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Italian Family Night Dinner

Is there anything better than homemade bread, steaming hot out of the oven? Probably not. In our first video of At Home with Mama Mila we made a deliciously simple Marinara Sauce over pappardelle , Sautéed Broccolini with Calabrian Chili and the most perfect crusty bread with a soft airy inside that honors my Nonna and her famous bread. You can watch that video here:


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSR6NPBu79cm62uYJEEvOPQ


I know that I am supposed to write this long elaborately detailed description of why I made what I made. Isn't that what bloggers do? Well, I have never really fit into society's standards or any molds. So I am simply going to say that I would love to go back in time and sit at my Nonna's table for another family night dinner. Most of the time she would still have leaves in her perfectly styled bun with angel wing bangs, from working in her yard all day. We would get together and eat off of disposable plates she would still wash and put away like it was her fine china. We always drank Chianti and finished dinner with Caffe and Sambuca. We would laugh till we cried and I would watch my Nonno lovingly kiss her hand as I asked for advice about life. This is how I grew up and what I hope to preserve for my own children. Now I am crying and this wasn't supposed to be anything crazy. Let's get to the recipes!


Broccolini

1 1/2 pounds ( one package ) of broccolini washed and dried.

1 tablespoon of garlic paste or 5 cloves of minced garlic. Whatever you have on hand.

1 teaspoon of Calabrian chili paste

2 tablespoons of olive oil

A large pinch of salt ( about 2 teaspoons)

Grated Parmesan to your taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil till it is just hot. You don’t want to scorch the oil. Add in broccolini and salt. Then put the lid on top to steam.

Check the broccolini after five minutes. If it is just fork tender with a little bite of firmness continue to the next step. If not, steam for another two minutes and check again.

Once the broccolini is perfect, turn up the heat to high and add in your garlic and chili. Cook until garlic and chili are toasted, you will be able to smell the spices and the edges of the broccolini will be crispy.

If the spices are stuck to the bottom of your pan add a tablespoon of water (carefully!) And they will come right up! Transfer to a plate and top with Parmesan to your hearts desire!



My Nonna's Bread


Can we all just admire how beautiful this crust is? Perfecto!


6 1/4 cups of AP Flour ( I always use organic and do not know if that would make a difference in how it turns out in your kitchen)


2 Teaspoons of fine kosher salt


3 Cups of warm filtered water

( around 111 degrees)


4 Teaspoons of active yeast


2 Teaspoons of Olive oil


Flour for Kneading


In the bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment add your flour and salt. Feel free to use a large bowl and a wooden spoon if you do not have a stand mixer. That will work out just fine! Mix the flour and salt together.

Add the yeast to the warm water and stir together. It will start blooming and foaming right away. Turn your mixer on low and slowly add water and yeast to flour mixture.

* If you are mixing in a bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and salt. Pour all of the water and yeast in the well and then add in flour from the sides till incorporated.


Knead the dough on low for 3 minutes. You do not want to over mix the dough. It should feel a little sticky. This is not a dry dough.


Drizzle the top with olive oil and cover with a warm wet kitchen towel. Place in a warm place ( I usually place it on the top of my stove so the pilot lights help it rise)


After the dough has risen to double in size ( 1-2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is) Roll it out onto a gently floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf on parchment paper and score with a sharp knife or in my case, a razor blade. Set loaf aside to rise while we preheat a dutch oven.


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your dutch oven in while it is warming up and then let it heat for an additional ten minutes once your oven reaches temp.


* If you do not have a dutch oven, you can use a pizza stone. You just need to add some water in an oven safe bowl on the bottom rack to create steam. You need this to make your bread crusty and delicious.


Place your loaf in the preheated dutch oven by lifting the parchment and setting the loaf and parchment inside. Put the lid on and bake for 45 minutes.


After 45 minutes take the lid off your dutch oven and let your perfect bread rest for ten minutes. This allows the air to help finish crisping up that top. This also gives you time to get your butter ready.


Slice yourself a big piece and slather that in butter or garlic confit and live your best life!




Garlic Confit


3 cups of peeled garlic Cloves

( you can find this in your grocery store or you can peel it yourself)

Enough olive oil to just cover your garlic in a 9x9 baking dish

(or whatever baking dish you prefer)

Big Pinch of salt

Fresh Thyme

( About four sprigs)


Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.


Place all the ingredients in your baking pan.


Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until garlic is golden brown and your kitchen smells like straight heaven.


Use in EVERYTHING. Sauce. Slathered on top of Nonna's Bread. Or smother a medium rare steak in it. My personal favorite.




My Super Simple Marinara


1/2 cup of Garlic Confit

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 Large cans of Italian whole peeled tomatoes

( I use Cento Brand. Watch the video to learn why. It is important!)

3 sprigs or a large handful of garlic

1/2 teaspoon of pepperoncino red pepper flakes

Salt to taste. I use about a tablespoon


In a blender, blend tomatoes and basil. You can also add the garlic if you do not want chunks of garlic. But the garlic confit isn't over powering. It is almost sweet and its jammy goodness. so I like it chunky. Blend.


In a sauce pan over medium heat cook oil and garlic confit till hot. Add in your tomato sauce from the blender. Be careful, it may splatter.


Add in salt and pepper flakes. I also like to add some fresh chopped basil. But that is my personal preference


Cook sauce on low while you cook your pasta. It doesn't need to sit on your stove all day long. Combine your sauce with your pasta, cover that pasta with Romano cheese. All. The. Cheese.



I hope you enjoy these recipes, they are from my heart and my kitchen. Thank you for helping me keep my Nonna's legacy alive.


Tanti Baci,

Mila

XoXo



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I know, I know. This is not very Italian. Well, believe it or not... I don't always eat or cook Italian food. SHOCKING. Yep. In fact, I love St. Patty's Day. I love having people over and celebrating