Grasso and Robichaud Family Recipes


Nonna's Bean Soup

Mom's Water-Whip Pie Crust


Mom's Shortcake for Strawberries

Apple Cake

Ginger Snaps

Blender Eggnog

Frittura Dousa


Lemon Layer Pie

Nonna's Ravioli




Christmas 2005



Nonna's Bean Soup

Tenderize onion and garlic in oil and butter

add 1 Tbsp tomato paste

4-6 bouillion cubes

lots of water

a few cut up potatoes

sliced carrots


When the carrots and potatos are almost done, add

1 can cannelini (white kidney beans) and noodles

Mash some of the potatoes and add them back into the soup

to thicken it.



The proper noodles are ditalini.

Sprinkle in some grated cheese when serving.

(Especially leftovers: the potatoes absorb the

salt and it turns bland.)


Mom's Water-whip Pie Crust

3/4 cup crisco

1/4 cup boiling water

1 Tbsp milk

2 c sifted all purpose flour

1 tsp salt


Put crisco in mixing bowl

Add boiling water and milk

and whip with fork until smooth.

Sift on flour and salt and work quickly into a dough

Makes 2-crust 9 inch pie



Mom usually made double this batch at a time.



Left over meat and gravy (chicken, turkey, roast beef, whatever)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup rice

Hot water (or broth)

Grated cheese

Put everything but the grated cheese into a large skillet

Cook, stirring very frequently, until rice is very thoroughly cooked

Add hot water or broth as needed.

Remove from burner and Stir in lots of grated cheese.



I usually add some mushrooms.

The traditional Grasso way to eat this is to smoosh it out onto your plate in a layer about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and eat inward in a spiral as it cools: The cheese holds the heat worse that pizza cheese.


Mom's Shortcake for strawberries

1/2 hour 450 degrees


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar


4 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

4 Tbs shortening



I haven't made this in years. The salt should probably be one teaspoon... or maybe ½ teaspoon.

This is basically a biscuit so Stir everything together until just blended and spread in a 9x9 pan. Don't overbeat.

My copy of the recipe doesn't say anything about greasing the pan, but

a spray of PAM probably would not hurt.


Apple cake

350 degrees 45 minutes


4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon


2 eggs

1/2 cup margarine, softened or melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup flour


Layer apples cinnamon and sugar in greased 9x9 inch pan

Beat together eggs and sugar thoroughly

Add margarine and flour, beat until smooth

Spread over the apples

After 45 minutes poke the apples to see if they are cooked.



I'm pretty sure this came from the Robichaud side of the family.

The ingredients look like an apple crisp or apple cobbler recipe,

but we make it as a sort of cake.

The cake part is closer to being a dough than a batter.

If you use butter instead of margarine, or your oven tends to run hot,

you may want to decrease the temperature so the cake doesn't

get too dark before the apples are cooked.


Ginger snaps

8 to 10 minutes

preheat oven to 350 degrees

cream together

3/4 c shortening

1 cup sugar


1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

In another bowl sift together

2 1/4 cups flour

2 baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cloves

Add flour mixture to other mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing well

roll into walnut shapes

dip in granulated sugar

place on lightly greased cookie sheet, sugar side up



This is the only useful thing I got out of 7th and 8th grade Home Ec.

The recipes for the 2 years had different temperatures and times --

I use the lower temperature and longer time because the molasses tries

to burn if you try to rush things.

At Christmas, I use red and green decorative sugars for dipping,

or make my own with granulated sugar and food coloring.


Blender Eggnog

1 egg

3/4 Tbsp sugar

few grains salt

2/3 cup cold milk


1/2 tsp vanilla or rum flavor



Mom's first blender was made by a company named Iona, which

Aunt Irma was working for at the time. This recipe was in the

book that came with it, and I've used it every Christmas and

Thanksgiving ever since.

(Making the eggnog was one of my holiday jobs)

I usually make double or quadruple batches depending

on the size of the blender I'm using, and use both vanilla and

rum flavor in the combined batch (or a little real rum if

no kids are around).


Frittura Dousa

1 or 2 grated lemon rinds

1 tsp salt

4 cups milk

5 Tbsp sugar

2/3 cup cream of wheat


Heat milk, sugar, lemon peel and salt, stirring

Add cereal slowly, stirring constantly

Cook 5 minutes

Spread on flat plates that have been oiled


Cut into diamonds and Prepare like cutlets:

dip in egg and unseasoned breadcrumbs

then fry in oil only.

Sprinkle with sugar.


Serve as the starch with veal cutlets, carrots,

sausages and spinach.



The traditional thing to do with the last of the eggs and

breadcrumbs is mix them together and fry them with the last of the

fritters or cutlets.

In the traditional meal, everything was fried.

Mom thought that was horrible, but I suspect that in the old

country everything was cooked in one skillet. First the fritters,

then the cutlets, then the sausage, then the veggies so they would

be flavored by the sausages.



1 pkg dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 whole eggs

1 egg yolk (reserve white)

1 cup softened butter or margarine

3 1/2 cups flour

1 Tbsp grated lemon rind

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped blanched almonds or walnuts

1 cup fruitcake mix or mixed candied fruits


In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add

sugar salt, wggs, egg yolk, butter and 1/2 of the

flour. Beat 10 minutes medium speed. Scrape sides and

bottom of bowl frequently.

With spoon, blend in remaining flour, nuts, fruits and rind.

Cover with cloth and let rise in warm place until double,

about 1.5 hours. Stir down batter by beating 25 strokes.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

[Allow to return to room temperature.]

Turn dough onto wll floured surface, turn to coat with flour.

Press into an oval. Spread with soft (room temperature!) butter.

Fold in two the long way, press along the folded side firmly.

Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush with mixture of 1 Tbsp water

and the reserved egg white, slightly beaten.

Let rise until double, while preheating oven to 375 degrees

Bake 30 to 35 minutes

Frost while warm with Quick icing or sprinkle with confectioners sugar.


Quick White Icing:

Mix 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar an 1 1/2 Tbsp milk with a

fork or whisk until smooth, use immediately.


This was the smaller(!) of Mom's two Stollen recipes, so she gave it to me when I first got a place of my own. She got it from a magazine, but the amounts of fruits and nuts are increased here, and I have added a few notes.

I learned the hard way over the years that it is vital to let everything be at room temperature before the second rising or the middle of the stollen won't cook right.

Lemon layer pie

2 tsp unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp butter

grated peel of 1 lemon

2 piecrust recipe (1 batch of water whip)

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

grated peel for garnish


Make 1 pie shell and two flat 6" rounds on a cookie sheet

Soften gelatin in lemon juice, mix with

eggs, sugar, butter, grated peel in saucepan

cook over low heat, stirring until mixture thickens.

Cover, cool, chill until mixture mounds slightly

Whip cream, fold half into filling. Put alternate

layers of filling and crust into pie shell. Cover with

rest of whipped cream and garnish with peel.



I'm not sure where Mom got this recipe, I think it was from one of our neighbors.

It wasn't an annual tradition, but she made it occasionally as a change from ordinary lemon meringue.


Nonna's Ravioli

Every year at New Year's we went to Nonna's house for ravioli.

Making ravioli was a two day process. When I was in high-school, I used to go over and help make them, spending the night. The raviolis were made the day before and left to dry overnight between cloths on the bed in the spare room.

Nonna always made a roast and salad and had dessert stuff, but everybody filled up on ravioli, and she always complained because nobody ate any of the other stuff. She used to make more than 20 dozen in the batch.

When her sisters Maria and Theresa came from Italy to visit (I was in about 7th grade) all three of them got together to make raviolis. They all used the big rolling pin.


Ravioli filling:

The ravioli filling was made from leftovers, so all of the meats were

pre-cooked: there was usually sweet Italian sausage and roast beef and

turkey ( from Christams dinner) and spinach in it, with some grated

cheese to help bind it. Nonna ground everything up very fine using a

lunula, which is a crescent-shaped blade with two wooden handles,

on a cutting board that had gotten hollow over the years.


Ravioli wrappers:

Dump a pile of flour on a clean counter and break some eggs into it,

then knead until smooth.

Nonna rolled out the dough using a rolling pin that was about 3 feet long and 4 inches in diameter. It was impressive watching her do it.

The dough needs to be rolled very very thin, preferably into a squarish shape.

Making the Raviolis:


Put scant teaspoons of filling about one and a half inches in from the edge of the dough, fold the dough over the top of the row of filling, squishing out the most of the air, and use a crimping wheel to seal and separate the raviolis. Lay them out on cloths and cover with another cloth. Let the pasta dry before cooking.

Cooking the raviolis:

Cook small batches of raviolis in a large amount of boiling water.

Layer them in a dish with a small amount of sauce the keep them from

sticking together. Serve with more sauce and grated cheese.