ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A "Farmer's Market/Keep Cool Dinner" for Foodie Friday- Stuffed Zucchini and Pasta'sciutta Con Salsa Cruda and Cream Horns!


Thank God It's Foodie Friday!!

Yay! We have missed this party while we were gone! Come join us at Designs by Gollum for some fabulous food and friendship. 

It's been blisteringly HOT lately as you all know. Hot enough to keep the kids indoors (YIKES!) and everyone feeling a bit lazy. Fortunately, things have improved some for homemakers since my Nonna and Grandma's time. I remember the steaminess in their kitchens on these dog days of summer and how they avoided the ovens at all costs. 
We made wonderful antipasto meals, ate room temperature frittatas, and gorged ourselves on the fresh fruits and veggies from our gardens.

Bacchiglione River in Vicenza where I skipped rocks with my Nonno every evening

Nowadays, turning on the oven in my air conditioned house isn't so very horrible, but I still try to do any baking in the early morning cool (if you can call 89 degrees cool) and we do eat a LOT of cooler meals.  

Tonight's dinner is a conglomeration of all the wonderful Farmer's Market bounty we've been enjoying this season. I haven't been feeling so well and my very wonderful friend dropped off several bagloads of goodies. 

The zucchini went over particularly well- this is a dish I make often during the summer as I can vary the ingredients depending on what we have left over. Tonight's version with chicken was very flavorful and I just watched my Mom walk by munching on one as she talks on the phone :)

When it came to pasta I grew up with 2 different languages. To my Northern Italian Nonna it was "pasta" and there were 2 kinds of pasta. Minestra was pasta in a soup or broth and pasta asciutta ( translation- dry pasta) was pasta in a sauce of some sort. To my Grandma Josie pasta was always "macaroni" and macaroni was always served on Sundays and Thursdays. 

Tonight's sauce was very typical of both my grandmother's during the summer. Salsa Cruda is "raw" sauce meaning the ingredients are not cooked. My addition- some ripe avocado. The creaminess adds to the dish and I fully believe Nonna would approve

Dessert was a request by a good friend. Normally, I make the dough, but today I cheated and used a store bought puff pastry dough. The cream horns are filled with a ricotta/ mascarpone cream. Come join Bramasole on Facebook for the recipe!

Zucchini Ripieni (Stuffed Zucchini)

6 medium or 8 smaller zucchini (not too large- they get bitter)
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scrape out the core leaving a "tunnel" in the shell

1 small carrot
1 small or 1/2 large onion
small bunch (about 1/4-1/3 cup) flat leaf parsley
1-2 cloves garlic
I put the carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley in a mini electric chopper and pulse till very finely diced. You can also do this by hand, but I'm feeling a bit lazy :) Set aside

Leftover cooked veal, beef, ham, or chicken ( I used about 1/2 of a baked chicken breast)
4 ounces prosciutto, diced (you can use cooked pancetta or even mortadella)
about 1/3 cup ricotta
about 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg- a good, healthy pinch
Put chicken, prosciutto, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in food processor and process till finely chopped- almost a paste

2-3 diced very ripe or canned tomatoes
seasoned dry or toasted bread crumbs
Put the zucchini shells on the prepared baking sheet and fill the cavity with the meat mixture. Spread the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle the tomato pieces on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. If desired, drizzle with a bit of olive oil- I didn't today
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tutti a tavola!!!

Pasta’sciutta Con Salsa Cruda
Bring a large well salted pot of water to a boil. Cook 1 pound of small shells, trenette, or other short chunky pasta. When pasta is al dente, drain and rinse with cool water to bring to room temperature. Drain
1/2 cup flavorful olives (Kalamata, Nicoise, etc), pitted and coarsely chopped
1 1/4- 1 1/2 lbs ripe cherry, grape, or plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped ( I used grape tonight)
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 small or 1/4- 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
zest of 2 lemons, minced
1/2 cup olive oil plus more if dry
salt and pepper to taste- be sure to taste before serving!
Combine all above ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature while pasta is cooking and greens are being washed and cut
Wash, dry, and coarsely julienne:
a handful of basil leaves
a small bunch of arugula
a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves (cut out any stems)
To assemble:
Dice 2 large, ripe avocados and place on top of the tomato mixture. Juice a lemon and pour juice over avocado- stir all gently to combine. Put pasta and greens in a large bowl and pour on the tomato sauce. Toss to combine- Enjoy!

Cream Horns with Ricotta/ Mascarpone Cream

You can cascade fresh fruit from the horns, but my family scoffed these up as soon as I set them on the table- I was lucky to get the pictures!

***Just a heads up- for some unknown reason, many bloggers got a notice yesterday saying that our blog backgrounds are disappearing TOMORROW. In case you haven't heard, I am a total techno- dummy and Allie isn't home tonight to help me through this crisis. Sooooo, if you happen to visit us after Friday and we look a little strange, it's because I haven't figured out the background thing. It's gonna be a loooong night!

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. I've been seeing this on many blogs. I use a different free background and I'm really happy with it. That said, the food looks yummy! Great post!

  2. I love stuffed zucchini. Yours looks delicious!

    I found a new background that I think I am going to like. It's sort of Pendleton blanket/Arizona -ish. I hope that list on my last post gives you some ideas. Find one you like and book mark it for Allie to help you with.

  3. Hi ladies, Gorgeous post and display and explanations. Greek people refer to small pasta like orzo as minestra also!I love your dishes and beautiful pictures. We are in our sixth heat wave as well with no refreshing days in sight. Hope yo are keeping cool too...Emelia.

  4. You never cease to amaze me with the foods you prepare. They all look so beautiful and delicious.

    I loved the river picture. What a sweet memory for you!


  5. Pattie, your dinner is amazing. I hope there is one of those cream horns left for me. LOL

    I've tried for to figure out how to change my background because of the message. Finally some blogger came to my rescue. The code is on the Page Elements under gadgets. It's the HTML/Java Script. Did you get the message from TCBOTB with the code so you can change it in your HTML. If not send me an email and I'll send it to you.
    Good Luck! ~ Sarah

  6. You are a lifesaver! I have so many zucchini! I can't give them away fast enough.
    I love the sound of this recipe.
    I'll use it next week and put it on my weekly menu with a link back to you!
    I know what you mean about the blog background. I went to their web site and followed the directions. But lost my scrolling looking background.

    I love the family stories you tell!

    I don't know what to do yet!
    Give Allie a hug!

  7. Pattie, Love your stories and your food is always exquisite, both in terms of beauty and substance. Always looks so good! What a fabulous cook you are!
    Last week I lost my backgrounds on both blogs. I was using Scrappin' blogs. What happened there is that photobucket was saying they needed to convert to a business account and apparently disrupted their storage of Scrappin' blogs backgrounds. They asked them to pay a monthly amount that they calculated to over $400. I'll bet photobucket will eventually do this with all the background websites because I think at least most of them do store their images on photobucket. I have two blogs; one is now The cutest blog on the block and I went to their website. It tells what you need to do to keep your background and it isn't too difficult. You can e-mail me if you have questions. My other blog uses shabby blogs and I peeked at their website - nothing yet, but I am seeing this looks like a trend. I will help if I can. Take care, feel better, try not to stress over this. This you will get through. Enjoy your weekend at the beach!
    Hugs and blessings, Beth

  8. Perfect timing with my zucchini crop starting to come in! Beautiful pasta salad and your filled horns looks delicious.

    Good luck with the background thing!

  9. Wow! What an amazing meal, Pattie! Everything is incredible. You knocked this one out of the ball park!

    Happy Foodie Friday...


    Sheila :-)

  10. Pattie I keep saying it, but I'll say it again.. should publish your own cookbook using these wonderful photos! I'd be the first one to buy it! What a scrumptious meal!

    I hope you feel better soon!

    ♥ Pat

  11. Oh how I wish I could have dined with you, just lovely. I love your blog.

  12. I so love the background to your stories and admire how you are recording your family history. You are keeper of the flame. I loved your recipes today. The cream horns were a special treat and a wonderful end to a great meal. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary.

  13. Patti,
    I agree with should consider publishing your recipes, complete with the stories and photos you use. Not only are the recipes fabulous, the personal history sets the tone for a very enjoyable read.
    Today's recipes will be prepared this weekend. This is MY kind of meal...
    Jane (artfully graced)

  14. Hi Pattie - Your recipes today are wonderful. Stuffed zucchini is a favorite and I'm going to try your recipe with the zucchini I get at tomorrow's farmers market. I'll be making the stuffing with chicken. I know I have some little forms for the cream horns around here someplace but I'll be darned if I can find them. I'll keep looking.

  15. Oh, everything looks fresh and yummy! perfect food for this heat!

  16. I've never had stuffed zucchini, but it looks and sounds delicious! Can't wait to give it a try!
    Good luck with the back ground! If you get stuck send an email and I can have Maddie help you!!

  17. Thank you so much for posting. These are just my kind of recipes and I can't wait to make all three dishes. You're awesome. Hope you're feeling better.

  18. Nowadays, turning on the oven in my air conditioned house isn't so very horrible, but I still try to do any baking in the early morning cool (if you can call 89 degrees cool) and we do eat a LOT of cooler meals.
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