La Raccolta— Blog

La Raccolta — Blog of CASAGIOVE

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

The freshest…

Preparing a beautiful, simple, Arugula Salad

Insalata — Formulating the perfect simple salad

Most of my summers as a young girl in Italy were spent at my grandparents’ house in Recale. Two of my cousins lived right around the corner and one day they took me for a walk to pick some wild greens and some oranges from the family garden.  Little did I know I was about to taste a little bit of heaven that day!

We returned with handfuls of a delicious type of green that looked and tasted similar to mâche, but this lettuce was heartier and that heartiness added a deliciousness that couldn’t be matched. After barely rinsing the leaves and patting them dry, we added a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, some sections of juicy oranges and tossed it all together. It is to this day one of the yummiest salads I have ever eaten. My mom calls the type of lettuce we picked “pierchicchelle” but I have been unable to find it in America.

I am a math teacher, so I naturally appreciate formulas and tend to think of basic formulas when I cook. I like to use the formula I gleaned that day with my cousins for many of my salads. To me, just a couple of really fresh yummy ingredients tossed together makes the perfect simple salad. Here are a few of our favorite combinations:

mâche

Mâche Salad, CASAGIOVE California mâche
sections of blood oranges with its juice
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

arugula

Arugula Salad, CASAGIOVE California

arugula
shaved parmigiano reggiano
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

butter lettuce + radicchio

Butter lettuce & Radicchio Salad, CASAGIOVE California

butter lettuce
radicchio
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

Whichever flavor combination you choose, the key is to use the best, highest-quality ingredients and this is particularly true of the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Both will be served uncooked, so it’s important that they are rich and able to hold their own and enhance the other elements in your salad.

We did a lot of taste comparisons, and found what we feel to be the best intersection of price, flavor, and versatility. Both are available in:

CONDIRE – The Olive Oil and Vinegar Gift Set

 

What are your favorite simple salad combinations and meal pairings?  I’d love to hear!

 

Zuppa di Verdura — Vegetable Soup

What better way to warm up during the holiday season than with a bright delicious bowl of comforting, vegetable-filled soup! Here’s a take on my mom’s recipe that I grew up on. It’s easy to make, tasty and good for you too!  I like to serve it with Salsa Verde  and Homemade croutons

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Zuppa di Verdura — Vegetable Soup

What better way to warm up during the holiday season than with a bright delicious bowl of comforting, vegetable-filled soup! Here's a take on my mom’s recipe that I grew up on. It’s easy to make, tasty and good for you too! 

Course Soup
Servings 4 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • olive oil extra virgin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 serrano chile or jalapeno pepper sliced so that you can easily remove it before serving, seeds removed
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 baby bok choy diced
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 medium red potato diced
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • ½ pound ditalini pasta

Instructions

  1. Cover bottom of heavy bottomed pot with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent. 

  2. Add all other vegetables and cook 15 minutes. Add broth and let simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until vegetables reach desired tenderness. Bring to a gentle boil, and add in ditalini and cook until al dente.

  3. Top with a squeeze of lemon juice, a dollop of salsa verde and a few croutons for a delicious, comforting and healthy dinner.

Recipe Notes

Like with most of my recipes, the ingredients I use vary based on what is in season, what I am in the mood for and what looks good in my local markets.  So, have fun and substitute as needed!

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

For salsa verde:

Spoonful of Salsa Verde, CASAGIOVE

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Salsa Verde

One of my favorite lessons from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters 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.  

Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley chopped fine
  • 1 handful Castelvetrano olives chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • zest from one lemon
  • kosher salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • olive oil extra virgin; enough to incorporate all the ingredients together

Instructions

  1. Mix all together and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

For homemade croutons:

Croutons for Zuppa di Verdura, CASAGIOVE

 

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Homemade croutons

Easy to make and perfect atop soups and salads.

Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 1 crusty baguette chopped into one inch cubes
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • Parmigiano-reggiano grated
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Drizzle chopped baguette pieces with olive oil and season with salt and Parmigiano-reggiano. Bake in 450 degree oven until golden and crispy.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

 

Zuppa di Verdura, Vegetable Soup with Salsa Verde and Croutons detail

Buon Appetito!

Cena Viglia di Natale, CASAGIOVE

La vigilia di Natale— Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

When my mom came to America, she brought many traditions with her and they have become treasured parts of our family make up. One of my favorites is the seafood feast that southern Italians typically eat on Christmas Eve. Although there have been changes over the years to which seafood dishes get served, the seafood theme hasn’t changed. Here is our menu for this year’s Christmas Eve dinner — it’s simple, delicious, and a sweet reminder of our Italian heritage…

Menu, Vigilia di Natale, CASAGIOVE California

Buon natale a tutti quanti!

Grazie for sharing!