the recipe, it's not my favorite flavor profile, so I'm not inclined to try again.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Meatballs, The Classic Italian Cookbook, pg 247 (revised and changed somewhat in Essentials-pg 399)

                                                                                                                                                                            "Essentials" is a go to around here for quick, direct and good. This recipe didn't disappoint. I made a half batch, and tip to tail, including the hands off 20+ minute simmer, it was done in about 45 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                            Did the American thing and served it over pasta (home-made while the sauce simmered!), and speaking as the one in this house who doesn't much like spaghetti and meatballs, it was really good. As for the resident aficionado he looked down at his empty plate and said "I forgot to take a picture, could you make this again? This week?"

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                Silly question, Q, but my son has requested spaghetti and meatballs, a dish I have never made before! I looked at this recipe but I think she calls for cooking the meatballs on their own, and I have always seen them cooked in sauce. What sauce did you use and did you cook the meatballs in the sauce at all? Thx!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                  Your son and Mr. QN would get along great. As for sauce, not a silly question, I had to read the recipe a couple of times before I figured out that the sauce is just a cup of canned tomato (Pomi tertrapak-ed in my case) added to the meatball pan after the cooking oil from the browning has been drained off, then just cover and simmer the meatballs with the tomato. For my half batch I eyeballed the tomato measure and probably used around 3/4 c, but my tomatoes had been the freezer, leftovers from an open Pomi box, which I think dehydrates them a bit. I was using the "Classic" book when cooking, but noticed afterward that in "Essentials" the recipe is called "Meatballs in Tomato".

                                                                                                                                                                                  One thing though, this definitely yields a smallish amount of a thick-ish sauce, which we like. I know there are others who prefer a much higher sauce/liquid to pasta ratio than the MH recipes generally yield.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As for the pasta my batch was 3/4 Flour + 1 egg, haven't weighed the results, but to give you an idea of proportions, best guess it yields just about the same amount as from one of those little "fresh pasta" packs from the grocery store--exactly right for a half batch of these meatballs, at least for us.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Grilled Swordfish [Bluefish] - Sicilian Salmoriglio Style

                                                                                                                                                                                Yum, yum, yum!!! Now that I am finally learning to use my Weber kettle (or should I say my husband is learning to use it, ha!) I am looking forward to lots of fantastic grilling recipes this summer. Last night we had fresh, skin on bluefish fillets that I wanted to cook on the grill, and this sauce seemed to fit the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                So, to make the salmoriglio, you dissolve a substantial amount of salt in lemon juice, stir in oregano (fresh preferred, but I used dried, which is a sanctioned substitution), then olive oil drop by drop so that it emulsifies, and finally FG black pepper. You grill your fish, then when you take it off the grill you stab it with a fork and pour the marinade over. I made one small change which was to add to the sauce some finely chopped parsley from the garden. I just wanted a fresh green element, and didn't have fresh oregano. Even with my crummy dried oregano, this sauce was SO GOOD!!! I can't think of a better accompaniment to grilled fish, and it could not be quicker, easier or more convenient to make. I will be making this sauce again and again. I won't be surprised to see this dish in the weeknight COTM favorites thread by the end of the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, I don't have the page number handy, but it is the second recipe in the fish section. And also here:

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the tip. I'd never noticed this recipe, but it does sound ideal for grilled fish, which we like to have a lot in summer. And it's full-on summer here!