November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, Marcella Hazan Month: Vegetables; Salads
Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the November Cookbooks of the Month (Marcella Cucina, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, and Marcella Says…):
Vegetables (Marcella Cucina), pages 336 – 385
Salads (Marcella Cucina), pages 386 - 409
Vegetables (Marcella’s Italian Kitchen), pages 245 – 282
Salads (Marcella’s Italian Kitchen), pages 283 – 296
Vegetables (Marcella Says…), pages 299 – 340
Salads (Marcella Says…), pages 341 - 350
To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below. If you are the first to report on a recipe, please reply to the original post. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.
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Baked Savoy Cabbage [Napa Cabbage] with Parmesan Cheese, p. 302, Marcella Says.
The title of this recipe does not hint at the secret weapon that makes this version of humble boiled and chopped cabbage so delicious! Only in the list of ingredients does one discover that a cup of freshly-made béchamel sauce, fortified with grated parmesan and fresh grated nutmeg and seasoned with salt, is also mixed with the boiled and chopped cabbage before it is turned into a shallow dish to be baked. Before this point, you have first scattered some fine dry breadcrumbs on the bottom of the buttered pan. After spreading the cabbage-sauce mixture in it, you sprinkle more breadcrumbs mixed with more grated Parmesan on top. Dot with butter, bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees F until a golden crust forms, and serve.
Cabbage never tasted so good. Couldn't find Savoy so I used Napa Cabbage, which breaks down more than Savoy. If I made this again with Napa, I would use more of it than the 2 pounds of Savoy that Hazan recommends.
On the previous p. 300 Marcella gives detailed instructions for the making of "My Basic Bechemel Sauce." Came out perfectly.
My husband hated cod, tofu, brussel sprouts and chickpeas/garbanzos. I have, through the very sweetness of my being and some darned good recipes managed to change most of this (the chickpeas he still really just does NOT want to eat). Keep trying, and make sure there is something else on the plate that he loves (or his favorite dessert waiting).
Fagiolini con Pomodoro, Aglio e Basilico (Green Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) - Marcella's Italian Kitchen, p. 259
This is a simply executed, fresh-tasting dish. Garlic, "chopped not too fine," is stirred in olive oil (I used 1/4 cup, rather than the 1/2 cup called for) until golden, and tomatoes go in and cook down (I used the option of canned ones chopped, and their juice), then green beans, salt, and pepper. The pan is covered, the heat turned to medium, and it's stirred occasionally as it cooks, until the beans are tender but firm. At this point, she says that if the juices in the pan are watery, to remove the beans and cook them down, but I had no juices. My flame may have been a bit high, and they could've used another stir, because there was just a bit of scorching of tomato and garlic in one part of the pan - but this meant there were also blistered edges on some beans, which is a good thing! Finally, a cup of fresh basil leaves is stirred in.
In sum, my beans (and the rest) got a bit more cooked than MH intended, but were delicious and not overcooked. The beans went in the pan when my fish went in the oven, and 10 minutes later, dinner.
Cooked Finocchio Salad with Savory Dressing, MIK pg. 291
This was a delightful little side salad, and easy too. First soak the fennel in cool water for a bit, then boil until tender, mine took about 12 minutes, set aside until cool. Meanwhile whip together the dressing; parsley, chopped anchovy fillets, s&p, wine vinegar (no white wine vinegar in the house--subbed rice vinegar), grated Parmesan, & olive oil. Squeeze out any excess water from the fennel, then cut it into wedges and then dress.
Lots of umami and just generally yummy. Mr. QN's not always a fennel salad fan, but during clean-up he was caught using his finger to get the last little bits from the serving plate--I'd call that a hit. We had it as a side to broiled salmon served over lentils, a combination that worked very well.
Smothered Cabbage in the Venetian Style, Pg. 16 Cooking and Preparation section, Marcella's Italian Kitchen
I came upon this vague non-recipe while investigating all the possibilities in the book for a garden fresh green cabbage. Sounded pretty tasty to me so it became the side dish for her Split-Chicken on page 190. It did more than I expected. The non-recipe is nothing more than a paragraph and one is left to fill in the blanks which is very easy to do.
A chopped onion (I used a large red one) is sauteed in EVOO till golden. Shredded cabbage is added and tossed over "lively heat" for a few minutes. Lower the heat, cover pan, and cook slowly till the cabbage is very tender. I seasoned with sea salt and FGBpepper.
The long slow cooking resulted in sweet caramelized onions, soft and sweet cabbage. Absolutely delicious. I could have just eaten a bowl of that with fresh country bread and been satisfied, it was that rich without being heavy.
Smothered Cabbage, Venetian Style is a non-vague, detailed recipe in Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking. I've made it more than any other MH recipe, and it's possibly my all-time favorite cabbage preparation and one of the best less-is-more recipes I know (another is her justly famous chicken with lemons). Who knew cabbage could be so tender? I agree I can just make a meal of it. The recipe is linked below, and adds to MIK's non-recipe garlic and a tablespoon of wine vinegar. I always make it with green or Savoy cabbage, white wine or champagne vinegar, and half the olive oil she indicates.
re: Caitlin McGrath
Many thanks for that information and link, Caitljn. Interesting to read about the other ingredients. In fact, I used only 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. and thought of using even less next time. Honestly, I think I would not even use the garlic or vinegar. The finished dish was perfect for me.
This too is the smothered cabbage from "Essentials.."
After braising 1 1/2 hours I took the picture and then decided it should go even longer on the stove to become very soft, as the recipe states. Ooh, we liked this!
A note that might interest anybody here -- while looking through Chowhound Hazan-related threads I found this blog mentioned
looks to be of much value! Can't remember which poster found this, but thank you!
Baked Eggplant wih Garflic and Parsley, Pg. 264
Melanzane al Forno
I have made this recipe several times over the last three years, the following report is edited from the first report on the Non-COTM thread:
This is a departure from the cheesy saucy parmagiano that I absolutely Love, but equally as satisfying in a much different way. The only thing I didn't like was that the slices are much too thick at 1 1/2 inches., so in succeeding cooking sessions the slices were about 1/3 inch thick. Much better. I used 1 large Italian one but "small skinny" ones can be used too.
After the eggplant is sliced crosshatch one side being careful not to slice through. I didn't bother salting the slices. I've never done it. Chop some garlic and parsley, and oil a baking pan. Place the eggplant slices on the pan crosshatched side up and smear the garlic & parsley all over each slice. Drizzle with EVOO. Bake in a preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, drizzle a bit more oil over top and return pan to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, till the eggplant is creamy.
We loved the creaminess and savory flavor of the eggplant. For a simple Italian side dish or a component of an antipasto platter this is perfect. Sandwiches too? But of course!