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Salsa di Pomodoro alla Napoletana, Neapolitan Tomato Sauce

Fusilli Col Ferro With Tomato Sauce

Fusilli Col Ferro With Tomato Sauce

Though slow-cooking pomarola is quite tasty, there are times you’ll want something quicker, and then this classic Neapolitan sauce comes into play. It’s perfect for pasta, but will also work well with rice or pizza. To make a jar of sauce you will need:

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Set a large pot full of water to boil. Meanwhile, wash the tomatoes and remove the brownish patches where the stems were attached using a sharp-pointed knife. Dump the tomatoes into the boiling water, blanch them for about a minute, and then run enough cold water into the pot so you can pick out the tomatoes without burning yourself. Peel the tomatoes, discarding their skins, seed them, slice them, and put them in a bowl. When you are done heat the oil and the garlic in another pot – traditionalists prefer terracotta – and stir in the chopped tomatoes before the oil garlic begins to crackle. Season with salt and pepper, simmer over a low flame for 10 minutes, stir in the basil leaves, simmer for five more minutes, and it’s done.

Figure about 1/4 cup of sauce (or more to taste) and 1/4 pound of pasta per serving; serve the pasta with grated cheese on the side.

Note: To keep the sauce from becoming heavy, it’s very important that the oil not get too hot before you add the tomatoes. Also, some Neapolitan cooks of the older generation made this sauce using lard rather than olive oil.


Eliche o Fusilli Alla Primavera, Twists or Corkscrews Primavera

This is a recipe devised by Caròla Francesconi, the late doyenne of Neapolin cooking, using the proportions given her by Monzù Gerardo Modugno.

To serve 6:

  • Vegetable broth
  • 4 1/2 pounds (2 k) asparagus
  • 6 artichokes
  • 10 ounces (250 g) freshly shelled peas
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (100 ml) olive oil
  • A small onion, sliced
  • 2 ounces (50 g) pancetta, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • A sprinkling of white wine
  • Basil and parsley
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1 1/3 pounds (600 g) short fusilli or corkscrews
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Wash the asparagus spears well and boil them in batches, in a narrow high sided pot with their feet in the boiling water and their tips out of it. When the tips are fork tender remove the asparagus spears and set them aside. Remove what is tender of the remainders of the stalks and blend it to obtain a cream, which you shlould thin with a little vegetable broth should it be too thick.

Cook the peas in a little butter, seasoning them with the onion and pancetta.

Strip away the tough outer leaves from the artichokes, and then you get to the tender inner sections (see instructions if need be) cut them into thin wedges, discarding any hair you might find in the chokes, and boil them briefly in lightly salted water and lemon juice. Drain them when they’re still firm, and sauté them in a skillet with olive oil and butter, sprinkling a little wine over them. Add the artichoke tips and purée, and the peas with their seasonings. Check seasoning, then mince and add basil and parsley to taste. Sprinkle a little more vegetable broth over it all to keep the sauce from being too thick, and keep it warm by transferring it to a double boiler.

Beat the eggs with the Parmigiano and a pinch of salt.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente in lightly salted water, then drain it and return it to the pot. Pour in half of the vegetable sauce and the beaten eggs, turning everything over a moderate flame while the sauces thicken (a couple of minutes). Pour the fusilli out onto a heated serving dish, pour the remaining sauce over them, and serve.

La Pasqua Napoletana: Minestra di Pasqua, Easter Soup

The traditional beginning of the Neapolitan Easter meal, this is by today’s standards somewhat heavy. Should you prefer, make broth and serve it with tagliolini (similar to tagliatelle but about an eighth of an inch across). If you intend to follow tradition, this recipe is after Cavalcanti, the great Neapolitan gastronome of the mid-1800s.

To serve 6:

  • 3/4 pound (300 g) breast of veal
  • 1 pound (450 g) beef shank
  • 3/4 pound (300 g) pig’s tails (substitute lean pork if you prefer)
  • 3/4 pound (300 g) Neapolitan sausages
  • 1/2 pound (200 g) Neapolitan salami
  • Fresh parsley and thyme
  • Marjoram
  • A little bit of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1.5 quarts (1.5 liters) water
  • 5 pounds (2 k) cardoons stripped of their fibrous threads, or 5 pounds leafy vegetables (savoy cabbage, lettuce, beet greens etc.)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • Salt (to be added at the end)
  • Pepper or hot pepper to taste

On Easter Eve make broth using the meat and the herbs; begin with cold water to cover and place the herbs in a gauze pouch so you can remove them easily when the broth is done (an hour or somewhat more simmering; taste the liquid and correct seasoning). Remove and discard the herbs. Remove the meat from the broth, pluck it from the bones, and set it in a bowl, with enough broth to cover.

The next day skim the fat from the bowl and the soup pot and stir in the wine. Scrub chop and boil the greens until almost done, drain them well, and finish cooking them in the broth with the meats, seasoning to taste. Serve with slices of toasted bread.

Other Neapolitan Easter Recipes

Bruno Macrì’s Salsicce e Friarelli

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

This is a recipe from Bruno Macrì, who posted it on Luciano Pignataro’s Wine Blog . And since it is mouthwatering I linked to it from the Cosa Bolle in Pentola FB page, and received several requests for a translation. Luciano said “Go ahead,” and here we are.

Before we get into the recipe, however, a word on Friarelli. It’s a Neapolitan term that can refer to thin-shouldered long green mild peppers, but more commonly (including here) refers to cime di rapa, broccoli raab or rapini. Italian cime di rapa, I have read, are somewhat bitterer than the broccoli raab grown in the US, but if the sweeter American plants will be quite nice in this recipe too.

And now the recipe:

To serve 6:

For the Pasta:

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) finely ground soft what flour, ideally 00 grade
  • 3 yolks
  • A pinch of salt
  • Flour for flouring your work surface and the pasta sheet

For the Stuffing:

  • 60 grams (about 1/4 cup)  well drained fresh ricotta, ideally buffalo milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano
  • 1 tablespoon greated smoked scamorza cheese (a lightly smoked soft cheese)

To give color:

  • About 1/4 pound (100 g) cleaned broccoli raab
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

The Sauce:

  • 3 fresh mild Italian pork sausages
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano

Clean and wash the broccoli raab, and blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for one minute. Remove them to the bowl of a blender with a slotted spoon and add to them a half a ladle of the blanching water. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt, and belnd until you have a brilliant green liquid. Refrigerate it until it comes time to use it.

Sift the flour onto you work surface with a pinch of salt. Scoop a well into the flour and fill it with the yolks and all but a couple of tablespoons of the broccoli puree.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Start mixing the dough, working from the inside to the outside, until all is perfectly amalgamated. Should it prove necessary, add a little more water. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands until you have a smooth slightly elastic ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Remove the casings from the sausages and crumble them into a non-stick pan with a half a glass of water. Cook them for about 5 minutes, then drain away the water and add a drizzle of olive oil, the unpeeled clove of garlic, and the sprig of rosemary. Cook covered over a gentle flame until the sausage is nicely browned and crunchy. Remove and discard the garlic and the rosemary, and set the sausage aside.

Prepare the stuffing by amalgamating the ricotta and the grated cheeses.

Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll the pasta out into rectangular sheets that are 1-2 mm (1/25th to 1/10th of an inch) thick; flour your work surface and the sheet often while your are working.

Dot the sheets of pasta at regular intervals with hazelnut-sized pieces of the cheese mixture.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Use a brush to moisten the edges of the sheets that will “kiss” when folded over, and fold the sheets over the stuffing, pressing down firmly around the blebs of stuffing to remove the air. Cut the ravioli free with a serrated pasta wheel.

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, salt it, add a drizzle of oil that will help keep the ravioli from sticking to each other, and boil them for three minutes. While they are cooking, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining broccoli puree in a skillet large enough to contain the ravioli.

Draw a ladle of pasta water and set it aside.

Drain the ravioli and transfer them to the skillet while they’re still dripping slightly. Cook, stirring gently, adding a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese and if need be a little of the water they cooked in.

Arrange the ravioli in deep dish bowls, spooning the green sauce over them, and complete the presentation with the crunchy sausages and a light dusting of grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano.


The Original Italian Recipe