JANUARY 5 2012



And that's all folks. I am now done with the book! My grand adventure culminated tonight in a fabulous Sunday Sauce (on Thursday) party where I crammed all the remaining dishes onto the table and we ate until we just about burst. I think it will be easiest to talk about each section separately. So here goes...


A Frankies antipasto plate requires the following sections: cheese, cured meats, olives, roasted or marinated vegetables and bread & oil with a crostini being "extra-credit". They give a lot of advice about the components and assembly of the plate, including this helpful diagram:

antipasto diagram

Our plate had a couple different cheeses (pecorino, blue and fresh mozzarella in olive oil), two meats (prosciutto and salami), nuts and Johnny Bee's honey, marinated olives, bread with olive oil and roasted veggies (cauliflower and broccoli rabe).

antipasto plate... yummmm!

marinated olives

I chose to take the extra-credit and included the cannellini crostini which is a pungent mix of cannellini beans, chopped capers and anchovy, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. This mix tops a crostini bread that has been brushed with parsley oil and toasted. They were amazing! Salty, rich and creamy!

I also had a pot of mulled wine simmering away to warm us up on this chilly evening. The wine is warmed gently with orange peel, lemon peel, sugar and cinnamon until fragrant. Smells so lovely!

mulled wine


The crux of the Sunday Sauce is the big pot of tomato gravy simmering away with meatballs, braciola, sausages and then dousing the pasta or gnocchi. So yesterday, I cooked up a double batch of the tomato sauce {to make sure there would be leftovers), then this morning brought it back to a gentle simmer while I rolled up the braciola.

The Frankies want to make one thing very clear. "Braciola is pronounced bra-JOEL (and that's pronouncing Joel like a French name, with a soft "j")." Do not say brock-ee-O-la... it is literally painful for them. The bra-JOEL are slices of pork shoulder, butterflied then rolled around a mix of pecorino, provolone, parsley and garlic. Yum. Yum. Yum.

time to roll the braciola (that should rhyme if you're saying it correctly)

done and done.

My butterflying technique left much to be desired so they ended up a little ragged. But, after it was all tied up tight, I don't think it mattered much. These guys went into the sauce to simmer for 3 hours until falling apart tender. The porky flavor infuses the tomato sauce making it even better than before (if that's even possible) and the pork soaks up the sauce and literally melts in your mouth!

simmering braciola

It did require skimming the thick, red, translucent layer of fat off the top. But, with an eager assistant, that was quickly done and the pork was pulled out of the sauce and popped into the oven to stay warm.

tender and fabulous braciola

There was still more work for the sauce pot; into the tomato gravy went a big batch of meatballs. I know I already made them a few months ago... but they were so damn good I knew it would be worth it to make them again. I had, in fact, baked this batch a few weeks earlier and had them waiting in the freezer for tonight.

According the the Frankies, the meatballs and braciola are "don't-pass-go standbys"... but for a real Sunday sauce, you want both of these plus a third option, to add to the abundance." So, in a separate saucepan (to segregate the strong meaty flavors) I was also simmering some Italian sausages and a couple beef ribs that came with our New Year's Eve rib eye roast. There wasn't much of either of these treats (and I failed to get a photo of them), but I think they definitely added to the experience.


Accompanying the saucy goodness were some excellent supporting dishes. First I whipped up a batch of the potato gnocchi to be doused liberally with meaty tomato sauce and cheese. I've always had a hard time with gnocchi. Usually, the little guys kinda disintegrate into the cooking liquid... but these were quite hardy.

These gnocchi aren't too hard. Just boil the potatoes then pass them through a food mill. The resulting potato fluff is mixed with egg, cheese and flour to form a sticky dough which I then rolled into snakes and chopped into 1-inch lengths.

fluffed potatoes

rolled and pinched gnocchi

gnocchi, baby!

Once all the meats were done, and just before we sat down to eat, the gnocchi were boiled for a couple of minutes then tossed with the rich tomato sauce. So good. They were the perfect texture. Soft, with a little chew. Not too dense though. I think I done good!

yummmy gnocchi

I also served the puntarelle salad with anchovy dressing. Puntarelle is actually a difficult green to find and last time I replaced it with dandelion greens for the Cured Sardine Salad. But today, I did have some puntarelle to add because I had actually bought some seeds at the end of the summer and they were still green and growing in the garden. There wasn't very much so I did have to use dandelion greens as well. But at least I got some puntarelle this time! This had another pungent, salty dressing. But it worked well with the bitter greens and rich pecorino.

puntarelle in the garden

puntarelle and dandelion green salad


The night ended with big scoops of tiramisu that had been chilling overnight. It turned out to be a rather complicated dish to make with many separate components, some requiring 4 or 5 steps. But it was worth it. Soooo goooood and rich and creamy and dense and cool and rummy. Hmm... just now realizing I forgot to sprinkle it with cocoa powder before we all dug in. Oh well!

layering the tiramisu

cool and refreshing.

Overall an amazing night! And perfect finale to this project. Thank you everyone for coming!!


  1. Way to go Day! I am glad to have helped eat this project...

  2. Congratulations! Stoked to have eaten so many delicious foods!


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