Being Italian is awesome. I love all the various types of cuisine from the different regions of Italy. Some days I’m a marinara type of gal, & some days I want to snuggle with a creamy bowl of Alfredo. however, on certain occasions, I do love a gold, old-fashioned American cheeseburger. As to not make my inner Italian jealous, I’ve combined the best of both worlds to create a healthy variation on an American classic. Here’s what I use:
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 cloves (or more) roasted garlic *
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 T Worchestershire sauce
- 1 T Pagliacci Italian Seasoning
* To roast garlic: take a head of garlic & carefully cut off the tops of all the garlic bulbs, keeping them all in tact. Wrap in aluminum foil & drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top. Cover with foil & bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let the garlic cool completely & squeeze the garlic out of the bulbs. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, 1 T of garlic powder will do just fine.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Note that I did not use salt or pepper in my ingredients. The park cheese intrinsically has enough salt, & the Pagliacci Italian Seasoning has everything else I need! Form into 4 patties.
Spray your grill, indoor or outdoor, w/ non-stick spray & turn the heat to medium high.
Cook the patties on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Grab a few buns & toast if you like.
Place patties on the toasted buns & add your favorite toppings. I like freely cut tomato, basil & a slice or two of mozzarella. If you’re feeling spicy, add 1 T Formato Brothers Spicy Pepper Spread.
This burger was healthy enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to hit the gym right away, & Italian enough so I didn’t feel like I was cheating on my heritage. My only dilemma now is deciding which beer should accompany my burger: domestic or imported? : )
Sunday Night Dinner (Turkey Meatballs)
If you’re like me, Sunday night is family night. It’s a time to settle down after a weekend filled with soccer and other nonstop kid-stuff. It’s a time to get together with family & friends and to be thankful for a wonderful Saturday and Sunday and look ahead to what the week holds before us. And Sunday night is definitely a time to enjoy a home cooked pasta dinner! My kids love being Italian and are always begging me to make my “famous” turkey meatballs with pasta. How can I refuse?
This recipe is so simple and yet is bursting with flavor. You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge:
- 1 lb ground lean turkey breast*
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire
- ¼ C Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ C Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp Italian herbs seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
*Take out ground turkey breast about 30 min before you start making the meatballs. The turkey is easier to handle at room temperature; plus, you should cook meat straight out of the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350º F & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until they are fully incorporated. Divide the meat into whatever size meatballs you prefer. I try to get about 12 meatballs from this recipe.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of canola oil. When oil is hot (drop a tiny bit of breadcrumbs in the oil – it should sizzle up), place half the meatballs in the oil and fry on all sides for about 5-7 minutes until evenly browned. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Repeat this process with the remaining meatballs.
Place all meatballs on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 min or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reach 165º F.
I like to serve my meatballs with Formato Brothers Fabianelli Elbows Pasta & Pagliacci Roasted Garlic Sauce. Cook pasta & sauce according to directions on package. When pasta is done cooking, place pasta & sauce in a bowl and top with the meatballs. Add some parsley flakes for color, and enjoy!
Kids aren’t the only ones who are grateful for being Italian! The good news is – even if you aren’t Italian, thanks to Formato Brothers, you can cook like an Italian! Enjoy your special Sunday nights, too!
–Andrea Formato Castner
3 large eggplant
Pagliacci marinara sauce
Pagliacci grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt in a grinder
pepper in a grinder
Pagliacci dried oregano leaves (do not use fresh)
Pagliacci dried basil leaves (do not use fresh)
aluminum pans (round or square)
Rinse eggplant under cold water, then dry w/ paper towels.
Slice 1/8″ thick (thicker slices produce a different taste; I like to use very thin slices for this recipe).
Heat non-stick pancake griddle or frying pan; needs to be very hot.
Do not spray w/ anything.
Cook slices about 2 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.
Remove slices from pan, place on a dish for a few moments.
Put 2 Tblsp marinara sauce in each pan, spread evenly over bottom.
Place 1 layer of sliced eggplant over sauce.
Lightly sprinkle dried oregano over the slices.
Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the oregano.
Add 3 Tblsp marinara sauce.
Place 1 layer of sliced eggplant over sauce.
Lightly sprinkle dried basil over the slices.
Add several turns of the pepper mill over the slices.
Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the basil & pepper.
Add 2 – 3 Tblsp marinara sauce.
Place a third layer of eggplant slices over the sauce.
Add several turns of the sea salt
Add 2 -3 Tblsp marinara sauce, filling in the gaps where needed.
Abundantly sprinkle Parmesan cheese to cover.
Break up goat cheese & position several dollops on top of Parmesan cheese.
Add a Tblsp EVOO over the top.
Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes or freeze for another day. Delicioso!