Nothing beats a family recipe, and so this holiday season we decided to gather family recipes from local community leaders. Where else are you going to find mayor Paul Pontieri’s meatball recipe? Or a gorgonzola pasta from our Italian Bellport resident, Ivanna? We like to think of her as our very own Giada. After all, what’s better than a homemade meal?
1. 3 cups of cooked chestnuts chopped
2. Combine the chopped chestnut with 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 3/4 cup of heavy cream, 3/4 cup of panko, 2 tablespoons of chopped celery, 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots.
3. Mix in a bowl and stuff in the neck of the turkey.
“My granddaughter, Olivia, and I make meatballs whenever she visits us. I visit them (in Colorado Springs) and sometimes, we Facetime and do it,” he said. “This is a recipe from my Grandmother Romeo, and like all recipes that were handed down from generation to generation, it contains a little of this, a little of that, and whole lot of love.”
• 1lb+ chop meat, 80 percent
• Bread crumbs
• Eggs 1 per pound of chop meat
• Spices: oregano, parsley, basil,
• Fresh parsley (optional)
• Cheese: parmesan, Romano,
NEED: Bowl to mix in, a cookie sheet to cook the meatballs on, or a fry pan to cook them in.
In this recipe, you mix the eggs, milk, spices and cheese in the bread crumbs.
Bread crumbs are put in the bowl first. The amount of bread crumbs should be equal in volume, not in weight, to the chop meat.
To the Bread crumbs, add (the flavor in the meatballs comes from the bread crumbs not the meat):
1 egg per pound of chop meat
Milk to moisten bread crumbs
Oregano, basil, parsley (if not using fresh parsley); add a palm-full of each spice to the moist bread crumbs
If using fresh parsley, chop into small pieces and mix in with moist bread crumbs
Add garlic salt to taste
Add at least one cup of the cheese of your choice; the cheese adds flavor
Mix bread crumbs (with hands) until all ingredients are mixed in
Add meat to the bread crumbs and mix together
When making the meatballs, they should be no larger than the palm of your hand (a little larger than a golf ball)
The meatballs can be cooked in the oven on a cookie sheet or in a fry pan on the stove
If using a cookie sheet (my preference), spread olive oil on the sheet to prevent sticking…use olive oil in fry pan
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees… cook for 15 minutes and turn them and cook for 15 minutes more
Taste to see if the meatball is done… if not, cook for 10 minutes more… when done, put them in the gravy.
• 1 1/2 lbs. Chuck (or leftover meat: mixed beef, pork, lamb, Andouille sausage)
• 3 dried Chile Pasilla chiles
• 3 dried Chile ancho chiles
• 3 dried chipotle chiles
• 1/2 diced white or Spanish onion
• 1 diced green pepper
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 box beef broth
• 1-28 oz crushed tomato
• 1-28 oz diced tomato
• 3 tbsp. tomato paste
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp. cocoa powder (yes, you heard me)
• 2 tbsp. chili oil (optional)
• Seasoning to taste: Hungarian paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, African harissa, cumin, orange adobo, crushed pepper flakes, sea salt, Chile ancho powder, coffee rub (or fine-grind coffee)
• Brown sugar (optional)
• 1 bottle Guinness beer (optional)
• 1 tbsp. Grandma’s molasses
Remove the meat from bones and dice, place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes to warm up and roast.
Place pasilla, ancho, and chipotle chilies (you can get these in a Mexican supermarket) on a dry rack and place in the oven for 10 minutes to roast. If worried about the smell, microwave in a sealed container for 2 minutes until the chilies are soft. De-seed and place in a blender with beef broth and 1/2 of the seasoning. Blend well.
In a Dutch oven, use your chili oil to sauté the onions, green pepper and garlic until sautéed; be careful not to burn. Add in tomato paste and mix well.
Add in your chili paste from the blender, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, Guinness. Stir in meat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add brown sugar, molasses, cocoa powder, the rest of the seasoning, and crushed and diced tomatoes.
Place in your meat and let simmer till well mixed and place in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Skim grease from the pot, check tenderness of meat and taste for spiciness. If needed, add more chili pepper and hot sauce.
Place back in oven for 20 minutes. Continue to check every 15 minutes until meat is tender and spice levels are right. Be sure to skim any grease from the top with a spoon as you check it. Great by itself, as a side dish, with rice or noodles.
“My grandmother Lina Augusta Moldenhauer was born in Celle, Germany, in 1911. She immigrated to the United States when she was 16 and settled in Queens, New York, where she married my grandfather, Conrad Lewbel, and raised their three daughters, the oldest of which is my mother, Connylee,” she said. “Growing up, we frequently had Sunday dinner at her apartment in Elmhurst, where she treated us to her German specialties. Everyone’s favorite was Koenigsberger Klopes: meatballs made from beef, veal, and pork in a white sauce with capers. (Koenigsberger was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia).”
Recipe yields 20 meatballs
• 1/2 lb. ground beef
• 1/4 lb. ground pork
• 1/4 lb. ground veal
• 1 oz of anchovy paste or 3-4 mashed anchovies
• 1 small white onion
• 1 tsp celery salt
• 1 tsp. parsley flakes
• 2 slices stale white bread soaked and squeezed
Added to water:
• 5 peppercorns
• 1 bay leaf
• 25-35 capers in vinegar
• 1/4 cup of milk
• 1/4 cup of flour
Mix first group of ingredients well in a bowl and form 20 meatballs. Add the meatballs to a pot of boiling water, just enough to cover, and add one bay leaf. Cook on a low simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Remove meatballs, pepper, and bay leaf from the remaining water. Mix together 1/4 cup of milk with 1/4 cup of flour, making sure to get out all the lumps, and add to the pot with the capers and simmer until sauce thickens. Add back in the meatballs to warm and you are ready to serve.
“This is one of my favorite go-to recipes,” she said. “I make the sauce fresh while the pasta water is boiling. The sauce does not cook, but heats up perfectly over the hot pasta.”
Makes approximately six servings
• Generous 1/2-pound Gorgonzola cheese (good quality)
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 1 large-stalk celery, roughly chopped
• 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
• Large handful of fresh basil leaves
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup milk
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 and 1/2 pounds penne rigate or fresh tagliatelle
Place Gorgonzola, butter, celery, onion, basil, and a pinch of pepper in a blender or a food processor. Process to a smooth paste; when the mixture is well blended, add the cream and milk; add salt to taste. Blend until the sauce is very smooth. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente in salted water, then toss it with the sauce and immediately serve. Serve with fresh basil garnish and optional freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Red wine pairing suggestion: Valtellina Superior, Sassella or Dolcetto! Buon appetito.
No family holiday is complete without Mamar’s family (Kathleen Stillwell, Nicole’s grandmother) rugelach cinnamon cookie rolls. This labor-intensive dessert is worth it! Pictured is 3-year-old Nicole rolling the dough.
• One 8 oz. container TempTee cream cheese.
• One 8 oz. container Breakstone whipped unsalted butter.
• 2 cups sifted flour.
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup cinnamon
• 4 oz. finely chopped walnuts
• 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Combine cream cheese and butter together until well mixed. Add flour a cup at a time. Separate dough into four balls and refrigerate one hour. In another bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and walnuts until well blended. Set aside. Roll one ball at a time into a round circle about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle sugar mixture over entire circle. Add raisins now, if you want them. Cut circle into triangles in 1-to-2-inch pieces. Roll dough starting at big end; bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
“Here is one of my favorite holiday appetizer recipes I learned from my cousin Lisa, and tweaked over the years,” she said. “It is my most-requested thing to make for any family gathering!”
• 2 small cans of minced clams
• 4 slices of bacon (diced small)
or diced pancetta is also great
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 med onion (diced)
• 1.25 cups seasoned bread crumbs
• 3/4 cup fresh grated parm
• 2 teaspoons oregano
• dash of hot sauce
• juice of 1 lemon
• Ritz crackers for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium skillet, render the fat from the bacon. When the bacon is browned, add the 1/4 cup of butter and diced onion and sauté all together until the onion is translucent.
Shut off the heat and add the clams (with juice!), bread crumbs, parm, oregano, hot sauce, juice from lemon and combine until everything is incorporated
Taste and adjust seasoning—you want the mixture to be slightly wet, but not too watery.
Pour mixture into an oven-proof dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve immediately with Ritz crackers. Any cracker will work, but Ritz crackers are the best for this dip!!