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Recipes by Tony Bennett: Pasta; Italian Chicken - MEATBALLS

  • Tony Bennett's Favorite Pasta

    For the gnocchi:

    1 cup ricotta cheese
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 beaten egg
    6 quarts boiling water

    Mix together ricotta cheese, flour, egg and salt. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead well. Roll into long finger-thin rolls. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Drop 25 pieces at a time into boiling salted water. When pieces rise to the surface and simmer for 2 minutes, remove with slotted spoon. Place in serving dish. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked. Makes 80 gnocchi.

    For the meatballs:

    1 pound lean ground beef
    1/3 pound lean ground pork
    1 1/2 cups Italian-flavored bread crumbs (see recipe below)
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1/2 cup water
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    Place beef, pork, flavored bread crumbs, egg, seasonings and water in mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, shape into 12 balls.

    Heat vegetable oil in frying pan; fry meatballs quickly, shaking to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs to platter. Reserve pan drippings.

    Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs

    2 cups coarse Italian bread crumbs
    1 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    Mix above ingredients together in mixing bowl.

    For the tomato sauce:

    3 1/2 dozen ripe Italian plum tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
    1/2 cup minced onion
    1 can tomato paste
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    3/4 teaspoon dried basil
    Pinch of baking soda

    Scald tomatoes in boiling water to peel. Chop finely (or reduce in electric blender). Add to large saucepan. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

    Brown minced onion in meat drippings. Add tomato paste and water, salt, pepper and basil, simmer gently 20 minutes.

    Add onion mixture to tomatoes in saucepan, add meatballs, continue cooking 20 minutes. Makes 1 quart sauce.

    Combine gnocchi, meatballs and tomato sauce in serving platter. Serves 4.

    Tony Bennett's Italian Chicken

    1 1/2 cups flavored bread crumbs, finely diced
    3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 cup ripe Italian plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    Rub chicken pieces with olive and vegetable oil; place chicken pieces skin side up on oiled cookie sheet. Spread crumbs over the top. Top with tomatoes flavored with oregano. Roast in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 1 1/2 hours, or until crust is golden brown. Serves 4.