My Grandparents who came from Lercara Friddi, the same town as Frank Sinatra and
mother used to make every now and then. Usually when her friend Mary Santangelo
gave her a couple big Cucuzza, from their backyard garden in Garfield. My
mother Lucia learned this recipe from her mother who used to make it back in
Sicily, and she learned how to make it from her mother, my Great Grandmother
Salemi. This dish is one of the quintessential recipes of this book, and also
of both the Italian-American and Sicilian-American table as a whole, and of
course of Sicilians in Sicily, especially in the years of the first 70 years of
the 20th Century from around 1900 to 1970’s or so. The soup is easy
to make and quite economical, feeding about 15 or 16 portions of which you can
serve over a 3 – 4 day time. Cucuzza are not always available in every store,
however more and more super markets are carrying them during their growing season,
and you can always get them at any produce store that specializes in Italian
course, but almost a pasta dish as well, and you can vary the amount of pasta
as you like. Cooking pasta separately on the side and when you are serving it,
you will use double the amount of pasta or more, with less liquid in the soup
and using the soup actually as a sauce. I always do this, as there are always
leftovers when making a pot of it, and serving it as a pasta is a nice welcome
alternative to give one variety from the same dish. I do the same with Lentil
Soup to make Pasta Lenticchie, a pasta dish. In addition, if you like, you can
sauté one link of Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage, serve up the soup as either
pasta or soup and add a link of sausage or two to each plate. You will love it
any way you do, as do the Bellino’s and millions of other Italian’s have over
the years. So make it, and enjoy, and always Mangia Bene Amici!
and sliced thin
Fava Beans, or frozen Baby Lima Beans (or canned lima beans)
Ditalini (or Ronzoni)
Cucuzza and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Cut the Cucuzza in half
lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Cut into 1 ½ inch cubes.
in a large 6-quart pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, occasionally
stirring with a wooden spoon. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes more.
3 minutes. Add red pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
high heat for 5 minutes. Add water and cook on medium-low heat for 12 minutes.
Beans) and cook on low heat for 6 minutes.
to directions on package. When finished cooking, drain in a colander, making
sure to reserve 2 – 3 cups of water to add to soup.
soup. Add salt 7 Black Pepper and stir.
little to the soup until you reach the consistency that you like. The soup
should be fairly thick, yet slightly watery.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of each bow of soup and pass grated
cheese for your guest to put in their soup.
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in a closed container to enjoy anytime for lunch, dinner, or anytime
you ask? What about it? Well it’s just that Spaghetti Aglio Olio always reminds
me of that great fellow New Yorker Sicilian American, the one-and-only Al
Pacino from da Bronx. It’s not a big deal, just a wonderful little memory for
me. When I was the Wine Director at the famed Barbetta Restorante on Restaurant Row in New York’s Theater
District (where Al often performs on stage), Al Pacino used to come and eat
there every now and then. He never wanted anything to fancy, but something that
just about all true blooded Italian-American wants, and that dish is Spaghetti
Aglio Olio, plain and simple, yet it’s in
our blood. That’s what Al wanted
and that’s what we gave him, and Al loved it and you will too.
Italian Olive Oil
peeled and minced
Red Pepper Flakes
Filets minced fine
imported Italian Spaghetti
quarts of water on the stove. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to the boil.
Anchovies in a large frying pan and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
medium heat for 2 minutes. Add red pepper and continue cooking on low heat
until the garlic begins to turn slightly brown. Turn heat off and let rest.
boiling salted water. Cook spaghetti according to directions on package. Two
minutes before the cooking time on package start testing the doneness of the
spaghetti by taking a strand out of the water and biting into it to see how far
cooked it. By doing this you’ll be able to determine if it needs to cook a bit
longer or if it’s ready.
finished cooking, quickly remove it from the heat and drain into a colander,
reserving about 4 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to add to pasta sauce.
the pot it cooked in and drizzle on a little olive oil and mix. Pour the garlic
anchovy sauce and the reserved pasta water over the spaghetti with half the
chopped Parsley and mix well.
among four pasta plates or bowls. Sprinkle the top of each plate of Spaghetti
with some chopped parsley and serve.