Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection. 4th ed. University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 178. Print.

 

The Neapolitan Cookbook has several pasta dishes. 15, 16 and 17 are all related.

In the interest of using some leftover tubettini from the prior night, I used aspects of them for my quick lunch dish.

a brown bowl filled with small beads of pasta, and topped with grated white cheese.

quick, tasty, and light

15, Sicilian Macaroni, explains how to make tubettini. It is an egg dough made with rosewater, and “can be kept for two or three years,” while mine were semolina made with plain water. This set of instructions calls for cooking in water or good broth, then a garnish of grated cheese, a pat of butter, and mild spices.

16 describes something a little more like ziti, reminds us to use salt in the cooking, and asks for no more than butter.

Finally, 17, Vermicelli, specifies grated Parmesan cheese, mild spices, and saffron, and tells us that we can make lasagna the same way.

Interesting notes among them are the very long cooking times, their call for butter, and their use of “the very finest” flour, where we modernly think of pasta as more of a semolina flour product.

This causes me to consider my experiences with soft wheats and their differing reactions, and make plans to experiment with making pasta from different types of wheat at some point in the future.

 

Having my pasta already cooked in plain water, I assembled my ingredients and measured out my portion.

First I melted butter in a pan, in order both to butter and refresh the pasta.

After the pasta was warmed through, I poured my saffron water into the pan, which instantly transformed the color of the dish to amber.

I then sprinkled my spices on top, and sauteed for a moment more, in order to soften them and allow them to work their flavors in to the dish. This isn’t specified, , but it made sense.

A layer of pasta in a sautee pan with a dusting of spice powder overtop.

saffron and spices at work.

After plating the dish, I grated an ounce of asiago cheese on top.

Our discussion over lunch had to do with the saffron rounding out the flavor of the cloves, which could have been too sharp and bracing for a gentle dish, and the cheese’s sharpness being tempered by the saffron as well.

While we very rarely have pasta in the house, and it is more rare to have any left over, this was a fun, quick, and tasty use of of it when we did.

Recipe: Neapolitan Pastas, 15, 16, 17

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked tubettini or similar
  • 1 ounce water with saffron (maybe 5 threads)
  • ½ tsp poudre douce (see note)
  • ½ ounce butter
  • 1 ounce grated cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in pan
  2. Add precooked pasta, toss til warm.
  3. Add saffron and water, toss til reasonably evenly colored.
  4. Add spices, toss til scented and evenly distributed
  5. Place pasta in bowl, grate cheese overtop.
  6. Serve.
  7. Note lack of salt. I cook my pasta in liberally salted water, and do not choose to add more. You can certainly add it if you would miss it.

 

Ratings;

  • using store stuff is not exactly there
  • the saffron matters.
  • Balancing the spices is a perfectionists’ task+ only one of the listed recipes requires parmesan, it’s otherwise flexible+ a simple toss-together and heat dish+ leftover special

Note:

the recipe for my powdre douce is available on the button to the top right, “my basic notes and recipes.”

 

A simple dish of boiled chard with mint, parsley, and marjoram, it’s fresh green herbs and veggies season!

 

Herbs and leaf vegetables, whole, on a counter

It's green season!

Anyone who grows kale or chard, or who belongs to a farm share will tell

you that leafy greens are sometimes a little too abundant. It can be a challenge to find interesting

ways to use what is seasonal without getting bored or frustrated.

 

This dish, Stewed Herbs, treats what we now consider to be herb,

and what we now consider to be veggie as being pretty much on the same plane.

 

Instructions are quite simple. Boil the greens all together.

Press out the excess water, chop, and serve in “fat broth” with salt pork.

 

all of the cooked greens in a strainer, having excess water pressed out with the back of a spatula.

Press gently, sometimes the trapped liquid bursts forth...

All of the greens went in together, and were carefully tended til they collapsed.

Once they were bright green and small, they went into a strainer and were pressed of excess water.

After a good squeezing, I chopped them with two knives til they were well minced, and placed them in a bowl.

 

I opted to use olive oil and salt rather than a fat meat based broth and salt pork,

as it was being served with a salty roast meat.

 

The huge pot overfilled with greens wound up being a serving for one.

 

Finely minced greens in a small bowl, held in my hand. The bowl is the size of a large coffee cup.

Rinse well and mince well.

I actively dislike this dish. The mint is distracting, the marjoram has too much of a soapy note,

and the greens are bland. I think (modern palate encroachment!) lack of acid is distracting, as is the subtle soapy note.

 

1 bunch dark leafy greens (about a half pound) washed and stripped off of stems.

1 cup of parsley, washed and stemmed

1 handful mint (edit, I used about 12 leaves of young mint)

a few sprigs of marjoram

water

fat broth or olive oil

salt pork or salt

 

Mustards!

	I took all of the books I could find, and used all of the mustard recipes 
I could within them.

	If I missed some, please mention it so I can go back.

	Some books didn't have any, and some were harder to find or identify than others.
a stack of several books, two jars of mustard seed, several vinegars.

This project took some preparation,
and was a lot of fun.

	My first order of business was to set basic concepts and ground rules for the project. 
With the plan being to use a dozen mason jars, I decided to
  • use whole mustard wherever I could, and grind it. stick with yellow mustard for flavor
  • limit myself to one ounce of seed per jar where possible,
  • not use salt unless called for specifically (it never was)
  • comparison unless brown were specified
  • start them all at the same time, rather than trying to get them to finish at the same time

On to the books.
Guter Spise had mustard as an ingredient, but not as a result.

NeapolitanRecipe 32; 
Not a "mustard," but it is called one.
 Not being a condiment, this will happen another day.

	Recipe 121: Mustard seed soaked in wine or must. 
The description is what passes for scathing, the author seems to have considered this a
 required waste of ink.
 As for flavor, it's simply an acidic whole-grain mustard. 
Grinding the seed, allowing it to mature for some months in a cool room,
 and serving with a cheese course make perfect sense to my palate.

	Recipe 122: Start by steeping the seeds, 
then blend with blanched almonds and must syrup or verjus, then strain, thicken, and add spices if so desired.
  	In steeping, the seeds doubled in size and absorbed about 150% of their dry weight in water.
 Aroma is cheeselike, but it is quite mellow, and would be lovely with cheese, 
dried fruit, or with poultry. It's honestly a lot more pleasant than expected.
        I made the “must” variant, using must from a local vinegar shop.

	Recipe 123: balled mustard for trips. First soak the seeds 
(again, 150% absorption rate) then grind with raisins and spices, form into a ball, and dehydrate on a board. 
This is to be used on the road. To use it, grate it into "verjus or must or wine or vinegar."
	A mortar and pestle was the only functional tool for this, as the spice/coffee grinder 
could not get to the seeds. The wet mustard mixture was too sticky to bounce around enough to get smacked up.
	I added the cinnamon and raisins, and crushed the mustard bit by bit until the
 raisins were no longer visible. Then I rolled the mass into little balls and allowed them to dry in a warm drafty spot for two days.

Libellus de arte coquinaria;P 87, Recipe 8 Another Sauce;
 I passed on this one, as it was too similar to a couple of others and I am low on seeds.

	P. 88, Recipe 9 Another One; This one is fun. It calls for the seeds to be
 ground with honey, cinnamon, and anise. The honey really helped in the mortar and pestle, it kept the little seeds from bouncing 
around so much.  Smells great. I added an ounce of plain red wine which has vinegared on the counter, which it
 absorbed quickly. Being done and marked as being "good for three months," I will check and add more vinegar 
if needed.
 Flavorwise a week later, the mustard strength is tempered by cinnamon, not as sharp, has a backbite. 
Good for smoked meats, ham. It's deep dark and earthy, yet refined.

Goodman of ParisP 188 Sauces Not Boiled; There are two listed in
 one notation, one for making mustard to be used at once, the other for when you have time to allow it to mature.
 I chose to work with the "At Leisure" variety.  It very simply calls for the seeds to be soaked in vinegar overnight,
 ground, then have any spices left from making spiced wine added. Not only is this frugal, it seems it
 would add lovely complementary flavor. 

	P 196 has the recipe for hippocras, which gives proportions of
 spices to be added. I do not use ginger, and have no galangale, so I used the cinnamon, grain of paradise, and nutmegs, 
soaked them in wine overnight as well to emulate the "used and discarded" bit, and folded them in the next day.
 The blend being very tight (dry), I added some of the seasoned wine as well.  On tasting, it was a bit generic and acidic,
 though the spices did add some depth.

	P 195; About halfway down this page of preserving foods is a mustard recipe as a 
sub-recipe for preserving root vegetables.
 It starts by asking for "for every 500 nuts", which gave me a key for weights and measures.
I worked out that 500 almonds is just about 16 ounces, and that the measure in use at the time was nominally 12 ounces.
 This made working out the measures of spices far easier.
	I added the anise, coriander, and caraway, but have no fennel seed.  All of this went into a processor,
 which didn't help much. When I added the vinegar it started to work, and eventually I got something smoother.
 It absorbed almost all of the liquid right away.
	There is a note to add horseradish at the end of this recipe, I am not yet decided 
whether I will.
 It appeard to be to be a note to add this to the full recipe for preserving root vegetables, 
rather than to the subrecipe for the mustard portion. (a question mark)
	On tasting, we agreed that this is much better as an ingredient than a separate sauce, 
it wanted and lacked the depth and lushness of the other items involved in making a proper compost.
 I will make it again when I have root vegetables to preserve, and judge it again.

Sent Sovip 81 Recipe XIX; I was tired of the mortar and pestle, 
and the processor isn't good at little seeds. I tried a sesame-seed mill, it nominally worked.
 At least it hulled the seeds, if not actually breaking them down to powder.
 	I cracked the seeds and poured hot water over them. Then I strained them and did it again. 
I could not grind the seeds (I am done in), but did fold in the same weight chicken broth as dry mustard seeds. 
I added a tenth part honey, as those recipes with proportions of sweetener seem to work out to 1:10 sweetener:mustard by dry weight.
	Being blanched and not having vinegar at all, I am quite curious as to how this one will work out. 

	On tasting, we agree that this was a waste of mustard seeds. Flavorless and lacking in any character, 
we kind of felt let down.
 	There is a comment in Sent Sovi on making French mustard just as there is in Neapolitan, 
but not only does the author reserve personal opinion, there is a suggestion to add fruit syrup.
I let that one pass.
 
English Housewife
         mentions mustards, but the tastiest looking one is meant as a poultice for sciatica.
 (not to imply that it looked tasty!)
Cury on Inglisch 
	p 131 recipe 150 Lumbard Mustard; Finding this one is hard. 
I find this book to the the most frustrating of all of them to hunt through, it's a combination of the organisation and the fonts.
 	Grind the seeds, I whacked them with a meat-flattener, then switched to a rolling pin. 
Eventually I had to admit defeat, half of the mustard weight is powdered. I added the honey, the wine and the vinegar, 
and must thin it with wine at use.  HOT! Horseradishy. Awesome for sausages, smoked meats, or ham, 
it has all of the characteristics we desire from a spicy mustard. 

Martino; The Art of Cooking
	P 135: Just as scathing as Neapolitan's comment,
 this one simply remarks on French mustard "It is merely thinned with bitter or sodden wine. This is French mustard- for what it's worth."
 ooh, spiteful!

	The recipe on 78 for "Red or Violet mustard" is for the plant, not the seeds, and not a condiment but a dish.

 Two weeks later, I went back to check on them all.
several
 pint canning jars of different mustards, all labeled.

keeping things orderly

	Neapolitan Recipe 121 About the same; this would be a fine base for a mustard,
 but it isn't by any means usable in this state.

	Neapolitan Recipe 122 Fermented and grey, I think this was best at three days.
 I stand by my suggestion for service with a cheese plate with dried fruit.

	Neapolitan Recipe 123
	Libellus de arte coquinaria;  P 88 Still pleasant,
 but nothing to write home about. This did not live up to expectations, sadly.

	Goodman of Paris P 188 Way past prime, unfortunately. 
I think a week in the fridge is all it is good for. It is uninteresting, 
particularly compared to how rich and pleasant some of the others are.
 Goodman of Paris P 195 It got funky (musty smelling.) I will make this in the fall when I have root veg out of the garden.

	Sent Sovi p 81 About the same, but still less than interesting. 
Thin and plain.

	Cury on Inglisch p 131 Has lost nothing of it's charm. 
It is a good and interesting option. We used it up first.
 REVISITING NEAPOLITAN 123
 There were some interesting points on this one.
From one ounce of mustard seed I have two ounces of completed mustard balls. They are quite light and airy from the hulls
 of the mustard being so coarse.
 They have a lovely aroma, and look quite sensibly portable.
superball-sized balls drying on a paper towels
They took about two days to dry properly
 After drying on the counter for several days, I decided to test a couple of variables.

 I placed three balls each in separate jars, and covered each with 10x its weight in liquid.
 One was steeped in red wine, one in red wine vinegar, and one in verjus. 

 12 hours later, I looked in on them, they had not dissolved, but had soaked up some liquid.

 The Vinegar one I mashed with all it's liquid, it was far too runny.
 The Verjus, I poured off all but a volume equivalent to the still-whole ball, and mashed. Still too runny, 
though a useful consistency.
 The plain wine, I poured off all of the liquid, and mashed just the ball. It was a slight bit thick, very spreadable. 

 My suggestion is to soak with enough liquid to cover, separate, mash, and add back the used soaking liquid as 
needed for the consistency you prefer.

 Flavors and aromas were slightly different, though the character was similar enough between the three to be functionally interchangeable. 

 The wine had the most heat and sweetness, the verjus was sharpest, and the vinegar was pretty well balanced
 between the two.
A half hour later, the sweetness lingers.

“Neapolitan Recipe Collection”

as translated by Terence Scully

Recipe 46

Goat Kid or Mutton with Thick Broth Get kid or mutton and cut it into small pieces, and put it into a pot with salt pork, then get sage, mint and onion, and cook everyhting together; then get good spices and saffron, distemper them with the meat’s broth and let everything boil together until the meat falls apart, then lift the meat out into a dish with the thick broth.

After boning out a shoulder of mutton, I peeled as much silverskin as I could, and sliced it into “spoon-size” bits of about a half-ounce each.

a deep pan with mutton chopped to about half-ounce bits, a chopped onion, and seasonings

on low heat.

Then I chopped the onion the way I sometimes like to; in half, then slice one half finely. I did this so the larger one could signal the cookedness of the dish, and the quantity would not overwhelm the small portion being made. It also made for a handy spot to stick cloves later.

Only having dried herbs, I used the sage, but chose savory over plain mint. Dried mint does nothing for me, and savory struck me as a good and tasty compromise. I don’t suggest it, it didn’t quite fit the palate.

I have salt-pork, it is unsmoked streaky bacon. I put two slices of about an ounce each into the pot. Had I chosen not to use it, I would have used olive oil and salt

Though the dish calls for no water, I added a small amount, being of the thought that a “pot” is a wet-cooking vessel. Though the meat did later give broth, it needed some liquid to start. Sticking would have ruined dinner.

The dish was cooked with a lid on the whole time.

 

After the meat cooked through, I added cracked pepper, a couple of cloves and a shard of cinnamon. Again, I am not a fan of using saffron except when I know the dish is otherwise honed, and feel it is worth the expense. Sunday dinner is not that time.

Had I used a larger quantity of powdered spices, I would have put them into another, smaller pot with broth and allowed them to simmer together (distempering) til the broth was thickened and the spices were homogeneous. As I was using a small amount of whole spice, this step would not have been beneficial, and the broth was not thick as a result.

After an hour the meat is cooked but not to tenderness, and the onion half is completely soft. I put the lid back on and simmered at low for another twenty minutes, then served it up.

 

the same pan, an hour later, with a rich broth, collapsing half-onion, and tender meat

it's ready for plating.

1 lb lean meat, trimmed and cubed.

1 onion, medium, halved and one half sliced thin.

½ tsp sage, dried

(½ tsp savory, dried, used here but not preferred)

(1 TBS mint, preferred, would be best fresh)

2-4 oz salt pork (or other fat and salt)

(do not add salt to the dish unless you skip the salt pork)

2-4 oz water

3 cloves

an inch of cinnamon

½ tsp cracked long pepper

 

Place the  meat and onion  in the pot with a small amount of water, and set burner to medium.

Add herbs, and put the lid on the pot.

After 45 minutes to an hour, either

add your whole spices or

remove a cup of the cooking liquid, and add your powdered spices to it, then in a separate pot, simmer the spices for a few moments until they become homogeneous with the broth. At this point, re-introduce the now-spiced broth to the pot, tasting for balance. You may not choose to use it all.

Put the lid back on the pot, lower the temperature and continue cooking until the meat is ready to fall apart.

Check for salt, and serve.

 

A pot with a good lid is about all you really need to pull this off. A second, smaller pot for simmering the spices would be useful.

Ratings;

– “hidden” pork product. Make sure it’s marked when feeding groups.

– really needs the fresh herbs

– not the most popular meat.

– not the most evocative dish.

+ toss it in the pot and forget it, then simmer the spices in some of the broth. Pretty simple.

+ Minimal waste, made from trim.

+ great “intro” dish, easy to take a small portion, and not unfamiliar flavors.

cooked portions of meat in a bowl, ready to be served

“Neapolitan Recipe Collection”

as translated by Terence Scully;

Recipe 50

Florentine-Style Meat in a Baking Dish: Get veal or another meat with the bone, cut it into the pieces as small as a fist, and put them into a baking dish with a little water, a beaker of wine and another of good verjuice; if you master likes, add in a few slices of onion or, should he not like onions, use parsley, the root that is along with raisins, dried prunes, and salt; cover the meat by no more than a finger of water, and set it in the oven; when it looks half done, add a few cloves, a good lot of cinnamon, pepper and a good lot of saffron let it taste of pepper; when it is half cooked, turn it over; then take it out onto a plate with the spices and sugar on top, or else leave it in the baking dish. You can do the same with fish that is, grey mullet or eels cut into pieces four fingers in width, washed well and put into a baking dish with a little oil. Note that you can make these things sweet or tart according to our master’s taste..

It’s winter. It’s cold, I want to make hearty food. There are beef short ribs in the fridge. It looks like a plan.

cut the meat into approximately 4 ounce chunks, and poured an equal proportion of wine, verjus, and water over them. I shaved an onion into the pot, put in a good handful of black raisins, and seasoned the pot with about a half-teaspoon of salt.

 

meat, sliced onions, and raisins in a wine-based cooking liquid, in a large pot.

all of the ingredients ready to go

After 45 minutes I put in the called for spices, and let it go for another 15 or 20 minutes.

It’s a bit of a pot roast with overtones of sauerbraten. We are not complaining.

cooked portions of meat in a bowl, ready to be served

The final product, waiting for sauce and vegetables.

This is a regular dish on our table, it only needs about 5 minutes of attention at the beginning, and two in the middle of cooking. It needs no fancy slicing for service, as it is already in portion controlled pieces.

I appreciate the ease with which I can adapt this balance from sharp to sweet by using more or fewer raisins and /or prunes. It’s good comforting food which succeeds best when a cheap rough cut of beef is used, though the original suggests many alternative proteins.

I used;

1c Commercial verjus

1c California red Zinfandel

1c water

2 lbs short ribs

1/4c black raisins

A cinnamon stick, crushed (canela)

a healthy pinch of pepper

4 whole cloves,

a pinch of Kosher salt

RATINGS:

+ Cheap cuts of meat work well.

+ Simple seasonings.

+ One burner, no complex methods.

+ reminiscent of Sauerbraten, so not a challenge to the timid palate.

+/- Calls for verjus (but there are reasonable substitutions available).

+ Pairs nicely with a variety of sauces and vegetable options

All in all, there is nothing about this presentation I do not enjoy, and nothing I cannot recommend.

It’s a clear winner.