Italian torte salate, savoury pies, are popular, every day dishes for home cooking. They are endlessly versatile, inexpensive to make and, above all, taste great. A crust of short or puff pastry, some cooked vegetables, a little ham or other Italian cured meat (mortadella, speck) for extra flavour if you choose, eggs or béchamel sauce or ricotta to bind: this is all you need for a lovely meal. Continue reading “Torta salata con zucca, funghi e gorgonzola – savoury pie with pumpkin, mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese”
Pizzelle, fried small (ish) pizzas, are iconic and beloved Neapolitan street food whose strong hold on Italian popular culture has been assured for ever by being the protagonists of a legendary sketch in the movie L’oro di Napoli (The gold of Naples, 195 ) where a young and voluptuous Sophia Loren plays a flirtatious pizzaiola, a pizza maker, whose pizzelle as well as her prosperous bosom are legendary in the neighbourhood. As she fries the pizzelle she shouts: “…Scialate…scialate…Mangiate oggi e pagate fra otto giorni…” (Enjoy…enjoy…eat now and pay in 8 days’ time…”).
They are also firmly rooted in local home cooking though. As a kid, I used to spend a couple of weeks every summer in Salerno, not far from Naples and I clearly remember pizzelle being prepared by relatives: what a feast, for a little Milanese kid, whose mother was a reluctant cook and who would never embark in any deep frying. My aunt’s pizzelle were simply dressed with a a little tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan: stuck one on top of the other, they would be kept warm in the oven, ready to be devoured with gusto after an exhausting morning at the beach -they are amongst my strongest food memories. Continue reading “Pizzelle napoletane – Neapolitan fried small pizzas”
Celery is one of the main ingredients in the classic summer aubergine caponata. Few days ago, I thought of making it the protagonist, foregoing the aubergines (not in season now, of course) and the result was excellent
Please read my post on caponata first. This is just a note to myself, not to forget this dish
First I made the sauce from my caponata recipe.
Meanwhile I stringed a large bunch of celery (whichI had placed in cold water for few hrs). I then cut it up in thickish slices.
When the sauce had simmered for about twenty minutes, I added the celery and let it cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
The caponata di sedano was rested for 24 hrs and eaten the following days. Delicious.
“Mulignane a fungetiello” is Neapolitan dialect for the Italian “melanzane a funghetto”, which means “aubergines mushroom-style” and it is one of the most popular, traditional and best ways of cooking aubergines: the aubergines are either shallow or deep fried and are then stewed with garlic (never onion) and either parsley or basil or oregano or mint; one could also make the dish a little richer by adding tomatoes, capers and black olives, but I prefer the basic version where the aubergine is allowed to shine. The aubergines are called “a funghetto/mushroom-style” because they are cooked in the way mushrooms are commonly prepared in Italy (quickly fried in oil, garlic and, generally, parsley) and also because they indeed end up resembling cooked mushrooms – little bronzed morsels glistening with oil and speckled with green, herbal flakes. Continue reading “Mulignane a fungetiello – fried and stewed aubergines from Napoli”
Another classic way for stuffing tomatoes. I only marginally adapted this recipes from one by Ada Boni’s Il Talismano della Felicità (1929) Again, as in the previous post, a long and slow roast is recommended.
Now that is super hot even in London, I tend to cook this sort of dishes early morning, to be then eaten in the evening. The nutmeg is not a personal touch, but, surprisingly, recommended in the original recipe. Continue reading “Pomodori ripieni con pangrattato, capperi e acciughe – roasted tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs, capers and anchovies”