Meatballs

1 medium onion, grated 
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 
2 large egg 
2 teaspoon minced garlic 
1 teaspoon salt 
2-3 slices fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces 
2/3 cup grated Parmesan 
1 lb of ground beef 
1 lb of ground pork 
Freshly ground black pepper 

To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese, beef and pork. Shape the meat mixture into 1-2 inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 350 for 30 minutes.  Drain and place finished meatballs into gravy.


Classic Italian Lasagna


6 egg yolks 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 pound mascarpone cheese 
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled 
2 teaspoons dark rum 
24 packaged ladyfingers 
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined. 
In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom. 
Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture. 
Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours. 
Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate shavings.



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Bechamel Sauce: 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the lasagna 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
4 cups whole milk at room temperature 
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg 
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows 
Salt and white pepper 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 pound ground chuck beef 
Salt and pepper 
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese 
3 large eggs 
1 pound lasagna sheets, cooked al dente 
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 
3 cups shredded mozzarella 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Bechamel sauce: 
In a 2-quart pot, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely. 
In a saute pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat, breaking any large lumps, until it is no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat. Set aside and allow to cool completely. 
In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
Into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the pasta sheets side by side, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread a layer of all the ricotta mixture and then a layer of all the spinach. Arrange another layer of pasta sheets and spread all the ground beef on top. Sprinkle 1/2 the mozzarella cheese on top of the beef. Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta sheets and top with remaining bechamel, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/4-inch cubes and top lasagna. 
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place lasagna dish on top, cover and put on the middle rack of the oven and bake until top is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for about 15 minutes. 

Tiramisu