There are two things you should know about me:
1. I cook too much food.
2. I hate to throw food away.
Hence the name “Frittata Cuffone”. A frittata is an omelette made with leftover food. And a “cuffone” is somebody that is not very special. Once a week I will go to the fridge and take out every leftover that I planned to eat later but never did. Veggies, cheese, ham or fish, potatoes, whatever. You can even throw in the frozen veggies you kept on hand in case a snow storm hits (not applicable to those of you reading in LA).
Here’s how to make a Frittata Cuffone:
Sauté garlic and onions in oil.
Add a 16 ounce carton of Egg Beaters*, 3-4 fresh eggs and beat together with a little milk.
*I use Egg Beaters in an effort to watch cholesterol—something my ancestors never did and most lived into their 90′s, go figure!
Add your favorite seasonings fresh or dry then cook until liquid sets.
My Zia Antonietta (Lupa) made a perfect frittata pie every time. It was cut & served in wedges. She used an iron skillet that was so heavy she could hardly pick it up. It was seasoned from so much use that the frittata “came good” every time. I always start out with her in mind but rarely is my frittata perfect. It usually breaks up & becomes a mere omelette. So what, it still tastes good!
Always remember that presentation is important. Transfer the frittata into your serving dish then shake on paprika, chili powder, parsley, etc. Make a point to decorate the plate, this touch makes it look very professional.
Last but not least, add fresh cracked pepper over it all.
This year for my husband’s birthday I decided, as a special treat, to make him ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce. Here’s how you can make it:
1. In large bowl add 8 ounces of whole milk ricotta (any other type is watery), 1 beaten egg, and flour. I used both all purpose flour and semolina flour. You may need to add a little water to make the dough stay together. For a special taste I put fresh cracked black pepper and dried rosemary in the mix.
2. Stir ingredients together, knead into a ball of dough, let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Pull a hand full of the dough, roll it out into a long tube, cut with a knife into 1 inch pieces. Dredge each piece in flour, flip with your thumb or a fork into the form of a pouch. This shape helps to hold the sauce/gravy better.
4. The finished platter of gnocchi is covered with a gorgonzola sauce. The recipe for the sauce and where I found it is another story for yet another day!
Contorno di verdura (side dish of vegetables) is something that I make quite often. There are many different versions of this dish that you can make and, as you will see, it goes with any main course.
1. Buy a variety of veggies:
• Brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, etc.
• White, sweet potatoes or both
• Red onion, sliced
2. Cut everything into the same size pieces. This helps the entire dish to be done cooking at the same time.
3. Toss all of the above with oil: sesame, truffle, or olive oil. Use the type of oil that complements the meal.
4. Add cracked pepper, garlic salt/powder plus a lot of whatever dried seasoning you wish. For example: dill, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc. Top with a little chili powder, paprika or both.
5. Mix well, bake 350 degrees for 1 hour or less. Test the potatoes because they take the longest to cook.
I serve this dish in the casserole it was cooked. It is a great presentation & makes for easy clean up.
Many Italians have an obsession with figs — including me.
When I lived on Georgia Avenue in “Ducktown” our entire back yard was cement except for this 3 feet by 6 feet piece that was cut out. We filled it with dirt and planted a fig tree. It produced dozens of figs every summer. It was cut back after the season, then covered with burlap during the winter.
me & my good friend, Joe, planing a fig tree in my backyard
Figs are good for you & can be prepared in many different ways:
* Wrapped in prosciutto
* Cut in half & stuffed with your favorite cheese (gorgonzola is great!)
* Melt dark chocolate, dip figs then chill
* Chop figs, sprinkle with honey and put on top of vanilla ice cream
* Cut in half, sprinkle with brown sugar and broil a few minutes. A wonderful topping for yogurt or custard.
* Chop figs and mix into a salad. They taste delicious with balsamic vinegar.
These are only a few ways to prepare figs. Just use your imagination.
Last summer I thought my fig tree had died. The weather was warm but the branches had no leaves let alone figs. I cut it way back in an effort to pull it out of the ground easier. I never got around to removing it. My laziness was rewarded by the tree sprouting leaves & giving me the best crop of figs ever. It is now twice the size. Go Figure!!
Every relationship has “bad days”. I recommend preparing this dish on a day that you are crazy mad, or “pazzo”! Chicken is very versatile which is why it works well for this recipe. I suggest buying a Family Pack of chicken breasts and freeze them in 1 to 2 per pack so that you always have some on hand when the mood strikes.
1. Defrost, rinse chicken and put into roasting pan.
2. Over season the chicken with garlic powder, oregano and black pepper or any spices you wish to get rid of because they are past their prime.
3. Add 1 or 2 spices that do NOT complement the dish. Add dill. Why?? Dill goes better on fish not chicken. Or add celery seed. What?!?? That’s for deviled eggs and it just sticks in your teeth & has little taste. Perfect! Use a lot of it!! How about dry mustard? Great idea! You’ll never use that all up. I don’t know why I even have it. Get my point?
4. Now go to the fridge and take out the first 4 items that you see. For example: cheese, tomatoes, carrots, orange juice (or any juice). Chop the carrots & tomatoes, throw them into the roasting pan and pour juice over everything. If cheese is grated put that on top; if it is sliced just plop it on top of chicken.
5. Turn on the oven, set it to 350 degrees, set the timer for 1 hour and leave a note: “dinner in oven”.
6. Leave the house. Go shopping, grab a drink with a friend, catch a movie, whatever. You will come home refreshed, your husband/boyfriend will be very grateful you even made dinner in your maddened state and you can turn the page to a new day.
You may be thinking why cook at all when you are mad? Well, that is a very Italian way to handle your man. As Zia Pepino (a.k.a. Pepi) would say: The bed & the kitchen, keep him happy in those two places, he’ll never wander! I made this dish many a time for my husband. I must admit he always loved it, no matter how I tried to botch it up. Some times I even felt sorry for him. Of course, he is now my ex-husband but our parting had nothing to do with my cooking.
photo: MamamiaRita via iPad