Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Home made potato gnocchi made from scratch are the best! They are so much better than chewy store-bought ones. I’ve only posted about potato gnocchi once before: gnocchi with gorgonzola was the first recipe I ever posted on this blog. The city of Sorrento is near the island of Capri, the island that gave its name to the famous Insalata Caprese with tomato, mozzarella, and basil. You can think fo Gnocchi alla Sorrentina as the gnocchi version of this salad, because the gnocchi are dressed with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and parmigiano reggiano. This combination is always a winner, and it is even more so with feathery light homemade potato gnocchi.
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Eel in Tomato Sauce (Anguilla in Umido)

Eel is caught locally in the area where we live and we love smoked eel. Eel is also available fresh to be used for stewing, but I don’t care much for the Dutch/Flemish preparations. My curiosity was piqued though when I saw a post by ChgoJohn on eel stewed in tomato sauce Italian style (or to be more precise, in the style of Le Marche). I did some research and it turned out that this dish is known as Anguilla in Umido in most of Italy, and that it originated in Campania, the region of Naples. Anguilla in Umido is traditionally eaten between Christmas and New Year’s as a symbol to drive out the evil for the New Year. Eel looks like a serpent, and by eating it you conquer it. How simple was life back then.

So why am I preparing this dish in summer? Because fresh eel is available around here between May and October only, that’s why. And this year because of the cold, I only noticed eel at my fishmonger for the first time last week. It was very expensive (because eel is starting to become scarce), but I’m glad I bought it anyway because prepared this way it was absolutely delicious! The eel gives off a very nice flavor to the tomato sauce, the eel is tender and juicy without tasting too greasy, and the flavor of the eel is not at all overpowered by the tomato sauce. Continue reading “Eel in Tomato Sauce (Anguilla in Umido)”

Lasagne alla Napoletana (Lasagne di Carnevale)

I made this lasagna for a dear friend whom we were visiting and who couldn’t cook herself because she was recovering from a slipped disc operation. Lasagna is a great dish for such an occasion, because it can be prepared in advance and can simply be heated up in the oven. This will even improve the flavor. My original plan was to make Lasagne alla Bolognese, but when ChgoJohn wrote that he used cream cheese instead of ricotta in his Lasagne dei Bartolini I was intrigued because I had never used either of those in lasagna before. I then learned … Continue reading Lasagne alla Napoletana (Lasagne di Carnevale)

Pork & Beef Ragù Napoletano

It is Carnival and that is the festive season before Lent, a period of six weeks in which it was not allowed to eat meat. And that meant of course that during Carnival one would eat as much meat as possible. The word carnival comes from Latin “carnem levare”, which means “eliminate meat”. In the south of Italy and especially around Naples, the end of Carnival on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday or martedì grasso in Italian, is celebrated by eating Lasagne di Carnevale or Lasagne alla Napoletana. This lasagna is different from the better-known Lasagne alla Bolognese, which is made from Ragù … Continue reading Pork & Beef Ragù Napoletano