I’m pretty sure that Pasta Primavera is something that was made up in an Italian restaurant in America. My mother used to make pasta with various vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, squash) as a type of minestra. Usually she used only one vegetable but if she felt like it, she’d use a variety of what was available. She never included cream and cheese was only added at the table. My mother called it ‘Pasta with Vegetables.’ I’ll call it ‘primavera’ – that means Spring.
Start a pot of salted boiling water that you’ll eventually use for the pasta. Boil the vegetables 1 or 2 at a time until almost tender and remove them to a bowl.
When the vegetables are done add some more salt to the boiling water and begin cooking the pasta. After cooking the vegetables in that water it’s now like vegetable stock. While the pasta cooks in one pot, in a second pot sauté the garlic in the oil. Add some salt, black and red pepper and the parsley.
Add the cooked vegetables and toss to coat with the garlic, parsley and oil on low heat. When the pasta is almost done add it to the vegetables, mix and add 1 & 1/2 cups of pasta water and mix well. Place in a serving bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and serve with grated Parmigiana cheese on the side.
Try to stick to these simple ingredients. Don’t be tempted to add so-called “Italian” seasoning or garlic. This is a fresh tasting salad, and either of those would muddy the flavors.
Salt and black pepper
Red wine vinegar
Start by peeling and sectioning the orange. Use a blood orange if you can get one. Cut each section into 2 or 3 pieces. It’s easier if you use a scissor. Place the sections in the salad bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the oil and the 2 kinds of vinegar. A good ratio is 2 parts oil and 1 part vinegar. Use a mix of ½ red wine vinegar and ½ balsamic. Let the oranges macerate for 20-30 minutes to flavor the dressing.
Michele was the chef at my Uncle Charlie’s restaurant, The Fisherman’s Wharf. This was one of my favorites.
Rinse the shrimp and blot them dry. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg with about two tablespoons of the milk. Dip the shrimp into the egg wash and drip off any excess. Coat with the breadcrumbs and place on a rack for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil to 375o. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a few breadcrumbs in the oil, and if it sizzles, it’s hot enough. Deep fry until golden.
Serve with lemon wedges and Heinz Chili Sauce on the side.
My daughter came up with this one. It was so good we added it to our Christmas Eve seafood menu.
1 chopped garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup plain fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and black pepper
2 large filets – grey or dover sole, or flounder
Mix the first 5 ingredients. Blot the filets dry, season with salt and black pepper and place in an oiled roasting pan. Cook in 350o oven for 12 minutes. Remove and cover with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Return to oven for 5 minutes and then under broiler for 3 minutes – just enough to brown the crumbs.
Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad – An interesting recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – the mix for the marinade is also used as sauce and salad dressing.
Mix orange juice, Sriracha, honey, soy sauce and ¼ cup oil. Reserve ½ of it to be used as salad dressing and sauce. Add the shrimp to the remaining half. Let it stand 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a pan. Drain the shrimp, reserving the liquid and cook them until pink. Remove the cooked shrimp and add the reserved liquid. Boil until slightly reduced, check for seasoning and then ladle over the shrimp.
Serve with rice and salad using the marinade as dressing.
Olives and Oranges is a tasty and simple dish to prepare. It works as an hors d’oeuvre, appetizer, brochette or side dish.
Keep the peel on the orange and cut into wedges. Cut each wedge into small triangular slices, about 1/8-inch thick.
In a heavy flat skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the olives and orange wedges to the pan and stir and combine. Add the garlic. Continue to shake the pan back and forth to gently stir the contents for about 5 minutes, until the olives are warmed through, the garlic soft and shiny, and the orange slices slightly wilted.
Stir in the oregano, transfer to a bowl and serve warm.
For the breadcrumbs – Cut off the crust of a loaf of day-old Italian bread and break what’s left into irregular shreds about 1/4-inch or a bit larger. Leave it on a kitchen towel for a few hours to dry and get crisp.
Once you start cooking the pasta put the torn bread crumbs into a pan with ½ cup of oil seasoned with salt, black and red pepper. Be sure the oil is hot enough so that the crumbs fry and don’t get soggy. Stir and coat the crumbs with the oil until they just start to toast and then add the garlic slices. Continue stirring and tossing and don’t let the garlic get brown. Remove the crumbs and garlic from the pan.
If the pan looks too dry add some more oil and toss the cooked pasta in it until it’s coated. Add the oregano. If the pasta seems dry, drizzle over more oil and/or a little pasta water but not too much water because the crumbs will get soggy.
Return the toasted breadcrumbs to the pan and add the parsley. Toss well and serve.
Real Sicilian pizza isn’t covered with gooey melted mozzarella. It has a simple sauce flavored with a little onion, some grated pecorino, and breadcrumbs – with or without anchovies, it’s up to you.
(if you want to make your own dough click here – I get mine in a pizzeria)
Sauté the onion in oil with black and red pepper until it’s translucent. Add ½ cup of water and raise heat until it almost evaporates. Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Allow the sauce to cool. When cool add the bread crumbs, cheese, and anchovies. Taste for seasoning. The cheese and anchovies can be salty so you may not need any additional salt.
Pre-heat the oven to 400o. Spread the dough in an oiled 9 by 13 baking sheet. Spread the sauce mixture over the dough in an even layer leaving about ½ inch of the dough exposed around the edges.
Drizzle it with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 30 minutes. When it’s done sprinkle with oregano.
After our visit to Terranova, we went to Sicignano degli Alburni to find someplace for lunch. A local guy recommended a trattoria in nearby Scorzo called Si Ma Quant Sit? Every meal we had in Italy was excellent but that two hour lunch at Si Ma Quant Sit? was the best. And we just found it by a lucky accident.
Dopo la nostra visita a Terranova, siamo andati a Sicignano degli Alburni per trovare un posto per il pranzo. Un ragazzo del luogo ha consigliato una trattoria nel vicino Scorzo chiamato Si Ma Quant Sit? Ogni pasto che abbiamo fatto in Italia è stato eccellente, ma quel pranzo di due ore al Si Ma Quant Sit? era il migliore. E l’abbiamo appena trovato per un fortunato incidente.
The menu was on a board on the table listing antipasti, pasta, and prima piatto. We started with the antipasto – some local cheese, prosciutto, capicola, and soprasade. We thought that would be it, but the owner, Raffale kept coming to our table adding things to our dishes – frittata, eggplant parmigiana, eggplant in vinegar, and on and on.
Il menu era su una tavola sul tavolo che elenca antipasti, pasta e prima piatto. Abbiamo iniziato con l’antipasto – alcuni formaggi e prosciutto locale, capicola e soprasade. Pensavamo che sarebbe stato il proprietario, ma Raffale ha continuato a venire al nostro tavolo aggiungendo cose ai nostri piatti – frittata, parmigiana di melanzane, melanzane in aceto e così via.
We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to eat the pasta course but we did.
We said we were too full for dessert but Lucia gave us some strawberries in wine anyway.
From Lucia’s garden
Raffale’s dogs wanted Bridget’s doggie bag.
Raffele and Simone
Strada Statale 19, 84029 Sicignano degli Alburni
Chili-Olive Oil Infusion
Raffale asked if I wanted some pepper for my pasta. He put a little jar of olive oil infused with dried chili on the table. It wasn’t just spicy, it had a distinct pepper taste. I asked how it was made. He gave me some to take home and got Lucia from the kitchen and she explained.
Raffale mi ha chiesto se volevo del pepe per la mia pasta. Mise sul tavolo un vasetto di olio d’oliva infuso con peperoncino secco. Non era solo piccante, aveva un sapore di pepe distinto. Ho chiesto come è stato fatto. Mi ha dato un po ‘da portare a casa e ha preso Lucia dalla cucina e lei ha spiegato.
Remove the stems and coarsely chop dried red chilis
Heat them in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until you can smell them.
Add some oil and sauté on low until the pepper softens. Put it all in a jar, add some more oil and in a few days, it’s ready.
If you’ve been following my blog you know that I don’t use packaged food products – until now. I was browsing in a grocery store in Amalfi in Southern Italy and noticed a clear cellophane package of dried lemon, onions, capers and other things called, “Spaghettata con Limone e Tonno.”
It was only 2 Euros so I bought it. The English translation of the preparation was a little confusing but I figured it out.
All I had to do was add 3 ingredients – water, olive oil, and tuna.
The preparation was easy and it was delicious. I tried to Google a location where I could buy some more but no luck. I guess next time I want it, I’ll have to go back to Amalfi or make it from scratch.
From scratch –
¼ cup olive oil
1 finely chopped garlic clove
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsps. chopped capers
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 – 8 oz. jar of imported tuna packed in olive oil