Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Western PA Ethnic Cooking - Italian - Part 10 - old recipes, photos & modern day recipe links






The Italians immigrated to Western Pa from 1880 to 1900's and later!!

  • First immigrants came from Abruzzi (Aleleta, Costel di Sangro, Pesco Costanza), Puglia, Calabria or other regions of Mezzogiorno (southern Italy).  Land had been transferred to the wealthy so there were few opportunities for the working class. 
  • The immigrants were skilled laborers
    • peddlers
    • masons
    • shoemakers
    • carpenters
    • tailors
    • Others found work as 
      • laborers in mines
      • construction and
      • on railroads. 
Foods that were prepared were:
  • Braciola (rolled round steak)
  • Fettunta (garlic bread)
  • Pasta e Fagioli (Peasant Bean Soup)
  • Minestrone (Italian Soup)
  • Zuppa italiano matrimonio (Italian wedding soup)
  • Spaghetti salsa (spaghetti sauce)
  • Gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi)
  • La scelta: fettuccine alfredo (fettucine noodles with alfredo sauce)
  • Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken cacciatore)
  • Vitello parmigiano (veal parmesan)
  • Insalata zucchine e melanzane (hot or cold ratatouille)
  • Pizzells (Italian waffles)
  • Biscotti (Italian cookies)

Recipe for Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Sauce



  • 3 lb. fresh tomatoes
  • 2 TBSN salad oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 TSP minced garlic
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (2 medium)
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1/2 TSP thyme
  • 1/8 TSP black pepper
Use fully ripe tomatoes. Seed and chop tomatoes to make about 5 1/2 cups.  Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onion & garlic & saute for 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients & simmer (covered) for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve over fresh green beans, pasta, rice or broccoli spears. 

Fettunta (real Italian garlic bread)



Grill thick slices of salt-less Italian bread over a bright fire until golden crisp on the outside but still soft within.  Rub fat cloves of raw garlic (cut in half) over bread.  Laying the slices on a large plate, drizzle with warm olive oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of coarse salt. 

Gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi)



3 lb. potatoes (5 or 6 lrg)
3 TBSN grated Parmesan
3 cups flour
1 egg
salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water & drain. Put in bowl and mash.  Add cheese, flour, egg & seasoning.  Roll & form. Drop into boiling water. They will surface when cooked.  Remove them with a slotted spoon & serve with your favorite sauce. 

                                          Vitello parmigiano (veal parmesan)

1 lb. veal steak, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 egg
2 TSP water
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil

But veal into 6-8 pieces.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Beat egg with water.  Dip veal in egg, then roll in mixture of Parmesan cheese & bread crumbs.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Fry veal (about three pieces at a time) until golden brown on each side.  Lay in shallow wide baking dish.  
Use your favorite sauce.  Pour most of it over the veal.  Top with thin slices of mozzarella then pour over remaining sauce.  Bake in 350 degree moderate oven for about 30 minutes. 



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