What a dream it is to have married into an Italian family…because ummmm HOMEMADE PASTA! Well amongst many other things. When my husband Kyle and I first started dating I remember going to a Thanksgiving at their home and instead of the traditional turkey and dressing they cooked this beautiful Italian meal. I’ve adored them ever since. They have been doing this for years. It especially honors their beloved Grandpa who is no longer here. He came over from Italy with a big personality, dreams, a love for cooking and most of all his family. Since I have two precious boys who are a quarter Italian we want to carry on some of these traditions in our own home. So here are two special DiMeola family recipes, simple and beautiful and a few I added to fill in the blanks.
All these ingredients are from WalMart by the way! I’ve been sharing so much content about WalMart and their elevated beauty and baby so why not share about their amazing selection of organic offerings this holiday season. As you guys have probably heard me say, we only had WalMart growing up, so this is where we grocery shopped where I lived in rural Kentucky. So it’s pretty amazing to see them offering such great quality foods to feed all our hungry families.
All the other recipes I threw in are very true to the style I cook…simple, flavorful and easy. I ALWAYS want you to cook for your families and I never want anyone to feel like it’s just too much of an endeavor to do so so I do things simply. So here is our little at home pre Thanksgiving, bringing two worlds together…from my family to yours.
Filling: 32oz and 15 oz Ricotta, 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 8 oz ball of mozzarella grated, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Add more mozzarella to improve thickness to a cottage cheese texture
Shells: 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup of water, 3-4 eggs, crisco
Add all ingredients into bowl and mix together. Add more water if it’s too thick, it should be consistency of runny pancake batter. Rub the Crisco (or coconut oil as a substitute) on a paper towel and apply it to an 8 inch nonstick frying pan to fully coat it. Heat the pan to medium heat and it get really hot. Add one ladle of batter to pan and let cook until it begins to pull away from the side. Flip the shells with spatula or your hands if you can without touching the pan and let heat for a few seconds on the other side. Be sure to add more crisco for each shell. Continue making the shells until mixture is gone ( I actually usually make another batch of batter for more shells).
Lay each shell out and add a line of filling in the middle. Spread a little of the mixture all the way around the edge of the manicotti and then fold in half and roll up into a tube. Line them up in 9×13 pan(sometimes I make 2, you’ll have enough). Place them edge up in pan that has gravy on the bottom. Lightly cover with gravy and cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Gravy 2 28 oz Cento Tomato Puree, 8-12 oz tomato paste, Water as needed to adjust thickness
So Kyle’s Grandma usually starts by cooking some sort of meat in her pan, a neck bone I believe they call it, I didn’t do that and it was fine but if you like meaty flavors try that! If you do that remove the meat and use that oil, if not start by heating a bit of olive oil in the pan, a couple large glugs. Mix all the ingredients together and add to the oil. Cook on med heat for one hour stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Turn down if popping out. If you started with a meat in the oil now you can add the meat to gravy once cooked and let simmer.
Now this bread is super easy. I literally rough chop a rustic bread and put a few slabs of butter on it with a smear of garlic on each piece. I then cover them with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 until they get a bit brown on the top…usually 8 minutes or so.
Next this pork tenderloin. Kyle’s family always had a pork of some type included in their Italian spread so here is our easy version. We cook ours on the big green egg grill but you can bake it or cook on any grill.
So it’s super easy…you marinate the pork tenderloin in a baggie for 30-45 minutes before you put it on. We like Stubbs. Heat the grill to 350 degrees and cook on one side for about 12 minutes then flip it over and brush it with marinade and cook the other side for 12 minutes or so. These cooking times can vary based on size and grill heat.
Now for the easiest salad in all the land. We feel like we need a salad on the table right? I mean no one really goes for the salad in my home but for all you healthy men and women out there – here is one that is a go to in my home.
Arugula, 1/4 cup of Toasted Pine Nuts (I throw in the oven or in a pan for a couple minutes while other things are cooking, or non toasted is fine), Parmesan cheese (I like to grate my own), juice of a few lemons, a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Then for the vegetable, also an easy weeknight staple in our home. I literally take two bags of french green beans, a crate of cherry tomatoes, and a handful of fresh peeled garlic cloves and throw it in a large ziplock baggie. I then add a few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper and shake it up. Then I spread it out over the pan and add some more pepper and a little salt then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the tips of the green beans turn brown or the tomatoes blister.
And finally, just buy a pie…because we all know you ain’t got time for that. Haha, but really, a lot of times I bake things from scratch but for some reason pumpkin pies still taste amazing pre bought so I’ve linked one HERE from WalMart and you can add fresh whipped cream right before serving. No one will ever know the difference.
So there you go! A few things from my family to yours! We want to hear what some of your favorite family recipes are. Post them on social media using the hashtag #walmartcommunitytable. I hope you have the best holiday and y’all check out all the amazing offerings WalMart has at this link here https://grocery.walmart.com/. And thank you so much to WalMart for sponsoring this post!