Simply Laura Episode Review
Episode Synopsis: After being inspired by the very versatile Little Black Dress, Laura showed us how to incorporate her Nonna’s marinara sauce in a few different recipes.
The Recipes: Italian Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms; Tomato Bisque; and Mini Greek Pizzas.
The Process and My Thoughts: First up, the pot roast. Laura started by bringing her porcini mushrooms back to life by placing them in a sieve and poured some boiling water over them. She then got started on her beef. After seasoning it on both sides, she put some vegetable oil in a pot and added the beef so that she can sear it on all sides. While that was searing, she chopped up her vegetables. After the beef was seared, she took it out of the pot and added the vegetables that she’d just finished chopping. She also added about a cup of wine to the pot.
From there, she added her Nonna’s famous marinara sauce. The preparation for the marinara sauce didn’t seem to complicated. All she did was sautéed some onions and garlic in some olive oil. Then, she added a can of Italian tomatoes and some sugar to “intensify the sweetness of the tomatoes.” Lastly, before letting it simmer for about 20 minutes, she added a little pitch of oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
She added the marinara sauce, some beef stock and a couple rosemary sticks to her pan, before adding her seared beef and mushrooms back into the pan. The hot water that was poured over the porcini mushrooms created some stock, so she added most of that to the pan as well. Let that come to a boil, cover it and let it simmer for a couple hours.
After the commercial, which was actually hours later, Laura added some mini pear onions to the pot to bring some sweetness to the pot roast. She then let it sit for an additional 20 minutes. After that, she brought out her Nonna’s creamy polenta. She added some butter, a handful of freshly grated parmesan and some salt to it, then turned the stove off and let the polenta sit. From here, she took the pot roast back out of the pan to let it sit for a couple minutes. She then shredded the beef and added it right back into the pot of sauce.
Now it’s time to plate the pot roast. She put a spoonful of polenta into a bowl and added some pot roast on top of it. Yummy! Pot roast is one of my favorite beef dishes, so this is an 100% win for me. I’ve never had Italian style pot roast before, but I’m more than willing to try. Maybe one day instead of making pot roast the usual way, I can switch it up and add a little Italian flair to my life.
The next dish Laura tackled was the tomato bisque. I said in a previous post that I’m not a big fan of the tomato when it’s on its own, but when it’s mixed with something like a sauce or a soup, I’m all for it. I like tomato bisque (especially from Panera Bread), so I think this dish will be another win for me.
To start off, Laura chopped and roasted some vegetables. She sliced them up and placed them in a baking dish. She added some sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper; mixed everything around and then place them into to her preheated oven. While that’s cooking, she chopped up the secret ingredient, a russet potato. Then she added it, along with some garlic, into a pan. She then took her roasted vegetables out of the oven and added them into the pan with the potato and garlic. Add in some chicken stock and the marinara sauce. Then, cook for around 30 minutes.
Get a blender and add some of the soup into the blender. Make sure to blend everything in batches. Do not do it all at once. According to Laura, bad things happen when you do that. After everything is blended, place your mixture back into the pan and turn it on medium heat. Season it with salt and pepper, add a little bit of cream and some freshly grated parmesan cheese and stir everything together.
I could’ve easily devour that tomato bisque. The way Laura presented it looked so delicious. It looked so smooth and creamy and the extra parmesan and cream cheese (she used Mascarpone, which is the Italian version of cream cheese) that she added at the top had my mouth watering! I could definitely go for a bowl of tomato bisque right now. In fact, I think I might go get some after I’ve posted this.
The last dish is the greek pizzas. First, Laura flattened her pizza dough. To make sure that the dough is all one layer, she used her rolling pin to even things out. Then she used a biscuit cutter to cut the circles. She placed the little circles on a semolina-lined baking sheet. Never heard of semolina, but, according to Laura’s dad, it’s better than using flour. Spread some marinara sauce on the dough, add some pitted kalamata olives, a little feta cheese and some fresh oregano. Place them into the preheated oven an let them bake.
Those pizzas looked good too, but I don’t like olives, so I may have to pass. Even with that being said, they still looked good and I know a couple people who would love to try out this dish.
Conclusion: Another good episode. I learned a new way to make one of my favorite dishes and I also learned how to prepare a dish that I’ve purchased more than a dozen times at Panera Bread. Now that I’ve seen this episode, I think I might try to make the tomato bisque at home. Hopefully, it’ll look and taste as good as Laura’s did.
Simply Laura airs on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on the Cooking Channel.