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Cooking with 'Friends': Jamie Colby's Back Home Bolognese


1 lb. ground bison
¼ c. olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can diced low-sodium tomatoes
1 can low-sodium black beans
1 jar low-sodium tomato sauce (Franco Rinaldi recommended)
1 bag fresh spinach
1 pint sliced mushrooms

Fresh basil for the bolognese
Grated cheese and diced scallions for chili and nachos
Tortilla Chips for nachos

Spray an extra-large deep fry pan with olive oil spray, and then add the olive oil, garlic, onions and peppers. Cook until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once cooked, add mushrooms, black beans and then the ground bison. Chop bison apart with a spatula. Add the spinach and tomatoes and allow to simmer covered. Check frequently. The bison is so lean it cooks quickly. Stir frequently.

Cooking with 'Friends': Todd Piro's Sunday Gravy

For the meat:

1 lb. Italian sausage, hot or sweet
1 lb. ground meat mix of pork, beef & veal
½ c. Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

For the sauce:
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ c. olive oil
2 small cans tomato paste
1 large can San Marzano plum tomatoes
2 tbsp. oregano
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. sugar
Pepper to taste

Fry sausage in frying pan and set aside.
In a bowl, combine ground meat mix, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, parmesan, and salt and  pepper. Work into small meatballs. Fry in pan and set aside.
In large pot, sauté garlic, onion, and bay leaves in olive oil until they turn translucent. Add tomato paste. Mix and cook for about three minutes until all ingredients are well combined.
Put large can of plum tomatoes into blender and blend for about 10 seconds. Add blended tomatoes to tomato mixture in pot and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed
Add two small cans of water – use the small paste cans.
Add oregano, cheese, sugar, and pepper. Stir thoroughly.
Add the cooked sausage and meatballs to pot. Cook for about 1- 1½ hours on low heat. The mixing of the meat with the sauce creates the “gravy.” Serve over rigatoni that has cooked in boiling water for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add a dollop of ricotta cheese.

Cooking with ‘Friends’: Dr. Saphier’s Lasagna

A healthy take on her Mommom’s classic Italian dish.
1 whole clove of garlic, sliced
1 tsp. Olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
Small container sliced mushrooms
32 oz. Ricotta
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 egg
1 c. grated Parmesan
Garlic powder
Dash of red pepper flakes
Large bag fresh spinach
Oven ready lasagna pasta
Tomato sauce
1 c. grated pecorino
1 pack whole mozzarella
Fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Sauté fresh, sliced garlic with a tsp of olive oil. Add mushrooms for less than one minute then set aside.
In a large bowl, mix ricotta, shredded mozzarella, egg, handful of parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dash of red pepper. Mix spinach/mushrooms into cheese mix.
Grease 13”x9” baking dish with olive oil.
Add a thin layer of tomato sauce in baking dish. Place a single layer of lasagna oven-ready noodles on top of sauce. Add another thin layer of tomato sauce followed by a thick layer of the cheese/spinach mixture. Repeat layering of lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, and cheese/spinach mixture. Add one more layer of lasagna noodles then top with thin layer of tomato sauce and a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Top with a thin layer of grated pecorino or parmesan followed by thick slices of fresh mozzarella and basil.
Place tooth picks at the four corners of the baking dish. Cover dish with tin foil over, making sure it does not touch the cheese.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
Optional: Turn on broiler for 2 minutes to brown the top layer of mozzarella.