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Caponata di Carciofi

Rosetta Costantino

Caponata di Carciofi (Sweet and sour artichokes stew)

A caponata featuring fresh artichokes, perfect to make in the spring when fresh artichokes are in season. Caponata is typically served as an appetizer or a side dish, at room temperature or cold.  Be sure to make the tomato sauce ahead of time.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs small artichokes, 20 small artichokes about 1 – 1.5 oz each

One lemon

1/4 cup Olive oil

3 stalks celery, about 1 cup chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (see attached recipe)

One tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed well

1/ 4 cup chopped green olives

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and pepper

Fill a bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of a lemon into the water.

Clean the artichokes by removing the outer leaves, until you see pale yellow leaves.  Trim the stem and cut off the top of the artichoke and discard. Cut in quarters for small artichokes or slice about 1/4 inch thick lengthwise.  Place in the bowl of water and lemon juice.  Continue until all the artichokes have been cleaned.

Place two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy duty saucepan, add the drained artichokes and stir for few minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of warm water.  Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the water is evaporated and the artichokes are tender, but not fully cooked. 

Remove the artichokes from the pot and set aside.  Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the celery and onion until soft and translucent, add the artichokes and salt to taste. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, capers and olives.  Continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the artichokes are soft and fully cooked stirring occasionally.  Add the vinegar and sugar and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.  

The caponata should have a sweet and sour flavor.  Use more wine vinegar or sugar to adjust the balance.  Transfer to a bowl and let it cool.

Serve at room temperature or refrigerate overnight and serve cold.

Copyright 2015, Rosetta Costantino. All rights reserved.

Friscatula con Cavolo Verzo (Calabrian polenta with Savoy Cabbage)

Rosetta

With the rain finally arriving in the Bay Area, it is starting to feel like winter, and thanks to the rain and cold we are able to make and cure our annual production of Calabrian sausage , that we typically produce in January when the weather conditions are ideal for curing sausage, cold and humid. In addition to the curing of sausage I love to prepare Friscatula, Calabrian polenta with savoy cabbage, during this time of the year. 

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Buccellato Siciliano (Christmas Fig and Nut Pastry Ring)

Rosetta

This year I would like to share with you a traditional dessert that is prepared in Palermo, Sicily for Christmas – Buccellato. Think of the Buccellato as a super-sized fig cookie. The smaller size of this pastry is called Cucciddati or Buccellatini. I think it is more impressive (and easier) for the Christmas table to prepare one Buccellato than a dozen small cookies. 

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Fasuoli cu l'accia (Bean and celery soup)

Rosetta

One of the simplest and most satisfying soups I have ever made is Fasuoli cu l’accia, a bean and celery soup.  This soup was unknown to me in Calabria, but my husband enjoyed it regularly as a child growing up in Palermo. You would find this soup in many of Palermo’s homes at this time of year, and it is considered a dish of the cucina povera (cooking of the poor).  The thought of combining beans and celery seemed a strange and unusual combination to my Calabrian palate, but last week when we were discussing comforting fall dishes, my husband recalled how much he loved when his mother would make Fasuoli cu l’accia.

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Dolci di Noci (walnut cookies)

Rosetta

This is the first recipe that I am sharing with you from my new cookbook “Southern Italian Desserts”.  It has become one of my favorite cookies and it couldn’t be more simple to make.  Can you think of any other cookie that has only three ingredients?  It is so good that anybody that has one wants more and more.

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Name that dessert contest --- The winner is .....

Rosetta

Back in April I shared five photographs from my new cookbook "Southern Italian Desserts"  in a post and asked you to guess the name of the following desserts and the region they come from.   Everyone that named at least one dessert correctly (name of dessert and region) was entered into a drawing for a free autographed copy of "Southern Italian Desserts". 

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Eating our way through Calabria - Culinary Tour 2013

Rosetta

After spending a couple of weeks in Calabria and Sicily, I am back home.  During those weeks I spent 8 days with a fabulous group touring and eating our way through Calabria.   We had a great time and enjoyed many luscious meals. Take a look at some of the photos below and the remainder on Cooking with Rosetta Facebook Fan Page.

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Tenerumi

Rosetta

Are you wondering what in the world these summer greens called “tenerumi” are? Tenerumi are the leaves and tender shoots of the long squash plant called “cucuzza” found all over Palermo markets. These greens are eaten all over Sicily and also in Calabria where they are known as “taddi di cucuzza”. Here is a picture I took in Palermo’s market last summer, showing the tenerumi next to the long squash.

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Name that Dessert

Rosetta

In this post I have included photographs of some of my favorite desserts from my new cookbook “Southern Italian Desserts.”   I can only share five pictures with you.  All the photographs were taken by the talented Sara Remington who also did the photography for my first cookbook, My Calabria. The recipes in the book range from simple home desserts to the cutting-edge creations of Southern Italy’s finest pastry chefs.  I’ve included desserts already well-known and loved in America, such as gelato and cannoli, as well as regional specialties virtually unknown in this country, and rarely, if ever, found in books, magazines, or online.

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Spaghetti con carciofi (Spaghetti with fresh artichokes)

Rosetta

I have decided to share with youthe recipes that did not make it into my first cookbook "My Calabria". I had tested and submitted too many recipes and at the end many had to be cut so the book didn't go over 400 pages. Here is the first recipe that I would like to share with you,  Spaghetti with Fresh Artichokes. This is a simple recipe that I prepare during this time of the yearwhen you can find the small artichokes that are used in this dish. This sauce works well with long or short pasta and especially well with homemade pasta.

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My second cookbook

Rosetta

I feel like I've been keeping a secret for way too long, but it's finally time to share with you the work that I've been doing for the past year and a half.  I can’t believe it, after all the testing and retesting, and driving all over Southern Italy to discover and perfect dessert recipes, the hard work is coming to fruition -- I'm proud to announce that my second cookbook is done!

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Spaghetti con Alici Fresche (Spaghetti with Fresh Anchovies)

Rosetta

Now is the time of the year when anchovies show up at the fish market. And it's also the time when wild fennel grows in California. During May and June I pick the fronds and use them in various dishes (here is a recipe that I prepared last year using wild fennel), but my favorite is a pasta dish that combines wild fennel with fresh anchovies. The recipe didn't make it into my book, so I can give it to you!

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Time to get back to the garden

Rosetta

My garden is right at what I call the “transition period” this time of the year: we are ending the winter garden, some of the spring vegetables are not quite ready yet for picking and we have yet to start our summer garden planting. The winter vegetables that are still around in my garden are broccoli rapecavolo broccolo (also known as spigariello), cavolo nero (Italian kale) escarole and chicory.

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Chiacchiere

Rosetta

Carnevale, or "Fat Tuesday", is coming up, so it is time to make chiacchiere. The word "chiacchere" translates into "chatter", "chit-chat", or "gossip", but in this context it is a strip of sweet pastry dough fried and coated with powdered sugar. These crispy strips of dough are made throughout Italy and are called by various names: I have heard them called bugie, cenci, crostoli, and frappe. Check this link for a list of all the names. "Chiacchiere" is what we call them in Calabria. Below are pictures and a short video to show you how to shape them.

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Tonno sott'olio: Tuna preserved under oil

Rosetta

Tuna preserved in olive oil is the pride of the Calabrian pantry. Most Calabrians that live near the Tyrrhenian coast preserve their own. My parents did not, since they lived inland, but were fortunate to be able to buy good tuna. At the end of every summer vacation we would spend in Calabria my son would have me pack as many jars as would fit in my suitcase.

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