A big thank you to Michele Scicolone, author of The Italian Slow Cooker (which I reviewed Monday) for allowing me to share some of her recipes. And just look at that gorgeous photo - aren't you hungry now?
The Butcher’s Sauce
Whenever I do a lot of cooking, my freezer collects an assortment of small quantities of different meats, such as a half pound of ground beef, a pork chop, an extra sausage, or a chicken breast. I chop the meats in the food processor and make this delicious pasta sauce, which in Puglia, in southern Italy, is known as the butcher’s sauce.
Don’t hesitate to use a different combination of meats according to what you have on hand. Serve as they do in Puglia, with orecchiette, cavatelli, or another chunky pasta.
Makes about 10 cups
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 28-ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes packed in tomato puree, chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the vegetables in the oil, stirring often, until tender and golden but not browned, about 10 minutes. If the onion starts to color, add a tablespoon or two of water and lower the heat slightly.
Add the meats and cook, breaking up lumps with the back of a spoon, until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Add the wine and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Pour the tomatoes into a large slow cooker. Scrape the meat and vegetables into the cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until the sauce is thick.
Lorin's note: As I mentioned in my review, I suggest adding more garlic and some other seasonings, but your tastes may vary.
Butternut Squash Soup
In the fall and winter, I make this smooth, creamy (but creamless) soup all the time. Serve it for lunch with a sandwich or for a light dinner with bread and cheese. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large butternut squash, about 11/2 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cups Chicken Broth (page 46) or canned chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
In a medium skillet, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. If the onion starts to color, add a tablespoon or two of water and lower the heat slightly. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the squash, potatoes, sage, and broth. If necessary, add water so that the vegetables are just covered with liquid.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add a little more broth or water. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil.
Lorin's note: I served mine with croutons and sour cream - and it was amazing!
For more recipes, buy The Italian Slow Cooker on Amazon.