Now, actor, television personality, and exuberant cook Tony Danza and his son, Marc (and grandson, Nicholas!), invite you into the kitchen with their huge, at times hilarious, Italian-American clan for 50 top-secret family recipes (the sauce and the lasagna) and never-before-shared stories and photographs.
You'll meet Tony's mom and dad, and Tony's mom's family, the Camisas. You'll meet Marc's family and of course his son, Nicholas. You'll meet the uncles, the aunts, and the cousins, all important people in Tony's and Marc's upbringing. You'll read stories about an Italian immigrant family that grew strong in America and really lived the American dream.
The stories are, for the most part, wrapped around the recipes and the food that was the center of family life: Uncle John's Pasta with Prosciutto Sauce, Mother's Lasagna, Chicken with Lemon and Garlic, Holiday Antipasto, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Escarole and Bean Soup, Ricotta Cheesecake, and even Tony and Marc's Quick or Date Sauce, a fabulous tomato sauce that's fast, easy, and sure to help you impress the ladies.
So pull up a chair, pick up a fork, and join Tony and Marc as they cook, eat, and laugh their way through the generations. And remember, "don't fill up on the antipasto."
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About the Author
Tony Danza is a former boxer who worked in television on Taxi (1978-1983) and Who's the Boss? (1984-1992). As the host of The Tony Danza Show (2004-2006), he often showed off his culinary skills with son Marc and decided to do a book of family recipes and stories that he and his son treasured.Marc Danza, who has an extensive background in technology for television and event production, has worked in the industry for ESPN, the Staples Center, and Mandalay Entertainment Group. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
Read an Excerpt
It's wonderful to grow up in a large extended family with lots of uncles, aunts, and older and younger cousins. My son and I were lucky to have that. My mother's family did more than keep in touch, they lived near each other. In about a five-block radius, we had four sets of aunts and uncles with their children, and my grandma and grandpa too. That guaranteed a full house for Sunday dinner. That meant a big dinner with a big kids' table, and that also meant Sunday sauce.
Sunday sauce was different. First, there was more of it. It was a big sauce in a big pot, and there were a lot of things in it. When my grandfather was alive, you never knew what might end up in the sauce. He liked rabbit and some other stuff he wouldn't tell the kids about. Second, it cooked a long time. No shortcuts on Sunday.
It was fun when everybody was there. My mother's brothers Mike and Tony would kid with my aunt Rose's husband, Vinny. My father and Uncle Phil kidded all the aunts. Uncle Tony lifting me over his head with one hand. All the cousins running around. The Italian and English all mixed up. The neighbors stopping by. The moans and groans when everyone had to leave. Family.
Nowadays my son and I keep up the family Sunday tradition at one or the other of our houses. Most of the time we have it at my house, but we have made it over to his. He and his wife have a great house, right around the corner from our house. That's another tradition we try to keep alive -- living close together. Making up the rest of the regular group are Marc's wife (Julie) and their son (Nicholas), my brother (Matty) and his wife (Jackie), my wife (Tracy) and our two daughters (Emily and Katie -- although now Katie is away at school), and any of our friends who are nearby and hungry. As they used to say when we were kids, "More company! Throw another pound of macaroni in the pot." What they made then, and what we make now, is the Sunday sauce. It always has meatballs and pork ribs, and sometimes has braciole and/or sausages. Obviously this is a meat sauce. Not gravy. We think gravy goes on turkey.
2 cans (35 ounces each) plum tomatoes with basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Meatballs and Ribs
1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken, or any combination
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound pork spareribs, trimmed
In our family we use San Marzano plum tomatoes with basil. Strain the tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp. (This eliminates the bitter part of the tomato.)
Next make the meatballs. Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat along with 6 cloves garlic, the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and milk. Mix this all together with your hands. Wet your hands with water and continue to wet them as you pinch meat from the bowl and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs and sauté over medium-high heat, turning them, until they are brown all over. As soon as you can pick them up with a fork, they are ready. You don't want them to be well done. (If the meatball slides off the fork when you pick it up, it needs to cook a little longer.)
Cut the ribs apart. Sauté them in the hot oil until very brown and remove. Return the garlic to the oil and add the tomato paste to the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Back to the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red and black pepper and sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the juiced tomatoes, red wine, Parmesan, and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. Add the meatballs and spareribs. Bring to an easy boil, then simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
Add the basil and simmer for 15 minutes more. The spareribs should be very tender, falling off the bone, and the meatballs should float in the sauce.
Copyright © 2008 by Marc Anthony Productions, Inc.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jackie Collins
In the Beginning
Words from the Son
The Father Speaks
Don't Fill Up On the Antipasto
Holiday AntipastoWhen Guys Gather
Marc's Super Bowl GuacamoleClams
Uncle Vinny's Clam Lesson
Clams on the Half-ShellUncle Tony's Baked Clams
"Gee, We Hate to Waste a Good Salad" Danza Everyday Salad
Arugula, White Bean, and Red Onion Salad
Marc's Eggplant, Lemon, and Caper Salad
Tony's Caprese Salad
Nothing Like a Nice Bowl of Soup
Tied to a Tree
Roasted Chicken SoupA Very Important Uncle
Escarole and Bean SoupThe Dukes and Hilda
Hilda's Tortilla Soup with Chicken and AvocadoPatty
Patty's Italian Egg Drop Soup
You Gonna Eat that Last Piece of Pizza?
The Rest of the Pie
Grandma's Sicilian Pizza
Pasta Two Minutes Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti
Quick or Date Sauce
Sherman Oaks Pesto with Fusilli and Chicken
Two Minutes Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti
Uncle John's Pasta with Prosciutto SauceSunday Sauce
Sunday Sauce with MeatballsDon't Be Afraid
Roasted Vegetable PastaThe Giant of Patchogue
Pasta with Garlic and Oil
Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Arugula, and Clams"Rokalirob"
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and SausageThe Every-Night Discussion
Pasta with Calamari and ShrimpWhat My Mother Cooked
Mother's LasagnaMain Courses
You're Eating Too Much Bread. Eat Bread!
Cha Cha's BracioleThe Mousse Is Loose
Chicken with Lemon and Garlic
White Fish and Shrimp with Potatoes and Onions in a Lemon, Wine, and Butter Sauce
Broiled White Fish
Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
Marc's Tangerine-Honey Chicken with Chipotle Glaze
Aunt Rose's Fusilli Casserole
Desserts Not Big Bakers
Ricotta CheesecakeFinal Words
The Broadway Elixir
Acknowledgments and a Story