Frank Pellegrino Jr. Recipes

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 09:00am

Frank Pellegrino Jr. is the co-owner of the world renowned Rao's in New York City, which now has branches in Las Vegas and Hollywood. Frank returns to cook up a classic, robust, and healthy Italian meal that the whole family will enjoy.

Recipes courtesy Frank Pellegrino Jr.


pastaNana’s Sunday Gravy
Serves 4-6


Piece of Shoulder (Beef Eye Round, ½-1 lbs.)
1 piece Pork Butt (½-1 lbs.)
1 Pork Bracciole
1 Beef Bracciole
1 lbs. Sweet Sausage
1 lbs. Hot Sausage
1-106 oz. (6 lb. 10 oz.) can San Marzano Tomatoes (crunched by hand)
¼ cup Pure Olive Oil
2 tbs. Tomato Paste
1 cup of Water
4 cloves Garlic, mashed
Salt, Pepper, and Basil to taste
Meatballs (recipe below)
1-2 lb. Pasta*, cooked al dente


1. Heat Oil in an 8-12 qt. sauce pan on medium-high heat.
2. Place all meats, except meatballs, into sauce pan and turn every 6 minutes, until evenly browned (approximately 18 minutes).
3. Once meat is browned, remove meat from pan and set aside.
4. Add garlic to sauce pan and brown. Add tomato paste and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.
5. Add hand crushed tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce to a simmer, add salt and pepper to taste, and return the browned meat to the sauce pan. If sauce is too thick, add more water as needed.
7. Simmer 2-3 hours, adding meatballs 30 minutes before sauce is finished cooking.
8. Once sauce has reduced and meat is fork tender, add basil to taste.
9. Prepare pasta 15 minutes before sauce is complete, according to box instructions.
10. Drain pasta, place in another sauce pan on medium-high heat. Ladle 16 oz. of sauce into pan with pasta and sauté until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Plate in a large serving bowl and top with and top with an additional 8-16 oz. of sauce.

* Use your favorite pasta or whatever you have on hand, but we prefer Rigatoni or Spaghetti.

Rao’s Meatballs
Makes 6-8 Meatballs


1 lb. Ground Lean Beef
½ lb. Ground Veal
½ lb. Ground Pork
2 Large Eggs
1 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, freshly grated
1½ tbs. Italian Parsley, chopped
½ Small Garlic Clove, peeled and minced
2 cups Bread Crumbs 
2 cups Lukewarm Water
Salt (preferably Kosher or Sea Salt) and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1 cup Fine-Quality Olive Oil


1. Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl.  Add eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Using your hands, blend ingredients together.  Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture.  Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist.
2. Shape meat mixture into about 2½- to 3-inch balls.
3. Heat oil in a large sauté pan.  When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches.  When bottom half of meatball is very brown and slightly crisp turn and cook top half.  Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
4. Set aside until ready to add to Sunday Gravy.


peppersRoasted Peppers
Serves 4-6


6 Red Bell Peppers
½ cup Pure Olive Oil
3 tbs. Golden Raisins
2 tbs. Pine Nuts
1 tsp. Italian Parsley, chopped
⅛ tsp. Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Preheat broiler
2. Broil the peppers, turning frequently, until skin has blackened on all sides. Remove from broiler and immediately place into a large brown bag (fold to close tightly) or mixing bowl & seal tightly with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to steam in the sealed container for about 20 minutes or until cold enough to handle.
3. When peppers are cool, remove from container and remove the blackened skin, stems, and seeds and cut the peppers into ¼-inch strips.
4. Let strips sit in a colander for at least 3 hours or until most of the moisture has drained off.
5. Combine peppers with oil, raisins, nuts, parsley and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently mix all ingredients together. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.


puddingJulies Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Caramel
Serves 4-6

Pumpkin Bread Pudding


¾ cups Heavy Cream
¾ cups canned Pumpkin
6 tbs. Whole Milk
⅛ cup Brown Sugar
⅛ cup Maple Syrup
2 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Ground Ginger
⅛ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
4 cups Brioche or other soft White Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 oz. Unsalted Butter, melted
Vanilla Gelato
Maple Caramel (recipe below)
Spiced Candied Walnuts (recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in the middle.
2. Whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolks, salt, and spices in a bowl.
3. Toss bread cubes with melted butter in a separate large bowl.
4. Pour pumpkin custard over the bread and toss to coat. 
5. Line a hotel pan* with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick oil spray. Then pour bread mix into prepared dish and bake until custard is set, 40 to 45 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cover with parchment or wax paper and place another pan on top to “squish” or compact the bread pudding. 
7. Serve immediately or cool and reheat to order.
8. Serve with Vanilla Gelato, Maple Caramel, and Spiced Candied Walnuts.

*This could also be done in a 13 x 9 cake pan or in small individual ramekins. Baking times would vary.

Maple Caramel


6½ oz. Sugar
1½ oz. Water
¼ oz. Butter
4 oz. Heavy Cream
¾ cups Maple Syrup


1. Place sugar and water in a saucepot, being careful not to leave any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. 
2. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until you reach a nice amber color. 
3. Add butter. Add cream, a little at a time, stirring until fully incorporated.
4. Let boil for just a minute longer to make sure all sugar is melted into cream. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a separate saucepan, heat maple syrup. 
6. Once warm slowly add in caramel sauce.
7. Serve over Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

Spiced Candied Walnuts


1 Egg White
1 tbs. Water
1 lb. Walnuts
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Ground Ginger
¼ tsp. Finely Ground Black Pepper
Pinch of Nutmeg


1. Preheat oven 250ºF. 
2. Grease a baking sheet or line with a silpat or parchment paper.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whip egg white and water until fluffy.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together nuts, sugar and spices.
5. Add nut mix to your egg whites and toss to coat evenly.
6. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet.
7. Bake for 1 hour, tossing nuts every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.

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