March Food Notes

March 2022 – Abruzzo

Introduction

Abruzzo is just north of Puglia and south of the Marche. The region is recognized for its agricultural prowess, growing most of the golden durum wheat (specific to pasta) in Italy. Saffron and licorice are a few of the other main crops in Abruzzo, which makes it start to sound pretty exotic there. The region is not a huge tourist destination and this has helped to preserve part of what is special about the land. There are quite a few of the biggest & most qualitatively distinctive pasta factories in Italy here. This is part of what I love about Italy. Each region has it’s list of products it grows (and only grows there) or makes (and is only made there) but these products are traded interchangeably with the other regions. If you visit the Amalfi coast and are eating a bowl of spaghetti di alici, they are showcasing the beautiful anchovies they catch and preserve in their local waters, but the pasta was extruded and made in Abruzzo, and the parmigiano is certainly coming from Parma. 

Happy Spring to all of you and thank you for being a part of this adventure with us. 

What We Have Prepared For You This Week:

Ventricina:

A specialty of the region, this salumi is typically made from lots of pig parts, scraps & ends from Prosciutto, mixed with garlic, sweet and hot chiles. We have made this entirely from prosciutto trim and the same spices and made it into a creamy spreadable salami, begging to be eaten on some crusty bread.   This should be refrigerated and will be best if consumed within a month.

RdB Spaghetti:

Spaghetti alla Chitarra is a pasta special to Abruzzo, using a device made of guitar-like strings to cut the pasta. We used some whole wheat Rouge de Bordeaux flour to help give this spaghetti a boost of flavor and a bit more tooth.This dish will be best the day you receive it, and should be consumed within 7 days. Contains gluten. 

Saffron Chile Butter: 

Abruzzo is known for its saffron. The region grows almost all of the saffron used in the rest of Italy.  Keep refrigerated & consume within a week. Contains dairy, capsicum and allium.

Broccoli:

This is fresh locally grown broccoli, pulsed into fine bits to pair with the spaghetti dish. Best consumed within a week. 

Sagne:

Short flat pasta ribbons, specifically sized to be eaten with the bean ragu.  Will last up to one week in an airtight container.  Contains gluten.

Fagioli Verde:

The other part of Sagne e Fagioli. We took some license in brightening this dish into a more verdant ragu. Cannellini beans braised in a rich vegetable stock and lots of veggies, with a spinach basil puree and ribbons of spinach folded in. Will last up to one week in an airtight container. Contains allium.

Fresh Mozzarella:

Our house made cow’s milk cheese. The milk is pasteurized. Contains dairy.  Should be consumed within a week.

Tomato & Mint Salsa:

A fresh tomato, caper and mint salsa., a perfect condiment for fresh mozzarella. Contains allium and nightshade. Should be consumed with 3-4 days

Ferratelle:

Anise flavored waffle cookie specific to Abruzzo. They pair well with gelato, gianduja (nutella) or a drizzle of honey. 

Cooking Instructions: 

Here are some recipes for this meal. I would like to note though that these ingredients are absolutely for you to experiment with. Feel free to add on to them, or even just use the ingredients one by one in your own cooking!

Sagne e Fagioli Verde. 

(Plan for 6 minutes preparation)

  • Bring 3+ qts of water to a boil in a deep pot. Salt the water with three big pinches of kosher salt. 
  •  
  • Put a medium saute pan (non-stick or carbon steel will work great here) over medium heat. Add your fagioli ragu to the pan. 
  •  
  • Drop you pasta in the water for about 2 minutes. Drain and add to the pan with ragu. Give a few tosses and let simmer together for a minute.  
  •  
  • Divide into bowls. This dish traditionally does not have any garnish, but you could finish with fresh grated grana padano or Parsley or olive oil. No one is going to get mad about it.  

RdB Spaghetti with Broccoli & Saffron Chile butter 

(Plan for 7 minutes active preparation)

Bring 6 qts of water to a boil in a deep pot. Salt the water with three big pinches of kosher salt. 

  • Place your spaghetti in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until al dente.
  •  
  • While the pasta is cooking, warm a medium saute pan over medium high  heat. Add a TBSP or so of olive oil to the pan, then add the broccoli. Let cook for two minutes to just soften. 
  •  
  • Add a 2oz ladle of pasta water to the broccoli, then add your saffron butter. Swirl around until melted and all coming together and reducing. 
  •  
  • Drain the Spaghetti and toss the noodles in the broccoli & saffron butter sauce over medium heat until the sauce is starting to cling to the noodles. 

As always, thank you for joining us on our regional adventures through Italy…excited to see where next month takes us!