Friday, November 2, 2012

Classic Italian by Jannine Gallant

This month we're sharing recipes, both family favorites and dishes from our books. I love to cook, and as a consequence, so do many of my characters. In the following scene from Lonely Road to You, my heroine is discussing her reluctance to attend her 25 year reunion with her teen aged son. A pot of spaghetti sauce simmers on the stove...

“No old boyfriends to check out?”

Fleeting thoughts of a dark haired boy whose smile turned her legs to limp noodles flashed through her mind. She turned and stirred the spaghetti sauce simmering on the six burner stove, the newest acquisition in her ongoing kitchen remodel. The smell of basil and oregano made her stomach growl. With care, she wiped a spot of sauce off the gleaming surface. “Not a one. I was the new girl in town and painfully shy. The boys didn’t know I existed.”

Josh slung his arm over her shoulders and sniffed deeply. “They didn’t know what they were missing. You’re an awesome cook and not bad looking for an old lady. Hey!” he said, jumping back after she poked him in the ribs.

“I’m not that old.”

“Forty-three in August. I hate to break it to you, Mom, but that’s ancient.”

“I suppose it is. I certainly feel ancient at times.”

He stared at her, his eyes narrowing. “Maybe you’ll meet someone at the reunion. You really should make an effort to date more. How many months has it been since the last time you went out?”
“Dating is overrated.”

Enjoy my personal recipe for spaghetti and Cesar salad, perfect for a chilly fall day!

Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can peeled tomatoes (cut up) with juice
1 15 oz can tomato puree
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (Cab or Merlot)
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp sugar

Brown ground beef in large pot, draining any fat. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until onion is wilted. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Herb measurements are approximate, as I am one of those cooks who never measures anything. Fresh herbs can be substituted for dried ones if you have them on hand.

Recipe will generously feed 12 people and freezes well. For my family of 4, I divide the sauce into 3 portions and freeze 2 containers for future use. Serve over spaghetti noodles with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan.

Caesar Salad

Romaine lettuce washed and torn into pieces
Freshly Grated Parmesan

Caesar Dressing

In a blender combine:
1 egg
juice from 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves chopped
3 heaping Tbsp Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

While blender is running slowly add:
1 cup canola oil

Combine desired amount of dressing with salad ingredients. Remaining dressing will keep refrigerated for several days.

I got this recipe from my late mother-in-law, and it is a family favorite!

Buy links for Lonely Road to You and my other books can be found on my website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Have a great day.


JenaGalifany said...

Jannine - My first husband was Italian and his mother taught me how to make sauce the old fashioned way. I miss that smell in my kitchen, and taking tasters with a chunk of bread. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the memory.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Both recipes sound delicious. Good idea to make extra and freeze. There really is nothing better than homemade. Thanks for sharing. Margo

Jannine Gallant said...

Jena, hope you'll enjoy these.

Yep, Margo, 3 dinners for the work of 1. You can't beat that!

Vonnie Davis said...

I could smell it as I read the ingredients. Hmmm...let me go check my pantry.

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie, there's nothing like walking into a house that smells of tomatoes and herbs...

Mary Ricksen said...

As any Italian knows, we don't go to Italian restaurants, we make it better at home!!! Mmmmm

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm not Italian, but I had three friends, all guys, in college who were. The spaghetti recipe originated with one of them, and I added my own tweaks over the years. Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

Jerri Hines said...

Should I confess I've never made homemade sauce. My poor children always got Ragu. I'll have to try it.

Jannine Gallant said...

LOL, they probably survived it, Jerri, but homemade isn't that time consuming. You can write while it cooks!

LisaRayns said...

Very cool cover!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Lisa. That was one of the few covers where the artist actually took my suggestion!