Eleanora's Kitchen (Hardcover) by Scarpetta, Eleanora
Hardcover; Published 4/1/2004; 292 Pages; ISBN 9780767912211
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In 1999, Eleanora Scarpetta wrote a letter to Martha Stewart claiming that she could teach Martha a thing or two about canning tomatoes and about Italian-American food in general. Intrigued, Martha’s producers visited this Easton, Connecticut, housewife and were immediately enamored with her home-style cooking methods and outstanding results. They invited her to appear on Martha’s show where she was such a hit that they invited her back again and again--a dozen times in all. Now, Eleanora has collected the family favorites and Italian-American classics that television viewers loved in Eleanora’s Kitchen, her debut cookbook.
Born in a small town outside Naples, Eleanora was raised on the Bronx’s famed Arthur Avenue, one of America’s great “Little Italys.” She spent her childhood in the family kitchen by her mother’s side, learning the secrets of making cavatelli by hand or Sunday Sauce alla Russo. She also learned how to shop for the perfect tomato, choose the sweetest eggplant, and tell which was the freshest broccoli rabe.
Heralded by Martha Stewart as an “Old World cook,” Eleanora brings the best of her Italian-American upbringing to her cooking: the heirloom recipes passed down from generation to generation in her family and the understanding that the finest ingredients make the most delicious food. Here are the robust dishes of the Italian-American table, all enhanced by Eleanora’s creative touch: antipasti (with such favorites as Baked Littlenecks Oreganata and Eggplant Rollatini); soups and stews (classics such as Nonna’s hearty Homemade Minestrone, Pasta e Fagioli, and Zuppa di Pesce); pastas (Spaghetti Puttanesca, a quick and easy Fettucine Alfredo, and Classic Lasagna--a must for festive holidays); seafood (Striped Bass alla Pizzaiola or Fried Baccalà, the signature dish of an Italian Christmas Eve); meat and poultry dishes (family fare such as Chicken Cacciatore, Italian-Style Sausage and Peppers, and Veal Sorrentino, as well as Braised Pork Chops with Eleanora’s homemade Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Vinegar Peppers); and vegetable and side dishes (Swiss Chard with Prosciutto and Cipolline or Fava Beans alla Pomodoro).
Eleanora’s versatile recipe for panella, the country-style Neapolitan loaf, is the base for Prosciutto Bread with Pancetta and Basil, Tomato Focaccia, and Pizza Napoletana. The crowd-pleasing desserts of Southern Italy are all here: Pignoli Cookies; Zeppole di Ferrara, a staple of Italian street festivals; Fig and Hazelnut Torta; and Sweet Lemon-Ricotta Pie with Brandied Cherries. Eleanora also includes her treasured recipes for those great canned tomatoes, as well as her canned marinated artichoke hearts, eggplant, and olives, advice on drying herbs, and much more. For anyone who wishes he or she had grown up learning to cook from an Italian mother or grandmother, Eleanora’s Kitchen is the next best thing.
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Homemade ravioli is fun and easy. Roll out pasta dough, cut into squares, then fill with your favorite ingredient. How about goat cheese-filled ravioli? Or butternut squash-filled ravioli? Let your creativity run wild.