Note: Orsen Wells after discovering the Negroni while writing a screenplay in Rome, Welles wrote in a correspondence back home that had discovered a delightful Italian Cocktail, “The Negroni.” Welles stated, “It is made of Bitter Campari which is good for the liver, and of Gin which is bad. The two balance each other out.”
THE NEGRONI is Excerpted From Daniel Bellino-Zwicke ‘s SUNDAY SAUCE
PASTA CECI – Recipe
Chickpeas & Pasta
Pasta e Ceci is a mainstay of the Amalfi Coast and Neapolitan Cuisine. There are many different versions of this soup. Some call for a lot more tomatoes than others, while some use less tomato, as with this recipe here. Some people puree some of the chickpeas, while others don’t. Some cook the pasta in the soup, while others cook the pasta in water, then add to the soup after cooking it in the water. Most make the soup vegetarian, but if you like to you can add some Pancetta or Sausage to this soup.
This recipe was Excerpted from Bestselling Italian Cookbook author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke’s new forthcoming book, POSITANO – The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK – Travel Guide (January 2021) from Broadway Fifth Press, New York NY …
8 ounces Dry Chickpeas
1 small onion
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
1 small Onion, peeled and chopped
2 Bay Leaves
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1 large Carrot, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
8 ounces short Maccheroni Pasta – Ditalini or whatever short maccheroni you like
½ teaspoon each of Salt and Red Pepper Flakes
6 whole Plum Tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
Soak the Chickpeas in water for 6 hours, or overnight.
Drain the chickpeas and wash over cold running water.
Place the chickpeas in a large pot. Add water to cover the beans, with water 2” above the beans. Add the carrot and 1 clove of garlic to the pot.
Turn the heat on to high, until the water just starts to boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat so the water is cooking at a low simmer.
After the chickpeas have been cooking for 1 hour, take a few out of the pot and eat them, to test if they are done cooking or if they need to cook for a little while longer. The Chickpeas should start getting soft enough to eat, yet still have a little bit of a firm bite to them.
Add about 6 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan with 2 cloves of Garlic and 2 Rosemary Sprigs. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes.
Add the onion and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the garlic and rosemary from the pan and discard.
Add the onions to the pan and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Add the salt and red pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and cook on high heat for 2 minutes.
Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes, as you stir with a wooden spoon.
Once the beans are finished cooking, remove ⅓ of the chickpeas and pass through a food mill , or puree in a food-processor with a half-cup of the bean cooking liquid.
Put the pureed chickpeas in the pot with the tomatoes and cook on low-medium heat for 8 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the pot and chop fine. Put back into the pot.
Add the contents of the pan with the tomatoes into the pot of whole chickpeas. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As the chickpeas are simmering, cook your maccheroni pasta in a pot with boiling salted water.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once pasta has cooking, drain in a colander, and reserve a cup and a half of the pasta cooking water.
Add the pasta to the pot with the chickpeas, and mix everything together.
Try and determine the consistency of the Pasta Ceci at this point. It should be soupy , but not too watery and not too tight (dry). If it is too tight add as much as the pasta cooking water as you want, to get it to the consistency you like.
Place in bowls, drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and serve with grated Pecorino on the side.
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“SPAGHETTI with ZUCCHINI”
SPAGHETTI NERANO – Recipe
Spaghetti is one of the most famous dishes of the Amalfi Coast. The dish comes from the town of Nerano on the coast of the Sorrento Peninsula just across from Capri. The dish was created by Maria Grazia at her trattoria in Nerano. The primary ingredient of the dish is Zucchini with Povola or Caciocavallo Cheese grated into the pasta. Many restaurants on the Amalfi Coast and Capri serve this dish, and most locals know how to make it, and cook it at home, especially if they happen to have a little garden growing Zucchini, Tomatoes, and other vegetables. It’s easy to make and soul satisfying. If you’ve been to the area you may have already eaten it, and so know you can make it back home. Enjoy.
3 medium sized Zucchini, washed
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and cut in half
¼ cup fresh Basil, washed and leaves torn in half
¾ cup of grated Caciocavallo Cheese
1 pound imported Italian Spaghetti
Sea Salt and ground Black Pepper
Slice the Zucchini into ⅛” rounds.
Fill a large pot ¾ full of water, with 2 tablespoons salt and bring to the boil.
Place the Olive Oil in a large frying pan, and turn heat to a medium flame. Add the Zucchini and start to cool. Sprinkle the zucchini with about ½ teaspoon each of salt and Black Pepper. Add the butter and garlic and cook the zucchini for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
Add about a ¼ of the pasta cooking water to the pan with the zucchini, turn the heat to low and cook for about 6 minutes on low heat. Stir the zucchini with a wooden spoon as it is cooking.
Put the spaghetti into the rapidly boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package and the spaghetti is al dente (slightly firm toi the bite) usually about 10-11 minutes.
After the zucchini has cooked for a total of about 11 minutes. Turn the heat off. add the Basil and stir. Taste 1 piece of zucchini for seasoning to see if you want to add any more salt or pepper.
When the spaghetti is cooked, turn the heat off and drain the spaghetti into a colander, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water in case you need to add to the sauce.
Return the spaghetti to the put that it cooked in. Add all zucchini and all the juices from the pan in the pot with the spaghetti and stir.
Add half of the grated Caciocavallo cheese and stir. The consistency should be just slightly loose. If it is too tight, add a little pasta cooking water and stir.
Plate the spaghetti on 4 plates, giving each person an even amount of zucchini. Drizzle a little olive oil over each plate and serve.
Note : It’s best to make the dish with Caciocavallo Cheese, but if you can’t find, a combination of half grated Pecorino and half of Parmigiano Reggiano is a good substitute, or just Parmigano or Pecorino on their own.
Note II : Once you know how to make Spaghetti Nerano, you can make little variations, simply by adding one other ingredient that marries well with the dish. A great addition to this dish is to make Spaghetti Nerano just as above, and to add 4 or 5 pieces of sauteed shrimp on to each plate. Just have the shrimp ready and cook them in a little olive oil, seasoned with salt & pepper, and cooked for about 2 minutes on each side. Turn the heat off and add 4 or 5 pieces of shrimp to the plate with the Spaghetti Nerano and enjoy.
Excerpted from POSITANO The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK / TRAVEL GUIDE by Daniel Bellino Zwicke … November 2020
The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK / TRAVEL GUIDE
COMING NOVEMBER 25, 2020