Family Recipes From Lynne’s Table
Lynne Basignani is an avid cook who enjoys making delicious meals for family and friends. She likes nothing more than having everyone gathered around her table sharing a meal.
September 2nd, 2014 – End of Summer Recipes
So, since it’s the end of summer (sadly), I thought I would talk about enjoying the fruits of the summer as long as possible. For us, this means dealing with lots and lots of tomatoes. So what I do with all of these tomatoes is make tomato sauce. I learned how to make tomato sauce many years ago from my mother-in-law, Dee. She wrote the recipe down for me (I still have it), but as with many recipes handed down, they lose something in the translation. When I made the sauce, it wasn’t quite like hers. I decided to actually watch her make her sauce, which is often the only way to get the “real” recipe. The ingredients were the same, but the quantities of certain ingredients were much less in the recipe, than in the actual sauce. Once I got the “real” recipe down, it became one of my signature dishes. In fact, my father-in-law, Lawrence, always loved my tomato sauce, because it was made with our own home grown plum tomatoes. He was a pretty discriminating eater, so that always made me feel good.
The Zucchini are almost gone, but I did make a pasta last night for our Sunday Dinner that was particularly delicious. We always have Sunday dinner, for the whole family (3 children with their spouses & 5 grandchildren), but sometimes it’s a challenge, since I’m usually working in the tasting room all day…sometimes until 5 PM. I usually have a rough idea about the menu, but it usually comes together at the last minute. Last Sunday was no exception. I had taken a piece of beef tenderloin out of the freezer in the morning, so I knew we could cook that in the brick oven. We also had some mushrooms left over from pizza making on our last T.G.I.F. Movie Night of the season, so they could go into the brick oven as well. I had a few zucchini, which are almost finished in the garden, so I decided to make a pasta with them, and enjoy these fruits of summer one more time. That turned out to be a collaborative dish. It was going to be a simple pasta with olive oil, onion, zucchini, red pepper, and parmesan cheese. While I was mixing the penne in the sauce, Carlotta (our Italian intern), asked if I was going to put eggs in as well. I hadn’t thought of that, but then remembered that Dee, my mother-in-law, always put eggs in a similar pasta that she made with asparagus. So, I added 2 eggs to the pasta. Well, the result was delicious. The eggs just added a richness and creaminess to the pasta. I also roasted some potatoes from the garden, a very typical addition to our dinners (after all, what doesn’t go well with roasted potatoes?). So, I’m going to share some of my recipes with you, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!
2 cans of Italian plum tomatoes (of course, you can also use fresh Roma tomatoes)
½ cup olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb. pasta (any kind)
Saute garlic in olive oil. Be careful not to let garlic brown. Add tomatoes (cut on plate with knife into little pieces). Add salt, hot pepper, and onion powder. Cook for about 15 minutes. To make pasta, cook until al dente, (don’t overcook). Add cooked pasta to the sauce (or vice versa), and finish cooking pasta in the sauce. Check for seasonings, and adjust if necessary. In Italy, the pasta is always finished in the sauce. Add fresh basil if available. Enjoy!
Pasta with Zucchini
4-5 small zucchini
½ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Red pepper flakes
2 eggs beaten (optional)
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
1 & ½ lbs pasta (I like to use penne in this dish)
Cut the zucchini in small chunks. Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and the zucchini and continue to saute until the zucchini is cooked, but still a little firm. Add salt & hot pepper to taste. Turn off and set aside while you cook the pasta. Cook the penne until it’s not quite al dente (it will finish cooking in the mixture). Add the pasta to the pan with the mixture, and turn heat on medium. Stir the pasta in the mixture, adding the eggs & the parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning.
July 17th, 2014 – Tomato Pie
I’ve been asked to share some recipes and insights about food, and in so doing, I hope to share a little of our heritage and passion for food, and how it brings everyone together at the table…my table, in particular. But before that, I should give you some history of our family, so you’ll understand how important the family dinner table is to me.
I know this is nothing new, and unique to my family. People have been (and still are) enjoying each other’s company and sharing important events around the dinner table, and always will. My own experience with food began at my mother’s knee, as you might expect. I was one of 9 children, so food, especially getting enough food, was very important. My mom always made sure we had enough food, no matter what, somehow. We weren’t well off, by any stretch of the imagination, but we never went to bed hungry. Some of my mother’s specialties were Sour Beef & Dumplings, meatcakes and mashed potatoes, potato salad (regular & German), crab soup, chicken & dumplings, roast turkey with sausage stuffing, etc. Mostly, she took what she had and could afford, and fed us. We never complained.
Fast forward to the first time I had dinner at my future in-laws. Of course, my husband Bert is 100% Italian, and his mother was a fantastic (but simple) cook. I think that may have been my first experience with pesto. The trouble was that I thought the pasta was the whole meal. (In my family, it would have been!) In Bert’s family, though, it was just the first course! I wish I had known that before I filled up on the pasta! What I learned from that first experience was to savor a meal from beginning to end, shared with family, enjoying each other’s company, and pacing myself until the last course was placed on the table.
What I hope to share now is some of our favorite family recipes, and how they have become part of our family meals, as well as how they have been used for some winery events. Since it’s Summer, I’ll start with one of our all time favorite tomato recipes. This is something I always make during harvest when tomatoes are plentiful. We always have a huge garden with lots of tomatoes, and I’m always looking for ways to use them. About 30 years ago, my friend, Pat, gave me the recipe for her “Tomato Pie”, and I’ve been making it ever since. It’s changed a little over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the reaction whenever I make it, whether for family or friends….enthusiastic! It’s a great appetizer before dinner, with a glass of Basignani Chardonnay or perhaps some Prosecco. Enjoy!
2 Pie crusts (already made, refrigerated crusts are fine…or make your own)
5 large tomatoes
Grated Swiss cheese – about 8 oz.
Bread crumb mixture (1 c. basil, 2c. day old french bread cubes, 5 cloves garlic, 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese…put all in food processor & pulse until fine)
Extra virgin Olive oil
Salt and pepper
I usually use a 12 x 18 pan, and arrange the 2 pie crusts so they cover the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle the grated Swiss cheese until it covers the dough in the bottom of the pan. Cut tomatoes in 1/4 in. slices, and place them over top of the cheese. Make sure they cover the cheese completely. Place the bread crumb mixture evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. It should be a little brown on top, but not burned, so be sure to watch it. Cut into pieces and serve immediately.