Tag Archives: NAPOLETANA

PASTA ALLO SCARPARIELLO SALERNO STYLE, PASTA WITH A TOMATO, OLIVE OIL, ONION, BASIL, PEPERONCINO AND SAUSAGE SAUCE WITH PARMIGIANO AND PECORINO

Never stop learning. Never stop looking for new ideas from traditional places. I’m always reading and learning about the World’s cuisines.. IT’S SO BIG how could you not? I’m terribly obsession (hence my on line name) with everything about food, especially Italian. One of the points I try politely to get across to people on line who follow me is that what was made in your family’s kitchens is never indicative of the entire scope of a country’s cuisine. Italian cuisine is no different. Case in point, ALLO SCARPARIELLO. Now here’s where Italian cuisine gets confusing, especially for ITalian Americans as we have our own nomenclature for certain dishes in both Italian and ITalianAmerican food traditions. SCARPARIELLO at its heart is a Napoletana word that means pertaining to a Shoemaker. In ItalianAmerica it’s a name given to a baked or sauteed and braised Chicken dish with wine, garlic, onion, peppers, onions, potatoes, sausage…any or all of those ingredient. There no “one” Chicken Scarpariello. In Italy Scarpariello is a sauce for Pasta that was created in Naples. Originally it was leftover Sunday Sauce that no longer had any meat in it as the week went on. To make a quick meal for the shoemakers they would cook pasta in the leftover sauce and then add a very generous amount of grated cheese to it compensating for the lack of meat. Another legend is that since so many of the Shoemaker’s customers were quite poor they would pay in Cheese instead of money. Are those great reasons to want to make this dish in your home? But I have more little info for you. As is the case in ITaly and NEVER argue with an ITalian about food, there are withiin the same region different stylesof Pasta Allo Scarpariello. How’s that? In Napoli it’s the basic…a sauce of Datterini or Cherry tomatoes melted down in olive oil or lard, garlic, peperoncino, the hot pasta is finished in the sauce along with a hefty amount of grated PARMIGIANO and PECORINO. After a little cooking time it’s served with lots of fresh basil around the plate. Go only about 1 hour and 1/4 East of Naples to the city of Benevento. There Pasta Allo Scarpariello has the addition of a little Cream at the end. Drive 45 minutes south from Napoli to the city of Salerno and you’ll find the same sauce as Naples but with fresh sausages, either whole or crumbled. This post will show you how to cook the one with Sausage from Salerno. I know you’re going to like this!! In Napoli Garlic goes in the sauce, for this Salerno version with Sausage, red onion is used.

PASTA ALLO SCARPARIELLO TIME: 1 HOUR SERVES:4

1 lb PASTA (THE TRADITIONAL SHAPES ARE PACCHERI, which i used, SPAGHETTI, BUCATINI, FUSILLI) COOKED AL DENTE ACCORDING TO THE PACKAGE

1 1/2 LBS CHERRY TOMATOES, SLICED

3 TBS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

3 FRESH SWEET FENNEL ITALIAN SAUSAGES, REMOVE THE MEAT FROM THE CASINGS

1 MEDIUM SLICED RED ONION

1/2 TBS PEPERONCINO

1/2 CUP OF MIXED GRATED PARMIGIANO AND PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE, EQUAL AMOUNTS OF BOTH MIXED TOGETHER.

6 BASIL LEAVES

SEA SALT

In a large heavy pan heat 1 tbs. of the Extra Virgin Olive oil…(the most authentic recipes used the same amount of Lard for this). Then add the sausage meat, peperoncino and let this cook until the sausage is no longer red. Add the onion and when the pan is fragrant, add another tbs of olive oil and cook until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, pinch of salt, and toss the tomatoes in the sausage, onions, and olive oil. Then reduce to a simmer and COVER the pan. Let this cook for 15 minutes. The tomatoes should melt down into the sausage. While this is happening you will make the Paccheri or Pasta just till al dente. Drain reserving 2 tbs. of the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan of sauce and mix well. A drizzle of the remaining olive oil then the cheese. Quickly mix the cheese into the pasta and sauce and let this cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat…The cheese should make the surface of the pasta a little “creamy”. Now tear up all the basil over the top and serve. That’s it. A more “authentic” version would be to leave the sausage whole but the loose meat really flavors the sauce. ENJOY!!!

SKILLET (PAN) EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA…MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA IN PADELLA

EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA…what a gift Italy gave to the world!! Some commentary on La Parmigiana which is what Italians call it often as in Italy the only PARMIGIANA is Eggplant. There’s some conversation that in Sicily there was also Veal Parmigiana but mostly any other type of Parmigiana was not created in Italy but by inventive Italian immigrant cooks to the United States where they adapted their beloved eggplant parmigiana and decided to use meats, fish, poultry in the same style. It took off and became some of America’s most beloved ItalianAmerican dishes. Veal and Chicken Parmigiana when made well are simply wonderful. Pork and Beef as well as Shrimp are made into Parmigiana too. Let’s though talk about Eggplant Parmigiana. History point again to Sicily as the origins of this meltingly delicious blend of layers of cooked eggplant, Italian cheeses, some tomato sauce then baked to meld everything together. It’s a perfect food. I’m smiling as I blog this thinking of how often my mom made it. Hers was almost always thin sliced and breaded in 4C Italian Flavored breadcrumbs in her Electric frying pan. My sister AdeleMarie has one too and swears it’s the only way to fry batches of eggplant without having to change the oil. It cooks them perfectly she says confirming Mom’s love of the Electric frying pan. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs I would salivate incessantly when she’d call for Dad to go down in the basement and bring up the pan. I knew there would be fried eggplant cutlets to eat out of the fryer sprinkled with grated Pecorino Romano. By the way, they make amazing hero sandwiches. When we would go to the beach she’d make cold Eggplant Parmigiana sangwiches along with Ham and Cheese, Chicken roll and Swiss, Bologna and cheese sandwiches. Some plums. Some grapes, maybe some nectarines if she thought they were nice at the farmers market, usually Palermo’s or Bifulco’s. So when I think of Eggplant Parmigiana regardless of how it’s made I think of all those times Mom made it. However…the best eggplant Parmigiana in the family, as good as mom’s was, my Aunt Angie Scaramuzzi made the “most bestest”. Enough with my past Parmigiana…let’s talk about how you make it. There’s not one way and my most popular way of making it is thin sliced, dipped in flour, beaten eggs and pecorino, then fried, then layered in the typical manner with cheeses and sauce and baked. However, there’s also a way to just do it on top of the stove. The eggplants are fried in olive oil. then a sauce is made in that oil that’s been infused with garlic and basil. Then the cooked eggplant is layered into the pan, covered in abundant grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, your choice..then topped with Mozzarella, or Provolone, or Scamorza. Again, your choice. The top is covered and once the cheese has melted you’re done. Nice? Great, I thought you’d like it. This eggplant is naked…it’s just fried. This actually harkens back to most Sicilian recipes for La Parmigiana. Many Sicilian recipe have no stringy melted cheese, just the grated. See? You can make this a few different ways. I’m giving you choices here. The leftovers are amazing, infact they taste better on day 2.

SKILLED EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA FOR 4 PEOPLE TIME: 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES

1 MEDIUM SIZED EGGPLANT SLICED INTO 1/4 INCH ROUNDS

OLIVE OIL

KOSHER SALT, BLACK PEPPER

1 28 OZ CAN SAN MARZANO DOP TOMATOES OR ITALIAN PEELED PLUM TOMATOES

2 TBS TOMATO PASTE

2 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC

FRESH BASIL

GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO OR LOCATELLI PECORINO ROMANO

1 CUP DICED MOZZARELLA OR DICED SCAMORZA

In a saucepan, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, place on medium heat. Add the garlic and just when it’s fragrant add the tomato paste, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/ 2 tsp of pepper, some basil leaves, then cook for 2 minutes. Crush the tomatoes in a processor or with your hands, then add to the pot. Mix and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. While that is happening, heat 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil in a heavy wide skillet. Season the eggplants with salt and pepper. On Medium heat fry the eggplant on both sides (CRITICAL HERE!!!) till they are SOFT, the eggplant has to completely cook before you can finish the dish. If your heat is too high you’ll scorch the eggplants, take your time. Should take about 15 minutes to get them soft thru both sides. Add more oil as needed. Remove the eggplants to paper towels to drain. Pour the cooked sauce into the pan. Lay the eggplants in pan…cover with grated cheese, some basil leaves, more sauce, do a second layer if you have enough, more sauce, cheese and basil. At this point you can cover and let it cook together for 15 minutes. This is a very Sicilian way, with no mozzarella, just the grated cheese. DELICIOUS. OR, top the pan with the diced cheeses and cover. Wait until the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Now..remove from the heat and let it sit for 2 hours before serving for maximum flavor, just gently reheat. OR you may serve as soon are you’ve let it rest for 15 minutes. Up to you.

Now there’s plenty of flavor in this dish, and there’s not a shopping cart full of ingredients. It’s simple basic flavor which are the hallmarks of Italian cooking. Enjoy this dish..let me know how you like it!!

PANZAROTTI NAPOLETANI, POTATO CROQUETTES NAPLES STYLE, AS MADE BY MY MOM

PANZAROTTI NAPOLETANI!!  Potato Croquettes made Naples style, Grandma Scaramuzzi and my mom Assunta “Sue”Battaglia’s style could be one of my most favorite foods on Earth!  Grandma Scaramuzzi taught her daughter (my mom) how to make these culinary delights from the city she lived in before she immigrated to Staten Island NYC to marry my grandfather.  Now let’s discuss the word PANZAROTTO/PANZAROTTI (plural) shall we?  In every other part of Italy a Panzarotto is a “pouch” of filled dough.  They are baked or fried and depending on the region will be filled with all sorts of vegetables, cheeses, and meats.  Google PANZAROTTI PUGLIESI and you’ll see what I mean.  But for some reason, and this happens all over Italy one word will have a million different meanings regarding food.  In the language and dialect of Naples Panzarotti means a fried Potato croquette.  Growing up I watched Mom make these and she had a specific way of making them.  First of all they usually were a way of using up leftover mashed potatoes.  Certainly she’d make them on their own as well but NEVER with potatoes cooked the same day.  Something happens to the potatoes when you cook and mash them on day one and on day two form the Panzarotti and fry them.  She had some rules.  Only bits of  diced mozzarella, not too much.  Lots of Pecorino and black pepper in the mix.   Only egg yolks in the mix.  The whites would be for later when breading.  And the breading always PLAIN breadcrumbs, not the Italian Seasoned type.  Are you with me here?  Are you ready to take a stroll down the streets of Napoli and eat the foods that are sold in the Fry shops?  For those who want to be further confused they are also called CROCCHE’ DI PATATE and if you go to Sicily, they are called CAZZILLI where they can be either fried without the breading or with the breading.  Confused yet?  Don’t be…Italian and Italianamerican cuisine has lots of variations, twists and turns.  Whenever I decide to blog a new recipe or a traditional family recipe I do lots of research to see if my family simply creating these rules on their own or if they are following a hallowed ritual.  Happy to report that mostly all the recipes from Napoli I’ve researched dip the floured formed Panzarotti in beaten EGG WHITES and then into PLAIN BREADCRUMBS.  Moral of the story…don’t ever disagree with a Napoletana Mother and Grandmother!!!

PANZAROTTI NAPOLETANA      NAPLES STYLE POTATO CROQUETTES YIELD ABOUT 24

3 LBS RUSSET BAKING POTATOES   PEELED AND CUT INTO QUARTERS

3/4 LB MOZZARELLA DICED SMALL

1/2 TSP. KOSHER SALT

3/4 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PECORINO ROMANO OR PARMIGIANO  (MOM USED THE PECORINO)

1/2 TSP. GROUND BLACK PEPPER

1/4 CUP FINELY MINCED ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY

1 WHOLE EGG AND 2 YOLKS, RESERVING THE EGG WHITES FOR BREADING

1 CUP UNSEASONED ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS

1/2 CUP TIPO 00 FLOUR OR 1/2 CUP SIFTED AP UNBLEACHED FLOUR FOR DREDGING

3 CUPS OLIVE OIL, PEANUT OIL, OR CORN OIL   (WE PAN FRY OURS)

First we make the potatoes.  In a large pot filled with well salted water and bring to a GENTLE boil then simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.  Do not overcook.  When a fork easily pierces the potatoes they are done.  Drain the potatoes and place on a FLAT pan in one layer. Let this cool to room temperature, then  cover with foil and refrigerate for no less than 5 hours, preferably overnight.  Trust me.  Then bring them back to room temperature  and mash or rice them.  Beat the whole egg and yolks.  After you’ve mashed the potatoes, add the eggs, the cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper.  Blend well making sure your mixture isn’t too wet or sticky.  If so a little flour will tighten that up, just a little.  Now form the mix into about 24 equal sized panzarotti.  About 3 1/2-4 inches long in the shape of a cylinder.  Place on a baker’s pan lined with parchment.  Loosely cover and chill for 1/2 hour.  Now set up a station of the flour….then the beaten EGG WHITES…then the breadcrumbs.  Gently dredge the croquettes in the flour,, then into the eggs carefully letting the excess drip off, then into the breadcrumbs, make sure they are completely coated.  Line back up on a parchment paper coated tray.  Heat 3 /4 in of oil till it gets to hot, about 350 degrees F or when you place a cube of bread in it the cube sizzles and starts to brown.   Gently add the croquettes no more than 5-6 at a time DO NOT CROWD THE PAN!!!  Use a heavy high sided wide one.  When one side is done, takes about  2 1/2 minutes or less per side, turn gently. When all golden brown you are done.   Transfer to either a cooking rack or lots of paper towels.  Add more oil and wait between batches to let the oil come up to temperature again.  There’s a nice amount of mozzarella in there so you maybe have a little mozzarella burst thru but if you don’t overfry you should be fine.   

Serve them immediately, or you can reheat them when ready to serve uncovered in a hot oven for only a few minutes.  Here’s some other ingredients you can add….Provolone, thin strips or fine dice of sopressata, dry sausage, salami, prosciutto.  If using the cured meats just a small bit will work and the finer you dice/mince the better.  What a treat to have these on their own in a paper cone from  a Friggitori in Naples or on your own table at home.  Now you’ve made NU BELL PANZAROTT o CROCCHE’.  Eat like a Napoletano!!!

GRANDMA SCARAMUZZI’S EASTER PIZZA DOLCE (SWEET RICOTTA PIE)

PicMonkey CollageSeasonal dishes, they define our lives.  Whether it’s Thanksgiving Turkey or Candy Canes at Christmas or King Cake at Mardi Gras one can often tell the season by its specialty dishes.   Growing up in a Southern Italian American home there were and still are many dishes/foods that are like a calendar smacking you in the head telling you what Holiday or season you are celebrating. Spring. Primavera (it’s the Italian word for Spring, not just a type of Pasta, lol). Easter. Passover. Just a few holiday/seasons that March into May brings to us and in my home, on Good Friday the traditional family RICOTTA PIES would be prepared and baked post 3:00pm and NOT TOUCHED UNTIL 12:00AM EASTER SUNDAY.  This is maddening, although, we are modern now. The Catholic Church’s first Easter mass is around 4pm on Saturday before Easter so feel free to cut into the pie.  Certainly, you may stick to tradition and wait till that clock changed from night to midnight.

A little history with this pie I’m blogging about, in the old days Lent meant no eggs, no dairy, no meat, no sugar, no NOTHIN!!! Southern Italians devised dishes that were accessible and celebratory for breaking the fast.  Ricotta pies which are known as PIZZE (Pizza is a word for pie…the tomato and cheese one is just another version) are made in both sweet and savory types.  Let’s confuse you further!  Every town and region developed it’s own types of foods..while this confuses many ItalianAmericans because we often think only the way that our family makes something is the right way..there are many versions of all these Easter pies.  Mine comes from my Grandmother’s town of CASTEL BARONIA , PROVINCIA D’AVELLINO not far from Naples.  We call isSWEET PIE, or PIZZA DOLCE and it’s a wonderful baked ricotta pie scented with cinnamon, lemon, orange and anisette.  There are similar pies made in the Avellino area withouth the lemon and orange zest and without the glaze on top.  That glaze is used in baked goods from my Grandfather’s town of Grassano, Provincia di Matera in neighboring Basilicata.  I wonder if Grandma Scaramuzzi’s version melded a few things she picked up from Grandpa’s family.  It’s how recipes evolve but the basic pizza is pure Avellinese.  The crust is a typical PASTA FROLLA, the dough used for many Southern Italian pastry/baked goods.  The first thing we need to do it make the dough. You need time for this, Rome wasn’t built in a day!!

PASTA FROLLA

2-1/2 cups SIFTED all-purpose UNBLEACHED flour

-1/4 cup sugar

-1/4 tsp. salt

-1/2 tsp. baking powder

10 Tbs. good  unsalted butter, chilled

1 Xtra Large Egg, beaten

4 Tbsps. milk

Mix all the dry ingredients well.  Cut the butter into a small dice and work it into the dry ingredients until the mix resembles small peas. Now add the egg which you’ve beaten with the milk then add to the flour and butter mixture and stir it all with a fork or wooden spoon until it will hold its shape.  Knead this until it’s smooth then stop. Form the Pasta Frolla into a disk and wrap in “Saran Wrap” or Plastic wrap and into the fridge for 1 1/4 hours.easter16e 021 Don’t get scared, those are disks of pasta frolla for a few pies.

Now we will make the Ricotta filling.

1-1/2 lbs. WHOLE MILK RICOTTA which you’ve drained overnight or earlier in the day in a sieve.  You can also , if available, use the Ricotta which comes in a tin already drained, That’s what I generally use but it’s not available everywhere.

1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/8 TBS ANISETTE EXTRACT

1 TSP. PURE VANILLA

3 TBS DICED CITRONeaster16a 009

1 TSP. CINNAMON

1 TSP. LEMON ZEST

1 TSP ORANGE ZEST

Beat the eggs, then add the sugar and beat, add the extracts, beat.  Now mix in the Ricotta, cinnamon, the zests, and the citron until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the pastry.easter16e 006These instructions are for a 9 inch pan.  I double recipe and make it in a larger rectangular.  Up to you.   Lightly butter the pan.  From the Pasta Frolla disk, remove about 1/3 for later.  The remainder you will roll out to about 14 inches and line the buttered 9 inch pan.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You want some of the dough over the sides of the pan.  Press the dough into the sides and then pour in the ricotta mixture.  Roll out the remainder of the dough for the top.   With an egg wash of 2 eggs and 1/8 cup milk brush the rim and then place the top over it.. press the sides to the lid forming a crust and cut away the excess.  Brush the top with the egg wash.  If you truly want a Grandma Scaramuzzi Sweet Pie, turn those bits you just cut off and make a B and a P out of them.  Place them on center of the pie and coat with egg wash.   Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  easter16e 001 What does BP mean?  BUONA PASQUA! Italian for Happy Easter..that makes it a real Grandma memory.  To test for done. use a sharp knife and place in the center going straight into the bottom of the pie.  If it comes out clean, your pie is done. Let this cool for 1 hour to 2 hours.  While it’s cooling it’s time to make the glaze.

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2  tsp Lemon Juice

1/2 tsp Orange Juice

1/2 tsp. milk

1/2 tsp. Anisette Extract

1 tsp mixed Lemon and Orange Zest

multicolored “confetti” or non pareils

Mix all except the confetti until you can drizzle it.  cover with wrap until ready to use.

When the Sweet Pie is fully cooled, don’t rush it…make sure it’s cool!! Then simply drizzle the icing over the top making sure to get some into the sides.  You may have more than you need, use it for something else.  After you’ve drizzles add some of the confetti to the top.easter16dc 031 Now here’s some variations…you can do a lattice top  if you like, just cut the top into strips. Nothing at Easter makes me think, remember, and smile about who I am, where I come from, and who loves me almost as much as this does.  Grandma Scaramuzzi and my Mom are right there in the kitchen with me, guiding me as they once did to teach us this pie.  It’s About Easter, about continuity and the cycles of life, rebirth, family, love. About my ItalianAmerican and Southern Italian roots and sharing that with my multicultural family.  It’s fantastic and thanks for letting me share it with you.  easter16dc 030

 

POTATOES CREATE AN ELEGANT CAKE, THE GATTO’, NAPLES’ POTATO CAKE

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This blog post will take us again back to Naples, Italy.  I’ll admit that the cuisine of Naples just makes me happy.  In large part it’s the cuisine that I grew up on along with the other regions my grandparents came from, but Naples in particular just makes me happy.  So many associate potatoes with the Northern European cuisines like Irish, English, German, Russian, etc. but the winds of exploration brought potatoes as well as tomatoes over from the Americas many centuries ago.  Italian cooking throughout the boot and it’s islands incorporates regional potato dishes from simple to more complex, yet, as with most Italian cooking the complexities are layers of flavors, not intricate and difficult cooking techniques only a top chef can master.  This is what I think makes Italian cooking so popular, only a few ingredients, a little fuss or none at all and you have platters of outrageously fabulous food.  Take the star of this blogpost..the GATTO’ (gah-TOH)a Mashed Potato cake mixed with some savories and eggs and baked. It comes from the kitchens of Naples, handed down from the old days of Bourbon rule when the French imparted some of their skills and styles to the wonderful ones that already were in place.   For those of your who are familiar with the French language, GATTO’ is simply the Italian (Neapolitan) word for GATEAU, or cake.  This recipe is basically 2 recipes in one but I’m only going to focus on the GATTO’.  The mix can be turned into another Napoletana dish, PANZAROTTI DI PATATE also known as CROCCHE’ DI PATATE, breaded Potato Croquettes.  Let’s save that for another day.  My Mom made this in a springform pan which I used as well until Sandy took that sentimental relic from me so when I made this one I used a 9 inch cake pan.  The cake is rich as it’s a mass of eggs, cheese, potatoes and cured meats.  A little goes a long way.  It’s beautiful when cut and served on a plate.gatto 008  Love the “action” shot of the diced sopressata falling out of the cake slice (I cut it while it was too hot, but, it is what it is…lol).  If creamy potatoes dishes and Italian flavors excite you this is perfect for your palate.  It’s time to walk into my kitchen and cook with me, my mother, and my grandmother (virtually as they both have passed but are ALWAYS with me at my stove).

FOR A 8 INCH CAKE PAN which will serve 4-6 people

Time: 2 days (hold on you thought I said simple, well there’s 2 parts..i truly believe that the mashed potatoes need to be made a day ahead of time and chilled overnight in the fridge..why?  I’m going to get a little Alton Brown here, I could be wrong, just my opinion but it always works out..something about the moisture in the potatoes that just makes them easier to use when they are day old.  Maybe it’s an absorption by the natural starches?  Sounds good, I’ll stick with it.)  On actual day of cooking, it will take about 1 1/2 hours.

2 LBS. OF MASHED POTATOES, MADE A DAY AHEAD OF TIME AND CHILLED IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT.   Make mashed potatoes using 2 lb. of peeled Russets.Simply mash with butter, salt, and pepper to taste.  Do not add liquids like cream, milk, half n half. You can either rice them if you have a ricer, or mash or whip them well.  Tightly cover and keep over night in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup GRATED PECORINO ROMANO OR PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO (MY PREF IS ROMANO)

3 BEATEN EGGS

3 TBS. CHOPPED ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSELY

1/8 CUP FINELY CHOPPED SALAMI, OR SOPRESSATA (SWEET NOT HOT), OR PROSCIUTTO, OR PROSCIUTTO COTTO

1/2 CUP GRATED SMOKED SCAMORZA (IF YOU CAN FIND IT IT’S THE REAL DEAL)

1/2 CUP DICED MOZZARELLA (IF USING FRESH, PURCHASE IT A DAY AHEAD)

KOSHER SALT, FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER TO TASTE

2 TBS. MILK

BUTTER FOR GREASING THE PAN, 6 PATS OF BUTTER TO TOP THE CAKE

ENOUGH COARSE BREAD CRUMBS(PLAIN) TO COAT THE PAN

you can use an 8 inch SPRINGFORM PAN, or CAKE PAN.  Heavily grease the panwith Unsalted butter (definitely use butter for this for flavor). Then coat the pan with a light layer of the coarse breadcrumbs.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

gatto 001 Add all the ingredients to the Mashed Potatoes and blend in well, MAKE sure all the cheeses, meat and parsley are not CLUMPED up.  Want to cook more professionally?  That is one of those details that many times causes a dish to fail.  Incorporating ingredients like this sometimes when not done carefully will cause all the flavors to clump up in spots and not be equally distributed throughout the mixture.. TAKE YOUR TIME, there’s no rush!! A well blended mixture should look like that picture above.  “PAGEENZIA” (Pazienza in proper Italian, PATIENCE) would be what my Mom would say…that was a common outburst of her’s dealing with us kids AND my father…Alright, back to work now, after the mix is done press it into the pan keeping the top smooth.. Top with breadcrumbs and some grated pecorino or parmigiano.  Today’s Naples will most likely use Parmigiano.  The world I learned to cook from which is the southern Italy of the very early 1900’s used Pecorino for most things so that’s the taste I expect when eating this.  Use either one, Pecorino Romano will always be a more sharp taste, Parmigiano will be somewhat nutty.  Now dot the top with a few pats of the unsalted butter.  Why unsalted all the time?  Because this dish contains 3 different cheeses and salted cured meats.  Nothing worse than OVERSALTED food, under is bad too, but you can always add more to adjust that, oversalted is a kitchen FAIL.  There is no going back. Now bake this GATTO’ for 30-40 minutes or until it looks like this:gatto 003 I’m sure you want a piece.  Well you can’t.  PAGEENZIA!! which of course I didn’t have.  No wonder why Mom kept saying that to me!!  Please, let this cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a rack.  Then remove it from the springform or gently remove it from the cake pan as you would remove a layer cake from it.  Then invert it back onto the plate for serving..see, Like this:gatto 004How great does that look!!??  On one of my Mom’s plate too…all is right with the world on this one. Now slice it into wedges for serving.  gatto 007   Some recipe writers out there refer to this as a sidedish, ok, it CAN be but it’s more of a main dish.  That’s the big difference with how us American eats and how they eat in Italy.   Much of what we pile onto a table is meant to be eaten as a standalone I mean, this is a hefty group of ingredients and you really want to enjoy the flavors. OR add it to a buffet service.  I like it being served on it’s own with some greens and tomatoes.  That will be up to you.  Either way, a great idea for something to be made ahead of time too.  It reheats really well. Most of all enjoy yourself while making this and of course while eating it.

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SPUMONI, A GIFT FROM NAPLES, AN IMMIGRANT STORY, AN ITALIAN AMERICAN INVENTION

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Who doesn’t love an immigrant story…especially one where what’s
been brought from their native country is transplanted into the new country and winds up being more popular today
in the new country than in it’s country of origin.  Americans are many times looked at as newbies in the cultural time-
lines of the world but what Americans have a knack for is holding onto those traditions that their ancestors brought
with them.  I was once told by an Italian that much of what comprises the Italian-American cultural tradition is on
the downswing in Italy and in many cases, America just made what might have been a small regional tradition into
a big deal on this side of the Atlantic.  One such tradition, a food tradition (of course it would be food I’m talking
about) is SPUMONI.  Chances of finding Spumoni all over Italy today would be pretty rare.  Why?  It was never
something that was eaten/made up and down the boot.  It most likely is from the city of Naples, or Napoletana, or
Neapolitan.  Follow this evolution, Spumoni is a frozen dessert, cream with whipped cream added, sort of a
frozen mousse  usually done in three flavors…a chocolate, a vanilla or pistachio, and a cherry..touched with the
flavorings you would find in an Italian Pastry shop..like candided fruits, cherries, pistachios, almonds, rum,,
cinnamon oil, the usual suspects.  The layers are pressed into a mold and it’s frozen, served in slices or scoops.
Remember I said “Neapolitan?  The Ice Cream flavor in the U.S. called Neapolitan which is a mix of vanilla,
chocolate and strawberry takes it’s idea from Spumoni, which comes from Naples.  Interesting stuff.   Here in
the U.S. Spumoni is generally found in the areas with higher Italian Populations.  Of course, whenever I talk my
own childhood history, Staten Island comes into play.  Nearly every spumoni I shoveled into my childhood face was
made at an Ice Cream factory in Staten Island called SEDUTTO’S ICE CREAM.  An immigrant from the area
around Naples,
10965_1151469789308_1304531591_30356921_1242298_nGiuseppe (Joseph) Sedutto immigrated to NYC and worked as a pastry chef in NYC’s fancy hotels
of the day.    Along with his brothers, he began the Sedutto Ice Cream Company in
Staten Island and grew it into a large operation that primarily served hotels, catering halls, and restaurants with
their Italian frozen desserts, like Spumoni, Tortoni, Bombes, plus Ice Cream Cakes, Ice Creams.  Every meal
out or catered affair of my youth ended with a “log” of Spumoni or a paper cup of Tortoni.  I’m going to guess
that the first spumoni that found it’s way passed my lips was Sedutto’s.  Here’s a picture of an actual Sedutto’s
Spumoni from the 1973 Catalog. 
156142_2992380330921_1304531591_32200242_158577316_n
Seriously, If you have a food memory, the Internet is loaded with proof that you really did remember something
correctly. There is it…my God did I love    when that “log”, actually a slice of Spumoni was served at the end of the
meal.  To this day I love Spumoni.  Unfortunately the Staten Island connection with Spumoni is long gone, the
Sedutto family sold the business to big corporate America and then one day it was gone. The lead picture in this
post still has my hands sticky from eating it.  August 22 is designated as National Spumoni Day, so, off to Ralph’s
Ices (another Staten Island institution who thankfully has a few locations now down here at the Jersey Shore) for
a celebration of Spumoni Day.  That cup in the picture was damn delicious.  Hold on while I take another lick.  Ok,
back to blogging…If you are ever in Brooklyn, the iconic L & B Spumoni Gardens is a place to enjoy a great meal and
their signature Sicilian pizza, finishing the meal off with their Spumoni..
http://www.spumonigardens.com/

Another Spumoni mecca in the United States is Angelo Brocato in New Orleans, on my bucket list…their slice of
Spumoni looks amazing   How beautiful
is that????  20 Angelo-Brocato-New-Orleans
I’ve never made Spumoni, and quite frankly, probably never will, this is one thing that i don’t mind buying out..but, in
True A FOOD OBSESSION style I will give you a recipe, courtesy of Lidia Bastianich, who else??

http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/detail/811

Check that out, make it if you care to, i’ve never used the recipe, so, if it doesn’t come out right, well, that’s my warning,
but Lidia, really…i don’t think you have to worry about using her recipes, I’m comfortable posting it to here for you.

As this August 21, 2014, National Spumoni Day comes to a close I’ll remember  how excited   as a kid I’d get when
we would drive along Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond and pass the Sedutto’s Factory…I knew there was
Spumoni  behind those doors!  006


Another web find…a pic of Sedutto’s Factory in 1953.   Make your delicious memories even more delicious by
creating or finding those foods that were part of your personal history.  It’s why I blog, post, and share.
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