Pasta Tordellata (Lucca Comfort Food): Recipes from Authentic Italian Women…

tordellata6.jpgIn the province of Lucca in Tuscany, cooks often make this dish called Pasta Tordellata.  Tordelli are the Lucchese version of ravioli and Pasta Tordellata is a pasta dish with the ravioli filling on the outside.

This is a hearty dish which is normally made during the winter months.

Pasta Tordellata (serves 8) Printable version

 

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Save money wisely: The antique Italian art of cooking with leftovers

I challenge you to come up with some low cost, healthy and delicious recipes using leftovers and inexpensive ingredients – just like the Italians do. As you may know, Italians throw nothing away and utilize every part of the animals they consume (think of head cheese or pickled pigs feet)! This is true now more than ever.

Some of my favorite meals as a child resulted from my father or mother using kitchen leftovers. Most people know about the delicious Tuscan soups (like ribollita or pancotto) made utilizing breads – usually stale breads. Have you heard of polpette (meatballs made from leftovers – sometimes coated and fried) or fresh pasta ravioli with stuffing made from leftover fish or meat? Have you heard of soups or pasta sauces made with fish bones and fish heads or those flavored with parmesan crust?

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7 Ways to save money and make great food using leftovers – Italian-style

In a previous article, I challenged readers to come up with some low cost, healthstuffed eggplants (melanzane ripiene)y and delicious recipes using leftovers and inexpensive ingredients – just like the Italians do. As you may know, Italians throw nothing away and utilize every part of the animals they consume (think of head cheese or pickled pigs feet)! This is true now more than ever. We all want to save money and not waste anything. It’s better for the earth too.

Following are reader suggestions and some recipes. Buon Appetito!

 

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Recipes from authentic Italian women: Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab from Serenella

Spaghetti with Dungeness crab (printable version)

ChristmasEve08_002.jpgMy grandparents’ first stay in the San Francisco area was between 1912 and 1919. During this time, they were befriended by many other Italian-American families. My grandmother Nonna Assida, who was a wonderful cook and later ran her own restaurant, learned to make spaghetti with Dungeness crab from the wives of Sicilian fisherman.

This dish soon became my family’s traditional Christmas Eve pasta- a tradition that continues to this day. We serve the pasta as the first plate or primo and serve the cooked crab as a main course with a side dish or salad.

For this dish it is important to have the freshest possible crab. Buon appetito!

Ingredients:

  • One large red onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • (1) hot chili pepper, sliced or Chile pepper flakes (according to taste)
  • 1/2 glass red wine
  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed or chopped
  • 2 large (2 1/2 pounds each) very fresh Dungeness crabs, preferably live. Clean and break the crab into pieces (or have the store do this for you). The crab should be all broken apart. For example the claws should be in separate pieces. Crack the pieces of crab with a crab or nut cracker.

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Recipes from Authentic Italian Women – Tuscan Comfort Foods

My  friend Ambra (see previous article) sent these recipe for a classic dishes of Tuscan comfort food.  The first is called Matuffi or Pallette. With a base made from polenta flour, these matuffi are truly stick-to-your-ribs kind of food! Next is Zuppa Casalinga or home-style vegetable and bean soup. The last is  another classic winter polenta-based soup.

Matuffi or Pallette

This is a typical dish of Viareggio & Province of Lucca- There are many versions of this recipe. This recipe can be made richer and heartier by adding 2 sausages and a handful of mushrooms (or soaked dry porcini mushrooms) to the sauce.  Printable Version

Note from Serenella: Definitely better with the sausage and mushrooms!
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