Monday, September 15, 2008

Italian Food - Knowhow and Recipes

Italian food is probably the oldest gourmet culture that spread worldwide. Not only that , Roman empire not only spread Italian gourmet , but also get influenced by many other nations' gourmet.

These are some recipes of Italian Food , and an overview on Italian famous wines.

Pasta con Uova
Italian Egg Noodles Dough

To make about 600 grams

500 g unsifted all-purpose wheat flour
3 eggs
3 egg white
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 teaspoon salt
small amount of water

Put in the flour into a mixing bowl , make a cavity in the center of the flour and in it put the egg, egg white, oil and salt. Mix the doughuntil it can be shaped into a rough ball. If necessary moisten the remaining dry dough in the outer side. Press the dough until smooth ball can be formed in smooth non sticky oily skin.If the dough get too sticky , dust in a little bit of the flour and knead the dough again.Cover the dough with plastic and let it stand for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4. Dust rolling board with a bit of flour, rub it to spread the flour with your palm.Press the dough on top of rolling board to form 1 - 2 cm thick disc.Roll the dough forward to make thin layer. Turn the dough 90°, roll it again. Make sure the dough doesn't stick to the board. If necessary , dust using flour again underneath.Repeat the rolling and turning process until you reach paper thin layer.Roll the paper thin dough , cut it into desired size.

For tagliarini slice the roll into 2 - 3 mm wide strips. For fettuccine or tagliatelle , slice the roll of dough 5 - 6 mm. For lasagne , slice it to 4 - 5 cm wide strips. The egg noodles may be cooked at once or wrapped with plastic and kept in the refrigerator for maximum 24 hours. Cook them in plenty of boiling salted water for 5 to 10 minutes, add vegetable oil into the boiling water if necessary to prevent the pasta stick to each other.

Salsa di Pomodori

To make about 150 cc
2 tablespoons olive oil
40 g finely chopped onions
200 cc Italian plum or whole-pack tomatoes, coarsely chopped but not drained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely cut fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper

Using a 2 to 3 liters enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, heat the olive oil until a light haze forms over it. Add the onions and cook them over moderate heat for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, sugar, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer, with the pan partially covered, for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.Press the sauce through a fine sieve (or a food mill) into a bowl or pan. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.


To serve 6 to 8

Pasta dough (Pasta con Uova)
6 - 8 liters water
1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
40 cc finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
300 g package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, squeezed completely dry and chopped again (about 120 cc) or 350 g fresh spinach, cooked, drained, squeezed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
500 g beef round steak, ground twice, or 150 cc finely chopped leftover beef
2 chicken livers
5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
150 cc milk
150 cc heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

500 cc tomato sauce (Salsa di Podomori)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cut in tiny pieces

On a floured board or cloth, roll out the pasta dough until it is paper thin, then cut it into about 36 rectangles of 5 by 7 cm. Bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil over high heat in a large soup pot or kettle. Drop in the pieces of pasta and stir gently with a wooden fork or spoon for a few moments to be sute they don't stick to one another or to the pot. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but not soft. Drain, cool slightly, then spread the pasta pieces side by side on paper towels to dry.

Heat the olive oil in an 20 - 25 cm enameled or stainless-steel skillet. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for 7 or 8 minutes until they are soft but not brown. Stit in the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes. When all moisture has boiled away and the spinach sticks lightly to the pan, ttansfer to a large bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet and lightly brown the beef, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Add it to the onion-spinach mixture. Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter in the skillet and cook the livers, turning them often, for 3 or 4 minutes, until they are somewhat firm, lightly browned but still pink inside. Chop them coarsely, and add to the mixture in the bowl along with the Parmesan, cream, eggs and oregano. Mix the ingtedients gently but thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

In a heavy 2 - 3 liters saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Pour in the milk and cream all at once, whisking constantly until the flour is partially dissolved. Then return the pan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. When the sauce comes to a boil and is smooth, reduce the heat. Simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes longer, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the wires of the whisk heavily. Remove the sauce from the heat, and season with salt and white pepper.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place a tablespoon or so of the filling on the bottom third of each of the pasta rectangles and roll them up. Pour just a film of the tomato sauce into two 25 - 35 cm shallow baking-and-serving dishes. Lay the cannelloni side by side in one layer on the tomato sauce. Pour the besciamella over it and spoon the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Scatter in 4 tablespoons of grated cheese and dot with 2 tablespoons of buttet. Bake the cannelloni uncovered in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbling. Slide the baking dishes under a hot broiler for 30 seconds to brown the top. Setve the cannelloni ftom the baking dish.
NOTE: The pasta can be cooked, spread between 2 layers of wax paper, and refrigerated for a day or 2. The cannelloni, filled and combined with its sauce, also can be refrigerated—tightly wrapped in plastic or foil—up to 2 days. The cannelloni may be sauced differently by reversing the above order: after laying the cannelloni in the thin layer of tomato sauce, cover them with the rest of the tomato sauce and pour the besciamella over the dish. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with butter, and bake.

Cavoli in Agrodolce

To serve 5
3 tablespoons olive oil
20 - 30 g thinly sliced onions
700 g cabbage, cut in 6 mm strips
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
Fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Cook the onion with olive oil in medium heat, stir it 2 - 3 minutes until the onion look transparent but not brown. Pour in the cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Keep cooking until the cabbage is tender for 15 - 20 minutes.Dust the sugar on top of the cabbage and cook a minute or 2 longer. Serve in a heated bowl, either as a vegetable accompanying a fish or meat course or as a separate dish preceding the main course.

Crostrata di Ricotta
Ricotta Cheese Pie

To make 25 centimeter round pie

Pie Skin
300 gr unsifted all-purpose wheat flour
120 gr butter
5 egg yolks
30-40 gr cane sugar
30 gr dry Marsala
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt

1400 gr ricotta cheese, rubbed through a sieve

60-80 gr sugar
20 gr wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
5 egg yolks
1 tablespoon white raisins, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon diced candied orange peel
1 tablespoon diced candied citron
2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds or pine nuts
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Pastry Pie:
Put 300 gr flour inside a big bowl, make a cavity in the middle, put in butter, egg yolks, sugar , Marsala, lemon peel and salt.Mix them all with low speed until it form a tender dough. If It's too soft and sticky , put it inside refrigerator for 1-2 hr at 5 - 10 Celcius.If you like old fashioned traditional feels in the pie , let a bit un-uniformity in the dough.Put aside 1/4 part of the dough , dust it with flour , wrap it with plastic and store it in refrigerator.Form a thick disc with the rest of the dough. Make sure we put enough flour dusting on the rolling board / table and on both sides of the dough. Roll from middle to rear, gradually . Turn the dough after every stroke or one pass of rolling to make sure it doesn't stick. Re-dust underneath it necessary.Aim to shape a disc from the dough 3 - 4 mm thick and 33 - 35 cm diameter.Put the dough disc in a 25 cm pie - pan with removable side rim 4 - 5 cm depth, that already covered with thin layer of butter evenly, pree it gently so the disc is not torn out, cut the excessive dough around the top.Take the 1/4 part of the remaining dough, roll it to form rectangular shape, cut it to 7 - 10 mm width ribbon shaped, 3 - 4 mm thick , 20 - 30 cm long.

Mix well Ricotta Cheese, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, freshly grated orange peel and egg yolk.Put in raisins,candied orange peel and citron, stirr it lightly.Set oven temperature to 175 Celcius. Fill the Pastry Pie dough in the pan with this mixture, flatten the top with soft plastic spatula, spread the almond or pine nuts on the surface. Decorate the top with diamond - shaped spacious weaving from the ribbon dough. Coat the weaved ribbons with egg white and water mixture.Put inside the oven, bake it a bit more than 1 hour, observe the colour to be light brown and the filling set well.Remove the pie from the pan by slide down the side rim. Let it cool down, than remove the bottom part.Serve along with fresh grape fruits.

Fettuccine al Burro

120 g butter, softened
40 cc heavy cream
40 g Parmesan cheese powder
8 liter water
1 tablespoon salt
500 g fettucini ,freshly made (see Pasta con Uova) or instant
1 canned white truffle, fine slices or chopped
Parmesan cheese as dust topping

Beat the softened butter in a mixing bowl, then while still beating it, add in cream gradually. Still beating the mixture , add in the cheese powder gradually. We use this mixture as the sauce. It can be used instantly , or to be kept in refrigerator , as long as before we use it with fettucine , we have to let it thaw in room temperature.Heat the serving bowl in an ovenSet a large serving bowl or casserole in a 250° oven to heat while you cook the fettuccine. Bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil in a large soup pot or kettle. Drop in the fettuccine and stir it gently with a wooden fork for a few moments to prevent the strands from sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. (Test it by tasting; it should be soft but al dente—that is, slightly resistant to the bite.) Immediately drain the fettuccine into a colander and lift the strands with 2 forks to make sure it is thoroughly drained. Transfer it at once to the hot serving bowl.Add the creamed butter-and-cheese mixture and toss it with the fettuccine until every strand is well coated. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the optional truffle. Serve the fettuccine at once. Pass the extra grated cheese in a separate bowl.

Fritto Misto

To serve 6

150 cc all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
120 cc warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 pair calf's sweetbreads
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegarSalt
1 whole chicken breast, boned
1 small cauliflower
500 g eggplant
500 g zucchini
300 g box frozen artichoke hearts, thoroughly defrosted
Vegetable oil or shortening for deep-fat frying
Lemon quarters

Combine the flour, warm water, 3 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl, stirring gently but constantly until the ingredients form a fairly smooth cream. Do not beat or overstir. For best results, set the batter aside and let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, although it may be used at once if necessary. The 1 egg white should be beaten with a wire whisk or rotary beater until it is stiff enough to form unwavering peaks and folded into the batter just before using.Soak the pair of sweetbreads in several changes of cold water for 1 hour; then place them in a 2 - 3 liters saucepan, add 1 liter of fresh cold water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, reduce the heat and simmer the sweetbreads uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove them from the heat, drain and plunge them immediately into cold water for a few minutes to cool them. Drain them again and pat them dry with paper towels. Gently remove as much of the outside filament of the sweetbreads as possible without tearing them. Separate the two lobes from the tube between them and discard the tube. Cut the sweetbreads into 2 cm cubes.Skin the chicken breast and cut the meat into strips about 5 cm long and 1 cm wide. Divide the cauliflower into small flowerets, place the flowerets in a saucepan with 2 or 3 quarts of boiling salted water and let them boil briskly for 3 minutes. Then plunge them into cold water and drain them. Peel the eggplant and zucchini and cut them into 1 cm strips; toss them with 2 tablespoons of salt to draw out their moisture and set them aside in a colander to drain. Dry and quarter the artichoke hearts.Heat 7 - 10 cm of oil or shortening in a deep-fat fryer to 190°C. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 120°C and line 2 large shallow baking dishes or baking sheets with paper towels. Dry the eggplant and zucchini strips with paper towels and place them with the sweetbread cubes, strips of chicken breast, cauliflower flowerets and quartered artichoke hearts where you can get at them easily.Deep-fry the sweetbreads, chicken and vegetables separately: Drop 5 or 6 pieces at a time into the batter—into which you have just folded the beaten egg white. When they are well coated, lift the pieces out, one by one, with tongs or a slotted spoon. Hold them over the bowl for a second to let the excess batter drain off before placing them in the frying basket. Deep-fry, turning the pieces once or twice, for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown. With tongs, transfer the browned pieces to a paper-towel-lined baking dish to drain, and place in the oven to keep warm. Then dip the next batch into the batter and deep-fry it. When the last piece is fried and drained, arrange the fritto misto as attractively as you can on a napkin-lined platter and serve it garnished with lemon quarters.

Funghi Marinati

To make about 200 cc

70 cc olive oil
50 cc water
Juice of 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, bruised with the flat of a knife
6 peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt
500 g small whole fresh mushrooms

Combine the 70 cc of olive oil, 50 cc of water, juice of 2 lemons, bay leaf, bruised garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt in a 25 - 30 cm enameled or stainless-steel skillet, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain this marinade through a sieve and return it to the skillet; bring to a simmer over low heat. Drop the mushrooms into the marinade and simmer, turning them over from time to time, for 5 minutes.Let the mushrooms cool in the marinade. Serve them at room temperature or, after they have cooled, refrigerate them and serve them cold. (The mushrooms will keep in the refrigerator at least 2 days.) Before serving, lift the mushrooms out of the marinade with a slotted spoon, draining them carefully, and arrange them on a platter or in a serving bowl. Serve as part of an antipasto.

Italian Wines
Wine in Italy , means Chianti . Right ? - wrong.

In Italy we can find so many different wines,which available at reasonable prices. Some examples from so many range that we can find are :

BARBARESCO, a red winw from Turin, strong wine. Good if we have it along barbeque.

BAROLO, the most well known Piedmontese red wine, gentle but great taste, high alcohol content. Better if we store them for few years.

BROLIO, one of the well known Chianti dassico, very distinctive classic taste of Tuscan.

CHIANTI often associated with classic Tuscany Chianti dassico.It's more fruity fresh taste, different from a Chianti dassico.

FREISA, a red wine from Piedmont, bite lighty in our tongue with fresh fruity flavor.

BARDOLINO, a red wine with warm and bitter taste, came from around Lake Garda, near Verona.

FRASCATI, the most common wine from Rome, affordable, with many varying taste, either it's sore or gentle.

ORVIETO, a white wine from Umbria, is has a very nice fruity taste.available in dry and semisweet.

GRIGNOLINO,from Piedmont, a very well known distinctive Italian red wine.Comes along very well with meat meals.

VALPOLICELLA, a red dark wine from Verona, very classy mild taste.

VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLi Di JEST, from Marches in middle of Italy, a white wine ,dry and slightly bitter.Well known in a dine with fish dishes.

RAVELLO ROSATO ,a fresh fruity taste from Salerno.

SOAVE, one of the best Italian white wine from Verona, very distinctive light flavour.


To serve 8

80 cc dry white beans
4 tablespoons butter
150 cc fresh green peas (about 500 g unshelled)
150 cc diced unpeeled but scrubbed zucchini (about 250 g )
150 cc diced carrots
150 cc diced potatoes
50 cc thinly sliced celery
60-70 g salt pork, diced2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
75 cc finely chopped leeks
300 cc drained canned whole-pack tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 liters chicken stock
1 bay leaf and 2 parsley sprigs, tied together 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
75 cc plain white raw rice

1 tablespoon finely cut fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
75 cc freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 1 liter of water to a bubbling boil in a heavy 3 - 4 lt saucepan. Add the 80 cc of beans (either marrow, Great Northern, white kidney or navy) and boil them briskly for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak undisturbed in the water for 1 hour. Then return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans thoroughly and set them aside in a bowl.Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 25 - 30 cm skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes and celery. Tossing the vegetables constantly with a wooden spoon, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until they are all lightly coated with butter but not browned. Set aside.Render the salt pork dice by frying them in a 6 - 8 liters soup pot or kettle over moderate heat, stirring frequently. When the pork dice are crisp and brown, lift them out with a slotted spoon and set them aside to drain on paper towels. Stir the onions and leeks (or if leeks are unavailable, substitute another 1/2 cup of onions) into the fat remaining in the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 7 or 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned. Stir in the coarsely chopped tomatoes, the vegetables from the skillet, the chicken stock, the bay leaf and parsley sprigs, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.Remove and discard the bay leaf and parsley sprigs, add the rice, white beans and salt pork dice and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the rice is tender. Taste the soup and season it with salt and pepper if needed. Serve, sprinkled with the herb and garlic garnish. Pass a bowl of the grated cheese separately.

Ostriche all' Italiana

To serve 5

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh, white bread crumbs (madefrom about 3 slices of French or
Italian bread)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leaf Italian type
2 dozen fresh oysters, shucked, or defrosted frozen oysters
3 tablespoons freshly grated importedParmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cut in tiny pieces

Preheat the oven to 230°C. Use a heat resistance serving pan 25 - 30 cm. Layer the pan with 1-2 mm layer of butter.In another frying pan , melt 2 tablespoons of butter with medium heat.When the foam separate , add bread crumbs and garlic.Fry them until light brown colour appear. Dust in the fine parsley while stirring.Spread about 2/3 of this mixture into the baking pan. Arrange the oysters to cover it in 1 layer. Mix the rest of the bread-crumb mixture with the grated cheese and spread the mixture on the oysters. Spread a thin layer of butter on top of it.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the juices in the dish are bubbling. Serve at once, either as a main course or as part of the antipasto.

Pesche Ripiene
Macaroons filled Peaches

To serve 6

6 medium ripe peaches
1 handfull macaroons, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Blanch the peaches, 2 at a time, in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Lift them out with a clamp, dip into cold water and peel off the skins with a knife. Cut the peaches in half, and remove the pits. Make the inner part of the half hollow or make a deep cavity with a sharp spoon. Add the peach pulp that we took when we dig the cavity to the crushed macaroons, then stir in the sugar, butter and egg yolks. Stuff the peach halves with the macaroon mixture. Arrange the peach halves side by side in a buttered 8-by-10-inch baking dish or on an ovenproof platter, and bake them for about 25 minutes, or until they are just tender. Baste with sugar syrup from the pan during baking. Serve hot or cold.


To serve 6

1200 - 1500 cc water
2 teaspoons salt
200 g fine polenta or yellow corn meal

Boil the water and salt , after plenty of bubbles appear, put in gradually the corn meal. Make sure the water keep boiling and stirred well when pouring in the polenta.Keep stirring on top of reduced heat until the mixing spoon can be held standing by the polenta.The polenta can be served at once with gravy, butter and cheese, or tomato sauce.

Polpette alla Casalinga

To serve 4 to 6
2 slices French or Italian bread, torn into small pieces
50 cc milk
500 g beef chuck, ground twice
120 g sweet Italian sausage,removed from casing
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leafItalian type
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon saltF
reshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive or vegetable oil

Soak the pieces of bread in 50 cc milk for 5 minutes, then squeeze them dry and discard the milk. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soaked bread, the beaten egg, 500 g of ground beef, 120 g of Italian sausage meat, grated Parmesan cheese, finely chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, lemon peel, allspice, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Knead the mixture vigorously with both hands or beat with a wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are well blended and the mixture is smooth and fluffy.Shape the mixture into small balls about 4 cm in diameter. Lay the meatballs out in one layer on a flat tray or baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.Heat V4 cup of olive or vegetable oil in a heavy 25 - 30 cm skillet until a light haze forms over it. Fry the meatballs 5 or 6 at a time over moderately high heat, shaking the pan constantly to roll the balls and help keep them round. In 8 to 10 minutes the meatballs should be brown outside and show no trace of pink inside. Add more olive or vegetable oil to the skillet as it is needed. Serve the meatballs hot with tomato sauce ( Salsa di Podomori ) or tomato and garlic sauce ( Salsa Pizzaiola ).

Prosciutto Fresco Brasato al Marsala


To serve 5

40 g dry Marsala

60 cc olive oil

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1.5 - 2 kg fresh ham,drumstick / lump

40 - 50 g coarse chopped onions

30 - 40 g coarse chopped carrots

30 - 40 g coarse chopped celery

30 - 40 cc olive oil

500 cc beef stock

1 tablespoon arrowroot

2 tablespoons dry Marsala


Black pepper

Mix 40 g marsala, olive oil , lemon juice and bay leave in a big bowl. Marinade the ham in the mixture , turn them 3 - 5 times, 6 - 8 hours in open air or 12 hours in refrigerator.Set oven temperature to 175-180°C. Clean the ham from the marinade with towel or kitchen paper towel. Gather the marinade back to the bowl.Mix chopped onions, carrots and celery and chopped them together untuil a fine particle mixture is formed.( Italian call it battuto if raw , soffritto if cooked ).Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium depth non-stick pan that big enough for the whole ham.Cook and stir in the battuto with medium flame for 5 - 10 minutes until the colour set. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy 25 - 30 cm skillet until a light haze forms over the oil. Brown the ham in the skillet, starting it fat side down and turning it with 2 wooden spoons. When it is a golden-brown color all over, place the ham on top of the soffritto in the casserole and insert a meat thermometer deep into the thickest part of the meat.Remove almost all of the fat from the skillet, leaving just a film on the bottom. Pour in the strained marinade and boil it briskly over high heat, stirring and scraping in any browned bits that cling to the pan. When the marinade has reduced to about half its original quantity, add it to the casserole along with the beef stock. If the liquid does not come 1/3 of the way up the side of the ham, add more stock. Bring the casserole to a boil on top of the stove, cover and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Braise the ham until the thermometer reaches 85° C—which would take 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Move the ham to a heated platter, and let it rest for about 15 minutes to make carving easier.Strain the sauce from the casserole through a fine sieve into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan, pressing'down hard on the vegetables to extract all their juices before discarding them. Skim the surface of fat, then bring the sauce to a simmer over moderate heat. Mix the arrowroot with 2 additional tablespoons of Marsala and, when the arrowroot has dissolved, stir it into the simmering sauce. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and clears. Do not let it boil. Taste the sauce for seasoning. Carve the ham into thin slices and arrange the slices in a row on a heated serving platter. Pour a few tablespoons of the sauce over the ham before serving it, and pass the rest separately.

Scaloppine al Limone


To serve 4

700 g veal scallops, cut 1 cm thick and pounded until 6 mm thick


Freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

120 cc beef stock

6 thin lemon slices

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons soft butter

Season the veal scallops with salt and pepper, then dip them in flour and shake off the excess. In a heavy 25 - 30 cm skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the 3 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the veal, 4 or 5 scallops at a time, and saute them for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. With tongs, transfer the veal scallops to a plate. Now pour off almost all the fat from the skillet, leaving a thin film on the bottom. Add 60 cc of beef stock and boil it briskly for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping in any browned bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the veal to the skillet and arrange the lemon slices on top. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the veal is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.To serve, transfer the scallops to a heated platter and surround with the lemon slices. Add the 60 cc of remaining beef stock to the juices in the skillet and boil briskly until the stock is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, swirl in 2 tablespoons of soft butter and pour the sauce over the scallops.

Scaloppine al Marsala


To serve 4

700 g veal scallops, sliced 1 cm thick and pounded to 6 mm


Fresh black pepper


2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

50 cc dry Marsala

50 cc chicken or beef stock, fresh or canned

2 tablespoons soft butter

Season the veal scallops with salt and pepper, then dip them in flour and vigorously shake off the excess. In a heavy 25 - 30 cm skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the 3 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the scallops, 3 or 4 at a time, and brown them for about 3 minutes on each side. After they have browned, transfer them from the skillet to a plate.Pour off most of the fat from the skillet, leaving a thin film on the bottom. Add the Marsala and 25 cc of chicken or beef stock and boil the liquid briskly over high heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Scrape in any browned fragments clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the veal to the skillet, cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, basting the veal now and then with the pan juices.To serve, transfer the scallops to a heated platter. Add 25 cc of stock to the sauce remaining in the skillet and boil briskly, scraping in the browned bits sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan. When the sauce has reduced considerably, and has the consistency of a syrupy glaze, taste it for seasoning. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in 2 tablespoons of soft butter, and pour the sauce over the scallops.

Vitello Tonnato


To serve 6 to 8

A 1500 - 2000 g boneless veal roast,securely tied

3 flat anchovy fillets, cut into 2 cm lengths

1 to 2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers

1 liter chicken stock

300 cc dry white wine

300 cc water

2 onions, quartered

2 carrots, cut up

3 celery stalks, cut up

2 bay leaves

6 parsley sprigs

10 whole peppercorns


120 cc olive oil

1 egg yolk

100 g can tuna fish, preferably Italian tuna packed in olive oil

4 flat anchovy fillets, drained and soaked in water for 10 minutes, then cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons lemon juice

40 cc heavy cream

40 - 70 cc cup cooled, strained veal-braising stock (from above)

2 tablespoons capers, thoroughly washed and drained


White pepper


2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leafItalian type

2 lemons, sliced

2 tablespoons capers

12 black olives, preferably Mediterranean style

With a small sharp knife, make deep incisions along the length of the veal and insert a 1-inch piece of anchovy and a sliver of garlic in each one. Blanch the veal in a large pot by covering it with cold water and boiling it over high heat for 1 minute. Pour off the water and quickly rinse the meat of its scum in cold watet.Place the veal in a heavy saucepan or pot just large enough to hold it comfortably. Add the chicken stock, wine, water, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns. If the liquid does not quite cover the meat completely, add more chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the veal slowly, partially covered, for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until the veal is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the pan from the heat and let the veal cool in the stock. Ladle out about 70 cc cup of the stock, strain it through a fine sieve, and set it aside in a cup or bowl to cool.Meanwhile, prepare the tuna sauce. If you have a blender, all you need to do is to combine all of the olive oil, the egg yolk, tuna fish, 4 anchovy fillets and lemon juice in the jar of the blender and whirl the ingredients at high speed for no more than 10 seconds, or until the mixture is a puree. Transfer it to a small mixing bowl and stir in the cteam gradually. Add the cooled, strained braising stock from the veal 2 tablespoons at a time until the sauce is thinned to the consistency of heavy cream. You probably will need about 4 tablespoons of the braising stock in all. Stir in the capers. Taste the sauce for seasoning.If you do not use a blender, chop the tuna fish and anchovies by hand; then, using the back of a wooden spoon, force them through a fine sieve into a small bowl. With a wire whisk, rotary or electric beater, beat the egg yolk in another small bowl for 1 or 2 minutes. Stir the puree and lemon juice into the egg yolk, then dribble in the olive oil 1 teaspoonful at a time, beating constantly. After adding 40 cc of the oil, the sauce should be very thick and smooth. Add the remaining ¥2 cup of olive oil, 1 table-spoon at a time, still beating. Then mix in the cream and enough of the cooled stock to thin the sauce to the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the capers and taste for seasoning.When the veal is cool, transfer it to a carving board. Strain the braising stock and refrigerate for use in soups or sauces. Trim the veal of any fat or gristle and cut the meat into thin, even slices. Spread a thin film of tuna sauce in the bottom of a large platter or baking dish and arrange the veal in the sauce, laying the slices side by side. Pour the rest of the sauce over the veal, smoothing it with a spatula to mask each slice. Cover the platter with plastic wrap and refrigerate the vitello tonnato for at least 2 or 3 hours—overnight, or longer, if possible.About 1 hour before serving, remove the veal from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Arrange the slices so that they overlap as neatly as possible in a circle on a large serving platter. Spoon all of the sauce over them. Sprinkle the veal and sauce with the chopped parsley, and garnish the platter with lemon slices, capers and black olives. Other possibilities for garnishing the vitello tonnato are sliced scallions, tomatoes or hard-cooked egg quarters.

Salsa Pizzaiola


To make about 500 cc

3 tablespoons olive oil

150 cc finely chopped onions

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

600 cc Italian plum or whole-pack tomatoes, coarsely chopped but not drained

170 g can tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 tablespoon finely cut fresh basil or1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a 3 - 4 liters enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, heat the 3 table-spoons of olive oil and cook the finely chopped onions in it over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 7 or 8 minutes. When the onions are soft and transparent but are not brown, add the tablespoon of finely chopped garlic and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then stir in the coarsely chopped tomatoes and their liquid, the tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaf, sugar, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat very low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.When finished, the sauce should be thick and fairly smooth. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you wish a smoother texture, puree the sauce through a food mill, or rub it through a sieve with the back of a large wooden spoon.


To make 4 pan 25 cm pizzas

2 packages or cakes of dry or compressed yeast

Pinch of sugar

200 cc lukewarm water

500 cc all-purpose or granulated wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

120 cc olive oil

Corn meal

300 cc pizza sauce (Salsa Pizzaiola)

500 g mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated or cut in 6 mm dice

80 cc freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar into 40 cc of lukewarm water. Be sure that the water is lukewarm (43°- 45°C). Let it stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir the yeast and sugar into the water until completely dissolved. Set the cup in a warm place (a turned-off oven would be best) for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles up and the mixture almost doubles in volume. If the yeast does not bubble, start over again with fresh yeast.Into a large mixing bowl, sift the all-purpose flour and salt, or pour in the granulated flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour into it the yeast mixture, 150 cc of lukewarm water and 40 cc of the olive oil. Mix the dough with a fork or your fingers. When you can gather it into a rough ball, place the dough on a floured board and knead it for about 15 minutes, or until it is smooth, shiny and elastic. (If you have an electric mixer with a paddle and dough hook, all the ingredients can be placed in a bowl and, at medium speed, mixed with the paddle until they are combined. Then at high speed knead them with the dough hook for 6 to 8 minutes.) Dust the dough lightly with flour, place it in a large clean bowl and cover with a plate or pot lid. Set the bowl in a warm draft-free spot (again, an oven with the heat turned off is ideal) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.Now preheat the oven to 260°C. Punch the dough down with your fists and break off about one fourth of it to make the first of the 4 pizzas. Knead the small piece on a floured board or pastry cloth for a minute or so, working in a little flour if the dough seems sticky. With the palm of your hand, flatten the ball into a circle about 2 cm thick. Hold the circle in your hands and stretch the dough by turning the circle and pulling your hands apart gently at the same time. When the circle is about 17 - 20 cm across, spread it out on the floured board again and pat it smooth, pressing together any tears in the dough. Then roll the dough with a rolling pin, from the center to the far edge, turning it clockwise after each roll, until you have a circle of pastry about 25 cm across and about 3 mm thick. With your thumbs, crimp or flute the edge of the circle until it forms a little rim. Dust a large baking sheet lightly with corn meal and gently place the pizza dough on top of it. Knead, stretch and roll the rest of the dough into 3 more pizzas. Pour 70 cc of the tomato sauce on each pie and swirl it around with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. To make a cheese pizza, sprinkle the sauce with 70 cc of grated mozzarella and 2 table-spoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Dribble 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the pizza and bake it on the lowest shelf or the floor of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and the filling bubbling hot.


You may top the pizza with almost any sort of seafood, meat or vegetable you like, using or omitting the mozzarella or Parmesan. Swirl the pie with ¥2 cup of tomato sauce first, as for a cheese pizza. Then top with such garnishes as shrimp, anchovies, sausage or peperoni slices, prosciutto slivers, tiny meatballs, garlic slices, strips of green pepper, capers, whole or sliced mushrooms. They may be used alone or in suitable combinations. Dribble 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the pizza after garnishing and before baking it.