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Feb 16, 2010 09:22 AM

What kind of mushrooms would you use in a recipe from Abruzzo/Molise?

I've been cooking my way through Ada Boni's regionali Italian book, and right now I'm in the chapter on Abruzzo and Molise. I just had a couple questions, as sometimes Ms. Boni can be a bit vague.

What kind of mushrooms should I get if she hasn't specified?

What is unsmoked ham fat? Do I just buy a fatty cut of pork and cut off the fat?

Where can I get a boned turkey, as I'd do an awful job myself? I was thinking Pino's. Same question for rabbit. These are outside the Fresh Direct world, of course.

What are chocolate strands?

What kind of lamb chops would she be talking about? Shoulder? The little rib ones? Loin?


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  1. I don't know of that cookbook, nor what you are actually making, but I would use cremini mushrooms, which are very prevalent in Italian cooking.

    I would use salt pork, in place of unsmoked ham fat. It's not smoked & that's what they are probably looking for.

    Sorry, can't help you with the rest. I would guess if you know of a reliable butcher, he can bone your turkey and order rabbit for you.

    2 Replies
      1. re: hchudgin

        I've lost touch with my Italian 'grandmother', the landlady from Abruzzo that used to shout at me (in Italian) though my apartment window with instructions how to make brodetto and pasta. Otherwise I would ask her.

        For rabbit and various kinds of salt pork or lardons or pancetta, maybe try Ottomanelli's on Bleeker St in the Village, and in Italian Brooklyn, there's the Staublitz butcher shop and Los Paisanos butcher shop which are both in Cobble Hill/ Carroll Gardens.

        For the boned turkey, could you work with a boned whole breast?

    1. I looked at the recipe and Boni calls for sliced mushrooms. Im pretty sure she means fresh mushrooms, not dried = in places where she means porcini that is specified. Some thing like baby bellas would be good here.

      unsmoked ham fat? I agree that some thing like salt pork or pancetta (an unsmoked bacon product) or guanciale would be fine. Lardo would fill the bill but its fairly hard to find and expensive.

      For the boned items, Id find a good butcher, learn to bone or move on to another recipe.The rabbit recipe does not require you end up with a single piece, so it might be more manageable if you make a mess of the job. I seem to remember that Julia Child has some good instructions for boning if you need more advice.

      lamb chops - I think the key is to find a butcher who has really young lamb - probably the cut doesnt matter nearly as much as the age of the lamb.

      1. Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking
        Types of mushrooms: the ordinary white or crimini or a combination
        unsmoked ham fat: any cured but not smoked fat such as pancetta or guanciale; not salt pork because she usually specify that in other recipes
        boned turkey for her Tacchino alla Canzanese: if you can't get a butcher to bone a turkey then follow her instruction; or use a boneless turkey breast and tie it up; or practice on a large chicken. As for boned rabbit cubes for her Coniglio alla Molisana, you might try to bone it yourself as it is eventually cubed and flatten, therefore, it does not have to be perfect. Treat it like cutting a whole chicken, cut off the two front legs, then the two hind legs, cut the loin from each side from the bone, save the breasts. Then debone each legs.
        lamb chops for her Bracioline: rib chops
        chocolate strands: jimmies; they are use to decorate cakes, cupcakes, ice creams, buy them in can or bottle; goggle if you can't picture them.
        Good luck!

        1. Ordinary button mushrooms, and the fat from prosciutto. It doesn’t matter so much what part of the lamb the chops come from as how old the lamb is. She probably means pretty young. In any case, they should be cut thin (e.g., no double rib chops). You can cook and serve all the chops together.

          1. Fwiw, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of an Italian connection to "unsmoked ham" is prosciutto. Pellegrino Artusi calls for it - specifically prosciutto fat, that is - a few times in his book "The Art of Eating Well."

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