Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Egg Rolls, Stella Style

Last summer I discovered Stella Ristorante in Floral Park, New York.  It's not a modern Italian restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, but the food is really very good.  I am very picky when I go out to eat  and I can be very critical. I have to say that I could not find one thing bad about this place. In fact everything was a step above really good. The Chicken Rollatini was divine, and if they have the home made pappadelle with a veal and mushroom sauce, OMG! order it!  You won't be disappointed!
Phyllis, my father's friend suggested that we start with the egg rolls. Ok, sure. Egg rolls in an Italian restaurant? What the heck!
What a surprise when they came to the table, the egg rolls  were filled with sausage, broccoli rabe and roasted red peppers. I can not even begin to describe the dance that these wonderful morsels played in my mouth! I turned to my sister and the rest of the group who was with us and said, "I am going to make these!"
The next day I went out and bought the ingredients that I thought were in them. I omitted the roasted red peppers, because I felt that broccoli rabe and sausage was a good enough combination for me, which got me thinking about making some egg rolls filled with sausage and peppers! We've played with many mixtures for fillings, and so far the two favorites are the Broccoli Rabe/Sausage and the Sausage/peppers  and onions. My family loves them both, and which ever one we make it seems that I can never make enough.
Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Here's what you will need.
Egg Roll Wrappers ( one package usually makes 20 - 22 egg rolls)
sweet and hot sausage (family pack)
broccoli rabe or  sweet peppers
 2 large bunches of rabe *, or if using peppers one each of red, orange,  and yellow
mozzarella cheese, - 1/2 pound - 1 pound
mascarpone cheese or cream cheese - 8 ozs
grated parmesan cheese - one cup
and any other cheese you like!!!
one large onion
 a few cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
* if using broccoli rabe, clean them,  cut off the bottom part of the stem and chop into small pieces. Cook  in a frying pan with garlic and olive oil, don't over cook, they should remain a little firm with a bite.
We're making the egg rolls with sausage and peppers. I could not find Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) in Ralph's while in California.  We made these as an appetizer for my father's 85 birthday dinner. It's so wonderful to have help in the kitchen. Marlene actually did most of the work on this one! Thanks Marlene!

Take the sausage out of the casing and breaking it apart into small pieces, saute the sausage in a frying pan until cooked through.
Phyllis frying it up!
In another frying pan cook your peppers and onions with garlic until they are tender. My sister Marlene chopped the peppers, garlic, and  onions very fine. She used a mezzaluna, her favorite tool in the kitchen!
slicing up the mozzarella
Smiling for the camera!
Drain the fat from the sausage and add the peppers and onions to the meat. In a large bowl add everything together with your cheeses.  You can adjust the cheeses to your liking. I've used swiss cheese, gouda or whatever is in the cheese draw in a pinch!  Everything should be in small cuts so you don't rip the egg roll wrapper. Marlene wanted to use the mozzarella cheese, cream cheese and parmesan cheese for these so that's what we used.
adding the cheese to the meat
This brand can be found in your grocery store. I usually find it by the tofu and vegetarian items.
Now it's time to roll!
Place your wrapper on a cutting board on an angle. Put some stuffing towards the bottom of the egg roll. With a pastry brush that you've dipped in water go around the edges of the egg roll wrapper. This will help the egg roll stay sealed.

fold up the bottom point toward the top, away from you.

Now fold in each side, making an envelope shape.
Finish by rolling the egg roll until the egg roll is enclosed.
I then let them dry out a little bit on a baking rack.  These can be deep fried, or if you want brush them with vegetable oil and bake them on a cookie sheet on high heat until golden and crispy.  I would suggest a temperature of 425 degrees.

I'd love some feedback if you decide to make these. They are truly a crowd pleaser. As I said earlier, when I make these I make more than I think I need.  You can also freeze these! They are better when you make them fresh, but they do freeze well,  just make sure that you wrap each one individually. When you're ready to make them, defrost them in the refrigerator.

Buon Appetito

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