Special Calabrian Recipes, so typical!

17.8.2019

PURPPETTI” (SPECIAL CALABRIAN MEATBALLS)

Typical of mountain areas, these aromatic meatballs, full of parmesan, black pepper, parsley and a fine powder of stale bread, are now spread throughout the region. They are prepared with a fair amount of protein products: raw pork, eggs, goat cheese and oil and salt.

The dough is then fried, becoming caloric but extremely good.

LICURDIA” (A SPECIAL VEGETABLES SOUP)

This dish has a special taste, it is a must of Mediterranean cuisine, at the same time is a very traditional recipe. This soup can contain various vegetables, such as endive, beets, asparagus or carrots, cooked to become cream to dip slices of toasted bread. In any case, the main ingredient is the red onion of Tropea, absolutely the starring of this recipe with its strength and sweetness.

Licurdia Soup

PASTA E PATATE ARA TIJEDDRA” (A KIND OF PASTA WITH POTATOES)

It is the simpler version of the pasta “ncasciata or pasta a lu furnu” (a baked pasta).

The recipe of pasta “ncasciata or pasta a lu furnu”  is very popular with various names throughout the South. The variants contains various measure of salami, hard-boiled eggs, meat, caciocavallo cheese and provola cheese. All these ingredients come into play.

Instead, the “pasta e patate ara tijeddra” is cooked using only pasta, potatoes, sauce, cheese and stale breadcrumbs.

Baked pasta

LAGANE E CICIARI ARA CUSENTINA”  (A KIND OF PASTA)

The “Lagane” (a kind of pasta) are mixed together with a chickpea sauce. Lagane are among the first types of pasta attested in ancient texts, they are similar to tagliatelle, but their ingredients are only water and flour, they are cooked in salted water, and then seasoned with a lightly fried sauce, oil, garlic, chilli and chickpeas, boiled separately. The outcome is a very traditional dish that comes from afar.

Lagane

“MACCARRUNI ARU FIERRU” (A HAND MADE PASTA)

The ‘fierru’ is the iron instrument (a sort of knitting needle) still used today for the preparation of this pasta. Fresh pasta is prepared with milled durum wheat semolina and water: it is seasoned with very rich sauces, such as beef ragout, pork or goat, or with the beloved ‘nduja.

So called “Scilatelli” or “Maccaruni”

PESCE SPADA ALLA GHIOTTA” (SWORDFISH “ALLA GHIOTTA”)

Swordfish is the protagonist of the Calabrian seafood cuisine, which is influenced by neighboring Sicily. There are various recipes: one of the most famous is the sowrdfish “alla ghiotta” with tomato, capers and olives but the version of Reggio Calabria (“riggitana“) is also widespread, where only garlic, oil and parsley are used.

Swordfish alla Ghiotta

“MAZZACORDE ALLA COSENTINA” (OFFAL ROULADE)

This dish uses the less noble parts of the lamb: lung, spleen, heart, tripe, which  are coarsely chopped and wrapped in the guts of the lamb. After a short turn in oil and onion, the cook adds tomatoes, bay leaves and other aromatic herbs. The “mazzacorde” are accompanied with peppers and browned potatoes.

Mazzacorde

STOCCO ALLA MAMMOLESE” (STOCKFISH “ALLA MAMOLESE”)

In Calabria, the stockfish is part of a myriad of recipes: it is prepared with mushrooms, beans, salad with lemon and parsley and in many other ways. But the most important remains the stockfish “alla Mammolese”: in this small town in Reggio area, the dried cod is cooked with tomato sauce, potatoes, peppers and olives.

Our Stockfish

“MELANGIANI CHJINI” (STUFFED EGGPLANT)

The most common ones are prepared with the filling of the flesh of the same aubergines: the flavor is determined by the mixture with the cheese and the natural aromas. Other regional recipes include stuffing, ricotta, vegetables, potatoes, onion and tomato sauce in the filling.

A great recipe of Calabria

“CREMA REGGINA” (“REGGINA” CREAM)

Legend has it that it was born at the beginning of the nineteenth century due to the mistake of a pastry chef in the preparation of a classic cream.

Calabria has a good reputation in the art of ice cream making. This icecream of Reggio is now considered a Traditional Agri-food Product – based on milk. sugar, carob seeds, rum, candied fruit and chocolate.

Typical Icrecream of Reggio

Figs of India (Prickly Pears) in Calabria

4.8.2019

So called prickly pears or “Figs of India” (fiku d’innia in local dialect), Imported since ancient times in Calabria ,  are the only fruits not treated with any kind of chemical additives, because they grow spontaneously and in abundance in the warmest areas.

This fruit with purifying and refreshing effects, typically maturing in summer, appears to be among the most purchased in Calabria in the period from May to September.

PART OF THE LANDSCAPE

It is impossible to cross Calabria and not to notice the numerous plants of prickly pears, present above all in stony places, an integral part of the South Italian landscape. They stand out with their intense green color enlivened by the red, yellow and orange of the fruits, so characteristic as to constitute an aspect of the Calabrian territory, and in a particular way in the areas of Tropea and its neighboring countries.

A Typical Calabrian Landscape

Prickly pears (in Botanic latin: opuntia ficus indica) belong to the Cactaceae family, they arrived in Italy after a very long journey. Native to South America, this plant lives luxuriantly in the Cordillera of the Andes and in the Mexican greenhouses. The plant made her first appearance in Europe thanks to Christopher Columbus who would take prickly pears to Spain. Some historical sources instead declare that it would have been the Saracens to introduce the figs of India in Italy when, in 827, they landed in Mazara, in Sicily.

A BEAUTIFUL FORM OF LIFE

On the other hand, the plant is very pleasant to see. Both from an aesthetic and a botanical point of view, this plant has fleshy leaves full of thorns, which overlap thus generating a shrub.

A plenty of colors

Its flowers are yellow and the ovoid-shaped fruits grow on top of spiny large “blades” (some large fleshy leaves). Their pulp, juicy and rich in vitamins, contains numerous woody seeds.

A MUST OF MEDITERRANEAN DIET

As said before, the prickly pear has an important peculiarity: it does not require chemical interventions to develop and is therefore one of the very rare varieties of fruit that is not tampered with by man.

Juicy and Vitaminic

It is therefore a product recommended for our tables and for the Mediterranean diet, in which it enters fully for its quantity of vitamins and water.

NUTRACEUTICAL PROPERTIES

Prickly pears have many beneficial properties and have a purifying function also in the liver, therefore they are recommended in cases of kidney stones as they favor diuresis. Taken in the right quantities they have a laxative effect even if the woody seeds contained in the pulp can cause constipation. In addition, the large fleshy leaves of the plant are used to treat various diseases such as angina, tonsillitis, coughs, fevers, suppurations and abscesses.

A DIFFICULT HARVEST

Harvesting of prickly pears requires a technique that is still not mechanized as today the characteristic “coppo” is used, a sort of cone-shaped container on the tip of a stick, employed in order to avoid the annoying and very numerous and light thorns.