Posts tagged “Henry Hill

The Flying Spaghetti Monster visited me tonight!

I hope you are all having a fantastic holiday season, whatever you celebrate.

So, on to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Well, it’s just spaghetti and meatballs.  Of course, what that means is I made both the noodles and the meatballs from scratch.  I do this kind of thing sometimes.   I find that it is very rewarding for me to take the time it can take to make things from scratch.  I mean, really, who makes spaghetti??  Do most people make meatballs anymore?   I think we all should.  Of course for those of us who are gluten-free buying premade meatballs is out of the question, so we certainly should.  Sure, there is gluten-free pasta out there, and I’m sure there is spaghetti, but buying a box of pasta is not as interesting as taking the time to make your own.  (It is a lot faster though, so if time is an issue you know what to do!)

Let’s get started!  Once again, I look to The Wiseguy Cookbook by Henry Hill when it comes to Italian food.  I  modified his recipe for meatballs a bit, but the core of the recipe is what I used.

1 pound of ground turkey (sure, you could use beef, veal and pork, but this was what was in the budget)

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 small onion minced

1 egg

herbes de provence

salt and pepper

1/4 cup grated asiago

1 tablespoon tomato sauce


Combine everything in a bowl except for the breadcrumbs.  Once you have everything mixed together, add a small amount of breadcrumbs, and mix a little more.  You want it to form a sticky ball, but not be too wet.  Add a little less than you think, because you should let this sit for a few minutes.  As the breadcrumbs absorb moisture you’ll see why you stopped before you thought you were done.  

Next take a small amount and form the meatballs.  They should be about the size of a walnut.  Once you have used up all of the meat heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a skillet, and brown them.   When you do this, keep the heat no higher than medium, and leave them alone.  Once they are browned on the side they will be easy to move.  If you try to move them early they will stick, and come apart.Once they were browned I poured a little white wine to degalaze the pan a bit, and added my tomato sauce.  I picked up a jar of roasted garlic tomato sauce at a local supermarket, and it was tasty.  Nothing outrageous, but it worked.  I brought this up to a simmer, and put the lid on the skillet, and let it simmer.  You always want the sauce waiting for the pasta.  Of course while I was browning the meatballs I got rolling on the pasta. (Sorry about the punishment there. No, not really.)

1 cup flour blend Four flour bean mix from Bette Hagman

2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 eggs

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix them together.  Whisk the eggs and oil together, and then pour them into the flour.  At this point I find it easier to just use my hands, and mix this together.  Just get in there, and mix.  The trick is that the liquid will only take as much flour as it will take.  If there is extra flour left in the bowl leave it there.  If it is too sticky you can add a little bit of cornstarch.   Dust your nice clean counter with cornstarch, and lift out the dough ball.  I find it easier to deal with if I divide the dough in half.  Roll out the dough as thin as you can. It plumps up quite a bit when you cook it.  Then slice it into strips to make your noodles.  Obviously, it is not exactly spaghetti noodles, but it is close enough for rolling it out by hand.  Hopefully you’ve had a pot of salted water on so that it is boiling already.  Drop your noodles in, once it is up to a boil give it 5 to seven minutes.  Drain the pasta, and put it on a plate, and top with your meatballs, a little asiago, or parmesan cheese, and enjoy His Noodliness!

Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate!


As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to make minestrone.

Obviously I’m going to be writing about soup, again.  Remember what I said last time about leftovers?  Well, this one is exactly what you need to get rid of all those random bits of leftover veggies.  Seriously, it almost makes no difference what it is.  What I’m talking about is minestrone.  Its a classic Italian soup.  Minestrone means big soup, and it is certainly big on flavor.  There is no standard recipe, and varies from family to family.  Traditionally, it will have beans, but they are not a requirement. Today I made a lot of minestrone.  This soup can very easily be made vegetarian or even vegan, depending on what you have around the house, and what you want to put in.  This is a vegetable soup, but it doesn’t have to be a vegetarian soup.  Through history meat wasn’t eaten as much as it is now, but it was eaten, and probably by almost everyone.  In a soup like this pancetta is used to flavor the soup, but it is a minor component in the actual ingredients of the soup.  If you don’t eat meat, leave it out.

2 TBSP olive oil

1/4 inch thick slice pancetta, diced

1 medium onion, medium dice

1 carrot medium dice

1 stick of celery, medium dice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 TBSP crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 cup white wine

1 bay leaf

1 TBSP herbes de provence

Now, once you get to this point you’ll want to just eat it, but don’t!  This is kind of the base of the soup, so stick with it!

So, what do you have in the fridge?

Green beans? Corn? Gluten-free pasta? Kohlrabi? Broccoli? Cauliflower? Kale? Spinach? Zucchini? Squash? A can of canellini beans?

You’re also going to need some chicken stock or vegetable stock.


Ok, so lets get started.  You have everything cut up?  In a large pot, heat your oil, and then add the pancetta if you’re using it. With the pancetta you just want to render it over medium heat, until it is browned but not crisp.  Next, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and  crushed red pepper.  Add a little salt, and sweat this over medium heat until the onions have started to turn clear.


Add the tomatoes, mix them in, and add the wine, and herbs.  Add the stock, bring it up to a boil,  and then depending on what veggies you have to put in the soup start adding them.  You’ll want to make sure that you add things that will take longest to cook earliest.  As you simmer the soup add things, keeping in mind how long they will take to cook.  The last thing I would add would be something like beans or pasta.  Beans and pasta taste great, but they tend to soak up liquid, and swell up.  They can very easily take over a pot of soup so add way less than you think you should!


That is really all it takes to make great minestrone.  No recipe at all, just go, and cook it.  Now, for the funny part… I actually adapted  this from a cookbook!  Henry Hill wrote a cookbook based on his life, and its called the Wiseguy’s Cookbook.  If you are a fan of Italian food, as well as the movie Goodfellas you’ll want to get a copy of this book.  There are lots of recipes, and its got some pretty interesting stories as well.  Not all of them are gluten-free, but a lot of them can be made gluten-free with a little playing around.