There is no other, like a recipe from down under!

Narellan, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney Australia is home to many–including my cousin Rosa. Migrating from the Italian shores, Rosa and her family settled here when she was young. Just over 30 miles from Sydney proper, Narellan is home to 3,400 residents, steeped in culture and surrounded by beauty and an array of amazing cuisine.

Known for it’s Asian cuisine, Narellan is also know for Balkan and Italian foods, and sits close to Camden, a town known for it’s cafes. Places like Squeeze and Grind, a 4.5 star café, offers brilliant tapas, breakfast and lunch menus, while Salute Trattoria is well versed in the splendor of fine Italian cuisine.

So why am I writing about Australia on a WNY blog? Well, because like any area, in any country, we all have diverse cultures in our regions. People move and settle in many places across the globe. Here in WNY, we have roughly half a million Italians who have settled here or have relatives who came over from Italy to start a new life.

In Italy, drought and crop failure combined with heavy taxation forced many to flee the country, in search of better opportunities. 14,000 Italian immigrants came to Buffalo during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The opportunities that attracted immigrants depended largely on prior family settlement. For the Italians who came to the Buffalo area, it was often the case that someone from a local village needed to blaze a trail before others followed. It is estimated that (after 1901) as many as fifteen hundred passages to Buffalo per year were financed by relatives.

Behind the curtain of ethnicity, there was (and is) great diversity. By 1910 Italians from hundreds of villages in 16 different provinces — such as Abruzzi, Calabria, Campobasso, Campagna, and the Island of Sicily, lived in different parts of Buffalo. An intricate network of Italian communities started to thrive in various sections of our “Golden Gate” city:

    • the Abbruzzese went to the upper East Side of Buffalo
    • the Campobassini to the lower East Side
    • the Calabrians to South Buffalo
    • the Campagnese adjacent to downtown
    • the Sicilians, the largest group, to the lower West Side in the vicinity of the waterfront.

This infusion of Italian culture led to one of the greatest gifts WNY has to offer–our food! Places Like Romeo & Juliet’s, Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, Mulberry’s, Lebro’s, Tappo, Marco’s Italian Deli, and Osteria 166 are just a few of the delectable, wonderfully tantalizing restaurants that our fair city has to offer.

WNY is moving up, shaking off the rust from the chains that bound us, and creating a dizzying labyrinth of a colorful, creative, artistic Buffalo NY.

Below is a fabulous recipe my cousin Rosa has provided and is versatile for vegetarian or gluten free options. Rosa has just completed her cooking studies after years of government work, and is now following her dreams; creating distinct and regional dishes that are very much her own creation.

Timballo Di Riso e Melezane (Bake Rice Dish with Eggplant)10953287_10152690317457887_249086473_n

Overall Ingredients:

400 G of short grain rice

4 eggplant sliced

1 Cup of seed oil for frying

2 cups of peas

2 cups of mozzarella or shredded cheese

1kg of Beef Mince

1 Onion diced finely

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 x 2550grams large can of peeled tomatoes

1 Bottle of tomato passatta

1 bunch of basil

¼ cup off Olive Oil

1 cup of red wine

Salt and pepper to season

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients:

1kg of Beef Mince

1 Onion diced finely

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 x 2550grams large can of peeled tomatoes

1 Bottle of tomato passatta

1 bunch of basil

¼ cup off Olive Oil

1 cup of red wine

Salt and pepper to season


In a deep pan heat the beef mince over a high heat, until all the meat juices has either evaporated or you can pour it out of the pot.

Add the red wine and allow the flavour to infuse with the beef mince until all the wine has evaporated.

In the same the pot drizzle the olive oil over a high heat and add diced onion and garlic, sauté and allow to soften.

Add the peeled tomatoes and bottle of passatta.

Pour 1 cup of water in the empty tomato can and pour the liquid in the sauce, the same for the bottle of passatta.

Season with Salt and Pepper

Add the basil

Cook for 3-4 hours over low heat until it thickens

Preparing the Eggplants: 

1) Wash the eggplants, dry and then slice thinly. Sprinkle the slices of coarse salt, chard in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Elapsed time, rinse them and pat dry with a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper.

2) Heated the oil of seeds in a frying pan and fry the eggplant. As they are ready, drain them on absorbent kitchen paper, and drizzle with a pinch of salt. 3) Gently fry the chopped onion in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Once combined pour the mixture into the pre lined cake dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray, I use a cake dish with a hole in the middle but you can use any type of baking dish, line the cake dish with the layers of eggplant slightly overlapping.

3) Boil for 12 minutes the rice in boiling salted water once cooked strain, place in a bowl and mix in the Bolognese sauce and mozzarella or shredded cheese and sprinkle with parmesan cheese combine everything together you can add as much sauce as you like, pour mixture into the prepare dish, fold the eggplant to cover the mixture and bake at 180 °C and bake for 20-30 minutes.10941692_10152690317487887_2133653738_n

*(Please note you don’t have to have Bolognese sauce with this dish you can just make a plain tomato sauce and add your vegetables as desired)

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