Helpful ReplyHot!In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food

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Ketteract
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2014/09/21 11:13:15 (permalink)

In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food

Friday was my birthday, and to celebrate, I went to a coworker friend's house, where I was presented with a spectacular homecooked Italian-American dinner.
 

 
This was one of three bowls: meats, sauce, and penne with lightly applied sauce. The meats were sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, and something I'd never heard of called braciole (the one tied up with string), which is meat rolled up with a bunch of other things.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braciola
 
There were tons of leftovers, which I took home. Italian was always my favorite as a kid - and that was the severely diluted stuff you'd get in the 1980's Midwest. Since moving to Connecticut, I've been in food heaven, between what friends cook up and what I can get at grinder shops, pizzerias, and proper restaurants.
 
All the dishes that the various concentrations of Italian immigrants have evolved in the U.S. are awesome. New Haven-style pizza. Chicago's Italian beef. New Jersey's Italian hot dogs. Salty cured meats, meatballs, spicy sausages, cheese up the yin-yang. I can't get enough of it.
 
The next logical step, of course, is actual Italian food, though I have no idea when I'd make it over there. A much different beast from what I know here in the States, from what I've read.
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lleechef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/21 11:52:05 (permalink)

 
Braciole.  It's just stuffed round steak braised in sauce.  Yes, the food in Italy is much different than what we call "Italian" here.  They eat many small courses, starting with antipasti, then a small bowl of pasta with just a spoonful of sauce, followed by seafood or meat with fresh vegetables, then salad, cheese, and dessert.  Of course there's wine!  Sunday dinner usually lasts about 4 hours.  I really like Italian breakfast......dark, strong coffee, cheese, bread and fruit. 
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/21 12:14:00 (permalink)
Hey, what a coincidence. I like Italian food, too.
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leethebard
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 05:06:25 (permalink)
What Americans call "Italian"  is the cuisine from around Naples. Most American immigrants came from the poor southern part of Italy, and brought their food with them ,mostly pasta and tomato sauce, what we know as Italian Pastry, and of course PIZZA!!!4o years ago, if you travelled to Italy, you'd need to go to places near Naples to sample pizza and what we call "Italian food"...Today like in America, you can find this delicious cuisine all over Italy!!!
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 08:16:33 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Hey, what a coincidence. I like Italian food, too.
Especially those great pastas from Chef B!
 
 
Ketteract
The meats were sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, and something I'd never heard of called braciole (the one tied up with string), which is meat rolled up with a bunch of other things.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braciola
You might like this recipe from Lidia Bastianich.
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pnwchef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 09:39:41 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby joerogo 2014/09/22 17:01:40
Growing up in Ct, I had many Italian friends. When I went over their house I could never leave with out their Mom yelling " Billy you want a sandwich" I have some nice Italian sausage in the sauce with some meatballs. There were times when a fresh made Eggplant Parmigiana was out cooling on the counter. Rocco's Mom would say " Billy, let me make you a Eggplant Parm on fresh Italian bread, come on "Mangia". These were the best sandwiches I ever had. What I really miss is the heart and soul of these people who invited me into their family..........Bill
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Poverty Pete
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 10:27:58 (permalink)
That braciole looks suspiciously like something the Hoffman's fed me last year. I not only saved my leftovers, I saved theirs as well.
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lleechef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 10:53:44 (permalink)
Poverty Pete
That braciole looks suspiciously like something the Hoffman's fed me last year. I not only saved my leftovers, I saved theirs as well.


You're close, but the photo is braciole I made at home.  When we ate together it was at Scali Ristorante and the braciole was excellent! 
 
post edited by lleechef - 2014/09/22 10:56:58
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lleechef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 11:09:58 (permalink)
pnwchef
On Sundays we would often go to my great-grandmother's.  Talk about a feast!  There was chicken, pork, roast beef, braciole, homemade sausage, pasta, ravioletti, polenta, vegetables from her garden, bread baked that morning (making it on Saturday wasn't an option).  We would eat and eat and eat.  There were often around 30 of us.  At the end when we couldn't eat another bite she would say, "It didn't come too good this time, huh?  Nobody ate."  Then she would cry!  And she was dressed in black from tip to toe with little gold hoop earrings.  Typical Italian Nona!
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pnwchef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 11:37:40 (permalink)
lleechef
pnwchef
On Sundays we would often go to my great-grandmother's.  Talk about a feast!  There was chicken, pork, roast beef, braciole, homemade sausage, pasta, ravioletti, polenta, vegetables from her garden, bread baked that morning (making it on Saturday wasn't an option).  We would eat and eat and eat.  There were often around 30 of us.  At the end when we couldn't eat another bite she would say, "It didn't come too good this time, huh?  Nobody ate."  Then she would cry!  And she was dressed in black from tip to toe with little gold hoop earrings.  Typical Italian Nona!




Lisa, the food that is leftover after a Italian Sunday meal, looks like the beginning of most family Sunday meals....
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lleechef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 11:50:08 (permalink)
Bill,
How true!!!
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 11:57:29 (permalink)
lleechef
Talk about a feast!  There was chicken, pork, roast beef, braciole, homemade sausage, pasta, ravioletti, polenta, vegetables from her garden, bread baked that morning (making it on Saturday wasn't an option).  We would eat and eat and eat.  There were often around 30 of us.
Apparently the Italian-Americans who turned to organized crime did so just to pay the grocery bills...
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Ketteract
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 16:56:12 (permalink)
pnwchef
What I really miss is the heart and soul of these people who invited me into their family..........Bill




That was definitely the best part of the experience.  This was actually the first real friend I'd made since moving to CT, and in no time flat I was part of the family, joining them for birthdays, holidays, other occasions.  Their 4-year-old daughter loves me to bits, and they have relatives sprawled all over the state - their family gatherings are huge.  The speed with which it happened astounded me; it usually takes me a long time to warm up to people.  
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joerogo
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2014/09/22 17:03:20 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Hey, what a coincidence. I like Italian food, too.



As you should!!! 
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Ketteract
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/01/30 17:43:42 (permalink)
Thought I'd share some more pics of meals I've had with these same friends... who are now very much like family to me.  Funny how that happens.
 
An interpretation of carbonara... totally delicious.
 

 
Sunday sauce again, with all the same meats as before (meatballs, sausage, braciole, pepperoni).
 

 
Another carbonara.  
 

 
Only real Parmigiano-Reggiano used in this house!
 

 
My definition of "comfort food" has certainly evolved since I have come to know this family.  
 
 
 
 
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/01/30 17:53:56 (permalink)
I'm hungry.
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leethebard
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/01/30 18:05:02 (permalink)
Oh wow.....I'll have some of each. I've eaten like this for almost 70 years. I consider myself blessed!!!!
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stricken_detective
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 05:40:54 (permalink)
Penne = mostaccioli. LOL Sorry, just a pet peeve. 30 years ago you never heard about penne and I find that people who really want to be Italian LOVE this stuff, meanwhile my family never ate the stuff. I will buy literally any other shape before I buy "penne". /end rant

Try this:

Hot cooked pasta. I use angel hair, deCecco, but fettucine or linguine holds up better.
Alfredo sauce
A little milk
Cracked black pepper or seasoned pepper
A few pinches of red pepper flakes
Broccoli florets
Leftover cooked chicken, shredded
Bacon bits
Parmesan cheese
Panko bread crumbs

Combine everything except the pasta, parm and breadcrumbs in a large saucepan. When the pasta is done al dente, drain and add to the pot. Stir together with a pasta grabber, serve with parm and Panko on top.
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Ketteract
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 06:00:28 (permalink)
stricken_detective
Penne = mostaccioli. LOL Sorry, just a pet peeve. 30 years ago you never heard about penne and I find that people who really want to be Italian LOVE this stuff, meanwhile my family never ate the stuff. I will buy literally any other shape before I buy "penne". /end rant
 



My friends are Italian-Americans, i.e. descended from people who originally emigrated from Italy decades ago.  Part of what I find fascinating is how the food, terminology, etc. have evolved over the years.  I'm pretty sure all the food I posted above is rather different from what would actually be eaten in Italy.  There are "authentic" aspects to it - like the imported cheese, for instance - but what we're looking at is really a hybrid of old and new, and that's what makes it so cool.  
 
It's not about "wanting to be Italian", it's about a fusion of cultures that came about in a particular part of America, and the folks who are proud of it.  It has its own kind of authenticity.  We praise New Haven style pizza, but isn't it very different from what's eaten around Rome?  Life is too short for me to adhere to some imagined ideal of cuisine.  
 
Appreciate the recipe, though; I should have them try it!
post edited by Ketteract - 2016/02/03 06:07:26
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RodBangkok
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 07:22:32 (permalink)
The Talisman Italian is a great reference cook book for early immigrant Italian recipes.
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leethebard
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 08:55:57 (permalink)
Ketteract
stricken_detective
Penne = mostaccioli. LOL Sorry, just a pet peeve. 30 years ago you never heard about penne and I find that people who really want to be Italian LOVE this stuff, meanwhile my family never ate the stuff. I will buy literally any other shape before I buy "penne". /end rant
 



My friends are Italian-Americans, i.e. descended from people who originally emigrated from Italy decades ago.  Part of what I find fascinating is how the food, terminology, etc. have evolved over the years.  I'm pretty sure all the food I posted above is rather different from what would actually be eaten in Italy.  There are "authentic" aspects to it - like the imported cheese, for instance - but what we're looking at is really a hybrid of old and new, and that's what makes it so cool.  
 
It's not about "wanting to be Italian", it's about a fusion of cultures that came about in a particular part of America, and the folks who are proud of it.  It has its own kind of authenticity.  We praise New Haven style pizza, but isn't it very different from what's eaten around Rome?  Life is too short for me to adhere to some imagined ideal of cuisine.  
 
Appreciate the recipe, though; I should have them try it!


You are so right. My Dads parents came from sicily, but my mom"s parents came from a little hill town outside Naples. Both were Italian poor. Those were the Italians who came here then. What people call Italian food and think of as Italian is Neopolitan food from the South of Italy. Italian Americans came here and made due, changing recipes as needed or inventing....enter "meatballs" to put in the "gravy" for flavor, when more traditional cuts of meat were cost prohibitive. Pizza is Neopolitan Pizza Pomodoro="tomato pie" pizza simply is Italian for "pie" Be careful ordering "pizza" in Out of the way places in Italy. Who knows what "pie" you might get!!! So you are so correct: what has evolved in the states is a blend of southeern Italian dishes,made simple and cheap by our first Italian-Americans bringing food thjey knew and adapting to their economy and conditions. AND AREN'T WE LUCKY THEY DID!!!!!


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Michael Hoffman
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 10:42:06 (permalink)
Alfredo Sauce
Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Every time I see that, or hear it I am whipped into a crazed frenzy. It's an American invention. If you want a macaroni that actually has Alfredo in the name what you need is the Roman pasta al burro. It's sort of simple. It's a long pasta, originally fettuccine, tossed with butter (Italian double butter if you can find it) and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. That's it.
 
OK, conniption over. Back to your regular programming.
 
 
 
 
 
post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2016/02/03 10:43:26
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lleechef
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 11:01:58 (permalink)
A brief history of fettuccine Alfredo can be found here.  Wow.  Some invention.  Butter and cheese.  If you Google it, 9 out of 10 call for heavy cream.  So it got "Americanized".  Me, personally, I prefer it with the cream. 
 
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leethebard
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 13:35:49 (permalink)
Been to this place in Rome. If you order the dish Alfredo often makes it at your table. Thanks for the website. Enjoyed drooling over the menu!!!
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stricken_detective
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 18:24:54 (permalink)
Ketteract
My friends are Italian-Americans


I should have put a disclaimer. My example of penne & people who want to be Italian is from someone I know personally. I fully admit it is my own hang up and a stupid one at that. Btw, I make a mean mostaccioli. The secret is to replace half the mozzarella with sharp cheddar. Shhhhh. Lol

But do they call sauce gravy? I KID! I KID!

100% serious now. The carbonaras look great.
post edited by stricken_detective - 2016/02/03 18:31:52
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stricken_detective
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 18:31:02 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Alfredo Sauce
Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Every time I see that, or hear it I am whipped into a crazed frenzy. It's an American invention. If you want a macaroni that actually has Alfredo in the name what you need is the Roman pasta al burro. It's sort of simple. It's a long pasta, originally fettuccine, tossed with butter (Italian double butter if you can find it) and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. That's it.
 
OK, conniption over. Back to your regular programming.
 
 
 
 
 


With that recipe, you can switch out the Alfredo for butter and Parmesan. And you can switch out the chicken for tuna.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 18:59:58 (permalink)
Fish and cheese?
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 19:01:14 (permalink)
Mmmmm, like a tuna melt. But with pasta.
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leethebard
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 19:07:30 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Fish and cheese?



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Michael Hoffman
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Re: In appreciation of Italian / Italian-American food 2016/02/03 19:19:11 (permalink)
stricken_detective
Mmmmm, like a tuna melt. But with pasta.

In Italy cheese with fish is a hanging offense. But then, as someone who once actually tasted a tuna melt ... . I can say no more. I'm still sick.
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