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Risotto alla Calabrese





1-1/8 lb. rice
6 slices provolone cheese
3-1/2 oz. grated cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 eggs
Olive oil
1 dash oregano


1-1/8 lb. tomatoes
8-7/8 oz. beef (leg meat)*
3-1/2 oz. olive oil
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 onion, sliced
2 to 3 basil leaves


In a saucepan sauté sliced onion and olive oil. Add beef, in one piece; salt and brown to a good color, and then wet it with the red wine. When the wine is evaporated, add peeled and finely chopped tomatoes, a few leaves of basil, and one tablespoon of tomato paste diluted in a ladle of hot water. Cover and slowly cook the meat at low temperature wetting it every once in a while with boiling water. When done cooking sauce should be plenty.

Meanwhile peel and slice three of the hard boiled eggs and set aside.

After the meat is done cooking, take it out and cut into two pieces. Mince one half and place back into the sauce. Mince the other half and place into a bowl.

In bowl, add one whole egg, a pinch of oregano, 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs, and 1 tablespoon grated cheese. Mix together with a wooden spoon. If it becomes too soft, add more breadcrumbs or grated cheese. Next make little meatballs, the size of a small nut, and fry them in oil, set aside.

Cook the rice in salted water until al dente (this can be done while the sauce is cooking). Drain and then add 3/4 of the sauce. Grease a cake pan and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Fill the bottom with half of the rice then add the other ingredients: the mini-meatballs, provolone, eggs, grated cheese, and sauce. Add on top the remaining rice. Finish the dish with a drizzle of olive oil (you can use the remaining oil used to fry the meatballs) and a sprinkle of grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Author's Comments

* This recipe calls for a chunk of beef... if you want to cut down on time you can buy already ground beef.

This is a very hard recipe to get right the first time but is great if you're cooking with someone. From making this once, my one tip is to make sure you have enough sauce.

I translated a few recipes from an Italian cookbook my mother has and I had to share them with everyone. The recipes I translated are traditional Calabrese.

Also, many true Italian recipes don't give exact amounts of ingredients, it's done by taste and look. So try and try again if something doesn't seem right, that's what makes Italian cooking fun!

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