An unusual Easter dinner. I cooked a mini Bolito Misto. Boiled chicken for the broth and meat. First course a matzo ball soup. Second course was the chicken, cotechino served with whipped potato, lentils, sautéed cicoria in garlic and olive oil and accompanied with condiments of my homemade mostada, salsa verde and chilled Lambrusco. Desert consisted of Lemon Sponge direct out of the Joy of Cooking. Delicious!
I am an American Italian, but feel I am more Italian. My grandparents and two aunts Mary and Alfonsina came from the old country, North of Bologna a small town called Renazzo in the Province of Farrara. They settled in Sagamore. My father, mother and I lived with my grandparents until I was eight years old. “Nanna” as I called her cooked the “real” Italian cuisine. Every thing was made from scratch. Grandpappa had his own garden, grape arbor and made wonderful homemade wine that he stored in the cellar.
So, I know from this experience at a very young age, and in later years, through my month long stays in Bologna what “Italian food” really is. In Italy I am know as Giovanni the Italo/Americano because I have my dual citizenship with Italy.
Italian American food is not Italian it is American’s version of what people think Italian food is or should be.
FRESH WHITE CLAM (QUAHOG) SAUCE
3 pounds (about 13) quahog
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
Fresh ground pepper
¾ to 1 cup dry white wine
Fresh pasta like linguini or one pound dried
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Wash and scrub the quahogs and the cherrystone clams. Put the quahogs in a large pot with wine. Place the cherrystone clams in a bowl and set aside. Cover the pot and steam the quahogs until they open, shacking the pot several times, and cook about 10 to 12 minutes. (discard any that do not open.) Remove the meat from the shells, mince it, and set aside; there should be about 1¼ cups.
¼ cup olive oil
2 carrots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup white wine
Minced parsley for garnish
In a large saucepan combine the olive oil and carrots, cook over medium heat until carrots are tender about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and cook until garlic starts to turn light brown. Add the lemon juice and white wine cook for 4 minutes then add the onion parsley puree with the liquid the quahogs were cooked in and the and fresh parsley. Cook over high heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cherrystone clams and cook until the clams have opened. Turn off the heat stir in the minced quahogs and cover the pan. Do not cook the quahogs further, or they will be come rubbery.
Toss into cooked warm pasta and garnishing with the cherrystone clams (three per person) and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Ingredients for 4 persons
I decided to give you this recipe from Roberto, who gave it to me after he made it for a group of us at the home of a friend for a late night dinner. This is his mothers recipe who lives in Sicily.
I did not edit but left it in his language and pretty much in his style.
– 452 grams of pasta (1 pound penne style)
– 1 aubergine (eggplant)
– ½ pound of sausage
– 1 onion
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 pound of tomatoes
– one quarter of chilli pepper
– 1 red pepper
– a touch of oregano
– parsley(hand full)
– half glass of dry white wine
– olive oil (3 tablespoons)
– salt& pepper to taste
– gratedParmisan Cheese
Chop the aubergine into little cubes and leave them into water and salt for an hour
Chop the tomatoes.
Chop the parsley and the garlic together
Scald the red pepper and then skin it and cut it into little stripes.
Scald the sausage, then skin it and scramble it.
Chop the onion and fry it with 2 spoons of oil until it gets golden colour, then add the scrambled sausage leaving everything to fry just for a few minutes, then add the white wine and let it evaporate. Then take the cubes of aubergine out of the saulty water, dry them with a towel and add them into the pot.
Then add the stripes of red pepper and the chili pepper, mix it and cook it for 5 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, the oregano, salt and pepper and let everything cook at low flame for 20 minutes in the pot with cover on.
Finally sprinkle the chopped parsely and garlic, keep cooking it for further 10 minutes and then dress the pasta together with grated Parmisan Cheese.
I use this as a appetizer on toast points. It can also be used tossed into fresh pasta.
Bagnet or Salsa Verde
I am not sure how this Salsa Verde (green sauce) got its name Bagnet. It could come from what I wrote about in an earlier issue on Bagna Cauda. This recipe has a few more ingredients. As a child my Aunt Mary use to make this recipe. It was served with a hunk of Italian horn bread typical of the bread from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. I like serving it on toast points (crostini) as an appetizer. It is also wonderful served as a condiment with meat and poultry.
2 to 3 cups fresh Italian parsley
3 cloves garlic
2 green peppers
1 large carrot
2 medium onions
1 cup olive oil
2 cans (2 ounce each) anchovies (with or with out capers)
2 (8 ounce cans) tomato sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Put the parsley, garlic, peppers, carrot and onions through a meat grinder, alternating small amounts of each ingredient as you proceed. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and anchovies, dissolving the anchovies completely. Add the vegetable mixture, tomato sauce, vinegar and red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. When cool store in refrigerator or freeze it. (It freezes well!)
Yields about 5 1/2 cups
I preserved these multi colored tomatoes. They were given to me by Susan & Jim at Miss Scarlett’s Blue Ribbon Farm in Yarmouth Port. They grew fifty-four varieties. In the small jars is the recipe from Mary ann Esposito, dehydrated tomatoes. Check out her blog in previous entry.
Last year I bought a fig tree at the local grocery store for $16, put it in a large pot and placed it on my sunny deck. When the leaves fell off, I put it in a large bucket, wrapped it with insulation and plastic and put it in the garage. This spring, March to be exact, I wanted to see if it survived. When I unwrapped it there were new buds on all of the twigs. I pulled it to a sunny spot in the garage, gave it water and fertilizer. When it was warm enough I placed it back on the sunny deck where it got full sun. It is now September and the tree is loaded with beautiful Turkish figs! Last night I sliced some of them, put a little gorgonzola on each fig, placed them under the broiler for a few minute’s and served them as a appetizer. What a treat!