Cook’s Corner: Italian favorites with chef Steve Martorano

The Italian-American Cook, featuring Steve Martorano preparing the classic South Philly dishes that were part of his childhood and inspired his restaurants — is online now for its second season at Martorano demonstrates recipes in short (less than 10-minute) episodes that are entertaining and full of tips and bits of Italian-American culture. For example, in the recipe here from episode two, he tells us macaroni should be the star of a plate, but too many Americans use too much sauce. The episodes were shot at Martorano’s Italian American Kitchen at the Hard Rock Casino in Fort Lauderdale; new episodes air every week through April 21, featuring grilled sausage with summer salad, eggplant stack, stuffed mozzarella with broccoli rabe, linguini puttanesca, chicken Sicilian and veal picatta and rigatoni with Sunday pork gravy.

Reader request

Q: I am hoping you still have the recipe for bread pudding made by the former Andalusia Bakery in Coral Gables. I inadvertently lost all my recipes in a move from South Florida.

C. Rose

A: The recipe is a classic, often requested, from the late Jess Quesada, who shared it with me more than 30 years ago. The whisper of lemon and the abundance of raisins make this a taste to remember. Some will want to add cinnamon or nutmeg.

Waffle biscuits

Just had to pass along this great trick for a quick and portable breakfast: Cook refrigerated biscuits in a waffle iron to make a sturdy hot and portable sandwich for breakfast (as in the recipe here), for lunch (what a great way to lift that tuna sandwich to a different place) or even dessert (add some softened ice cream or yogurt and fresh fruit). It only takes 2 minutes to make the waffle portion, so if you are in a hurry use deli ham and cheese, cream cheese and smoked salmon — the possibilities are endless. I replaced the pork sausages in the recipe here with frozen vegetarian ones to ease the calories and cholesterol. (Another plus is the minute cooking time in the microwave). You can substitute egg whites for the whole eggs.

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