The I’s have it
Here is a quick rundown of the rest of Italy week.
There was one recipe from my abandoned eggplant week that I wanted to try and since it fit the theme I made it for our New Year’s Day dinner, Ridiculously Good Baked Eggplant Parmesan. It’s a deconstruction of any eggplant parm I have tried to make and seemed more like lasagna than chicken parmesan. The trick to this recipe is to roast the eggplant ahead of time with plenty of olive oil and salt. I only roasted as much eggplant as would fit on a single cookie sheet so I ended up with not quite enough. (I realized this after I built the dish so I cut up the one eggplant I had left and roasted it as a side dish.) After layering homemade tomato sauce, eggplant, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella the dish is topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese that toasted up very well. The title of the recipe does not boast and this is the only way I will make Eggplant Parmesan in the future.
I made one of my standards for dinner this night, Creamy Penne with Peppers and Sausage. I made one modification from the usual recipe. Instead of wine to deglaze the pan I used a bit of champagne we had left over from New Year’s Eve.
Regular readers of the blog will know that Friday means pizza. We typically put in a frozen pizza, but for Italy week we made our own pizza.
I ended the week with the one that started it all, Spaghetti and Meatballs. I can’t recall the last time we used anything other than jarred marinara sauce and we often use frozen meatballs as well. Pasta is an easy weeknight dish so taking the time to make sauce and meatballs isn’t usually available. I used the Tomato Sauce recipe from The Commonsense Kitchen. I kept to my mother’s recipe for meatballs, but I used the technique Tom Hudgen’s outlines for browning in the frying pan and then baking the meatballs to cook them all the way through. I even sprung for some fancy imported spaghetti called Isola. It all worked together to make some of the best spaghetti I’ve tasted in a while. It may be hard to go back to jarred sauce and frozen meatballs.
Late in the week I was a little worried that all the pasta and cheese might not be the best way to lose weight. I had very small portions on Friday and Saturday and skipped any snacking. It paid off and I was able to make my weight loss goal once again.