Try cabbage rolls and baklava for family dinner

Do you look back fondly on times when the entire family was eating around the table? Make time for that tradition again! Italian food expert Giuliano Hazan's new cookbook, "Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes," is all about celebrating memories of family dinners. Find two recipes below.

Mahshi
Servings:

Serves 4 people. Preparation time: 45 minutes. Total time from start to finish: about 1 1/2 hours.

Ingredients

    • 2 heads Savoy cabbage
    • Salt
    • 1/2 medium yellow onion
    • 5 to 6 sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley
    • 1 pound ground lamb (if unavailable, substitute beef)
    • 1/2 cup Italian rice for risotto (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio)
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 medium garlic cloves
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Place a pot with about 4 quarts water over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil.2. Carefully remove the cabbage leaves, taking care not to break them. Stop once the leaves become smaller than about 4 inches wide. You should end up with about 2 dozen leaves.3. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and put the leaves in. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Lift them out of the water and lay them on a platter to cool.4. While the cabbage is cooking and cooling, prepare the meat and rice filling. Peel and finely chop the onion. Finely chop enough parsley to measure about 2 tablespoons. Put the ground meat, rice, onions, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands.5. When the cabbage leaves are cool enough to handle, cut away the portion of the rib that is wider than 1/4 inch. Lay a cabbage leaf flat, take a ball of the filling that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, roll in between your palms to form a little sausage, and place it on the cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf with the filling inside, folding in the edges as you go along. Gently squeeze out any excess moisture and place the roll in a 12-inch skillet. Continue until you have used up all the filling, or all the leaves. The rolls can be quite snug and even overlap a bit. If you have filling left over you can crumble it and add it to the pan. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic and add it to the pan along with the butter, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add enough water to come 1/4 inch up the sides, place over medium high heat and cover the pan. Once the liquid in the pan begins to bubble, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 40 minutes. Check the mahshi periodically but do not turn them. If all the liquid has evaporated before they are done, add a little more water. In the end there should be very little liquid left. If there is too much, remove the cover and raise the heat until it has evaporated. Serve hot.

Baklava
Servings:

Makes about 30 pieces. Total time from start to finish: about 1 hour plus time to let the baklava cool.

Ingredients

  • For the baklava:

    • 1 cup blanched almonds
    • 1/2 pound phyllo dough
    • 1/2 cup shelled roasted salted pistachios
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For the syrup:

    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
    • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees on the regular bake setting.2. Coarsely chop the almonds and pistachios. You can do this in a food processor, but be careful not to pulverize the nuts. The chopped pieces should be about the size of short-grained rice. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and add the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well.3. Melt the butter in the microwave or over a low heat. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a baking tray and brush it with some melted butter. Place another sheet over it and brush it with butter. Continue until you have a total of 8 sheets of phyllo dough then sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the top layer. Cover with 5 more sheets of buttered phyllo dough then sprinkle 3/4 of the remaining nut mixture on top. Place 5 more sheets of buttered phyllo dough then cover with the remaining nut mixture. Cut into 3-inch squares then cut each square diagonally to form triangles. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 more minutes.4. While the baklava is baking, put all the ingredients for the syrup into a 1-quart saucepan and place over medium low heat. Once the liquid begins to bubble, simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.5. When the baklava is out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes then brush the syrup over it. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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