One of the greatest things about The Sopranos is its ability to make you feel better about yourself on a Sunday night. The licentious and gluttonous antics of Tony and his roving gang of henchman completely justify, if not nullify, your own weekend of heavy eating, drinking, and sexing. Even as we sipped Prosecco, went back for second helpings of Lindsay’s sausage, pork, and oxtail topped cannelloni, and reached for our third piece of Bagna Cauda topped crostini, we were still living clean compared to the onscreen gangsters. Tony boffed blonde hookers and guzzled whiskey from his hotel mini bar; Paulie took off with a dozen danishes at the continental buffet; and Uncle Junior snacked on illicitly acquired Kit-Kats and Cokes while lounging in his bathrobe. The fat, brazen bunch makes the sinner feel more like a saint. God bless them and their non-fictional beer bellies.
Episode III Menu
Four filets of anchovies, chopped
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
One–two cloves of garlic, chopped
Rind of one lemon
1 tablespoon parsley
Heat butter and anchovies in small saucepan. When fish has melted into butter, add pepper flakes, garlic, and lemon zest and cook one minute. Pour into bowl and garnish with parsley. Allow to harden in refrigerator for one hour. The dish is traditionally served warm, but we had it at room temperature with crostini.
Tart and Sweet Crostini
When I first read the ingredient list, I was like, “WTF? This is going to be weird as hell.” I was wrong; it turned out to be quite tasty.
1/3 cup tart cherries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup capers, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup proscuitto, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons flour
Juice of one tangerine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Combine first five ingredients in a mixing bowl. Melt butter over low heat and add flour and sugar, whisking until well combined. When mixture begins to froth, pour in juice and vinegar and cook about one minute. Pour over proscuito mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon onto crostini.
This salad was damn good. We were all looking for seconds.
Two bulbs fennel, shaved as thin as possible. Reserve fronds for garnish.
Three oranges, segmented
2-3 tablespoons julienned mint
3 tablespoons of your favorite black olives, coarsely chopped
Fruity olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toss first four ingredients together and dress with lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cannelloni a la Pugliese/Pendleton
This dish comes from Lindsay’s aunt, Julie Pugliese, who originally got the recipe from her mom, who may, or may not, have been from the old country. Either way, it is a traditional Italian meal. There are three parts: tomato sauce, Italian crepes, and ricotta filling. It can be labor intensive, depending on the number of cannelloni you make (Lindsay made four casserole dishes worth). My friend Molly and I helped roll the cannellonis, while Lindsay made the crepes.
Meat and Tomato Sauce
2 pounds oxtail (much debate on this—what is oxtail? Literally, the tail of an ox? It used to be, but now it is the tail of a cow, since oxen are only used by the Amish).
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into chunks
4 sausages, mix between sweet and spicy, sliced
One leek, chopped in large chunks
One onion, chopped in large chunks
Six whole cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Two 28-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 quart beef stock
1/4 bottle red wine (give rest of bottle to cannelloni rollers)
Six sprigs thyme
Five sprigs marjoram
Two bay leaves
Salt to taste
Brown meats in olive oil on high heat, about five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large saucepan, cook onion and leek, about five minutes, then add garlic cloves. Add tomatoes, stock, wine, and herbs. Add meat to tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered, for two hours. Cover and simmer another three to four hours.
Herbed Ricotta Filling
One tub whole milk ricotta
2 tablespoons each basil, sage, parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Mix ricotta, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
Italian Savory Pancakes (Crespelle)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
Place flour in a mixing bowl, add eggs, and whisk. Add salt. Slowly whisk in milk and butter. Allow batter to stand twenty minutes.
Heat non-stick pan and brush with olive oil. Turn heat to low and pour 1-1/2 tablespoons batter into pan. Cook one minute, the flip to other side and cook an additional thirty seconds.
Now comes the assembly. Spread 1/4 cup ricotta filling into crepe. Roll and place in buttered casserole dish, seam side down. Continue until all ricotta mixture is used. Pour a thin layer of sauce over cannelloni and cook for thirty minutes at 350° F. Top with more sauce and chunks of meat before serving.
“The Sopranos with Lindsay” is a weekly cooking column that will run for eight episodes, or until Tony is killed. Get your menu here and watch the show on HBO, Sundays at 9 p.m. See last week’s recipes here.