Archive for August, 2010

The Italian Pantry – 12 Ingredients To Keep In Your Kitchen at All Times

The Italian Pantry – 12 Ingredients To Keep In Your Kitchen at All Times

I’ve always equated good cooking with being prepared, just like a fine carpenter has the necessary tools to build a bookcase or a deck on hand at all times, a home cook should always have a well stocked pantry to prepare meals.  The following is a list of items that I always keep in my kitchen, in addition to the [...]

One Plate Summer Lunch: Tomatoes, Whole Milk Mozzarella, and Oil Cured Sardines

One Plate Summer Lunch: Tomatoes, Whole Milk Mozzarella, and Oil Cured Sardines

Lazy, weekend, lunches are one of the small pleasure in life and I define a lazy lunch as a simple plate of food (with little to no manipulation), fresh, crunchy, bread, and a bottle of exquisite wine (psychologically, get an exquisite bottle of wine for under $20, there are fabulous wine deals out there if you stay away from California, [...]

Photos From An Italian Garden in America

Photos From An Italian Garden in America

Hello everyone!  Just a simple post today with some items from our New Jersey garden: (photos: close up of a red, mission, fig)   (photo: red, mission, fig cut in half)   (photo: the red fig)   (photo: cucumber) (photo: eggplant) (photo: basil)

Scordo Pasta Challenge: Shape #102 Penne Lisce with Tomato Sauce

Scordo Pasta Challenge: Shape #102 Penne Lisce with Tomato Sauce

This week’s Scordo Pasta Challenge was special to me, you see the Scordo family canned tomatoes this past weekend and the penne lisce we consumed included the first tomato sauce made from 2010 tomatoes! “Penne Lisce”, or smooth penne, is essentially the standard penne you can find in any supermarket and on most menus at restaurants.  The second, standard, penne [...]

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Spice Review: La Poderina Toscana, Rosselli del Turco Chianti Classico, and the Canonica Verde Umbrian Spice Blend

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Spice Review: La Poderina Toscana, Rosselli del Turco Chianti Classico, and the Canonica Verde Umbrian Spice Blend

(photo: The Canonica Verde Umbrian Spice Blend including rosemary, sea salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes) Click here for my other olive oil reviews! As you’ve probably noticed, Olive Oil and Pasta are at the heart of Italian cuisine (both above and below the mezzogiorno, the geopolitical dividing line of Italy).  Specifically, my love for both products started in Nonna Scordo’s [...]

Canning Tomatoes: Passato di Pomodoro (Puree of Tomato)

Canning Tomatoes: Passato di Pomodoro (Puree of Tomato)

August is prime season for canning tomatoes and this year’s Jersey plum tomatoes are outstanding!  The Scordo family purchased about five bushels of locally grown plum tomatoes and canned only passato (passato is essentially pureed tomato, in the past we canned a combination of passato and whole tomatoes).  As the site e-rcps.com points out: Tomatoes are usually preserved in three [...]

Introduction to Aged Balsamic and Red and White Wine Vinegar: Acetaia Leonardi and Castello di Volpaia

Introduction to Aged Balsamic and Red and White Wine Vinegar: Acetaia Leonardi and Castello di Volpaia

One of the first things I learned to make from scratch was salad dressing.  Our family, of course, always made a simple red wine, olive oil, salt/pepper salad dressing, but the proportions and blending of the simple ingredients remained a mystery to me for a very long period of time.  In fact, it wasn’t until I moved away to attend [...]

On What it Means to Be and Live As An Italian American Today

On What it Means to Be and Live As An Italian American Today

The year was 1997 and I was a college junior applying for a prestigious fellowship for first generation college students.  The fellowship provided funds and a mentor to guide and prepare students for graduate work in the humanities and sciences.  The fellowship had strict academic and social-economic requirements.  On the socio-economic side, students were expected to be first generation college [...]

Scordo Pasta Challenge – #17 & #157 Zitoni Casarecci with a Chicken Ragu, Zucchini, Onion, and White Wine Sauce

Scordo Pasta Challenge – #17 & #157 Zitoni Casarecci with a Chicken Ragu, Zucchini, Onion, and White Wine Sauce

  (photo: prior to breaking the pasta into smaller pieces, notice the length!) I love impromptu meals; that is to say, one of the biggest thrills I experience in the kitchen is when one dish I have in mind turns into something completely different or helps inform a second dish.  For example, when starring at a few chicken legs in my refrigerator this evening [...]

Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano The PBS star Mary Ann Esposito recently caused a little bit of controversy over at the Huffington Post when she published a recipe entitled, “The Real Eggplant Parmigiano.”  Amongst the comments on the post, some readers accused Mary Ann of pushing an Italian-American version of Eggplant Parmigiano and using an [...]