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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.

Cooking with 'Friends': Duffy Family's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 tsp. lemon zest
2 c. part-skim ricotta
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. blueberries
4 large eggs, separated
Powdered sugar
Wisconsin butter
Wisconsin maple syrup

Whisk dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg yolks, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until combined.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into pancake mixture until blended.
Heat and butter your griddle. Pour about ¼ cup of batter for 4 inch pancakes. Drop desired amount of blueberries on each pancake.
Cook pancakes about 3 minutes until bubbles form. Flip and finish cooking until golden.
Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Serve with a pat of Wisconsin butter, more blueberries, a dollop of fresh whip cream, and warm Wisconsin maple syrup.

National Ice Cream Day: Homemade Ice Cream

For more recipes like these, check out ‘A La Mode: 120 Recipes in 60 Pairings’ by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

From 'À La Mode: 120 Recipes In 60 Pairings'
Yield: about 1 quart

We put the butter back in butter pecan ice cream! Or to be more specific, browned butter—thereby cutting down on the ice cream’s sweetness so the pecans show through. What we want are the browned and burned solids in the butter, often lying on the bottom of the saucepan. The only way to get enough of those is to make too much browned butter. But you’ll then have a generous amount of browned, clarified butter for frying eggs, making outrageous cinnamon toast, or preparing curries.

16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ c. pecan pieces
2 c. whole milk
¾ c. heavy cream
½ c. packed light brown sugar
¼ c. light corn syrup
1½ tbsp. cornstarch

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns dark brown, 3 – 5 minutes. Gently pour the clear, brown liquid off the top and into a small glass storage container, leaving the browned milk solids and blackened bits on the bottom of the saucepan. Reserve this browned, clarified butter, covered, in the fridge for another purpose. Set the pan with the solids and blackened bits aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Toast the pecans in a large, dry skillet set over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Pour onto a cutting board and chop into small bits. Set aside.
Add the milk, cream, light brown sugar, corn syrup, and cornstarch into the pan with the browned butter bits; set over medium-low heat and whisk until the brown sugar and cornstarch are dissolved, scraping up those browned and blackened bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbling, about 5 minutes.
Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day, covering after the mixture is cold.
Prepare an ice cream machine.
Stir the browned butter mixture, then freeze it in the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until it can mound on a spoon.
Add the pecans and let the machine’s dasher churn them in until the ice cream can mound on a spoon without immediately melting at its edges.

From 'À La Mode: 120 Recipes In 60 Pairings'
Yield: about 1 quart

Cream cheese in ice cream? Why not? Especially since it gives the frozen concoction a taste very much like cheesecake. Sweet cherry jam—rather than sour—will work best against the already slightly sour cream cheese. If you miss the crust on your cheesecake or are serving this ice cream without the bear claws, let the ice cream machine’s dasher stir 2 or 3 crumbled graham crackers into the finished custard before you layer it with the jam.

1¼ c. whole milk
¾ c. heavy cream
⅔ c. granulated white sugar
6 oz. regular cream cheese (do not use low-fat or fat-free)
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ tbsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
⅔ c. sweet cherry jam

Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until puffs of steam rise off the surface.
Place the sugar, cream cheese, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest in a food processor. Cover and pulse a few times to combine well.
With the machine running, pour the warmed milk mixture in through the feed tube. Process until smooth, scraping down the inside of the canister at least once. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days, covering once the mixture is cold.
Prepare an ice cream machine.
Stir the custard and freeze it in the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until you can spoon up a mound without its edges immediately melting.
Spoon some of the ice cream into a tall container or a loaf pan, spread a little cherry jam on top, and keep making these alternating layers, ending with ice cream. As you scoop it up, you’ll make ribbons of jam in the ice cream balls.

National Ice Cream Day: Talenti's Gelato Sandwiches and Floats

Try these fun twists on a classic summer treat using Talenti gelato.


Place 2 scoops of sea salt caramel gelato on one cookie. Place the other cookie on top. Round out edges with a knife and dip in your favorite topping – sprinkles, chocolate chips, crushed candy bits.


Place 2 scoops of pistachio gelato on one macaroon. Place the other macaroon on top. Round out edges with a knife and dip in your favorite topping – sprinkles, chocolate chips, crushed candy bits.


Use a small scooper and place 2 scoops of Roman raspberry sorbetto or mango sorbetto in a champagne flute. Top off with sparkling wine – if you’re over 21 – or sparkling apple cider.