Join me, Rosetta Costantino, a native Calabrian, cookbook author of My Calabria and Southern Italian Desserts, cooking teacher, and expert guide, to the region’s culinary and cultural riches, as we travel off the beaten path to the toe of Italy’s boot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
Hi folks, It was time to spruce up my old website. With the help of the talented Kristy Gardner of ohksocialmedia I’ve given the site a complete makeover to make it easier to find everything you need. I hope you will click around and check out some of the new features.
I can't believe it! I just picked up an advance copy of my dessert book from the Ten Speed Press office and I am so excited the way it turned out that I have to share it with you now. Here it is sitting on my kitchen table!
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.
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.
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.
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!
After many requests, I have decided to take all of you on a tour of my vegetable garden so you can see what it looks like. Watch the video below to see my Calabrian orto (garden) that grows in the Oakland hills. http://youtu.be/uZp9OixCl_o
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!
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 rape, cavolo broccolo (also known as spigariello), cavolo nero (Italian kale) escarole and chicory.
It is the season when I make my candied orange peels to last for the entire year. I use them on top of cannoli, chopped in various desserts, and in my ricotta gelato; we even coat the ends with dark chocolate to eat as candy.
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.
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.
Thank goodness things have calmed down from the book tour. Now I can continue sharing recipes and telling you about the garden. But I would also like to hear from you about what you'd like for me to include in the blog: any particular kinds of recipes? More garden tips? More stories about Calabria? Let me know, and I'll get right on it. Here is a video that was shown last Tuesday on Eye on the Bay, a local tv show on the Bay Area channel, KPIX. The show featured my book, my dad’s garden and my mom cooking along with me in my kitchen.