Supper in Puglia, Dessert in Venice.

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There is just a little touch of early Winter here, sub-zero and windy. I hope there will be some survivors from this freeze. Let’s see what the kitchen muse is in the mood for tonight.

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This pasta shape is called Orrechiette, which translates as “little ears”. Orrechiette comes from Puglia which is the region in the heel of the boot. The city of Bari is the regional capital. The classic recipe is Orrechiette tossed with chick peas, brocolli rabe, grated sheeps milk cheese and spiced up with hot pepper. It can be served up straight with olive oil or in a tomato sauce. With peasant cooking, you kinda go with what you got which is why the addition of, say, sweet or spicy sausage is entirely optional. Which ever way you decide cook, all you really have to do is to try to get the best ingredients for your pantry.

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I got this brocolli at Boston Winter Farmers Market. I was surprised to see it, it looked great and I thought that it would be great for supper this week.

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Broccoli, blanched, drained and then tossed in sauteed garlic, spicy pepper flakes and olive oil. Adding a few drops of lemon juice gives it a nice lift.

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Orrechiette con Fagioli…….pasta fazool…….pasta and beans for a Winter’s night. This is as peasant as you can get. But I still think the pasta looks like little diaphrams. Kitchen wit, no apologies. I think that is what the food writers mean by lusty food.

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That’s the same city as where the famous “prosciutto” comes from, Parma, Parma ham and also where parmesan or, by it’s proper title, Parmigiana-Reggiano. In a nutshell, these cows live “la dolce vita”. Which came first, the butter or the cheese?

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My interpretation of a Venetian-style rice pudding: Grappa, golden raisins, pine nuts, vanilla bean, cinammon stick, and nutmeg. Once upon a time, Venice was a serious player in the spice trade coming from the East.  Those little black specks in the photo are the vanilla bean bits. Grappa is another story. Grappa is an alcoholic beverage made from the left-overs of the wine making process, distilled a couple of times and is, classically, called a “digestif”. Something you would sip after dinner to help settle your stomach. This is not something to be chugged.

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Coffee…..this commodity was introduced into Europe by the Arabs. The word “Arabica” on the tin suggests to me a better quality of coffee. “Robusta” is the flip side, lesser quality. Arabica is Fair Trade and Equal Exchange. Robusta is Nescafe and Maxwell House.  Make your next shot of espresso ” cafe corretto” or ” the right coffee” by adding a splash of grappa to it on a cold Winter’s morning. You too can sing opera.

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3 thoughts on “Supper in Puglia, Dessert in Venice.

    • Hi Bet……that’s a good question. Broccoli, according to vegetable classification, is a member of the Brassicas family. This means it is related to cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and the like. Broccoli rabe, or Cime di Rapa, as it is known in parts of Italy, is technically, despite it’s outward appearance, a member of the turnip family. And turnip is a root. Some parts of their DNA may swing this way and that way and be somewhat overlapping. For example, take another vegetable called Kohl Rabe. This is another one of the Brassicas family, but it looks like a turnip growing out of the ground. While it may resemble a root, this is a swollen or bulbous stem. They all taste great. Go ahead and try them.

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