Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian, referring to the two caffeine ingredients espresso and cocoa.
“I received this authentic Italian recipe from Pietro, an Italian post-doc visiting the Shacklett lab on and off between 2009 and 2011. He made this for us during his first visit. Light and creamy and oh so satisfying! I first made this for Delandy’s gowing away party in 2011.” – April Ferre
Prepare espresso in advance and put in a flat container that allows you to easily dip the lady fingers later. (I use to dilute 1:1 because I don’t like it very strong, but it’s up to you.)
Divide the egg yolks from the whites into two different bowls.
Add half sugar to the egg yolks and beat the eggs with an electric beater at maximum speed until light and creamy white. Avoid the lumps! If you see them, beat again! Slowly add a couple of spoons of mascarpone cheese and mix it with beater at minimum speed. When the mascarpone is melted and mixed well with the cream, add another couple of spoons of mascarpone cheese and so on until you don’t have it anymore. (Mixture A)
Now you have to beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the rest of sugar. At maximum speed beat the white eggs until stiff. If you do it correctly you will have a mixture soft like snow. (Mixture B)
Fold the “snow” (Mixture B) into Mixture A and with a wood spoon (not with the beater!!!) Mix slowly and always in the same direction. This is the most difficult step because if you don’t do it correctly eventually you will have a liquid mixture! The right thing is to eventually have a dense and thick cream that you can easily spread.
Dip the lady fingers (non-sugared side) in the coffee one by one (I do it quickly: 1 second. If you keep them in the coffee too much they will be completely melted. Too quickly, on the other hand, they will be too dry.), and put them in a 9×13-inch baking pan sugared side down. When the first layer is done, cover them with the cream you made before and spread it with a flat spoon. Repeat the procedure. (If you want you can put the ladyfingers in the opposite direction: first layer horizontal and second one vertical.) Cover the ladyfingers with the cream and spread it with the spoon like before.
Sift the cocoa powder on the top. Cover the pan and put at 4°C (in the refrigerator) for 2 to 4 hours before eating.
“The main dish served at Delandy’s send off to her medical career. We are so proud and happy for Delandy as she works towards a career she has wanted for so long, but we will all miss her terribly. The Shacklett Lab will not be the same without her.” – April Ferre
“We were talking in the lab one day, wishing Julie a Happy Birthday and asking her what her plans were. She said she and her husband, Mike, and their son, Ben, were going out to dinner that night. She was hoping to get some good Eggplant Parmesan. Donna mentioned that she had a good recipe, and that she would make it for Julie’s dissertation signing party. Well, I jumped at the chance to get a good vegetarian recipe from a good cook, so I asked her for the recipe ahead of time! As it turned out, Donna decided to make this in addition to Ratatouille for Delandy’s going away party. It was the first time I had Eggplant Parmesan, and it was wonderful! I kept thinking about it all the next week.” – April Ferre
Peel and thinly slice eggplant 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.
Prepare tomato sauce from olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Or buy prepared sauce.
In a shallow and wide bowl (wide enough to fit the eggplant slices horizontally) beat the 2 eggs, flour and water. Heat the oil in a skillet to medium heat (no smoke). Coat the eggplant slices in the egg mixture and sauté both sides until golden brown. This will take several rounds in the skillet to get all the slices sautéed, so just stack them up on a plate as they accumulate.
In a deep casserole dish place a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then make multiple layers of 1) eggplant, 2) tomato sauce 3) sprinkled Parmesan cheese, and 4) sprinkled mozzarella cheese, until all the eggplant is used.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered with foil or casserole lid if available. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes, slice and serve hot.
“Once when I was sick, my karate friend, Angela, brought me some food. She’s a fantastic cook. There was pork tenderloin, broccoli, and this amazing risotto. I believe this is the recipe she said she used.” – April Ferre
Course: Main Courses – Pasta & RIce, Side Dishes – Rice & Beans
14 1/2OuncesChicken Broth
1/3CupDry White WineRoom Temperature
Bring chicken broth and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and sauté until tender. Add rice, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Increase heat to medium-high. Add 1 cup hot broth mixture and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all broth is used.
Add remaining butter, whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
If necessary, substitute Arborio for Valencia Rice
“Going to the Santa Cruz County Fair is a family tradition. One year the Home Arts Department had a couple come do a demonstration on how to make homemade ravioli. They were kind enough to share the recipe with us. It’s a bit of work, but make up a bunch at one time and then freeze what you don’t use for a quick meal later.” – April Ferre
Course: Main Courses – Pasta & RIce, Main Courses – Vegetarian
2Recipes Pasta Dough
1/2CupSpinachSteamed, Approximately 1/2 Bunch
2ClovesGarlicChopped Very Fine
1Extra Large Egg
Make Pasta Dough.
To make filling: Chop spinach and mix the next 5 ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Putting through a grinder or food processor works well.
Rolling dough: Roll out dough until very thin on a floured surface. Turn dough often to keep from sticking to the board. Spread the filling over half of the dough, then moist edges with water or beaten egg and fold over on top of filling. Using a ravioli marker or ruler, press into squares, and cut ravioli with a cutter or knife.
Cooking the ravioli: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. After water is boiling add 1 teaspoon salt. Add ravioli and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.
Freezing ravioli: On a cookie sheet place a piece of wax paper sprinkled with rice flour. Layer the ravioli, and then sprinkle again with rice flour and freeze. When completely frozen, place in Ziploc bags. Do not use wheat flour, it will make the broth sticky.
Sauce: Combine butter, vegetable broth, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well with ravioli.
Sometimes ravioli making just doesn’t work out. You try mark and cut them out, and they don’t seal correctly and you end up with a sticky mess. Then there are the bits and pieces of partial raviolis that need a home. Here’s the save: combine the leftovers and knead into a ball, adding more flour as necessary to make a workable dough. Roll out into a large, thin sheet and cut into strips with a knife or pastry cutter. Now you have spinach pasta! Serve with your sauce of choice topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
“I would love to find a really exceptional Alfredo recipe, and to be honest, I’m still looking, but this recipe is still very good and quite satisfying. What I like most about this recipe though is that unlike most Alfredo sauces, this one does not separate when reheated, making leftovers possible. A very important consideration for a single person.” – April Ferre
“I’ve heard people say that lasagne is too hard to make. Not so! It’s quick to layer these ingredients, pop it in the oven and do those odds and ends around the house that you need to get done. The most common problem I’ve heard in making lasagne comes from people putting the dried lasagne noodles directly into the pan. Cook them first! Or buy no-bake noodles, but make sure you know which type you have. And make sure you get all the water out of the thawed spinach. Serve it with some garlic bread and a nice salad (try the Italian Bread Salad) for a fabulous Italian meal. Then try Pietro’s Tiramisu for an authentic end to the evening.” – April Ferre
Course: Main Courses – Pasta & RIce, Main Courses – Vegetarian
2Pounds(4 Cups) Cottage Cheese, Low Fat
2 10-OuncePackage Frozen SpinachCooked & Squeezed Dry In Towel
124-OunceJar Marinara Sauce(Prego)
Cheddar Cheese & Jack CheeseGrated
Lasagne NoodlesCooked & Drained
Combine first 6 ingredients. (This step can be done the night before, and excess water drained.)
Spread enough marinara sauce to cover bottom of 9×13-inch pan. Place layer of noodles to cover bottom of pan. Cover with half of cottage cheese mixture. Add some grated cheese. Now another layer of noodles, the rest of the cottage cheese mixture, more noodles. Top with some marinara sauce, and complete by adding good amount of cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through and golden brown on top. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
If smaller amount is desired, halve recipe and bake in 8×8-inch pan. Also, No-Boil lasagne noodles are available in the grocery store for easy assembly.
“I use to be able to make this from memory by taste. But with my allergies, I can’t make it any more. The first time I made it for my husband, he was impressed at how much meat was in the sauce. It’s thick and hearty and makes pasta into a main entree.” – Calla Ferre
“These manicotti are fantastically creamy. The addition of white wine to the marinara sauce along with the mushrooms makes you think you got these straight from the little Italian restaurant around the corner.” – April Ferre
Cook manicotti in salted boiling water until just done but still firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend cream cheese with fork until smooth. Mix in cottage cheese. Stir in mozzarella cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Fill manicotti shells with cheese mixture and place in 9×13-inch baking dish.
Sauté mushrooms in butter. Add spaghetti sauce and wine. Pour over manicotti.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 6 servings.
2004 Recipe – April Ferre – Cooking for Compliments, 1977
1 4-OunceCan MushroomsWhole or Stems & Pieces, Save Liquid
16-OunceCan Tomato Paste*
*Dilute with 3 cans water (use mushroom liquid here to make the 3 cans)
210-OuncePackages Frozen Chopped Spinach
1/2CupParsleyFresh Preferred, Chopped
1CupSoft Bread Crumbs
1/2 to 1CupParmesan CheeseGrated
4 to 6EggsBeaten
8OuncesMozzarella CheeseThinly Sliced
1 1/2PintSmall Curd Cottage Cheese
Mix first 7 ingredients and simmer 2 to 3 hours. Add water or stock to desired consistency.
Mix together all remaining ingredients except lasagne noodles. This will make one of the layers for your lasagna later. If desired, add some Italian seasonings to taste (i.e. rosemary, basil, oregano, etc.). Use this sparingly, only to your taste.
Cook lasagne according to directions on box. Drain and rinse lasagne in cold water.
Grease or butter large baking dish or pan. Start layers this way: sauce first, 4 strips lasagne, spinach mixture, cottage cheese, and mozzarella. Repeat until all ingredients are used. If possible, reserve a little sauce for warm up the next day. The top of the lasagne should be covered with sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Cut into wedges like a pie, top again with a little remaining sauce and VOILA!