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Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

a tavola - the cuisine of calabria
(return to food)

Often called the Switzerland of the South, Calabria covers the mountainous toe of Italy. Here one finds the most magnificent forests, and the hillsides are silvered with ancient olive trees.

see also...
Easter in Scalea
On the Calabrese Stove
Glossary of Calabrian and Southern Italian Foods
What do you know about Umbria?
Visit Calabria
Visit other Italian regions
The Calabrians eat many varieties of homemade pasta, such as macaroni alla pastora (with ricotta cheese) and other sauces; fusilli (curly spaghetti), vermicelli in soup and stuffed lasagna.

Eggplant is a favorite of the people of this region and it is prepared most deliciously in many ways: stuffed, alla parmigiana; with mushrooms; with sweet-and-sour sauce; and with pine nuts. Ciambotta is a one-dish meal, a mixture of eggplant, zucchini, sweet green peppers, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes cooked in oil or fat.

Capacolla, similar to Canadian bacon, is made from pork shoulder that has been marinated in wine or vinegar and smoked. Sometimes it is spiced with hot pepper seeds. Sanguinato, a very thick sausage roll made from pig's blood with spices and pistachio nuts, is a type of blood pudding. Homemade spicy sausages are specialties of this area.


From Ciro' Marina - Prov. Cotrone

2 medium eggplants(cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions sliced
1can tomatoes (16oz) chopped with liquid
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sliced
pimiento stuffed olives
1 can sliced ripe black olives
2 tbs. capers
1/2 cup wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

In a large skillet, saute eggplant in very hot oil for about 10 min. or until soft and slightly brown. Transfer eggplant with slotted spoon to large saucepan. Reduce heat under skillet and saute onions about 3 min., adding a little oil if necessary. When onions are golden brown, add tomatoes and celery. Simmer about 15 min, or until celery is tender. Add olives and capers. Dissolve sugar in vinegar in small saucepan. Stir into eggplant. Cover and simmer over medium heat 30min. stirring occasionally. Remove from heat: cool. Refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature or over crusty bread as we do.

Castagne Arrostite - Roast Chestnuts
From Prov. of Cosenza

1 pound of chestnuts

Wash and dry chestnuts. With sharp-pointed knive slit each chestnut across top. Place in large greased shallow pan; roast in a preheated 450 degree oven about 30 minutes or until chestnuts popp open and look like little fans. Shake pan occasionally to brown evenly.
Serve hot.

Chipolino Putanesca
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza

2 lbs Chipolino onions
1 cup olive oil
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
4 cloves, fresh Garlic(sliced)
1 small hot peper(or hot red pepper flakes)
Salt and Black Pepper
2 or 3 Anchovies(if desired)

Peel, then boil chipolinos, until lightly tender. Drain in your sculapasta. Dry them slghtly. In an iron skillet add 1/2 in. olive oil, heat the oil hot. Add your chippolini & saute for about 7 minutes- add bread crumbs-seasoned- lower heat to simmer,add sliced fresh garlic, hot red pepper flakes, salt & lots of black pepper to taste, simmer & stir for about 5 more minutes. at the end stir in 2 or 3 anchovies real good. This goes goodwith dry Italian red wine. & good crusty bread.


Our Calabrian Heritage

Gnocchi di ricotta
2 lbs ricotta
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat ricotta until creamy, combine eggs and flour a little at a time until it is as thick as pie dough. Divide into 4 parts and shape into 1 inch rolls Cut into 1/2 pieces- repeat with remaining dough Drop dough into salted boiling water a little at a time. When the gnoccki come to the surface, let cook for a few minutes. Add to prepared tomato sauce.

NOTE: this recipe was in with all the other recipes , but I don't recall her fixing it for us.


Homemade Macaroni - Pasta:

Fusilli, Rashkatill and Tagliarini
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza

3 cups all purpose flour(unbleached)
1 tlbs veg. oil
1 Tsp salt
3 whole eggs (if you want lighter pastas or egg noodles)

Prepare the flour as you would normal bread dough with salt and oil(duram or Semolino flour is preferred by some). If adding eggs, eliminate the oil. mound dry flour add salt mixture, leaving a crater in the center where the eggs are added. Graduslly work the entire mixture together kneeding the dough untill thourghly mixed(sprinkel more flour to elimanate any stickiness). The dough is then rolled out into thin, flat sheets and the choice of the macaroni which follows is now up to you.

These curley macaroni are made with the aid of a steel knitting needel. Cut thin strips of dough and beginning at on end, wrap the strip around the needle(which has been lightly coated with oil) coiling it up all the way to the top. Allow the pasta to set for a few minutes, before sliding it from the needle. Place finished product on a white cloth that has been sprinkeled with dry flour untill you are ready to cook.

Tagliarini macaroni can be made by cutting the flattened dough into 1/4 inch strips with a pastry knife. Another faster and eisier way is with a long, metal, 1/4" square rod. This rod is simply rolled across the dough with the palms of your hands. The sharp edges of the rod cut into the dough resulting in perfect uniformed macaroni. The finished macaroni can now be laid on a floured cloth, or hung up to dry, untill ready to use.

This one is the most fun and my very favorite. With the palms of your hands, roll the dough out into long, narrow lenghts. Now chop off dough into about 1/4" pieces, which you will roll into marble sized balls. With your indet finger, press the ball flat and roll forward. You should end up with a round, pressed pasta resembling shell macaroni.
That's Rascatelle!

Cooking macaroni:
Remember the pasta is already soft and will not require the same amount of time nessecary to cook regular hard pastas. 5 -10 minutes of boiling will usually be sufficient time. Boil in salted water untill dough is tender. It is now ready to serve topped with some good grated Pecorino cheese and your favorite sauce.

Spagetti Aglio - Olio - Pasta with Oil and Garlic
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza

3/4 C olive oil
4 cloves garlic(halved)
1 lb Linguini
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil and brown garlic (do not burn). Drain spagetti (not to dry) mix salt & pepper to taste !!!!

Macoruni e Calamari - Pasta with Squid Tomato Pepper sauce
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza

1 cup olive oil
1/2 lb Calimari(cleaned & cut up)
5-6 cloves chopped Garlic
1/4 cup dried peppers(chopped up, Peperoncino)
6-8 Roma tomatoe(cut up or whole canned)
1-2 tlbs fresh parsely

Cook a pound of your favorite pasta in a skillet heat 1 cup olive oil, add 5-6 cloves miced garlic. Saute this for a few minutes. Now add calamari(Squid) & 1/4 cup dried red peppers. Saute this until the squid is tender. Add tomatoes. Simmer mixture 5-10 minutes, or longer. Add salt & pepper to taste. Mix this with your macaroni in a large bowl and top with fresh parsely and grated Romano cheese.


Zuppa di Pollo - Chicken Soup
From Africa - Reggio Calabria.

Chicken wings, necks and backs
2 qts Water
2-4 cloves garlic
Some Romano Cheese

Simmer chicken for several hours until chicken falls off the bones. Remove bones. Add more water and seasonings (1/2 each of chopped carrots, celery may be added) Simmer slowly untill smoth and flavorfull.1 cup of Macaroni or pastina can be added. Beat one or two eggs with two or three tablespoons of Romano cheese, and drop this into the boiling soup, stir gently and continuously until the egg is cooked.

Mariola all Calabrese - Egg omlette Soup
From Prov. Crotone.

4 large eggs
6 tbs. fine bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 1/4 quarts chicken broth
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Beat the eggs thoroughly. Sift the bread crumbs and add them, along with the salt, pepper, marjoram and parsley, to the beaten eggs. Melt a bit of butter in an omelet pan or heavy frying pan over a medium high heat and pour in just enough egg mixture to make a thin omelet. As soon as it's solid on the underside turn it, and as the second side is cooked, remove it to a plate. Keep on making thin omelets until you have used up everything.

When the omelets are cool, cut them into about 1/2-inch squares or use aspic cutters to cut pretty shapes. Bring the broth to a boil, drop in the omelet shapes, and serve after the broth has come back to a boil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Serves 6.

Pasta Fasuli - Pasta e Fagioli - Macaroni and bean soup
From Prov. Crotone.

2 cans of cannoloni beans(white beans) 1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 can 1 lb. tomatoes or 4 whole tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs. tomato paste
0 3 tbs.parsley 1/2
1/2 lb. macroni
Romano cheese

Brown onions and garlic in small amount of oil. Add tomatoes and tomatoe paste and seasonings. Make a paste with flour and 2 tbs of cold water. Add to tomatoes. Add 1 quart of water. Combine tomatoe sauce and beans. Simmer 1 hour. Cook macaroni and drain and add to soup. Simmer 1 hour. Serve with generous amounts of Romano cheese.


Pit e Pepperoli - Pepper Pizza
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza.

1 lb Rosted or Fried peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
Romano or parmagian cheese(grated)
Salt-black pepper
1 cup of your favorite meatless sugo

The Dough:
Prepare it your way. Regular bread dough works well. Let it raise to about 1- 2 inches. Dust dough with flour and crimp edges. Now punch(poke) in the finger indentations. Rub the top & edges of the raised dough with a mixture of 1/4 cup of olive oil(the oil from a tin of anchovies is added by some). Sprinkle black pepper. Top dough with enough pepper and sugo mixture to make a neat topping. Sprinkle on top some capers & black lye cured olives. If you like top with romano cheese (never mozzarella). In italy they never use mozzarella. They prefer the gruvier type cheeses with less moisture.

Alternative topping:
prepare dough as above, mix together 1/2 cup each of bread crumbs, 6 to 8 sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of green onion or chives, 1/4 cup fresh italian parsley & basil. & 1/4 cup pine nuts (if available) mix well together and sprinkle mixture over the dough. Bake both versions according to the personality of your oven.



Cotolette alla Calabrese - Calabrese Cutlets
From Prov. Cotrone.
(Beef or veal Cutlets, Calabrian Style).

For the sauce:
1Tbs. chopped parsley
3Tbs. olive oil
1-1/2 cups peeled plum tomatoes, with juice
1 lb Green peppers (sliced and seeded)

Mince the parsley and garlic together and saute then in the olive oil in a medium size frying pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, mashhing them with a fork as they go in, and simmer about 10 minutes. Peel the peppers either by blanching them in boiling water for 10 minutes or stripping off the thin outer skin with a paring knife or by roasting them over an open flame. Cut first in strips , chop coarsely, and add to simmering tomato sauce. Simmer another 5 minutes.

For the meat:
11/2pounds bottom round beef(or veal)
1/2 cupflour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sifted bread crumbs
2TBs. butter
2Tbs. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Slice the meat into thin slices no thicker than 1/8 inch. Pound them with a meat pounder or flat of a big butcher knife to tenderize them even more. Dip in the flour and pat well on both sides. Dip them in the beaten egg, and then in the sifted bread crumbs, gently patting on as many crumbs as will adhere. Let them sit about 5 minutes. Heat the butter and oil in another frying pan over medium heat and fry the slices on both sides. Put them into the simmering pepper-tomato sauce. Scrape the pan well, add the butter and oil and scrapings to the sauce, and let meat simmer another 5 minutes.
Serves 6.

Agnello Arrosto - Roast leg of Lamb or Goat
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza.

Soak leg in cold water (keep changing the water every couple hours, for about 3 or 4 changes to get gamieness out). Dry off leg & coat well with a mixture of oregano, cumin, lots of salt & black or pepper. With a 3 inch blade punch holes at random & suff with a large garlic clove & bay leaf. Pour about 1/2 inch olive oil in a roaster & brown the leg for a few minutes. Roast in same panncovered @ about 350 for an hour. Uncover & roast till done. About 30 to 45 minutes. When you uncover you can add the lightly par-boiled skin on little red potatoes.

Braccioli Oriolese - Stuffed Steak
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza.

1 Lb round steak(Sliced 1/4 inch)
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 bay leafs
1/2 cup gratted cheese(Romano, ect)
Salt & black pepper to taste

Olive or Veg oil. Lay slices of meat flat and brush with oil. Add gratted cheese, garlic, sprinkel bayleaf (crushed) add salt- pepper to taste. Spread seasonings as evenly as possible. Now, gently roll meat (like-jelly roll) tie with string to hold shape. Your Braccioli can be baked, fried or broiled and is excellent when added to your spegetti sauce.

Pepperoni e Salsiccia - Green Peppers with Sausage
From Lappana - Prov. Cosenza.

4 large firm green peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup hot water

Stem, seed and slice peppers into 1-inch pieces. Wash and drain well. I prefer sweet banana peppers, but you can use bell peppers or even hot peppers,if desired. Heat oil in skillet, and over high flame fry peppers and onion 5 minutes; lower heat, cover, and cook slowly until peppers are tender. Then remove peppers and onion and keep hot. In same oil fry sausage over high flame. Prick with fork here and there to let out fat. As far accumulates discard it. When brown on both sides, cover pan, lower heat, and cook sausage about 20 minutes or until it is done. Cut into 2-inch pieces and top with peppers and onion. Season and add hot water. Cover pan and continue cooking 15 minutes longer. Serve hot with a mixed green salad.


Cleaning Calamari (squid)
All you really need is a good wife, with strong hands & a sharp knife and your ready to clean some squid. First you must pull the head & tenacles from the body cavity. pull out the pointy cartilage & insides or ligaments. Under cold water pull off the skin and Cut the tenacles from the head just below the eyes. Now Cut into small pieces and wash well. Your Calamari are now ready for the pot.

Calamari Fritti - Fried Squid
From Nicastro - Prov. Catanzaro.

1 lb Fresh or frozen squid
1 cup Flour
1/2 Cup cornmeal or Breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup Olive or veg Oil
3 eggs
1 Tsp Perprika
1 Tsp Parsley
Basil, hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare batter, Milk, eggs (beaten) salt, Pepper, parsely, ect. Mix well in bowl. Prepare breading. Mix flour, Bread crumbs(or cornmeal)Hot pepper, salt, pepper basil (to taste) add perprika. Grated cheese can be added, but is optional. Heat(about 1/2 inch) oil in pan. Dip pieces of calamari in batter that breading and hand pat breading so it sticks well. Fry in the oil untill golden brown.

Fried Smelt
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza.

1 lb Smelt
2-4 eggs(beaten) 1 cup Flour
1 tsp Hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup cornmeal
salt-pepper to taste

Clean smelt, by gutting and removing innards (leave heads on). Prepare batter, milk, eggs(beaten) salt, pepper, parsely, ect. Mix well in a bowl. Prepare breading... in a papper bag. Mix flour, Hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper Heat(about 1/2 inch) oil in pan. Dip Smelt into batter then put in papper bag with flour and breadding and shake well, until smelt is thouroly covered. Fry in the heated oil untill golden brown. Place fried smelt an a paper towell and sprinkel both sides with cornmeal.

Triglie con Oilve - Red Mullet with Black Olives
From Prov. of Cosenza.

Baked red mullet w/black olives
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons capers, thoroughly washed and drained
2 tablespoons slivered black olives
4 red mullets,red snappers or ocean perch,1/2 to 3/4 pound each,cleaned and gutted..with heads and tails on
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregana
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425F.
In a heavy 6-to 8-inch skillet melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat until it becomes a light amber brown, but do not burn it. Stir in the capers and olives. Remove the skillet from the heat. Wash the fish quickly, inside and out, under cold running water and dry with paper towels. Salt the inside of each fish lightly.

In a shallow flameproof 12 inch baking dish, heat the oil and the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter over moderate heat until it begins to sizzle. Stir in the oregano and a few grindings of black pepper. Roll the fish in the herbed fat. Then place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and bake, basting the fish with the hot fat every 5 minutes, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fish are firm to the touch.
With a slotted spatula, carefully transfer them to a heated platter. Warm the butter and caper sauce, stir in the lemon juice and parsley and pour it over the fish.


Source: "In Nonna's Kitchen - Recipes and Traditions from Italy's Grandmothers" by Carol Field.

1 large globe eggplant, firm and glossy
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
12 ounces white onions, minced
3 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
A handful of fresh leaves of basil
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the eggplant in cubes, but do not peel it. Set the cubes in a large bowl covered with well-salted water and leave for 3 to 4 hours. Do not rinse or dry them, just drain and put in a deep pot with 3 tablespoons of the oil and a clove of garlic and cook over high heat, stirring and turning frequently, until they are pale and soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the garlic clove.

In a separate heavy-duty skillet or nonstick saute pan, warm the remaining olive oil, add the onions, and saute until they are soft and limp, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sweet red peppers and cook over medium-high heat until they are almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the cooked eggplant and the tomatoes and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Just before serving, tear the basil leaves into pieces, sprinkle them over the mixture in the pot, and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. You can make this dish at any point earlier in the day and leave it covered.
Serve at room temperature.


Insalata di Pomodori e Peperoni - Tomato Pepper Salad
From Oriolo - Prov. Cosenza.

One Lb. green peppers (roasted and peeled)
8 to 10 fresh garlic cloves
1 pound of good, ripe Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup of cottonseed or olive oil
1/4 cup water

Place peppers in a large glass bowl. Slice and add the garlic and tomatos. The oil is now added along with the water and the ingrediants should be stired well. Add water. Add salt & pepper to taste. This should be covered and allowed to stand for two or more houres. Excellent with any meal along with some good bread.

Insalata di Dente di Leone - Dandelion Salad
From Lago - Prov. Cosenza.

1 lb. Wild or Italian dandelions Pastries
1/2 cup vinigar or wine vinegar
2 cloves Garlic(or to taste)
Salt & pepper
1 small fresh hot pepper or red pepper flakes(if desired)

You must pick wild dandelion greens in early spring, before they begin to blossom(unless you buy Italian varity). Clean and wash thoroughly and remove roots; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss in garlic, oil and wine vinegar.


From San Giovani - Prov. Reggio Calabria.

Cuchidatti, Fig filled cookies
1 lb of dried figs
1 lb of raisins
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup of walnuts
Rind of lemon
Rind of orange
1 cup chopped hard chocolate
1/2 cup apple juice

Crush nuts and chocolate then run thru a meat grinder along with all the other ingrediants. Add a 1/2 cup of apple juice to the mixture and stir in well. Place mixture in a large bowl, add more apple juice to give mixture a medium moist texture.

The Dough:
This can be your favorite Pie or cookie dough. Flatten out and cut into strips about 2X4 inches. Put 1 tlbs. filling in each and fold over. Bake as you would any other cookies. When done, frost and decorate.

Pita Piato
From Petilia - Policastro - Prov. Cotrone.

2 cups sweet red wine
1 cup salad oil
1/2 cup shortening
6 eggs
lots of sugar white and brown
8 cups sifted flour
2 boxes(15oz) white raisins
7or 8 cups chopped nuts
lots of cinnamon

Boil first three ingredients for 1/2 min. Set aside to cool. Beat eggs with approx. 4 tablespoons granulated sugar. Add eggs to cooled wine/oil mixture. Pour this over flour in large bowl. Mix well. It shoud be the consistency of a soft dough. Divide the dough into six balls and replace in bowl. Set aside in refrigerater for an hour or so. Now the fun begins. Roll each ball of dough a little thicker than you would for a pie crust into a 12"x6" rectangle.

Put lots of white and brown sugar over entire area, then sprinkle cinnamon to your liking, sprinke nuts and raisins over all. At this time if you want you can add any candied friut that you like-we use candied cherries-they look pretty and taste good. Now, drizzle with honey and roll up lengthwise as you would a jelly roll. You could shape this as a pinwheel, a wreath, a candycane or simply cut into slices. Bake on greased cookie sheets about 11/2 hr. at 300 degrees. Brush with honey last 20 min. Let cool. My grandmother made these every Christmas and I always helped. Of course there was no ricipe so we just guess at the amounts.

Scaledde, (Fritters)
From Prov. of Cosenza.

These small pastries take their name from their amusing twisted shape, known in Calabrian dialect as "little ladders":
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon anisette
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
Oil for frying
1 cup honey for finishing

Whisk the egg and yolk together and whisk in the sugar, salt, anisette, and butter. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour to make a soft dough and continue stirring until the dough becomes slightly elastic, about 1 minute. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and fold the dough over on itself 5 or 6 times, to make it more elastic. Flour the dough, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a thin cylinder about 12 inches long. Cut the cylinders into 3-inch lengths and twist each length around the oiled handle of a wooden spoon, about 3/8 inch in diameter, according to the illustration. Push the spirals of dough off the handle onto a pan to dry for 30 minutes. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry the scaledde. Drain and cool them on paper towels. Heat the honey and drizzle it over the scaledde.

Makes about 4 dozen small pastries.

NOTE: For advance preparation, fry the scaledde but only add the honey before serving.


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