Italy native Eleanora Scarpetta came to prominence about five years ago when she wrote a letter to Martha Stewart claiming that she could teach the domestic goddess a thing or two about canning tomatoes and about Italian-American food in general. Intrigued, Stewart's producers visited the Connecticut housewife and were immediately taken by her home-style cooking methods and outstanding results. They invited her to appear on Stewart's TV show, where she was such a hit that they invited her back a dozen times. Now, Scarpetta has collected her family favorites and Italian-American classics in her debut cookbook, “Eleanora’s Kitchen.” She was invited on “Today” to talk about the book and to demonstrate some of her dishes. Here are the recipes for those, as well as a couple of others:Recipe: Striped Bass alla Pizzaiola (on this page)
Serves 6 to 8
This dish originated in Sorrento, but is enjoyed throughout Italy. It has been a staple in my home for years, and it’s one of my favorite company dishes. Veal topped with prosciutto, grilled eggplant and melted mozzarella — all simmered in a rich tomato-wine sauce — is a mouthwatering secondo (second dish). Chicken or turkey cutlets can be used in place of the veal, if you prefer.
To make the veal:
2. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the prepared cutlets and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
To make the eggplant:
To make the sauce:
To assemble the dish
Serve Veal Sorrentino as a main course with crusty Italian bread and a salad. I usually like to serve an antipasto platter or Baked Littlenecks Oreganata as a starter.
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Recipe: Mamma’s Stuffed Italian Peppers (on this page)
Recipe: Sweet Lemon-Ricotta Pie with Brandied Cherries (on this page)
Excerpted from “Eleanora's Kitchen: 125 Fabulous Authentic Italian-American Recipes” by Eleanora Russo Scarpetta. Copyright ©2004 by Eleanora Russo Scarpetta. Published by Broadway Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.