Naples at Table: Cooking in Campaniaby Arthur Schwartz, Harpercollins
Arthur Schwartz, popular radio host, cookbook author, and veteran restaurant critic, invites you to join him as he celebrates the food and people of Naples and Campania. Encompassing the provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, and Salerno, the internationally famous resorts of the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Ischia and, of course, Naples itself, Italy's
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Arthur Schwartz, popular radio host, cookbook author, and veteran restaurant critic, invites you to join him as he celebrates the food and people of Naples and Campania. Encompassing the provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, and Salerno, the internationally famous resorts of the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Ischia and, of course, Naples itself, Italy's third largest and most exuberant city Campania is the cradle of Italian-American cuisine.
In Naples at Table, Arthur Schwartz takes a fresh look at the region's major culinary contributions to the world its pizza, dried pasta, seafood, and vegetable dishes, its sustaining soups and voluptuous desserts and offers the recipes for some of Campania's lesser-known specialties as well. Always, he provides all the techniques and details you need to make them with authenticity and ease.
Naples at Table is the first cookbook in English to survey and document the cooking of this culturally important and gastronomically rich area. Schwartz spent years traveling to Naples and throughout the region, making friends, eating at their tables, working with home cooks and restaurant chefs, researching the origins of each recipe. Here, then, are recipes that reveal the truly subtle, elegant Neapolitan hand with such familiar dishes as baked ziti, eggplant parmigiana, linguine with clam sauce, and tomato sauces of all kinds.
This is the Italian food the world knows best, at its best bold and vibrant flavors made from few ingredients, using the simplest techniques. Think Sophia Loren and check out her recipe for Chicken Caccistora! Discover the joys of preparing a timballo like the pasta-filled pastry in the popular film Big Night. Or simply rediscover how truly delicious, satisfying, and healthful Campanian favorites can be from vegetable dished such as stuffed peppers and garlicky greens to pasta sauces you can make while the spaghetti boils or the Neapolitans' famous long-simmered ragu, redolent with the flavors of meat and red wine. Then there's the succulent baked lamb Neapolitans love to serve to company, the lentils and pasta they make for family meals, baked pastas that go well beyond the red-sauce stereotype, their repertoire of deep-fried morsels, the pan of pork and pickled peppers so dear to Italian-American hearts, and the most delicate meatballs on earth. All are wonderfully old-fashioned and familiar, yet in hands of a Neapolitan, strikingly contemporary and ideal for today's busy cooks and nutrition-minded sybarites.
Finally, what better way to feed a sweet tooth than with a Neapolitan dessert? Ice cream and other frozen fantasies were brought to their height in Baroque Naples. Baba, the rum-soaked cake, still reigns in every pastry shop. Campamnians invented ricotta cheesecake, and Arthur Schwartz predicts that the region's easily assembled refrigerator cakes delizie or delights are soon going to replace tiramisu on America's tables. In any case, one bite of zuppa inglese, a Neapolitan take on English trifle, and you'll be singing "That's Amore."
A trip with Arthur Schwartz to Naples and its surrounding regions is the next best thing to being there. Join him as he presents the finest traditional and contemporary foods of the region, and shares myth, legend, history, recipes, and reminiscences with American fans, followers, and fellow lovers of all things Italian.
I acclimated quickly to Naples. The palm trees in the park along the sea seduced me. The decrpiet Baroque splendor of the city stunned me...And, of course, there was the food. The catering shops carried all kinds of macaroni-filled pastries, individual size and huge ones to cut a wedge from; cakes of fried pasta, fried balls of rice, stacks of vegetable frittatas, baked lasagne, and ziti. There were fry shops with fritters and croquettes, trendy pizzerias with long pies sold by the meter, and traditional pizzerias, every surface white marble, where I first learned to eat pizza with a knife and fork. I indulged in pastries and baba every morning and afternoon, drank short, powerful coffeess all day, and finished each evening with a stroll and a gelato. I ate linguine with clams oin Posillpo (then took a nap on a jetty on the sea); drank Gredo di Tufo (whoite winer) and stuffed myself and buffalo mozzarella at every opportunity. I could see right away it was a tough place to eat through, so I kept going back for more.
There were still warm almond-studded taralli, rings of crisp lard dough, from a street vendor by the sea, pasta and beans on a nineteenth-century trattoria, lamb ragu and cavatelli in the hills of Benevento, goat ragu and fusilli in the Monti Alburni, squid and potatoes on Capri, rabbit braised in tomatoes on Ischia, fish stew at the beach near Gaeta, the lemon chicken in Ravello.
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Savory Pasta and Cheese Pie
(Pastiera Rustica Di Tagliolini)
Serves 8 to 10
A loose-leaf collection of recipes called L'antica cucina della Campania (The Old Cooking of Campania), published by Il Mattino, the daily newspaper of Naples, with contributions from readers chosen by a panel of important gastronomes, provides insight into what Campanians lived on before World War II and what they consider their comfort food today: pasta and pork products.
This recipe was contributed by Emilia Orilio, who lives in a suburb of Naples. incredibly rich, aromatic, and savory, easy to prepare, and perfect for parties and buffets, it can be made ahead and served at room temperature or served gloriously hot from the oven.
Pastiera is the name of the sweet pie of ricotta and whole-wheat berries. The Orilio family is not the only one, however, to apply it to baked pasta, with cheese and salami. The word rustica does not mean rustic, by the way. It means "savory" in the sense of the opposite of sweet. For example, pizza rustica is a savory pie, while pizza dolce, the opposite, is a dessert pie. Anything seasoned with diced salami, sausage, prosciutto, cheeses, etc., is usually called rustica.
1 pound dried narrow egg pasta: tagliolini, tagliarini, tagliatelle, or, if those are not available, fettuccine
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
2 cups cold milk
4 large eggs, beaten to mix well
2/3 cup loosely packed, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
2/3 cup loosely packed, freshly grated pecorino (about 2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butteror lard (for greasing pan)
4 ounces provolone, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
4 ounces pancetta, cut in 1/8-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
4 ounces soppressata, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water, until slightly underdone, usually about 3 minutes.
3. Drain the pasta well and place it in a large bowl. Toss with the butter. Pour in the milk. Toss and stir well; let stand, tossing every 5 to 10 minutes, until the pasta absorbs all except perhaps a tablespoon or so of the milk--this can take as long as 30 minutes.
4. While the pasta is standing, in another bowl, beat the eggs with the grated cheeses and pepper. With 2 tablespoons of butter or lard, grease a baking pan or a shallow casserole of at least 4-quart capacity.
5. When the pasta has absorbed the milk, add the egg mixture, then the provolone, pancetta, and soppressata. Mix well. Pour into the greased baking pan.
6. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top has browned lightly.
7. Let rest 10 to 20 minutes before serving, or serve warm instead of hot, or at room temperature.
Note: Cut into individual portions, the pastiera reheats very well in a microwave. just be careful not to overheat it. Bring it just to a warm serving temperature.
(Pollo Alla Cacciatora)
Cacciatora, which in campania is a strikingly simple dish of chicken braised in tomato sauce, is the most popular way of cooking chicken in the region and, strangely, in a place where no one agrees on anything, everyone uses rosemary as the herb and onion, not garlic, in the sauce.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
(2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and each breast cut in half crosswise)
1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced, or 3 large doves garlic, smashed
2 4- to 5-inch sprigs rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
Big pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, well drained and coarsely chopped
1. In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan with cover, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, brown the chicken on the skin side first, then the underside. Do not crowd the pan. Brown the chicken in batches if necessary, setting aside the browned chicken on a plate until the rest is done.
2. When the last few pieces of chicken are almost browned and still in the pan, add the onion and rosemary sprigs (or dried rosemary) and sauté until the onion is tender.
3. Arrange all the browned chicken in the pan, skin side up, and add the white wine. Season with salt and hot red pepper flakes, then let the wine cook until it has almost entirely evaporated, just a couple of minutes. While it is reducing, turn the chicken in the liquid once or twice, but leave it skin side up at the end.
4. Add the tomatoes. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and let cook at a gentle simmer, without turning, for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
5. Remove the chicken to a serving platter, increase the heat to high, and let the ice reduce for about 2 minutes. In the end, the sauce will be a creamy pink (rosé, Neapolitans say).
6. Pour the sauce over the chicken or use it to dress pasta (reserving some for the chicken) and serve immediately.
In her 1971 cookbook, In the Kitchen with Love, Sophia Loren says that it is sweet red peppers that make chicken cacciatora really Neapolitan, although no Neapolitans I have asked--culinary experts, cooks, lifelong residents of the city--seem to agree. "Well, of course, Sophia Loren is from Pozzuoli," they say, as if that was a foreign or far-off town, while it is actually adjacent to Naples. When driving along the sea road, you can't even tell where one ends and the other begins.
Truly Neapolitan or not, Loren's version is particularly delicious. Follow the directions for classic Pollo alla Cacciatora, but leave out the rosemary and add, with the onion, 1 medium to large sweet red pepper, seeded, cut into strips no wider than 1/2 inch and no longer than 3 inches. just before removing the chicken from the heat (or when the sauce becomes reduced to taste), add about 1/3 cup torn or cut basil. Stir well and simmer a few seconds before removing from the heat.Naples at Table. Copyright © by Arthur Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
Arthur Schwartz hosts "Food Talk," a popular New York City-based, nationally syndicated radio show, and was the longtime restaurant critic and food editor of the New York Daily News. He is the author of Cooking in a Small Kitchen, What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House to Eat, and Soup Suppers.
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ottimo direi soprattutto perchè c'è la mia ricetta presa e pubblicata, Pastiera Rustica Di Tagliolini it is great, I would say, especially because there is my recipe taken and published, Pasta Savory and Cheese Pie
I treated myself to this cookbook for my birthday, and I am not disappointed. Arthur Schwartz is a wonderful writer and his love for the region, the people and the food shines throughout this book.
Every recipe is a hit.