My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South by Rosetta Costantino and Janet Fletcher

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  • Kjohns101 on October 24, 2017

    Pollo con Melanzane We really liked this recipe. I made a few changes- roasted the cubed eggplant (375 10-15 min); used canned marzano crushed tomatoes including juice.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Quick tomato sauce (Sugo di pomodoro)

    • Jane on September 19, 2012

      I was blown away at how easy and simple this was but what a great result. I used canned tomatoes which is a bit daft in tomato season but I don't grow them and I didn't have enough in the house. My tomatoes were San Marzano but did have citric acid in so I will have to find another brand and see if it makes a difference.The flavor from the garlic, basil, salt and good tomatoes was great. Why would anyone buy tomato sauce in a jar when this sauce is so great? I served it with the Polpette alla Verbicarese on p.209.

    • Breadcrumbs on September 03, 2012

      p. 53 I planned to make the Eggplant Parmesan (p. 252) for dinner and since I had a little extra time in the kitchen yesterday, I decided to make this sauce. In reading the author’s head note it’s clear that in the Calabrian’s tomato sauce, the tomatoes must be the star. No onions, celery, carrot, oregano or sugar. Only a hint of fresh basil and the merest scent of garlic says the author. As I’ve reported before, willpower is not a strong suit and try as I might, I had to cave and garlic-fy this sauce and, make full use of my lovely opal basil. In the end I didn’t feel guilty about bastardizing this sauce w my extra garlic and basil since I was still working within the spirit of the recipe by using only ingredients already called for and, I was working w canned tomatoes vs fresh. In any event, this made for a luscious, thick, rich tomatoey sauce that was perfect on its own and in the Eggplant dish. Photo here:

    • MelMM on September 18, 2012

      I love this very simple, but delicious, tomato sauce. It's important to find good quality canned tomatoes, if using canned. Preferably without citric acid or calcium chloride. I make this just as directed, with only the two split cloves of garlic and a few leaves of basil. It needs nothing more. If using canned tomatoes, you may wish to reduce the salt a bit, as I believe the amount given in the recipe assumes fresh or home canned tomatoes without salt. I find a scant teaspoon to be about right when using canned tomatoes, but this will depend upon the brand used and how much salt is in them.

  • My mother's pork meatballs in tomato sauce (Polpette alla Verbicarese)

    • Jane on September 19, 2012

      I liked these - they are quick and easy to make. I liked the all-pork meat for a change - the mixture was like a pork sausage, which is not a drawback for me. Like Breadcrumbs I baked them rather than frying them. I served them with the Quick tomato sauce over pasta.

    • Breadcrumbs on April 27, 2011

      p. 209 - First use of this recipe and book and results were terrific. An unusual 'all pork' meatball mixed w fairly standard ingredients however the breadcrumbs are dry vs fresh soaked in milk. I cooked mine in the oven vs in oil on the stove. 25 mins at 375 did the trick. We liked these... not as much as our usual mb's but they were very good and I would make them again for a change. Love that this book has wine suggestions w each recipe as well.

  • Braised chicken with eggplant, tomatoes, and pancetta (Pollo con melanzane)

    • Jane on September 18, 2012

      This was a decent every-night dinner but didn't feel passionate about it.. Not that one needs to feel passionate about every-night dinners but I don't think I will be repeating it. I should have dunked the eggplant chunks in water as they soaked up a lot of oil. One thing I found was that it took quite a while for the cup of white wine to evaporate and by then the thighs were cooked (though that may be because I used boneless thighs), So another 10 minutes for the tomatoes to cook down was a bit too long for the chicken.

    • Kjohns101 on July 29, 2018

      We really like this dish. I roasted the eggplant which may have increased the flavor. Nice earthy dish.

    • apronless on August 02, 2012

      Page 220

  • Sautéed mushrooms with garlic and tomatoes (Funghi con pomodoro)

    • Breadcrumbs on August 14, 2012

      p. 254 Tomatoes and wild mushrooms are abundant at our local market so this dish seemed like the perfect accompaniment to our grilled steak. I used chilli flakes vs the whole dry chilli and a mix of cherry tomatoes and chopped zebras. I also added some chopped garlic. This was a simple dish but the flavours were big and bold. We’ll definitely have this again. High heat cooking ensured the mushrooms stayed dry and caramelized. Delicious! Photos here:

  • Eggplant Parmigiana with fresh ricotta (Parmigiana di melanzane)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 03, 2012

      p. 252 -This is a wonderful version of one of my absolute favourite Italian dishes. Though the author suggests this will take approx 20 mins to roast the eggplant, it took 30. Next time I make this I may use convection to see if that helps dissipate some of the steam and shortens the process. I used a rectangular baking dish and ended w a cheese layer that I topped w sauce. RC recommends 30 mins at 400 however mine took about 45. I did make one slight adaptation on the recommended ingredients. I had approx 3/4 cup of grated mozzarella on hand so I sprinkled it in with the cheese layers to use it up. This was exceptional and one of the best eggplant Parmesan dishes I can recall making. mr bc, a confirmed eggplant-hater said he LOVED this dish and felt it was just as good as his favourite lasagna. I couldn’t have been happier!! I can’t wait to make this again w grilled eggplant, I’ll bet that will be spectacular. Photos here:

    • MelMM on September 18, 2012

      I believe this is the best version of this dish I've ever had. The eggplant is baked, instead of being breaded and fried, so the dish is much lighter than usual. The gentle flavors of the eggplant and ricotta are a perfect match for the simple tomato sauce. This is such a simple recipe, but the results are fantastic. This goes onto my short list of favorite eggplant preparations.

    • Avocet on May 04, 2015

      Absolutely wonderful. Agree with both MeIMM's and Breadcrumbs's comments. It did take longer than the recipe stated to roast the eggplant and also to bake the dish. I also used more of the tomato sauce than the recipe called for. We are longtime eggplant lovers, but Mr. Avocet says this is one of the best things I've made in the past year.

  • Fresh ribbon pasta with chick peas (Lagani e ceci)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 16, 2012

      Lagani e Ceci – Summer Variation with Fresh Cranberry Beans – p. 65 Delicious dish. Prep is straightforward. Beans are shelled and boiled until tender (15mins) then set aside while pasta cooks and the sauce is made. This is another dish with a quick and delicious tomato sauce. A halved clove of garlic is sautéed until golden before adding 400g of San Marzano tomatoes that have been whizzed in a blender. 3 basil leaves are torn and tossed in along with the interesting addition of 1 tbsp sweet paprika. This sauce is tossed into the drained pasta along w the beans and some pasta water. Hot pepper flakes are optional and I opted to pass at the table to please all palates. We served this w a light dusting of freshly grated parmesan and the dish was delightful. So simple but fresh and flavourful. The bright tomato flavours complimented the rich creaminess of the beans. I’ll definitely make this again. Photos here:

  • Shepherd's-style rigatoni with ricotta and sausage (Rigatoni alla pastora)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 02, 2012

      p. 75 Delicious! The sum is much greater than the few individual parts of this dish and I loved learning a new and simple method of making a creamy sauce for pasta. Though the author suggests you use a table knife to break the sausage meat into olive-sized chunks I always find it quicker to use kitchen shears so that’s what I did. I added some fresh basil to my finished dish and, I also went w the optional ground hot red pepper. (mr bc concluded he would have preferred the dish without the hot pepper so next time I’ll pass at the table). One thing I’d do differently next time is to ease up on my usual salting of the pasta water as I found that it made the sauce a bit too salty for our tastes. Otherwise this was a wonderful dish and I’ll definitely make it again. I think some fresh peas would make a great addition or even some rapini since the creaminess of the sauce would counter any bitterness from the rapini. Photos here:

    • L.Nightshade on September 22, 2012

      Breadcrumbs took the right approach with this dish; anything with so few ingredients needs them to be top notch. We are away for the weekend, without access to our usual cheesemonger, or even our usual kitchen utensils! I did bring some wonderful hot Italian sausage made by our local ranch, but I had to settle for less-than-ideal grocery store ricotta. I also did not have a sieve to press the ricotta, so I don't know how much of a difference that would make. The outcome was fine. I used a moderately decent pecorino, and I did add the hot pepper. Mr. NS requested I make it again when we can get good ricotta (or I can make my own), so it was definitely a partial success. I like the above ideas of adding something green, peas or arugula, and I may try that.

  • Baked ricotta-stuffed zucchini (Zucchine ripiene con ricotta)

    • Breadcrumbs on September 23, 2012

      p. 246 We loved this dish. I used 3 zucchini that would have been about 1.5lbs combined if I had to guess. I worried that the vegetable mixture would be too moist so I doubled the amount of fresh breadcrumbs. Because I am trying to use up all my fresh basil before frost sets in, I also added about 2 tbsp of julienned opal basil to the mix. I baked these in my toaster oven and they needed an extra 7 mins to brown as described. The 'stuffing' is light, airy and creamy and its mild flavours allowed the zucchini to be the star of this dish. Tonight we served it straight-up. Tomorrow I think I’ll serve some of the book’s tomato sauce on the side. Lovely dish & a big hit! Photos here:

  • Handmade Arbëresh "couscous" with tomato sauce (Dromësat)

    • mirage on November 11, 2012

      Only do this with fantastic tomatoes.

  • Midsummer soup of romano beans, potatoes, and tomato (Minestra di fagiolini verdi con pomodoro)

    • mirage on October 02, 2015

      It didn't have enough liquid to be "soup", but this was delicious!

  • Baked zucchini layered with tomato, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmigiana di zucchine)

    • MelMM on September 18, 2012

      Love this. The zucchini is fried in olive oil here, but would probably be good grilled as well. Even fried, the zucchini does not absorb too much oil. This features the wonderful simple tomato sauce from this book.

    • ellencooks on March 16, 2021

      I've made this several times, both as written and sometimes I bread the zucchini before frying. It's always good!

  • Marinated octopus salad with olive oil and lemon (Insalata di polipo)

    • MelMM on September 18, 2012

      While this was good, it wasn't my favorite way to have octopus (which I love). To my taste, the parsley and lemon overpowered the octopus a bit. I think I just prefer it in a simpler preparation that let's the octopus shine. Note that if you use frozen octopus, you don't have to worry about tenderizing it. You can just boil it and it comes out tender.

  • Ricotta ice cream with strega (Gelato di ricotta stregata)

    • L.Nightshade on July 26, 2015

      At the risk of sounding like a texting teen… OMG! This is the easiest and most delicious ice cream ever! I used the rich, creamy ricotta we found recently, it was whirled in the FP with sugar, Strega, vanilla, and lemon zest. Then cream is added and it’s whirled again. The mix goes into the ice cream machine. That’s it! This is a rich, delicious ice cream. The flavor of the ricotta really comes through; it’s almost cheesecake-y. There is an option of adding candied orange peel, but my market said that’s a seasonal item. They think it’s only for fruitcakes! That would be a nice addition, but it was lovely just as is. I used just a dash more of the Strega than called for; I plan to try it with different liqueurs in the future.

  • Polenta with beans and sausage (Polenta con fagioli e salsiccia)

    • meggan on May 24, 2016

      I think this recipe would be amenable to the addition of some garlic or onions too though as it is comforting but a little bland. I used chunkier tomatoes which gave it a little more interest.

  • Baked chicken with potatoes, tomatoes, and hot pepper (Pollo alla Calabrese)

    • meggan on September 21, 2020

      I agree with easy and homey. Not particularly interesting but good if you need to get something in the oven quickly.

    • moniquerose on November 10, 2013

      I have made this twice now and BF and I enjoyed it both times. I could only get chicken thighs off the bone (and am not partial to drumsticks). They cooked much quicker than the potatoes and tomatoes did, so next time I will start the veg off in the oven and add in the thighs later. More tomatoes wouldn't go astray either! A very easy, homey meal.

  • Chicken soup with ricotta dumplings (Polpette di ricotta in brodo)

    • ellencooks on March 16, 2021

      I made this and didn't have any issues with the dumplings. We really liked it!

    • sosayi on November 30, 2017

      I attempted to make this for dinner last night, but the dumplings completely disintegrated. :( I weighed all ingredients, so I'm fairly sure my quantities were on point. The broth wasn't boiling, so it wasn't too agitated. Not sure what happened, exactly! The resulting "soup" was full of delicious flavors, albeit a strange texture, and was perfectly edible. But it wasn't the light, cheesy dumplings and broth of my dreams.

  • Pasta "gnocchi" with roasted tomatoes and breadcrumbs (Cavatieddi con pomodori gratinati al forno)

    • ellencooks on March 16, 2021

      We loved this! I used thin spaghetti. This would make a great side dish without the pasta as well.

  • My family's everyday bread (Pane Calabrese)

    • ellencooks on March 16, 2021

      This was delicious! It was a bit of a trick transferring the bread to the stone.

  • Stuffed pizza with chard and dill (Pitta con verdura)

    • ellencooks on March 16, 2021

      I made this with borage leaves from the garden and we really enjoyed it. I skipped the dill because I had none.

  • Wide noodles with pork ribs and tomato (Maccheroni larghi con sugo di costate di maiale)

    • metacritic on February 22, 2021

      This is a stunningly good recipe. The pork is deeply flavorful and makes a great first course. The ragu, tomatoes simmered in pork, is fabulous with a bit of chili and torn basil. I make this again and again, always with delight.

  • Spaghetti with a creamy potato and pancetta sauce (Pasta e patate "Santo Janni")

    • sosayi on December 20, 2017

      This pasta reminded me of deconstructed pierogi, in the best possible way. You simply let pancetta cook until the fat melts, add the peeled and chopped potatoes, add water, simmer and mash it all together. Then toss with pasta (and water), loads of ricotta salata and fresh pepper. Absolutely delicious.

  • Tuna and red onion pizza with bottarga (Pizza con tonno e bottarga di Pizzo)

    • sosayi on April 19, 2020

      Another good pizza topping combo (although I did add minimal cheese and tomato sauce, too, b/c family requests). We always have these ingredients on hand, so I’ll definitely make it again. And maybe add capers next time? To be noted: you need garlic, too, that is not included in the ingredient list.

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  • ISBN 10 0393065162
  • ISBN 13 9780393065169
  • Published Oct 29 2010
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher WW Norton & Co

Publishers Text

Rosetta Costantino grew up in Calabria--the beautiful, mountainous region at the tip of Italy's "boot"--her father, a shepherd and wine maker, and her mother his tireless assistant. When her family emigrated to California, they recreated Calabria on their property, cooking with aubergines, tomatoes and peppers from their garden, fresh ricotta made from scratch and pasta fashioned by hand. A frugal people, Calabrians are master preservers, transforming figs into jam, canning tuna in oil and sun-drying peppers. The first cookbook of a little-known region, My Calabria celebrates the richness of the landscape and the allure of its cuisine. This is a cookbook for our time: a reminder of how ingenious and resourceful cooks can create a gorgeous local cuisine.

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