Posts Tagged ‘italian artichoke recipes’
Pizza di Patate e Carciofi
This is not a dish commonly found in restaurants but more often prepared in homes and is as rustic as it gets. Sprucing up a dish like this to look fabulous is a challenge but the flavours and textures will not let you down. The southern Italian heritage comes through with the Scamorza cheese, which tends to resemble mozzarella but is firmer as it has less moisture. The flavour of Scamorza also has it’s own unique nuttiness and a pique that mozzarella does not. If you cannot find Scamorza at your deli, a good mozzarella will do but remember that Scamorza is saltier and earthier so the overall experience will be different. One thing to make sure of is that you do not have a punchy cheese that will compete with the artichokes for flavour. Scamorza is also stringy when it melts so you will get the same cheesy stretch when pulling it apart.
Ripieni di Salsiccia
There are some things that obviously do not translate from Europe to Australia. Winter is one of them. Sydney is in a climatically temperate belt and temperatures never dip as low as Europeans or most Americans would be familiar with during the colder months. I love that a European winter turns your apartment balcony into an extension of your refrigerator. Leaving milk on the outside windowsill is something I learned to do while living in Europe. This would definitely never happen in Sydney, Australia, where any food left outside of a fridge for a few hours will be approached with caution. Regardless of this, salami has to be made sometime, and it is the cold that determines when it should be done. In Italy my parents would customarily make enough salami for the year, plus a bit more. The period of Carnevale is the traditional time for slaughtering a pig and getting everyone on board to make the most out of every little bit of it.
This dish is really what started this artichoke obsession for me. My mother’s stuffed artichokes is a dish I always remember loving. It’s not just the flavour but just how fun they can be to eat. I remember the stuffing between the leaves being a real joy to savour and she made them so perfectly that the stuffing sometimes formed the shape of the artichoke leaf. You need to use your hands to get the most out of this dish and I love licking my fingers after a yummy meal. Do you?
“They’re a lot of work and people won’t drink.”
Blog refresher. If you haven’t read this blog before, about a year and half ago I met a guy in Foggia, Puglia who has the craziest, eccentric kitchen and a wonderful giving nature as a cook. His name is Zio Aldo and he has run a restaurant within the historical centre of Foggia since he retired as a youth worker. Not any old restaurant, mind you, but a den enriched with many stories, years of cultural tradition and an unreserved love of the local. I wrote a post about Zio Aldo and one of his recipes at that time.
I promised him the first time we met that I would revisit and he promised me a menu full of artichoke dishes. We alerted him to our descent south and this is where we headed mid spring along the coast from Le Marche, through Abruzzo, briefly skirted Molise and into Puglia.
QUICK! If you’re in the southern hemisphere get to the markets quickly before the spring ends and some crucial ingredients disappear. This dish is a classic Sicilian plate originating in the west of Sicily. Late in the artichoke season throughout Italy, you will find fave beans being sold right next to artichokes, so it’s inevitable that they will find themselves in some recipes together. The further south you make your way in Italy you will see an increasing abundance of both artichokes and fave beans. The dish photographed above is from Trattoria Piccolo Napoli in Palermo A Slowfood listed restaurant specialising in seafood with a generous offering of vegetable antipasti and side dishes.
You may know fave beans as broad beans where you come from. Once they are removed from their pods they need to have their skins removed. (This is not absolutely essential and certainly wasn’t done in the past when every little morsel counted.) The easiest way to remove the skin from each bean is to toss them into boiling water for half a minute. Remove and refresh under cold water. You will notice the skin wrinkle and lift off the bean, which then can be easily removed with a knife or your fingers. You can also make this with dried fave beans which will need soaking overnight. It’s not the same as the fresh experience but the flavour is unmistakable. It’s also ok to use frozen peas but remember to halve the weight indicated in this recipe.
Carciofo di Pernaldo
Gastronomy and astronomy alike thrive in Perinaldo [MAP] it would seem. This is the birth place of the noted astronomer Giovanni Cassini, but I wouldn’t have known that if it weren’t for the artichokes and olives that attracted me there in the first place. Yet another small, hilltop town, this time in Liguria, and a must see if you ever feel like a drive down by the Italian Riviera. (more…)
Carciofo Moretto di Brisighella
Looking more like ammunition for a medieval catapult than an edible food, these particular artichokes were pretty much unknown of before about 10 years ago. Around Brisighella, (MAP) these spiky little buds have been able to make a home of the rough, uneven, hard clay terrain and eroded hills (called Calanchi). In this terrain they have been able to inhabit and thrive virtually as a wild thistle. Whoever it was that originally thought about them as a source of food must have had to undress them in the times before the modern day gardening glove.
Sagra del Carciofo Fritto
How many towns in the world can claim to be a one monk town? My guess is, not many, but Torricchio (MAP), just near Uzzano in the provence of Pistoia can, and it seems they are very proud of the monastery and the part it has played in the town’s heritage.
The tiny Uzzano town
On the face of it, this Sagra (celebration) is held by the monastery, but how can one aging Cappuccini monk organize such a massive party for the locals? These days the monastery lends the town it’s kitchens, gardens and dining areas where a feast can take place.
The White Artichoke of Pertosa
Who said old-fashioned hospitality was dead? In Pertosa Alice and I were treated to a day of the most enthusiastic generosity you could imagine. We were greeted by the young and energetic Giuseppe Lupo who, among many things, acts as the local councilor for agriculture in his hometown.