Sausage & Peppers

ITALIAN SECRET SANDWICHES

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Italian-Americans love there sandwiches. They’ve got some famous ones that many non-Italians in America know of as well. Of course everyoen knows about Italian Submarine Sandwiches like the most typical of Salami, Ham, and Provolone with Lettuce, Onion, and Tomato dressed with Oil & Vinegar with Salt, Pepper and Oregano. Most everone knows about Meatball Parm Sandwiches and Sausage & Peppers. Those in New orleans and those who have visited the famed Central Groacery know of New Orleans Famous Sicilian-American Muffuletta Sandwich and those in Chicago have Italian Beef (Sandwiches), and Philly Famed Cheese-Steaks, “Yes They Are Italian.” Italian-Americans have many great sandwiches that aren’t quite as well know. And we like it that way. Hey we have to keep some things to ouselves. For example I have a famous Sandwich that my Aunt Helen taught me, and all my friends go nuts for it, “Aunt Helen’s Panini al Ovo.” The sandwich amazing! Made of spinach sauteed with olive oil and butter, with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and served on nice toasted Italian Bread, my friends go nuts for it. Sausage Pepper & Eggs or Sausage & Potato are a couple other Secret Sandwiches.

As I said my Aunt Helen’s Panini al Ovo is famous, but famous just within a small group of a few who are Lucky to know of this rare Gem. Another one, is one I created by acccident one day. When I owned my restaruant Bar Cichetti on Houston Street in New York’s Greenwich Village I created this tasty sandwich by accident one day. Before we started our lunch service one day, I had made a little plate of food for myself for lunch. The plate consisted of two Fried Eggs and 3 slices of Prosciutto di Parm with a couple slices of bread on the side. It made for a nice little lunch. One of my regular customers came in and saw me eating it and asked what it was, I told him, “Just a couple Fried Eggs with Prosciutto.” He said, “Hhumm.” A few minutes later one of my waitresses came in and said the guy wanted some Prosciutto with Fried Eggs. I made it and sent it out. She cam back and saide the guy wanted some Garlic Bread. I made him some Tuscan Garlic Bread of toasted Italian Bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with Olive Oil. The guy loved it. A couple days later, for my own lunch I decided to make the Fried Eggs with Prosciutto and put it on a taosted hero-roll as a sandwich. Voila a new sandwich was created.

So there you go, you’ve got the famous well-known Italian-Sandwiches, you’ve got lesser known regional ones like Italian-Beef of Chicago and the Muffuletta of New Orleans. Then you’ve got Secret Sandwiches like my “Aunt Hellen’s Panini al Ovo” and my own “Ovo Frittti con Prosciutto,” what’s better than that?

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READ About Aunt Helen’s Secret Sandwich “Panini al Ovo” Italian-American and Italian Sandwiches in Daniel Bellino-Zwicke’s “La TAVOLA”  … AVAILABLE in Paperback and KINDLE on AMAZON.com  …..

SUNDAY SAUCE

SUNDAY SAUCE

One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.

“SUNDAY SAUCE” is excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s
upcoming book “La Tavola”

GRAVY

 

"La TAVOLA" AMERICA'S BEST BOLOGNESE SAUCE .. Recipe in "La TAVOLA"  by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

“La TAVOLA” AMERICA’S BEST BOLOGNESE SAUCE .. Recipe in “La TAVOLA” by Daniel Bellino Zwicke