Sugo di Carne made by Patricia for CASAGIOVE

Un posto a tavola // Autumn 2016

I love this time of year— it’s my favorite, actually. I love that it’s starting to get a little cooler and a bit more crisp out. I love the excitement of going back to school and the hope that comes with it…
 
More than anything— this stems from my parents. They were both immigrants and the opportunity that America afforded was not to be taken lightly. My dad, especially, wanted me to make the most of all the possibilities out there. He had me writing on a chalkboard at a very young age and read to me constantly. He passed away when I was four, just before I started school, but I’m so thankful that he thought to prepare me and in a short time, instilled a love for learning that continues to this day. That love is no doubt why I became a teacher, and why I dream of ‘teaching’ and sharing my love of Italian food and culture in my very own market. 
 
With the cooler weather upon us, there is the return of a comforting routine: gathering together around a table each evening with heartier meals, bundling up for football games, cuddling on the sofa as a family before going to bed, and some more of my favorite fall things…

Jump to a recipe:
Spaghetti Bolognese
Baby Kale with Caesar Lime Vinaigrette
Insalata di Rucola e Funghi

Favorite Dinners

When it comes to hearty meals, it just doesn’t get any more comforting and satisfying than pasta with meat sauce. In the southern part of Italy, making meat sauce on Sundays is what you do, and it’s one of the sweetest southern Italian traditions my mom ever shared with me. The smell of a meat sauce bubbling on the stove for hours fills a home with love, and the deliciousness brings everyone to the table. My mom’s meat sauce will always be my favorite. Although I have made it alongside her for years, making her meat sauce on my own has proven to be frustrating. To me, it never tastes as good as hers; I can’t help but compare. So, I continue to work on my own version, keeping in mind the important lessons she embedded in the process along the way:

Take your time. My mom would wake up, enjoy her espresso and then begin prepping. It’s important not to feel rushed when making a meat sauce. She knew it was an investment and it was worth it. The flavors take time to develop and meld. Taking shortcuts doesn’t work.

Enjoy yourself. When making sauce with my mom, we often played music in the background. We talked and laughed. We would taste along the way, savoring each bite. Making sauce never felt like a chore; on the contrary, it was always something I looked forward to doing.   

Have confidence. Invest in the best ingredients.  We would make extra trips to make sure we got her favorite brands and the freshest components. We checked each item carefully and never compromised on quality. When you use the best, you can be confident about the final product.

 

Meat Sauce, bubbling on the stove

Spaghetti Bolognese by Patricia for CASAGIOVE

Spaghetti Bolognese, ready to be served

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Spaghetti Bolognese

Although my Southern Italian style meat sauce, called sugo di carne by some, ragù by others and salsa con carne by my mom, is still in the works, here is a recipe for another type of meat sauce from the north that I love making and eating. I have combined elements from both Tyler Florence's and Alice Water's recipes, and incorporated techniques my mom taught me, in order to create my own delicious take on this classic dish.
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 ounces pancetta diced
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes blended
  • 1 14- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes blended
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • kosher salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • mascarpone cheese
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
  • 3-5 leaves basil chiffonade

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and a little crushed red pepper.

  2. Add pancetta until crisp and browned. Then add the celery, onion and carrots. Allow the soffrito time to cook and soften. This will help build a lot of flavor. 

  3. Next, add in the garlic for about a minute. Then, add in the ground beef and veal, making sure to use a wooden spoon to break it up until the meat is no longer pink. 

  4. Add the wine and give it time to evaporate before adding in the tomatoes. 

  5. Mix the stock and milk together in another container and then add about a third of this mixture, lower the heat and simmer very slowly for 3-4 hours. During this time, as the liquid lessens, continue to add more of the milk and stock mixture, until you use it all. Taste often and continue to season with salt and pepper as needed. 

  6. Bring a big pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Mix the spaghetti with the sauce and then top with a drizzle of olive oil, a little more sauce, a dollop of mascarpone cheese, some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few ribbons of basil. 

  7. Serve with a simple salad, fresh bread and red wine.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

Favorite Salads

Here are two perfect salads to help you transition into fall…

Baby Kale with a Caesar Lime Vinaigrette

Bertie and I recently celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in New York. We went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden; it was a once in a lifetime, bucket list type of thing to do and we had an amazing time. While there, we stumbled upon a unique restaurant cafe, Gelso and Grand, in Little Italy. It caught our eye because it didn’t look like all the others. It was stylish without being cheesy; rustic with a touch of elegance; and the food was simple and delicious – all these things made it quintessentially Italian and it instantly became our go to for the next couple of days. We enjoyed aperol spritzers there to help beat the heat, charcuterie and cheese plates for the perfect bite and a Kale Caesar that had us swooning. Their version of a Caesar salad was different from any we had ever tasted before. The heartiness of the kale was perfectly complemented by the heat of the peppers, the acidity of the lime and the nuttiness of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Such a creative and delightful salad!

Check out our new #Kale #Caesar with thin Serrano chillies and fresh grated #Parmesan #myfab5

A photo posted by Gelso & Grand (@gelsoandgrand) on

 

We were determined to replicate this perfect salad when we got home. Here is my version; we think it’s almost as yummy as its inspiration…

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Baby Kale with a Caesar Lime Vinaigrette

Inspired by a new spin on a Caesar salad from Gelso and Grand, in Little Italy of New York— the heartiness of the kale perfectly complements the heat of the pepper, the acidity of the lime and the nuttiness of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Such a creative and delightful salad!

Course Salad
Servings 4 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 3-4 handfuls baby kale
  • 1/2 jalapeño sliced paper thin
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano shaved

For the Caesar Lime Vinaigrette, whisk together the following:

  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 limes (the juice and zest of)
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Toss everything together and top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com


Insalata di Rucola e Funghi
 
Insalata di Rucola e Funghi, simple and delicious

Insalata di Rucola e Funghi, simple and delicious

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Insalata di Rucola e Funghi

Arugula Salad with Mushrooms. This salad is incredibly easy to make and so full of flavor!

Course Salad
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • arugula
  • crimini mushrooms sliced
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • fresh squeeze of lemon
  • kosher salt
  • parmigiano-reggiano shaved

Instructions

  1. Simply top arugula with the sliced mushrooms. Drizzle with the olive oil first (this will help to protect the arugula from the acidity of the lemon), then squeeze lemon juice over it. 

  2. Sprinkle with kosher salt and top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

Favorite Flower

Nothing says fall more beautifully than stalks of wheat. There is something about the texture and color of both fresh and dried versions that instantly warms up a space. Here are two pictures that capture its warmth and loveliness. 

https://instagram.com/p/BIZN8UEgmnD/

A bundle of wheat can warm up any room.

A bundle of wheat can warm up any room.

Favorite Saying

Tutti a tavola! // Everyone to the table!

When it’s time to eat in Italy, you will often hear the phrase “Tutti a tavola!” which means “Everyone to the table!”. Pronounced too-TEE ah tah-voh-la, it is fun to say and a great reminder of how important it is to take time out of our busy days to connect with one another. Similar to our “Time to eat!”, but the emphasis is more on coming together rather than eating. Sure the food brings us to the table, but the conversations and interactions keep us there. From heartfelt confessions to countless giggles, from sincere thankfulness to animated stories… these meaningful connections bind us in a special way.  

When we remodeled the kitchen/dining/living area in our small home, we planned the whole space around a ten foot table. I’m sure some people thought we were crazy, but we had to make room for that table. And each night as we gather around that table, I am reminded why I am so glad we did.

Take time to express your love with a simple “Tutti a tavola!” today. 

Cin cin!

—Patriziella 

Patricia Bergen

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!
Patricia Bergen

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Grazie for sharing!
Posted in Fai da te — Recipes & Projects, Storie - Family & Friends and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
Patricia Bergen

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I’m so happy to share it with you!

10 Comments

  1. The way you write about food….I can feel your love of the ingredients and the process of cooking it. It makes me wish I I liked to cook. It seems the love of cooking in our genes did not get passed down to me……only the love of eating the food.

    • Haha! If you love eating food… the love for its components and the process is there. Start with that recipe/dish that you connect with most and try to enjoy each detail involved. You’ll be surprised at how fun and satisfying that can be! Sending love <3

  2. Ciao Patrizia, i enjoyed your post as it is wonderful to see your thoughts and feelings expressed so candidly. I still make my version of sugo and i continue to twick it so it is always slightly different but always yummy. Actually i always have a frozen container ready for a quick pasta or pizza dinner with salad. Let the love and plopping continue.

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