Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kitten Stew! 

So tender. Like veal.



Friday, January 21, 2005

Happy birthday, flea! 


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Alla Famiglia! 

Hello, everyone! This is my A #1 first post, so I thought I’d introduce myself with one of the oldest recipes in my family, and a longtime favorite.

My ancestry is southern Italian (Calabria & Basilicata) and Sicilian, so I grew up with pasta, sauce, and things that can be cooked with or served on pasta and sauce. We were not terribly adventurous, admittedly, so until I was grown my knowledge of pasta was limited to what I think of now as “the standards” – ziti, spaghetti, rigatoni, angel hair, macaroni, and pastina.

I took an interest in food and cooking at a very young age. Before I was able to use the stove I experimented with making eggs in the microwave – this was when microwaves were still a novelty. As soon as I was allowed to use a knife I made lovingly arranged vegetable trays. I couldn’t get enough of radish roses, celery bowties, black olive rabbits, etc. In high school, it was my job to get dinner started when I got home from school, before my mother came home from work. This evolved over the years from taking things out of the freezer and peeling potatoes to preparing roasts and starting the sauce. In college I would make whole chickens, make lasagnas, and find myself begging friends to join me because I lived alone. (Not that actual begging was required, mind you…)

So anyway. I’m going to try to post a recipe for Wedding Soup. It actually has nothing to do with weddings, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been a wedding where it was served. The name comes from minestra maritata, which roughly translates to “married soup,” and refers to the way the flavors in the soup marry.

Please keep in mind, all measurements are approximate at best. Yum. I can eat this stuff by the gallon.

Wedding Soup
Serves: an army

For the soup:
12 c. chicken broth
1 cup chicken, cooked – 1-2 breasts, or 4 thighs (optional)
3-4 bunches escarole, cleaned and torn*
1 cup pastina

1 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs
Romano cheese

For the topping:
3-4 eggs
Salt and pepper
¾ cup Romano cheese, grated

Put chicken broth in a big soup pot and set it to simmer. (If you’re using chicken, add it now. If it’s raw, allow it to cook, remove and set aside to cool. Once it’s cooled, shred it and add it back to the soup.)

Wash escarole thoroughly. Place it while moist in a covered saucepan and cook about 6 minutes or until almost tender; drain and add to chicken broth. (I like to cook it right in the broth; my mother insists this makes the broth bitter. I don’t mind a little bitterness.)

Combine ingredients for meatballs, and roll into small balls – the size of a marble, maybe a teensy bit bigger. Bake or fry until browned, drain and add to the broth. (I also cook these in the broth, but it will add to the fat content of the soup.)

Bring soup to low boil. Add pastina and stir.

In a bowl, thoroughly combine eggs, pepper to taste, and Romano cheese. The texture should be somewhere between pancake and crepe batter. Once soup is at a low boil after adding the pastina, pour to the pot in a thin stream. It should cook and begin to separate almost immediately. Stir.

Once the pastina is cooked, it’s done!

*Oh, you'll find other recipes that call for spinach. Ignore them.

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