Recipes from the Grotta Azura (Manhattan)
The Grotta Azzura finally reopened a few years ago. The restaurant has been redone and the familar downstairs is now a private room. To those of us that dined there growing up, it is different and the food not the same.....however, it is there and will remain a wonderful memory for us. GO and try it out . I am lucky to have two of their old cookbooks!
Would you by any chance have the cookbook that I believe is titled, "The Recipes of the Grotta Azzurra" from about 1977? That book was amongst some of the items lost over the years and through several moves. The recipe I am going crazy trying to remember, while very simple, is the one for Veal or Chicken Picante - I think that was the spelling (it had lemon in it and served with the thinly sliced lemon over the top). If you have this and can re-type it for me I would be most appreciative.
177 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013
My pleasure.....I have the original paper bound cookbook and found the Veal Picante:
4 slices veal scaloppine
2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 c flour
2 tbls butter
1 c beef broth
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley, chopped
Dip the veal into flour, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a skilet and add the veal. Brown on both sides over high heat. Drain oil. Add juice from 1/2 lemon, butter, broth, pepper and parsely. Cook for another five minutes. Serve with slices of lemon from the remaining half.
I cant thank you enough. We bought the book in the 70'S and I lost it. That book was amongst my treasured collection of all my cookbooks. Being native New Yorkers ,now living in Florida, where the bakeries are less then be desired,we went for many years to that restaurant. I really want to make that cake, it is our favorite. THANKS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH !
Here you go:
Italian Cheese Cake:
3 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 cups sugar
3 Tbls. candied citron
1 tsp vanilla
Place ricotta in a bowl and stir. Add sugar and mix well. Add citron, vanilla and eggs. Mix all ingredients thoroughly
Crust for Cheese Cake
3 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, 2 eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla to make a dough. Mix until dough is smooth and soft. Gather up with fingers and form 2 balls. On a lightly foured board, roll dough into a sheet 1/4 inch thick and shape into 12 inch circles. Place one circle into a 12 inch round pan. Add cheese cake filling into pan and cover with remaining dough. Press all around the edge gently with fingers. Remove any excess flour. Spread one beaten egg over top of cake.
Bake for about 1 hour.
I have some questions about this, if you've made it before:
 there seems to be an unaccounted for egg in the second half. It calls for 3 eggs, plus 1 beaten egg. The beaten egg goes over the top of the cake. But the dough recipe only calls for adding 2 of the first 3 eggs. Which is the type? the 3 or the 2?
 What shape is this thing when done? It appears there is a bottom and a top crust. Do you back it in a pie tin? A cake pan?
It sounds like a recipe my family years ago would give ,a pinch of this a pinch of that. I have not made the cake , but I would go with the three eggs. The cake was high so I would go with a cake pan. I can tell you that it was the best I ever had and I am not easily pleased. We been halfway around the world and we have never had better.I am ethnic Italian cook and even taught cooking for the state of Florida so if there is any recipe I can help you with I would be more then happy to do so . I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH !
I, too, have fond memories of this place.
For me, it was veal scallopine pizzaiola.
It was my favorite dish when I was a kid.
We used to go to Ferraro's for lemon ices afterwards.
I stumbled on the new incarnation last summer.
They made veal scallopine pizzaiola for me (it was not on the menu), which was nice of them, but alas it was not the same.
I remembered the tile mural on the wall from when I was a kid, and asked to take a look downstairs. The tile mural is now in the kitchen, but I'm pretty sure it's the same mural....
And to anyone reading, if you've got the old book -- and there's a recipe in it for the veal scallopine pizzaiola -- is there any chance you'd type it in?
Barring that, would you just let me know whether it's in the book or not? If so, I'll hunt it down whatever it takes...
Here it is, from the original cook book which I treasure!
Veal Scaloppine Pizzaiola
4 slices veal scaloppine
4 tbls olive oil
1 tbls garlic, chopped
1 can Italian tomatoes, 17 oz
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until lightly brown. Drain the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the salt, oregano and pepper. Cook for ten minutes over high heat. In another skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and cook the veal for a few minutes on each side. Drain oil from the pan with the veal and pour sauce over the veal. Heat together for a few minutes. Do not overcook or veal will dry out.
Enjoy! (My tip is to use really good canned tomatoes - look for San Marzano Italian tomatoes)
Tried it Sunday night!
(Though with chicken instead of veal, as veal cutlets require traveling farther from home).
Totally delicious, though next time I will cut the salt in half, or 2/3 !
Plus: I ordered the only copy I could find online of the cookbook and it arrived yesterday! Hoooray!
CookieMonster, is there any way I can pay to have those recipes from the grotta azura cookbooks.
Chich214 - direct from the book. Mangia Bella!
Pasta e Fagioli
- 1 lb. white kidney beans (soaked in water overnight)
- 2 stalks celery, copped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup tomatoes
- 3 slices prosciutto
- salt, pepper, and basil to taste
- 3 qts. water
- 1/2 lb. ditalini (pasta)
Cook beans in 3 qts. of water until it comes to a boil. Lower flame. In a skillet, brown the garlic and add prosciutto. Let simmer for a few minutes. Next, add tomatoes and celery and let simmer again for a few minutes. Then add salt, pepper and basil to taste. Add mixture to beans and let cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Just before beans are finished cooking, cook pasta in 3 qts. of boiling salted water about 10 minutes. Drain, and add to beans. Mix well and serve.
I actually grew up going to the grotta at least once a month my grandfather was a cook there for many years. The owner John actually gave a copy of the cook book to my father as a gift. Unfortunately my grandfather and father both passed away and I have no idea who has our book. My favorite dishes where the lobster far diavolo an the spidini a la romano. It will mean a great deal to me if I can get those recipes.
Lobster Fra Diavolo
1 large lobster (2 lbs)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil, chopped
1 Tbl parsley, chopped
1 can tomatoes (24 oz)
salt & pepper to taste
Place lobster on back and split. Remove the small sac behind the head. Separate claws from body and crack. Separate tail from the body. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is hot, add the lobster meat side down. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn lobster, add garlic and cook until garlic is golden brown. Add tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook slowly for 15 minutes. Serve very hot.
Variation: Add crushed red pepper to your taste if you prefer it hot.
Spedini a la Romana
2 slices of white bread
3 slices mozzarella, cut to size of bread
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Remove crust from bread. Cut bread in hals and place mozzarella on one slice of bread. Then continue doing this until all bread and mozzarella is used. You will have 4 layers of bread and 3 layers of mozzarella. Secure with skewers. Dip in flour, then egg. Do this 3 or 4 times ending with flour. Deep fry in hot oil 400 degrees until golden brown.