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Cookbook of the Month for September 2012 : My Calabria

"My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South" has won, by one timely vote.
The authors are Rosetta Constantino and Janet Fletcher. Shelley Lindgren is listed as a contributor.
These three ladies have written a book I know nothing about, (Italy has an undiscovered south?) so I'll be opening it for the first time in a few days when it arrives. Hoping it's a knockout!

On September 1st, I'll post threads for specific reporting from this book. Until then, post your thoughts about the new volume to be explored in this thread.

The voting thread that got us here is
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863519

A general explanation of Cookbook of the Month, and a list of past books, can be found here
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

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  1. Great work blue room! Looking forward to cooking from My Calabria.

    1. Great work blue. Now I can order from the library!

      1. Awesome job br...a nail-biter right down to the wire! I'm excited to cook more from this book and mr bc is elated to have an Italian COTM.

        1. Put a hold on it at the library - so little cooking time this September that not sure what I will be able to make out of it. I like italian food but it is not my so very favourite that I need a book on every region of the country. I spent six month in Italy at one point in my life and had memorable meals that no cook book yet replicated for me... maybe it is just a nostalgia thing:)

          Hope we'll cook out of PW "Morroco" this fall! Or Turkey that is three out of three so far for me.

          1. Glad because this is the only contender that I own. I'm currently vegan, but I think I can find/adapt many recipes that will work for me.

            9 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              I just did a perusal and a bookmarking of recipes. I think there are a quite a lot of all-vegetable recipes, and perhaps even more that can be converted. EYB counts 48 vegetarian recipes, with 34 of them vegan.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I'm curious if your vegan adventure is inspired by health, or by animal benevolence/protection. Not really any of my business, so don't apologize if you don't want to talk about it. I'm interested in the pathway: I was a vegetarian (rarely vegan) for many years. Started adding some fish in slowly for social situations. I got tired of being the one who needed the annoying dinner items. That was a long time ago though.

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    I used to be Macrobiotic, many, many moons ago. Talk about needing annoying dinner items. It was completely socially ostracizing but I never felt better.

                    1. re: dkennedy

                      I used to be vegetarian, then pescatarian and now mostly don't eat red meat (eat it maybe 4 times a year). And *still* I end up feeling like a PITA at a lot of restaurants. I'm very strict about not eating pork (after so many years my body responds very badly if it sneaks into something), and around here (NC) bacon and lard find their way into a lot of things.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I am very strict about not eating pork and feel as I am the last person in NA that does not eat it. Bacon has been the "flavour of the month" for the last couple of years and so many recipes now call for bacon. I've been using chicken and turkey bacon since LLM mentioned it somewhere but the other day was checking ingredients because a friend with many food allergies was coming for dinner and was horrified to see what's in it... sigh...Guess I'll go back to using plain smoked turkey instead or look for duck bacon that is suppose to be more natural.

                        1. re: herby

                          Yeah, you definitely have to check. A lot of the turkey and chicken sausages out there are made with pork casings (so I don't order those out), and some of the turkey bacon is as well. Always check the ingredient list.

                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                      Health reasons. (Gave it a 2-week trial last January to see if it would relieve some of my husband's digestive issues. It didn't but unexpectedly returned my long-time grotesquely swollen ankle to normal and got rid of my arthritis.) Cooking vegan is a challenge, but an interesting one.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Wow, that is an impressive result, and certainly incentive to stay with it!

              1. I was definitely interested in this book, but see that my library doesn't have it. May have to call and see if they can find another in the state.

                7 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  LLM, she does have a website with a lot of recipes. I haven't checked to see if some/all are in the book but there's certainly lots of variety. The website is so enticing.

                  http://www.cookingwithrosetta.com/ind...

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Wonderful!!! Thank you so much - that will really help. Hope to get a few minutes this morning to look at it. Again, thanks.

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      It's funny, the author is leading a cooking/eating/sightseeing tour to Calabria right in the middle of her book month.

                      from the blog:
                      "Calabria with Rosetta
                      9-Day Culinary Tour with Cooking Classes
                      September 11 – September 19, 2012 SOLD OUT"

                      As usual, I first look at the breads and desserts -- and I know I'll be doing the homemade ricotta.

                      1. re: blue room

                        Oh how I wish I could be on that tour br!!! Like you, I was immediately drawn to the ricotta. I checked out her source for those draining baskets and I'm very tempted to order them.

                        1. re: blue room

                          I bought ricotta baskets and rennet to make Rosetta's ricotta recipe, but I ended up finding Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Jersey Cow Ricotta at Whole Foods and it's so good I'm not sure making it at home is necessary. I used to buy Calabro, but this stuff is really excellent:
                          http://www.bellwetherfarms.com/Mercha...

                          1. re: emily

                            I'll love making some ricotta, basket-shaped or no :)
                            But I am concerned that my store-bought homogenized pasteurized milk will produce cheese that only *resembles* what you'd get in Calabria.
                            I do have a Whole Foods nearby too.

                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Had a look at the website today and found some (I think 11) things that I felt like I wanted to make right this second. That's a pretty good average! I'm looking forward to cooking from this one. Thanks again BC!

                      2. Sounds like I better get busy reading the blog.

                          1. Well Done Blueroom !

                            I've had the book since last year when Buttertart first mentioned it on one of the new cookbook threads I did cook a couple of recipes but wasn't wowed by them. My sense is that the seasonings of Calabria are much milder than that of Sicily, for example. But we shall see. It will be good to return to the book and see what the other recipes look like and to be immersed in the cuisine of this southern region of the country that means so much to me. The story of the Constantino family is fascinating.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              nah! Calabria can be hot and spicy! the spiciest region of Italy. I have a pack of 'nduja in my freezer that I can only eat in little bits - its mainly chiles and pork fat. I havent looked a the this book however and you are right in the sense that it does not have the influence of the moors and spaniards to the same degree which may have produced a more elaborate cuisine in Sicily.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Thanks Jen. It's going to be a fun journey then. 'Nduja, huh... I'm going to have to warn my local salumeria about the exotic ingredients I'll be needing next month. .

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Gio or Jen, do either of you know the correct pronunciation of nduja? Is it "nuh-doo-yah"?

                                  I love the stuff but agree w Jen in that i can only take it in small doses. One of my favourite ways to use it is to do a light smear of it on pizza dough before spreading on the sauce and toppings. I seem to recall there being a fair bit of info on the region and ingredients in the front of the book so like you Gio, I'll have to build a shopping list and put my Italian grocer/butcher on notice!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    I would say: En - DUE - ya. Although there are times when I've heard the J pronounced..

                                    Paging Jen Kalb !

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      maybe bob96 will surface who is from this region but I would agree with you, Gio, based on the little I know.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Boy was I off base! That makes a lot of sense though Gio & Jen because as I sounded it out aloud it reminded me of the word andouille...a similarly seasoned sausage.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          That makes sense too BC.

                                          BTW: I was pronouncing that 'N not as the French Awn, but like the letter N.

                              2. My mother-in-law was of Calabrian heritage. Her parents came from Petilia Policastro. I wonder if the recipe for her traditional Christmas Eve meal is in the book. Phonetically it was pronounced 'ughi ah', but upon asking other people of Italian heritage if they know what it is, I get a response of 'no.'

                                If I tell them in standard Italian that it is 'aglio e olio", most of them immediately know about what I am talking.

                                I have an unpublished Calabrian cookbook in the form of an apron worn while I make my world famous 'arrabbiato minestone denso' (very spicy thick vegetable soup) which keeps my total cholesterol down at between 109 and 111. The apron makes the statement 'I don't need a recipe...I'M ITALIAN.' That's only partially true. Sto italiano per matrimonio (I'm Italian by marriage).

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                  ChiliDude will you share your recipe for Arabbiato minestrone denso? Would love to try making it myself.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    I'd like to see that recipe too CD, I'm guessing it's a hearty thick vegetable soup with an Arabbiato sauce base. Minestrone is a favorite soup of mine. Give me some crusty bread and a glass of bold red wine and I'm happy.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Gio, you are quite the detective. Looks good!

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            It has all the signs... just sayin'. Where Is that man...

                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                      Minestrone Soup (Arrabbiata Minestrone Denso)

                                      This recipe usually produces a soup that is thick like stew (stoup?). It is just to be used as a guide and not chiseled in stone. Variations on this theme are encouraged to prevent boredom from consuming a bowl of this stoup each morning. Be creative.

                                      Ingredients

                                      1 cup each of 2 kinds of dried beans*
                                      Olive oil**, enough to cover the bottom of a large stockpot
                                      1 medium to large onion, diced
                                      2 celery ribs, diced
                                      3 carrots, sliced
                                      Several fresh hot peppers, stems and seeds removed, diced (optional)
                                      Several garlic cloves, minced
                                      2/3 cup dried lentils
                                      2/3 cup dried split peas
                                      2/3 cup barley
                                      1 28-oz. can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
                                      1 head of cabbage (about 3 to 4 pounds), chopped***
                                      1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning (a mixture of dried herbs -oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, savory and sage sold in the same container)
                                      Salt and ground black pepper to taste (I don’t add either, tomato sauce contains salt)****

                                      Preparation

                                      Examine beans for foreign matter (little stones or soil) and discard such matter. Place in a stockpot (5-quart capacity). Soak the beans in water for about 6 hours or overnight. Drain soaking water, add more water, stir and drain one more time. Add plenty of water to beans, bring to a boil, turn heat to simmer and partially cover pot. Simmer for about ½ hour, turn off heat, and remove covered pot from the heat.

                                      Add oil to a larger stock pot (8-quart capacity) preheated at medium heat. When oil shimmers in the pot, add onion, celery, carrots, fresh hot peppers (or ground chiles) and garlic. Sauté (or sweat) the vegetables until onions are translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.

                                      Add cooked beans and the liquid in which they were cooked to the vegetables. Rinse the lentils, split peas and barley in a strainer before adding to the mixture. Note that barley expands upon cooking so do not use too much. Add the tomato to pot and stir well. Add the cabbage to the pot and again, stir well. Allow the soup to simmer for at least 45 minutes to make sure that the beans, lentils, split peas and barley are fully cooked.

                                      Makes 12 to 14 servings (for breakfast each day)

                                      *Navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, garbanzo beans (ceci), etc.
                                      **Other oil such as canola oil can be substituted.
                                      ***Any cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, kale, collards, Chinese cabbage, etc.) can be used.
                                      Any frozen package(s) can be used instead of fresh.
                                      **** I use any source of ground spicy red pepper such as cayenne or other varieties.

                                      Note: Sometimes other ingredients such as leftovers are included like meat gravy, chard or kale reserved midribs that have been removed before cooking, sometimes leftover homemade vegetable stock and the puree made from the overcooked vegetables, etc.

                                      Buon appetito - Vivi, ama, ridi e mangia bene (Live, love, laugh and eat well

                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                          As they say in Italian..."il piacere e' mio!" (the pleasure is mine)

                                    2. re: ChiliDude

                                      BTW, I forgot to mention that the Italians use the word 'arrabbiato' to indicate that something is spicy. The literal translation of 'arrabbiato' is 'angry.'

                                    3. Very cool! I'm taking Rosetta's pasta cooking class this Friday in Emeryville (CA).

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: emily

                                        You'll have to post letting us know what recipes she did. Maybe you could get her permission to post the recipes? Or she could post them herself!

                                        1. re: emily

                                          Oh wow, lucky you emily...as dk says please report back, we'd love to hear about it!! Have a wonderful time.

                                          1. re: emily

                                            Oh that sounds wonderful. I will look forward to your report.

                                          2. My copy from the library came today and I have so many pages marked, I am going to buy it!

                                            1. My copy of My Calabria just arrived at my library! So excited I will have it in time to participate.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                I received mine yesterday from the library, but tabbed do many pages.....,I just bought it a instead.
                                                It is special since DH's family is from Calabria.

                                                1. re: angelsmom

                                                  Isn't it a lovely book? So many enticing recipes. angelsmom I'm looking forward to reading your reports to hear how your DH thinks the dishes stack up. (Though nothing beats Nona's I imagine!) ; - )

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Unfortunately, his family owned a restaurant and in th 50, 60, and 70's everything was American food. The only Italian food DH and 6 brothers knew was spaghetti and meatballs.
                                                    His Nonna only spoke Italian and his parents wanted them to only speak English.....to be accepted. Some of the recipes have a familiarity to him, but the honey cookies in the back he would die or again. I will be making them for sure.

                                              2. Anybody know which is correct --
                                                Calabrian or Calabrese? Or neither or both?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  depends on if you are speaking Italian or English...

                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                    D'accordo! (I agree!) Calabrese e' italiano, calabrian is inglese.

                                                2. I received this book as a gift shortly after it was published. Nice to see it featured here. Can't wait to see the reviews.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: LindyCindy

                                                    You're certainly welcome to cook and critique here too!
                                                    Have you tried anything from the book yet?

                                                  2. I am a new member and we reside in Puglia, in southeast Italy during the summers in a small historical Port town on the Adriatic, and Calabria ( the toe of Italy ) and Basilicata are very close. Wonderful cuisine and products, and of course the sea ...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: foodeditormargaux

                                                      Welcome, Margaux. And, welcome to the Cookbook of the Month board. I hope you visit often as we cook recipes from My Calabria during September. Perhaps you'll lend little tid bits of observation as we make our reports.

                                                    2. I'm looking at the recipe for pasta with wild fennel and sausage (thanks to LN's link to the website) and it sounds wonderful. However ... I've never had or seen wild fennel anywhere around here. Anyone know how much difference it would make to just use the regular stuff? A web search didn't really give me much info on the difference.

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        I was looking at that too. I have seen wild fennel around where I live but have never used it. This article on the website talks about it, and claims it's completely different from purchased fennel. Which doesn't mean you couldn't figure out a way to use it.
                                                        http://www.calabriafromscratch.com/?p...

                                                        Or maybe that is what you were already looking at, and it didn't have enough info for you?

                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                          Interesting, thanks! It says it is in the same family, but that it doesn't taste the same. Odd. I wonder if augmenting with fennel seeds might help up the ante.

                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                            Arthur Schwartz has an interesting and informative essay about wild fennel on his The Food Maven website...
                                                            http://www.thefoodmaven.com/diary/000...

                                                            It's the fronds of the wild fennel that are used for cooking in Calabria, whereas in the US the bulb of cultivated fennel is the star while the fronds are supposedly tasteless. I use domestic fennel fronds frequently and personally I don't find them tasteless.... My feeling is that we could experiment using our "regular" fennel fronds and diced bulb plus include fennel seeds...

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              and I'd LOVE to get my hands on some fennel pollen. Is there a fennel pollen fairy?

                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                              I would use the fennel greens and maybe a few fennel seeds - Ive seen suggestions of substituting dill but that doesnt sound right (maybe from the day before fennel was available..

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Wow, many fennel fairies! Thank you all so much for the ideas. Grazie!

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Picked up my copy of My Calabria from the library a few days ago and finally had a chance to tab the pages that appealed. Have to say, as much as I am a fan of Italian Cooking, the region of Calabria has always been so-so for me, and reading through this book confirmed my feelings. I scarcely tabbed a dozen recipes, which is a really bad sign for me. Still, as with all book clubs, it is being exposed to things outside one's comfort zone that makes us grow. I am looking forward to hearing about everyone else's successes and I look forward to being persuaded.

                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                    I'm really interested to hear this, given that I'm unable to get a library copy and decided to hold back on buying this month. I almost gave in when I looked at her website, because I think there were something like 11 recipes on there that I am interested in making. Are there photos in the book? I'm wondering if she only put the most appealing recipes on the website, but really doubt it since there are very few (if any?) meat ones. I guess we'll see.

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                      Funny, my copy showed up, and I was delighted when flipping through. We aren't big Italian food eaters, and I've never explored the cooking of Calabria, so maybe it is just the novelty that's calling to me, We'll see how the actual cooking goes.

                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                        The book is beautiful. Filled with lovely pictures which include pictures of her garden, her family, and the countryside (and dishes too). The pantry section is very interesting, too with recipes for things like homemade tomato paste and homemade paprika. Lots and lots of personal stories. All the kinds of things that usually draw me in. Just wasn't wowed by the recipes.

                                                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                                                        I reacted to this one in my usual way -- a few recipes I want to do right this minute, and several I know I'll never do. There's often one or two oddities I want to try out of curiousity. By the end of the month I've changed my mind about some, but not many. I guess this dispassionate-sounding approach is the result of knowing my own tastes, and the tastes of those I cook for, (and haha the dozens of decades I've been eating!)
                                                                        I wouldn't say there are *lots* of pictures in this book, definitely not one for each recipe, but they're not rare either. I agree with dkennedy, the photos are all interesting and thoughtful -- the zucchini blossom pizza is a beauty!
                                                                        The writing in this book is especially compelling, informative -- if I'm reincarnated as a Calabrian piglet I'll know what's for dinner!
                                                                        Truth is, I always get so much from each book AND the posts here -- it's always worth it.

                                                                  2. Everyone -- I received the nicest email this morning, pointing out that this September is a **6 year** anniversary of COTM! I hope our poster Caitlin McGrath does not mind me naming her here. She noticed, as I did not, that this all started 87 books ago! In her words,
                                                                    "COTM has included 87 unique books, plus a website (Leite's Culinaria), an author (Julia Child), and two bonus baking books in December 2010."
                                                                    Thank you so much Caitlin -- I've put up a photo of the first and current choices made!

                                                                     
                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      Amazing - both books are Italian:)

                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                        Just looked back through all the titles in the archive and I only own 23 of them. I guess I took quite a few out of the library. I am so proud of myself for being so retrained that I think I will buy myself a cookbook! Now off to decide which one!

                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                          I own 21 of COTM titles but I joined not too long ago - Jan 2011 - and many of the books among these 21 are from recent COTMs. Have not shown any restrain!:)

                                                                        2. re: blue room

                                                                          I won't say how many of the past COTM books I have (willpower is not a strong point!) but jic others haven't done this, I'll mention that I've created a "COTM - Historical" bookmark in EYB.

                                                                          When I'm searching for a recipe I use this bookmark search first because I know I can check CH for reviews etc and, it reminds me to add my own review if I do make the dish.

                                                                          When I first found Chowhound in 2010 and discovered the COTM I looked at the archive and created an Amazon Wishlist w all the past COTM's. I've since been buying them and receiving them as gifts and needless to say, these are some of my favourite cookbooks. Most of which I'd never have known of if it hadn't been for the fabulous COTM.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            I also have an EYB bookmark for all COTM books, some of which I acquired during my recent participation, many of which I already had. I recently did a search for all recipes in all COTM, and discovered I could prepare a different recipe every day for 47 years. That is ONLY using my COTM books! Better get busy...

                                                                          2. re: blue room

                                                                            Has anyone looked at a book title in that list and been unable to say (no peeking!) whether or not they own a copy? I can't honestly say yea or nay to 3 or 4 of them. Which means I must've read an enthusiastic post about a book, ordered it, received it, put in on a shelf, and moved on.

                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                              That's funny blue room because when I use my EYB COTM Historical search I'm often surprised to see a book title there and think....do I own that? Sad but so true!!

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                I can and did to count the books I own. (more than 3 times that of dk, godhelpme. I entered the COTM ring almost at the beginning after lurking and buying.) And, I can tell you exactly where each one is on my shelves. Please don't tell me what that makes me...

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    Actually, I can remember back to when I was first participating how frustrated I would be when month after month books were chosen that I didn't own (and didn't want to own). I would order them from the library and read along but rarely cooked. Slowly, the tide has been shifting (and I have been acquiring) and now I usually buy the book unless the title doesn't really appeal to me. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from buying dozens and dozens of titles that have been nominated but then don't make it through to the voting round.

                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                      I went through a period when I bought almost all of them (with a few exceptions). Now I am much less willing to shell out right away (mostly because space on my cookbook shelves is reaching capacity). I got myself a kindle to take care of this problem on the other bookshelves, but I'm not about to use it for cookbooks.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        Completely agree with you here. The best use of my kindle has been to open up shelf space for cookbooks!

                                                                              2. re: blue room

                                                                                Wow, 6 years. Time really flies especially after a quick glance at the list of previous books. I've learned so much through COTM. I remember taking Essentials out of the library for that first one, and then AAB for the second one. After using them consistently, I had to go buy my own copies. COTM has introduced me to techniques and flavors that I wouldn't have gravitated towards naturally.

                                                                                Here's a glass to all the past and present COTM coordinators. But an extra HUGE THANKS goes to redwood2bay who came up with this brilliant idea. How she is still cooking and eating well.

                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                  Great post beetlebug and great point about the COTM coordinators and, redwood2bay (I had no idea how the COTM came to be but love the idea that it was suggested by a hound). I'll join you in a toast! Cin Cin!

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    Raising my glass! All the past coordinators (and future) really should know how much we all appreciate their efforts.

                                                                                2. re: blue room

                                                                                  Now I know why I have avoided looking through all the past COTMs - I went through the list making mental notes of all the books I *don't* own thinking "I really need those". And I own 57 of them already!

                                                                                  Breadcrumbs, you are a very bad influence suggesting a Amazon wishlist of COTMs we don't own.

                                                                                  L.Nightshade, that calculation of being able to cook a different recipe every day for 47 years from your COTM books is a very dangerous road to take - wouldn't the outcome of that line of thinking be that you cannot justify buying any more cookbooks? That isn't helpful!

                                                                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                    It's only 15 years if breakfast lunch and dinner all come into play.

                                                                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                      Not buying any more cookbooks? Ridiculous! That would never be the outcome of my thinking. You never know which new addition is going to have the perfect recipe to match today's seasonal ingredients with whatever happens to be my current culinary cravings!

                                                                                  2. Ordered mine through the Minuteman Library system today. I have to be very careful about when I order since they give me little time to pick up. It is a complicated dance step I do with my local library.

                                                                                    1. I've owned this since it came out, but have never cooked from it. I read through it again the other day, and there are many recipes I am looking forward to trying. SInce my husband will be out of town for a good part of the month, I might actually be able to do some cooking!

                                                                                      1. Love the book and have tried a few recipes in it. I also took some of Rosetta's classes!!! I can't wait for your next cookbook!!

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Graciekl

                                                                                          Rosetta's currently writing a book on southern Italian desserts.

                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                            That should be very interesting.

                                                                                        2. Wow...I'm thrilled to hear that My Calabria is your selection. I co-wrote the book with Rosetta, and I love her region's food. I hope you do, too. It's simple, simple...based on super-fresh produce, handmade pasta, fresh and cured pork... and chilies, of course. Given that September is peak tomato season, I hope someone will try the Dromesat, a thick tomato soup from the Arberesh people. (You can read about the Arberesh in the book.) Buona scelta, tutti!

                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jkfletcher

                                                                                              Hello jkfletcher, nice to see you here, thanks for posting.

                                                                                              The Dromesat *is* intriguing, and I'll give it a try before the month is gone, prometto!

                                                                                              1. re: jkfletcher

                                                                                                Thanks for posting and congrats on a wonderful book. I really think this book is a gem, and I was an advocate for it as a COTM. I'm thrilled to be cooking from it this month.

                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                  For those who don't know, jkfletcher is Janet Fletcher, who has authored or co-authored many books on food. She is perhaps best known today as a cheese expert who writes a weekly column appearing in the San Francisco Examiner. Each week she focuses on a single cheese that she has found in one of the local shops. If you don't live in the Bay area, her excellent column can be read online. I also recommend her books on cheese: Cheese and Wine, which covers the topic of pairing the two and takes an in-depth look at about 70 cheeses (no recipes, though); and The Cheese Course, a primer on selecting and serving cheese, which also includes recipes.

                                                                                                  I've owned My Calabria since shortly after it was published. The lady of the house is half Calabrian on her mother's side and her mother often did the cooking for her large family when she was growing up. She (the mother) married a man from Abruzzo who preferred the food from his own region of Italy, so once married, she rarely made Calabrian food. We've been meaning to try some of the recipes in this book, so I hope that putting the spotlight on it this month will give us the push we need to explore further.

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                    Thanks for "outing" me, cheesemaestro. But I write for the Chronicle, not the Examiner. Just so ya know.

                                                                                                    1. re: jkfletcher

                                                                                                      Oh, sorry. I've got my newspapers mixed up, but then I live on the other coast!

                                                                                                2. re: jkfletcher

                                                                                                  Welcome Ms. Fletcher and thanks for hilighting this recipe as I didn't think of it as a soup at first glance. I'll have to take another look as the concept of a thick tomato soup w couscous definitely appeals.

                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    Notice that "couscous" in the title is in quotes. Dromesat isn't hard like North African couscous--it's fresh pasta, after all. It almost dissolves in the tomato broth, which couscous wouldn't do. But it was hard to think of another word to describe it.

                                                                                                    1. re: jkfletcher

                                                                                                      Very interesting, you've really piqued my interest. I'm imagining the texture to be something like pappa al pomodoro but look forward to trying it to see. Love the idea of trying something new. Thank-you!

                                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs, I'm curious and will do this today. I found some pics online -- one of the pasta, and one of the soup.

                                                                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepeach...

                                                                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepeach...

                                                                                                      Maybe we can compare notes here on this if you decide to cook this too.

                                                                                                      This (ahem) will be my 1st time making any kind of fresh pasta.

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        blue room those photos are great. I really want to try this and like your idea of comparing notes. The last time we made pasta it was hand rolled pici. We learned to make this (under close supervision!!) in Montepulciano and came back eager to test out our new skill. Our results were less than stellar! It wasn't inedible but it wasn't pretty either!!

                                                                                                        Nevertheless, I'm willing to put that behind me and get back to the dough making so I'll take a look at the recipe this weekend and get back to you.as to whether It'll be doable this weekend.