Recipes

 

 

 

Cocktail di Fagioli e Cozze

 

Pasta and beans with mussels is a popular soup in Naples. My version has no pasta, uses cannellini beans and is served in a Martini glass.  The bean soup base can be made conveniently in advance and finished with seafood when needed.

 

Ingredients:

  • One can of cannellini beans*
  • One small shallot
  • One clove of garlic
  • Handful of finely chopped carrot and celery
  • Pinch of finely minced fresh rosemary, thyme and sage.
  • Two parsley sprigs
  • Teaspoon of grated lemon peel
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Peperoncino (optional)
  • Seafood or chicken stock**
  • Smoked bacon or pancetta or guanciale
  • One bag of mussels***
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lemon
  • Sambuca

 

Directions:

Gently sauté the finely minced shallot and the clove of lightly crushed garlic.   Once the garlic is golden discard.  Add the finely chopped bacon, carrot and celery, and peperoncino and gently sauté until all ingredients start to meld.  Adding a little white wine in the process helps in the disintegration of the vegetables and deglazes the pan. The aromas emerging as you sauté should drive you mad with anticipation!

 

Add the can of rinsed cannellini. Add two cans of stock.  Simmer and reduce until broth is creamy.  At this point you can refrigerate the soup until ready to use.

 

Steam the mussels in a little white wine. You do not want to drown the mussels, just enough liquid to create steam.  Once mussels open take them out of the shell except one for each serving to decorate glass. In a bowl put the mussels in their own broth; add a little olive oil, grated lemon peel and a sprig of parsley.

Once you are ready to serve, reheat bean soup. Add the herb mix. Add the mussels and enough broth to give the soup flavour without diluting it too much.  Salt and pepper to taste and add a little splash Sambuca.

 

Pour into martini glass, add the mussel with shell a little parsley on top, a little squirt of lemon, finishing olive oil and a little pepper.

 

* Dry beans are best if you have the time to soak them in water overnight.  They have a lot more nutrients, no additives and retain a firmer texture.

**Stock is important. I usually make my own and store frozen.  You can buy premade ones in specialty shops. Avoid the boxed ones in supermarkets.

***The usual bag of about a pound of PEI mussels you find in supermarkets. Feel free to add clams or other shell fish.  I usually keep bags of frozen mussels and clams in the freezer.  Avoid the canned stuff as it does not taste good.

 

 

 

Crostini di Bistecca Fiorentina a modo mio

 

There I was, a couple decades ago, in a Castle in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany for a wine tasting and lunch.  There comes a tray with roasted meat and roasted potatoes…no fuss, family style.  I am kind of surprised. Meat and potatoes in the birth place of Rinascimento? Matched with expensive wines? The aromas hit you first…then the tastes. What Hugh Johnson in his book of Tuscany and its wines describes as “MADDENING!”

Essenza Toscana

 

For this recipe, buy the best possible cut of beef, well marbled without the bone. Buy from a reputable butcher. Go out of your way and source artisanal, wood fire oven crusty bread. Baguette would be best. Finishing olive oil and a finishing salt are a must. This recipe is inspired by the Tuscan way of cooking; simple ingredients but with great care in the sourcing: MEAT, BREAD, OLIVE OIL, SALT and PEPPER. If you don’t have the best, make something else.

 

Prepping the meat:

  • Put the meat in a dish.  Drizzle liberally with the olive oil, a little grappa and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and lemon zest, and pound firmly with your palms.  Turn meat over and repeat.
  • Put the steak with all the liquid in a zip lock bag, seal and put in fridge for a few hours.

 

After a few hours the steak is cured like a Carpaccio. The trick now is to sear and cook quickly; basically charred on the outside and blue in the centre.

 

I make this on my gas stove using a hot plate and the meat press that restaurants use.

A strong exhaust fan is a must otherwise improvise on the barbecue outdoors.

 

Directions

  • Drizzle crusty baguette slices with extra virgin olive oil. Grill in oven until golden.
  • Heat up the hot plate and the press on the burner until smoking hot.
  • Make sure the steak is at room temperature.
  • Put the steak on the hot plate and cover with the hot press.
  • Once the steak is nicely charred (should be no more than a couple minutes depending on the thickness) take off the plate and rest for a few minutes.
  • Slice thinly and pile up generously on the crostini.
  • Drizzle liberally with the best olive oil you have.
  • Add a little finishing salt and freshly ground pepper.

 

 

Gnudi in Brodo (serves 4)

 

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams spinach
  • 350 grams ricotta
  • 130 grams ‘00’ flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmiggiano
  • 2 litres stock of your choice
  • Pinch of nutmeg

 

Directions

  • Blanch spinach, squeeze moisture out and finely chop.
  • Sauté spinach in a little olive oil and butter. Put in a bowl to cool
  • Add the ricotta, eggs, flour, Parmiggiano, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Mix well and make little balls the size of gnocchi.
  • Bring broth to a boil and add the spinach balls.
  • Once they float, scoop out gnudi into each serving dish.
  • Add broth and dust with a little grated parmiggiano.

 

 

Vellutata di Cannellini a modo mio 

(Velvety cannellini bean soup my way)

 

This is my version of a Tuscan bean soup classic.  The beans are blended until a velvety texture is achieved.

 Prepping the beans (The beans can be used for many recipes. Make the whole bag and freeze what you don’t need right away.)

  • Soak a bag of dry cannellini beans in water overnight.
  • Drain and put cannellini in a pot.  Cover with water, about an inch over beans.
  • Add to pot a couple cloves of garlic, a few sage leaves, some black peppercorns and a little olive oil.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer for about an hour until the beans are cooked al dente.
  • The beans now can be put in the fridge in the broth and will last a few days. (If longer freeze.)

 

For four appetizer portions served in a martini glass

 

 Ingredients

  • 3 cups of prepped cannellini out of the broth. Discard the pepper, sage and garlic.
  • Some of the cannellini broth
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • One slice of soft bread, no crust. Toast is fine.
  • Half a lemon
  • Peperoncino (chili pepper) as you like
  • ¼ cup of passata (tomato purée)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper as needed
  • 16 small fried crusty-bread croutons
  • 4 fried pancetta wheels or ¼ cup of diced fried pancetta (bacon)
  • Lemon zest and parsley

Directions

  • Chop up some pancetta into ¼ inch cubes and fry until crisp. (Or, you could fry discs of pancetta arrotolata.)
  • Fry some small cubes of crusty bread in olive oil until golden.
  • Put the beans in a bowl.
  • Add rosemary, basil leaves, soft bread, olive oil, lemon juice, a little peperoncino, and the passata di pomodoro.
  • Blend with a hand blender and add some of the broth until you achieve a nice velvety consistency (“vellutata”).
  • Taste and add salt, lemon, olive oil, spices until it is to your liking.
  • Put in a pot and keep warm on the stove.
  • Put a few croutons on the bottom of the martini glasses
  • Add the vellutata and drizzle a little of your best finishing oil on top.
  • Sprinkle a little coarse black pepper.
  • Decorate with either the cubes or the disc of pancetta.
  • Add a tiny curly lemon zest and a floret of fresh parsley.
  • Top with a few whole cannellini beans and enjoy.

 

 

Salsa di Pomodoro e Ricotta

 With this sauce any pasta can be used. My favourites are cavatelli, garganelli penne and rigatoni. It is quick and easy to be prepared while the pasta is cooking

Ingredients (abundant for two people):

  •  250 grams pasta
  • 100 grams passata (pureed tomato)
  • 50 grams ricotta
  • 15 grams Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • One clove of crushed garlic
  • Olive oil to coat the pan
  • Basil to decorate plate
  • Peperoncino optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ricotta salata shavings to decorate plate (optional)

Directions

  •  Add pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water
  • In a bowl mix the ricotta with the Parmiggiano, salt and pepper to taste. Add a little hot pasta water and whip till creamy.
  • In a medium skillet, sauté crushed garlic clove in the olive oil.
  • When garlic is golden discard and add passata and ricotta mix
  • Mix well at low heat.
  • Drain pasta when ready al dente and add to sauce in the skillet.
  • Mix till all pasta is nicely coated
  • Serve and decorate dish with ricotta salata shavings, basil and coarse black pepper. If you have a good finishing oil drizzle a little on it.
  • Buon appetito!

 

 

Salsicce & Friarielli

This sandwich, or panino, is a typical Neapolitan street food fare. In Naples there are “Rosticcerie” on just about every street corner. The aromas permeate the city.

Serves 2

· 1 bunch, fresh rapini

· 1 clove garlic

· 2 tbsp. olive oil

· Pinch of red pepper flakes

· Pinch of salt

· 2 sausages, preferably ONTALIA’s Berkshire Rieslings

Buy the rapini in season and fresh.  Remove the thick parts of the stem and very large leaves. Keep only the tender parts. Wash well.

In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté chopped garlic in olive oil until just golden. Be careful not to burn. Add a pinch of peperoncino (chili peppers) and rapini (still wet from rinsing) and cover for two or three minutes. Uncover and cook for another 8 minutes until the rapini is tender. Stir occasionally. I do not add any salt while cooking. I like to finish the dish with a touch of Maldon salt.

Fry the sausages in a touch of olive oil, or barbecue if the weather is good.

The bread is very important! It must explode in a delicious crunch on your palate. To make a panino, open up a fresh bun and remove the center soft part. Warm it up to add a bit of crunch. Add rapini and sausage to the bun and enjoy with a glass of VQA Riesling.

 

Ragu di Salsiccia & Funghi Misti (Sausage & Mushroom Ragu)

Serves 4

Suggested pasta: Cavatelli, Stracci, Ziti, or Rigatoni

Ingredients:

· 2 links Angelo Bean Riesling-infused sausages

· 1 handful chopped onion

· 1 handful dry Porcini mushrooms

· 2 King Eryngii mushrooms sliced

·  1 1/2 cups sliced Cremini mushrooms

· Sprig of thyme

· ½ glass white wine

· Olive oil to coat the pan

· ¼ cup grated aged Pecorino and/or Parmiggiano

Directions:

  • Steep the dry porcini in a little cup of hot water to hydrate.
  • Remove sausage meat from casing
  • In a large pan capable of accommodating the pasta, sauté the onions and the skinned sausage meat in olive oil.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms mix.
  • Sauté slowly, add white wine to keep moist.
  • Strain the porcini water and add to ragu.
  • Add a little fresh thyme.
  • Simmer and reduce slowly

Drain the pasta (save some of the water) and add to the sauce. On low heat, stir and add the grated cheese and some of the reserved water until a velvety broth is formed.

Notes:

If you like to do a pretty presentation: sauté the thinly sliced King mushrooms separately until golden, then decorate each plate with a slice or two and a few curly shavings of Parmiggiano or an older Ontario Gouda and cracked pepper.

Take the time when mixing the pasta with the sauce to reach a creamy texture. The starch content of the pasta water is enough to thicken the broth.

If you like the strong taste of the porcini then add the strained (usually sand is in it) water also.

Use any mushrooms available. Do not be afraid to substitute.

 

Spaghetti all Chitarra Sorrentina

This recipe evolved as I tried to capture the essence of Neapolitan eating. Caprese, Pizza Margherita, Salsa di Pomodoro and the beautiful sunshine. When you sit down to enjoy this dish you will hear Lucio Dalla singing Carus… sul  terrazzo davanti al mare di Sorrento.

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

· Fresh cherry tomatoes: 1 ¼ cup

· Semi-dry cherry tomatoes made at home: 2 cups. Or one small jar of store bought.

· Fior di latte mozzarella sliced in little long strands: ¾ cup

· Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano: ½ cup

· Finely chopped onions: 1/3 cup

· Garlic: I clove

· Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil: ¼ cup

· Sea Salt, freshly crushed pepper or Peperoncino to taste

· Fresh basil: one loose cup

Directions:

Bring salted water in a large pot to boil the spaghetti.

In a large skillet capable of accommodating the pasta, sauté chopped onion and a piece of garlic in olive oil until golden.  Remove garlic.  Add the fresh tomatoes first.  After a couple minutes then add the semi-dry tomatoes. Simmer for a couple minutes.

Toss the Spaghetti all Chitarra in the boiling water.  Once the water returns to boil quickly drain. For dry pasta follow manufacturer direction. Toss the spaghetti in the skillet with the sauce.  Gently mix adding the grated Parmiggiano Reggiano and plate quickly.

Finish dish with Fior di Latte and basil.  Drizzle a little olive oil, a pinch of coarse cracked pepper or peperoncino and serve.

Notes

Semi-dry tomatoes are available through fine foods shops. Drain the oil from the oil.  Alternatively cut fresh cherry tomatoes in half and spread on an oven tray. Sprinkle a little sea salt over them. Bake in the oven at 250 degrees C till they shrivel.  This will heighten their sweetness. Once shriveled broil till the edges blacken a little.

In Ontario Fior di Latte is of excellent quality easily rivaling the Italian made one Mozzarella di Bufala could be the ultimate choice.

Make a 500 grams pasta ball as per Pasta a Mano recipe (125 grams for each serving).  If you are using dry pasta then 320 grams (80 grams each serving) should be a regular portion.

Wash the basil leafs pat dry roll them up in little bundles and slice across into little long strands.  This recipe will be at its best during the summer months when local tomatoes and basil are available.

 

 

 

Risotto

Basic Rice Cooking Method Using Ferron Rice

Makes 4 servings of 100 grams per person. For a multicourse meal, scale down to 50 grams per person.

 

Ingredients

  • Use a heavy bottom saucepan, add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 grams (2 cups) of Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice (do not rinse)
  • 1000 ml (4 cups) of hot broth (vegetable, chicken or beef to complement  condiment)

(Two-to-one formula; i.e. one cup of rice, two cups of broth plus some might be needed after 14 minutes cooking undisturbed.)

 

Directions

  • Heat oil at medium heat, add rice, stir to toast.
  • Once rice is hot to the touch, add all the hot broth, stir and cover. Cook at low heat for 14 minutes.  No stirring!
  • At the 14-minute point start the stirring (“mantecatura”)*
  • Add your prepared choice of condiments, together with the butter and cheese, according to your chosen recipe below.
  • Stir to incorporate all and to achieve proper consistency.
  • Delicate condiments are incorporated with risotto off the stove.

 

Know your stove, especially the ones with electric plates or coils as they retain heat a long time and are slow to respond to temperature changes.  Check and insure that heat is low. The broth should bubble gently.  Taste for doneness and prolong cooking and adding broth until rice is to your liking.  *The final stage of risotto is called mantecatura (creamed).  You will able to achieve a creamy risotto by just gently stirring the rice after the initial 14 minutes of cooking undisturbed, and retain a granular texture that is lost when the rice is continuously stirred releasing too much starch.  Carnaroli has a longer cooking time.  It is best to add about three minutes to the required 14 minutes.  Also, the different cooking temperatures might require adjusting the suggested 14 minutes. Taste and adjust time accordingly.   You have a choice by adding more broth of making risotto all onda, a looser and more delicate and moist style that will wave on the plate when it’s shaken.  This is perfect for Risi & Bisi (rice and peas) a loose risotto that lays flat on your dish that you can eat with a spoon. The method of adding garlic and/or onions during the toasting can be done where the condiment is simple; i.e. basil, Parmiggiano, black pepper, saffron.  If you really want to do the ceremonial wine addition at the end of toasting make sure the wine is warm, otherwise it will shock the rice and result in a mediocre texture.  Adding wine to the condiments is a better option.

 

 

Risotto al Basilico (Basil) for 200 grams rice – serves two people

(Use vegetable broth and omit butter and cheese for vegetarian version)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 small, finely chopped shallot
  • 200 grams Ferron’s Vialone Nano rice
  • ½ litre vegetable stock
  • Extra virgin olive oil to coat pan
  • Fresh basil – remove leaves from the stalks. Julienne just before adding to rice.
  • 30 grams unsalted butter.
  • 60 grams freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

Directions

  • Bring the vegetable stock to a boil.
  • Sauté the chopped shallots in the oil until soft, add the rice and stir frequently over medium heat until rice is hot to the touch.
  • Add all the stock to the rice. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to minimum, cover and simmer for 14 minutes.
  • Once the broth is absorbed and rice is cooked (al dente) remove from heat. Add the butter, the grated cheese and a splash of olive oil, and combine everything vigorously with a wooden spoon until well blended and creamy. Add the basil, give a quick stir and plate.
  • Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over risotto. Top with fresh basil leaf and coarse black pepper. Serve immediately.

 

 

PRIMAVERA (SPRING):  Risotto All’Ortolana for 200 grams rice – serves two people

(Use vegetable broth and omit butter and cheese for a vegetarian version)

 

Ingredients

  • 200 grams total: carrot, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, peas and any other vegetable in season.
  • 25 grams finely sliced  leeks
  • 1 finely chopped small shallot
  • 1 lightly crushed garlic clove
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil to coat the pan
  • 25 grams grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • 1 knob unsalted butter – 25 grams (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  • Cook rice using the basic method above.
  • Clean and dice vegetables in small rounds, sticks and triangles. Be creative. Keep each vegetable separate.
  • Sauté finely chopped shallot and garlic until golden. Remove garlic clove.
  • Add the leeks. Sauté a couple minutes.
  • Add the vegetables one type at the time starting with the hard ones. Do not overcook. They should have a crisp bite. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put aside until risotto is at the 14-minute cooking point.
  • Add all the vegetables to the rice, combine gently and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; add the butter, a little extra virgin olive oil, Parmiggiano Reggiano and the chopped parsley. Stir to combine all.
  • Serve immediately garnished with a few sprigs of parsley and black pepper.

 

 

ESTATE (SUMMER):  Risotto con Salsiccia al Riesling for 200 grams rice – serves 2 people

 

Ingredients

  • 2 links Angelo Bean Riesling Sausage removed from the casing and crumbled
  • 35 grams unsalted butter
  • 40 grams grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary lightly fried in olive oil until crisp
  • 3 oz. Ontario Riesling wine

 

Directions

  • Cook rice using the basic method above.
  • Sauté at low heat the sprig of rosemary in half the butter.
  • Remove the rosemary, put aside and add the crumbled sausage meat
  • Raise the heat, add Riesling and cook until meat is well done.
  • Add sausage ragu to risotto at the 14-minute cooking point.
  • Add the remaining butter, cheese and ground cinnamon. Smell and taste for the right balance.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Stir gently
  • Plate and decorate with a small sprig of sautéed rosemary and cracked pepper.

 

 

AUTUNNO (FALL):  Risotto con la Zucca (Squash) for 200 grams rice – serves 2 people

 

Ingredients

  • 125 grams diced squash
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 clove lightly crushed garlic
  • Extra virgin  olive oil to coat the pan
  • 20 grams butter
  • 40 grams grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Minced parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Local red wine

 

Directions

  • Sauté finely minced shallot and garlic until golden,
  • Add diced squash.
  • Add red wine.  Cook until squash is soft.
  • Take out a few whole pieces of cubed squash and put aside.
  • Press the squash using a potato masher in the pan while cooking to make it creamy.
  • Add to the rice at 14-minute cooking point.
  • Mix and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Add the butter and cheese and a pinch of minced parsley. Stir well.
  • Plate and garnish with the little pieces of squash and a little black pepper.

 

 

INVERNO (WINTER):  Gorgonzola & Spinaci (Spinach) for 200 grams rice – serves 2 people

 

Ingredients

  • 70 grams diced Gorgonzola
  • 75 grams spinach (cooked)
  • I lightly crushed garlic clove
  • 1 finely minced small shallot
  • Extra virgin olive oil to coat the pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  • Cook rice using the basic recipe above.
  • Steam, strain and cut spinach in small pieces.
  • Sauté finely minced onion and garlic in olive oil until golden. Remove garlic.
  • Add minced spinach.
  • Sauté for a few minutes
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add to risotto at the 14-minute cooking point.
  • Cook for a couple minutes, stirring gently.
  • Add diced Gorgonzola and stir until creamy.
  • Serve immediately with a dash of black pepper.

 

 

 

Sauces

 

PRIMAVERA (Spring) – Vegetables

 

Sofritto: Onion, shallots, garlic. Finely chop onion and shallots (60 grams). Lightly crush garlic.

Sauté in olive oil until golden. Remove garlic.

 

Ingredients for a 500g package of pasta:

  • Peppers, carrots, broccoli, zucchini and anything else in season at the market. (400 grams)
  • Parmiggiano and/or pecorino cheese (80 grams)
  • Sprig of herbs of your choice
  • 5 ounces white wine
  • Salt and pepper

 

Directions

Take the time to clean and cut vegetables in very small, rounds, sticks, and triangles. Be creative.

Add the vegetables to the soffritto and cook for a few minutes. Do not overcook. The vegetables should still have a crisp bite. Put the hard vegetables in first and then the softer ones.  Adding a little dash of white wine helps the cooking process. Salt and pepper to taste

Once the pasta is ready, drain and save some of the water.  Toss in a frying pan (saltata in padella) with the vegetable sauce. Add the grated cheese.  Add a little pasta water to achieve a light creamy texture. Garnish with some finely chopped herbs and serve.

Optional ingredients:  Hot peppers, olives, anchovies, capers, pancetta, diced tomatoes, semidry tomatoes.

 

Puttanesca sauce variation:  Add to the soffritto chopped anchovies, black olives, capers and hot peppers.  Toss it with pasta as is or add the above ingredients. Semi-dry or dry tomatoes will add sweetness and zest.

 

Aglio & Olio e Peperoncino:  Make the soffritto only with garlic. Add little peperoncino. Toss in frying pan with spaghetti.  Garnish with chopped parsley. This is the classic midnight snack. Keep it simple.  No cheese!

Tips:

  • Use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Make your own semi-dry tomatoes by drying halved cherry tomatoes in the oven at low temperature.
  • Add fresh mozzarella and fresh basil on the dish before serving.

 

ESTATE (Summer) – Seafood

 

Sofritto: Onion, shallots, garlic. Finely chop onion and shallots (60 g). Lightly crush garlic. Sauté all in olive oil until golden.  Remove garlic.

Purist Neapolitan (spaghetti alle vongole) recipe is only garlic (about three cloves). Cook with garlic in and remove before serving.

 

Ingredients for a 500g package pasta:

  • Clams: 24 fresh or one can or 350g frozen
  • Parsley, preferably fresh
  • 5 oz. white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Peperoncino.

 

Directions:

  • Add the whole fresh clams and a little white wine to the soffritto, cover and cook until clams open.
  • For canned clams: drain the water from the can add to sofrritto and sauté for a few minutes.
  • For frozen clams, put them in the soffritto frozen and cook for a few minutes.
  • Drain pasta and save some of the water.
  • Toss the clam sauce and the drained pasta into a frying pan (saltata in padella). Add some of the pasta water if needed.  Add chopped parsley at the last minute. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Optional ingredients:  canned tuna, calamari, passata (puréed tomato), capers, seafood medley.

 Tuna variation:  For tuna sauce, add passata (tomato purée) to soffritto. Cook for about 10 minutes, add canned tuna. Continue as per clam sauce.

Calamari:  Clean and slice calamari in thin strips. Sauté calamari in the soffritto, add a little white wine. Continue as per clam sauce.

 

Tips:

  • Use both fresh and canned or frozen clams in the same dish.
  • Frozen seafood medley is good to keep in the freezer. Use instead of clams
  • Mussels are amazing but must be steamed first. Discard shell and add to tomato sauce. Save a few with shell for decoration.
  • Buy fresh fish from a good fish shop. Clean and freeze so it is ready to use when you needed.
  • Substitute wine with beer.

 

 

AUTUNNO (Fall) – Salsiccia e rapini or funghi (mushrooms)

 

Sofritto: Onion, shallots, garlic. Finely chop onion and shallot (60 grams). Lightly crush garlic.  Sauté in olive oil until golden. Remove garlic.

 

Ingredients for a 500g package of pasta:

  • 4 Angelo Bean wine-infused sausages (450 grams)
  • I bunch of rapini
  • Parmiggiano and or pecorino (80 grams)
  • 2 oz. white wine
  • Salt and pepper as needed

 

Directions:

Remove thick stems from rapini. Blanch. Squeeze water out.  Chop into half inch pieces. Remove casing from sausage and crumble.  Add sausage to soffritto. Add hot peppers if desired. A little splash of wine won’t hurt. Add the blanched rapini. Sauté for a few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta is ready, drain and save some water.  Toss pasta and rapini sauce in a frying pan “saltata in padella”, add the grated cheese and some pasta water if needed.

For the mushroom variation add the sliced mushrooms instead of the rapini in the soffritto and sausages.  Sauté till the mushrooms are cooked and the broth produced is reduced.

 

Optional/substitute Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms ( 250 grams as a substitute to rapini)
  • Ground beef, lamb chicken (450 grams as a substitute to sausage)
  • Hot peppers (as you like)
  • Diced carrots, celery (100 grams for the ragu)
  • Tomatoes: passata – diced, blanched, peeled and cored. One can or one bottle for the ragu.

 

Ragu di Carne – Meat Sauce

 This is a tomato sauce and it could be a quick or a long process.

Add to the standard soffritto 100 grams diced carrots, celery and 450 grams of ground beef (substitute with lamb or chicken if you like).  Sauté until meat is cooked.  A little splash of wine is customary.

Once the ground meat is cooked, add tomatoes of your choice.  For a quick sauce, add one can of diced or a bottle of puréed tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.  If you want to make the traditional ragu, add puréed tomatoes and simmer at low heat for a few hours, as many as six. Keep tasting and stop when it has reduced to your liking.

Toss the sauce and the drained pasta in a big bowl.  Mix in the grated cheese.

 

Tips:

  • Make sure you buy DOP Parmiggiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • Add a few leaves of basil in tomato sauces and remove before serving.

 

 

INVERNO (Winter) – Carbonara (Italian bacon and eggs)

 

Sofritto: Finely chop onion and shallots (60 grams).  Sweat onions and shallots in a little olive oil. Add diced pancetta and sauté until rendered and golden. (Garlic is optional).  Use a pan large enough to hold the pasta.

 

Ingredients for a 500g package of pasta:

  • Diced pancetta and or guanciale (120 grams)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Parmigiano and or pecorino (80 grams)
  • White wine (half glass – 2 ounces)
  • Coarse ground pepper (3 teaspoons)

 

Directions:

In a bowl beat the eggs, grated cheese and a little splash wine.

Add diced pancetta in the soffritto. Sauté until pancetta is golden. A splash of white wine helps to deglaze pan if needed.

Drain pasta and reserve some water. Toss the pasta in the frying pan with the pancetta sauce. Mix well and slowly add the egg mixture on low heat, making sure to stir constantly so it will become creamy and not lumpy. Add some of the pasta water so it does not thicken up.  Add coarse ground pepper.  It might not need salt as the pancetta has plenty, but check and adjust if needed.

 

Amatriciana:

Soffritto as above. Add some peperoncino. Add passata (720g bottle tomato purée) or canned tomatoes. Simmer until reduced to your liking.  Cover as it tends to throw bubbles of sauce all over the stove. Toss with drained pasta and add grated cheese. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 

Tips:

  • Guanciale is the cheek of pork and is available at fine butchers and delicatessens.
  • Use sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Ask your cheese shop expert for local cheeses to substitute the classic European ones. You will be pleasantly surprised at the quality.

 

 

 

Frittata di Pasta

 

This is what you do with leftover pasta the next day.

Beat some eggs with grated cheese. Add in leftover pasta.  Fry in a pan coated with olive oil at low heat until it is golden on both sides.

This is a classic in Naples to bring at picnics…along with boiled eggs, salame, ricotta salata and finocchio.

If you are going to make Frittata di Pasta from scratch here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients

  • One package of spaghetti or spaghettini, or the best, angel hair
  • 6 eggs
  • One cup of grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • Olive oil

 

I dice up some of the ends of my salumi. Look in the fridge and see if there is anything you’d like to add. This is a great dish for using up leftovers.

 

Directions

  • Cook the pasta in salted water, al dente as it will have to cook more later.
  • Drain the pasta, add some olive oil and mix so it will not stick.
  • Let the pasta cool.
  • Beat the eggs, add the grated cheese and anything else you desire. Salt and pepper as you wish. Mix well with the pasta.
  • Fry on low heat in a pan coated with olive oil.
  • Turn over when one side is golden. Keep turning until egg is cooked and both sides are golden brown.
  • Turn off the heat and let rest for a few minutes.

 

Once frittata is cool it can be cut into pieces. Tastes great hot or cold.