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Last summer we told you about our new chef friend Salvatore Di Scala.  Every minute spent with Sal has been exciting and full of laughter.  I can’t say that about too many people.  He lives and loves life like no other.  Within the past six months we have witnessed him falling in love and eventually marrying his perfect match Ashley.  They are going to embark on a new adventure soon, living on the beautiful island of Ischia, in the Gulf of Naples.  (Yeah I know exactly what you’re thinking, I’m jealous too.)  Here’s one of the best meals we shared prepared by Sal.  I’ve got the recipes too!   Are you SALivating yet?

O’ Manfrede ca Ricotta

O’ Manfrede ca Ricotta is a dish that is traditionally eaten the day after Christmas in Naples.  It’s made with a pasta called mafalda or manfrede.  The shape is a long ribbon, with curls along the sides, about 3/4 inch in diameter and almost 2 feet in length.  I guess you could say it looks like a thin and very long lasagna.  Sal used the Cav. Giuseppe Cocco brand from Abruzzi (a region just east of Rome), some Gia Russa San Marzano tomatoes, and a generous helping of fresh ricotta.  My first bite of the dish was incredible, for a moment I felt transported to a breezy and sunny day by the sea in Napoli. The dish was luscious yet light at the same time.  It was amazing.  Our second dish was spicy wild boar sausage with fennel.  It was sauteed with peppadew peppers, garlic, and black olives.  A splash of prosecco was added then reduced back to it’s own fat until brown, crisp, and shiny.  The contorni or sides included kiwis, beet salad with buffalo mozzarella, and some friarelli (mustard greens).  The beet salad/kiwi reduced the fatty feel of the sausage and made it seem more refreshing while the bitterness of the mustard greens seemed to elevate the meatiness of the wild boar.  To drink we had some pinot noir and chardonnay (my mind is a little fuzzy about the brands).  I offered to bring dessert which was a vanilla buttercream cake from Whole Foods with delightful polka dots.  Each color had a different flavor!  You might be wondering why I didn’t make the dessert.  You see, I wanted to make a cake but I’m a horrible cake maker.  I feel so guilty putting in all that fat and sugar that I would start substituting or taking out ingredients and the result is you know what.  When Sal and Ashley are sitting on a beach in Ischia, if they happen to think of me, I want it to be  “Leslie is such a good person and she sure can pick out a nice cake”.

To food, to life, and to good friends.

RECIPES

A.)  Beet Salad with Bufallo Mozzarella

Ingredients

  • 4 cups roasted beets
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1T. orange juice
  • some orange slices
  • 1 ball of bufallo mozarella
  • salt and pepper to taste

The beet salad was just perfect which is saying a lot because I generally don’t like to eat beets.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roast the beets for about 45 minutes to an hour, peel, and section then mix with the rest of the ingredients.  That’s it, it’s so simple.

B.)  Friarelli (Mustard Greens)

Ingredients

  • one big bunch of mustard greens
  • 2. T. olive oil
  • 2 generous slices of guanciale or bacon
  • one head of garlic
  • 1/2 c. black olives
  • 1/2 c. brown olives
  • 3-5 pieces Thai chili peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste

Render the fat from the guanciale or bacon then add the olive oil.  Throw in whole garlic cloves, chili peppers, olives then the mustard greens.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook on medium heat until bright green and soft.

C.)  O’ Manfrede ca Ricotta

Pasta

Boil a large pot of water for the pasta.  Cook the mafalda or manfrede towards the end of cooking the pasta sauce.  It should only take 8-10 minutes.

Tomato Sauce

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-6 oz. prosciutto crudo
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bottle Cirio (Italian crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 large can Gia Russa San Marzano tomatoes (whole, peeled)
  • 2 cups shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 1 to 1/2 c. fresh ricotta cheese

Render the fat from the prosciutto crudo then take it out of the pan.  Add the olive oil and onions into the pan.  Cook until translucent then add the garlic.  The tomatoes go in next (the whole tomatoes should break down by the time the sauce is ready).  Cook on a gentle simmer for about half an hour.  Turn the heat off and add the Parmigiano Reggiano and basil leaves.  Pour sauce onto the pasta little by little and then alternately add the ricotta.  Garnish with some basil leaves and eat immediately.

*For the ingredients, visit Fraboni’s in Madison.

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