Sise delle monache – Nun’s Sise

Sise delle monache – Freegiampi CC BY-SA 3.0

Sise delle monache – Nun’s Sise

Sise delle monache (or Tre monti) are a typical Abruzzo sweet produced in the town of Guardiagrele, in the province of Chieti.

It is a cake composed of two layers of sponge cake, filled with custard, with the shape of three protuberances.

Origins

The origin of the name is not sure: among the various legends, one wants that this expression derives from the behavior of some nuns of the monastery of the Clarisse of Guardiagrele, where they prepared the cakes, which inserted in the center of the chest a bump to make more petite apparent breasts.
More likely, the typical shape of this cake would refer to Gran Sasso d’Italia (2912 m a.s.l.), Majella (2793 m a.s.l.), and Sirente-Velino (2487 m a.s.l.), which are the three mountainous massifs of Abruzzo, the highest of the whole Apennine chain. It also justifies the name Tre Monti (three mountains), with which the cake is also known.

Sise delle monache – Nun’s Sise is a recipe from Abruzzo

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods

Fritto misto di pesce – Fish mixed fried – Sergio Conti CC BY-SA 2.0

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. veal sweetbreads
  • 6 oz. veal brains
  • 6 oz. veal marrow from spine
  • 3 oz. cocks combs
  • 6 pair frog’s legs
  • 1 sliced eggplant, salted and drained for one hour
  • 2 sliced zucchini
  • 6 zucchini blossoms
  • 6 oz. sweet semolina
  • flour
  • milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
Be careful. Ben is interested in shrimp!

How to make the Fritto Misto:

Clean the meats, vegetables, and bone frog’s legs. Cut the hearts into thin slices, then flour the roots and frog’s legs. Next, cut zucchini and eggplant into thick strips. Keep the zucchini blossoms and mushroom caps whole. Dip each piece into the beaten eggs, coat with breadcrumbs, pat the food to get rid of excess crumbs, and set aside.

For chicken dumplings, mix 6 oz. Already cooked chicken with 1 tsp. Parsley, four tbs. Breadcrumbs and one egg. Combine well to get a smooth mixture.

Then shape into small, slightly elongated, and flat dumplings. Flour them in eggs and set them aside.

Bring a pint of milk to a boil with 1 tsp: sugar and two tbs to make semolina. Butter, sprinkle in 6 oz. Semolina flour and cook while stirring for 20 mins. Add more milk if necessary until the semolina is cooked. Roll out the semolina into a 1-in. thick rectangle on a greased plate, then cool and cut into triangles. Dip in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and set aside.

Fry each food separately, as they require different cooking times when golden brown on both sides, remove from frying pan and place on paper towels.

When all the frying is finished, arrange the various pieces of food on a serving platter. Salt to taste. Serve very hot.

Speed is of utmost importance in a fritto misto, and the amount will vary according to the number of people to be served. A good rule of thumb is always to use one piece of each kind of food for each person. Remember, for speed’s sake, you can also limit the types of food to include in fritto misto. The recipe can also vary according to seasonal food availability.

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods is a recipe from

Arrosticini – Small Roasts

Arrosticini Campo Imperatore – Ra Boe CC BY-SA 3.0

Arrosticini – Small Roasts

Gli arrosticini (detti anche rustell’rustellearrustelle in diversi dialetti abruzzesi) sono spiedini di carne di pecora, tipici dell’Appennino, in particolare della cucina abruzzese. Sono strettamente legati alla tradizione pastorale dell’Abruzzo e al conseguente consumo di carne ovina.

Diffusi in tutta la regione soprattutto a partire dal secondo dopoguerra, il loro luogo d’origine è spesso ricondotto alla fascia sud-orientale del Gran Sasso d’Italia, nella zona dalla Piana del Voltigno (Villa Celiera), al confine tra le province di L’Aquila, Teramo e Pescara.

Storia

Gli arrosticini sono espressione culinaria della pastorizia stanziale e non della transumanza, come si è ritenuto in passato: leggenda narra che furono inventati negli anni 1930 da due pastori del Voltigno, area montuosa compresa tra Carpineto della Nora, Villa Celiera e Civitella Casanova, che tagliarono carne di pecora vecchia in piccoli pezzi per non sprecare cibo, prendendone anche dalle zone vicine alle ossa dell’animale. I piccoli pezzettini di carne sarebbero diventati spiedini venendo inseriti su bastoncini di legno di “vingh”, una pianta che cresce spontanea lungo le rive del fiume Pescara, per poi essere cucinati alla brace all’aperto. Il metodo di preparazione degli arrosticini, originariamente pensato per cercare di rendere appetibili i tagli di carne meno pregiati, ottenne risultati così apprezzabili da essere applicato ben presto ai tagli migliori.

Secondo la tradizione pastorale il vero arrosticino abruzzese è composto di carne ovina, idealmente di carne di pecora giovane chiamata in dialetto “ciavarra” o di montone castrato. Ad oggi gli arrosticini sono ampiamente consumati anche al di fuori dell’Abruzzo e in alcune zone d’Italia si sono affermati nella vendita di grande distribuzione, spesso venendo meno alla qualità e alle caratteristiche care alla tradizione abruzzese.

Immagine esplicativa della preparazione artigianale. – GiuseppeFichera CC BY-SA 4.0

Tipologie

La tipologia più diffusa e consumata di arrosticini è quella in cui essi sono uniformi, costituiti da cubetti di carne di circa 1 cm di lato infilati su di uno spiedino di legno (tipicamente di betulla o bamboo) lungo circa 20 cm. Sono molto diffuse anche altre varianti in cui la carne è tagliata con il coltello a tocchetti irregolari di varia dimensione interponendo strati di carne molto magra a tocchettini di grasso, sempre di pecora, che li rende morbidi e profumati. Quest’ultimo tipo di arrosticini per risultare apprezzabile necessita di carne di ottima qualità affinché essa possa sostenere una cottura più lunga.

Negli ultimi anni, soprattutto nella Val Pescara, si stanno diffondendo anche gli arrosticini di fetc (fegato). In questo caso si alterna un pezzo di carne con una foglia d’alloro. Un’altra variante prevede l’aggiunta di una piccola fetta di cipolla. A livello commerciale è possibile reperire molti prodotti che utilizzano la denominazione di “arrosticino” nonostante siano utilizzate carni di suino, bovino, pollo o, molto raramente, coniglio.

Questo è possibile per l’assenza di una denominazione di origine protetta del prodotto, che come da tradizione deve essere solo di carne ovina, preferibilmente di castrato, ovvero di montone sottoposto a castrazione e con età compresa tra i sei mesi ed i due anni oppure di femmina giovane che non abbia ancora partorito.

Arrosticini Campo Imperatore – Ra Boe CC BY-SA 3.0

Come Preparare gli Arrosticini

La preparazione consiste nel tagliare la carne in tocchetti e infilarli in spiedini (in dialetto detti «li cippe» oppure «li cippitill»). Gli arrosticini sono poi cotti alla brace, normalmente utilizzando un braciere dalla caratteristica forma allungata a canalina definito, in base al dialetto della zona, «fornacella», «furnacella», «rustillire», «canala» o «canalina». La forma della canalina garantisce la concentrazione di un’alta temperatura nella porzione di spiedino dove è posizionata la carne, lasciando invece a temperatura ambiente le due estremità dello spiedino, così da non scottare al contatto né la mano né la bocca del consumatore. Durante la cottura la carne sarà quindi salata ed eventualmente insaporita ulteriormente con un ramo di rosmarino cosparso di olio extravergine d’oliva o di olio al peperoncino a seconda dei gusti.Arrosticini in cottura

Per la riuscita dell’arrosticino, molto dipende anche dalla cottura e dalla griglia utilizzata, dalla temperatura del fuoco, ma soprattutto dal costante controllo del cuoco. A seconda delle preferenze, gli arrosticini possono avere diversi gradi di cottura e salatura. Sono disponibili anche fornacelle elettriche di piccolo e medio ingombro, tuttavia i risultati in termini di gusto e piacevolezza al palato non sono confrontabili con quelli ottenibili nella cottura alla brace. Sono da evitare cotture al forno e in padella perché non garantiscono il mantenimento della morbidezza della carne unitamente alla rosolatura della sua superficie.

Arrosticini al Campo Imperatore – © Ra Boe / Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Abbinamenti e modalità tradizionali di consumo

La quantità media adatta ad un adulto è di circa 15-20 unità. Gli arrosticini sono solitamente accompagnati da fette di pane casereccio cosparse di olio extravergine di oliva («pane ‘onde») e si abbinano egregiamente a vini rossi tra cui classicamente le numerose varianti del Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Gli arrosticini possono essere agevolmente preparati ovunque e sono pertanto spesso considerati cibo di strada. Sono consumati abitualmente sfilando uno ad uno i pezzetti di carne tenendoli stretti tra i denti e tirando verso l’esterno il legno dello spiedino. Tradizione praticata è cuocere e consumare gli arrosticini all’aperto, immersi nella natura in scampagnate, arrampicate in montagna, gite al lago o situazioni simili. Molto presenti anche in sagre e feste di paese.

Tutela

Gli arrosticini sono inseriti nell’elenco dei Prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali italiani (P.A.T.) del Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali. Nell’elenco del 2016 sono iscritti al n. 9 per la Regione Abruzzo.

Ricetta tipica della regione Abruzzo

Arrosticini negli USA

You can buy arrosticini online in the USA.

One of the places selling them is abruzzonyc.com

Arrosticini – Small Roasts is a tipical recipe from Abruzzo

Castagnole (dolce) – Chestnuts (sweet)

Castagnole, a Carnival sweet. – Massimo Telò CC BY-SA 3.0

Castagnole (dolce) – Chestnuts (sweet)

Castagnole or favette are a carnival sweet spread throughout Italy; it is part of the culinary tradition of Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Lazio, southern Umbria (with the variant called “strufoli di carnevale” in northern Umbria), Abruzzo, Veneto, Lombardy.

History
The recipe for castagnole is certainly ancient: a manuscript volume dating back to the 18th century has been found in the state archives of Viterbo in which four recipes for castagnole are described, one of which requires baking, which was not adopted recently to make the dessert lighter, as is often believed.

Preparation
The main ingredients are eggs, sugar, flour, and butter; after kneading them form small balls the size of a walnut is then fried in hot oil. They are served with powdered sugar or, in some variants, with alchermes or honey.
There are many types: one without filling and another with a custard or cream filling. Another variant is made with flour, yeast, eggs with rum, and liqueur (alchermes) to become balls like a sponge cake because the dough becomes softer inside. Another variant includes a chocolate filling also made of white chocolate. Finally, another variant is the one that provides for baking.

Castagnole (dolce) – Chestnuts (sweet) is a Regional Recipe from Abruzzo, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto

Pizza di Pasqua – Easter Pizza

Pizza di Pasqua – my aunt CC BY-SA 3.0

Pizza di Pasqua – Easter Pizza

Ingredients

  • flour
  • pecorino cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • ciauscolo
  • red wine

Description

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Easter pizza in some areas is also called crescia di Pasqua or Easter cake or cheesecake or crescia brusca. It is a savory leavened bread typical of many regions of central Italy. It is made of flour, eggs, pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese, traditionally served for breakfast on Easter morning or as an appetizer during Easter lunch, accompanied by blessed hard-boiled egg ciauscolo red wine or, again, served in the picnic of Easter Monday.
The cheese Easter pizza is a standard product of Marche and Umbria (where it has obtained the recognition P.A.T. or traditional food product). There is also a sweet version.
This product’s peculiarity is its shape, given by the particular mold in which it is leavened and then baked in the oven: originally in earthenware, today in aluminum; it has a flared shape.

Origins

Easter pizza originated in medieval times by the nuns of Santa Maria Maddalena of Serra de’ Conti in Ancona. The name crescia (which is known in the whole Marche region) refers to the dough’s remarkable “growth,” that is, the leavening process, during baking in the oven.
The most ancient information about the preparation of crescia di Pasqua is found in a recipe book written by the nuns and dated back to 1848, titled Memorie delle cresce di Pasqua fatte nel 1848 and, later on, in an anonymous recipe book of 1864 titled Il Cuoco delle Marche.

The recipe over the centuries
Ancient recipe

Ancient cookbooks dating back to the 1800s contain the following recipe: “for three grows, and one for the Father Confessor, we need 16 pounds of flour, one half of milk, 40 eggs, 3 ounces of salt, pepper, one and a half ounces of fat, 3 pounds of dry cheese and 8 pounds of fresh cheese, including the eyes, two sheets of foil, and half a Paolo of good saffron, and this is enough for 24 people and the Father Confessor”. The cook who included the 40 eggs included in this recipe was meant to commemorate the 40 days of Lent.
A recipe reported in the Memorie delle cresce di Pasqua made in 1848, instead, indicates: “flour 50 pounds, grated old cheese 10 pounds, fresh cheese as judged, milk three jugs and a half, oil 4 pounds and a half, as many eggs as needed, salt 1 pound and 3 ounces, pepper 3 ounces.”

Modern recipe

Nowadays, the main ingredients are flour, eggs, grated pecorino cheese, grated Parmesan cheese (or Grana Padano), pecorino romano cheese in pieces, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, natural yeast, and milk. Some recipes also include other ingredients, such as saffron, or their substitution with similar elements, such as lard or butter instead of oil and Emmental cheese in pieces instead of pecorino cheese.
It would be best to knead the dough for a long time to allow glutinous mesh formation and promote leavening. The dough is then divided and put into special molds that, covered and kept in a humid place, are subject to a long process of leavening and then cooked, always according to tradition, in a wood-burning oven (in ancient times, they were brought to the baker to cook).

The sweet variant of Easter pizza – cantalamessa CC BY-SA 3.0

The sweet variant of Easter pizza
In Umbria and Marche’s areas, there is also a sweet variant. The sweet pizza has a fiocca or a meringue glaze, sugar beads in addition to sugar, with or without candied fruit.

Pizza di Pasqua – Easter Pizza is a Regional Recipe from Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise

Strozzapreti

Strangozzi al ragù first course, Perugia, Umbria – Cantalamessa Public Domain

Strozzapreti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Strozzapreti is a family of different types of short pasta that can be in the form of the twisted cordon, macaroni, or gnocco, widespread in other Italian regions.

History

The name strozzapreti derives from the fact that this type of pasta, given its shape, is not always easy to eat and alludes maliciously to priests’ proverbial gluttony. Mentioned several times in Roman literature, for example, in the Sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, strozzapreti was born as a pasta to be cooked then typical of holidays or bourgeois use. The poet describes them as “cannelletti of dried pasta, one inch long” to be seasoned or cooked with sughillo [stew sauce].”

How to make Strozzapreti

Strozzapreti Romagnoli
You must roll the pasta sheet out with a rolling pin fairly thick; then, you must cut it into strips about 1.5 cm wide. In turn, the strips are cut at 5 cm or more in length and manually twisted one by one for cavatelli (which is much smaller).

Strozzapreti Trentini – Stefano Bolognini Attribution

Typology and territorial diffusion

In Trentino and Milanese cuisine, strangolapreti is gnocchi made with stale bread, spinach, eggs, and Trentino Parmesan cheese, served with melted butter and sage. In Milanese and Larian cooking, soft cheese is also added.
In the cuisine of Romagna, strozzapreti is short twisted strands of pasta made by hand from water and flour. In the countryside between Faenza and Lugo is widespread strozzapreti with the knot, obtained by knotting each piece of pasta after twisting it on itself. In the kitchen of Imola and Lugo, between the end of ‘800 and the middle of ‘900, strozzapreti was called “priests suffocated,” terminology then disappeared and was slightly larger.

Umbrian cooking with the term strozzapreti or strangozzi is meant a long straight section of pasta made of water and flour.
In Latium, cooking strozzapreti is spaghettoni pulled by hand. In Viterbo’s cooking, stratto is a hand-made pasta, typical of Blera, seasoned with truffles.
In L’Aquila, strangolapreti is a big string of durum wheat pasta about 20 cm long.
With the term strangulapriévete, Neapolitan cooking is designated simple gnocchi, homemade with water and flour.
In Salento, cooking with the term strangulaprevati are meant potato gnocchi.
In Calabrian cuisine, strangugliapreviti are gnocchi made of flour and eggs; in the tradition of Nicastro, they are the dish of Shrove Tuesday.
In Corsican cooking, “sturzapréti” refers to small gnocchi made with brocciu cheese and spinach or cardoons.

Strozzapeti Romagnoli – Eiminun CC BY-SA 4.0

Strozzapreti is a Regional Recipe from Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Trentino Alto Adige, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio, Calabria

Zuppa Inglese – Italian English Trifle

Zuppa Inglese – Lungoleno CC BY-SA 4.0

Zuppa Inglese – Italian English Trifle

The Zuppa Inglese is a sweet Italian spoon made with custard and sponge cake soaked in liqueurs such as alchermes, rosolio, bitter almonds, or rum. Very famous in Italy, mainly spread in Emilia-Romagna, Latium, Marche, Tuscany, Umbria, and Abruzzo. In every region, some minor variations to the basic recipe differentiate it significantly.

Appearance and variants
The sweet is prepared by overlapping sponge cake or ladyfingers, soaked in different liqueurs, to custard layers. The liqueur usually used is alchermes, which gives the lovely red color and the flavor. Sometimes it is prepared in a transparent baking pan to make visible the variously colored layers. The cake is then kept in the fridge to make it more compact and served cold.
It is a cake which has some variants. Besides custard, sometimes chocolate cream is also used, thus contributing to the taste and a more colorful presentation of this homemade cake. Some recipes appear apricot jam, very loved by nineteenth-century confectioners, and in others, fruit preserves. Other recipes integrate the preparation with coffee, making it similar to tiramisu. Some, finally, add a touch of cinnamon.
In Ferrara, instead of sponge cake, it is sometimes used brazadèla, the typical and straightforward traditional cake with a dough similar to a donut but with a flattened loaf. A variant from Modena and Ferrara’s border area may be spread in the ’60s, where mint syrup is added to the traditional mixture of alcohol.
In Turkish cooking, there is a sweet called supangle (soup Anglais, that is “English soup” in French), which, however, being a chocolate pudding, is not similar to English soup.

History
Zuppa Inglese is undoubtedly an Italian sweet, but its name’s origin and etymology are highly doubtful, and there is no documentation about it. However, there are many legends about its birth. The invention is attributed to many regions of Italy or some European countries. The name already appeared at the end of the 1800s in the “bible” of Italian cooking written by Pellegrino Artusi, La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar bene. The recipe is n. 675.
Its spreading has been attested since the 1800s in at least three Italian regions: Emilia-Romagna, Marche, and Tuscany.
In Emilia-Romagna cuisine, for more than a century, it has been prepared in Bologna, Parma, Piacenza, Modena, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, and Ravenna.
In the Marches, particularly in Ancona, this cake’s use is also documented since the mid-nineteenth century; English travelers in the Marches were amazed by the name, having never seen this cake in their homeland. Interesting is the explanation they received from the Italians: the English term was meant as a synonym of alcohol lover, as they believed English people were, as the recipe requires the use of liquors.
Even in Tuscany, Zuppa Inglese has been spread at least since the nineteenth century. Artusi felt the need to inform the Tuscans about the difference between the cream they usually prepare and the custard needed to prepare the Zuppa Inglese. He describes the Tuscan recipe as more similar to the one of today in a cup instead of a cake to be unmolded, which is his recipe.

Zuppa Inglese can be round and flat or egg-shaped. You may also prepare in a bowl. Moreover, the cream may be divided into two flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate. Alchermes is a liquor essential to this dessert, but you may substitute it with curacao or Grand Marnier.

Ingredients

Eight eggs, separated
1/2 vanilla stick
Eight oz. confectioners’ sugar
sponge cake
One qt. milk
1 oz. alchemies
One tbs. flour
1 oz. rum

How to make the Zuppa Inglese – Italian English Trifle:

Prepare a vanilla cream with eight egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, milk, flour, and vanilla. Warm the milk and add egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and flour. Keep mixing over low heat until you get a smooth cream, but do not allow it to boil.

Cut the sponge cake into slices about 1/2-in. thick and 1-in. wide. Arrange a layer of sponge cake in a deep serving platter, sprinkle with alchemies to moisten, and then pour a cream layer. Cover with another layer of sponge cake. Sprinkle with rum, spread with cream, cover with the last layer of sponge cake and drizzle with alchemies.

Whip the egg whites. Combine them gently with the remaining sugar, and cover the cake. Brown the meringue with a burner or in the salamander.

Serves 4

Zuppa Inglese – Italian English Trifle is a Regional Recipe from Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo

Porchetta – Roasted piglet

Porchetta – Alessio Damato CC BY-SA 3.0

Porchetta – Roasted piglet

Porchetta is a typical dish of central Italy and a few northern regions. It consists of a whole pig, emptied, boned, and seasoned, ideal for snacks in the cellar, typical of wine production areas. Its consumption is traditionally associated with street vendors who go where there is a considerable influx of people (village festivals, fairs, markets, festivals, etc.).
Origin
The place of elaboration of the recipe of porchetta is still uncertain. The inhabitants of Ariccia, in Latium, claim paternity of the original recipe. In Umbria, they believe it is from Norcia, famous since Roman times for pig breeding (the noun “norcino”). In Upper Latium, they think it is from the time of the Etruscans. However, the tradition of porchetta di Campli in the province of Teramo is very ancient, where there is evidence in the nearby picen necropolis of Campovalano.
In Campli, the municipal statutes of 1575, renewed by Margherita of Austria, contained many indications about the use, sale, and cooking of porchetta. Similar claims of primogeniture exist in places of the Marches. Porchetta is also common in Romagna and the Ferrara area. There are many sources that porchetta originated in Poggio Bustone in the province of Rieti.
In the 20th century, porchetta was successful in the Veneto region, spreading to Treviso and Padua, becoming a familiar local product for Veneto consumers.

Tradition and flavors
There are two fundamental types of seasoning and, therefore, taste, dictated by tradition. In southern Tuscany, in the south Castelli Romani, Sabina, and other central Italy areas, it is flavored with rosemary (ramerino in Tuscan). Typical are the one from Selci (P.A.T.) and the one from Ariccia (P.G.I.): “la porca co un bosco de rosmarino in de la panza” (the pig with the wood of rosemary in her belly), as Carlo Emilio Gadda wrote in Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana. In Castelli Romani and in particular, in the towns of Ariccia, Cecchina, and Marino, some characteristic places, called “fraschette,” where it is possible to taste porchetta and local wine. Besides the traditional kiosks were bread from Genzano and Porchetta di Ariccia, reign with their fragrances.
In Alto Lazio, Umbria, Marche, and Romagna, porchetta is flavored with wild fennel, which gives it an unmistakable aroma and taste. Typical of this tradition is the porchetta (roast suckling pig) prepared in Cellere (F.lli Forati), Soriano nel Cimino, Bagnaia, Vignanello, Vallerano, and Sutri (Tuscia viterbese) and Costano, in Umbria. The porchetta of Campli is different from the one prepared in other areas because of the fragrances, times, and cooking methods; for example, wild fennel is not used.

Ingredients

One suckling pig, 18-22 lbs.
Four cloves garlic
olive oil
Two tbs. white wine
coriander
wild fennel seeds
nutmeg
Four sprigs rosemary
peperoncino
salt
pepper

How to make the Porchetta – Roasted piglet:

Chop and saute the piglet’s liver, heart, and kidney in 2 tbs. Of olive oil. When hot, add the white wine, reduce and remove from heat. The piglet, seasoned with its liver, heart, and kidneys, plus wild fennel seeds, rosemary, salt, pepper, a fair amount of garlic, coriander, nutmeg, and pepperoncini, is then rolled up like a giant sausage, securely tied with colorless thread, and roasted whole on a spit over charcoal made from aromatic wood for about 4 hours. Cooking time varies according to the piglet’s size. The piglet should be basted frequently with a rosemary sprig dipped in oil and white or red wine.
The juice and fat, collected in the drip pan (leccarda), can be used to cook potatoes and onions, which you may serve together with the porchetta. Sometimes porchetta is also roasted in the oven.

Note:
Porchetta is always boned to make it easier to serve and eat.

Porchetta – Roasted piglet is a Regional recipe from Latium, Umbria, Tuscany, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Basilicata, Abruzzo
Production area Castelli Romani (Ariccia, Marino), Sabina and Cicolano, Tuscan and Latium Maremma, Tuscia viterbese, southern Tuscany, Umbria (Costano),(Grutti), Abruzzo (Campli, Colledara, Luco dei Marsi, Penne), Marche, Romagna, Casentino, Basilicata, Veneto

Panzanella Or Pan Molle – Panzanella or soft bread

Panzanella Or Pan Molle – Panzanella or soft bread

Panzanella, also called pansanella or panmolle or panmòllo or bread ‘nzuppo, is a typical dish of all central Italy, from Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Abruzzo.

Recipe Panzanella

The original recipe calls for stale bread, red onion, basil, all seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, and salt. In Tuscany and Umbria, the bread is left to soak in water and then squeezed until it is crumbled and broken to mix with the other ingredients. In the Marches region, slices of stale bread are saturated but not crushed, and the other components are placed on top as if they were bruschetta.
Many additions have been introduced over time. Some are now recognized as canonical, such as raw chopped tomatoes and cucumber. Others are more linked to the cook’s creativity, such as spicy olives, hard-boiled eggs in wheels (used as a garnish), and sometimes tuna.
It would be best if you said that the recipe has many variations with additions and substitutions of many types: carrots, fennel, corn, celery, raw peppers, sausage, mozzarella, various types of cheese, pickles, pickled vegetables, borlotti beans, as well as spices of choice to give flavor, such as oregano, basil, chives, etc.
Diffusion
In Tuscany, this dish is widespread up to Lucca, Viareggio, and Bagni di Lucca. In Lunigiana, Versilia, and Garfagnana, as discovered by the scholars at the University of Florence who wrote the Atlante Lessicale Toscano, it is a non-traditional dish. Camaiore and Pescaglia, “Panzanella” means bread dough fried in hot oil, equivalent to sgabeo.
According to some, the dish is very fresh; it is advisable to put it in the fridge for a few minutes before serving it, at the same level and temperature as the fresh vegetables.
Preferably consumed in the summertime, because it is the period in which vegetables are easily found, it represents an excellent single course.

Ingredients

Eight slices of 1-2 day-old Italian bread
l 1/3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, diced
One large white onion, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
white vinegar
a handful of basil cut into strips
One bell pepper
salt
pepper

How to make Panzanella – the Bread and Vegetable Salad:

How to make the panzanella (pan molle):

Soak the slices of bread in water, making sure they are not soggy and keep their shape. Squeeze out excess water and place in a large serving dish. Next, make a salad with tomatoes, onion, oil, pepper, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss and spread over the bread, drizzle with more olive oil, add a few basil leaves and keep cool until ready to serve.

There are several variations to the Panzanella (pan molle), and each one is claimed to be the original by its author. Whatever the case, they all contain the same essential ingredients: bread, tomatoes, other vegetables, and olive oil.

Serves 4

Panzanella Or Pan Molle – Panzanella or soft bread is a Regional recipe from Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, Latium, Abruzzo

Abruzzo Food First Find Your Sheep – then cook and eat

Abruzzo Food
Preparing the herbs to cook the old sheep – Photo © francesco@photo

Abruzzo Food First Find Your Sheep – then cook and eat

Abruzzo Food:
Barbara Gunnell treks to a high-altitude feast in the Abruzzo Mountains with the sheep.

We left Rome for the mountains of Abruzzo when the temperature reached 38°C, with 40°C expected. However, Romans in the Cinecitta suburb of 1950s apartment blocks have ways to deal with such heat.

Life spills noisily outside at night when it’s cool enough to eat; families shout above shrieking quiz shows into the small hours. Fellini’s films celebrated the abundance of this working-class part of Rome, but I needed sleep.

An hour north-east on the motorway towards Abruzzo and the mountains, we were already wondering about the decision. The car’s dashboard showed the outside temperature remained stubbornly at 38°C. Soon we noticed spirals of smoke rising out of yellowed hills.

Abruzzo Food: the problems with forest fires

Like much of Europe, Central Italy has suffered a spate of forest fires. Still, when we reached Rocca Calascio — at 1460m, the highest medieval castle in the Apennines — the billowing smoke was below us.

From the castle, we could see black smoke wafting down the valley. Far below us, a dinky-toy bowser hurried along a dirt track to take water to a field of wheat on the edge of the smoldering brush. Later, planes ditched the pool and finished off the job, but not before they carved a black scar had been into the rolling lower slopes of the Gran Sasso massif.

It seemed entirely appropriate that, in this 15th-century setting, the first half-dozen “locals” we met should be wearing a medieval costume and carrying swords and shields. Ignoring the full force of a heatwave’s breezeless afternoon, one young soldier sweated in a padded velveteen suit. Another, layered in wool, told me, in fair English, what he and his friends were doing. It was a battle reconstruction in which two groups were fighting to possess the castle. He faltered as he used the descriptions Christians and Saracens — may be out of political correctness or may be uncertain how to translate Saracens — and decided instead that the bad guys were, oddly, from the Isle of Man.

The good guys were Italian, of course. The mock battles were not for tourists but private events fought over weekends in the hill villages throughout the year.

Rocca Calascio, perched on a peak, with its spectacular view across the valley to Gran Sasso, was a particularly authentic setting for their enactment. But there are hundreds of castles in the Abruzzo hills; the ancient Romans opened up so many roads through the Apennines that villagers were sitting ducks for invaders.

Sheep – Photo © www.insidersitaly.com

Abruzzo Food: They and their sheep regularly needed refuge.

In the first half of the 15th century, more than three million sheep were in Abruzzo. Today, there are about 450,000. In summer, they graze in the mountain pastures; in winter, they move to the grassy lowlands of Puglia. This seasonal movement of flocks up and down the mountains (called the transumanza) defined the landscape of Abruzzo. Spring and autumn, the sheep would graze their way along with a network of broad tracks (a hundred meters wide in places) covering hundreds of kilometers, the shepherds paying for the use of the paths along the way, thus supporting local economies.

But gradually, over the first decades of the 20th century, it became more economical to move the sheep by truck and train local people to use the paths for crops. After that, the sheep economy started to flounder; the hill villages of Abruzzo were abandoned.

Until a few years ago, the collection of houses at the foot of Rocca Calascio had been uninhabited for many decades. But an enterprising couple reclaimed two for a bar and restaurant, hoping to entice trade up the hill. It worked. They expanded, reclaiming more houses to provide walkers and cross-country skiers, some basic and cheap, some more luxurious. Now a few families have returned, and there’s a small shop, but the village remains un-manicured and authentic. It may even stay that way since it lies within a regional park.

Abruzzo Food – Rocca Calascio – The rebirth

Rolando, trim and tanned, with iron-grey hair, has a mission to foster Abruzzo culture. He looks like an art impresario, but his day job is cooking, and for the restaurant’s Saturday dinner, he was doing an Abruzzo special: Pecora (sheep, not lamb) with mountain herbs and potatoes. It’s a secret recipe, he said, but I’m going to reveal it.

It is what you need: a 35-kilo sheep; two crates of flat-leaved parsley; a container of rosemary branches; a few armfuls of just- gathered mountain herbs (various thymes, sage, some bitter leaves, and some variety of mint); 40 or so carrots; a similar number of onions; a dozen or so garlic bulbs; a few celery heads with leaves; a liter of oil and more than a liter of white wine. You’ll also need potatoes (same volume as the lamb when boned). Boil the beast for two hours in water. Get rid of large quantities of fat. Boil for another five hours. Remove big bones.

And here’s the clever bit. Take the table, herbs, and vegetables outside and engage some passers-by in conversation about your struggle to revive Abruzzo theatre. Then, without comment, hand each a knife, all the while telling the story of the freezing night in the mountains when you staged an open-air performance of an obscure play. The actress wore a sheer dress that the fur-wrapped audience remained to shiver in their seats out of solidarity or lust.

Subtly, without talking, demonstrate how you want the rosemary stripped, the sage and parsley stalks removed, the carrots peeled. Keep your story going through digressions, personal histories, and tales of meals enjoyed or prepared for well-known writers and artists. It lasts for the three hours it takes your helpers to reduce all the vegetable matter to several kilos of finely chopped herb flavoring.

Do not be distracted by the fact that they are roasting in the sun and now have green hands and watering eyes. In a giant pan, arrange boned sheep and an equal volume of potatoes in layers with herbs, oil dousings, and salt sprinklings. Pour over a liter or so of white wine. Simmer for two hours.

Enough locals made the journey up to the village to fill the dining room. There was a festive mood. But up at the castle, things were not going well for the good guys. The Manxmen had gained control. Below, in the valley, the embers of the fire were glowing, looking unnervingly like a camp of Saracen invaders. — © New Statesman

Abruzzo Food First Find Your Sheep – then cook and eat is a Regional recipe from Abruzzo and Puglia.

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.