It’s Recipe Monday again!

I had so much fun and got so many good recipes the last time we did this, I thought I’d try it again! And this time, I thought I’d give us a theme: how about ITALIAN FOOD?!

(Maybe this will help get you in the mood… feel free to hum the theme from “The Godfather”:)

I really love good Italian food. I’m the one that the little old Italian grandmas just dote on at an Italian wedding because I will try anything and eat everything they put in front of me. I also make lots of rapturous faces and yummy noises. I’m fun to feed, ya’ll! I’ve been to Italy once, and I virtually ate my way across the country. I love it all– the pasta, the bread, the cheeses, the olive oil, the meats, the vegetables, the desserts…

So how about you guys? I would love any of your favorite Italian recipes– no rules, just anything you feel like. I’ll kick it off by revealing the recipe for that incredible tomato sauce that my nephew The Computer Genius made for us to put on our homemade pizzas. To refresh your memory:

Trust me, it tastes even better than it looks.

The recipe is actually from the famous Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan, (“The Classic Italian Cookbook”). It is simple and perfect.


1 28 oz. can tomatoes (I used an Italian brand plum tomatoes), whole, peeled or chopped with their juice

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter

I medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, and the butter in a medium saucepan. Place the onion halves face down in the sauce. (I also added a little bit of fresh garlic and a few leaves of fresh basil, but you don’t have to.
  2. Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes. I doubled this recipe and cooked it about an hour and a half. The idea is to reduce and thicken the sauce.
  3. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon until the sauce is relatively smooth. Continue to taste and salt as needed. When it is thick and the droplets of butter kind of separate and float free from the tomato. Discard the onion. (Or eat it on a plate with a fork- mmmmm….
That’s it! It is not a thick, pasty sauce, it is a light luscious wonder.
OK, now it’s your turn. Whaddya got, readers?!

21 Responses

  1. teegees

    The sauce recipe sounds great and SIMPLE! Um, what I want to know is what exactly is in/on that delectable pizza pictured above. My family had to pry me away, I was licking the computer screen… It looks FABULOUS!

  2. karen48

    I used to buy the spaghetti sauces in the stores. But sometimes, I either don’t like them or just want something milder. What I have done that I like is just brown some hamburger and onion. Season with salt and pepper or whatever else you might want. Add some basil and oregano. I add some tomato sauce and water to make as much or little as I want. Serve with spaghetti.

    If you don’t like plain cooking, don’t try it. lol

  3. auburn60

    I don’t have a recipe at the moment. I just want to say that I like the fact that I can see my favorite ‘Madi and Char’ picture at the top when I come to this site.

    When (if) I ever get back in the cooking mode I will post my former BIL’S lasagna recipe.

  4. BrownEyedGirl

    That pizza looks delicious!!

    Here is a recipe that is so good! My 13 y/o made this for our anniversary dinner:

    Tomato , Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta

    1 lb. medium shell pasta
    3 lg. cloves garlic
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1/2 small to medium onion , chopped
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    1/2 cup fresh basil ( 10 – 12 ) leaves torn into small pieces
    Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
    1 cup store bought basil pesto
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup grated parmesan
    1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella shredded or regular shredded Mozzarella

    Cook pasta – cooking it til almost done
    Cook onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic at the end – don’t let it brown.Add tomatoes to onions and garlic. Cook for 20 minutes, stir in fresh basil to wilt it and season sauce with salt and pepper.

    preheat boiler to high.

    Drain pasta and place in a broiler proof casserole or baking pan.
    Add pesto( Use all of it – we tried to use half to keep fat down, but ended up using all of it on our individual portions). Add ricotta cheese and half the parmesan. Stir carefully to coat pasta. Pour tomato sauce over the pasta, you can save some extra for the table if you like. Scatter mozzarella over the pasta mixture , sprinkle with remaining parmesan and broil until cheese is melted

  5. BrownEyedGirl

    Sorry, that last recipe is a repeat from the last Recipe Monday.. I’ll find a new one..

  6. BrownEyedGirl

    This recipe is for a deep dish pizza. You can use the pillsbury pizza crust , but I highly recommend homemade . A tip, Walmart, in there pre-made sandwich area by the deli has a bag of homemade bread and pizza dough. They are delicious!!

    Deep Dish Spinach and Ricotta Pie

    1 cup onion , chopped
    3 cloves garlic minced
    1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
    1/3 cup red wine – dry
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper – we like more
    2 10 oz boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed an squeezed dry
    15 oz carton lowfat ricotta cheese
    3/4 cup provolone or mozzarella cheese shredded
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 recipe of pizza dough ( enough for 2 pie pans) or 1 bag from walmart
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese

    Spray 2 pie pans with cooking spray, divide dough, pressing evenly on bottom and up sides of pans Bale until they barely start to brown and remove from oven.

    Spray frying pan with cooking spray or use olive oil, saute 3/4 cup of the onions.when translucent, add garlic – saute for a minute or two – don’t let garlic get brown! Add next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally.

    Saute spinach and remaining 1/4 cup onions in another pan. Add the ricotta and provolone cheeses to the spinach

    Spread half of the spinach mixture in each crust, top each with half of the tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

  7. BrownEyedGirl

    Here is a simple but delicious sauce

    Italian Sausage and Mushroom Sauce

    6 oz Italian sausage, casings removed
    2 T olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    8 oz fresh mushrooms, wiped , trimmed and chopped
    1 garlic clove , minced
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1 8oz can tomato sauce
    2 T fresh parsley chopped or 2 tsp dried
    grated parmesan cheese

    Cook sausage until lightly browned. Drain off fat, and heat olive oil in same pan and saute onions until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until golden – about 10 min. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add salt , pepper and oregano. Stir in tomato sauce, sausage and parley. Serve over your favorite curly or deeply ridged pasta. Should make enough sauce for 1 lb of pasta.

  8. gracelynn

    I used to make these in college because they were quick and easy to fix.

    Pepperoni Calzone

    1 (10oz.) can refrigerated pizza crust
    6 tsp. Ragu Pizza Quick Sauce (I use traditional)
    Approximately 18 Hormel Pepperoni slices
    1/3 cup chopped onion
    1/3 cup chopped green pepper
    1 cup assorted pitted ripe olives, sliced
    1-1/4 cups shredded Mozarella cheese

    Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Unroll the pizza dough and press it into a 12″ x 14″ rectangle. Cut into six equal rectangles. Spread each with 1 tbsp. sauce to within a 1/2″ of the edge. Place 3 pepperoni slices on 1/2 of the longest side. Top with onions, green peppers, olives and 1 cup of cheese. Starting a the longest side, fold the dough to make a rectangle. Seal the edges with a fork. Cut three 2″ slits in the top of each. Bake for 9-13 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the tops with remaining cheese. Bake 1-2 minutes more to melt cheese. It makes 6 calzones.

    I always liked to save a little sauce to dip it in.

  9. LindaB

    Here’s my family’s favorite Italian dish that I make. It’s not exactly low calorie, just walk a lot after you eat it.

    Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli

    First, pound out chicken breasts——however many you will need to feed your family. Make a couple extras ’cause some people can’t quit eating this stuff. Dip in beaten egg mixture and then roll them in 1/2 Italian bread crumbs and 1/2 parmesan cheese mixture. Brown in a little olive oil—–about 15 minutes on each side, depending on how thick they are. Put in a warm oven to keep hot while you prepare the rest of the dish. Boil (or steam preferably) fresh broccoli spears until barely done and bright green. Set aside. Then in a heavy pan melt…..

    6 T. unsalted butter

    And add 2/3 c. whipping cream. Cook over low heat until blended and mixture bubbles for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 t. salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in 1 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese until thoroughly blended and fairly smooth. Return pan briefly to heat if necessary to completely blend cheese, but don’t let sauce bubble or cheese will become lumpy and tough.

    Boil about 3/4 pound fettuccine in large pot of salted water (we use one to one and a half pound box of angel hair pasta) according to directions of box. Drain.

    Arrange pasta on large serving bowl or platter, pour about half of the sauce over it. Then arrange chicken breasts and broccoli on top or around the pasta and pour remaining sauce over all. Sprinkle with more parmesan and some snippets of fresh parsley.

    I triple the Alfredo sauce recipe so I have LOTS of the sauce, and I use one whole pound to 1 1/2 pounds of pasta. I’ve also used plain ole parmesan cheese in the jar instead of fresh, and it’s still good.

    I hope you like it!

  10. MostlySunny

    I don’t know if this is Italian, but it sounds Italian…

    Tortellini Soup

    Saute 2 garlic cloves in 1 T butter
    Add 1 qt. chicken broth
    1 can stewed tomatoes
    1-10oz pkg chopped spinach

    Bring to a boil, then add 1 pkg frozen cheese tortellini

    Simmer 10-15 minutes until tortellini is done.

    Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


    Add chicken
    Add celery and/or onion (sauted with garlic)
    Use dried garlic instead of “real”
    Use chicken bouillon cubes instead of canned broth

    This is delicious with a hunk of bread (Italian, of course!)

  11. MostlySunny

    The pkg of chopped spinach should be frozen

  12. Phyllis R

    Oh Gracelynn, I was so excited to find the calzone recipe. I used to go to a little Italian place and they made the best calzones ever. I am certainly going to give this one a try. I don’t really have any italian recipes except spagetti and everyone knows how to make that. hehehehe I have copied all of these recipes. The Deep Dish Spinach and Ricotta Pie sound interesting as well.

  13. LindaB

    Tori, that recipe you posted looks interesting! And it certainly is simple. Would you say that it’s a marinara? I’m gonna try it when I make pizza again. I make the dough for the crust in my bread machine—-LOVE THAT MACHINE!

    My favorite pizza in the whole world is made with mashed potatoes in the dough. We used to go camping when the kids were little to a place in Canada called Ipperwash, and in that little town was the best pizza place I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating in! I’ve never been able to replicate that delicate potato pizza dough, but I’ll die trying! Here’s the best potato pizza dough I’ve found, and you make it in the bread machine.

    Mashed Potato Pizza Dough (For Bread Machine) Ingredients
    1 1/2 ts Dry yeast 1 ts Dried oregano
    1 1/2 c Bread or all purpose flour 1 ts Dried thyme leaves
    3/4 c Whole wheat flour 1/2 ts Salt
    1/2 c Mashed potato 3/4 c Water

    Instructions for Mashed Potato Pizza Dough (For Bread Machine)
    Add all ingredients according to machine manufacturer. Process on the dough cycle. At the end of cycle, remove the dough from machine. Preheat oven to 400*F . Divide dough in half. Roll to 10 inch circles on floured board and place on baking pans or sheets. Cover with your choice of toppings. Bake 20 minutes or until browned to your taste.

  14. nashbabe

    I have made this with all dried herbs, with no problems. Combine a small container of this with a bottle of olive oil and one of those K-Roger Italian loaves that you finish off in the oven to get a nice crusty finish, and it’s a lovely gift.

    Carrabba’s Bread Dipping Spice

    1 tablespoon minced basil
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley (Italian is best)
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or ground sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

    1. Combine all of the ingredients, EXCEPT oil and lemon.
    2. Put in a small food processor (I used my little food chopper). Chop briefly until all ingredients are about the same.
    3. Stir in oil and lemon juice.
    4. TO SERVE: Combine about 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend to 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil on a small Dish.
    5. Dip sliced bread in mixture.

  15. h2omamma

    Here is a link to my favorite “Italian Soup”; which was given to me by a friend who’s Italian grandmother made this all the time. YUM!!


  16. teegees

    Sweet Sausage Tortellini

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 ½ cups thinly sliced onion
    1 each red and yellow pepper, thinly sliced
    2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
    1 lb sweet Italian sausage casing removed
    9 oz prepared tortellini
    ¼ cup chopped basil
    ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Prepare your tortellini according to package instructions, drain and set aside. Remove casing from sausage and brown in pan. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan, toss in garlic, onion and peppers, sauté till tender and browned. Toss all ingredients together and warm over low heat 5 – 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Top with fresh grated parmesan.

    This is also wonderful with the addition of baby bella mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.

    And Tori, seriously, I need to know what’s on that pizza. Don’t make me come over there! :)

  17. tori

    teegee– OK, this was one of the ‘pizza margherita’ ones– and no, that doesn’t include tequila and a little umbrella! It’s just that basic Neopolitan pizza with the fabulous sauce, sliced fresh tomatoes, a chiffonade of fresh basil (oooh, fancy Tori!!!)

    …and a crapload of cheese– we used fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, fresh parmesan and romano. The sauce seriously takes it to another level.

  18. jd2008

    I’m hummin the theme! I recently saw the godfather. and let me tell you something! It would be SO devastating for your spouse to say “here let me drive to you!” and when she presses on the gas, the car explodes. now I don’t know if its me or not, but I would be rather mad. A) because my spouse just died, and B) I just waxed the car…..


  19. jonny

    Thanks BrownEyedGirl & MostlySunny for the recipies with spinach! A few years ago I discovered spinach on pizza & use it quite often. I’ll have to tone down the spices, but hope to play around with the deep dish pie recipe soon. Also, in Finland there is a very common, & rather tasty, creamy spinach soup. As a result, frozen spinach is quite inexpensive & easy to get here in shredded cubes. I’ll also hope to try a modified version me the soup. Again, something easier on my tummy. Again, thanks. = )

  20. sammifredenburg

    this one is a favorite, and great for large groups too.

    use your fav sauce, fav cooked pasta and . . .

    in a large casserole or cake pan, spray with pam, coat with a splash of your sauce, lay down about half the noodles (spaghetti or any pasta,) my guys like the tri-color spirals), then lay on thick slices or a thick layer of shredded mozzarella cheese, maybe ricotta if you like, then ladle on sauce, repeat until all noodles done. save some sauce & cheese please.

    top layer: place breaded chicken patties, more cheese, rest of sauce, any last cheese, finish w/some dusting of italian seasoning. cover and bake for about 40 minutes, then remove cover for last few minutes to make the top awesome.

    if using spagetti, us a spaghetti server ladle to serve as there’s nothing like long noodles. serve with garlic bread or breadsticks and a tossed salad.

    attend Weight Watchers for two months, then repeat.

    you’ve just combined spaghetti, lasagna, and chicken Parmigiana all in one dish. coexistence in all it’s forms! oh that world peace was this easy . . . . .

    btw, this stuff freezes very well too. =)

  21. jonny

    Just thought of something… For recipes including spinach, not sure if that should be spelled “recipes” or “recipies” because both are approved by my phone dictionary, the spinach can be substituted with nettles! I believe nettles are also used in Italy. I’ve come across various pasta made with nettle. If you live in an area where nettles are abundant, one could save a little money and it’s supposed to be quite healthy as well. And regarding spinach on pizzas, because of being on sick leave over a week now with some sort of flu virus, I’ve basicaly been depending on a little shop around the corner for grabbing something relatively quick and easy to prepare. Anyway, been eating more frozen pizzas, even if good quality ones, than I care to. BUT, tonight they had a new shipment of these really tasty, and on a frozen pizza level of things, quite nutritious spinach pizzas!! Oh, and someone mentioned Campbell’s tomato soup on this thread or a previous one. A few months ago a couple Finnish super market chains started bringing Campbell’s soup into some of their stores. I’m guessing it’s costing at least twice as much as in the US of A, and the definately most expensive soup on the shelves over here. I wonder if we can somehow thank Andy Warhal (sp?) for that. Anyway, info on the can is in the four Nordic languages, except for the registered name and a few other words like “classic” and “new recipe.” but there’s also no mistaking it’s Campbell’s because of the look of the can! OK, after I recover from the flu bug I promise not to Say it! so much = )

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