Cover image for David Ruggerio's Italian kitchen : family recipes from the old country
David Ruggerio's Italian kitchen : family recipes from the old country
Ruggerio, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Artisan, [2000]

Physical Description:
xv, 230 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX723.2.S65 R84 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As he did so lovingly in Little Italy Cookbook, his joyful evocation of Italian-American neighborhoods and cooking, David Ruggerio, multistarred chef, restaurateur, and television personality, invites you into the kitchen--this time to the family kitchens of the old country, Naples and Sicily.

The son of a Neapolitan mother and a Sicilian father, Ruggerio is 100 percent Italian: Neapolitan in emotion--passionate and fun-loving--and Sicilian in character--deep and soulful. From these contrasting strains comes David Ruggerio's Italian Kitchen, a family album filled with more than 150 recipes: lamb roasted with the Mediterranean's finest olives, chicken baked in clay, fish roasted in a paper bag, Aunt Philomena's pasta with sardines, the famous Sunday gravy, Easter sweet rolls. Stunning photographs of food, family, and countryside, along with charming stories of old country traditions, make David Ruggerio's Italian Kitchen the heart and soul of old country family cooking.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Classically French-trained chef (formerly of Le Chantilly in New York City) and former Food Network host Ruggerio returns to his southern Italian roots (via Naples, Sicily and Brooklyn) with irrepressible enthusiasm. Ruggerio draws a distinction between the cooking of Naples (from his mother's side), which is "colorful and accessible, using mostly basic ingredients," and that of Sicily (his father's homeland), which he describes as "complex and subtle, calling for some `exotic' ingredients." More than 150 recipes from both regions are folded into the book's seven chapters: antipasti, soups, pasta, fish and shellfish, meat and fowl, vegetables and desserts. Unlike many Italian cookbook chefs, Ruggerio sincerely attempts to enlighten readers about the country's regional differences. In short essays, he differentiates, for example, between the Neapolitan and Sicilian dialects and the "Fisherman in the Bay of Naples" and "La Tonnara," the Sicilian tuna fishing tradition, often with tongue-in-cheek humor. The straightforward recipes aim for authentic, traditional preparations, such as Silken Scallion Soup with Squid, She-Crabs Marinara, Saut‚ed Sweet-and-Sour Tuna Steaks, Tripe Parmesan, Chicken Baked in Clay and Neapolitan Cauliflower Salad. Instructive sidebars introduce readers to Italian fundamentals, such as cooking pasta, filleting fish and roasting peppers. Alternating between entertainer and teacher, Ruggerio regales readers with countless amusing anecdotes, from yarns about his overprotective, meddling Sicilian aunt Josie (who insisted her daughter spend her honeymoon at home) to his hypochondriac friend Joey Baccala. Melding a bent for tall tales with alluring preparations, Ruggerio inspires readers to explore southern Italy with a smile and an adventurous palate. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Pezze della Nonna Grandmother's Stuffed Pasta Squares I love this dish. It's one of those recipes that has been handed down from mother to daughter for hundreds of years. Yes, it's somewhat involved, but it's also really fun and shows off the artistry of Sicilian home cooking. One fine feature is the tomato sauce, developed especially for this recipe. Another is the fresh pasta. If you don't have time to make it fresh in your own kitchen, you can buy the pasta in premade sheets. Pezze, by the way, means "pieces," so the recipe title translates, literally, as "pieces of grandma." Actually, "pieces" refers to the stuffed pasta squares that are folded in exactly the same way as you would fold a "pocket square" or handkerchief - the two bottom corners in, then one more corner in, leaving a triangular peak on top. For the tomato sauce 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 8 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped 8 large basil leaves, chopped 2 1/2 pounds ripe Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 recipe Balsamella (page 216) For the stuffing 2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed Coarse salt 1 pound ricotta, drained very well 1 whole egg 3 egg yolks 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper Freshly grated nutmeg For the pasta 2 1/4 pounds all purpose-flour 4 egg yolks 1/4 cup cold water 2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil pinch of salt TO PREPARE THE TOMATO SAUCE: Place the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and saute the chopped onion, celery, garlic, and carrots for 12 minutes. Add the parsley, basil, and tomatoes, cover the pot, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring periodically so it doesn't burn on the bottom. When it's done, pass the sauce through a food mill, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm (in a covered pot on the stove off the heat) or reheat later. Prepare the balsamella according to the recipe and keep it warm. TO PREPARE THE STUFFING: Wash the spinach well, drain, and blanch it in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Refresh under cold water, drain well, and squeeze dry. Chop the spinach fine and place it in a bowl with the ricotta, egg, egg yolks, and Parmesan. Mix well, add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature, or if you make it ahead, refrigerate until ready to use. TO PREPARE THE PASTA: Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Place the egg yolks, water, olive oil, and salt in the well and mix with the flour until all ingredients are incorporated. Don't overmix. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes, then roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/16 inch. Cut the dough into sixteen 6-inch squares and cook them in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 30 seconds, then refresh them in a bowl of cold water. Transfer the pasta squares to a damp towel. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold all the pezze, slightly overlapping. Place 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in each of the pasta squares, fold it into a triangle, then take the two side ends and fold them to meet along the bottom edge. Place all the stuffed pezze in the baking dish, then pour the balsamella on top and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon the tomato sauce on top, and serve immediately. Serves 8 Balsamella Bechamel This is the smooth, milk-based white sauce with flour and butter that in Italian cuisine is used as a topping for casseroles, particularly lasagna. 1/4 cup unsalted butter 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 1/2 cups milk Salt and freshly ground black pepper Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. When the butter starts to froth, add the flour all at once, stirring and cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until all the flour is incorporated. As you are cooking the butter-flour mixture, bring the milk to a boil in a separate pot over medium heat. Add the boiling milk to the pot with the butter-flour mixture, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a piece of wax paper, pressing it to cover the surface of the sauce and prevent it from forming a skin on top. Keep the sauce warm in a double boiler until ready to use. Makes about 4 cups sauce Insalata di Rinforzo Napolitana Neapolitan Cauliflower Salad Although it's often ignored, cauliflower is actually a very versatile, delicious, nutritious, and economical vegetable. This particular salad is traditionally served at Christmas, a very special holiday in Italy as it is all over the world. What I like about Christmas in Italy is that it lasts twelve days, climaxing on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, when it is not Santa Claus who brings gifts to the children but La Befana - a good witch. In Naples, they serve this salad throughout the holidays. They boil the cauliflower, carrots, and peppers, mix them up with white vinegar, hot pepper flakes, oil, anchovies, and Gaeta olives and let it pickle. It's a bracing, spicy, pick-me-up, hence the name rinforzo ("reinforcement"), from the verb rinforzare ("to strengthen"). You can find a version of it in jars at Italian delis and supermarkets under the name insalata giardiniera ("garden salad"). But forget about that--you should make this version at home. This salad should be prepared well in advance of serving - I recommend 3 hours - so the vegetables and dressing have a chance to marinate and create a delicious melding of flavors. 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (discard the stem portions) 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 large sprigs fresh oregano 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and julienned 1/2 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and cut in half 1/2 cup capers, rinsed 1 1/2 cups roasted red bell peppers (see page 171), seasoned with vinegar and oil Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. (It can also be steamed if you prefer.) Refresh under cold water and drain very well. Place the cauliflower in a bowl with the olive oil and vinegar. Season with the salt and pepper. Strip the oregano leaves from the sprigs and add them to the bowl with the anchovies, olives, and capers. Cut the peppers into narrow strips, add them to the bowl, toss well, and allow to sit for at least 3 hours at room temperature before serving. Serves 8. Zuppa di Piseddi Secchi e Patate Split Pea and Potato Soup My father's great aunt, Angelina, used to make this soup for us when we were young. Which reminds me of a story. Have you ever heard about how protective Sicilians are of their daughters? It's all true. Angelina was so protective of her daughter Josie, it was ridiculous. When her daughter was finally allowed to date her future husband, the family would walk twenty feet behind them wherever they went. They dated for nine years and were only able to kiss during the last year. When they finally got married, my aunt insisted they have the honeymoon at her house. Their first night, my aunt didn't sleep a wink. Whenever it got quiet, she would yell, "Hey, whatsa going on inna there?" Then she started to eat the biscotti--crunch, crunch, crunch--all night. Needless to say, my cousins didn't have their first child till they were married for five years. 1/2 pound split peas, rinsed well 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into medium dice 2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely chopped 5 cups Chicken Stock (page 216) 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese Place the peas, carrot, potatoes, and 3 cups of the stock in a soup pot over medium heat and cook until all the ingredients are very tender. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Place the olive oil over medium heat in a separate skillet and saute the onion and garlic in it until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the contents of the skillet to the soup pot along with the remaining stock. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, add the greated Parmesan, and serve. Serves 6 Excerpted from David Ruggerio's Italian Kitchen: Family Recipes from the Old Country by David Ruggerio, Maura McEvoy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Antipasti Appetizers
2 Zuppe Soups
3 Pasta The Macaroni
4 Frutti di Marre Fish and Shellfish
5 Carne e Pollame Meat and Fowl
6 Verdure Vegetables
7 Dolci Desserts Basic Recipes