Would you like three easy Italian recipes to cook for your family?
If so, here are three from The Inheritance that I inherited from my mother.
1). Melanzana al funghetto or Eggplant Cooked in the Style of Mushrooms
Did your mother follow recipes in a cookbook?
My mother rarely did and I learned how to make this dish as a young girl by watching her. Bruno prepared it with fresh tomato sauce for Santo Marino’s lunch in Chapter Two of The Inheritance and here’s how Mom made it.
1 lb. eggplant (either large or several small)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Cut eggplant into one-inch pieces. Place in colander and toss with salt. Drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Fry in batches until eggplant is golden brown. Place cooked eggplant on paper towels to drain. Eggplant absorbs olive oil so add to pan as needed.
Our family often ate this with bread before the main meal and, like Bruno did, you can also mix the cooked eggplant with fresh tomato sauce. Simply simmer the eggplant and the tomato sauce together for thirty minutes until flavours are well-blended. Serve immediately over pasta.
2). Salsa Al Pomodoro or Fresh Tomato Sauce
Does cooking bring back special memories of your family?
I helped my mother make fresh tomato sauce on Saturday night for our family’s Sunday dinner and when I prepare this recipe today, I still remember standing in front of the stove beside her. She’d stir the sauce with a wooden spoon and we’d just talk.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove of garlic (pressed)
1 large Spanish onion (minced)
5-6 cups skinned and chopped ripe plum or regular tomatoes
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Heat olive oil over medium heat in deep pan or sauce pot then add garlic and onion. Cover with lid and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least three hours over medium-low heat until the tomatoes are soft. Check every so often and stir. Serve immediately over pasta.
3). Insalata Caprese or Caprese Salad
Could your mother make a delicious meal from a few ingredients?
My mother always included salad with our dinner meal. I love mozzarella cheese and her Caprese Salad was one of my favourites. In Chapter Nine of The Inheritance, Santo Marino serves his guests mozzarella di bufala imported from the region of Campania at the annual Natale celebrations he hosts at the Villa San Michelle. Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese that my mom also used in her lasagne.
½ tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper
3-4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 pounds assorted tomatoes
6-8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese (drained and sliced)
Thinly torn fresh basil leaves
Whisk salt, pepper and olive oil in small bowl until blended. Cut tomatoes into slices and/or wedges. Arrange on a platter with cheese. Drizzle dressing. Sprinkle with basil. Season to taste. Serve immediately.
What family recipes did you inherit? I’d welcome your comments.
I invite you to look at some photographs from my travels in Venice, Italy.