two small slices of a custard served in a ceramic bowl. They have a sugar crust on top, and a breadcrumb crust below.

from The Neapolitan recipe collection


Tartara Julatica, 133

This is one of those times when we are grateful to the translators but still wish they were working from the mindset of cooks rather than linguists.

The hardbound book I work from, translated and crafted by Terence Scully, is one of the most strangely organised messes I have dealt with. It isn’t as awkward as the Opera of Sent Sovi, but it’s up there.

The translators give a section with the original language, then a section with commentary on the language, and only then a section translated to English.

This recipe has a couple of oddities in it’s manuscript of origin. The commentary, rather than being on something helpful like the size of a Jug in Italy, is all conjecture about whether the sidenote about “Serve this very hot to Catherina Fasanica” is for a girlfriend or whether the allusion to pheasants has to do with “fancy ladies”.

The jug thing. It took a while to dig that up. My gut was to use about a pint of milk, but that was based on my experience, not to be trusted quite yet. I searched on the term “bucale” and got back the standardised work “boccale.”

From there, with a bit of digging, I eventually got to a wonderful web page of standard weights and measures, which had several iterations of “Boccale” from mostly Northern Italy, as well as other sites with surviving vessels of the type, and their dimensions.

This isn’t a math blog by any measure, but I have settled on the “bucale” as being a viable quart analog, and used that. It worked. If at some point elsewhere in the book a quart doesn’t work, I will amend.

In the end, we got a very greasy flan, with a tiny note of tang from the truly minute amount of cheese, and a slight zing from the massive quantity of ginger.

The crust vanished, as we assumed it would, and the sugar lost its gloss after about 20 minutes.

To make this GF, use the instructions in the original to use a dusting of cheese as the pan release.

The quantities here are pretty well defined in the original. Remembering the period weight of a pound as being 12 oz, it worked out as follows.


20 servings.

20 eggs

1 pint milk

1 oz parmesano dolce, the young cheese, if you can get it

6 oz sugar

6 oz unsalted butter, at room temp

3 TBS ginger powder (really!)


1 oz butter

3 oz breadcrumbs, or as needed to coat your vessel, or for GF, an ounce of grated cheese

To Finish

3 TBS sugar (you probably won’t use it all)

Rosewater, or if that’s not to your taste, Orange Flower Water

(be careful to use the confectionary type, not the cosmetic kind)

9×13 pan (or similar, it puffs up almost an inch)

( crack eggs as individuals, then put in your blender, for in case of duds)

Preheat the oven to about 250, lower is fine.

Put the eggs, milk, cheese, ginger, 6 oz sugar, and 6 oz butter in the blender, mixer, processor, or under the whisk.

Make it fluffy.

Rub the separate ounce of butter into your pan, then drop the breadcrumbs (cheese for GF) in. Roll it around so they stick, empty out the extra.

put the baker onto a larger baking sheet for ease of handling.

Pour the egg mixture into the coated baking vessel,

Let stand for a moment, and tap the sides, to allow air bubbles to rise and pop, for a finer appearance at service.

Place in oven,

close the door.

Leave, go grocery shopping.

It took three hours to cook.

Three hours.

Immediately upon removal, sprinkle with the reserved sugar til you think it is too much, then a little more.

Mist or sprinkle with scented water, serve as soon as possible.

About 2″ x 2″ is likely quite sufficient as a portion, on average.




I can see why it had to be served hot, it’s so very rich.

It was too rich when it was hot, and it is not so amazing the second day. There was a ¼” layer of butter in the bottom of the pan within 5 minutes of cutting.

This fancy custard is quite stable enough to be in the ovens for a very long time, making it an appropriate dessert or breakfast offering at a meal with unstable serving times.

Serve with fruit and a sharp beverage such as a lemonade to balance the richness.

Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS Bühler, 19) : A Critical Edition and English Translation. Ann Arbor, Mich.: U of Michigan, 2000. 180. Print.

We had vermicelli again. Yes, we have pasta that rarely.

This time, I did it on purpose, not with leftovers.

The pasta was Strascinati, a thick curl of dough somewhat related to orrechietti. I also had the choice of  rocetti, which were suggested by my pasta monger, and will use those soon for something.


The cheese was a gorgeous Parmesan Dolce, a short-cured cheese, about the density of Jarlsberg, albeit without holes. It is mild and sweet in flavor.

We had some beautiful chicken broth with a thick fat layer on it in the fridge. I put a kilo of the dry pasta into a quart of broth supplemented with about a cup of water, in which a large pinch of saffron had bloomed.

This simmered on the stove for about 10 minutes to allow me to stir the pasta so it would not stick, then I put it in the oven at 200* for an hour.

When I pulled it out, it had cooked too long, and become a casserole. The pasta had begun to break down, all of the liquid was absorbed.


I grated about 2 oz of the cheese into each bowl and served 6 oz of the pasta on top of the cheese, the heat from the pasta melted it nicely, allowing it to get folded in.

I used a little cinnamon, some cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar as the spices. Ginger would go well, if you enjoy it.

The leftover pasta was packed without cheese.

To reheat, we added a good amount of grated cheese, folded them together, and baked as a casserole in a pan. It came out of the pan crusty and warm, very comforting on the first wintry night of the year.

a whole roast chicken, displaying the color and coverage of the spice blend

To Make a Cow, a Calf or a Stag Look Alive. First kill the cow or calf normally, then skin it beginning at the hooves -but keep the hooves and the horns attached to the hide; when skinned, stretch the hide; then get cumin, fennel, cloves, pepper and salt, all ground up to a powder, and sprinkle it over the inside of the hide; then cut away the shin-bone downward from the knee, and remove the tripe through the flank; if you wish, you can roast capons, pheasants or other creatures and put them into the cow’s body. If you want to bake it in the oven, lay it on a grill; if you want to roast it over the fire, get a piece of wood —that is, a pole like a spit – insert it, lard it well and roast it slowly so as not to bum it. Then make iron bars large enough to hold it standing up; when it is cooked, set up the bar on a large plank and bind it [i.e., the animal] so that it stands on its feet; then dress it in its hide as if it were alive; if the meat has shrunk anywhere because of the cooking, replace it with bay- laurel, sage, rosemary and myrtle; draw the hide back [in place] and sew it so the iron cannot be seen, and give it a posture as if it were alive.

The same can be done with a deer, a sow and a chicken, and with any other animal you wish. Note that preparing this sort of animal requires a cook who is neither foolish nor simple-minded, but rather he must be quite clever. And note, my lord, that if your cook is not skillful he will never prepare anything good that is good, no matter how hard he tries.


When a recipe isn’t a recipe, sometimes it’s a food decorating guide.

This food based entertainment is intended to display the decorative and structural engineering skills of the professional kitchen. Within that, however, there’s a clear admonition that it still has to taste good and be properly prepared.

The whole cattl, brought in upright, stuffed with other food items, is Dionysian legend in some ways. It’s the kind of thing one can imagine being carted in to any over-the-top bacchanalia, unruly revelers roaring as it is carved open to display the bounty inside.

It’s a simple roast, and it’s as complex or as simple as the cook wants to make it. There aren’t too many modern circumstances in which it is suitable to do a whole roast ox, which would weigh 600 lbs, 400 of which are meat, and feed between 500 and 1000 people, depending on what else is served.

The cooking instructions are wide open. Roast it by whatever means are available. Find an oven large enough for a food item the size of a farm tractor, cook it through without ruining it. That makes roasting a turkey evenly look like amateur hour.

The seasoning is simple and flexible. It calls for cumin and fennel, and suggests a supplement of bay, sage, rosemary and myrtle more for structural repair than for flavor.

My fennel is a blend of seeds, flowers and stems, crushed together. If you have seeds and if you aren’t a huge fan of fennel, you may wish to blend up the spices and fold a small amount into ground meat or an egg, which you can cook as a flavor sample, as one does in sausage making.

5 small bowls of spices

fennel is bottom left in the yellow bowl

I have a little oven, two diners, and no need to make dinner look like it could be walking. Chicken it is.

1 chicken

15 cloves, whole

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Optional, several bay leaves, rosemary, myrtle leaves, sage

Crush the cloves

Add salt, crush again to be certain there are no chunks

Fold in other seasonings, crush if whole.
If uncertain of flavors, fold a pinch of the seasoning in with a pinch of raw ground meat and fry, or fry an egg, sprinkle some spice on top, flip the egg, and sample. Adjust to your own tastes.

Rub the seasoning on the chicken, roast in an oven or on a spit, as you prefer. If you wish to use the sage, rosemary, bay and myrtle, tuck them in the cavity.

Serve with some crusty bread and a nice pile of roast root vegetables.

The fennel and cumin based seasoning blends into something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s truly excellent. We both dislike anise flavors, but this works very well.

It didn’t look alive, it looked like a normal roast spiced chicken. And that’s just fine.

If you choose to use a pork butt, make triple the seasoning blend and slash the skin, as it will become too crisp to cut through easily.

a brown bowl with a single portion of a cheese risotto, next to a small cup of red wine

Riso Alla Italiana

Piglia una pignata he mettice brodo grasso he magro he fa bulliare; he poi piglia lo riso bene nettato he piu volte lavato cum aqua tepida, he metello dentro he fa bulire menando cum lo cughiaro alcuna volta che non se apichi alla pignata, poi, quando serra cotto, piglia ove he caso gratato, sbatuto ogni cosa insieme, cum uno pocho di pipere; poi fa le scutelle

 Rice the Italian Way

 Put fat broth and lean in a pot, boil it

Get clean rice, rinse it well in tepid water

Put the rice in, and boil it. Stir so it does not stick.
When it is cooked, add eggs and grated cheese, beat it all together, add pepper, and serve in bowls.

(there may be spelling and transcription errors, my computer is having unrest related to the spellings included)



Medieval style cooking makes a whole lot of broth. Poaching most meats, and separately, a lot of veg, makes a lot of liquor, broth, stock, and aspic. It also consumes a lot of broth. Fat broth, lean broth, lenten broth, almond milk made in broth, it does get used.

It’s kind of an enriched risotto. I chose a medium grain rice, as I find short grain rice generally wants more tending than just a “couple of turns of the spoon” to keep it from locking up. The starches behave quite differently between the two types of rice. If you have the time and attention to give a short grain rice, please do try it. It can’t easily go wrong.

The note to rinse the rice was a happy one. Some modern rices are packaged to be starchy, others are chalky. Rinsing clears the grains of dust, and starts it plumping. It also gives me a few moments to more easily find any stones or not-food that may have found its way into the bag. I am always happier to do so.


My broth was some fat beef broth that resulted from a recent dish, and some chicken broth which was in the freezer. I left the fat on the beef broth, specifically because it called for “fat.” This dish relies on tasty broth. While I used meat broths, a quality vegetable broth would go very well here. I would strongly suggest adding some (maybe 2 Tbs) butter or oil in that case, as the rice benefits from a bit of oil for texture. I also have had excellent luck with a specific vegan bouillon cube, Rapunzel. (not saying other brands are bad, just that this one, I find to be good.)

After cooking the rice fully, I took it off the heat, as my dinner got delayed an hour. When my dinner companion arrived, I beat the egg and cheese together well, then folded them into the rice, and stirred while reheating. Then I got clever and put it in a low oven. This worked perfectly well, and the resulting dish was lush, rich without being over the top. In fact, I was glad to let the rice cool before adding the egg, as it did not clump or scramble in the dish.


If you are cooking for immunocompromised people, it may be wise to use pasteurised eggs. The eggs are cooked but cannot be checked for done-ness.

The salt in the cheese was sufficient for our preferences, we added none during cooking or at the table.
This dish is far less fiddly than risotto, and can be made from simple cooked rice into the enriched dish reasonably easily, but it is a small-batch dish, as the seasonings are unlikely to scale up well. It’s classic comfort food.


For two as a main, four as a side;

1 ½ cups medium grain rice

2 ½ cups broth, strained

2-3 TBS fat from broth, or mild fat such as chicken or unsalted butter

3 eggs

5 oz parmesan, asiago, or other hard Italian type “storing” cheese, grated or shredded (it will melt)

not from the can, just plain cheese.

¼ up to 1 tsp ground black pepper, to taste

no salt

Using a stockpot that is easy to fully scrape, warm the broth and fat.

Rinse the rice in water til it runs clear. I do this in a bowl with the rice in a strainer, and pick over the rice for purity as I go.

Cook the rice til it is perfect, to your taste. Be prepared to add more liquid, as rice is thirsty and somewhat unpredictable, about 20-25 minutes.

Beat the eggs, then add the cheese and pepper to the egg mixture. Beat well together, til almost fluffy.

Fold the egg mixture into the rice and beat thoroughly together. If you are concerned about the eggs scrambling, remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.

Heat gently til cheese is fully melted. The egg won’t be visible to see that they are cooked.

Taste for salt and pepper, adjust, and serve. It’s lovely with a dense piece of grilled fish, or alongside a seasonal salad.

Bolognese Torte. Get a pound of new cheese and of old cheese, and grate it; get well cleaned chard, parsley and marjoram, and beat them as much as you can with a knife and fry them in a little good butter, then take them out; get four eggs, saffron and a good lot of pepper, and lard or good butter, and mix everything together; make a thin pastry crust on the bottom of the pan and put this mixture in it; have another crust on top, or else get buffalo cheese, cut it into strips and cover the mixture with it instead of a crust. Note that it should have a good smell of pepper, and cook it slowly; when the upper crust puffs up – I mean, rises – then it is done.

  Note: This is an incomplete process. Normally I would only post something I have hammered into submission, but life has intervened.

 I did this two different ways, for curiosity and as planning for an upcoming dinner. I made a traditionally understood pie as well as a yeast dough “torta” more closely resembling what we understand as a white pizza.

I was unable to locate marjoram, and mine is not grown enough to use, so I substituted oregano, which is somewhat similar in profile.

Traditional deep pie; I prepared a cold crust, blended the “old”, or parmesan cheese with the “new” farmers cheese, and added the herbs and egg. I thought about frying the herbs and spinach, but it is 80* out, and I thought there might be a limit to my tolerance for richness. I used a smaller, but proportional quantity; a half pound of the cheeses, 2 eggs, and so on. I have minimal access to worthy Buffalo mozzarella, so the regular varietal of fresh had to do.  I used frozen spinach, and should have dried it out more thoroughly. Sauteeing in the butter as the instructions guided would have solved this issue. Silly me.

For the second iteration, I used a yeasted dough, and went for a more minimalist approach. I layered the cheeses, first  the farmers, then the parmesan. I then seasoned the cheeses, layered on the greens, seasoned again, and layered on the mozzarella. It was a lovely white pie, but suffered from the cheeses and herbs being separate.


IMG_5291The classic iteration is perfect for a small dinner, but I believe it to be too rich to be a regular thing. It is pretty difficult to eat at room temp. A little goes a very long way.

1 pie crust

1 bag chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed hard, or 2 lbs fresh spinach, minced

1 large bunch parsley, minced

1 bunch or marjoram (sub oregano if marjoram is a challenge)

1/4 stick of butter

6 oz farmers’ cheese

6 oz Parmeggiano Reggiano, grated

8 oz  fresh mozzarrella

2 eggs

1 TBS black pepper

Please note that while I love saffron, I did not use it. I am not fully satisfied with the results, and don’t want to use saffron til I am certain of the dish.

Blend the Parmeggiano and the farmers’ cheese. Season. Set aside.

Blend the greens, sautee in the butter. Allow to cool.

Blend the cheeses and the herbs,

Press the herbed cheese blend into the pie shell. Lay the mozzarella on top. Bake til the cheeses are fully melted, and the mozzarella and crust are golden brown. Serve.

The cheeses I used were rather lemony and bright. Saffron would mellow and darken this flavor nicely, I will use it after I get the moisture levels where I want them.


IMG_5290The simplified version was actually more problematic, due to very moist spinach.. I did not get the crisp crust I had hoped for. I deleted the eggs, butter, and saffron in this iteration.

1 half sheet

1 ball of pizza dough, stretched to shape

1/2 lb farmers cheese, dotted evenly on the crust

1/2 lb parmeggiano reggiano, sprinkled about

1 TBS black pepper,


1/2 lb frozen spinach, well wrung.

2 oz minced parsley,

1 bunch stripped marjoram (I used oregano, supply issues)

Mozzarella, sliced and layered nicely on top.

Bake until done at about 400*.


I will be making some adjustments.

a whole roasted chicken in a pot, about to be carved

When I was a kid, Mom would splash out on a capon once or twice a year. They are almost impossible to get now, because modern farm practices are not lending to that kind of breeding, but I have had them, and can keep in mind the qualities I seek in a bird

This recipe is so simple and minimal, with so little else going on, that the quality of the meat almost entirely dictates the result of the dish. This being the beginning of farmers’ market season in my area, I have access to meat fine enough to stand up to this recipe.

Choose a bird that fits your soup pot. Always keep in mind the vessels you must use to prepare your food in. Get the nicest possible bird. Any will be good, but having had exceptional, I would like you to enjoy it as much as we did.

Blanching the chicken causes the skin to become terribly fragile. It rips at the merest glance.

I lifted my chicken out of the poach by inserting a long spatula in each end. It is very important to drain as you lift, it can be dangerous and messy if the water inside the bird spills.

Having used many types of fat for larding over the years, our best results were from thinly sliced unsalted leaf fat. Chicken fat has too low a melt point, salted fat alters the flavor and texture of the skin and meat.Neapolitan Roast Chicken (2)

  To make a Fine Roast of capons, cockerels, goat kid, and any other meat. First, if it is a large joint of meat, put it to boil unless it is young veal; if it is capon or any other meat that is worth setting to roast, make it clean, then plunge it into boiling water and take it out immediately and put it into cold water -that is done to make it better; then lard it with good lardo and mount it on the spit, cooking it slowly; then, when it is almost done, get a grated piece of bread and mix it with salt and coat the meat. In this way you will have it cooked fine.

1 large roasting chicken, well cleaned.

1 pot of water, simmering (with head room for the mass of the chicken)

3-4 oz thinly sliced leaf fat or sliced chilled chicken fat

3 oz breadcrumbs (home made)


other seasonings you might like.

Blanch the chicken. It really does matter. If you have never done it before, please take the effort to try it once. It was done for humoural reasons (making a “hot dry” bird “cool moist” before roasting  “hot dry”)

Place the chicken in the roasting vessel, reserve the poaching water.

Lay the fat overtop of the skin. Maybe tuck a couple of pieces under the skin. I did, and I am glad, but be careful.

Place the unsalted chicken in the oven and roast til it is very nearly done.

Season the breadcrumbs while the chicken roasts. Use at least salt,

When you can smell it, pull the chicken out and sprinkle it liberally with the breadcrumbs.

Pop it back into the oven for the last 10-15 minutes, then when you pull it for the last time, allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Carve and serve, placing the carcass in the poaching pot to make a lovely broth for future use.

I hope your dinner is as lovely as mine.

Sometimes a recipe fails for completely modern reasons.

Hemp seed “mustard”, a porridge, is about the same consistency as a grainy mustard, but has a very different composition. IMG_5262 IMG_5263 IMG_5267

We take the seeds, cook them, separate the hulls from the nutmeats, cook in broth, then in almond milk, thicken with sugar and breadcrumbs, then season with ginger, safffron, and rosewater.

However, I have a modern problem. I worked hard to get hemp seeds. I had the choice of hulled, salted, roasted, or plain roasted. I could not, for perfectly viable reasons, source raw seeds.

No matter what I did, how hard I pounded with the mortar and pestle, how much time I spent, I could not separate the hulls. I tried. I spent the day wiith food processors, burr grinders, a wheat mill, mortar and pestle, and the rest of the stuff currently in the sink and dish machine.

I continued with the dish as written, keeping in mind the 12 oz pound, and simmered, crushed, simmered, folded, simmered, and seasoned away.

Nothing could save this dish except moving to Colorado.


I tasted it again a while later. There is almost no analogue to hemp seeds easily available in the US. Flax isn’t the same, chia won’t work, and so on, but I may try this with decidedly non-European teff or amaranth to see what I think, some time in the future after I have forgotten the trauma of this experience.


Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS Bühler, 19) : A Critical Edition and English Translation. Ann Arbor, Mich.: U of Michigan, 2000. 180. Print.

Hard boiled eggs are ubiquitous. Part of a fast lunch, an ingredient in a green or mixed salad, they are dead common. Eggs are pretty portable and stable once they are cooked.

One modern variant on hard boiling eggs, particularly when large quantities are required, is to oven roast them at 300 for a half of an hour, Another is to roast them even longer, at about 200*F, for a full 5 hours.  Eggs are popular at a wide range of doneness, whether fully cooked through with a fully yellow yolk, or closer to soft boiled with a set white and runny yolk.


Recipe 153 calls for simply placing the raw egg on the coals, and turning it with a watchful eye til they are sweating, therefore done.

156 steps it up a notch, by asking the cook to crack the shell. That prevents turning and also allows the humidity in the egg to leave through the newly made cracks, so the tell of sweating shells is gone.

156 Get whole fresh eggs, put them on live coals, and strike them on top with a stick so they break, and let them cook; and when this trifle is cooked, take it out and put a little vinegar and parsley on top. They are good.

I don’t have a coalbed right now, and it is miserable out so I am not going to make one. However, I have a fair substitute.

Instead of building a woodfire, I put a thick layer of salt into a pan. This salt is only used for creating a hot bed, and can be used over and over.

six eggs lying on their sides, with the top side shattered. They are embedded about a quarter of the way deep in fine salt.

salt should be thick enough not to touch the pan, and must be preheated.

The salt is thick enough that the eggs, nestled comfortably in it, will not touch the pan itself.

The pan and salt get preheated in the oven, to about 300*.

6 eggs are placed in the hot salt and placed into the oven. At about 5 minutes, start watching for the smallest signs of browning. At no more than 12 minutes, remove them.

Allow to cool, and serve in shell, one or two per person as a side dish, with some red wine vinegar.

Honestly, other than for discussion, it is not worth doing this dish unless you have a decent coalbed going for other reasons. It’s easy to cook the eggs past rubber, and when properly done, they are not more interesting than a hard boiled egg.



Piglia tre pani he levali la crosta he gratali molto bene he metteli supra una tavola, he metteli atorno una libra he meza de bona farina; he mete cum lo dito pane quatro ho cingue oca he batile bene cum lo cultello risguardando sempre lo pane cum la dita farina; he quando te parirache sia minuto como (f* 8r) anesi confetti, pone ogni cosa in uno sedazo he cacia fora la farina; poi falli secare alo sole ho alo focho; et quando li vorai cocere, coceli in brodo de carne, he fallo ghialdo cum saffrono; he falle bullire adasio per spacio de meza hora; et mette de sopra le menestre caso he specie.

Take the crusts of three loaves of bread. grate them, set this on a table and lay out a pound of and a half of fine flour around it; and put five eggs in with the ground bread and beat that well with a knife, always being careful (to coat) the breadcrumbs well with the flour; and when you have lumps that look to you to be the size of candies aniseed, put everything into a sieve and discard the (excess) flour; then dry them in the sun or by the fire. When you want to cook them, use meat broth made yellow with saffron; boil them gently for half an hour, serve them up garnished with cheese and spices.


The book commentary says “think ditallini.” I disagree. I think “couscous.”

This is about the easiest recipe I have made to date, but it relies on a couple of factors.  Use of a food processor is extremely helpful for ease of production.

I saved the crusts from several loaves, and staled them in a low oven while it was cooling from making some other dishes.  I crushed them and processed them, then ran them through a coarse strainer to make sure they were of a size.


bread crusts stacked and placed on baking sheets to dry

making breadcrumbs

The first time I made this, I worked from the proportions in the book. Knowing I had 5 eggs of indeterminate size and a pound and a half (not modern pounds! only 12 oz lb, so 18 oz in modern parlance) of flour, I started with a half pound of bread crumbs. There was a lot of tweaking, as I made this dish on dry days and more humid days, and each time the proportions changed.   Be prepared to add more eggs or flour, but do not add more breadcrumbs, as the addition will become gummy and harder to recover.

After several batches, the following numbers are pretty reliable in a medium processor, and result in both a quantity that comfortably fits an oven and that feeds 4 people an ample portion.


1 c (150g) home made breadcrumbs (I do not suggest commercial, they have quite an ingredient list)

3 eggs, about 150g  to coat, a fourth in reserve for in case.

1/2 c (100g) farina, fine semolina, or other very fine low gluten flour, as needed.

To serve the dish, I needed

about a half gallon of nice broth, or a quart of stock. This is most of the flavor in the dish, so if it tastes good the dish will as well.

Saffron if you like it (I like it!)

4 oz ricotta, farmers cheese, queso fresco, or other creamy new cheese

1 tablespoon Spices as you prefer. I chose black pepper, canela, and clove.


Place the breadcrumbs in the processor, and add the eggs. Whir until you have  a homogeneous paste. It should look gritty, like concrete, rather than soupy.

Add flour until the mass separates into tiny pellets. If they seem too small or incompletely coated, add more egg then more flour until you feel you have a pleasantsize and presentation of pasta. Remember that too large a pellet will be difficult to dry, and uneven in an elegant serving.

Spread out evenly on baking sheets and place in the bright dry sun, or alternately, place in a low oven for several hours, There will be quite a bit of shrinkage. I choose to turn the pasta several times, to avoid clumping and aid drying.

coarse pellets laid out on two pans to dry in the oven

thin layers dry faster

You can now store the pasta in a cool dry container, such as a mason jar in the fridge. or a zip bag in the freezer.


In order to prepare the dish for service, put about a half cup of broth per person into a pot, and add the optional saffron.

When the broth is warm, add a quarter cup of pasta per person to the pot, and watch carefully, Add more broth as needed, as the pasta absorbs. I prefer the dish dry, but you may prefer it with more liquid. I prefer not to stir overmuch, just enough to prevent clumping.  I find it works much better to add pasta to broth, rather than the other way.

hot broth in a pot, the pasta is being poured in slowly while stirring to prevent clumping

gently adding the pasta do the broth

If there is too much broth, you might allow it to simmer down, but if there is not enough broth and you are running low, water will not ruin the dish.

To serve, place in a warmed bowl, top with a dollop of milky cheese, and sprinkle with spices. Alternately, this would be a lovely bed for a roast or braised dish.

There is a fair amount of room to adapt this dish, whether by using an herb or vegetable broth, or making it more brothy or more fluffy by changing the broth proportions. The only things that cannot be adjusted are that it is unabashedly an egg and wheat dish.

Parsnips make me happy, that was reason enough to make this dish.

I chose small, tender parsnips of about 5-8″ long, and not much more than 2″ across. The larger ones were in poor condition,

Parsnips (1)

First, after peeling them, I cut them into 5 sections so they would cook evenly. If yours are larger, you may get more sections, though I do suggest removing the core on any parsnip over 3″ across or 10″ long. The cores are a challenge to eat no matter how good your teeth.

Parsnips (2)

I used water to poach them, but added salt.  A broth would have been a nice poaching medium, but I wanted to keep the preparation simple.

The flour is a locally milled whole wheat which I sieved to reduce the rough matter.  The saffron steeped in warm water for about 15 minutes while I cut and poached the vegetables.

I chose to fry in grapeseed oil, which I keep on hand. It is a modernly available oil with minimal flavor and a high smoke point. My assumption is that olive oil or lard might have been more likely, but I did not wish to use either.

They are heavy, but they didn’t completely fail overnighting in the refrigerator. I reheated them in a dry pan in the oven at 300 for about 15 minutes.


170. Parsnips.

Clean big ones well and remove the woody part in the middle, and boil them; when they are cooked, flour them and fry them in good oil- but before that, dry them well on a small board; then, to make them better, get a bowl of flour tempered with water, add sugar, cinnamon, saffron and rosewater, coat the parsnips with this mixture and put them in the pan with hot oil; then put spices on top of them and serve them properly seasoned like that.


1-2 lbs parsnips, cut into 1/2″x 4″ spears

1/2 c flour

1 TBS sugar (promotes browning, can be omitted)

6-8 threads of saffron, bloomed in 1/4 C warm water

1/2 tsp cinnamon (Canela)

1/2 – 1 oz rosewater, to taste

Water to complete batter

Sufficient oil to fry

salt and pepper, for after frying

A heated oven for the parsnips to rest in

knife and board for trimming

a cloth or wooden rest area for the parsnips to dry while making the batter



Place saffron in water before beginning other processes.
Choose small parsnips.

Wash and peel parsnips. Cut to half length, then cut the thick section into quarters the long way, so all 5 pieces are about the same size.

Poach the cut parsnips til cooked most of the way through, but not enough to turn to mush.

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Allow to cool.

Make batter: by blending dry ingredients then adding liquid til it is a runny consistency. Set aside.

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Prepare frying oil, taking the usual precautions.

Dip parsnips in batter, fry. (watch some videos if you are not comfortable with frying. Using a countertop frying machine makes sense)

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Remove to a screen or cloth to give up excess oil.

Serve.  We really like this with recipe 157 from Los Guisados; Horseradish

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Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection. 4th ed. University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000.  Print.