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Celebrate Italian cooking with this authoritative and engaging tribute
Author Michele Scicolone offers simple recipes for delicious classics such as lasagne, minestrone, chicken cutlets, and gelato, plus many more of your favorites; a wealth of modern dishes, such as grilled scallop salad; and a traveler's odyssey of regional specialties from the northern hills of Piedmont to the sun-drenched islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Whether giving expert advice on making a frittata or ...
Celebrate Italian cooking with this authoritative and engaging tribute
Author Michele Scicolone offers simple recipes for delicious classics such as lasagne, minestrone, chicken cutlets, and gelato, plus many more of your favorites; a wealth of modern dishes, such as grilled scallop salad; and a traveler's odyssey of regional specialties from the northern hills of Piedmont to the sun-drenched islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Whether giving expert advice on making a frittata or risotto, selecting Italian ingredients, or pairing Italian wines with food, Scicolone enlivens each page with rich details of Italian food traditions. This book is a treasury to turn to for any occasion.
The Italian Pantry.
Dips and Spreads.
Bruschetta and Crostini.
Salads with Fruit.
Bean, Grain, and Legume Soups.
Meat and Fish Soups.
Meat Sauces (Ragù).
Other Pasta Sauces.
Sauces for Meat and Fish.
Dried Pasta with Vegetables.
Dried Pasta with Tomatoes.
Dried Pasta with Cheese and Eggs.
Dried Pasta with Meat.
Dried Pasta with Seafood.
Stuffed Fresh Pasta.
Other Fresh Pasta.
Rice, Cornmeal, and Other Grains.
Farro and Barley.
Fried, Poached, and Baked Eggs.
Fish and Shellfish.
Fillets and Steaks.
Salted and Dried Fish.
Shrimp, Lobster, and Scallops.
Clams and Mussels.
Calamari, Octopus, and Conch.
Chicken Cutlets (Scaloppine).
Whole Chicken and Capon.
Turkey, Duck, and Quail.
Beef Stews and Braises.
Meatballs and Ground Beef Dishes.
Veal Cutlets (Scaloppine).
Other Veal Dishes.
Pork Ribs and Chops.
Pork Tenderloins and Roasts.
Lamb Stews and Braises.
Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, and Cauliflower.
Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage.
Green and Wax Beans.
Zucchini and Winter Squash.
Breads, Pizzas, Savory Pies, and Sandwiches.
Flatbreads and Breadsticks.
Pizzas and Turnovers.
Italian Sandwiches (Panini).
Fruit, Ice Cream, and Spoon Desserts.
Ice Cream (Gelato).
Cookies, Cakes, Tarts, and Pastries.
Cakes with Fruit.
Cakes with Ricotta.
Cakes with Dried Fruit and Nuts.
About the Author.
An Antipasto Platter
Goat Cheese with Herbs Goat Cheese, Valle d'Aosta Style Gorgonzola-Stuffed Endive Warm Ricotta in Fresh Tomato Sauce Provolone in Pizza Sauce Grilled Mozzarella Grilled Cheese and Prosciutto Skewers Montasio Cheese Crisps Melted Cheese, Silversmith's Style Mozzarella in a Carriage Roman Skewered Mozzarella Sandwiches Parmesan Custards Walnut Cheese Wafers Gorgonzola Biscuits
Marinated Olives Black Olives with Citrus Spicy Olives in the Pan Roasted Olives Zucchini Carpaccio Marinated Mushrooms Mushroom Pâté of the Two Sicilies Veal-Stuffed Mushrooms Mushrooms Stuffed with Mozzarella and Prosciutto Peppers Piedmontese Roasted Pepper Rolls Tuna-Stuffed Peppers Sweet-and-Sour Eggplant Asparagus and Egg Salad Roasted Radicchio with Mozzarella and Anchovies
Stuffed Eggs Tuna-Stuffed Eggs
Figs and Melon with Prosciutto Asparagus and Prosciutto Rolls Roasted Figs in Prosciutto Lemon Meatballs Chicken and Olive Pâté
Scallops al Gratin Baked Scallops with Marsala and Almonds Seafood Salad Salt Cod Puree
Dips and Spreads
Olive Oil Dip Poor Man's Caviar Sun-Dried Tomato Spread Piedmontese Hot Bath Tuna Spread Eggplant Caviar
Bruschetta and Crostini
GarlicBruschetta Tomato Bruschetta Tomato and Avocado Bruschetta Beans and Greens Toasts Chicken Liver Toasts Zucchini and Cheese Toasts Chickpea Toasts Broccoli Toasts Eggplant and Tomato Toasts
"Little Orange" Rice Balls "Telephone-Wire" Rice Balls Sicilian Chickpea Flour Fritters Basil Fritters Fried Sage Leaves
The word antipasto comes from Latin and means "before the meal." In the strictest sense, an antipasto is a little something extra as a starter. It is a small snack meant to awaken the appetite, not to satisfy it.
In Italy, unless it is a special occasion, home-cooked meals rarely start with an antipasto, though restaurant meals often do. Antipasto dishes also vary a lot by region. In the north, especially in the Piedmont, a long succession of antipasto dishes are served one at a time at formal dinners. The classic antipasto in Tuscany is crostini (toasted bread) with chicken livers and a few slices of salami such as finocchiona, a regional specialty made with ground pork and flavored with fennel seeds. In southern Italy, antipasti are simpler, often just a few slices of dried sausage or prosciutto, pickled vegetables, and olives.
When I have company, I often serve an antipasto. Olives, sliced salumi (a collective word for cold cuts), and cut up raw vegetables are the easiest antipasto, and a nice way to welcome guests as they gather. More elaborate dishes can serve as a first course, and a group of antipasti can form the basis for a buffet meal.
Antipasto dishes can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. With the exception of dried sausages and cured meats like salame, prosciutto, or mortadella, meat is used sparingly, usually ground or chopped as a vegetable stuffing. Though shellfish is often offered as an antipasto, whole fish is usually not, except for tiny fish such as anchovies or whitebait.
Many other dishes throughout this book can be served as antipasti. From the vegetable chapters, fried artichokes or cauliflower, any of the stuffed or grilled vegetables, and salads are always good choices. Many of the sautéed vegetable dishes are good as starters, served warm or at room temperature.
Slices of focaccia or olive- or cheese-flavored breads are good companions for vegetable antipasti. Pasta salads are rarely seen in Italy, but Italians do serve rice salads frequently as part of an antipasto assortment. Cold seafood salads are popular, as are stuffed shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and oysters.
Goat Cheese with Herbs Caprino alle Erbe
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
Capra is Italian for "goat," and caprino is the name given to Italian goat cheese. Look for a mild, fresh goat cheese for this recipe. If Italian goat cheese is not available, use an American or French goat cheese. Their flavors are very similar.
8 ounces fresh mild goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Fresh herbs for garnish Thin slices of toasted Italian bread
1 Mash the cheese in a medium bowl with a fork or spoon. Stir in the herbs and pepper.
2 Spoon the cheese mixture onto the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Bring one end of the plastic over the cheese to meet the other end. Tuck the plastic around the cheese and shape the cheese into a log. Roll the log to secure the shape. Refrigerate one hour up to overnight.
3 Unwrap the cheese and place it on a serving plate. Drizzle with the oil. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs. Serve with toasted Italian bread.
Goat Cheese, Valle d'Aosta Style
Tomini di Courmayeur
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
Courmayeur, a popular ski resort in the Valle d'Aosta, is just across the border from France through the Mont Blanc tunnel. The local dialect sounds more French than Italian. Though the region is best known for its cow's milk cheeses, such as Fontina Valle d'Aosta, small goat cheeses, known locally as tomini, are eaten with the local dark rye bread, or drizzled with honey for dessert. I enjoyed goat cheese with a crunchy, flavorful topping at La Maison de Filippo, a rustic country inn that serves hearty meals in a charming setting.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme Pinch of crushed red pepper Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup finely chopped tender celery 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 sage leaves, chopped 8 ounces fresh mild goat cheese Thin slices toasted Italian or French bread
1 In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, red pepper, and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in the celery, parsley, and sage.
2 Place the cheese on a serving plate. Pour the sauce over the cheese. Cover and let stand 1 hour at room temperature. Serve with toasted bread.
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
The large endive family of vegetables includes many that are used in Italian kitchens, including several kinds of chicory, escarole, and radicchio. Belgian endive grows in small pointed heads that are kept covered as they mature. The covering prevents photosynthesis, so that the endive remains white with yellowish tips instead of turning green as it would if allowed to develop naturally. It also keeps the leaves tender and the flavor delicate. Their long spear shape makes Belgian endive leaves perfect containers for stuffing or dipping. Here the filling is a classic flavor combination of creamy gorgonzola and crunchy toasted walnuts.
8 ounces gorgonzola cheese, rind removed 4 ounces mascarpone 2 to 4 tablespoons milk 4 medium Belgian endive, separated into leaves 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1 In a medium bowl, mash the two cheeses together with a fork. Stir in just enough of the milk to make the mixture soft and spreadable.
2 Arrange the endive leaves on a platter. Spoon the cheese mixture into the leaves. Sprinkle with the walnuts and serve immediately.
Warm Ricotta in Fresh Tomato Sauce
Ricotta Calda in Salsa di Pomodori Freschi
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
Warm creamy ricotta in a pool of fresh tomato sauce is a heavenly starter that I first encountered at Remi, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in New York. Tangy sheep's milk ricotta is preferred, though cow's milk ricotta works well too. Serve with fresh Italian bread.
8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt Pinch of crushed red pepper 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits 1 cup whole- or part-skim ricotta
1 In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, oil, salt, and red pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes are just softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add half the basil leaves.
2 In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta with the remaining basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
3 Spread the tomato sauce on 4 small plates or shallow bowls. With an ice cream scoop, shape the ricotta mixture into 4 balls and place them on top of the sauce. Serve warm.
Provolone in Pizza Sauce
Provolone alla Pizzaiola
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
In a pizzeria in Naples, I had provolone cheese heated until it was just barely melted, in a spicy tomato sauce. It makes a good lunch, accompanied by bread and a green salad.
2 1/2 cups Pizzaiola Sauce (page 91) 8 ounces aged provolone, rind removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices Pinch of dried oregano
1 Prepare the sauce, if necessary.
2 In a medium skillet, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cheese slices and sprinkle with the oregano. Remove from the heat and let stand 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.
Mozzarella ai Ferri
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
One summer in Rome, my favorite luncheon dish was fresh mozzarella grilled until it had a golden crust outside and was warm and melty inside. Most days I ate it with a salad of arugula, tomatoes, and sweet onions.
A nonstick skillet or griddle is essential here, and for best results, the cheese, which can be very moist when freshly made, must be quite dry.
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 If the mozzarella is very moist, lay the slices on paper towels to drain the excess moisture. Refrigerate one hour, turning the slices once.
2 Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When a drop of water flicked onto the skillet bounces and evaporates quickly, the pan is ready.
3 Place a slice of the mozzarella in the skillet. When it begins to turn brown around the edge, turn it over with a spatula. Cook 1 minute more. Repeat with the remaining slices. Serve hot.
Grilled Cheese and Prosciutto Skewers
Spiedini di Formaggio e Prosciutto
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
Tuscan friends Anna and Lucio Trebino prepared dinner on the barbecue one summer night. I loved the appetizers that Anna served: balls of goat cheese wrapped in crisped prosciutto. The skewers can be assembled several hours ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Anna says this works well with cubes of semifirm cheeses like mozzarella in place of the goat cheese.
6 to 8 ounces fresh goat cheese 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 8 thin slices imported Italian prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
1 In a small bowl, mash the cheese with the pepper. Divide the cheese into 16 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls. Spear the cheese balls on short bamboo skewers. Tightly wind a piece of the prosciutto around each ball of cheese.
2 Preheat the broiler. Broil the skewers 2 to 3 minutes, turning often until the prosciutto is lightly browned. Serve hot.
Montasio Cheese Crisps
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN
In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, montasio, a cow's milk cheese, is used to make frico, thin crispy cheese wafers. If montasio is not available, use Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano. Though frico is often made in a skillet on the stovetop, I find the results are more reliable in the oven.
The fragile crisps are good with a glass of sparkling prosecco, or serve them as an accompaniment to soup.
4 ounces freshly grated montasio 2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix the two cheeses together. On a large heavy ungreased baking sheet, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the cheese in a thin layer in the form of a disk about 2 inches in diameter. Make as many additional disks as will fit comfortably about 1 inch apart.
2 Bake in the center of the oven 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly golden.
3 Place several overturned juice glasses on a countertop. When the cheese crisps are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Working quickly (because they firm up rapidly as they cool), remove the cheese wafers from the baking sheet one by one with a thin metal spatula, then gently mold the disks over the glasses. Let cool until firm. Carefully remove the cheese crisps from the glasses. Repeat baking and molding the remaining cheese.
4 Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Melted Cheese, Silversmith's Style
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
According to Mary Taylor Simeti's book Pomp and Sustenance: Twenty-Five Centuries of Sicilian Food, this recipe gets its name from an unknown, and perhaps mythical, silversmith who invented it to disguise the fact that he had fallen on hard times. The aroma of the cheese, garlic, vinegar, and oregano cooking is said to be similar to rabbit, and the silversmith wanted his neighbors to believe that he could still afford meat. Serve with crisp bread and a bottle of red wine.
Provolone in Italy is not the same as the bland cheese of that name we often see in the United States. Imported Italian provolone is aromatic and slightly smoky, mild when young and sharp when aged. Many cheese shops sell imported provolone, or you can substitute caciocavallo, which is similar in flavor and texture to provolone, though it comes in a different shape. Asiago is a cheese from northern Italy that takes very well to this treatment.
6 to 8 ounces imported provolone, caciocavallo, or Asiago cheese 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Remove the rind from the cheese and cut the cheese into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Excerpted from 1,000 Italian Recipes by Michele Scicolone Excerpted by permission.
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