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Richland woman shares Italian dishes from her childhood

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, December 12, 2018 1:33 a.m
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Submitted
Sherry Esser

If you have a recollection of warm family gatherings, it probably involved a large Sunday afternoon dinner.

Marcia Russotto, a resident of Richland Township and author of “Always on Sunday,” shares recipes from her Italian childhood. Her book has a way of bringing the reader to their own childhood table.

When Marcia was growing up, greens and beans and eggplant Parmesan were considered peasant dishes, but today they can be found on any upscale Italian restaurant menu. These dishes can be a staple for any celebration. The aroma will fill your kitchen with heartwarming memories.

Greens and Beans

(Four to six servings)

1 large head escarole (Swiss chard or spinach)

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

15-ounce can cannellini beans or navy beans, drained

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes-optional

Parmesan cheese for serving

Trim off the base of escarole, removing any bruised, outer leaves. Wash several times to remove all dirt and sand. Cut crosswise into 1-inch strips.

In a large stockpot, cook garlic in butter and olive oil until golden. Add escarole and be aware it will seem like too much for the pot, but it will wilt down. Keep stirring until it decreases to half. Then add chicken broth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until escarole is tender. Add beans, salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Just before serving, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with crusty Italian bread for sopping up juices.

Eggplant Parmesan

(Serves eight)

2 large eggplants peeled or unpeeled

3 eggs slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

olive oil for sautéing

6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 cups marinara sauce

3/4 cups Parmesan cheese

Slice eggplants crosswise, making them one-quarter-inch-thick. Sprinkle with salt and cover with waxed paper for 30 minutes. Blot with paper towels. Dip each slice in egg, then bread crumbs. Brown lightly on both sides in a large plan with olive oil.

Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray and place the slices in the pan. Spoon half the marinara on top, sprinkle with Parmesan, then mozzarella cheese. Repeat this until two layers are completed.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

If you would be interested
in Sharing with Sherry, email Sherrye@consolidated.net or call 412-559-0409.

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