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The Cooking and Cuisine of Puglia


Kevin72
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up early this morning doing some reading about puglia cuisine, i figured i'd post some links with recipes for those who, like me, don't have piles of regional cookbooks around.

here are a bunch of recipes (all in italian).

english version of same site here

that site includes some interesting infused liquor recipes, including bay leaf liquor, basil liquor, and amarella, infused from black cherry leaves.

molto mario 'seaside puglia' show, including a recipe for pettole with pepperonata, as kevin mentions above

here's an introductory essay about apulian cuisine, from flavors of puglia by nancy harmon jenkins.

an article from food and wine magazine about apulian antipasti, with some fun-looking recipes.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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By a strange twist of fate, I've been missing this thread since the beginning.  Thanks to Ling and Chufi, I've finally found you, and just in time. 

Does Puglia have a pizza tradition, as well as a focaccia one?  I'm having a little party next week where I've been planning for the group to create pizzas done on the grill, and if there are Pugliese-typical toppings, I'll have a natural way to join this lovely thread, albeit way late.

Of course going out for pizza is common but I don't think there are particular toppings.

In Lecce, besides pizzerie, "puccerie" are everywhere, they serve puccia, a typical bread from Lecce with black olives (watch for the pits!) but now they stuff pucce with almost anything.

In Bari, at pizzerie they will often serve as antipasti "cicci", it's a pizza dough with no topping just drizzled with oil and sometimes rosmary and coarse salt. Or a calzone with cherry tomatoes and ricotta forte (ricotta asquant or askuant it's fermented ricotta with a spicy strong taste). If you are looking for hints, check the menu of this pizzeria, it is one of the most popular in Bari (although I always go to another one but doesn't have a web site :biggrin: )

http://www.pizzeriadadonato.com/

I am for easy toppings margherita and diavola my favourites with more "olio santo", that's how we call the oil with hot pepper :biggrin: maybe could be considered topping pugliesi the one with "funghi cardoncelli" (the closer substitute shitakee mushrooms ) or cherry tomatoes raw, rucola raw and scamorza.

Edited by Franci (log)
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Thanks, Franci and Mrbig! That gives me some nice ideas. I wonder whether one can make scamorza at home - I've googled but don't see a recipe. I've already been thinking of making fresh mozzarella and ricotta for the topping bar, and I have a smoker, so if I could figure out how, it might be fun to try making a smoked scamorza as well. If I had any idea how to make burrata I might try that too.

It's weird how the pizza recipe on the Terra di Puglia site calls for "brewers yeast." Surely that's just a faulty translation? And the dough made with potato is not something I've seen before, except in a bread recipe.

One recipe on that site says to let the mackeral simmer "for enough time to say a pater noster." Huh. Can anyone tell me how long that is? One minute, three?

The liquor recipes are also very interesting. I have some limoncello I made earlier in the summer that's not lemony enough, and I've been thinking of infusing it with some lavender to make it more interesting. But now I'm thinking that maybe infusing some bay leaves into it would be even more fun.

Ok, I'm off and running, thanks to you both!

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Thanks for adding the links, Mrbigjas. Because we are so fortunate to have Franci's expertise this month, I just didn't do the hunting I had intended.

I'd like to add that I bought a used copy of Ada Boni's book on regional cooking through Amazon.com for very little money. (Then, there were a few copies for only $1.90, but the prices might have soared as high as $4.10 plus shipping due to recent sales.) I am finding it handy.

While not as ample as one of the links Mbj supplies, here are just a few more links I am adding, some from the usual sources:

Rustico,

Ital. Cooking & Living, and

The Splendid Table where the recipe is basically what Franci demonstrated, here called Pizza Rustica.

Also, consult Mangiere bene,

Clifford Wright,

Faith Willinger,

and Phillips at About.com, recipes linked at bottom of brief survey.

I imagine Puglia has regional web sites of greater specificity waiting to be uncovered.

By the way, Franci, I was interested to learn that "olio santo" is used in Puglia just as it is in Sicily. Clifford Wright includes a recipe for an Arab-influenced version that adds bay leaves, garlic and cardamom to three different forms of pepper (white & black peppercorns plus a red chili pepper).

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Thanks for adding the links, Mrbigjas.  Because we are so fortunate to have Franci's expertise this month, I just didn't do the hunting I had intended.

I'd like to add that I bought a used copy of Ada Boni's book on regional cooking through Amazon.com for very little money.  (Then, there were a few copies for only $1.90, but the prices might have soared as high as $4.10 plus shipping due to recent sales.)  I am finding it handy.

hey, good deal--i just bought a copy....

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That is a good bargain. I've been reading Boni's book on Roman cooking, and it's tremendous. How much of her work is available in translation?

edit to attempt an answer at my own question: Amazon has the translation of Talismano della felicita as well as the regional cookbook.

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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Thanks for adding the links, Mrbigjas.  Because we are so fortunate to have Franci's expertise this month, I just didn't do the hunting I had intended.

I'd like to add that I bought a used copy of Ada Boni's book on regional cooking through Amazon.com for very little money.  (Then, there were a few copies for only $1.90, but the prices might have soared as high as $4.10 plus shipping due to recent sales.)  I am finding it handy.

hey, good deal--i just bought a copy....

Pontormo, I even had a better deal! Last year at a market sale at Morristown (NJ) I got one copy for 25 cents :biggrin: , in Italian! Sixties edition

I couldn't belive my eyes!

Edited by Franci (log)
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Thanks, Franci and Mrbig!  That gives me some nice ideas.  I wonder whether one can make scamorza at home - I've googled but don't see a recipe.  I've already been thinking of making fresh mozzarella and ricotta for the topping bar, and I have a smoker, so if I could figure out how, it might be fun to try making a smoked scamorza as well.  If I had any idea how to make burrata I might try that too.

It's weird how the pizza recipe on the Terra di Puglia site calls for "brewers yeast."  Surely that's just a faulty translation?  And the dough made with potato is not something I've seen before, except in a bread recipe.

One recipe on that site says to let the mackeral simmer "for enough time to say a pater noster."  Huh.  Can anyone tell me how long that is?  One minute, three?

In May, last time I was back home, I went to visit this nice lady that has a masseria right outside town. Masserie are how farms are called in Puglia and my town is known for 100 masserie in its territory. Maria provides us with fresh warm ricotta (and she delivers it pretty early in the morning :laugh: ) so I asked her to show me how to make some cheese, I have some nice pictures to show. For scamorza, I decided it's too difficult for me and I don't have access to good unpastorized milk.

I checked some recipes at Terra di Puglia web site, to me, some translations are a little funny like cime di rapa, turnip tops :blink:

They translated with brewers yeast because in Italian it's called lievito di birra :laugh:

Edited by Franci (log)
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Here is my morning with Maria at her masseria.

She showed to me how to make formaggio fresco. It's a pretty chewy cheese, often with no salt, in fact salt and oil are generally added when the cheese is served.

If you go to Le Ruote in Martina they will serve it as antipasto with capocollo martinese, giardiniera, olives and underoils.

FORMAGGIO FRESCO

Bring the milk to 36 celsius, add a little salt ( :biggrin: , don't ask) and rennet. Maria doesn't even know the title on her rennet! She uses 1/2 tablespoon for 8 liters (less than for cacioricotta). Let it set, break the curd and stir

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Bring back to the stove, until it reaches about 40 C, alway stirring (here, diffently from what you'll see for cacioricotta, you don't need to be particularly careful at stirring

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When a solid ball forms put in a cheese basket and press it using your hands

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You can start eating it immediately and it's better to consume within one day. Serve it in slices with salt and oil

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Edited by Franci (log)
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Oh, thank you for the cheese lesson, Franci! I want to make some fresh cheeses for a party I'm having next week. Grilling pizza over a wood fire will be the main part of the menu, and I thought some homemade cheese would be fun.

I've never made cheese before, but I have a kit with all sorts of starters and innoculants, and I'm a very experienced cook, so I'm pretty confident. I can't get unpasteurised milk, though, just good quality organic, so that might be a problem.

Is there such a thing as a correct cheese to use with a Pugliese pizza?

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Abra, these are not particular hard cheeses to make, so I am sure you'll do fine, scamorza instead requires a lot of practice (Maria has been doing it every day for 30 years! I cannot compete with her). I have decided that the one I can buy here in the UK (from Italy) would be better than mine! If you can find at least unhomogenized milk is to be preferred.

CACIORICOTTA

Cacioricotta is typical from Puglia, where you can find it the fresh or hard to grate on pasta. Here I say it and I will repeat myself: cacioricotta is NEVER to be used on meat sauces, it is only grated on pasta with fresh tomatoe sauce or vegetables, mushrooms and cime di rape excluded, no cheese at all for them.

It tastes differente from ricotta salata because cacioricotta is not made out of ricotta! You can find a cacioricotta made with cow milk, or goat, sheep or mixt.

Differently than formaggio fresco you need to bring the milk almost to boiling (at 90 Celsius) at that point you can add coarse salt (about a handful for 10 liters, always Maria very precise directions :biggrin: ). Careful if you use goat milk, 90

C is too much. When the milk reaches 37 C add the rennet (1 tablespoons per 10 Liters) and let set. Cut through the curd (a cross is enough). Maria said to be very careful and stir very very slowly evoiding to have a minute break. You bring back to the stove and warm up, if it's to make a grating cheese you can go slightly above 45 C, if you want a eating cacioricotta don't go above.

Drop some cheese basket on top so the curds will sink to the bottom

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After some rest, start to pull out the whey from the baskets with the help of a laddle.

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If it's a grating cacioricotta you need to extract as much whey as possible. It will dry faster.

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If it's intended to eat fresh, just let drain.

To make the cacioricotta to grate you need to let in dry in the sun, on a grate coverder by a cheesecloth, turning it around and bringing it inside at night.

For how long? Depends, we say that if tramontana is blowing it will dry fast, if it is scirocco will take a long time.

Edited by Franci (log)
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Pontormo, I even had a better deal! Last year at a market sale at Morristown (NJ) I got one copy for 25 cents  :biggrin: , in Italian! Sixties edition

I couldn't belive my eyes!

Brava! Brava! :laugh: Campiona del mondo!

Franci, forgive us if it takes a while for this thread to build. I confess that because I have so many things at home I need to use up first (making Sicilian swordfish dishes, finishing caponata :hmmm:...), I will probably wait another week to join in. When I do, I will be rushing to the market to buy cherry tomatoes since the technique of squeezing out the juice, THEN placing the remains on top seems like a brilliant idea! A variety of eggplants should appear pretty soon in the market place along with more fresh chilis and other peppers. One farmer used to bring fresh shelling beans, though they are very expensive.

And BTW, if you recall the confusion over the words I used for the balls of boiled greens on sale in Florence, I wonder if they were a type of what we can turnip greens here in the States. I didn't look at them closely, but think I would have been able to tell if they were beet greens. Marcella Hazan translates "cime di rape rosso" as beet greens in the cookbooks she published before Americans ate the variety of leafy greens currently available in this country.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I'm planning to make orechiette con cime di rape tomorrow, but I have a beautiful bunch of Russian kale in the fridge, and I want to substitute that for the rapini. No self-respecting Pugliese cook would go out and buy cime di rape if she had a beautiful cavolo on hand, would she?

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No self-respecting Pugliese cook would go out and buy cime di rape if she had a beautiful cavolo on hand, would she?

Depends :biggrin: , when my father is in the mood of pasta e cime di rapa he will not care of anything there is in the fridge It's not a summer dish though, cime di rape are at their best in winter.

You could cook orecchiette with another green but then are not orecchiette e rape anymore, they are orecchiette and somthingelse.

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When I do, I will be rushing to the market to buy cherry tomatoes since the technique of squeezing out the juice, THEN placing the remains on top seems like a brilliant idea!

i bought a pile of cherry tomatoes today that had a sign on them that said 'THESE ARE THE TOMATOES USED FOR SUN-DRIED TOMATOES.'

they appear to have thin skins, not much pulp, and lots of juice--i'm looking forward to using them in just the way you describe, franci.

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Took my first shop at Puglia last night. Started off with a vegetable focused antipasti course. I hope no one minds that I snuck a bit of Spain in but when someone brings you a chorizo they bought in Spain and you find padron peppers at the farmers market you just have to serve them. The other dises are 2 kinds of eggplant suateed in EVOO and then marinated with a bit of garlic and parsley and some zephyr squash simply sauteed.

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Then moved on to a pasta course of orrechiete with dandelion greens and tomatoes. I used a healthy portion of olive oil and there was a few slices of garlic in there as well. Plus a bit of pecorino. This was good but dragged down by the horrible rustichello di abruzzo pasta. I don't know why I can't remember that this is not a shape they do well. Would have been better off to save $2 and get deCecco.

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For a main I roasted some local Monterey Bay halibut (caught the day before) with some beautiful violet artichokes I picked up that morning and a few slices of lemon. There was also a splash of wine and a fairly intensive drizzle of olive oil both in the roasting and raw as a finishing flavor. Plus some breadcrumbs for a bit of texture. This was not based upon a specific recipe i found but felt in the spirit of the region.

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and the fish plated...

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I have only been able to find red wines from Puglia so this was not exactly a perfect match to the food. This was a modernist wine from the area with a bit of cab sauv and merlot added to the blend and some small (and too much) barrel aging. Still it tasted of the sun and was a fairly murky bottle bottle with a rustic character that I enjoyed. It was from 1999.

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I am boiling potatoes right now for an attempt at a torta taranitina from the Rustico book. Stay tuned for pics.

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Quiet in here this weekend!

So meal (or snack) # 2 from Puglia.

Start with a bottle of primitivo. THis one came complete with a pic of the trullo homes of the region.

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The Torta Tarantina di Patate finishes out a light meal. I followed the recipe from Rustico and used a combo of waxy potatoes and flour to make a dough. This was covered with lots of olive oil, dried oregano, and cherry tomatoes. After 10 minutes in the oven I added some mozzarella and pecorino. Super tasty stuff and it was a mistake to only make a single batch.

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and a super close up.

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Highly reccomended.

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Great start, Nathan and bigjas! I have that same bottle ready to drink at some point this month, Nathan. Bigjas, I think the antipasti are all perfect and well in keeping with the spirit of the region. There's a similar roasted fish and potatoes recipe in either Roden's regional cookbook or Ada Boni's, and it includes cheese with the potatoes. Puglia seems to break the "cheese-n-fish" rule quite a bit.

Puglia is probably my favorite Southern red producer. The couple times I've found whites they've been chardonnays and certainly nothing remarkable. But the reds I've found are reliable and affordable, and some are just out of this world. If any of you sees Due Palme, snap it up.

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i think there's beena mixup--i haven't made anything yet!

the weather finally broke and it's only going up to 85 today, so tonight i plan to make the lamb stew with greens. i have some curly endive i bought at the farmer's market that needs to be used. it's nice and bitter and can stand up to some cooking, so i figure it will work pretty well. i don't have my cookbook yet, so i'm relying on an on-line recipe--this one is the only one i can find--any thoughts about it?

last week i bought a couple of crazy eggplants that are small and are all yellowish purplish stripey and green, so i figure i'll make this one from paula wolfert for a contorno.

maybe a pasta course, or maybe a couple of antipasti if i can figure out something and do it. it's a monday night after all--i got nothin else going on...

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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You will hardly see this dish in a restaurant, I am not sure how much it is known even around my province for sure typical from my town and Martina Franca.

This is a common smell when you walk around my little town on Sunday morning :biggrin:

I need to thank my friend Paola Petrini for sharing her pictures, mine turned out too bad and she kindly let me use hers.

Orecchiette con le polpette d'uova

Basically we make polpette with fine bread crumbs, a lot grated pecorino (a lot of people use the Rodez cheese), maybe less than 1 glove of garlic minced, chopped parley, eggs and pepper

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Here, my aunt, who is cooking, decided that the cheese was not enough and added more

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This seems a pretty simple recipe. Wrong. You need to strike the right balance, my mom in almost 40 years in puglia (and she is a good cook) has not mastered these polpette. They should not taste to much of bread or feel heavy but you don't want something too runny too, the proportion of cheese is higher than bread, you need 2 spoons to drop the batter in the oil (and we fry in extra virgin), it will foam a lot, so you need plenty of deep oil.

Some polpette are eaten straight before pasta as "apristomaco" and the others are dropped in the sauce at the last minute left to rest 10-15 minutes.

They are eaten with orecchiette e grated cacioricotta. The polpette in the sauce will soften and they are truly delicius.

At the table, with the plate of orecchiette, is usually a dish of raw fennels (in quarters), celery sticks (accio), carrots sticks, puntarelle that we call cime di catalogna, radishes. This plate takes the name of "spingituro" because helps eating more pasta

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I want to point to the plate above, from Grottaglie.

This is how would look the traditional plate from Grottaglie

ceramisti di grottaglie

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I'd like to show to you also the traditional pasta table. Someone living in Bologna, just made me notice how different is our pasta table compared to the one in Emilia Romagna.

Our, as you can see, has boundaries on three sides, so the flour and the orecchiette with not run everywhere. Differently than the Emiliano table where a wooden strip will be in the front, bottom side of the board to help the pasta board to stick to the table.

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This is still my aunt making orecchiette

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She gave a lesson to some friends of mine in Bologna. Although they were used to make fresh pasta (emiliana style) and were closely watching my aunt, none of them could manage to get it right. It's very hard hand movement the one for orecchiette, even if I'd try to show it to you, I don't think will work . Thehe orecchiette should be as regular as possible otherwise they will not cook evenly and you will have overcooked pasta in the center or borders too thick and raw on the sides.

Very often a mix of orecchiette and maccheroni are made, in my dialect these maccheroni are called "frucidd", but already in the town next door will be known for another name. Frucidd are considered the male of the orecchiette.

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The tool on the right is the one used for frucidd. This little stick has a squared section and nowadays it is very hard to find even in Puglia. Make a very thin rope of dough, same than orecchiette (only semola rimacinata or durum flour) and cut a couple cm piece, flatten the little metal stick in the middle and then keeping under your palm you'll push it toward you and very fast backward, it will form a nice maccherone with a whole in the middle.

Orecchiette are very small in Bari, bigger in other provinces, you can keep them flat or flip them back with the help of the thumb. In Salento orecchiette with durum and barley flour are also very popular, or there are also more rustic version with wholewheat.

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Nathan, another great inaugural meal! You always have beautiful artichokes. (And lucky you, re the Spanish gift!) Ada Boni has a recipe for the same torta, using olives. I prefer your cherry tomatoes, especially after seeing Franci's first demos.

And Franci, your new post is fascinating; you've really introduced something we would not have encountered in any other resources at our disposal. I would never have thought of topping a thick, dried pasta with a breadcrumb mixture. Your commentary clarified how the dish should taste ideally. However, if your own mother isn't satisfied with her polpette, you can't expect us...

* * *

At the moment, the only book I have at my disposal is Ada Boni's. I am impressed with the variety of dishes that all rely on a few key ingredients. Since we're now in the middle of tomato season, this is the perfect time to explore Puglia. Mussels are going on my shopping list next week for a dish in which rice cooks in the liquor strained from the opened shells and tomatoes that have been passed through a sieve.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Very interesting regional differences in pasta-making tables.

Frucidd are considered the male of the orecchiette.

You know we've got to know more about this! Is there a female version?

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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      1 twig Dried oregano-- dried from last yr
      2 Bay
      pinch of salt ( yes ) and few pepper corns
      in the Morning; All into the Slow Cooker for 5 hrs. ( Crock Pot )
      I removed half the liquor and added chicken stock here back in . to this I added diced cooked Italian sausage about 1 whole .. simmer in a pot.. I transferred to... then add 1/2 head of shopped chicory ( curly endive ) finish cooking 15 mins
      cheers
      Most measurements again are from feel
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