Italian. I don’t come from a big Italian family. Well, I could have if my dad and his brothers and sisters weren’t always feuding (mostly their spouses caused the problems). When my Grandma and Grandpa were alive everyone seemed to put up with each other for the sake of Grandma and Grandpa. When they passed away that was the end of seeing our cousins and aunts and uncles.
My mother, who was French-Italian but raised French not Italian, never learned to cook as when she was a girl the war in France was going on and there wasn’t any food to spare for her to learn. When she came to America to marry my dad, who she met during the war when he was stationed near Paris, my Italian Grandmother helped her learn the family recipes. Story has it that Grandma came to my parents house to cook while my mom watched and my dad wrote down the ingredients and what to do. My mother actually became a very accomplished Italian cook, making all of my dad’s favorite foods.
Recently I was talking to my SIL (Who is Icelandic) about not having Mom’s recipe file when she said she had many of the family recipes!! She scanned them, many in my mom’s handwriting, and emailed them to me a few months ago. I am going to share our family pasta sauce recipe and fried cauliflower recipe with you. The sauce recipe works when making spaghetti or make lasagna.
Grandma Russo’s Spaghetti Sauce
1-½ pounds ground beef
6 slices of bacon, chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
parsley (recipe doesn’t say how much, I usually add ¼ c chopped)
salt (again, recipe doesn’t say how much so I use it sparingly, especially if there is salt in the tomato sauce)
pepper (to taste)
6-7 small cans of tomato sauce
Place the bacon in the bottom of the pan, top with the beef and put the garlic on top. Brown all together over low-medium heat.
Sprinkle thyme, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper over the meat and cook 1 minute. Heat the tomato sauce and add to the meat. I usually cook all this for another 30 minutes. There isn’t any direction that says how long to cook the meat and sauce together but I know it wasn’t cooked for hours like some sauces.
Mom’s Fried Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 cloves chopped garlic (I press them rather than chop)
¾ teaspoon salt
flour for dusting
vegetable or canola oil for frying
Cut cauliflower into medium floret’s, steam them but not too much, want them to still be firm. Drain to remove any excess moisture.
Heat about 1/8” of oil to a medium heat.
Beat eggs and add parsley and garlic. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dust florets with flour, dip in egg mixture add to heated oil, turning until all sides are brown.
These are good hot or room temp.