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the abbruzzese kitchen
Lavish, hearty and robust, even zesty at times, the cuisine of the Abruzzi is also inventive and daring. The Abruzzesi relish a little hot seasoning on occasion and even chili peppers sometimes find their way into the list of ingredients.
Saffron is another seasoning that makes an appearance on the Abruzzi menu. The Abruzzi is Italy's principal source of saffron, with the majority of it grown for export. Worth more than its weight in gold - it takes approximately 130,000 flowers to produce just two pounds - saffron is used respectfully and sparingly by judicious Abruzzese cooks.
Nowhere in Italy is more closely identified with fine quality pasta and pasta dishes. Maccheroni alla chitarra, macaroni served with a rich, slightly piquant tomato sauce, flavored with peppers, bacon and Pecorino cheese, is its most celebrated regional specialty.
First courses worthy of mention are the famous maccheroni alla chitarra, and the scrippelle 'mbusse - thin pancakes sprinkled with sheep's cheese and cinnamon and covered broth - and the renowned timballo. This is based on pancakes, too, which are said to have been brought to Teramo by a Breton sailor, a deserter from Napoleon's army, who settled down, happily married in the town.
The Primo Maggio (May Day), is a fateful date for the women of Teramo who are busy in the long preparation of the virtu', the origins of which have been lost in time. The "virtó" is an auspicious dish which includes seven types of dry pulses (the end of the winter supplies), seven types of fresh pulses and seven types vegetables (fresh produce), seven types of meat, seven shapes of pasta, seven seasonings, and seven hours cooking time. On May Day in Teramo, apart from in the restaurants, it is possible to eat the virtu' in the street, offered by numerous vendors.
The number seven turns up in the traditional panarda of L'Aquila, a sumptuous banquet at which the participants are not allowed to say "no" to the seven types of dishes.† The panarda can have as many as 30 courses and lasts from noon until well into the night.
The Abruzzo cuisine is simple, and has, as a common factor, the natural products of the various areas. Inland, kids, lambs and sheep reared on the pastures in the high mountains, take first place. Lamb holds the leading role as "the main course" thanks to its particularly tasty, tender meat; it is cooked in different ways according to the traditions of the different localities. Other meat dishes include figs and ham, potatoes filled with sausage and ham and sheep's cheese
The regional maritime gastronomy reaches its best in the preparation of brodetto (fish soup), various kinds of fish cooked in an earthenware dish in Giulianova and Vasto.
The scapece is a characteristic dish of Vasto; it is a fish dish with no bones preserved in vinegar with plentyof saffron which gives it a yellow color.
Vegetable and Vegetarian Dishes
Asparagus omelette, peppers, tomatoes with rice, artichokes broken up and stuffed, halved and stuffed eggplant, eggplant with Parmesan cheese, roasted mushrooms, potatoes cooked under the cinders in the hearth
Cheeses and products from sheep and goat's milk
Local sheep's cheese, mature or fresh
Roman sheep's cheese, lengthy maturing,
strong taste (L'Aquila mountain area).
Ricotta (cottage cheese) and cacio marcetto
(rotten), (mountainous area). Goat's cheeses with a
shorter maturing time, are usually eaten fresh and can be found where there are the goat breeding farms on the east side of the Majella (Fara S. Martino, Pennapiedimonte) and in the upper Vasto.
Caciecavalle, caciocavallo (strong cheese from
Southern Italy) (Pescocostanzo, National Park,
Roccaraso, Rivisondoli, etc.).
Mozzarelle (Rivisondoli, Majella, from Teramo
and Lanciano, L'Aquila and surroundings).
Mozzarelle weathered (Lanciano, L'Aquila and
Giuncatina (junket) or "Quaijate", fresh cheese,
hardly curdled with or without salt.
Typical traditional cakes
Ferratelle (L'Aquila), Neole (Chieti), Pizzelle (Pescara), sweetwafers made from egg, flour, white wine, sugar, and anise seed formed with a††††††††††††††††††††††††† rectangular or round mould made red-hot in the fireplace.
Nevole (Ortona, Chieti), round wafers rolled into cones made with a round iron (Pizzelle).† which† must baked according to the old Italic and Roman tradition.
Bocconotti, loaves of puff pastry filled with cocoa and candied fruit (a speciality of Lanciano and Palena-Ch).
Castagnaccio (chestnut cake) (Teramo and L'Aquila provinces).
Cellucci, typical cakes of marmalade for the Abbot S. Antonio's Day in the Teramo area.
Tarallucci, typical cakes for the Abbot S. Antonio's Day in the Pescara and Chieti area.
ANTIPASTO - APPETIZERS
Crostini di Carciofi e Tonno - Artichoke Hearts and Tuna Fish Crostini
6 slices of toasted bread††††††††††††††
200 gr. of tuna fish in olive††††††††††††††
2 celery stalks††††††††††††††††
1/2 kilo string beans ( french beans )†
Wash the artichokes well, take off the hard leaves leaving practically only the hearts and boil them. String the beans, wash them well and boil them. Put the artichokes, the beans, the celery cut finely, and a pinch of salt into a food processor and blend well. The cream obtained should then be spread on the slices of toasted bread.
Antipasto di Melanzaane Ripiene - Stuffed Eggplant
4 small eggplants
6tbsp vegetable oil
3 clofes garlic
1tsp chopped parsley
1tsp small capers
2 tbsp corsly chopped black olives
1 tsp oregano
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
hot pepper (optional)
8 tomatoes sliced thin
Wash and cut eggplants lengthwise in half.† Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/2 in shell.† Chop pulp fine. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, add pulp, cook, stirring about 1 minute.† Chop garlic, anchovies and parsley together add eggplant pul;. Add capers, olives oregano, bread crumbs, pepper, 3 tablespoons oil.† Stir to blend.. †Fill eggplant shells with mixture.† Top each shell with thin, slightly overlapping tomato slices.† Dribble remaining oil over tomatoes.† Place stuffed piping hot and bubbling in 350 degree oven.†
Prawns, apples and celery
600 gr. prawns†††††††††††
200 gr. celery††††††††††††
1 Granny Smith apple†††††††††††††
100 gr. "Citronette" sauce (oil,lemon and salt)††††††††††††††
1 bouquet of lettuce††††††††††††††
Cook the prawns, clean them, slice the celery and apple. Place them on a plate with a bouquet of lettuce. Dress with the sauce.
†Minestrone of Calendimaggio
50 g./2 oz. dry broad beans
50 g./2 oz. white and green beans
50 g./2 oz. lentils
50 g./2 oz. chickpeas
50 g./2 oz. peas
50 g./2 oz. chickling (very savoury of ancient tradition now adapted to††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mediterranean cuisine)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - fresh parsley
Soak the legumes in water for 24 hours (the broad beans for longer than the lentils). Rinse, drain and cook separately. When almost cooked, combine in a single casserole dish, add cooking stock, season and pour all the root vegetables in, washed and cut into pieces. Cook for 15-20 minutes over a high flame without a lid. Pour into individual bowls and dress with oil and chopped parsley. *Typical example of traditional folk dish, where the old goes out (dry legumes) and the new comes in (root vegetables). The recipe is a result of a fable that has† the number seven as its magical number: in fact seven virtuous maidens contributed to bringing the seven dry and fresh ingredients to prepare the soup.
Tagliolini con Scampi - Tagliolini Pasta with Scampi†††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††
300 gr. of tagliolini (dried egg-noodles)††††††††††††
80 gr. extra virgin olive oil†††††††††††††
1 clove of red garlic†††††††††††††††
1 kg. scampi††††††††††††††
1 small glass of brandy††††††††††††††
1 teaspoon curry†††††††††††††††
2 sachets of saffron
1/2 bitter almond (Navelli)
50 gr. parmesan cheese
Saute' the garlic in the oil, add the scampi. Flame with the brandy and curry, add the saffron chopped almond and parsley. Cook the pasta, mix with the sauce and sprinkle with the cheese.
Spaghetti alla Chitarra†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
†1/4 c Olive Oil
2 1/2 tb Butter
8 ea Medium Mushrooms, sliced
4 ea Cloves of garlic, minced
1 d Crushed Chili Peppers
2 ts Powdered Oregano
1 1/2 lb Fresh Chitarra Pasta
On medium heat, in a small, heavy skillet, heat two tablespoons of††††††† olive oil and add one tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted, add sliced mushrooms. Saute for about two minutes or just until mushrooms lose their crispiness. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, put the remainder of the olive oil and butter. Add garlic and stir on medium heat for about two minutes. Add mushrooms, crushed chilies and oregano and saute for about 20 seconds. Add cooked pasta, salt and pepper to taste and toss all together until well mixed. Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Vermicielli al Sugo di Zafferano - Vermicelli (thin spaghetti) in saffron sauce††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††
500 gr. Vermicelli†††††††††††††
1/4 lb of zucchini flowers††††††††††††
3 fresh sausages††††††††††††††††
extra virgin olive oil††††††††††††††††
parsley, salt and pepper
grated sheep's milk cheese
Gently fry the chopped onion, zucchini flowers and parsley in the oil; add the saffron dissolved in the stock with salt and pepper; simmer for 15 minutes. Cook the sausages in a little water, add the puree and some stock if necessary, cook the Vermicelli "al dente" (rare done), mix well with the sieved sauce, plenty of cheese and the egg yolk over a high flame. Decorate with the sausages and their sauce on top.
LA CARNE - MEAT
Agnello all'Aceto Balsamico - Lamb with Balsamic Vinegar†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
12 lamb chops†††††††††††††
(6 slices of leg of lamb, 150 gr. each)†††††††††††
200 gr. of extra virgin††††††††††††
3 cloves of garlic††††††††††††††
18 black olives†††††††††††††††
1/2 onion medium sized
50 gr. balsamic vinegar
a little flour
3 lampagioni (bitter bulbs of tassel hyacinth) light chopped
Flour and salt the chops and fry in oil. When they are half cooked add the garlic, whole (without taking off the skin) and crushed, the stoned olives, the chopped lampagioni and finely sliced onion, after a few minutes add the rosemary. Higher the flame and wet with the vinegar, turning the meat often so that the meat absorbs all the flavor. Serve, when the vinegar has evaporated, with pickled onions, buttered carrots or steamed potates.
Capretto alla Semplice - Simple Goat †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
1500 gr. goat†††††††††††††††
1 onion ††††††††††††††
extra virgin olive oil†††††††††††††
Cut the goat into pieces. Place in a greased oven dish with the chopped onion and some rosemary, salt and lots of pepper. Put in a low oven and cook very slowly. (325F for about 2 hours)
Rotolo Ripieno di Manzo alla Frentana - Beef roll "Frentana"
1 large slice (900 gr.) of beef, well pounded††††††††††††††
6 celery stalks†††††††††††††
6 slices of bacon (180 gr.)†††††††††††††††
120 gr. extra virgin
100 gr. white wine
1/2 lemon sqeezed
1 grated orange rind
1.500 kg peeled tomatoes
200 gr. dry red wine
Salt and pepper the slice of beef place the bacon, celery, chopped carrots and roll it up. Seal the beef roll over a high flame. Pour on the wine. Add the lemon, grated orange rind and the tomatoes, squashed with a fork. Cook for a few hours and serve sliced with potato puree or polenta.
POLLO - CHICKEN
Coscie di Pollo Ripieni Abruzzeze - Stuffed Chicken Thighs
6 chicken thighs (de-boned)
6 tsp. freshly chopped prsley
1 clove grlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano leaves
2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
butter, one stick melted
juice of two lemons
Place all ingredients in a bowl except the chicken thighs.† Mix well.† Pour enough vegetable oil over the mixture to moisten. Fill each thigh with the mixture and close the thigh with a toothpick.†† Arrange the thighs side by side in a baking dish and pour melted butter over them. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees f for about one hour or until golden brown.† Just before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the thighs.†
PESCE - FISH
Aragosta Lanciano - Lobster "Lanciano" style†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
30 gr. pickles††††††††††††
30 gr. white olives†††††††††††††
30 gr. capers†††††††††††††
200 gr. melted butter††††††††††††††
80 gr. of cognac†††††††††††††††
1/2 clove of garlic
a ladle of blended peeled
a few tablespoons of bread crumbs
Chop the pickles, olives and capers. Put the mixture into a pan with the melted butter, add the cognac, the blended peeled tomatoes and the bread crumbs. Mix well; place the lobsters in a baking tray, pour the mixture on top and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with lettuce and lemon quarters.
Pesce Spada Ruberti - Swordfish great chef "Ruberti"
900 gr. (6 slices) of sword fish, each a half cm. thick†††††††††††
50 gr. peeled tomatoes†††††††††††††
3 cloves of garlic††††††††††††
1/2 red hot chili†††††††††††††††
40 gr. salted capers††††††††††††††
150 gr. extra virgin olive oil††††††††††††††
5 or 6 green olives
20 gr. pine-nuts
25 gr. raisens
a little flour
Soak the raisens in water for about 20 minutes. Flour the slices of fish and fry them. Saute' the garlic with the crushed chili pepper, add the chopped tomatoes, the olives, the pine nuts, 1 bay leaf, the capers and the sultanas and boil for 5 or 6 minutes. Add the slices of fish to the sauce and cook slowly for 8 to 10 minutes.
Zuppa di Pesce Mamma Angelina - Fish Soup "Mamma Angelina"††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
6 "mazzolini" 150 gr. each (local fish for stew)††††††††††††††
6 medium sized red mullet†††††††††††
6 small cuttlefish††††††††††††
6 scorpions fish, not very large†††††††††††††††
6 scampi medium size†††† †††††††††
6 razor fish†††††††††††††
12 large mussels††††††††††††††
200 gr. cockles†††††††††††††
6 small cod fish††††††††††††††
1 fresh pepper††††††††††††††
2 cloves of garlic†††††††††††††
1 stalk of celery
4 bay leaves
1 kg. tomatoes
150 gr. extra virgin olive oil
12 slices of toasted bread
In a very wide pan (40 cm diameter) put the oil, the sliced pepper and celery, garlic and onion, bay leaf, chopped parsley, peeled and seeded tomatoes and the cleaned cuttlefish, salt and cook on a high flame for about 10 minutes. Add the other fish according to their cooking time: the "mazzolini", after 4 minutes the scorpion fish the razor fish, the scampi, the mussels, the cockles and in thr end the red mullet and cod fih. Make sure that all the fish are covered by the tomato. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Place a slice of toasted bread in a bowl and put the fish stew on top.
VERDURA E PIATTI VEGETARIANI / VEGETABLES AND VEGETARIAN PLATES
Ciambotta Abruzzeze - Vegetable Stew
1 small eggplant
1 cup small zucchini
2 - 3 stalks of celery
1 or 2 small potatoes
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 fresh tomato
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Cut all the ingredients,except the garlic and saute in a frying pan with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and the chopped garlic.† Simmer until l all the vegetables are tender.† Then serve them in a platter.
La Ghiotta - Vegetable Casserole Abruzzeze
10 oz peppers
1lb, 2 oz tomatoes
10 oz zucchini
10 oz onions
2 lb 4 oz potatoes
1/2 cup oil
some thyme branches
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
Clean and slice the tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and peppers.† Boil the potatoes and cook them until tender.† When cool, remove skins and slice them like the other vegetables. In a casserole dish, preferably oval shaped, place alternate layers of potatoes with the tomatoes, onions and zucchini until you use all of the vegetables.† In between layers, salt and pepper the vegetales to taste and sprinkle some chopped thyme. At the end, pour the oil over all the dish, then the cup of broth.† Bake for about 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown.
VEGETABLE SIDE DISH
†Zucchine Gialle - Yellow Zucchini
4 kg. yellow zucchini ††††††††††††††
12 dried red peppers†††††††††††††
200 gr. extra virgin olive oil††††††††††††
3 cloves of red garlic†††††††††††††††
Peel and seed the zucchine and cut into quite large pieces. Fry the peppers in a wide pan, cool them and grind them in a mortar. Brown the garlic in the same oil, add the peppers and then the zucchine simmer gently for an hour.
DOLCI - SWEETS
Pizza cake "Ileana"††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
500 gr. genoise sponge†† - see recipe below†††††††††††
50 gr. powdered sugar†††††††††††††††
50 gr. candied cherries†††††††††††††††
50 gr. bitter chocolate†††††††††††††††
65 gr. milk chocolate†††††††††††††††
500 gr. whipped cream
120 gr. Aurum
120 gr. milk
50 gr. sugar
Slice the sponge, not very thinly, and line a deep, 15 cm wide dish. Wet the sponge with half of the aurum. Cut the cherries and the milk chocolate add the cream and mix all gently. Pour half of this mixture onto the sponge in the dish. Heat the milk and add the bitter chocolate cook slowly. Cool, add the remaining cream and pour onto the sponge cover with slices of sponge which have been flavoured with aurum. Put in the freezer until it is frozen.
Pan Di Spagna - Basic Genoise (sponge Cake)
2 Egg yolks
6 1/2 oz Sugar
1 t Vanilla
6 1/2 oz Cake flour
1/4 ts Cornstarch
Salt; a pinch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 1. Blend the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a mixer bowl with a wire whip attachment until the mixture doubles in volume-about 15 minutes on high speed. Just before stopping the mixer, add the vanilla and mix in. Sift together the cake flour, cornstarch and salt. fold dry mixture into egg mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until blended.† Coat two 10-inch round cake pans with shortening. Pour the batter into the pans and put them immediately into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake until tops are springy to the touch, about 45-50 minutes.† Remove the cakes from the pans and cool on a wire rack. When cool, use a long serrated knife to slice off the tops of the cakes. For tirami su or other layer cakes, divide each cake into three uniform layers with a serrated knife. Makes two cakes.
6 slices of fresh pineapple†††††††††††††††
50 gr. of Aurum or Grand Marnier†††††††††††††††
50 gr. of brandy†††††††††††††††
50 gr. of Kirsch†††††††††††††††
the juice of 3 oranges
50 gr. butter
100 gr. sugar
Put the sugar into a pan with a drop of water to makee a caramel. Melt the butter, flame it with the brandy, add the juice of the lemon, orange and grapefruit, together with the vanilla. Boil everything again until the caramel melts, pour in the cointreau, the kirsch and put in the slices of pineapple. Cook for 15 minutes and serve† on hot plates.
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