Monday, March 22, 2010

Chicken Stew and Orzo

1 LB Bonelss Chicken Thighs
4 Medium Yellow Potatoes
6 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup chopped Carrots
1 Cup chopped Celery
1 Cup chopped Onion
1 TBLS Italian Seasoning
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Olive Oil
1 Package Orzo Pasta
Parmesan or Romano Shredded Cheese

For 4-6 People

If possible use a dutch oven for this recipe, alternatively a large saucepan with lid can be used.

Warm some Olive Oil in the Dutch Oven or pan and add onion, cook until golden. Set aside. Peel Potatoes and cut into 2 inch pieces, cut the Chicken thighs with kitchen scissors into 1 inch pieces. Add to pot, along with chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped onion, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Cook covered over Medium-Low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for one hour or until potatoes are soft and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Add Orzo pasta and cook uncovered for time specified on package. Place in Soup in bowls and add plenty of Parmesan or Romano Cheese.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Name Day

 It's always been tradition for Italians to celebrate their Name Day (Onomastico). This derives from the fact that most Italians are named after Saints, and each Saint's name is celebrated on a particular day. Those who are not named after a Saint celebrate on All Saints Day (November 1st).

This special day is celebrated much like a Birthday celebration. Family and friends usually gather for Cake and Pastries and bring gifts along with them.

Yesterday, St. Patrick's Day, was my Name Day. I didn't have a party because of course I reside in the U.S., however lots of friends and family from Italy congratulated me (Auguri) and that was good enough!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

 Meat Lovers get ready for a dish that's going to blow your sock off! The Italian Sausage juices marry with the Tomato sauce to create a sweet and tangy taste explosion.

1 LB Spaghetti
1 LB Italian Mild Sausage
2 8oz. Cans of Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
2 Diced Garlic Cloves
3 Leaves Fresh Basil

For 4 people

This is a great meal for a slow cooker, dutch oven or a plain ol’ saucepan. For slow cookers adjust time to 6 hrs on low heat.

Place olive oil in saucepan, add garlic and caramelize. Add Sauce and tomato paste. Fill one of the empty cans of sauce with water and add to pot. Cook for about 30 minutes on low heat. Add Sausage and Basil. Cook for 20 additional minutes on medium heat.

Cook Spaghetti according to package directions.

Check sausage readiness by poking with a fork, juices should be clear.

Place spaghetti in dishes and top with Tomato sauce and one Sausage per person.

Add Parmesan.

Optional: If possible serve with a slice of Italian or French bread for dipping in the sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pasta and Zucchini

This dish is very delicious and healthy. After testing different types of cheeses as toppings, I have come to the conclusion that Vermont Cheddar is the best. I am aware that this cheese is not used in Italy, so if you'd like to stick to the original recipe try Romano cheese. The Vermont offers a sharpness that contrasts the sweet vegetables beautifully, give it a try!

For 4 People

1 LB Rigatoni
2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
Olive Oil
2 Cups Shredded Vermont for topping

Chop the zucchini into thin slices and halve them. Put some olive oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion to the pan, add salt. Cover with a lid and cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the zucchini from burning or sticking to the pan. While the zucchini cook, prepare the Rigatoni according to package directions, add about 1/4 cup salt to the boiling water.The zucchini are ready when they can be squished by a fork. Use a potato or meat masher to squish them, they needn't be pureed as they maintain a nice texture. Strain pasta, add zucchini to the pasta and mix well. Serve with plenty of cheese on top.

Buon Appetito!

Fried Spaghetti

I hope you all enjoyed my last few recipes. Last week was really busy, first of all I turned 30! Secondly, I've been working on more meals to add to the blog. Many thanks to my family for all the cooking equipment they gave me for my birthday, which included a pizza stone, a dutch oven, bamboo cutting boards and much more. Imagine the possibilities!

This recipe for Fried Spaghetti is widely used in Naples as a quick lunch, a sack lunch or a portable snack. It is best when eaten at room temperature as the spaghetti absorbs all the flavors.

For 4 People

1 LB Spaghetti
4 Eggs
1 TBL Chopped Parsley
Canola oil for frying

Cook spaghetti according to directions on box, be sure to salt the water  when it comes to a boil. When spaghetti is ready, strain and set aside for about 10 minutes so it can cool. The spaghetti needn't be cold, it just needs to be cool-er so it doesn't cook the egg.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add parsley, salt and pepper. Place spaghetti in a large bowl and add beaten eggs. Mix Well. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you may be able to make 3 or 4 personal frittatas or  one large one, which you will then slice. Place enough oil in the pan so it covers the whole area. Place the pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, mix the pasta one more time and add to the pan. Fry for about 10 minutes on each side. You will know it's time to flip the spaghetti when the bottom surface has hardened and it's of a golden color.

When the spaghetti is ready place on a dish to cool for about 20 minutes. This dish also stores well in the fridge.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Buon Giorno/ Buonasera

Language in Naples
The official language of Italy and consequentially Naples, is Italian. The region of Campania, which Naples is the capital of, has a secondary language or dialect called Neapolitan. It is normal for people to switch back and forth between languages depending on who they are speaking to. Italian is used during business transactions, when meeting new people, in school and when speaking with someone distinguished. In a way it shows respect for the other person. 
Neapolitan is used amongst people who know each other well. In some instances, especially in smaller towns or amongst older people, Neapolitan is the only language spoken because it is also the only language known. What makes it even more interesting is that every small town has a different version of Neapolitan where the vocabulary and pronunciation is slightly different. Some versions of Neapolitan, such as Puzzulano (Neapolitan spoken in the town of Pozzuoli) or Cappellese (Neapolitan spoken in the small town of Cappella) are so different, they are hard to understand from one town to the next.

Common Phrases
Good Morning: Buon Giorno (before 1PM)
Good Evening: Buonasera (after 1PM)
Good Night: Buona Notte

Come Stai? :How are you?
Bene :Good

Come Ti Chiami? :What's your name
Mi Chiamo... :My name is...

Customs and Courtesies

When speaking to people they don't know well, Italians use the Second Person Plural title and verbs, called 'dare il lei' . This form of speaking is also used when speaking to older or distinguished people. For Example instead of asking "Come stai?" you would use the Second person  plural "Come state?". The opposite is 'dare il tu', using the second person singular for people you are familiar with or peers. In this case you would ask "Come ti chiami?" instead of "Come vi chiamate?"
1st Person Io (I)
2nd Person Tu (You)
3rd Person Egli (Him)

1st Person Noi (Us)
2nd Person Voi (You) 
3rd Person Loro (Them)