Freshly Fried Calamari

A staple in Italy and now is so many American restaurants is fried Calamari.   The  biggest difference is in Italy we are using fresh Calamari and in America you may only find frozen.  Freshly fried, both  are still delicious!!  Calamari are so versatile, they can be dipped, but they really shine served alongside or on top of a big mixed baby green salad with just a squeeze of lemon.  So, however you  serve them…..this is the basic recipe for a favorite of many!!

Freshly Fried Calamari


-2 pound of fresh or frozen calamari (defrosted) and cleaned, cut into 1/4″ ringsimg_0754

-flour as needed

-vegetable oil

-sea salt fine grain


-Clean the calamari, take off the tentacles save and cut them into pieces, pull out the spine cartilage and rinse the insides well….cut into 1/4 in rings. Dry the calamari as best you can

-With a colander place a plate underneath, put a handful of calamari in and pour flour liberally on the calamari.  Use your fingers to mix the flour and calamari… the goal is to coat the inside and outside of the rings and tentacles well.  Reuse the flour the passes  the onto the plate.img_0762img_0757

-Place the floured calamari on a plate.

-In a deep bottom pot or a deep wok style pot…heat enough vegetable oil (about 5 or 6 inches of oil)  you can test the oil by dropping a tiny piece of calamari inside (note-if it does not deep fry the tiny piece the oil is not ready)

-When the oil is hot, drop the pieces in separating then as you drop them and not over filling….give the calamari space to fry freely


-with a large draining spoon, turn them lightly in the oil , then wait until the calamari become a golden brown, remove from oil carefully and place the calamari on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Repeat process until all calamari is fried

-Salt generously

-Serve hot


Buon Appetito

Veal meatballs with simple tomato sauce

#whatsmickeycooking’s  very first recipe blog has to be Meatballs. Growing up they  were, and still today  are  our all time favorite food.  This is Italo-American comfort food at it’s best!!

These meatballs have a history in our Italian/American family.  The recipe,  from my paternal Grandmother was revised and updated by my Mother ( my Mom says my GM purposefully left out key ingredients!!).   Now , this is my version of my Mom’s recipe. They are great made little, served as appetizers  with a dipping sauce, medium sized served with pasta or like these served alone as a main course with  vegetables and salad.

Veal Meatballs with a simple tomato sauce,

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a fast, easy recipe that everyone loves.

This recipe can also be made using a combination of ground beef and ground veal.  Ask your butcher to grind the meat mixture twice.


-1 3/4 Pounds or 800 grams of Ground Veal

-3 Garlic cloves minced or pressed

-10 Lg Basil leaves

-5 Lg Eggs

-3/4 Cups of Grated Parmigiano Reggiano  Cheese

-3/4 Cups of fine breadcrumbs

-sea salt (fine)


-extra virgin olive oil


-In a medium sized mixing bowl add the ground veal, the cheese, and  the breadcrumbs.

– Using either a blender or immersion blender mix the eggs, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  Blend well until the basil is completely blended with the eggs.

-Pour the blended mixture into the mixing bowl of veal , mix together well, but don’t overwork the meat, you might need to adjust the  breadcrumbs.  The mixture should take the shape of a large ball.

– In a non-stick skillet large enough to hold 12 meatballs, add oil  (note- I try to use as little as possible we are just browning these).  Roll the meat into the size or style  of meatball you would like (note- you can also shape them in hamburger shape).  When the oil is hot add the meatballs being very careful.  Brown the meatballs on all sides.



Carefully turn them to prevent breakage.  When they are rust colored they are finished browning.  Being very careful place each on a plate to rest while you construct the Simple Tomato Sauce (Note- keep the pan scrapings for the construction of your sauce)….  Recipe to follow.

-When tomato sauce is mixed, gently place the meatballs along with their juices back into the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes covered, until the center of the meat is cooked.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  They’re great both ways.

Enjoy, Buon Appetito !!


  • Servings: 3 1/2 cups or 700 grams
  • Difficulty: easy.
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This simple sauce is used with meats/meatballs that are already seasoned.  It’s simplicity will not overwhelm the meat/fish


-3 1/2 cups or 1 bottle of tomato sauce (note- I use Mutti  Passata di Pomodoro, which can be found at Italian specialty markets)

-1 large garlic clove crushed or diced

-1 1/2 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-Pinch of sugar

-Salt and Pepper to taste


– Lightly brown the crushed garlic in the olive oil,  then carefully add the tomato sauce, add sugar, salt and pepper..(note- for above recipe, use the pan used for browning, along with it’s juices…add the garlic then follow the recipe as above, add meatballs and juices back into pan cover and cook.

-simmer 15 minutes