What is excessive alcohol consumption? Val and Roe talk about Jussie Smollett Chicago’s verdict, Italian food, “West Side Story” and more 2021 movie reviews

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CHICAGO (WLS) – This week over Windy City weekend our friend Roe Conn is replacing Ryan! Val and Roe talk about Jussie Smollett convicted of lying to the Chicago Police Department about a hate crime.

How much is too much when it comes to drinking on vacation? The hosts discuss how to prevent binge drinking this season.

In the kitchen with Alessi

Our in-home chef, Mario Manfredini, brings a fresh Italian dish to the Windy City weekend!

Mario is the Battalion Commander of the Berwyn Fire Station. This January will be its 25th anniversary at the fire station! For the third year in a row, the native of Berwyn won the “First Responders Cooking Challenge” to help the Chicago Firefighters Women and Orphans Fund. We sent Mario to Brookhaven Market in Burr Ridge to collect the ingredients for his famous manicotti and meatballs! Mario prepares these dishes with his own marinara sauce which you can find at mariosmarinara.com.

Ingredients for Mario manicottis:
Tomato sauce:
2 28-ounce cans of Alessi diced tomatoes (in juice)
2 tablespoons of Alessi extra virgin olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Alessi sea salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

Topping and pasta:
3 cups of partially skimmed ricotta cheese
2 cups of grated Parmesan
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1 10-ounce pkg. Of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and finely chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
2 boxes of Alessi Precook lasagna noodles (may not use all)

The preparation of Mario’s manicottis:
For the sauce: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Blend 1 can of tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the canned tomatoes. Heat the oil, garlic and chili flakes in a large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, one to two minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil; adjust the seasoning with salt.

For the garnish: Combine the ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, spinach, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, basil and nutmeg in a medium bowl; put aside.

To assemble: Pour 1 inch of boiling water into a 13×9-inch baking dish, then add the noodles one at a time. Let the noodles soak until soft, about 5 minutes, separating the noodles with the tip of a sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in a single layer on clean paper towels; put the water in a baking dish and dry the baking dish. Spread the bottom of a baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce. Using a tablespoon, spread 1/4 cup of the cheese-spinach mixture evenly over the bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with the short side facing you), leaving the top quarter of the noodles exposed. Roll into a tube shape and place in a baking dish, seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making sure pasta is completely coated.

For cooking: Cover the manicottis with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbly, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove the baking pan, set the oven rack to the highest position (about 6 inches from the heating element) and heat the grill. Sprinkle the manicotti evenly with the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Broil until cheese is mottled brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then serve.

Ingredients for Mario balls:
2 1/2 cups Alessi Italian breadcrumbs
1-1 / 2 cups buttermilk
cup of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large egg yolks
1-1 / 2 teaspoon Alessi sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground pork
1 pound of ground veal
1-1 / 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation of the Mario balls:
Sauté the onions and garlic in a small saucepan until translucent, let cool. Combine the cooled onion and garlic mixture with the breadcrumbs, buttermilk, parsley, egg yolk, salt and red pepper flakes in a bowl and mash with a fork until no more pieces of bread. Add ground meats and cheese to bread mixture; mix with your hands until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly and roll into balls, making about 30 meatballs. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cooking Instructions: Heat a cup of Alessi olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it sparkles. Add the meatballs in batches and cook until fully browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer the golden meatballs to “Mario’s Marinara” and dip them gently while the sauce simmers on the stove. Cover and continue cooking until meatballs are just cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Author Ken Linder

Author Ken Linder speaks to Windy City Weekend about his new book, “Aspire Higher”. “Aspire Higher” serves as a guide on how to find love, positivity, and purpose to uplift your life. Linder has developed a formula and offers achievable, tangible, and achievable steps in the hopes of equipping and empowering the reader to pave the way for soul elevation, lasting self-esteem, and to feelings of high self-esteem and self-esteem.

Spend or save?

“West Side Story” – SPEND

Steven Spielberg has made every type of movie you can think of, but never a musical until now. “West Side Story” is in theaters today.

“Do not look upwards” – SAVE

Astronomers are to take a giant media tour to warn humanity of a comet that will destroy planet Earth. “Don’t Look Up” stars Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.

“Being the Ricardos” – SPEND

Oscar winners Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman play iconic television pioneers Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in the new movie “Being the Ricardos”.

“And just like that” – PASS

After two decades, “Sex and the City” is back! HBO is reviving the iconic series starring the original cast, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon.

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