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Gas cooktops recommendations

One other question-- I noticed on another thread someone mentioning the need for an overhead exhaust system if gas is going to be used. Our current electric cooktop utilizes a downdraft type of exhaust system. Can a gas cooktop be used with a downdraft exhaust system, or am I simply out of luck?

Jan 10, 2012
pezzuto in Cookware

Gas cooktops recommendations

Thank guys! I'll be looking at a cooktop to simply drop in. As for Bosch, I just bought a Bosch dishwasher; I hope I don't have as many problems as you did!

Jan 09, 2012
pezzuto in Cookware

Gas cooktops recommendations

Thanks Dee!
I actually got my budgets mixed up (have several projects in the works), the BlueStar would definitely be within our budget. Thanks!

Jan 08, 2012
pezzuto in Cookware

Gas cooktops recommendations

Thanks dcrb!
I was looking at a budget of anywhere from $800-1200, but willing to go higher if that meant significantly more efficient and SAFE. The gas line will not be an issue, as our basement is unfinished with a gas furnace almost directly below the kitchen.

Jan 08, 2012
pezzuto in Cookware

Gas cooktops recommendations

My wife and I are looking to replace our electric cooktop with a gas unit (it is a countertop cooktop; our oven is a separate wall unit). Does anyone have any recommendations with the best brands to look at or specific features that would be ideal?

Thanks!

Jan 07, 2012
pezzuto in Cookware

Problems with San Marzano tomatoes in sauce

My 2 cents on the San Marzano:
I will say hands down that the best quality canned tomatoes that I have used are from Cento. I have experimented on occasion with their "San Marzano" tomatoes, but I have found that their regular "peeled Italian tomato" version can actually be much better, so that is what I typically use.

My aunt in NY mentioned a while back that she only used Red Pack, which I cannot get here in the south; however I do believe I can get Red Gold (a recent development), which I did not realize were essentially the same company....will have to try them out.

Jan 06, 2012
pezzuto in Home Cooking
1

Spiedini, spitini, etc...

My friend just posted a photo of "spitini" that his MIL made, and I had never seen these before (despite my Italian roots!). When I googled the term to find recipes, they varied from Italian "kebabs" to stuffed rolled meats.

Has anyone made these before, and if so, what is the "true" method?

Thanks!

Dec 26, 2011
pezzuto in Home Cooking

How do you cook your meatballs?

Professor --

Since I have never had much luck pan frying, can you give me some more specifics on your techniques?
1. How much oil do you put in the pan?
2. How long do you brown them?
3. How do you keep them from flattening out too much in the pan?

I'm always looking for ways to make them better!

Oct 12, 2011
pezzuto in Home Cooking

How do you cook your meatballs?

My great grandmother was from Benevento, Italy and made meatballs that would melt in your mouth. Unfortunately, she never taught anyone in our family how to make them (I was only 15 when she passed away), and no one bothered to learn!

So my "Quest for the Holy Grail" in my adult life has been to try to duplicate her meatballs, and I have come very close. Over the years, I have tinkered with many different methods, and here are some of my methods:

1. I always cook the meatballs raw in the sauce. Baking them in the oven (even for short periods) gave them a rubbery texture. Pan frying made them oily and would not hold together. The trick to keep them from falling apart is to make sure the sauce is hot enough to "seal" the outsides relatively quickly, and apply very little pressure while stirring.

2. I very briefly saute my onions and garlic before putting them in my meatball "batter." Nothing worse than biting into a crunchy onion, and it seems to "mellow" the potentially strong onion and garlic taste.

3. I heat the inside of the italian bread with milk in a pan and "mash" it until it forms a loose paste-like texture. I also add bread crumbs, as this helps the meatballs retain moisture.

4. Generous amounts of pecorino romano cheese!!!!

5. I ALWAYS make the "batter" the night before and place in a gallon ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight; allows all the ingredients to "meld together."

I must be on the right track, as my wife who HATED meatballs before she met me LOVES them, and my oldest son won't eat meatballs anywhere else! I guess I've created "Meatball Snobs!" :0)

Oct 08, 2011
pezzuto in Home Cooking