Slow Cooked Veal in Tomato Sauce

Braciole di vitello al sugo

Braciole was a staple in my house when I was growing up–every Sunday, my mom would make it. Braciole would be served with a bowl of pasta in the tomato sauce used to braise the veal. It’s full of flavour, decadent, and a memorable dish I ask my mom to make to this day.


The parsley-garlic paste is a versatile recipe on its own and can add flavouring other dishes. Prepare it ahead of time, and store it in the freezer to pull out when you need a boost of flavour.


Braciole can be made with a number of meats–in this recipe I use the standard boneless veal shoulder. You can also use butterflied beef eye of round or boneless chicken thigh, though cooking time may vary. You could also change the parsley-garlic paste, substituting another cheese, some prosciutto and ham or even the Parmigiano egg roll recipe.



  • Servings: 4
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  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 thin slices of pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 lb (750 g) thinly sliced veal shoulder, about 3 or 4 cutlets
  • 2 tbsps (30 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
  • 2 cups (500 mL) plum tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste



      1. In a small bowl, mix the parsley, 1 garlic clove and 1 pancetta slice (optional) until well combined. You can make in advance and set aside until ready to use.
      2. Place the veal between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use your hands to evenly distribute 1 to 2 tsps of the paste on each cutlet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Firmly, but carefully, roll the veal to form sausages.  Use toothpicks or butchers twine to hold the filling in place. Set aside.
      3. In a large oven proof skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place the veal rolls in the hot pan and cook the meat until it browns evenly. Set aside and keep warm.
      4. To the skillet, add the pancetta and let cook for about 1 minute, until it begins to brown. Add the onion and remaining garlic clove and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add the wine and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes and until wine slightly reduced. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the prepared rolls to the pan along with the rosemary. Turn meat to coat with sauce. Cover with foil and transfer the skillet to a 275F oven, turning once.
      5. Roast about 60 to 90 minutes, or until an inserted knife easily penetrates the the thickest part of the meat.  Remove meat and cover; set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. Return the tomato sauce in skillet to oven, uncovered for 15 more minutes to continue cooking and thicken (if desired). Remove sauce from oven, season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, puree the sauce.
      6. TO SERVE Carefully remove the toothpicks or twine. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the rolls into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices and place on a serving platter, drizzle with some of the tomato sauce. If desired add the sauce over pasta, serve with meat and sprinkle with Parmesan.



Clams in Coriander Sauce

Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato

A friend gifted me a bottle of freshly harvested Greek olive oil, which means it’s time to celebrate with these succulent clams in coriander sauce. They’re a Portuguese classic, tasty as an appetizer or a full meal. The clams are easy to prepare and go well with a glass of chilled white wine.

Use the smallest Manila clams you can find and serve with crusty bread and a green salad.  The pan juices of the clams will mix with the coriander, creating a sauce that is perfect for drizzling over your finished dish.  I love dipping my bread in the cooked clams.


Manila clams are easily recognizable with their deep wide bans of colors. For tender clams, cook them just until they open and then remove to a serving dish. When you add the coriander cook briefly, to keep the bright green color of the nutritious herb.  Coriander is high in Vitamin A and C.


Clams in Coriander Sauce

  • Servings: 4 appetizers or 2 main courses
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  • 2 lb (1 kg) Manila clams
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) dry white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh coriander
  • Lemon wedges
  • Optional: fresh bread or bun for dipping


  1. Scrub the clams with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove surface sand and grit. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until soft. Add the clams, wine, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the clamshells open. Discard any clams that do not open.
  3. Add the coriander and stir. Ladle the clams into serving bowls and drizzle remaining liquid over top. Serve immediately with lemon wedges


Nonna’s Parmesan Rolls

Pallotte cacio e uova


One of my earliest cooking memories comes from grating day old Italian loaves to make the grated bread required to make these parmesan rolls. Every time I make this dish, I remember the delicious aroma of preparing this dish with my mom.  Being the eldest I was expected to help out with the cooking joining my mom almost weekly in the kitchen. Mostly, she instructed me to mix eggs, cheese and bread until I felt the right consistency.  After I shaped them into rolls, she tossed them into her tomato sauce and our family would enjoy a delicious and homey meal poured over pasta noodles. Often my brother and I fought over who would eat the last roll.




These were also made by my aunts and my parents’ friends, who had also emigrated from the Molise region of Italy. These rolls were considered poor food, as they came from a time when there was not enough money  to purchase meat to make meatballs.  Eggs, cheese and bread were plentiful in the small farming community that my my mom grew up in and were easily accessible. Cacio e uova are so delicious and loved, they are made to this day, even though money is not as big an issue.


Breadcrumbs are an important ingredient in this recipe, use fresh bread to make these easy and delicious breadcrumbs, you will be rewarded with light and airy Cajio e ovo.  Breadcrumbs from the store are dry and heavy which will result in heavy balls.

Nonna's Parmesan Rolls

  • Servings: 20 rolls
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  • 1  thickly sliced , French or Italian bread
  • 1 slice French or Italian bread, (about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick) torn into  pieces
  • 1 cup (250 mL)  whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying


  1. Place bread slice on oven shelf, bake in a preheated 350F (175C) oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until bread is dry and crisp,  turn bread slice over once or twice  Do not allow for bread slice to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Place bread in food processor, (you can use blender or a grater as well) to process until bread forms coarse crumbs.  Set side 1/4 cup (60 mL) breadcrumbs for this recipe.
  2. In a small bowl toss the torn bread with the milk and set aside for about 5 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze some of the milk from the bread (the bread should be somewhat soggy), reserve the milk. Set aside.IMG_5825


  1. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs in a large bowl with a fork.  Add the cheese, breadcrumbs and milk bread to eggs, one at a time, stirring between additions.  Batter should be light and creamy, add about 1 to 2 Tbsps (15 to 30 mL) reserved milk to make a moist but not soupy batter (the mixture should stick together when you form a ball). Stir in the  parsley and garlic.  Loosely cover and set aside for 20 minutes in refrigerator.
  2. Using your hands, carefully shape the mixture into 2-inch (5 cm) ovals or fingers to form croquettes (or you can form small round balls). In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) depth of oil to 375F (190C). Fry the croquettes in batches, 5 or 6 at a time for about 1 minute per side, until golden.  Drain on a wire rack.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.  (If not using immediately store in refrigerator or up to 3 days). If serving warm, transfer to a baking sheet and warm in a 200F (95C) oven.
  3. Garnish with parsley and serve as an appetizer with slices of melon and prosciutto or as a snack with tomato sauce for dipping.

Sweet Potato Caldo Verde

Nutrition and flavour is packed into this Caldo Verde soup by using sweet potatoes instead of the usual white potatoes in this remake of the traditional Portuguese classic.  The sweet potato is a powerhouse of  vitamins and antioxidant.  The colorful soup is a bright option that is especially comforting on a frosty winter day.



Home style Caldo Verde, unlike the restaurant style, is usually not pureed and a variety of seasonal vegetables are added to the soup base depending on availability. Feel free to do the same and substitute chopped kale or cabbage for the collards. Kidney beans are also added to the soup to boost the nutrition and fibre of this delicious dish.


To shred the collards: wash the leaves and trim the rough ends. Stack a few leaves and roll into a large cigar shape. Using a sharp knife, slice as thinly as possible.  Any unused collards can be frozen for later use.

*Vegetarians, omit the chourico, but make sure you add a dash of smoked paprika for a flavour dash of  the sausage flavour without the meat.




Sweet Potato Caldo Verde

  • Servings: 8-10
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  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz(240 g) chourico sausage
  • 1 1/2 lb (about 2) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups (2 L) chicken stock
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) fine salt
  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) finely shredded collard greens
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil.  Cook the onion and garlic until golden, about 6 minutes.  Add the chourico and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until the chourico begins to brown.  Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, until well coated with oil.  Add the stock and salt and  bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with fork.
  2. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) salt, and the collard greens.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until bright green and tender.  Drain the greens and transfer them to a large serving bowl.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  3. When the potato mixture is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the chourico; slice it thinly and reserve. If pureeing soup, transfer the potato mixture to a food processor or blender and puree it in batches until smooth.  Pour the puree over the prepared collard greens and stir well to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, if necessary.To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a few slivers of chourico, some kidney beans  and about 1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil and drizzled over top.

** If  not pureeing the soup, add the collards, chourico and kidney beans to the soup base before serving.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, if necessary.  To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with a few drops of olive oil.