La Raccolta— Blog

La Raccolta — Blog of CASAGIOVE

The CASAGIOVE blog– a collection of stories, updates, recipes, special events and more! 

The freshest…

Basket of Fresh Herbs by Patricia for Casagiove

Un posto a tavola // Spring 2016

Just the other day, I came across the phrase “deliziosamente verde” which translates to “deliciously green” and describes my appreciation for spring perfectly. Spring always makes me think of all those “deliciously green” things like fresh herbs growing near my kitchen window, classic Italian green sauces, yummy grilled salads, big juicy artichokes, and beautiful olive trees. 

Favorite Dinners

Thankfully, I finally understand my mom’s obsession with parsley.  After years of chopping it, watching her add it to many of our family dishes and giggling as she bit into it to freshen her breath, I am happy to say that I totally get it. (Grazie, Mamma!) And even better, Bert and the boys love it just as much as I do. Here are three different recipes incorporating parsley and other herbs that will brighten up any spring dinner.

“Deliciously Green” basket of fresh herbs

 

Spaghetti Prezzemolo, Aglio e Olio

Although this Italian classic is usually called Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, spaghetti with garlic and oil, I have added “prezzemolo” to the name because to me, the parsley (prezzemolo in Italian) is just as important. I love Geoffrey Zakarian’s recipe because he addresses the importance of adding pasta water to the sauce and completing the cooking process of the pasta in that sauce. This technique is something I try to do whenever I make pasta; it makes such a difference. I add a couple more cloves of garlic and a bit more parsley than is listed; I also add a little sprinkle of chopped parsley, along with a drizzle of olive oil, right before serving. 

Spaghetti Prezzemolo, Aglio e Olio 2 by Patricia for Casagiove

Spaghetti Prezzemolo, Aglio e Olio, ready to be served

Salsa Verde

A couple of years ago, on a family road trip to San Francisco, we happened upon the coolest bookstore tucked away in a charming little neighborhood. It was there that I found what would become my favorite cookbook, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. It had me at the title and the next day, on our long eight hour drive home, I read the cookbook from cover to cover. Never had I felt so connected to a cookbook. It was filled with advice, encouragement, tips and a simple approach to food and cooking that spoke to my roots. One of my favorite lessons from that book is on the classic Italian green sauce, Salsa Verde. We love it on any grilled meat (but especially on steak), on grilled veggies, mixed in with our couscous, and even on our sandwiches. Each batch is a little different, which makes it even more fun. If I don’t have garlic, I use shallots… or if I am out of capers, I chop up some Castelvetrano olives and use that instead. The only must for me is a lot of fresh flat leaf parsley.  

Salsa Verde in a jar by Patricia for Casagiove

Salsa Verde in a jar

As Alice Waters mentions in her recipe, “other herbs or combinations of herbs can be used” so here is a version with a base of rosemary and thyme that our family enjoys too. It’s called Salmoriglio and this recipe by Giada de Laurentiis is so tasty!

Favorite Salad

Grilled Gem Salad

I just about love anything grilled, and lettuce is no exception. The other day, some baby gem lettuces caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to get home and make grilled salad for dinner. It’s so easy and doesn’t require much. I just cut each head of lettuce in half (or fourths would work too) and brush a bit of extra virgin olive oil on them. I season with some kosher salt and then grill each side on a grill pan. Then I drizzle a little more olive oil and some balsamic vinegar over the top and season a tad more with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Need a good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic? Try our olive oil and vinegar gift set, Condire, which can be found in La Bottega.)

Grilled Gem Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic by Patricia for Casagiove

Grilled Gem Salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Favorite Encouragement

This Bible verse paints such a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness and the beauty that can come from trusting in His plans for us.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. 

– Psalm 52:8

And last, but not least, I want to share with you my…  

Favorite Instagrammer

I recently started following an instagrammer from Napoli, @giovdor. She is able to capture so much of Napoli’s richness and beauty in each of her posts. Grazie @giovdor for bringing me home, even though I am miles away. 

“Deliziosamente verde”, deliciously green…

 

Deliziosamente verde

A photo posted by Giò (@giovdor) on

 

 

And her lovely thoughts on coffee…

 

Il caffè non è solo una bevanda, il caffè è una scusa, un motivo. La scusa per fermarsi un attimo, da soli o in compagnia. Per riflettere, per prendere forza. Il caffè ti tiene compagnia mentre studi, mentre lavori. È una scusa per parlare con qualcuno che ci sta a cuore. La scusa per passare un po’ di tempo con la persona che ci interessa. La possibilità dire “mi piace stare con te” senza usare le parole. Coffee is not just a drink, coffee for the Neapolitans is an excuse, a reason. The excuse to stop for a moment, alone or in company. To reflect, to gain strength. The coffee keeps you company while you study, as you work. It is an excuse to talk to someone who is important to us. The excuse to spend some ‘quality time with the person who interests us. A chance to say I like to be with you without words.

A photo posted by Giò (@giovdor) on

 

Cin cin!

—Patriziella

 

baby heirloom tomatoes and celery make an Inviting Bruschetta

Inviting Bruschetta

Italians have a way with words. Even one of the ways they say I love you, ti voglio bene,  translates to… I want good for you, implying  I care so much about you, that I wish the best for you.  Now that is a beautiful way to love others. They use words like bellissima, dolcissima and carissima to let you know how beautiful and sweet and dear you are to them. And their charm isn’t only restricted to their native tongue, it comes through just as loud and clear in English. Even though they may struggle with the intricacies of our cold language – the exceptions, the irregularities, the idioms, the weird blends (just try to ask an Italian to say “thank you” or “Thursday”), it doesn’t matter, they will find a way to make you smile. So, in that spirit, I share with you my recipe for…

Inviting Bruschetta 

What makes bruschetta inviting? Well, to be fair, bruschetta by it’s very own nature is pretty inviting – even in it’s purest form: a mixture of tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt placed on top of a piece of bread… that’s incredibly enticing, right? But, what about if you added a little something, just subtle enough to make you wonder what makes this bruschetta delightfully different?

My Nonna Cesidia would often add celery to her salads. It was a simple way to make an ordinary salad special. Both the stalk and leaves added a subtle earthiness, depth and texture. It’s that extra thought that makes it inviting. At first glance, the celery was hardly noticeable; it just blended in with the lettuce and most of us would never expect it… and yet, once you bit in and tasted the simple addition, it was the most intentional way to capture anyone’s attention… a simple gesture that lets someone know you care enough to make sure that every little detail has been taken care of.

baby heirloom tomatoes and celery make an Inviting Bruschetta

In fact, now that I think about it… that is probably why my dear cousin Nicola always chooses to use the word “inviting” to describe everything from someone’s smile to the Mediterranean Sea to a delicious dish.  It’s because Italians are always looking for ways to invite you to their tables, into their families, and ultimately into their hearts. 

So, won’t you try this recipe and invite someone over to enjoy it too?

 

Inviting Bruschetta

What makes bruschetta inviting? Well, to be fair, bruschetta by it's very own nature is pretty inviting - even in it's purest form: a mixture of tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt placed on top of a piece of bread... that's incredibly enticing, right? But, my Nonna Cesidia would often add celery to her salads. It was a simple way to make an ordinary salad special. Both the stalk and leaves added a subtle earthiness, depth and texture. It's that extra thought that makes this bruschetta inviting. 

Course Appetizer
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 1 handful baby heirloom tomatoes cut into fourths
  • 1-2 stalks celery baby stalks in the center with leaves are the best; diced
  • a little red onion to taste; diced
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2-3 leaves basil chiffonade- cut into thin ribbons
  • baguette slices grilled

Instructions

  1. Delicately mix all ingredients together.

  2. Place spoonfuls on grilled slices of crusty baguette... and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

 

Also, be sure to say broo-sKet-ta! Click below for a sample:


This post is part of a story collective where authors share their favorite Italian memories and recipes. Be sure to check out the guest post from LeAnn at l&l… Truffle Bruschetta:

Cote Sud, Dec2001-Jan2002, truffle 1[excerpt] On a six-week stay in Tuscany and while making my way through several recipe books in the cucina of my wee appartamento, I came across the English edition of “How to make Bruschette.”  It is a small, paperback book unremarkable in its appearance, but…


 

 

Cote Sud, Dec2001-Jan2002, truffle 1

Truffle Bruschetta

a guest post by LeAnn Brown of l&l – {linenlavenderlife.com}

ON A SIX-WEEK STAY IN TUSCANY and while making my way through several recipe books in the cucina of my wee appartamento, I came across the English edition of “How to Make Bruschette.”  It is a small, paperback book unremarkable in its appearance, but with many variations on Bruschette and Crostoni.*

I have enjoyed making a number of the simple recipes it contains, but I find the translation of the accompanying commentary to be the most charming aspect of this little book.  The Italian passion for time-honored traditions —in all aspects of the gastronomic experience— is clearly evident in its pages…resulting in such phrases as:

 

“Bruschetta with truffle is a real delicacy and will certainly make your guests enthusiastic.”

(I don’t know about you, but enthusiastic dinner guests will always be welcome in my home!)

 

And here’s another favorite of mine:

 

“Don’t use oil too sparingly and if you find it necessary, add more than the suggested spoonful.  If some sauce remains in the plate, you will find it pleasant for bread dipping.”

(Oh, okay.  If I must.)

 

My daughter and I share an affinity for Italy and count many dear friends there.  One aspect of the Italian culture we admire most is their dedication and attention to detail in preparing even the most simple of dishes.  Great care is taken to collect fresh, quality ingredients and absolutely nothing is rushed:  from the shopping — to the preparation — to the enjoyment of every morsel surrounded by family and friends.

This respectful, —even meditative— approach to the preparation and consumption of their food undoubtedly explains why Italians can partake of such indulgent-sounding concoctions as “Bruschetta with Pancetta” and “Crostone with Formaggio and Olives.” —all the while looking fabulous in their Dolce and Gabbana skinny jeans.  

So I say,  “Down with dieting!  —Let’s just Be Italian!”

Che ne pensate?! 

 

TRUFFLE BRUSCHETTA

1 Slice Bread

1 Small Black Truffle

2 Anchovies

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Clean and wash the truffle thoroughly, then grate as much as needed (it depends on the quality of the truffle) into a pan, with a little oil, warm up and leave on the flame for a few instants.  Then add the chopped up anchovy fillets together with the lemon juice, and mix thoroughly.  Finally, toast the slice of bread and spread it with the mixture.  

Buon Appetito!

 

Bruschette page 97

How to Make Bruschette
from page 7:

Bread, What a Goodness!
*Bruschetta  (garlic bread) and crostone (large crouton), typical of Central Italy, but very widespread beyond its own borders, easily prepared, genuine and appetizing, may be served as starters but, if you are willing to enrich them with other ingredients, they may be served without doubt, as a first or even second course.

Even though it is true that the traditional preparation is based on oil, salt, garlic, some country cheese or vegetables, there are also many ways of creating the most unusual variants.  It is just according to these possibilities that we will accompany you through the following pages, which I hope will be neither boring nor burdensome.  —excerpt from the book: How to Make Bruschette.

Photo credits in order of appearance:  1-Cote Sud, Dec2001-Jan2002; 2-How to make Bruschette, page 97

 


This post is part of a story collective where authors share their favorite Italian memories and recipes. Be sure to check out the post from CASAGIOVE’s own, Patricia… Inviting Bruschetta:

baby heirloom tomatoes and celery make an Inviting Bruschetta

[excerpt] Italians have a way with food and words. They are intentional about the details of each ingredient they choose and each word they use.  I think it’s because Italians are always looking for ways to invite you to their tables, into their families, and ultimately into…


Grazie for sharing!