a tavola - the cuisine of campania
(return to food)
I have chosen to concentrate specifically on the cuisine of Naples
because it is one of my favorite cities. Naples is the most vibrant and alive place anyone
could imagine. The food everywhere is delicious.
Everyone has some knowledge of Neopolitan cuisine because it has been so diffused around
the World. Just think of pizza! But there are also many other recipes we all know which
originated in Naples. There are recipes for Struffoli and Zeppole in the dessert section.
These recipes are the most frequently requested.
I am indebted to about.com Italian Food for the best Neopolitan recipes available - some of
which are below.
ANTIPASTI - APPETIZERS
Antipasto is not normally served in Neopolitan meals but it is becoming
Pomodori ripieni - Stuffed tomatos
This dish can be served warm or cold and it will serve as an antipasto or
as a vegetable side dish.
12 round, large tomatoes
3/4 cup rice
1 clove garlic
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
Fresh shredded basil or oregano
Wash and dry the tomatoes, then cut around their caps and scoop out the
pulp with a spoon, being careful not to puncture the tomatoes. Do the
scooping over a bowl so as to catch all the liquid that drips from the
tomatoes as well, and when you are done blend the pulp and juice. Then
combine the blended tomato pulp with the remaining ingredients except the
wine. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Stuff the tomatoes with the filling without tamping down too hard, replace
the caps, and put them in a lightly oiled oven proof dish. Pour the wine
into the dish and bake the tomatoes until done, about 45 minutes. Serve
either hot or cool.
PRIMI PIATTI - FIRST COURSES
MINESTRA/ZUPPA - SOUP
Zuppa di Lenticchie - Lentil Soup
1 pound dried green lentils
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the lentils in a pot with enough water to cover them to a depth of 3-4
fingers, and simmer them covered over a low flame for about 2 hours; keep
more hot water handy should the lentils absorb all the cooking water. When
they're close to being done, add the remaining ingredients. Cook for
another half hour and serve.
Lasagne alla Ricotta
1 1/4 pounds store-bought lasagne
For the b�chamel sauce:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
4/5 quart milk
Salt to taste
For the sauce:
1 1/4 pound Neapolitan mild sausages
2 ounces prosciutto
2 ounces smoked pancetta (in its absence use unsmoked pancetta, not bacon)
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
Parsley, thyme and marjoram, minced (to taste; figure about a tablespoon of
parsley and a teaspoon each of the other two, then adjust until you reach
what you like)
A few leaves rosemary
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dry white wine
Meat or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
For the filling:
1 1/4 pounds fresh ricotta
3 cups grated Parmigiano (about 1/3 pound)
1 pint milk
Salt and pepper
A rectangular pan, 9 by 12 inches, and 3 inches deep
Make a moderately thick b�chamel sauce and let it cool. (See ingredients
Skin and crumble the sausages, and mince them with the prosciutto,
pancetta, onion, carrot, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and just a little
rosemary. Work the butter into the mixture, then saut� everything over a
low flame, adding the wine a little bit at a time, and then broth; let all
the liquid evaporate between additions. When done, the sauce will be rich,
moderately browned, and not dry.
Mix the ricotta and a bit more than half the Parmigiano together, season
with salt and pepper to taste, then beat enough milk into the mixture to
turn it creamy and light. In the meantime a pot of bring lightly salted water to boil;
tablespoon of oil into it and cook the lasagne until they're barely al
dente, then run them under cool water and set them to drain on a cloth.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, take your rectangular pan,
and spread some b�chamel sauce over the bottom, then a third of the lasagne
(overlap the sheets of pasta slightly). Sprinkle the pasta with Parmigiano,
then a third of the sausage sauce, and finally a third of the ricotta.
Repeat the procedure twice more, and bake the lasagne for 35-45 minutes;
let the top brown lightly and then cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil
if need be. Once they are done and removed from the oven, let them sit for
five minutes before serving them.
SECONDI PIATTI - SECOND COURSES
CARNE - MEAT
Vitello alla Pizzaiola - Veal Pizzaiola
2 pounds veal scallops
1 pound drained canned, or fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
Clean the slices of meat, trimming away gristle and nicking the membranes.
Lay them out in a large skillet, salt them lightly, and cover them with the
tomatoes (quartered if fresh, halved if canned). Add the remaining
ingredients, cover, and cook over a moderate flame for about an hour,
checking every now and then and adding a little more liquid if things are
As a variation,you could begin by saut�ing the garlic in the oil; when it
has browned remove and discard it, and fry the cutlets, arranging them on a
platter when they're done. Next, cook the tomatoes and the other
ingredients in the skillet to make the sauce, adding the wine last, and
when it has evaporated, return the meat to the pan to heat it through.
PESCE - SEAFOOD
Capitone, Arrosto o Fritto -- Eel, Grilled or Fried
Eel meat is oilier than that of many fish, and is consequently ideally
suited to the grill. This recipe is drawn from Car�la Francesconi's La
Cucina Napoletana, and is an indispensable part of the Christmas Eve
If you plan to grill it:
2 1/2 pounds eel
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 a bay leaf per piece eel
If you plan to fry it:
A pot of oil for frying
Cut the eel into pieces about 3 inches long, wash them, dry them, and rub
them with the garlic. Slip them onto skewers, alternating them with bay
leaves. Season them with salt and pepper and drizzle the oil and vinegar
over them; let them sit in the marinade for at least an hour.
To make grilled eel:
Grill the pieces over a medium flame for about a half hour, turning them
frequently and basting them with olive oil.
To make fried eel:
Do not skewer the pieces, but rather sprinkle them with oil and dot them
with pieces of bay leaf. Once they have marinated roll the fish in flour
and fry the pieces in moderately hot oil until they are browned and crunchy
on the outside. Drain them well on absorbent paper and salt them.
Source: about.com Italian Cuisine
VERDURA - VEGETABLE
Asparagi in Cassuola - Neapolitan Pan-Saut�ed Asparagus
4 1/2 pounds asparagus
1/4 pound finely sliced prosciutto
Freshly picked mint leaves
1/2 cup unsalted butter or olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Wash the asparagus and cook them in bunches, upright in lightly salted
boiling water sufficient to reach up to where the stalks shift from white
to green, so the bases will be boiled while the tips are steamed.
While the asparagus is cooking prepare the remainder: Saut� the prosciutto
in the butter or oil with the mint leaves, and when it is cooked keep it
warm. When they are cooked (5-8 minutes, or until the tips begin to droop),
cut away and discard the white parts, and heat the asparagus through well
in the sauce, turning the spears gently to coat them thoroughly.
Broccoli Rapa Strascinati - Stir-fried Broccoli Rabe
2 1/4 pounds cleaned broccoli rabe (wash well, trim roots, and coarsely
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Hot pepper, if you like it
2 anchovies, boned and minced (optional)
Drain the broccoli well and cook them until half done in lightly salted
boiling water (3-5 minutes from when the water resumes boiling after you
add them to the pot). Drain them well, and squeeze them to force out the
Saut� the garlic in the oil, and when it is golden, add the broccoli. Cook
over a brisk flame, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Season with
the hot pepper, if you are using it, half way through the cooking, and the
anchovies, if you are using them, at the end. Before serving check
Melanzane al Forno Con le Olive - Baked Eggplant with Olives
2 medium sized oval eggplants
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon salted capers, minced.
4 ounces pitted sweet black olives
1 bunch parsley
4 anchovy fillets
2 ounces crust-free bread, crumbled and soaked in a few drops of milk
1/2 cup thick tomato sauce or canned tomato pulp, and a finely sliced plum
tomato, if it's in season
A pinch of oregano
Pepper to taste
Halve the eggplants, score them diagonally, salt them, and let them sit for
an hour. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the eggplant halves
and put them in an oven-proof dish.
Blend the garlic, capers, parsley, olives, anchovies, and bread until they
become a fairly smooth paste. Spread the paste over eggplant halves, then
sprinkle them with the tomato, and garnish them with the tomato slices.
Season with pepper and the origano to taste and bake until done, about an
DOLCI - SWEETS
Migliaccio is a classic Neapolitan specialty. Please read the whole recipe for all the
prepare a pastry cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup potato or corn starch
Bring the milk to a boil. While it's heating, whip the yolks with the sugar
until the mixture is pale yellow and foamy, then sift the starch into the
mixture, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Stir in the hot
milk, a few drops at a time, then heat everything over a very low flame,
stirring gently, until it thickens somewhat -- about 10 minutes. Don't let
the cream come to a boil.
Then heat another 3/4 cup of milk with a pinch of salt, stir in barely 1/2
cup of semolina a cup of sugar, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Afterwards, you simply have to combine this mixture with a little more than
3/4 of a pound of fresh ricotta, a flacon of acqua di fiori d'arancio
(orange blossom water, use orange extract if need be, to taste), two more
yolks, and the pastry cream. Done. Butter and flour a mold, and bake the
mixture in it at 360 F until it done. (It should set; it will take about
45 minutes but check it at 30). Open the oven and let the migliaccio cool
without removing it, to make sure it's completely dry, and dust it well
with confectioner's sugar.
Struffoli - Neopolitan Fried Cookies with Honey
5 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup honey
grated rind of 3 orange
1 3/4 cups candied orange peel
1 3/4 cups candied citron peel
1/2 lemon lard or extra-virgin olive oil
These delicious sweets from Naples are prepared especially for Christmas.
Some recipes suggest the addition of 1 tbsp of pure alcohol to the pastry.
Some cover them with hundreds of thousands to add a festive touch. On a
cold clean kitchen surface place the flour, a pinch of salt, a tbsp of
sugar and the grated rind of 1/2 a lemon, and mix together. Form a mound
shape and make a well in the middle, in which you will break the 8 eggs and
2 yolks and 2 tbsp of lard or olive oil. Moving your fingers from the
outside inwards mix all the ingredients and knead the dough. Roll out into
long thin rolls and cut small 1/2 inch rolls. Fry them, a few at a time, in
lard or olive oil, taking care not to burn them, and drain off the excess
fat on kitchen paper. Heat the honey in a pan ch of salt, a tbsp of sugar
and the grated rind of 1/2 a lemon, and mix together. Form a mound shape
and make a well in the middle, in which you will break the 8 eggs and 2
yolks and 2 tbsp of lard or olive oil. Moving your fingers from the outside
inwards mix all the ingredients and knead the dough. Roll out into long
thin rolls and cut small 1/2 inch rolls. Fry them, a few at a time, in lard
or olive oil, taking care not to burn them, and drain off the excess fat on
kitchen paper. Heat the honey in a pan ch of salt, a tbsp of sugar and the
grated rind of 1/2 a lemon, and mix together. Form a mound shape and make a
well in the middle, in which you will break the 8 eggs and 2 yolks and 2
tbsp of lard or olive oil. Moving your fingers from the outside inwards mix
all the ingredients and knead the dough. Roll out into long thin rolls and
cut small 1/2 inch rolls. Fry them, a few at a time, in lard or olive oil,
taking care not to burn them, and drain off the excess fat on kitchen
paper. Heat the honey in a pan and when it has melted remove it from the
heat source and add the grated rind of three oranges. Stir well then add
the chopped up candied orange and citron and then mix in the "struffoli".
Take care not to crush the "struffoli". When these have absorbed all the
honey, place them on a large serving dish and shape them into a large cone
or ring. Wet your hand with water so that they do not stick to the honey.
Allow to rest a few hours before serving. You can also sprinkle the
struffoli with hundreds of thousands.
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups (250 g) flour, sifted
An equal volume of water
A pinch of salt
A pot of olive oil for frying (you can use other oils if need be)
1/2 cup (about 125 ml) white wine
For the dredging:
3 teaspoons powdered cinnamon mixed with
1 cup (200 g) sugar
Set the water and wine to heat, and when bubbles form on the bottom of the
pot (it's shouldn't come to a full boil) add the flour in one fell swoop
and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. When the dough comes out of the
pot in a single piece remove it from the fire to a lightly oiled marble
work surface and work it, pounding it with a rolling pin, for about 10
minutes so as to make it smooth and homogeneous. Roll the dough into snakes
about as thick as your little finger, cut them into 8-inch (20 cm) lengths,
and pinch the ends together to make rings.
Heat the oil and fry the zeppole a few at a time, pricking them with a
skewer as they fry, so the dough will bubble out and they'll become
crunchier and more golden. Drain them on an absorbent paper and dredge them
in the cinnamon-and-sugar mixture. They're good hot or cold.
If you choose to dip them in a honey mixture, forgo the sugar and cinnamon mentioned above.
3/4 cup (250 g) honey
2/3 cup (125 g) sugar
1 pinch powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water
Diavolilli (colored candy bits; she calls for 50 g, or 2 ounces by weight)
Make the zeppole and keep them warm
Mix the honey, water and sugar, and cook the syrup until the fine thread
stage (squeeze a drop between thumb and forefinger, then separate them;
fine threads that break easily should form).
Lower the flame to an absolute minimum, stir in the cinnamon and the
vanilla, and dip the zeppole 2 or 3 at a time, removing them with a fork
and laying them on the serving dish. When you have finished dipping,
sprinkle the zeppole with diavolilli, pour the remaining syrup over them,
and serve hot.
Adapted from about.com Italian Food