Tag Archives: Grandma DiLaura

recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s veal scaloppine

Grandma DiLaura's Veal Scallopine

Grandma DiLaura’s Veal Scaloppine

I always loved when my grandma made this dish for dinner, but I didn’t realize it left a big impression on people who weren’t part of our immediate family. A few weeks ago I got a request from my dad’s childhood friend, Skip, to publish this recipe. I’ve never met Skip, but I imagine him tagging along behind the younger version of my dad after a few hours of neighborhood baseball. Of course my grandma would have made enough food to feed 17 people, so it was no big deal that Skip would have been asked to pull up a chair and join for dinner — after removing his baseball cap, washing his hands and calling his mother to ask permission, of course.  So this one’s for you Skip!

Vito my Veal Butcher

Vito my Veal Butcher

Step one: find the best butcher in the neighborhood. Preferably one with an old school butcher block, guys in white coats with metal mallets and a man named Vito. For this adventure, we headed up to the best kept Italian secret, Arthur Avenue, and did just that. Ask Vito to get to work hand-slicing each cutlet and pounding it until it’s paper thin and doubled in size. Note to you veal haters out there, you can use chicken but grandma might yell at you.

Veal Assembly

Grandma DiLaura’s Veal Scaloppine

1-2 veal {or chicken} cutlets per person depending on the size
1 plate of flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
2-3 eggs, beaten and seasoned with s&p
1 dish of panko {or regular} breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt & pepper
Vegetable Oil for frying
Salt to season
Lemon wedges
Fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Have your butcher pound each cutlet {or do it yourself if you want to work harder} until 1/4 inch thick and even.
  2. Line up three dishes — one with enough flour to coat both sides of each cutlet, one with beaten eggs and one with enough breadcrumbs to coat both sides of each cutlet. Season each dish with salt and pepper. Note, you can always add more, so start with what looks like just enough.
  3. Work with one cutlet at a time. Designate one hand the dry hand and one hand the wet hand to keep from getting gooey hands. Using the dry hand, add to flour and coat both sides. Shake off excess flour and then add to the egg dish. Picking up with the wet hand, let excess egg drip off and add to the breadcrumbs. Coat both sides using the dry hand and then place on a baking sheet. Repeat to coat each of the cutlets, placing a layer of plastic wrap or waxed paper between each layer of cutlets on the baking sheet.
  4. Using a large, deep skillet pour ~1/2 inch of oil in the pan and bring to medium-high heat. Test when the oil is ready by dropping a bread crumb into the oil at which point you should see bubbles form around the edges as they start sizzling.
  5. Being careful not to over crowd the pan, add 2-3 cutlets at a time and cook until golden brown on one side, ~2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, ~2-3 more minutes depending on how high your heat is and how thick each piece is.
  6. Remove from oil and place on a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with flaky maldon salt to taste.
  7. Cook remaining cutlets, adding additional oil to the pan and adjusting the temperature as needed.
  8. Serve on a platter with lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley sprinkled over the top…and a big jug of red wine.


Grandma is the Best Cook in the World:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake 


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s panettone

Grandma DiLaura's Panettone

Grandma DiLaura’s Panettone (Photo by James Ransom for Food52)

We don’t deviate much from the past when it comes to the DiLaura Christmas morning menu. Since my earliest memories of Santa Claus and pink bikes with baskets, Christmas morning always starts with a buttered slice of my Grandma DiLaura’s toasted panettone. The smell of sweet anise wafting from downstairs is a sign that ‘ole St. Nick has done his job.

Our recipe dates back to the late 1800s Florence, where my grandmother’s sister’s mother-in-law was an award-winning baker. Of course the story goes that she never used a recipe and no one has ever been able to make it as good since.

While my grandma was smart enough to write down the measurements for this edible heirloom, there were some parts of her recipe that did not get recorded. My grandma had a special heavy wooden chair that lived in the basement 364 days of the year. On panettone-making day, the chair was ceremoniously brought up to the kitchen where she placed a huge stockpot atop the seat and got to work mixing all of the ingredients with her special oversized wooden spoon.

A Cut Above the Rest

A Cut Above the Rest

After my parents married, my mom began helping on the big day and made the mistake of suggesting it might be easier to mix the large batch, of what is quite sticky dough, with her hands. To which my grandma promptly replied, “Oh no, honey you can’t do that, you have to use the spoon.” Deviate she did not.

My grandmother has since passed on, but my mom has heroically carried on the tradition of making our annual panettone. Our recipe is different from many you’ll find in stores, which often include candied fruit. We prefer a mix of dark and golden raisins with pine nuts, but of course you could make it however you prefer. After all, my mom ditched the wooden spoon and has been hand-mixing since taking over the panettone helm.

This recipe makes about 16 pounds of bread, which my mom breaks up into four large 2 1/4 pound loaves and four smaller 1 3/4 pound loaves. She gives everyone in the family a loaf and also freezes a few. You could easily cut the recipe in half, but your friends and neighbors will thank you if you don’t!

Grandma DiLaura’s Panettone

Makes 16 pounds of bread (about 8 loaves)

5 cups whole milk
4 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup for yeast
1 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening (or use all butter)
1 teaspoon anise oil (if you can’t find oil, substitute 4 teaspoons anise extract)
9 packets non-instant yeast
5 pounds all-purpose flour, plus 5 cups (plus 4-5 more cups for kneading)
6 teaspoons salt
8 large eggs
15 ounces golden raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)
30 ounces dark raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)
1/2 pound pine nuts
1 egg yolk, plus 1 tablespoon water for brushing tops

  1. In a medium saucepan, scald milk with 4 cups sugar, stirring often. Then add butter and shortening (or all butter), and melt, stirring often.
  2. Remove from the stove and add anise oil or extract to milk/butter/sugar mixture. Let cool slightly.
  3. Dissolve yeast and 1/4 cup sugar in enough warm water to cover (1 1/2 to 2 cups) and let double in volume.
  4. In a large bowl, mix 5lbs plus 5 cups flour and salt. Add raisins and pine nuts.
  5. Add slightly cooled milk to flour mixture. Add eggs and mix together with large wooden spoon. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Grease your hands and mix and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes in the bowl (adding 4 to 5 cups flour as needed). Dough will be very sticky.
  6. Grease sides of bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and several towels, and let dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled.
  7. Grease loaf pans — we use four large (9 5/8 x 5 1/4 x 2 3/4) and four small (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8). Lightly squeeze to release any air bubbles and shape dough and put in pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and towels and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
  9. If using multiple oven racks, rotate loaves, then lower oven to 325 F and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is a medium golden color.
  10. After bread is baked, brush tops with egg yolk and water mixture and return to oven for about 5 minutes.

What Else Did Grandma Whip Up?
Grandma DiLaura’s Lemon Madeleines
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage

Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s lemon madeleines


Grandma's Lemon Madeleines

Grandma’s Madeleines

Santa called, he wants a new kind of cookie this year. Yes, we all love sugar cutouts and peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses —  don’t get me wrong, I love the tradition of knowing those festive favorites will be stacked high on the Christmas table too. But this year everything old is new again, so I’m rethinking the cookie plate.

These lemony Madeleines weren’t necessarily a Christmas tradition in our house, but they were ceremoniously revealed after many Sunday dinners at Grandma’s. After a heaping bowl of gnocchi or a big Sunday roast, she’d shuffle over to her cookie tins {which were never empty} and arrange these delicate little shell-shaped cookies {which might as well be referred to as mini cakes for their delicate sponge} on a plate to await the blessing of decorative powdered sugar. They were divine. Pretty, perfect little pillows of lemony goodness. These will always remind me of my grandma and have become a new tradition in my own kitchen — parting gifts for dinner guests or just comforting treats to accompany a steaming cup of weekend coffee. And so for something that evokes those cherished memories, it seems only fitting that they join the joyous Christmas cookie tray. Enjoy!

Madeleine Tray

Madeleine Tray

Grandma DiLaura Lemon Madeleines

Makes 36 Large or 48 Mini | 350°

3/4 Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing pans
3 Large Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1.25 Cups Cake or All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, mixer on high, beat eggs until light.
  2. Gradually add vanilla and sugar and continue beating until volume has increased about 4x and is pale and fluffy. Add melted butter.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and fold with spatula into mixture.
  4. Fold lemon zest and/or coconut.
  5. Brush Madeleine molds with melted butter and scoop mixture into each shell filling about halfway —  careful not to overfill as they will rise like a cake.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes for Large Madeleines and 6-8 minutes for Mini Madeleine trays until cake is firm to the touch and light gold in color.
  7. Remove from trays and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
  8. Right before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Mini Madeleines

Mini Madeleines

Other Grandma Favorites:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Homemade Gnocchi: Channeling My Italian Grandmother with Food52

Some of my first memories of food involve going to my Grandma’s house on Sundays for a meal with all the cousins. Sometimes it was a roast, sometimes she was cooking the handmade pasta that she dried on a rack in the basement, but on my favorite Sundays, Grandma was making her Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi.

She originally made this recipe with potatoes, which make for a heavier, denser gnocchi. In fact, we used to call them belly bombs {although I think that had more to do with the fact that she gave us very generous second and third helpings}. Eventually Grandma realized it was so much easier to make gnocchi with fresh ricotta cheese and these potato pillows and our bellies were lighter for it.

I credit my love and respect for hand-prepared food to these memories. I believe strongly that a good meal is a great meal when shared with friends and family — it’s why I started my blog and supper club in the first place. So when Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs asked me to film a recipe in the food52 kitchen, I knew Grandma’s Ricotta Gnocchi was the recipe to share. I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this traditional meal. Go on, channel your inner Italian Grandmother, and give it a try — I’d love to hear your stories, so leave me a comment if you do. Buon Appetito!

Grandma's Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma DiLaura’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
grated fresh nutmeg to taste
2 cups of flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling dough

  1. Add egg to ricotta cheese and oil and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add grated parmesan cheese to mixture and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
  3. Add sifted flour a little at a time and continue to mix thoroughly.
  4. Dump onto generously floured surface and work with hands to bring together into a smooth ball. Keep adding flour until dough no longer sticks to your hands as you gently knead it.
  5. Cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread and roll into ropes thumb size thick by spreading hands and fingers and rolling from center out to each edge of the rope.
  6. Line one rope parallel to another and cut 2 at a time into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Roll each gnocchi off the back of a fork to make imprints to help hold the sauce.
  8. Put gnocchi pieces on a lightly floured or non-stick baking sheet so they don’t stick together and put tray in the freezer while making the rest of batch.
  9. If not cooking immediately, let gnocchi freeze completely on baking sheet before transferring to ziplock bags or containers and keep in freezer until ready to make.
  10. When ready to prepare, bring large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.
  11. Add gnocchi and gently stir once with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. As gnocchi rise to the top {a sign they are done cooking} scoop them out with a mesh strainer or a bamboo wire skimmer and immediately place in serving bowl shaking off excess water.
  12. Continuously scoop some sauce on top of each layer of gnocchi as they are placed in the bowl to eliminate the need to stir them with sauce in the end and risk damaging or smashing the pasta.Generously grate parmesan over the top and serve.

TIP: Gnocchi can be made ahead and completely frozen until dropped into water for cooking. Great for pulling a meal out mid-week without having to worry about defrosting. I always double this recipe when I make it and save some for later!

Grandma DiLaura’s Tomato and Meat Sauce

12-14 servings | 2-3 hours

1 28oz can tomato sauce
3 12oz cans of tomato paste
8 cups of water {fill each can used}
1 lb. of browned ground beef
2 teaspoons dried basil
salt & pepper taste
1 medium size yellow onion, peeled
1 teaspoon of baking soda

  1. In a large pot add the tomato sauce and paste. Fill each can used with water and add to the sauce with basil and salt & pepper and stir.
  2. Brown the ground beef, drain off the fat and set aside.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high heat and then turn down to a slow simmer {caution: if you let the sauce boil too long it will burn}. Cook 2-3 hours until thick, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 1 hour, add browned ground beef and whole peeled onion.
  5. In last hour of cooking add 1 teaspoon baking soda to eliminate some acidity and stir.
  6. When ready to serve remove whole onion and cut in half or quarters to serve.

TIP: Sauce freezes well in small containers to pull out for mid-week dinner.

My Mom, Aunt Marilyn and Grandma DiLaura Making Gnocchi {Love the 70s!)

Read More About 8.ate@eight’s Supper Club:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!


Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}

8.ate@eight is Filming with Food52 Today

After working with food52 co-founders, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs on whipping up lots of mean excel spreadsheets, we decided it was time to direct some of that energy to the kitchen — a place we all love to work.

For those of you who don’t know food52, the company grew out of the insight that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. Each week they host a contest focused on one ingredient, allowing talented home cooks to show their stuff. The food52 team then vets the recipes and presents the best selections for the community to vote on, choosing a winner that will be published in an annual cookbook. How brilliant is that!

So this week they’ve asked me to come by their kitchen and film a video about my favorite food: My Grandma DiLaura’s homemade gnocchi. Stay tuned for more photos, videos and the secret family recipe! In the meantime, think about adding your own favorite recipe to this week’s contest, with the potential to be published in a cookbook and win a whole slew of prizes from Williams-Sonoma, Viking, OXO and TinyPrints. And you thought Christmas was in December.

Your Best Recipe with Citrus & Olives – BOOK 2 — WEEK 24

SUBMIT BEFORE 12am ET 02/11/11

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Winter citrus is at its finest, and most welcome, right about now. And when you add salty, briny olives — well, that’s practically a dance party. For this contest, pair them in any way you like, just make sure that both co-starring ingredients shine through mightily.


Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}