NECAT is proud to be part of a global day of giving by participating in #Giving Tuesday. We hope you will consider a donation to us today as we share a few holiday recipes from local chefs who are closely connected to NECAT.
In these anxious and uncertain times, we are so grateful that we’ve had the kitchen as our refuge. At NECAT we’ve kept our doors open to in-person training for most of the year, and we’ve relished the opportunity to keep cooking and preparing great cooks and food – a recipe for success that’s hard to beat.
This Giving Tuesday we give thanks to the extraordinary support and strength of the NECAT family. You have made it possible for us to keep cooking, training and providing the possibility of a hopeful future. You can read more about our year and make a contribution here.
Chef Michael Lombardi’s Manicotti Crepes
“This probably doesn’t seem like a ‘holiday’ recipe for most, but my grandmother made manicotti every thanksgiving,” Michael Lombardi, the Chef/Owner of SRV in Boston’s South End tells us. “The pasta was a crepe style. We would sit down and eat it and then take a break before having turkey and all the fixings.” Chef Lombardi and his business partner, Kevin O’Donnell have been longtime supporters of NECAT. Their pasta-making demonstrations have been a highlight among our students for years and we are proud that NECAT graduates have gone on to work in the SRV kitchen. Chef Lombardi is a current member of NECAT’s Employer Advisory Committee.
For the crepes:
2 cups AP flour
2 cups water
1 tsp baking powder
Whisk eggs together and then add the rest of the ingredients to make a batter. Add enough batter to a 6 inch non stick pan to make a thin layer. Cool until it sets and then flip it out onto a paper towel.
3 lbs ricotta
1 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup reserved
Mix all the ingredients together except the reserved 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Put 2 tbsp in the center of the crepes and roll them into logs. Place them in a baking pan next to each other. Cover the crepes with tomato sauce, sprinkle them with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Basic tomato sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 qts crushed tomato
5 large basil leaves
In a sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the crushed garlic cloves. Do not get any color. Season the garlic with the salt. When the garlic has softened up and become aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato in. Bring it to a simmer and Cook for 5-10 minutes on a low simmer. The goal is to cook off some of acidity of the tomato without reducing it down too much. Turn off the heat and add in the basil. Let it steep for 5 minutes and then remove the basil and if you can, the large pieces of garlic. Adjust salt level as needed.
Monique Clark’s Savory Cornbread
“Cooking is my therapy, it’s my happy place,” says Monique Clark, a graduate of NECAT’s 27th cohort. Monique’s first job after graduating was baking at Encore Boston Harbor, a fast-paced and exciting job where she learned a lot. Now, during the pandemic, she’s had a chance to grow her catering business The Makings of Mo. “It makes me overjoyed to see people eating and melting over my food. This is an easy, comfort side dish that can be easily made with or without meat. It makes any holiday dinner come together with so much flavor!”
- Cook your favorite cornbread. Let it cool. Crumble finely with hands and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, sautéed mirepoix (small/med dice).
- Add 2.5 cup vegetable stock.
- Add 3 tablespoons of ground sage, salt and pepper to taste and a dash of celery salt (optional).
- Let boil for 10mins on medium heat.
- Pour over crumbled cornbread.
- Mix until fully incorporated.
- Bake at 350° for 20mins covered.
- Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until no longer wet.
This recipe also works with Jimmy Dean Sage sausage. Cook sausage fully and add to cornbread crumbles before pouring wet mixture.
Chef Bob’s Cranberry Sauce
“Love it or hate it, cranberry sauce is the focus of many a heated holiday debate. In my youth, we used the canned variety. And if I’m being honest, it’s still on my table today. I know, I know… it’s partly nostalgia, but I do enjoy it very much. I also enjoy making my own,” says NECAT’s Culinary Instructor Chef Bob Krajewski. “There is no subtlety to these garnet berries. When cooking cranberries, we need to use both bold flavors and a bit of sugar to tame their aggressive tang. Here, I use a good deal of aromatic spices, orange in two ways, vanilla bean, and sugar.”
2 ea oranges
2 lb fresh cranberries (frozen is fine too)
3 ea cinnamon sticks (3″ each)
4 ea star anise
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 vanilla bean (split length wise)
1 cup sugar
1. Zest oranges and reserve.
2. Split oranges and juice, reserve fresh juice
3. Tie spices in cheese cloth (a sachet)
4. In a wide shallow saucepan add cranberries, spice sachet, and vanilla, sugar and 2 c water and all fresh orange juice.
5. Bring pan to a simmer and slowly cook, stirring regularly, until a hearty sauce is achieved, and the cranberries have broken down. About 1 hour
6. Taste the sauce. Depending on the acid level of the fresh berries you may need to add a touch more sugar.
7. Before removing from the heat add the orange zest and mix in.
8. Allow the sauce to cool with spice sachet overnight
9. Serve the following day
To learn more about the work that NECAT has been engaged in this past year and how your gift will make a difference, click here.