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    La Belle Cuisine - Cookbooks

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook
in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice
and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers."

~ Laurie Colwin


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La Belle Cuisine


Down-home Italian cooking at its best!

Rao's Recipes from
the Neighborhood:
Frank Pelligrino Cooks Italian
with Family and Friends
Copyright © 2004 by Frank Pellegrino
(St. Martin's Press)

“This book is dedicated to all those who have
come before us. We can never repay them, but
we can honor them through achievement.”

~ Frank Pellegrino

Josephine's Tuna Pasta Salad

Serves 4 to 6

“Josephine is my wife. We were both born and raised in East Harlem and we
both went to grade school at Our Lady Queen of Angels on 113th Street. It
is also the church where we were married. Josephine is a stickler for fresh
ingredients and shops every day for what she's going to cook that night.
I might also add that when she is not cooking, she is cleaning. I have the
cleanest house in America."

1 pound rotelle or elbow pasta, cooked and cooled
3 cans tuna fish, packed in olive oil, undrained
1 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoon capers
1 1/2 cups pitted and chopped black olives
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Put the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add the tuna with its oil,
the onion, capers, olives, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and
pepper and toss to combine. Serve.


Sausage and Peppers in the Oven

Serves 8

This is a fast and easy way to serve sausage and peppers when
you're having a crowd over for dinner or a party. Leftovers make
great sandwiches with crusty Home Baked Italian Bread."

8 sweet Italian sausages
8 hot Italian sausages
10 Italian frying peppers,
cored, seeded, and halved
2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place sausages in a roasting pan. Add the peppers, onions, garlic,
and salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast the sausages for approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally,
until they are nicely browned. Arrange on a platter and serve.


Chicken, Sausage, Potatoes and
Peppers in the Oven

Serves 4 to 6

"This is a great dish from the restaurant that my Uncle Vince and
my Aunt Anna taught me to make. We would cook it at the end of
the evening for ourselves and the staff. Of course, we would always
have a dish of pasta first."

1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) chicken,
cut into 12 to 14 pieces
1 pound Italian sausage, sweet, hot, or mixed,
each link cut in half crosswise
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
2 large bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
2 small onions, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 canned imported Italian plum tomatoes,
hand-crushed with the juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine the chicken, sausage, peppers, onion, and garlic in a roasting
pan large enough to fit all ingredients comfortably. Add the crushed
tomatoes with their juices. Drizzle the olive oil over the ingredients.
Season with the oregano, salt and pepper. Roast the dish in the oven
for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. The dish
is done when the potatoes are tender and the chicken pulls away
easily from the bone.


Eggplant Parmigiano

Serves 4 to 6

2 eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
6 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
cheese, plus additional for layering
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Seasoned flour for dredging *
2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups Marinara Sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 to 1 pound mozzarella, diced

* Seasoned flour: I use seasoned flour for dredging.
To a cup of flour, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4
teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

Spread the eggplant in 1 layer on paper towels. Sprinkle generously with
salt. Place the eggplant in a colander and cover with a plate. Place a weight
on the plate to weigh down the eggplant. Let sit for 30 minutes. Remove
the weights and shake off any excess salt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the eggs, grated cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set out a plate of flour and a plate of bread crumbs.
Lightly flour the eggplant, shaking off any excess. Dip the slices in the egg mixture, then the bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Fry the eggplant in batches, turning them when the edges
are browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place the fried eggplant on a
folded brown paper bag or on paper towels to drain.
Layer the ingredients in a 9 x 15 x 2 inch pan. Begin by spreading approx- mately 1/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Add an overlapping
layer of eggplant, then more sauce, followed by 1 teaspoon grated cheese, Then sprinkle with a handful or two of mozzarella. Add another layer of eggplant and continue layering, ending with a layer of sauce and a handful
of mozzarella.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for
15 to 30 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown and the sauce is
bubbling. Serve.

Marinara Sauce

Makes approximately 2 cups

"This recipe for marinara sauce is the perfect example
of the secret to great Italian cooking - simplicity."

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (35-ounce) can imported
Italian plum tomatoes, hand-
crushed, with the juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until
translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until lightly
golden, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and juice and bring
to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 45 minutes. Season with oregano
and salt and pepper and stir in the basil leaves. Cook for 1 minute more
and serve.

“...My husband often recalls waking up early on Sunday morning
in his Bronx home to the heady aroma of simmering meatballs being
prepared for the big one o'clock family
pranzo or the equally tantalizing
scents of braising beef braciole rolled around prosciutto and cheese and
perfumed with rosemary and thyme in the style of the Abruzzo or of the
lemon-accented torta di ricotta...
As can be seen from recipes in this book, those are exactly the kinds
of home-style neighborhood dishes Rao's has always featured, and it is
probably that comfort food combined with the never-changing look and
feel of the dining room or the style of service that retain the loyalty of
old-timers who appreciate the warm sense of familiarity. Others move
heaven and earth to get reservations only because to do so is
virtually impossible.”

~ Mimi Sheraton (from the Foreword)

Featured Archive Recipes:
(from our cookbook collection, of course!)
Rao's Cookbook:
Beef Braciola and Anna & Frankie’s
Polpettini with Sunday Gravy

Pappardelle with Hot Sausage Sauce
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Spaghetti Frittata
Steak Pizzaiola
Veal Chops Valdostano

Baked Eggplant, Zucchini and Parmigiano
Tortino (Union Square Cafe)

Eggplant Romano (Savannah Seasons)
Italian Meatballs and Sausages with Rigatoni
(Mimi Sheraton  in The James Beard Collection)

Italian Sausage Grinder (White Dog Cafe)
Mixed Grill with Warm Potato and
Chorizo Salad (Emeril)

Warm Terrine of Sausage, Peppers, Polenta
and Mozzarella (Mario Batali)

Our all-time favorite cookbooks
Food and Art (Artist's Cookbooks)

Recipes from out-of-print (or hard to find) cookbooks

Index - Cookbook Features
Daily Recipe Index
Recipe Archives Index
Recipe Search

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