IMPERIA or: let's do homemade pasta. With the Power of Lord.

Wannabe pasta-maker? IMPERIA: this is the magic word.
Imperia is a beautiful stainless steel machine look-alike the one produced in the thirties here in Italy. Yes, they make it to date, and sell it with an identical packaging. Just below the Imperia box:

Now they sell also a motorized version, but, bedda matri, don't buy this american rubbish. I know that in your daydream you can make pasta pushing on a remote control from the sofa, with a 2 litre cola in a hand and soaking a tortilla in chili sauce with the other hand. Sure, you have just the big toe to push the remote control, izz enough. Make an effort, there's an extraordinary motive power in your arms and it's free! Use it.

My grandmother Matilda called it "The power of the Lord". Ok, when she turn off the light she tell me "let's use the light of the Lord". Fortunately the Lord did not claimed for bill payment, until now.

But stop with thick talk, we have to make homemade pasta with Imperia.

You need:

- Durum wheat. Pastry flour will give you a pasta good to use as glue, a good work for your dentist. Manitoba is good, but durum wheat is better.
- water
- Imperia
- the power of your arm, or, if you are that kind of people, the Power of Lord. Bedda matri. May be if you are that kind of people, you will feel to owe somebody to Him. You could offer Him a dish of pasta, why not? My grandmother Matilda... ok, I will tell you nex time.

You have to make a hard dough, mixing water and wheat. Add water enough to do a ball good for the IMPERIA steel rolls. Pass the dough throug the rolls many times, until comes out from the machine a smooth and thick sheet.

In the picture above I make a dough with water and cuttlefish ink, good for seafood pasta.
With Imperia you can do tagliatelle with the sheet:

And now the hard point for you americans glue-eaters: to guess the right cooking point.
Boil a lot of water. Add salt. And add pasta. The pasta will sink.
When it comes up, it's good, OK? When floats, you have to keep it out of boiling water, immediatly!! OK?

Just now! FLOATING PASTA!! GO and drain it, NOW! GODDAMN, why you are reading this stupid post? GOOO!!!



Grandma's Matilda potato rissoles given at death's door

Bedda matri, it's a lot of time that I don't give to you Americans a good recipe to solace your sad palates.

This blog have had an astonishing outcome, millions of people beg me for another recipe: «please, please! Give us something to cook this Sunday, we are bored with Thanksgiving turkey! Please enlighten us!»
We Sicilians are very generous people. So, let's get the Sicilian-English dictionary and - herd, get your cookware: I'm going to lay down the Recipe.

There was a specific circumstance for my grandma to prepare the potato rissoles. It were when my father beat me. My grandma Matilda always prevented my dad from beating me. She hid me under her skirts and said him "Si t'arrìsichi a tuccari u picciriddu t'ammazzu! Comu ti resi a vita accussì ta lievu!", that in good english sounds: "If you try to beat him I'll kill you, I gave you life and I'll take away!".
Often it turned out my grandma beating my dad with a broom.
Later, my Grandma did the potato rissoles to solace me.

And now, I will say you how she did the best potato rissoles in the world, as she peach me when she had an operation to her knee and she think to be at death's door.

So, that's the recipe of :

Grandma Matilda's potato rissoles given at death's door

Ingredients for two.
For two. A Sicilian never cook for two persons. The minimum is at least five. But you Americans are all singles, you don't marry and hire out children. So you probably will cook this rissoles to make a splash with your girlfriend. Anyway.

You need:
- 1 Kg of potatoes
- parsley
- 2 eggs
- a dish full of grated parmigiano
- 4 cloves of garlic
- black pepper
- a little scrape of nutmeg
- a spoon of durum wheat
- grated stale bread

Boil the potatoes, let them cool in fresh water, mush up and mix with eggs, minced parsley and garlic, parmigiano, ground pepper, scrape of nutmeg. Now, little by little add the grated bread, until you can make a ball with the dough. Make a flat oval rissole, cover with the durum wheat and deep fry in olive or peanut oil.

To be eaten at burn temperature.

It's quite simple, doesn't it? No, it's difficoult, you presumptuous person! You have to find out the perfect equilibrium between hard and mushy. This is the secret that my grandma matilda peach me at the death's door. Two days after the operation she was still alive and she asked me to compleatly forget the secret. So, still now, when I want a perfect potato rissole, I ask to my grandma.


Lomb scaccias (or calzones or pie), or: as I feed my wife when she's watching tv novelas

Bedda matri, I didn't know that you Americans cooked our national Sicilian "scacce" (ska-tchee) or impanate of calzones or pie, as you call them. It's and excellent idea, I'll cook it when my wife's watching her tv novelas and doesn't turn away her eys from tv neither during commercials, cause she is afraid to miss the beginning when commercial is over.
So, you surely will appreciate my scaccia country Easter version, as my grand mother Matilda used to cook it for all of us: I, my father Pippo and my mother, my aunt Lidia and Rosetta and Aurora, and my uncles Luigi and Aldo and my cousins Elisa, Dan, Tony, Marzia, my sister and my grand father Antonino, good soul (bonarmùzza) (may be I forget someone).

Usually my grand mother didn't use pizza dough. She used to knead water, bread flour and baking powder on the scaniaturi, or sbrìula. Sorry, I haven't a Sicilian/English dictionary. Here it is:

If you are only two, you don't need it. A table will be ok. But you surely need these

For pizza dough:
- bread flour: 500 gr
- yeast baking powder
- olive oil, 4 spoons
- water, 300 mL

For lomb filling:
- lomb meat, 300 gr, deboned
- fresh peas, 150 gr
- onion, 1

Knead components of pizza dough, not too firm, not sticky. Leave it covered to blow up.
In the meantime, fry onions and lomb meat, chopped, add peas, cover with broth and leave covered, low fire, for one hour and half, two hours. It will become sweet and tender. At the end, put up fire and make it dry.

Now, roll the dough as slim as you can (ok, don't overdo with slimming), put lomb meat in the center, cover and close. Now put in the oven, 450 degrees for 30 minutes:

My grand mother used to buy entire lombs and she did other appetizing things with lomb trimmings and lomb head, but I'll tell you next time.


Spaghetti in cuttlefish ink or: how much employs your cramp to come out

Ok, words as "cramp", "shit", "caca", "dirt" or similar, usually did not appear in cooking recipes. But I consider this a particular case.
If you want, you can take from this post considerations about shit alone. Otherwise you can ignore shit, or believe that I really intended "ship" or "chic" and only consider this spaghetti in cuttlefish ink recipe. Or, if you have hard stomach and can do it without barfing, eat my spaghetti and discover how much employs your shit to come out.
Ok, but why?
I don't know. You could have a constipation problem and you should want to know how many days a lunch stay in your gut until you at last eject it (what a relief). May be you would evaluate the effects of your new probiotic-based diet, whit a simple first-before experiment.
Or simply you would see your feces colored in a beautiful brilliant black.

You need a cuttlefish. You need a big kitchen, easy to clean. You need a great kitchen apron.
And finally you need these

- 1 cuttlefish
- parsley
- garlic
- 1 onion
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- a glass of white wine
- spaghetti

Ok. It's the worst side. We have to clean the cuttlefish, WITHOUT break the ink sac. With a scissor cut away the eyes. Do the eyes splashed off on your face? Yes? It's funny, isn't it? Now, with the same scissor remove the beak. Now, open the head with a long cut: the brown muck is the liver. Here in Scoglitti

we consider it as delicacies, but you Americans probably throw it away. Patience.
In the middle should be stay the ink sac, drop shaped. Keep it gently and cut away from the cuttlefish. Squeeze it in a little cup. Nearby should stay also the eggs or the sperm sac. Here in Scogli... ok, THROW ALL AWAY, and go on. Then wash the cuttlefish with water. Will it have some taste? I don't now, probably NO: you have thrown all away, there's nothing to eat.

Ok, don't cry for milk sloshed down.
Let's cut garlic and onion, let's slowly fry them in olive oil, let's boil tomatoes for twenty seconds, peel off and chop them. Now we can add fine chopped cuttlefish to the soup, slosh on the white wine and finally add tomatoes. Cook for twenty minutes and color it in brilliant black with the cuttlefish ink. I find it beautiful.

Have you already boiled the spaghetti? Yes? Have you kept away a glass of spaghetti cooking water? NO? You foolish! Don't forget it next time. Now, mix together spaghetti and black soup, add a glass of water, wait a minute mixing on high fire and serve with minced parsley.

Now wait until you have to go to crap out.


A cure-all for your heart: cavati with pork gravy

I didn't frequently perform this recipe until my father had been saved from a hearth attack by these cavati with pork gravy. I'll tell you this tale briefly.

We were here in Scoglitti and we was having dinner. It was actually a little party, there were relatives came from Australia and cousins from Florida. They were all very happy to be returned in Sicily for a little holiday, so my father and my mother had cooked for all salami, cavati with pork gravy and grilled sausages. And a 5 kg cassata. There were also a lot red wine.

My father was playing the squeeze box, he's really a maestro.
But I was worried and I told him: "Oh pa', viri ca ccu ssa cosa ti pigghia 'ncuorpu, levacci ma nu ca cciù si biecciu. Manciati a pasta ca viri ca s'arrifridda", that in good english sounds like: "The old squeeze is too much for you daddy, it's really weigh. You are not a young boy anymore, why don't you stay quiet and eat your cavati?"

My father was quite fatigued but fortunately get down the sqeeze box and catched the fork.
Just in time!
He felt ill and we brought him at the hospital immediately. Fortunately was only tachycardia, the physician in the hospital told us my father was saved by Mediterranean diet.
In fact, we consume only Mediterranean pork.

But now stop with thick talk and let's go with cavati!

You need:
for the cavati pasta
- 1 kg cornflour (better abound then in short supply)
- water

Mix water and cornflour until you have a firm dough. Make with your hands long worms having a diameter of 2 cm, and cut them in little blocks. Finally squeeze this blocks with a fork: here we are cavati! Spread them on with a lot of cornflour and cook the pork gravy.

for the pork gravy:
-2 kg pork bacon
-1 kg pork chuk
-1 celery
-3 onions
-2 carrots
-1 garlic head
-olive oil
-bay laurel, 4 leafs
-tomatoes, 1 kg
-a glass of red wine

Cut carrots, celery and onion and fry them with olive oil, low fire, for 30 minutes, adding water if needed. Then cut the meat, boost up the fire and add to fried vegetables. Then add a glass of red wine. When the wine is boiled off, add pealed tomatoes, take down the flame and cover. Now you can go to play scopa (or poker, after all you are Americans): your gravy must stay on fire for 3 hours. Once in a while ensure yourself it's not too much dry. If it is, add some water.

Ok, now you have to boil your cavati. A lot of water, a big pot are needed. Bring water to boiling point, add a handful of salt and throw in the cavati. They will be good when will float up. Take off them from water and mix with pork gravy. Grate on cheese and eat them quickly.

Now I know that cavati can save a life, so I always cook them for my father.


Just a little and light side dish

Ok. Let's start.
I was only a young boy when my grand mother Matilda, here in Scoglitti, told me:

"Little boy, you have to eat a lot to became a strong a big man. You have to eat a lot and cook your dishes with a lot of olive-oil, because olive oil will make you beautiful."

My grand mother was 4 feet and 11 inches tall and weighed 170 lb. She was beautiful, so I had trusted her.

I've learned from her how to cook an Authentic Sicilian CAPONATA, and now I reveal my secrets to you. Only foolish people can believe that caponata is similar to French ratatouille. The question is simple: caponata is good and ratatuille is stench.
It's a full vegetable recipe, so it's really light (I know, you americans are obsessed by diets). In fact it contains only vegetables.

- 2 eggplants
- 2 sweet pepperoni
- 2 onions
- 2 stem of celery
- 1 red hot pepper
- a handful of green stoneless olives
- a spoon of capers
- a spoon of sugar
- olive oil (a lot)
- salt (the right)
- vinegar (just a little)

You have to cut the eggplants in big pieces without peeling and put them in a little of water with salt for 1 hour, to take away the bitter.
In the meantime, cut onions and pepperoni pinstriped and celeryin little pieces.

You must cook pepperoni, onion, celery and eggplants SEPARATELY in a frying pan with a lot of olive oil, medium fire, until vegetables are soft and soak of olive oil. Then put all together in a pan, add olives, red pepper and capers, then salt, sugar and finally vinegar.

If you have pine nuts add someone of it.

You have to savour it cold, with fresh olive oil and some fresh basil leafs, with beef steak or other grilled beef. It' just a little and light side dish.

When I finished my caponata, my grand mother always said me: "eat it more, may be are you sick? Just a little" and gave me another dipper. So I've become big, strong and beautiful as her was.


WHO I AM (and why Sicilian is better)

Photo Robert Capa © 2001 by Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

I will be short.
You Americans don't apply yourselves when you eat or cook (although your big hot-dog with a lot of sauce is pretty good). Eating is really important. A Sicilian man never eat something like pizza with ananas . You do it.
So this blog have a Mission: to teach you americans how to eat better. To point you the Way. No more waldorf salad, egg cream, california style pizzas or equally pretty dishes.
From now only pasta with sardine, caponata, sfinciuni, sardine beccaficu style and pickled anchovies.
Naturally, in macaroni English.