When I was a kid growing up on Long Island, and my grandpa John Tortorello would go out to dinner with us on the weekend, we'd all go out as a family to Umberto's in New Hyde Park or Borelli's in East Meadow. I knew for certain that he'd order the same thing every time.Now you have to understand, Grandpa John is a character, a former police detective, a great storyteller, a joke-teller, and, well, a little, um, unpredictable. Let's just say you never knew what kind of a story he was going tell you and leave it at that. So it was always kind of funny to me that he would pretty much order the same thing when we'd eat out: stuffed shells.Now there were only ever two dishes he'd ever make for us. One was chili and the other was a side, roasted peppers. So he didn't have a philosophy on how he'd make stuffed shells, but he did have a philosophy about them at restaurants. "If they make good stuffed shells, the rest of the menu is probably pretty good too," he's explained to me.There's some wisdom to this that I buy into. No, you get no indication of how well they do meat, but if they do stuffed shells right at a restuarant then they know how to make a good sauce, they have good cheese blends, good cheese coverage, they know how to use the right ratio of cheese to sauce, and they know how to cook their pasta. My barometer isn't shells, it's manicotti, but I buy into the approach. The cheese can't be dry inside the shells, there has to be some mozzarella in there, some cheese variation. There has to be good covering of cheese that's crisped and burned a bit in places, there has to be plenty of cheese, and there has to be enough sauce — more sauce than cheese.It goes without saying, that pasta better not be overcooked.I usually make my own sauce because it's really not very hard and it's so much better than anything else you're going to find, but as homage to the red-sauce joints of my youth, this recipe isn't from scratch, it relies on store-bought sauce and shells, and it's a little more of a stuffed shells Italian casserole, but I don't think Grandpa John would disapprove and neither will you.
This vegetarian dish from Noodles & Company is loaded with fresh veggies and topped with a delicious lemon cream sauce. Use pre-made zoodles or prepare your own using Chef Graff's hack to avoid watery zoodles.
Albóndigas, Mexican meatball soup, are the perfect pick-me-up meal. Classic comfort food south-of-the-border style. On a gloomy day, mash ground beef, rice, oats and bread crumbs into meatballs and let simmer in a clear vegetable broth. Squeeze in a hint of lime, put on your chanclas (house shoes) and call it a night.This recipe is courtesy of La Cocina de Leslie
My favorite clams are steamer clams, a delicacy of New England, and in my opinion, this is one of the best ways to prepare them — simply steamed with a delicious broth flavored with garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and cilantro. The broth is so good you'll want to sop up every last bit with a crusty piece of French bread or a bowl of steamed rice.
Click here to see Sensational Summer Clam Recipes.
This new vegetarian dish from Noodles & Company is loaded with fresh veggies and topped with a delicious lemon cream sauce. Use pre-made zoodles or prepare your own using Chef Graff's hack to avoid watery zoodles.
This spicy chicken and shrimp pasta has been on The Cheesecake Factory’s menu for years! This version of the recipe simplifies it for the home cook by replacing the chain’s house-made spiced butter with olive oil for a healthier take on the uber-popular dish. If you can’t get your hands on fresh linguini, feel free to replace it with dry pasta.This recipe is courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory.
This taco dip has had a special spot on our family's grazing table at every single holiday, birthday and Super Bowl party since I can remember. Customize it to your taste (or to whatever you have lying around in the fridge) by adding olives, jalapenos or even a layer of ground beef.