Gluten Free Italian Veal Cutlets

For a special Sunday Dinner, make your family a nice platter of Italian Veal Cutlets.  This was one of my dad’s favorite meals, I especially remember how he loved to order a veal cutlet sandwich at one of the local restaurants.  So be sure to make enough for dinner and leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

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I am fortunate to live in an Italian neighborhood where we can find thin sliced veal cutlets at the market.  At today’s prices, it’s a splurge but if you are making a nice dinner for two you can get away with less than a pound.  Serve with gluten free pasta and extra marinara sauce.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Set up 3 breading trays (or use plates), one with rice flour, one with beaten egg and one with breadcrumbs.  Preheat the oven to 350º.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with several tablespoons of olive oil.  Keep the heat on medium low.  Working quickly, dredge each piece of veal in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture.  Shake off the excess egg and dredge in the breadcrumbs.  As you finish coating each piece add it to the skillet.  Cook 2 minutes per side until nicely browned, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining slices, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.  The cutlets do not have to be cooked through at this point, they will finish in the oven.

Ladle marinara over each slice and top with grated cheese, as much as you like.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.

That’s it.  Not complicated at all.  Serve with a nice plate of pasta and some good gluten free bread to soak up the sauce and you’ve got a fine meal on the table in under an hour (they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day though).

Notes ♪♫ Veal cutlets need to be sliced very thin.  If you can’t get them this way at the store you will need to place the meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness with a meat mallet.  If veal is not in the budget, you will be happy to know you can also make this recipe with chicken.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Why can’t restaurants make a good marinara sauce?  I’m often so disappointed when ordering a simple pasta dish.  It’s the sauce.  You know that bland watery tomato sauce straight out of the can with no seasoning?  Honestly, sometimes I want to walk into the kitchen and show them how to do it!

Well, maybe I’ll just show you, dear readers, that it’s not difficult to make a marinara sauce at home.  Do you really need certified San Marzano DOP dell’agro Sarnese Nocerino tomatoes?  Ok yes, they are out of this world good, but if you’re on a budget it is perfectly fine to start with any canned plum tomatoes or sauce, you just have to jazz it up!

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I confess, to this day I still prefer Hunts Sauce for my marinara because that’s what my mother used, and it brings back such memories of our Italian Sunday dinners growing up.  If you do decide to splurge on real Certified San Marzano tomatoes, I recommend you shop around.  I paid $6.99 a can at my grocery store but later found them online for less!

Before we get started with the recipe, I will tell you that this is not the purist version of marinara sauce.  Yes, I am 100% Italian, and I add onions (gasp) and sugar to my marinara.  It’s the way I make it, and everyone loves it.   Try it, you’ll see!  So much better than jar sauce and in case you were wondering, marinara sauce is gluten free when you make it yourself and there are no mystery ingredients!

Start with whole peeled tomatoes if you like it chunky, or plain tomato sauce if you prefer a smooth sauce with no seeds.  You can use a combination of the two.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse and heat over medium low (do not use a saucepan, you want something with a wide surface that will allow the sauce to reduce).  Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, be careful not to let it burn.

Next add the tomato paste.  Using paste gives the sauce body and makes it less watery.  Make a space in the center of the pan and drop it in, then let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

Now add the sauce and/or whole peeled tomatoes (break them up with your hands first), brown sugar, pepper, basil and oregano.  I do not add sugar to a meat sauce, but for a marinara I love just a tablespoon of sugar or brown sugar per large can of tomatoes.

Stir it up, cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  A simmer mat is great for maintaining a low, gentle simmer and you don’t have to worry about burning your sauce.

When finished, remove the lid and let the sauce sit for 15 minutes.

Now that you know how to make a good marinara sauce, what restaurant favorite will you have for dinner tonight?  How about Spaghetti and Meatballs?  Chicken and shells?  With a great marinara recipe, you can recreate all those great meals right at home!

For some other great sauces, check out my Harvest Pasta Sauce, Traditional Bolognese Sauce, and Mushroom Cream Sauce!

Notes ♪♫ Fun fact, my mother would put a whole onion into her sauce, then remove it before serving “so no one would know”!  She made a huge pot of sauce every month then froze it in portions for Sunday dinner.  I still remember that big Farberware pot on the stove.  I always said my mother’s sauce was better the week after she made it, so go ahead and make a double or triple recipe to always have some on hand!  You can freeze marinara sauce for 6 months.  

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Gluten Free Cannelloni with Béchamel

Did you ever spend the better part of a day working on a recipe, and think you may never make it again?  Because it’s too much work?  That’s how I was feeling as I worked on this dish – until I took that first bite.  Oh, my goodness, this was absolutely divine!

Cannelloni con Besciamella – Cannelloni with Béchamel is a labor-intensive dish that is well worth the time and effort, it is swoon worthy!  Recipes like this one are a wonderful way to pass a Sunday afternoon.  For those who can’t spend all that time, I have broken down the recipe into four steps, some of which can be made ahead.  So, whether you go for the entire recipe or spread it over 2 days, I’ve got you covered.  Also, see notes at the end for shortcuts!

8 Servings

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The pasta dough was made with Better Batter Original Blend, and I used my KitchenAid pasta roller attachment to roll out the sheets of fresh pasta.

Shop Better Batter and use my code MGFC30 at checkout to receive 30% off any non-sale item! 

 

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THE STEPS

1. the Marinara        2. the Filling        3. the Pasta        4. the Béchamel

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  –

Step 1 – Make the marinara sauce (can be made ahead)

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes on low heat.  Add the tomato paste in the center of the pan.  Let it toast for a minute then stir it all together.

Add the tomatoes, seasoning, sugar and red pepper flakes.

Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  I like to use a simmer mat, so the bottom doesn’t burn.  Toward the end of cooking, use a stick blender to process into a sauce.

Step 2 – Make the filling (can be made ahead)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 sweet onion, divided use
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small celery stalk
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated orange zest

Cut half of the sweet onion into small dice (about 1/3 cup).  Add the olive oil to a stainless-steel skillet on medium low heat.  Cook the diced onion and ground pork, breaking up the meat with a spatula.

Add the wine and continue cooking slowly, stirring frequently until most of the liquid evaporates.

Mince the carrot, celery and remaining onion in an electric chopper.

Add the minced veggies to the pork and stir well.

Make a spot in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the pork and veggies.

Add the broth with salt to taste.

Sprinkle the arrowroot evenly over the mixture and stir it in.  Simmer on low until the filling has thickened.  Stir in the baby spinach.  The filling should be moist, but not watery.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the orange zest and parmesan.  Set it aside while you make the pasta and béchamel.

Step 3 – Make the pasta

Combine 140 g. flour and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and olive oil together.  Add the flour mixture and beat with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes to form a soft dough.

Bring the dough together and sprinkle with more flour, then wrap in plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 sections and work with one piece at a time.  Begin feeding it through the pasta roller, starting with the thickest setting.  Pass it through several times, adding more flour as needed, then begin increasing the roller setting each time until you have a sheet that is thin without tearing the dough.

For this recipe, setting 3 on a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment is the perfect thickness.  Repeat with each section and lay the sheets on floured parchment or wax paper.

Cut each section into 5-6″ pieces.

Step 4 – Make the Béchamel

  • 1-1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small nonstick saucepan.  Whisk in the arrowroot flour and cook 2-3 minutes over low heat, whisking constantly.

Drizzle in the milk, cream and broth and whisk continuously until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

Assemble!

Finally!  The hard work is done, and it’s time to assemble.  Preheat the oven to 400º.

Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Ladle enough marinara to cover the bottom of the pan, and top with a few ladles of Béchamel.

Spoon the filling evenly onto each section of pasta.

Roll each section into a cylinder and arrange the bundles in a single layer, seam side down in the casserole dish.

Spread the remaining sauce over the cannelloni, then top with more Béchamel.  Be sure that all of the pasta is generously covered with the sauce, including the edges.  Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese and cover the dish with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

As the pasta bakes it will absorb liquid and thicken the sauce.  The filling is delicious and moist.  Garnish with fresh basil and dig in!

Notes:

I won’t tell if you use a gluten free jar sauce (wink!).

Use a wine that you can/would drink.  Do NOT use cooking wine!

♪♫ Don’t skip the fresh orange zest.  It adds a subtle burst of amazing flavor to the finished dish!

♫♫ Homemade pasta is fabulous, but if you’re not up to the task, try to find fresh gluten free lasagna sheets such as Taste Republic.  You will need about 8 lasagna sheets for this recipe.  Lay them out on floured parchment and cut each sheet in half.  I do not recommend using dry pasta in this recipe, as it needs to be cooked in advance in order to roll properly and will not absorb enough liquid, resulting in a soggy finished dish.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Turkey Meatballs

A word of Caution- This recipe contains oats.

A recent statement from Gluten Free Watchdog states that they cannot currently recommend ANY brand of gluten free oats.

Whether or not you continue to consume oats is a personal choice.  As we await more information, I will preface any recipes that include oats with a link to this important statement from Gluten Free Watchdog, an independent, subscriber-driven gluten-testing organization.  About | Gluten Free Watchdog

***

This rustic pasta dinner was perfect for an autumn afternoon.  Making the two-color gnocchi was a fun experiment as well as a learning experience.  I found the whole process relaxing and enjoyable.  The end result was a delicious dinner for two!

I have made potato gnocchi before, using Hannah (white) Sweet Potatoes, and they were fabulous.  My idea was to make a half batch with white sweet potato and replicate another half batch with traditional orange sweet potato.

The biggest takeaway from this was that not all potatoes are created equal in terms of moisture content.  The orange potato held many times more moisture than the white sweet potato.  So, the amount of flour needed for each batch was quite different.  In the end, I lost track of the measurements and just gradually incorporated more flour until the right consistency was achieved.

Note that this was a very small batch.  Enough for the two of us with just a bit leftover.  Next time I will make more!  The flour is a 2.5/1 blend of cassava flour/arrowroot flour.  You can mix up a batch ahead of time, so you have enough for rolling and dusting.  I finished the gnocchi in a simple browned butter sage sauce and served with turkey meatballs.

Dinner for two (recipe can be doubled)

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Ingredients:

For the Gnocchi

For the Meatballs

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 lb.) butter
  • 8 fresh sage leaves

Preparation:

I peeled and steamed the potatoes the day before.  I weighed 2.5 oz. of each potato and set aside the rest for another meal.

The next day I began by mixing up a batch of 1-1/4 cups cassava flour + 1/2 cup arrowroot starch.  I warmed the potato for 30 seconds in the microwave and placed in 2 separate bowls, mashing with a fork.

I whisked the egg, salt, xanthan gum, then added 2.5 tbsp. of the flour mixture.  I divided this mixture between the two bowls of potato.

I then gradually added more flour to each bowl and worked it in until I could roll the dough into a ball.  I covered each in plastic wrap and rested 15 minutes.

I liberally floured a cutting board and started with the white sweet potato, gradually incorporating more flour until I could roll the dough into a long smooth rope, like this.

I used a bench knife to cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces.

I repeated the same process with the orange sweet potato, and here is where I lost track of the flour measurements.  The orange sweet potato dough had absorbed all of the flour and was still very wet.  It required quite a bit more flour to achieve the right consistency.  All in all, I would say I used 3-4 times more flour for the orange potato dough as was needed for the white potato.

For the final step I rolled each piece of dough over a floured gnocchi board.

I placed the formed gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and dusted with flour.  I recommend refrigerating for at least 1 hour before cooking for firmer texture.

Here’s how to finish the meal.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and form 6-7 meatballs.  Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheet, and broil 5 minutes per side on high.  Keep warm.

Boil salted water for the pasta.  In a nonstick skillet melt the butter, and as soon as the butter begins to foam, add the sage leaves.  When the white solids begin to separate, use a slotted spoon or spatula to push them to one side of the pan, skimming off as much as possible.  Remove from the heat when the butter is just beginning to turn brown.

With water at a rolling boil, add the gnocchi and cook 3-4 minutes.

Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and add to the browned butter.  Cook for 1-2 minutes longer.

Transfer to a serving platter along with the meatballs and drizzle with any remaining browned butter sauce.  Garnish with fresh sage.

Notes ♪♫ I love making pasta from scratch!  Check out this earlier recipe, for Gluten Free Potato Gnocchi with Cassava Flour that was the springboard for this meal.  You may also like this Trofie Pasta, or this one for Gluten Free Garganelli, one of my first posts.  Thanks for stopping by today and I welcome all your comments!

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Beef Guazzetto – Italian Beef Stew

Would you believe that a recipe from an Italian cooking show could be gluten free?  You might be surprised to know, that other than the pasta, there was only one ingredient swap needed to make this meal completely gluten free!

Beef Guazzetto, or Italian Beef Stew was adapted from a recent episode of Lidia’s Italy, Lidia has long been one of my favorite TV chefs!

While it’s true that some recipes require major modifications, the vast majority of meals will only need a swap of one or two ingredients to be gluten free.  Today’s recipe is a great example.

If you are thinking that you cannot enjoy your favorite meals on the gluten free diet, think again.  Or better yet, let me inspire you!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. stew beef (chuck), cut into cubes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour (you can use rice flour)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 small carrots, minced or grated
  • 2 small celery stalks, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • gluten free pasta
  • grated cheese, for serving
  • fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Preparation:

First, make a “soffritto” by pulsing the onion, carrot and celery in a food processor or electric chopper.

Dry the beef with paper towels, this helps with browning.

Place the beef cubes in a food safe plastic bag with 1/4 cup gluten free flour and shake to coat.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven and begin browning the beef.  Don’t crowd the pan, brown in batches if needed.

Leave those caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan, they are full of flavor!  Set the beef aside and keep warm.

Add more olive oil to the pan with the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, then clear a space in the center for the tomato paste.

Toast the tomato paste for a minute, then stir it into the vegetables.  Add the wine, using a spatula to scrape up those browned bits at the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the beef cubes back to the pan, with the bay leaves.

Stir in the chicken stock, cover and simmer on lowest heat for 2 hours.  Add more stock if needed.

Stir the sauce frequently, be sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.  A simmer mat is great for keeping sauces on a low simmer.  As it cooks, you will see the stew gradually thickening.

After 2 hours, this is what it will look like.  You will still have distinct chunks of beef, but some will partially break down and become one with the sauce.  It is incredible!

A meal like this deserves an extra special pasta.  I decided to get out my KitchenAid® and make some fresh rigatoni.  Read about how I made it here! Of course, you can use any gluten free pasta you have on hand.  One of my favorites is Jovial brown rice pasta.

To plate, spoon cooked pasta into serving bowls and ladle the Beef Guazzetto over the top.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and fresh Italian parsley.

Notes ♪♫ An economical cut like beef chuck becomes melt in your mouth tender using this slow cooked, braising method.  With today’s soaring food prices, it is a great way to stretch your grocery budget.

 

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Gluten Free Cavatelli with Sausage, Mushrooms and Peas

Cavatelli are a small, indented pasta popular throughout Southern Italy.  Similar to gnocchi, they are among the easiest types of hand formed pasta to make from scratch.  Cavatelli were a favorite of my Dad, who was definitely not a pasta lover but I remember he liked the “cavati” from the Italian market.  Perhaps they brought back a long ago memory of pasta being made in the home.

Traditional cavatelli are made with semolina flour.  They are shaped on a smooth surface, with the cavity formed by pressing fingers into the dough, or by using a knife.  To make them gluten free, the semolina was replaced with a gluten free flour blend and the addition of eggs (again not traditional) helped form a smooth stretchy dough.

I served the cavatelli with an easy pan preparation of Italian Chicken Sausage, mushrooms and peas.  It was so good!  A simple, satisfying meal that was just the right amount for the two of us.  If you have bigger appetites or want leftovers just double the recipe!

Dinner for two.

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Ingredients:

For the pasta

Finish the dish

  • 6 oz. (2 links) gluten free Italian Chicken Sausage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil + more for finishing
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • splash (~ 1/4 cup) of white wine
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • grated cheese
  • Italian parsley

Preparation:

Combine the pasta ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat 3-4 minutes with the paddle attachment.

Gather the dough into a ball and dust with flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and rest 15 minutes.

Generously flour a cutting board.  Use a bench knife to divide the dough into 4 sections.  Working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a 1/2″ rope.

Cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces, then use a small paring knife to gently press and drag the pieces toward you to form the center indentation and curled edges.

Place the formed pasta on a floured tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.

To finish the dish cut the sausage links in half lengthwise and then slice into half moons.

Heat a braising pan or heavy skillet on the lowest setting and add 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and gently warm them to infuse the oil.  Heat a large pan of salted water for the pasta.

Add the sausage to the pan, cook for 1 minute then add the peas and the mushrooms.

Turn up the heat and cook, stirring frequently until most of the liquid evaporates.

Cook the pasta for 3 minutes.  It’s done when it floats to the top.

Add a little more olive oil, splash of white wine and a pat of butter to the skillet.  Drain the pasta and toss with the sausage mixture.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes to incorporate the flavors.

Drizzle with olive oil, then top with grated cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.

Notes ♪♫  As you probably know, I am a huge fan of Better Batter brand gluten free flours (not sponsored).  Both their Original Blend and Artisan Flour Blend are wonderful for making fresh pasta, either by hand or machine.  Check out some of my other made from scratch pasta dishes, like this Gluten Free Trofie and Gluten Free Pappardelle.

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Traditional Bolognese Sauce

When people say food is love, this is what they are talking about.  A big pot of Bolognese Sauce, simmered all day on the stove!  Pasta Bolognese is served in fine Italian restaurants everywhere, but you don’t have to go out to dinner to enjoy this traditional Italian favorite.  Read on and learn how you can make it right at home!

Patience is the key to this recipe!  A real Bolognese is not a quick meat sauce that you throw together in a hurry.  In fact, you will invest an entire afternoon.  But what a meal!  Special enough for guests or a romantic dinner for two.  Here are the step by step, easy to follow instructions.  Take your time and don’t rush the process!

Notice I didn’t title this post “Gluten Free” Bolognese Sauce?  That’s because it was always gluten free, there is nothing to change except the pasta you serve it with!

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6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion minced, about 1 cup
  • 1 carrot minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 celery stalks minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced, 2 tbsp.
  • 3 oz. pancetta, minced*
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste*
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup 1% milk (or whole milk, or cream)
  • 14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes in juices (or tomato sauce)*
  • 1/2 cup gluten free lower sodium broth (beef or chicken)*
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving

*Always check labels when purchasing stock, canned tomatoes and prepared meats.

Preparation:

To begin, you will make a “Soffritto”, a mixture of equal parts onion, celery and carrot processed to a fine mince.  This is the base for so many Italian dishes!  Add the veggies to an electric chopper and process.  Measures are approximate, but you should end up with about 2 cups total of minced veggies, including the garlic.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven on medium low heat.  Add the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Chop the pancetta into fine dice or pulse a few times in the processor.

Add it to the pot and continue cooking slowly for 10 more minutes.

Divide the ground beef and veal into 4 pieces and gradually add the meat to the pan, stirring and breaking it up with a spatula after each addition.

Allow some of the liquid to evaporate before adding more meat, you want it to brown, not steam.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

After about 20 minutes the meat should be well browned and starting to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.  Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes, then stir the tomato paste into the meat.

Add the red wine, and use a spatula to loosen up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and stir them into the sauce.

Simmer 3 minutes to allow some of the wine to cook off, then add the milk (or cream), tomatoes and stock.

Cover the pot, but leave the lid slightly ajar so that the sauce thickens as it cooks.  Keep it on the lowest simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Curious about this gadget?  It’s a heat diffuser, perfect for maintaining a long, slow simmer without burning.  I use it for all my soups, sauces and gravies.  It is a must have for this recipe!

Look at this thick, hearty sauce!  Can you imagine the aromas filling your kitchen?

Now just cook up a batch of your favorite gluten free pasta and ladle with Bolognese sauce.  Top it off with grated cheese and garnish with Italian parsley.

Notes: ♪♫  I see you eyeing that pasta!  It’s Pappardelle, a wide ribbon shaped egg noodle that is classically paired with Bolognese sauce.  It is  homemade and yes, it is gluten free!  Learn how to make it in this post, your family will love you. ♥  

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Bracciole

Once upon a time, three generations of my Italian family would gather around the table every Sunday afternoon for a meal of pasta and meatballs with plenty of “gravy”.  Meatballs and sausage were Sunday staples at our house, but every so often my mother would make a special treat.  Thin slices of beef were rolled and stuffed with prosciutto, cheese, garlic and breadcrumbs, then tied in a bundle and simmered all morning in a rich tomato sauce.  It’s called Bracciole.  If you grew up in an Italian family like I did, you no doubt had a mother or grandmother who made this popular braised dish.

For me, the recipe brings back long ago memories of that huge pot simmering on the stove and our family, parents and grandparents all having Sunday dinner together.

Cuts of meat suitable for Bracciole include flank steak, top round, bottom round, or veal.  If you are lucky enough to live near an Italian market, you can purchase thin slices of beef cut specifically for making Bracciole.  If not look for a top round or flank steak that you can pound thin.

4-6 Servings, can be doubled or tripled for a large family

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Ingredients:

  • 5-6 thin slices of top round, or about 1 lb. top round, bottom round or flank steak
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • thin slices of prosciutto, you will need one slice per bundle
  • grated cheese (use Romano or Parmesan)
  • 5 minced garlic cloves, divided use
  • gluten free Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free tomato paste
  • one large (28 oz.) can or 2 medium (14.5 oz.) of gluten free tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • fresh parsley or chives, for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

If you purchased one large cut of meat, you would need to pound it to an even thickness of 1/4″ using the flat side of a meat mallet.  Trim any visible fat and place the meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Starting in the center, begin pounding it as thin as possible without tearing.  I was able to get mine pre-cut from the market, a real time saver!  Prepare your work area by lining your cutting board or countertop with parchment or plastic wrap.  Lay out the meat slices.

Season the beef with salt and pepper, then layer with a slice of prosciutto.  Sprinkle each with about 1 tbsp. gluten free Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp. grated cheese and 1/2 tsp. of the minced garlic.

Starting at the narrow end, roll up the meat into bundles.

Secure each bundle with cooking twine or toothpicks (twine is more secure but toothpicks are easier to remove).

Heat a Dutch oven or use a deep, heavy skillet with a cover.  Coat the bottom with olive oil and begin browning the meat on all sides.

Don’t crowd the pan, brown the meat in batches if needed.

Remove the meat, keeping the pan on low heat.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan, using a spatula to scrape up those delicious, browned bits.

Add the tomato paste, beef broth, remaining garlic and herbs.

Stir it all together and continue cooking over low heat to make a reduction.  Doesn’t that look good?

When most of the liquid has evaporated, add the tomato sauce, along with the meat bundles.

Cover and cook on lowest heat for 3 hours.  Use a simmer mat if you have one (highly recommended!) to keep the sauce from burning at the bottom of the pan.

Serve alongside your favorite gluten free pasta, with extra sauce and grated cheese.  Garnish with fresh parsley or chives.  Don’t forget to remove the twine and toothpicks!

Notes ♪♫ Is Bracciole gluten free?  Except for the breadcrumbs, yes.  I used Aleia’s gluten free breadcrumbs and of course I checked the labels on my tomatoes, cold cuts, grated cheese, etc.  Other than that, I followed my mother’s recipe exactly.  Proof that many of your old family favorites can still be enjoyed by changing just an ingredient or two!

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Italian Pot Roast

When I was growing up in the 1960’s, Sunday morning in our Italian neighborhood was all about making the sauce.  I can still see my Mom’s Farberware Stockpot simmering on the stove, filled to the rim.

She often cooked a pot roast right in the sauce, as it was so easy to do and the resulting meal was delicious.  The aromas filled our home and beyond, in fact it seemed every kitchen in the neighborhood was busy preparing their own Italian Sunday Dinner.

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I always think of my mom when I make this recipe, but instead of stovetop I prefer using my crock-pot, which makes it virtually hands off while you go about your busy day.  The roast can be cooked on the weekend and reheated during the week, for an easy meal when you get home from work.  Chuck roast is an economical cut of beef and after nine hours in the crock-pot the meat will be melt in your mouth tender!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 lb. chuck roast, allow 1/2 lb. per serving
  • 4 garlic cloves cut into slivers
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • cooking spray
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

Preparation:

I got a great deal on a 4 lb. chuck roast, so I cut it into 2 pieces and froze half.  A roast like this will shrink during cooking, so when planning portions I allow 1/2 lb. per person.  If you have leftovers, this pot roast is great in sandwiches the next day.

To get started, set up your crock-pot and mist with cooking spray.  Cut the garlic cloves into long slivers.  Use a paring knife to make slits in the top of the roast and insert the garlic slivers.

Sear the roast on all sides in a hot skillet with olive oil, then place it in the crock-pot.

Add onions to the same skillet and cook until translucent.  Add them to the roast then deglaze the skillet with the red wine and pour over everything.

Whisk the tomato paste into the tomato sauce along with the remaining ingredients, through brown sugar.  Add to the crock-pot and cook on low for 9 hours.  Give it a stir about halfway through.  You can serve it immediately, but my personal preference is to refrigerate it overnight.  The flavors will continue to meld, and the sauce will thicken.

The next day, reheat the roast on the stovetop over low heat.  You can see that mine was so tender that it had broken into two pieces.

Most of the onions will have melted into the sauce at this point, but if you want an extra smooth sauce (or have picky eaters) you can puree it with a stick blender.

Slice the roast and arrange on a serving platter.

Serve with your favorite gluten free pasta.  Jovial gluten free penne is one of mine.

Bring to the table with extra sauce and grated cheese.  The only thing missing here is fresh parsley from my herb garden.  I guess I’ll have to wait for summer and make this again!

Notes ♪♫ When starting the gluten free diet, you may feel like you will never enjoy your old family recipes again.  The truth is, many recipes like this one are naturally gluten free.  The only thing I changed was the pasta.  With a little patience and experimentation, I have learned that many of my childhood favorites can be recreated in My Gluten Free Cucina.

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Polenta

If you are gluten free like me, you might be looking for a change of pace from the usual potato and rice sides.  Enter Polenta!  Today I’ll teach you how to prepare this humble porridge and offer a few ideas on how to serve it.  The cooking method is very much like making risotto, and can take a full 40 minutes for regular, coarse ground corn meal.  For busy nights you can also find quick cooking polenta that takes much less time.  Whichever you choose, be sure the polenta is labeled gluten free.  Here’s how to make it…

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup gluten free polenta
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Preparation:

Heat 5 cups of water in a saucepan.  In a second saucepan, combine 3 cups of the heated water, salt and bay leaf.  Gradually stream in the Polenta, whisking with each addition.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.

As the liquid becomes absorbed, add the remaining water 1 ladle at a time.  Continue to stir frequently until it reaches the desired thickness, about 40 minutes for regular and 5 minutes for quick cooking polenta.  At the end of the cook time, remove the bay leaf and stir in butter and Parmesan.

Yes, it’s that easy.  So now that you have made a batch of Polenta, how will you serve it?  You could simply enjoy it with extra Parmesan as a side dish.

Or top it with Crock-Pot braised beef for a hearty Italian dinner.

Another option, Beef Short Ribs with Polenta is a beautiful fall dish!

And finally, my personal favorite, the leftovers!  Once cooked, Polenta will begin to firm up almost immediately.  Before that happens, pour it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.  Later you can slice it into wedges and grill for about 8 minutes per side.

I hope I’ve given you a few new ideas for your gluten free dinner rotation.  Try a new dish and keep your menu interesting!

Notes: ♪♫ Polenta is made from coarse corn meal.  While corn itself is gluten free, cross-contact with other grains that contain gluten may occur during processing.  Be sure to check ingredient labels and if polenta is not labeled gluten free don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer.

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