domenica 26 maggio 2013

Tributo a Salvatore Fisichella

Ecco un tributo tardivo al grandissimo tenore catanese, SALVATORE FISICHELLA, che ha compiuto 70 anni un paio di settimane fa. Godete queste arie da Guglielmo Tell, Puritani, Beatrice di Tenda, Roberto Devereux, La bohème, Faust, e altri. Bravo Maestro, e Buon Compleanno!

Here is a belated tribute to the great tenor from Catania, Sicily, SALVATORE FISICHELLA, who turned 70 years old a couple of weeks ago.  Enjoy these arias from William Tell, Puritani, Beatrice di Tenda, Roberto Devereux, La bohème, Faust, and others. Bravo Maestro, and Happy Birthday!

Come Polline nella Norma / As Pollione in Norma
Con un’altro tenore dalla provincia di Catania — forse avete sentito nominare — Giuseppe Di Stefano.
With another tenor from the province of Catania — perhaps you've heard of him — Giuseppe Di Stefano.

(Le due foto da / The two photos from

giovedì 23 maggio 2013

Stuffed Polpettoni!

Welcome to our 150th post!

I wanted to post something special for this little milestone.  Clearly, these stuffed polpettoni by that wonderful foodblogger from Siracusa, Sicily, Veronica (Dolci Armonie), fit the bill.

Many of Veronica’s recipes were from her wonderful grandmother.  Naturally, I see the word nonna and I get choked up.  But without any further ado, Polpettoni Ripiene by Veronica.

Le Polpettoni Ripiene “Calate nella Salsa”
(Large, stuffed meatballs “lowered into the sauce”)
translated by Leonardo Ciampa

Buongiorno a tutti!!! Today, a little recipe that belongs to the tradition of my family and I’m sure of many of yours: le polpette in salsa di pomodoro. A bounty that, for me personally, makes me happy when I eat it. Usually we make them simple, but this time I wanted to try the stuffed version that my grandmother used to make.

When I cooked them, my husband said, “Whoa! They look like mazzacani!” For those of you who aren’t Sicilian, “mazzacani” are the gigantic boulders that they use to build buildings.  Yes, as a matter of fact they are gigantic!  When you put them on the plate, they seem like something out of an episode of Man v. Food. But I assure you that they are not heavy at all. In fact, they are very soft; after having eaten one, my husband had seconds.

Ingredients for 6 polpettoni

For the meatball mixture:
500 g lean ground veal
1 egg, organic
100 g freshly-grated Bella Lodi*
4 sliced stale bread, without the crust
c. 10 oz. milk
Freshly-ground black pepper

For the filling:
1 mozzarella fior di latte, cut in little cubes
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
100 g prosciutto, cut in cubes

For the tomato sauce:
500 mL purée of fresh tomatoes
1 TB tomato paste
½ onion
Extra-virgin olive oil

* Translator’s note: Bella Lodi is a type of Grana. Naturally you can substitute Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, etc.  And if, by chance, you can find a Pecorino Siciliano ... — L. C.


Prepare the meatball mixture by placing the veal, egg, grated cheese, and stale bread which you have already softened in milk and broken apart. Mix well. Adjust the salt and pepper.

Take a little of the mixture, flatten it like a patty in the palm of your hand.  In the center, place 3 cubes of prosciutto, 1 slice of egg, and 1 cube of mozzarella. Close the edges towards the center, forming a ball.

In a large pan, heat some oil, and sauté the onion until blonde. Add the paste and c. 4 oz. water. When the paste is dissolved, add the fresh purée and enough water to fill half the pan. Stir well, bring to a boil, and gently arrange the polpettoni into the sauce, being sure the keep space between them. Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes until the sauce cooks down.

Serve the polpettoni hot, accompanied by the sauce and lots of good bread. Buon appetito!

Translator's Note II: This dish goes very well with beautiful Sicilian folk music! Enjoy!

Farfalle (Bowties) with Gorgonzola & Walnut Paste

Gorgonzola & walnuts: one of the greatest culinary matrimonies that I know — up there with tomatoes & basil, chicken & tarragon ... and for my American readers, chocolate & peanut butter!

This combination was especially on my mind since my last post about spaghetti with goat cheese.  You could do no better than this wonderful recipe by Laura Tulimiero, which she recently published on her wonderful blog, Matematica e Cucina. Here, with Laura's gracious permission, I offer my English translation.  Buon pranzo!

Translated by Leonardo Ciampa

Walnuts and gorgonzola are a scrumptious combination.  Experiment with it in this very simple first course — an idea for tomorrow's dinner.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

180 g (c. 6.5 oz.) farfalle (bowties), or another pasta of that type
70 g gorgonzola
a little bit of milk

For the walnut paste: 
15 walnuts
50 g fresh-grated parmigiano
c. 3 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove


In a food processor, grind the nuts, garlic, and parmigiano, adding the oil slowly, until the paste has reached the desired consistency. 

In a skillet, on low heat, melt the gorgonzola with a little milk.

Add the paste and stir.

Cook the pasta, strain it and add it to the skillet, stirring on high heat.  Once mixed, serve it onto the plates, garnishing each plate with half a walnut and a little piece of gorgonzola.  Buon appetito!

martedì 21 maggio 2013

Spaghetti with goat cheese

Photo: Wikipedia

Quick ... simple ... delicious.


1 lb spaghetti
4 (or more) oz. chèvre
freshly-grated pecorino or parmigiano
freshly-ground black pepper
freshly-ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
extra-virgin olive oil


While the spaghetti is boiling, put a bowl over the pan.  Put all the other ingredients in the bowl.  When the spaghetti are done, don't strain them.  Remove them with tongs and transfer them to the bowl.  Doing so, a little of the cooking water will travel with the spaghetti and enter the bowl.  If it's still too dry, you can add ½ C cooking water to the bowl. Mix well and buon appetito!

This method — putting the bowl on top of the pan — is conducive to another cheese: gorgonzola.  And if you've never tasted pasta with gorgonzola and walnuts, you haven't lived.   Be it on pasta or on a salad, gorgonzola and walnuts make a marvelous pair.  Laura Tulimiero, author of the fabulous foodblog, “Matematica e Cucina” ( ), offers an excellent recipe for pasta with gorgonzola and walnuts:

Other variants

If by chance you happen to have smoked paprika, a few shakes of that would be divine. The smoked flavor pairs with the chèvre in a wonderful way.

Perhaps it's obvious that you can substitute ricotta for the chèvre. In fact, with supermarket ricotta, one always needs good methods for gently heating it. This is one.

Spaghetti al caprino

Photo: Wikipedia

Veloce ... semplice ... delizioso.  


500 g spaghetti
125 (o di più) g caprino
pecorino oppure parmigiano, frescamente grattugiato
pepe nero, frescamente macinato
noce moscata, frescamente macinata
una foglia d’alloro
olio d’oliva extravergine


Mentre si bolliscono gli spaghetti, mettete una ciotola sopra la pentola. Mettete dentro la ciotola tutti gli altri ingredienti.  Quando gli spaghetti sono pronti, non scolarli.  Rimuoverli con le molle e trasferirli nella ciotola. Facendo così, un po’ dell’acqua viaggia con gli spaghetti ed entra la ciotola.  Se dopo questo gli spaghetti siano ancora troppo asciutti, potete aggiungere 125 mL dell’acqua.  Mescolate bene e buon appetito!

Questo metodo — mettere la ciotola sopra la pentola — favorisce un altro formaggio: la gorgonzola.  E se non abbiate mai assaggiato la pasta con la gorgonzola e le noci, non avreste ancora vissuto.  Sia sopra la pasta, sia in un’insalata, la gorgonzola e le noci fanno una coppia meravigliosa. Laura Tulimiero, autrice del favoloso foodblog, “Matematica e Cucina” ( ), offre un’eccellente ricetta per la pasta con la gorgonzola e le noci:

Altri varianti

Se per caso abbiate una paprica affumicata (peperoncino polverizzato e affumicato), qualche gramma di questa sarebbe divino.  L’affumicatura si abbina con il caprino in un modo fantastico.

Forse è ovvio che si può sostituire la ricotta per il caprino.  Infatti, con la ricotta dal supermercato, ci vogliono sempre i buoni metodi per riscaldarla leggermente.  Questo ne è uno.

lunedì 20 maggio 2013


Yesterday I had many leftover pork cutlets, which I'd made with juniper sauce. Usually I make croquettes with the meat from the chicken stock. But I wondered, "If instead I used these pork cutlets, already flavored by the wine and orange and juniper berries ..."

The other advantage of the pork is: to remove the bones from the cutlets is much easier than removing them from the chicken.

Anastasia Grimaldi, author of the excellent foodblog, "Any secret..." (, gave me two ideas: (1) make the croquettes in the shape of little cylinders, instead of balls; and (2) roll the croquettes not in breadcrumbs but in corn flour, to make a nice crust. Unfortunately -- and perhaps you can see this in the photos -- I had only a combination of fine and coarse. The crust was a little gritty at times! Be sure to use only the fine flour.


Leftover meat
Eggs (c. 1 egg per 1/2 lb. of meat)
Freshly-ground black pepper
Freshly-ground nutmeg
Garlic (optional)
Parsley (optional)
Homemade breadcrumbs (or sliced of stale bread*)
Grated cheese (or pieces of grating cheese*)
Fine corn flour
Extra-virgin olive oil, or homemade lard

* = Everything will go into the food processor; therefore, you can put whole pieces.


In the food processor, put all the ingredients except the last three. Put a few drops of water in your hand,  form the little cylinders, roll them in the corn flour, fry them in oil or lard, and when they are browned, buon appetito!

As a snack, or as a light second course, they are truly delicious!

Serve them with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Or, if you have leftover juniper/orange/wine sauce, you can use that. A third possible condiment is a yogurt/garlic/lemon sauce, Mediterranean-style. (But then again, lemon juice alone is the most Mediterranean condiment that there is.)

Califoirnian Lemons


Ieri avevo tante costolette avanzate di maiale, che avevo preparate alla salsa di ginepro. Di solito faccio le crocchette della carne del brodo di pollo. Ma mi sono domandato, “Se invece faccia le crocchette dal maiale, già insaporito del vino e dell’arancia e delle bacche di ginepro ...”

L’altro vantaggio del maiale è: rimuovere gli ossi delle costolette è molto più facile di rimuoverli dal pollo.

Anastasia Grimaldi, autrice dell’eccellente foodblog, “Any secret...” (, mi ha dato due idee: (1) fare le crocchette nella forma di cilindretti, invece di polpette; e (2) rotolare le crocchette non nel pangrattato ma nella farina di granturco, per fare un bell’esterno. Purtroppo — e forse vedrete questo nelle foto — avevo solo una combinazione di fina e grossolana. L’esterno è stato un po’ ghiaioso a volte! Fate sicuri di usarne solo la farina fina.


Uova (c. 1 uovo per ogni 250 g di carne)
Pepe nero, frescamente macinato
Noce moscata, frescamente macinata
Aglio (facoltativo)
Prezzemolo (facoltativo)
Pangrattato casereccio (oppure fette di pane raffermo*)
Formaggio grattugiato (oppure pezzi di formaggio da grattugiare*)
Farina fina di granturco
Olio d'oliva extravergine, oppure strutto casereccio

* = Tutto andrà nel robot; dunque, potete metterci pezzi interi.


Nel robot da cucina, mettete tutti gli ingredienti tranne gli ultimi tre. Mettete qualche goccia d’acqua nella mano, formate i cilindretti, rotolateli nella farina di granturco, fateli soffriggere in olio o strutto, e quando sono rosolati, buon appetito!

Come uno snack, o come un leggier secondo, sono veramente deliziosi!

Serviteli con succo di limone, frescamente spremuto. Oppure, se abbiate il sugo avanzato di ginepro/arancia/vino, potreste condire con quello. Una terza possibilità per condimento è una salsa  yogurt/aglio/limone, stile mediterraneo. (Ma d’altro canto, il succo di limone, da solo, è il condimento più mediterraneo che c’è.)

Limoni californiani

venerdì 17 maggio 2013

A little dinner for Carmine

There is no doubt in my mind that my great friend, Carmine Trubiano, was reincarnated from the Renaissance times — if not from the Roman times.  He speaks Latin.  He makes epicurean meals appear with the same ease that others heat up leftovers.  And do you not agree with me that his profile would look good on an ancient coin?  

One typical evening — very typical — he invited me over for "leftovers." The "leftovers" that he served me: An onion and zucchini omelette; a salad with romaine lettuce and homemade picked eggplant; minestrone; roast pork with Sicilian ciambotta; savoy cabbage; homemade meatballs (veal and pork) and sausages in a tomato sauce; thick garlic bread; white wine; red wine; white grapes from Argentina ...

Another time, I appeared on his doorstep uninvited.  He absolutely did not know I was coming.  No problem.  He went into the freezer.  He took out some homemade pasta.  While it was boiling he opened a can of plum tomatoes.  He made a sauce.  He went back to the freezer, took out a truffle, cut a little slice off of it, and put it in the sauce.  That was the first course.  For the second course, he went to the fridge and took out hamburgers – but not of beef, of meat from a deer that he himself shot. (This really happened!  I'm not making it up!)  Meanwhile, he went down to the cellar and brought up a bottle of excellent wine.  Then later, a "digestivo" which he himself made from vodka and little Japanese oranges ... You get the idea.

Every so often I like to reciprocate, even if I am not able to create banquets like he creates.  But this evening, I think that I offered a little dinner that was slightly opulent. 

Whole-wheat orzo, with chicken thighs, pepperoni, tomatoes, etc., cooked in the Creuset (click here for the recipe)

Pork cutlets in a juniper sauce (click here for the recipe)

Three vegetables, prepared in the Avellinese style (oil, garlic, chili pepper, and homemade chicken stock) (click here for the method)
1. Savoy cabbage
2. Red Swiss chard
3. Red dandelion greens

Tomato-basil chèvre
Applewood-smoked cheddar
Stoned wheat crackers


George Howell

Chateau du Trignon, 2010

Una cenetta per Carmine

Non c’è dubbio nella mia mente che il mio grande amico, Carmine Trubiano, sia reincarnato dai tempi rinascimentali — se non dai tempi romani.  Parla latino.  Fa apparire i pranzi epicurei con lo stesso agio che gli altri fanno riscaldare gli avanzi.  E non siete d’accordo con me che il suo profilo farebbe una bella figura su un’antica moneta?

Una sera tipica — tipicissima — lui m’invitò per gli “avanzi.” Gli “avanzi” che mi servì: Frittata con cipolla e zucchino; insalata con romana e melanzana sott’olio casereccia; minestrone; porchetta con ciambotta siciliana; verza strascinata; polpette caserecce (vitello e maiale) e salsicce al sugo di pomodoro; bruschetta all’aglio paesana; vino bianco; vino rosso; uve bianche dell’Argentina ...

Un’altra volta, apparii alla sua porta non invitato.  Assolutamente lui non seppe ch’io venissi. Nessun problema. Andò nel freezer.  Tirò fuori la pasta casereccia.  Mentre bolliva aprì una scatola di pelati.  Fece un sugo. Tornò al freezer, tirò fuori un tartufo, ne tagliò una fettina, la mise nel sugo.  Ecco il primo.  Per il secondo, tolse dal frigo gli hamburger — ma non di manzo, di un cervo che lui stesso sparò.  (Questo successe davvero! Non me lo invento!) Nel frattempo, scese nella cantina e salì qualche bottiglia di vino eccellente. Poi dopo, dal freezer, un “digestivo” fatto da lui stesso, dal vodka e le piccole arance giapponesi ... Be’, afferrate il messaggio.

Ogni tanto mi piace reciprocare, anche se io non sia capace di creare i banchetti che crea lui.  Ma stasera, credo di aver offerto una cenetta abbastanza opulento.

Orzo integrale, con le cosce di pollo, salamino piccante, pomodori, ecc., cotto nel Creuset (cliccate qua per la ricetta)

Costolette di maiale al ginepro (cliccate qua per la ricetta)

Tre verdure, preparate nello stile irpino (olio, aglio, peperoncino, e brodo di pollo casereccio)(cliccate qua per il metodo)
1. Verza
2. Bietola rossa
3. Tarassaco rosso

Caprino al pomodoro e basilico
Cheddar affumicato al melo
Cracker di grano frantumato


George Howell

Chateau du Trignon, 2010

mercoledì 15 maggio 2013

Un momento di poesia siciliana / A moment of Sicilian poetry

di Luigi Capuana (1839-1915)
by Luigi Capuana (1839-1915)
Sta notti mi sunnai quattru funtani,   Tonight I dreamt of four fountains
Quattru pedi d'aranciu a lu ciuriri; Of four orange trees about to blossom;
Vitti li stiddi scinniri e acchianari,   I saw the stars descend and ascend;
Vitti lu suli comu un lebbru jiri;   I saw the sun run like a hare;
Vitti n'aquila fina a lu vulari, I saw a fine eagle ready to soar,
Vitti lu cori tò npettu viniri; I saw your heart come into my breast;
Ca siddu mi putieva arrisbigghiari, And could I have awakened,
Nun ti l'avissi cchiù lassatu jiri. I would never have let you go.
Mineo, provincia di Catania. Capuana nacque qua; più tardi, venne eletto sindaco del comune.
(Cartellina c. 1900 dalla collezione dell’autore)
Mineo, in the province of Catania. Capuana was born here; later he was elected mayor of the town. 
(Postcard c. 1900 from the author's collection.)

Casa natale di Capuana, a Mineo (Foto: Wikipedia)
Birthplace of Capuana, in Mineo (Photo: Wikipedia)
Busto di Capuana ai Giardini Bellini, Catania (Foto: Wikipedia)
Bust of Capuana in the Bellini Gardens, Catania (Photo: Wikipedia)

martedì 14 maggio 2013

Nel vostro proprio cortile

Il mese scorso ho pubblicato una ricetta in cui ho tentato di dipingere la grande canzone tostiana, Aprile, non con la tavolazza di colori ma con il cibo.

Il bel testo di Pagliara parla delle cilestrine, piccoli fiori presumabilmente selvatici e di color azzurino. Non c’è una traduzione esatta per “cilestrina.”  Tentavo sempre d’immaginare il loro aspetto.

Ieri camminavo per strada a Brookline, ed ecco! Lì in un giardino crescevano questi fiorellini celesti. Erano ESATTAMENTE quei che mi figuravo in Aprile! (Ero tentato di raccogliermene alcuni e provare di ripiantarli nel mio proprio cortile.  Ma se per caso il proprietario guardasse dalla finesta in quel momento ...)

Oggi ero nel giardino mio, e voilà! Gli stessi fiori! (Guardate la foto sopra, che ho scattato stamattina.) Come mai non li osservavo prima?

La miglior parte: i fiori essendo selvatici, cominciano a diffondersi. Quasi 4 metri del mio cortile si addornano adesso di questi squisiti fiorellini.

Tanta della bellezza che cerchiamo nella vita si trova nel nostro proprio cortile.


Ho scritto quello ancora non sapendo il nome di questo fiore!  (Botanista non sono.)  Mille grazie all’amica e foodblogger, Beatrice Rossi (Beatitudini in Cucina), che m’informa che il fiore si chiama nontiscordardimé (Myosotis sylvatica). Mi fa venire in mente ancora un’altra canzone famosa!

Le due foto sono dell’autore (14 maggio 2013).

Right in your own backyard

Last month I posted a recipe in which I attempted to depict the great Tosti song Aprile not with paint but with food. 

The beautiful lyric by Pagliara speaks of cilestrine, small light-blue flowers (presumably wild).  There is no exact translation of cilestrine.  I have always tried to imagine exactly what those flowers would have looked like. 

Yesterday I was walking down the street in Brookline, and there in someone's garden grew these light-blue wild flowers.  They were EXACTLY what I'd pictured in Aprile! (I was tempted to pick some and try to replant them in my own yard.  But if the owner happened to be looking out his window at that moment ...)

Today I was in my yard and there they were! The same flowers! (See the photo above, which I took earlier today.)  Why is it that I didn't notice them before?

The best part was, wild flowers being what they are, they are starting to spread. About four meters of my yard are now adorned by these beautiful flowers.

So much of the beauty that we seek in life is found right in our own backyard.


I wrote the above still not knowing the name of this flower! (A botanist I am not.) Many thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Beatrice Rossi (Beatitudini in Cucina), for informing me that it is forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica), in Italian nontiscordardimé.  Which brings to mind yet another famous song!

Photos by the author (14 May 2013)

Sicilian giardiniera

One of the many beautiful shops in Taormina. (Photo taken by the
author, 7 August 2011)
Last Wednesday, I went to the supermarket to buy eggplant, to make caponata.  No eggplant!  Not even one eggplant! (Well, there was one.  But, to make a more dramatic story ...) Not a single eggplant!

There were zucchini — beautiful, almost perfect.  I bought six, and I decided to attempt a zucchini caponata.

Failure No. 2: Zucchini contain much more water than eggplant. Canned tomatoes contain more liquid than fresh ones.  I was so careful not to burn the vegetables and to preserve their liquid that nothing browned.  A complete nonsuccess.

On the other hand, the taste wasn't bad.  And I couldn't allow myself to throw away so much food.  So, I put all of this lousy caponata in various glass jars (between 13 and 17 oz.), and I put them in the fridge. 

Forty-eight hours passed.

I opened one of the jars.  The vegetables had taken on a different character.  I realized that, by accident (by two accidents!), I made a wonderful Sicilian giardiniera!


extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 red (NOT green) bell pepper, sliced
4 stalks celery, cut in squares
6 zucchini, cut in medallions
6 peeled tomatoes, cut (If you use canned, DON'T add the liquid from the can, only the liquid that naturally is inside the tomatoes.)
1 C red wine vinegar (I used cabernet sauvignon vinegar.  If you happened to find nero d'avola vinegar, even better!)
300 g green (not black) olives, pitted, whole
75 g capers, well rinsed
1 TB sugar
freshly-ground black pepper
fresh basil


I used my beloved Creuset.  And now, I share with you one of the greatest secrets of the Dutch oven.

When you want to prepare vegetables, or meat with vegetables, you don't need to add liquid to them.  Put aluminum foil between the cover and the pot.  Everything steams, nothing burns, and the flavors blend in a way that you believe that you've risen to Heaven!

Returning to earth and to our giardiniera:

Heat the Dutch oven and add the first five ingredients.  Put the foil and the cover, and on rather low heat cook for 10-15 minutes. 

Add the zucchini.  Put back the cover and the foil, and still on low heat cook for 20-25 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, put back the cover and foil, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the cover and foil. Add the vinegar and sugar.  Raise the heat and cook, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until it just begins to boil. 

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.  If the zucchini are already done — soft but NOT disintegrated — shut the heat.

If the zucchini are still al dente, lower the heat, put back the cover and foil, and cook very slowly for about ten minutes or so. 

Shut the heat, let it cool enough to be able to put it in the refrigerator, and forget about it for 48 hours.

A giardiniera with the flavors and the spirit of caponata – you will become an addict!

Giardiniera siciliana

Un dei tanti bei negozi a Taormina. (Foto scattata dall’autore,
7 agosto 2011)
Mercoledì scorso, andai al supermercato per comprare le melanzane, per fare la caponata.  Nessuna melanzana! Manco una melanzana! (Be’, ce ne fu una.  Ma, per fare un racconto più drammatico ...) Nemmeno una melanzana!

Le zucchine ci furono — belle, quasi perfette.  Ne comprai sei, e decisi di tentare una caponata di zucchine.

Insuccesso IIº:  Le zucchine contengono molto più acqua delle melanzane.  I pomodori inscatolati contengono più liquido di quei freschi.  Fui così cauto di non bruciare gli ortaggi e di conservarne il liquido che non si rosolarono affatto.  Fallimento completo.

D’altro canto, il sapore non fu cattivo.  E non mi potei permettere di buttare tantissimo cibo.  Dunque, ne misi tutta questa caponataccia in vari barattoli di vetro (fra 350 e 500 g), e li misi in frigo. 

Quarantotto ore passarono.

Ne aprii uno di questi vasetti.  Gli ortaggi avevano assunto un’altra qualità.  Mi resi conto che, per errore (per due errori!), preparai una meravigliosa giardiniera siciliana!


olio d’oliva extravergine
2 cipolle, affettate
3 spicchi d’aglio, interi
1 peperone dolce rosso (NON verde), affettato
4 gambi di sedano, tagliati in quadrati
6 zucchine, tagliate a medaglioni
6 pomodori pelati, tagliati (Se usiate i pomodori dalla scatola, NON aggiungere il liquido della scatola, solo il liquido naturale dentro i pomodori.)
250 mL aceto di vino rosso (io di cabernet sauvignon. Se ne troviate uno di nero d’avola, tanto meglio!)
300 g olive verdi (non nere) snocciolate, intere
75 g capperi, sciacquati bene
1 cucchiaione (13 g) zucchero
pepe nero, frescamente macinato
basilico fresco


Ho usato la mia beneamata casseruola a ghisa. E adesso, condivido con voi un dei più grandi segreti della casseruola a ghisa:

Quando volete preparare gli ortaggi, oppure la carne con gli ortaggi, non avete bisogno di aggiungerci il liquido.  Mettete il foglio di alluminio fra il coperchio e la casseruola.  Tutto si cuoce al vapore, niente si brucia, e i sapori si amalgamano in una maniera che voi vi crediate di esser salito in Paradiso!

Tornando alla terra e alla nostra giardiniera:

Scaldate la casseruola e aggiungete i primi 5 ingredienti. Mettete il foglio e il coperchio, e a fiamma abbastanza bassa fate cuocere 10/15 minuti.

Aggiungete le zucchine. Tornate il coperchio e il foglio, e a fiamma sempre bassa fate cuocere 20/25 minuti.

Aggiungete i pomodori, tornate il coperchio e il foglio, e fate cuocere 10/15 minuti.

Rimuovete il coperchio e il foglio. Aggiungete l’aceto e lo zucchero. Aumentate la fiamma, e fatela cucinare, scoperta, per 5/10 minuti o finché comincerà a bollire. 

Aggiungete il resto degli ingredienti e mescolate bene.  Se le zucchine siano già pronte — morbide ma NON disintegrate — spegnete.

Se le zucchine siano ancora al dente, abbassate la fiamma, tornate il coperchio e il foglio, e lentissimamente fate cuocere tutto per una decina di minuti.

Spegnete, fate raffreddare abbastanza per mettere in frigo, e scordatevene per 48 ore. 

Una giardiniera con i sapori e lo spirito della caponata — ne diventerete dipendente!

domenica 12 maggio 2013


La canzone mia più bella sei tu.
My most beautiful song is you.

Beniamino Gigli, tenore (1940)

domenica 5 maggio 2013

Frittelle, Siracusa-style

Periodically, I present recipes of my Italian foodblogger friends, which I translate for you into English.  The following post absolutely captivated me, for two reasons.  One is that frittelle are practically a sacred food in Sicily.  Even in today's modern world, different cities in Sicily have their own frittelle, made according to centuries-old recipes, and unavailable in any other city.  In 2011 I was in Catania and sampled their traditional frittelle. Then I went to Messina and tasted their own traditional frittelle.  The Messinese frittelle are not available in Catania, and the Catanese frittelle are not available in Messina.  And both are equally delicious!  The following is recipe, by Veronica, author of the wonderful blog Dolci Armonie (, is from Siracusa. It's different from the frittelle in either Catania or Messina – and it's equally wonderful!

The second reason this post touched me was because of Veronica's words about her dear grandmother, from whom she inherited this recipe.  I was very anxious to translate this recipe for my readers, and I thank Veronica for allowing me to do so.

by Veronica (Dolci Armonie)

Today I suggest to you a recipe that I made yesterday and which is very close to my heart, because it was passed down to me from my grandmother Lucia, who now is no longer with us and with whom I was very close.  I still remember when she was staying at the summer home near the beach.  My parents were leaving for a week of vacation and Nonna had to watch five unrestrained little girls, and she kept us in line! We dedicated one evening, during that week without the parents, to making "FRITTELLE." We didn't know which day of the week Nonna was chosing to prepare them; it was always a surprise and every afternoon we would ask, "Nonna, stasera le frittelle?" ("Nonna, tonight will we make the frittelle?), and she would response, "No, stasira no" ("No, tonight now). When after the third day we stopped asking, she came to us and said, "Tonight we will make the frittelle." And how she enjoyed seeing our happy faces.  Try them, delicious in their simplicity, just like Nonna Lucia.  Nonna, I miss your laughter.  

Ingredients for c. 15 frittelle

For the dough:

500 g farina di grano tenero "00" (soft-grain flour — make sure it says "00" on the package)
500 g farina di grano duro (hard-grain flour)
1 cube fresh yeast*
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
tepid water 

For the filling:
500 g mozzarella 
250 g prosciutto cotto (cooked ham)
10 olives
corn oil for frying

*=Translator's note: lievito di birra refers to active fresh yeast (a.k.a., compressed yeast, cake yeast, baker's compressed yeast, wet yeast). Despite the word birra, this does not refer to brewer's yeast, a nutritional product sold in pharmacies. — L.C.


On a flat surface, make a well with the flour.  In the center add the crumbled yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Mix the ingredients a little bit; add tepid water a little bit at a time and knead until you have a smooth, hard dough.  Divide the dough into 15 little balls and place them on a floured towel. arranged in a way that they don't touch each other. Cover the balls well and let them rise for an hour.  When they've finished rising, roll them out on a floured cutting board. On each, place pieces of ham and two slices of mozzarella, or mozzarella and 3 pitted olives, and cut in half.  Fold up the dough and close the edges as you would a calzone (see photo).

Fry the frittelle in corn oil for 3 or 4 minutes per side, until golden.  Drain on paper towels, and eat them while they're hot. 
Now I leave you with a photo of my sea, taken yesterday by an intruder ... Guess who it is? ^_^