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Kevin72

The Cooking and Cuisine of Campania

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Tonight I assembled two different types of meatballs, intending to eat one for dinner tonight and reserve one for later in the week. However, temptation got the best of me, so I can report on both:

Melanzane-wrapped polpette and Golden Zucchini-wrapped polpette

The recipes are from Arthur Schwartz's book, although I modified them slightly. Before exercise at dusk, I broiled thin slices of both vegetables and managed to roast two peppers for later in the week after that was through. Layered the slices with slivers of garlic and olive oil.

Mixed together the meatballs (3 parts veal to 1 of ground beef) which shared grated Parm, parsley and garlic as flavors. However, the ones destined for the eggplant wrap got raisins and pinenuts and the others, capers and lemon juice, making them a little more fragile. Shaped them. Out the door.

Back: Put on Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder. Highly recommended as cooking music, in part because I am slow and it's a long recording. Makes you feel virtuous that you can fry up two batches of meatballs, wrap them in basil leaves and vegetable strips, skewer them with toothpicks (Neapolitan pigs-in-a-blanket, really), bake them and have everything ready including wine and a heated piece of nan (the way I see it, the water bufale that produce mozzarella came from India, so why not?) before Track 22 is over. Even got the seeds off the roasted peppers and did some dishes.

Response? Kind of disappointed with the eggplant and I am hoping they'll be better tomorrow once the flavors merge. There's too much garlic on my tongue at the moment. These got baked with tomato sauce and lots of sprinkled Parm. (The sauce that didn't send me when I put it together this weekend was actually perfect.) It just seemed fussy. The eggplant was trying too hard to belong without proving to be an integral part of the dish. I admit I also wondered why there wasn't a strip of mozzarella in there, too.

The zucchini polpette were a different story. First, they were beautiful. Because I used a mandoline to slice them a little too thin, they dried up just a little too much. Here, however, the use of veal rather than ordinary ground beef made a lot of sense. The liquidy aspect of the mixture ended up being a plus since they were so light and the little amount of lemon juice (around 1 1/2 T with 1/2 lb. of meat) really asserted itself especially since the capers proved its friend. I tasted only one and look forward to more. Still, it's not easy biting into the delicate polpette with a skin of zucchini and basil in the way. You kind of need the teeth of the undead or a bobcat, maybe.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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A rather simple version of the eggplants with chocolate dish from Amalfi can be found here.

Not sure how authentic it is; never made the dish myself. On the other hand, I've eaten a few eggplants with chocolate and the varied quite a bit, from extremely simple (like this recipe) to rather baroque desserts. Probably the recipe above is a pretty good starting point.

Pontormo - does that look something like the one you remember?

I think I might make a half recipe but I'm intrigued. I'll report back to you when I have a second to make it. It won't be before Saturday but hopefully then.


The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

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Greetings all, I had requested a recipe for Baba and was givin a recipe from the "Italianmade.com" site. Well, sorry to say its incomplete at best. Its missing sugar in the dough recipe as called for, and the flour amount is incorrect. I apologise for being such a drag. I'm a chef of a new enoteca here in Ma and we're trying our hardest to do honest regional foods nad finding a baba recipe has been trying. I have brioche from my estagier days in Paris, but really want a local recipe.

Tim

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Greetings all, I had requested a recipe for Baba and was givin a recipe from the "Italianmade.com" site. Well, sorry to say its incomplete at best. Its missing sugar in the dough recipe as called for, and the flour amount is incorrect.  I apologise for being such a drag. I'm a chef of a new enoteca here in Ma and we're trying our hardest to do honest regional foods nad finding a baba recipe has been trying. I have brioche  from my estagier days in Paris, but really want a local recipe.

Tim

This is a link with the recipe from Adriano at the Gennarino forum. Can you manage with on line translating tools or you want a translation?

I didn't try the recipe, because, I admit, like Pontormo, I am not an huge baba fan but everythig Adriano bakes is alway great.


Edited by Franci (log)

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1) Tim: Do you have access to any of the cookbooks on Naples or on Italian baking mentioned here or in Kevin's thread? I don't know if anyone here has made a baba, though I am sure someone experienced will pipe up. I thought someone started a thread in the Pastry & Baking forum recently...though it might have been you since I linked the problematic recipe you have.

2) Nina: one of the books I mentioned in my PM to you showed the cake in form that seemed to be shaped in a bowl or timbale mold, frosted in chocolate vs. dusted with con. sugar. I don't have that book.

I now have a recipe from de Blasi before me. You'll owe me a favor, right, if I take precious time away from being outside while it's still light:

2-3 sm or med egs

7 oz extra-bittersweet, 70%

2 T cocoa pweder, Dutched

1/2 t ground cloves (yuck)

grindings blk pep

1/2 c red wine

5 oz each shelled pistach & blanched almonds, lightly toasted

flour

1 c EVOO

1 egg

1 egg white

2 T sug

confec sug

slice unpeeled egs real thin, < 1/8 in thick. Pile in bowl of salted cold water for 1 hour

Stir choc with coc, cloves, pep, wine, only till choc soft and warm. Stir off flame till smooth. Cover.

Chop nuts to small mince

Drain egs, squeeze. Shake in paper bag w/ flour, coating. Oven 375.

Saute egs in evoo, crisping, remove, drain. Repeat till all done.

Very lightly oil a 10-in springform pan and place generous layer of egs at bottom. drizzle with rewarmed choc, sprinkle with nuts, repeating till ending with thin layer of egs.

Beat the egg, egg white and sug to froth in pitcher or cup with spout, drizzling caefuly over and own into the cracks and crevices between layers.

Bake torta for 18 minutes (!), remove fr oven for 1/2 hour before unmolding. dust with confect sug just before serving, preferably thoroughly cooled. Do not refrigerate. Make guests guess what they're eating, she says. I say, beware genuine allergies.

Franci: The pictures in link are great, though, note how different some folk can be.

Still have plenty of leftovers, but I like the lovely simplicity of Franci's contribution today and plan something somewhat related soon.

Meanwhile, anyone seen fresh pasta in this region? I'm thinking of something from Sorrento, probably, that calls for linguine. I assume dried, right?

Arrivederci. Dusk.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Pontormo, too bad you weren't in love with the Melanzane-wrapped polpette. I think you have convinced me to make the polpette without the melanzane.

Thanks also for the Tornino/Tiella idea; it would be a nice change to have the eggplant with a bread rather than a pasta. And as for my kids and chocolate, you are right, it's not until we get older that the passion really kicks in. Any sweets will do at this age. I wonder how much of that has to do with hormones?

Franci, just when I had convinced myself that eggplant and chocolate had no business being together, you got me with those enticing pictures. But it will be awhile before I want to fry anymore eggplant...

I fried 40 of these guys today :blink: :

gallery_41870_2503_57360.jpg

I decided to make Franci's suggested Paccheri stuffed with eggplant. It was sublime! Somehow the combination of eggplant, bechamel, fior di latte, basil and parmigiano made for a sweet, creamy, luscious mouthful.

I used canneloni shells which are longer than the traditional "pacchieri" pasta that the dish calls for. But I don't think the dish suffered for it.

"Paccheri" with Eggplant

gallery_41870_2503_184916.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_374013.jpg

Thanks Franci!

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For dinner tonight, I tried Pollo Alla Cacciatora, the "Sophia Loren" version, mostly from Naples at Table.

Here are the ingredients: chopped fresh romas, kosher chicken, sliced onion & red pepper, herbs, white wine, olive oil - veggies all from the greenmarket. In the interest of pretending to be somewhat healthy, I take the skin off some of the pieces and leave it on a few pieces as well. And use a nonstick fry pan.

gallery_6902_3660_254773.jpg

Browning the bird - I like to brown them nice and golden!

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Sweating out the base - white wine gets added after these vegetables are nice and soft.

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Tomatoes added along with rosemary sprigs and ready to be covered and cooked very gently. I like to remove the breast pieces after 10 -12 minutes - they stay nice and juicy that way!

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Finished dish - I had a beautiful organic cauliflower as well as some new potatoes that I roasted together for side. Simple, great ingredients all around, and the chicken was awesome. It'll be even better tomorrow over pasta!

gallery_6902_3660_242066.jpg


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Wonder how much patience you need to stuff eggplant into rigatoni? I have three larger striped ones (called Tunisian/Sicilian in one of my books) left. Looks great, Shaya!

Mitch, welcome! I'm so glad you made such a popular dish that none of us has acknowledged yet.

Is anyone planning to make sartu?

ETA: This more traditional recipe for sartu...or at least one not as excessive as Mario Batali's version that includes pasta and fried eggs.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Wow, Shaya and Weinoo, both look incredible!  Great pictures!

And frying all that eggplant AND stuffing it into pasta . . . !  Bravo again.

I second that! both dishes are wonderful.

Also Pontormo's polpette with zucchini sound great.

I so am sorry that I did not get to half the dishes I wanted to get to in Campania this month. A new baby and a three year old are way more work than you would imagine unless you live with them yourself :smile: .

The Timballo is still on though, that's the least I could do, for Saturday or Sunday. I am also hoping for a couple more dishes before the end of the month.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Thanks guys, for the kind words about the eggplant dish. Pontormo, once you deal with prepping the eggplant, peeling slicing, dicing and frying or baking...stuffing it is nothing!

We had Kevin's much-touted calzone today, based on Mario's recipe. I used escarole, spinach, pinenuts, small currants, black greek olives, a fresh goat ricotta, bocconcini and pecorino romano. I didn't use capers.

I also used Mario's dough recipe which called for olive oil, wine and honey. Amazingly the dough crisped up beautifully on the outside and was moist and chewy on the inside. Perfect. The times I have made calzone with my regular pizza dough, the dough has not been so memorable - somewhat dry and too crusty.

After all the deep-frying I have done this month (check the previous pages of this thread to remind yourselves; I defintely win the deep-frying award for this month :raz: ) I could not bring myself to deep-fry the calzones. I baked them and they were divine. Incredibly filling as well; my husband and I each had one and we were done for the evening (I should say that they were larger than they appear in the photos, at least 6 inches long and well-stuffed).

Calzone di Ricotta e Escarola

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Pizza for the kids. Somehow I scored buffalo mozarella from Campania at my Italian Market. A rare find around here. Now if only I could remember what I did to create that beautiful char along the edge... do you think I had an excess of sauce there, or perhaps was it olive oil? Hmmmm...

Pizza with Mozarella di Bufala Campana

gallery_41870_2503_266693.jpg

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sorry to chime in so late.. it is high season here..and I am cooking as fast as I can!

I will see if I can get time to download foto's on my dialup!!!

but wanted to say:

Last spring I taught a class on naples cooking.. in sonoma

we started with little bread "meastballs" wrapped in roasted peppers topped with mozzarella and baked from Mimi alla Ferrovia in Naples.. FABULOUS

Mozzarella in Carozza.. forget grilled cheese!!! slices of mozzarella pressed between bread slices, egged like french toast and fried. Adda couple of capers inside for an extra kick! sprinkle with salt before serving.

Casiatello- usually served at EAster but worth making anytime.

lard enriched bread dough rolled out and topped with salami and cheese, rolled and baked in a ring mold ( angel food cake pan works well)

I have had the chocolate eggplant too ways, once from a friend from amalfi how used a recipe as Doc linked to.. where the fried eggplant is layered with melted chocolate my friend used candied ginger instead of orangea nice bite..

it is then chilled and sliced like cake. you would never know there was eggplant!

and then the fried slices topping a sweetened ricotta and melted chocolate poured in top.

If I was going to say dessert in naples.. It would be BABA.. love the new mini version that is sold in jars soaked with limoncello instead of rum.

we were there at christmas time (for the San Gregorio a Armena creche sales) ad loved it so much will go back this year.

there were zillions of hard spiced cookies for sale.

the other dish we saw EVERYWHERE was pesce in acqua pazza...

saute a whole fish.. one person small fish lots of people huge fish!

in garlic olive oil and chili pepper. Splash with white wine. add mussels to pan and put the fish in the oven to cook.

When the fish is cooked, take the fish out and bone it and place on platter.

Drain spaghetti into the sauce pan where you cooked the fish.

serve the spaghetti in the plate with the cleaned fish filets.

Sometimes called Santa Lucia. this seemed to be a big favorite when we went out and huge parties of people woul order it as well as couples llike us.

the huge fish took foreve to cook as as this is a one course meal.. the just waited!

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Shaya, what gorgeous calzone!

I finally got my copy of Naples at Table. (like a doof I forgot to change my ebay mailing address and the book went to NYC first :blink: ) What an amazing book, I think it could easily become one of my favorites.

Here is our first dip into it. Pasta e Fagioli.

gallery_39050_2669_113381.jpg

Anyone have a hot pepper oil recipe that they love?

-Mike


-Mike & Andrea

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I do. Get a couple packets of those arbol chilies (long, skinny, dried kind), break them in half. Submerge them in 2 cups olive oil in a saucepan. Add a good dusting of paprika (maybe even pimenton?). Place over low heat and bring up slowly, until you see the chilies moving around in there but it's not simmering or anything. Turn off the heat and let steep for 24 hours. Strain, pour into a squeeze bottle or jar. Even without the smoked paprika, the oil has a smokey flavor to it that I like. And, only a couple drops will do it.

I sometimes add garlic but I know there's paranoia about botulism. Since the garlic would be removed, though would that still be a problem? I've never had an issue with it.

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I sometimes add garlic but I know there's paranoia about  botulism.  Since the garlic would be removed, though would that still be a problem?  I've never had an issue with it.

i always thought that if you heat it up to 160F, it'll kill the bacteria that cause botulism, and if you remove the garlic it shouldn't be a problem. botulism happens when the bacteria do their thing in an anaerobic environment and produce the toxin, which isn't destroyed by heat. so basically putting room temp garlic into oil and letting it sit is bad.

if you're putting the garlic in, heating it up to the point where they're killed, and removing the garlic, i wouldn't think there would be an issue.

hmm... this site says that the toxin IS destroyed by high heat. how about that. and did you know the name of the bacteria comes from latin botulus, meaning sausage?

anyway, there are tons of botulism threads around here. back on topic: my rigatoni 'ncasciata turned out OK the other night. i had some issues--i think my proportions of eggplant to pasta were off, and i didn't have enough cheese in it i think. i mean it tasted fine but... actually, i am gradually coming to suspect that i don't like baked pasta dishes all that much, finding them fundamentally unsatisfying as a main course. but that's another story.


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

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hmm... this site says that the toxin IS destroyed by high heat.  how about that.  and did you know the name of the bacteria comes from latin botulus, meaning sausage?

Sausage or weenie!

Mike: Glad you finally got your book. Your first choice is one of my favorites, too.

Divina: Polpette made just with bread, no meat? Is that what you meant by "bread meatballs" wrapped in roasted pepper strips? (I made the mozzarella in carozza for the Lazio thread for reasons explained there.)

Shaya & Franci: While I did not go out of my way to find paccheri, I noticed some jumbo shells on sale at the supermarket last night (Italian made, at least). The pasta stuffed with eggplant just seem too good to pass up. The calzone look delicious, too.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Shaya-

So glad someone took up the Calzone challenge. Yours look stunning and perfect.

Mike- That pasta with beans look excellent as well. I like the background. These simple homey dishes is what I most think of when thinking of Campania.

Kevin- After cooking the garlic in the oil botulism is not a problem. I do it all the time both with the Italian spicy oil and my Chinese one. I do not even remove the garlic afterwards.

I made another simple Campnian meal from Naples At Table this week.

Lemon chicken was the main dish. his process for cooking it is very interetsing but I prefer my tried and true -sear then finish in the oven- method. The flavor was outstanding though, with a very good dose of tangy lemony flavor. A little too much for my wife actually but I loved it.

I had a head of red cabbage in the fridge so I made the braised cabbage recipe from the book as a contorno. I know, red cabbage is probably not very Campanian, but it does look very nice and tastes great. I actually had leftover cabbage with some bread for dinner the next evening.

gallery_5404_94_281712.jpg


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Just a modest little report of two dishes I recommend, typed with an index finger that should not have been trying to dislodge a lemon seed from the garbage disposal.

I. Peperoni alla Napoletana

I really love this plating of slick, pointy stuffed peppers from Klary's recent vacation:

...appetizers (the stuffed peppers were my favorite)

gallery_21505_3659_8285.jpg

Sort of reminds me of the hats worn by garden gnomes. Only problem was that my yellow and orange-green peppers were of a very round, squat variety that did not cooperate fully during the peeling and seeding process. (Aside: Marlena de Blasi's purple prose is great on this subject. She notes that after a stint in a brown paper bag, the charred skins should slip off easy as pajamas!!!!) In any respect, I had already been planning to combine the best of two different recipes, so I took the basic set up of Clifford Wright's dish, but went with a vegetarian version, leaving out the anchovies and adding red-wine soaked yellow raisins, pine nuts, Pecorino and two different colors of chopped olives to lightly toasted bread crumbs. Since I roasted the peppers earlier in the week, their juices helped moisten the crumbs along with olive oil. I spread only the peppers on the oiled dish and piled the crumb mixture on top, baking it for only 20 minutes.

At room temperature, this dish was absolutely delicious and made for a good light meal on its own with crisp celery as a foil.

II. I also made Linguine alla panna di limone or whatever you would like to call it. My lemon was definitely not from Amalfi and I replaced grappa with vodka, adding salt and slivers of fresh basil at the end. If you also enjoy lemony food, you'll appreciate the contrast between the rich thickened cream studded with little pieces of lemon and the light citrus flavor. This served as a fine primo for the lemony veal polpette that I've already described.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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" faux meatballs" exist in many Italian regions.

I also have had one called Fruscededdu(sp?) from sicily

Left over stale bread, usually soaked in milk or water is used instead of meat.

Bound with egg and grated cheese the flavorings change from region to region.

In Naples there was chopped ham ( not prosciutto, but prosciutto cotto) ad parsey.

the sicilian version had mint and pecorino romano cheese.

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I also don't add any meat to my eggplants polpette: whole baked eggplants, leave to drain the eggplant pulp, chop, add pecorino, very little garlic, home made bread crumbs, 1 egg, chopped parsley, salt and that it. I don't roll it in anything. And deep fry.

For other versions and none with meat:

Polpette di melanzane from Campania (sorry is in Italian)

Polpette di melanzane fritte alla siciliana

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Divina: Thanks for the info. It makes sense that if there's something like arancini, there would be polpetti made with bread, too.

Franci: Marcella Hazan introduced me to what she called "eggplant patties" ages ago; for a long time they were one of my favorite things to make when vegetarians came to dinner. Your links include excellent photographic documentation. On Il Forno, Alberto writes about a version with molten mozzarella in the center.

And speaking about polpetti, I should qualify a comment I made earlier about the eggplant-wrapped meatballs. I just find the vegetable wrapping a bit clumsy and superfluous.

I just made a sandwich with the last of the ones I baked in tomato sauce, heating up a few leftover slices of eggplant, adding chili pepper flakes, pecorino and fresh basil leaves. Absolutely delicious! I see why someone earlier said that Schwartz's meatball recipe rose to the ranks of the family's favorite.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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