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Italian recipe favorites

In the new book, "Cooking with my Sisters," best-selling author, Adriana Trigiani, and her sisters, Toni and Mary, bring to life a collection of those recipes their family has been enjoying for generations.
/ Source: TODAY

For the Trigianis, cooking has always been a family affair and the kitchen was the bustling center of their home, where everyone gathered around the table for good food and good conversation. In the new book, "Cooking with my Sisters," best-selling author, Adriana Trigiani, and her sisters, Toni and Mary, bring to life a collection of those recipes their family has been enjoying for generations. You can find some of their recipes below:

AntipastoIngredients:-Romaine lettuce-Two 16 ounce cans white albacore tuna packed in water-9 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half-One 15-ounce jar roasted peppers-Two 4-ounce cans of anchovies rolled with capers-8 ounces pitted black olives-8 ounces pitted green olives-1/2 pound Genoa salami, sliced thin and rolled-1/2 pound prosiutto, sliced thin and rolled-One 12-ounce can artichoke hearts-One 7-ounce can mushrooms packed in olive oil-1/2 pound Cheddar cheese sliced -1/2 Monterey Jack cheese sliced-12 ounces pepperoncini peppersFresh Italian parsley, for garnishOlive oil for drizzling

The key to this recipe is to make the platter attractive and artistic.  Line a 12-inch platter (round shape) with the larger lettuce leaves, which will serve as the base of the antipasto as well as a way to measure portion.

In the center of the platter place the tuna, it’s best to use a canned variety so that you can turn the can upside down and remove the tuna intact, retaining the shape of the can.

Add the roasted red peppers and place them around the platter in a symmetrical patter, like the rays of the sun. 

Continue the same pattern with the remaining ingredients until the tray is covered and all ingredients have been used.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

BracioleIngredients:-2 pounds top round steak, ¼ inch thick, cut into 4x6-inch slices-2 cups chopped Italian parsley-3/4 cup chopped basil-1 cup fine Seasoned bread crumbs-3 tablespoons minced garlic-1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste-1/3 cup olive oil

Pound the meet to tenderize it and make thin, but avoid making holes.Blend the parsley and the basil, then spread the mixture on the meat.

Mix the bread crumbs with garlic and sprinkle that atop the spice mixture on the meat.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper on top of the bread-crumb mixture.

Roll the meat, tuck in the ends and secure with twine.  Brown the meat in the olive oil over a low temperature, and turn it gently.  Transfer the meat into the pot of the basic tomato sauce and simmer slowly for 45 minutes to 60 minutes, until the meat is tender.  Keep an eye on it, because you don’t want the meat to overcook; an hour might be too long on some stoves.

To serve, remove the meat from the pot and place on a cutting board.  Remove the twin and let the meat cool for about 5 minutes.  Then cut the meat into 2-inch slices, like a jelly roll and arrange on a platter by itself or with other meats from the pot of sauce.GnocciIngredients:-2 pounds floury potatoes, peeled-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg-1 teaspoon salt-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper-2 ¼ cups unbleached flour-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Boil the potatoes in salted water.  Mash them or put them through a ricer into a large bowl.  Best to have no lumps.

Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Blend the flour into the mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time.  The dough should be smooth.

Divide the dough into about six portions.  Roll each portion into a stick or tube, about ¾ inch in diameter.  Cut each stick into 1-inch pieces on a diagonal. The, press the tines of a fork into each piece.

Bring 4-quarts of unsalted water to boil.  Add the dumplings to the water a few at a time, waiting for them to boil to the surface.  When they do, wait about 10 seconds, then, using a slotted spoon, remove them and put them into a warm bowl.  Toss with sauce.

Basic tomato sauce
Ingredients:-2 quarts tomatoes, pureed-Two 6-ounce cans of tomato paste-Five 6-ounce cans of water (use the cans of tomato paste to measure)-2 teaspoons garlic salt-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper-2 tablespoons olive oil-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (available premixed)-One 4-6 ounce pork bones with meat still on it-1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine tomato puree, tomato paste and water in a large pot and simmer over very low heat.  Add the garlic salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Stir well, ensuring that the tomato paste is blending completely.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning in a thin layer on top.

Saute the pork bone separately in a little of the olive oil and the salt.  Cook fully, then add to the sauce.  Stir again, allowing the Italian seasoning to blend.

Let the sauce simmer, covered for 3-4 hours over a very, very low heat.

MeatballsIngredients:-3 ½ pounds coarsely ground lean beef-2 cups seasoned bread crumbs-1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano-5 eggs -1 ½ cups whole milk-1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper-1/2 tablespoon garlic salt

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  If the mixture is too soft, add more bread crumbs.  Make balls about ¾ inch in diameter, firm but not hard.  Wet your hands and roll one more time.  Drop in simmering sauce.

Grandmom Trigiani's Stuffed Artichokes
Ingredients:-4 artichokes-4 garlic cloves-1/4 cup olive oil-2 cups bread crumbs-4 ounces fresh shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese (reserve a small amount for garnish)-One 3-ounce jar capers, drained-Juice of one lemon-Salt & pepper to taste-2 cups chicken stock

Trim the artichokes.  Cut the stalk off close to the base squarely so the artichoke can sit upright.  Slice the top off each artichoke and pinch out the center.  With kitchen scissors, cut off the ends of every leaf.  Place artichokes in a covered pan with about ½ inch of water and steam until they open – about 30 minutes.

Saute the garlic briefly in 2 tablespoons of the oil  In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, capers, lemon juice, the remaining oil, and the salt and pepper.  Save a small portion of cheese for garnish.

Preheat over 350-degrees.

Stuff the artichokes.  Hold an opened artichoke over the bowl and with a teaspoon or your hand, stuff bread-crumb mixture into every leave you can, and particularly the center.  Place the stuffed artichokes in an oven-safe pan with a lid.  Pour the chicken stock over the artichokes and add enough water to have an inch of liquid on the bottom.  Pour the remaining bread-crumb mixture over the artichokes and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cover and bake for about an hour.  The artichokes should be about to fall apart.  Serve with an extra empty bowl for discarded leaves.

Ingredients:-4 extra-large eggs-5 tablespoons granulated sugar-2 cups all-purpose flour-3 tablespoons baking powder-1/2 teaspoon salt-2-3 cups vegetable oil-Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with granulated sugar.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well.

Begin heating the oil in a saucepan over high heat until it is ready for frying the dough. 

Roll the dough into a think layer using a pastry roller.  Then, using a pizza cutter with a serrated edge, cut the dough into various lengths.  Tie each length of dough into a loose knot and drop the prepared dough into the hot oil piece by piece.  There should only be a few of the prepared pastries frying at a time.  Remove the pastries once they have fried to a golden hue.  Place them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve on a pretty plate.  They look nice when stacked high.