HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Italian-American Supper Club Menu Ideas

v
vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 07:36 AM

Hi Everyone,

I'm in a supper club where thankfully, everyone takes their turn seriously. Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on the hosts, but always well worth the effort. Typically, the hosts choose a particular region - past ones have been Basque, Tuscany, Singapore, the Perigord - and really goes in depth. Well, my turn is in two weeks. For some reason, I have become obsessed with Italian-American Sunday sauce. I'd really like for Italian-American to be my theme. I'd like to adhere to one cookbook, but am uncertain of which one. I love Marcella Hazan's books, but do not think this would be Italian-American. I also have a Rao's cookbook and have heard the Soprano's cookbook is good, but really need guidance to do this right. I was thinking an amazing Sunday sauce, braciole (never had it!), and maybe some other items my friends and I have never tried. I was thinking less cheesy stuff, like cannelloni, etc., but perhaps that is misguided? We live in Nashville, TN, so not many true Italian-American restaurants. Bottom line, I want to do it right and really highlight the best of the cuisine.Thank you all!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. t
    thimes RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 08:34 AM

    Wow, it would be a meal I would like to attend for sure.

    First, I guess it depends on how far you want to go into "Italian-American" versus "Italian". All immigrant food morphs when they reach their new country, often because original ingredients aren't available - though the heart of the dish remains the same. Or do you want to do "Olive Garden" Italian American food? Though it sounds like you want to do the former - thankfully :D

    Marcella Hazan is a great resource, as is Lidia Bastianich (though she gets some bashing on this site, not 100% sure I understand why fully), and I like Biba Caggiano. Heck you could even go for Mario Batali.

    Growing up in NJ, "Italian" food was so different from family to family - often because they were either Northern or Southern Italian. So trying to pigeon hole the concept is futile - and thus I wouldn't worry about using true "Italian" resources for inspiration.

    If you're thinking Sopranos and Rao's, then you are wanting southern Italian (Naples/Sicily). Braciole is a great dish - makes a great sauce and a great meat dish all in one (very italian and very Italian-American a la Sopranos).

    And then just drop all of your final vowels when pronouncing things - which makes it all sound very Italian American (some of the pronunciations were because of southern/sicilian dialects but the tri-state area took doing that to new heights).

    Just think - lots of courses - and lots of food . . .then you sit around and talk for a while over coffee and light dessert . . . drink more coffee . . . bring out left overs for round two. That makes it very Italian-American - and wonderful.

    7 Replies
    1. re: thimes
      v
      vasiliki RE: thimes Dec 31, 2013 08:59 AM

      Wow, Thimes, this is helpful. I am very much interested in how recipes adapt in a new country. My father's side of the family is Greek, and I love how different our family's recipes are from what you would find in Kastania, where his family is from, or in a traditional Greek cookbook. So many people lambast Americanized versions of a cuisine, but I'm intrigued by it. I love what you said about growing up in NJ and the food being so different from home to home. I guess this is why I'm having a problem pinning down what I want to do. I did find a home-bound cook book circa 1968 at a garage sale from a lady in NYC that is definitely Italian-American, but have only had the chance to cook one recipe from it (it was great), but am scared to go full-force without having some security about how the other recipes will be. I have never heard of Biba Caggiano but am about to google now! I guess I am sort of thinking I am going to star in my own version of Big Night, haha. I love what you said about sitting around with more coffee, more food. Love it and I thank you.

      1. re: thimes
        b
        bob96 RE: thimes Jan 1, 2014 10:41 PM

        Italian American cooking has a wide ranfe, from Genoese pesto and fish stew in San Francisco to Sicilian eggplant dishes in Brooklyn, and lots in between. Most typically, though, is a set of dishes and styles that blend the flavors and styles of the Italian south--Naples, Sicily, Calabria, Puglia. A Sunday ragu (see Arthur Schwartz's indispensable The Foods of Naples and Campania for many authoritative versions)--a basic variety of chuck steak, meaty pork ribs, fresh Italian sausage, and meatballs cooked for 2+ hours in crushed tomatoes makes a good start. Antipasto should be simple-some pickled vegetables, dried sausage or soppressata, a little cheese and olives. Dress hearty pasta (ziti, rigatoni, long fusilli) with the ragu's sauce, some grated pecorino, and serve the meats as a second course. Or make a pan of baked ziti with mozzarella dressed with the meaty ragu. Really splurge and have a second second course, like chicken roasted with herbs and potatoes. Some vegetables--string beans or a bitter green in garlic, a big salad, fresh fruit and dried nuts, and more cheese. Sound, simple white and red wine, like a Montepulciano or Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. Sweets if you wish-like a variety of classic cookies or pastry like sfogliatelle, pasticiotti, plus coffee, grappa, or a digestivo. You don't have to drop your vowels, either. My Brooklyn Calabrese family never did. But do whatever brings conviviality, pleasure, and satisfaction.

        1. re: bob96
          v
          vasiliki RE: bob96 Jan 2, 2014 07:30 AM

          Bob96, This is exactly what I had in mind. I'm going to make braciole as one of the meats. I'm feeling like I should include octopus or a stuffed squid. Believe it or not, we have a great seafood market in Nashville where fresh fish is brought in daily from the gulf. Love bitter greens in garlic - getting hungry now! Was thinking about zeppole for a dessert, too. I am not an expert fryer so thougt it would be a good learning experience. Many thank yous for your advice.

          1. re: vasiliki
            b
            bob96 RE: vasiliki Jan 2, 2014 10:46 AM

            You can also do a seafood splurge, and start with cold seafood salad, then perhaps stuffed squid cooked in a tomato based ragu, with the sauce served over linguine as a first course. You might add something like a baked fish dish (swordfish, grouper steaks, say, with a breadcrumb oreganata topping), and then some cold salad--sliced oranges and fennel and black olives would be classically Sicilian. Enjoy!

            1. re: vasiliki
              s
              scunge RE: vasiliki Jan 15, 2014 05:49 PM

              I don't know if you had your dinner party yet but I was thinking that as an Italian American I believe at many Sunday or holiday dinners that I ever attended Zeppoli for dessert was extremely uncommon. It was usually fruit followed by coffee and cookies,dessert wines, biscotti and or a cake.Now that is just my experiance ,Most time I did enjoy zeppoli were when we attended the different " festa's ".I do remember my grandmother though making us sfinge .

              1. re: scunge
                b
                bob96 RE: scunge Jan 15, 2014 08:07 PM

                Consider zeppole di San Giuseppe, fried pastry rings filled with pastry cream served alongside sfince--also fried dough, but heavier and filled with sweetened ricotta cream--on and around St. Joseph's day in March in Sicily. "Zeppole" also can, confusingly, cover many different foods, from the savory fried yeast dough sometimes stuffed with anchovies, to sweetened pastry dough, also fried. Also variously called crispelle, crispeddi, and other names, and usually a festive dish. They're often served as a Sunday dessert during feast periods.

          2. re: thimes
            v
            vasiliki RE: thimes Jan 5, 2014 06:46 AM

            I made a little appetizer from the Lidia B. cookbook - roasted black olives with red pearl onions poached in red wine vinegar plus orange zest and olive oil. Absolutely delicious! Just from trying that one recipe and flipping through others, I can't imagine why anyone would bash her!

            I think I'm most enchanted by the Sicilian Italian-American recipes for this supper club. I checked out a Carmine's cookbook from the library and made the meatballs - wow. I'm going to try the braciole, next. Thank you for your help.

          3. herby RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 08:36 AM

            Have you seen Lidia Bastianich book - http://www.amazon.com/Lidias-Italy-Am... ? It is a collection of Italian-American recipes and could be helpful to you. I made a few recipes from the book and they were all good. I love her TV shows and her cooking style.

            1 Reply
            1. re: herby
              v
              vasiliki RE: herby Dec 31, 2013 09:00 AM

              Thank you, Herby! I am going to check that out. I have never cooked any of her recipes. I appreciate your help.

            2. c
              ChiliDude RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 08:50 AM

              The courses of Italian dinners are antipasto, prima piatta, seconda piatta, insalata, dolce e aperitivo. Forget the Italian-American theme. It's only spaghetti and meatballs. Do the real thing. The courses below are in order of serving.

              Vino: Wine before and after dinner.

              Antipasto: assorted cheeses, slices of cured sausages, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, etc.

              Prima piatta: Easy to eat pasta like farfalle, penne, ravioli, etc. No pasta that has to be twirled on a fork, or heaven forbid, a fork with a soup spoon. The latter is not done in the old country. Either make the tomato condiment, or buy a good one, not one with High Fructose Corn Sweetener. This 1st course is served in small amounts, not by the plate piled high with pasta.

              Seconda piatta: Braciole is a good meat dish. If you make it, buy flank steak and have the meat cutter in the market slice it into 2 thin pieces lengthwise for easy rolling to be filled and tied. Vegetables like roasted broccoli, asparagus or green beans. If your really into it, roasted Brussels sprouts are good.

              Insalata: Salad using Romaine lettuce, not iceberg, diced carrots, red onion, stuffed olives, etc. and dressed with red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

              Dolce: Desserts like cakes are good like tiramisu, or maybe cannoli (it's already plural so do not add an 's' at the end of the word). These if you can find them in Grand Ole Opry country.

              Apertivi: After dinner drinks. Limoncello if you can find it.

              Buon appetito! Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene!

              Good appetite! Live, love, laugh and especially eat well!

              22 Replies
              1. re: ChiliDude
                foodieX2 RE: ChiliDude Dec 31, 2013 09:18 AM

                <<Forget the Italian-American theme. It's only spaghetti and meatballs.>>

                Seriously?? Not only very wrong by seriously offensive.

                OP- you have gotten some great ideas already. Here are some blogs that might inspire you.

                http://www.lidiasitaly.com

                http://www.ciaoitalia.com/mary-anns-blog

                http://makingsundaysauce.com

                http://www.prouditaliancook.com

                http://italian-americans.com/tag/ital...

                1. re: foodieX2
                  v
                  vasiliki RE: foodieX2 Dec 31, 2013 01:25 PM

                  How is this in any way offensive? I want to celebrate and enjoy with friends foods that can be identified as expressly of an Italian American tradition. This is not a party where people dress up like gangsters, if that's what you are thinking. If someone had Tex-Mex food for their supper club, would that be offensive? I'm confused by your response.

                  1. re: vasiliki
                    z
                    ziggylu RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 01:32 PM

                    I believe foodieX2 was responding to ChiliDude's suggestion you throw out your Italian-American theme.

                    I am in a dinner club. We've been running for 12 years now so have covered just about every theme you can imagine.

                    One of our favorite nights was when we all got together to make ravioli...we divided up in three groups across the kitchen(with wine for each group!) andone group worked on fillings, one group on doughs, and one on sauces.Then we put the ravioli together, cooked them up, and enjoyed them together.

                    Not quite what you had in mind since it wouldn't include a Sunday gravy meal but still a lot of great fun.

                    1. re: ziggylu
                      v
                      vasiliki RE: ziggylu Jan 1, 2014 08:44 AM

                      Great idea! Thank you.

                      1. re: ziggylu
                        c
                        ChiliDude RE: ziggylu Jan 1, 2014 10:34 AM

                        What you are doing is following a tradition that was brought over to the US by Italian immigrants. I do not consider the wonderful activity that you participate Italian America cooking. I consider it as being true to cucina italiana.

                        I've watched my late mother-in-law make ravioli from scratch, and it was an education.

                        I thank you for not putting an 's' on the end of the word 'ravioli' which I've heard from South Philly people of Italian descent. The word 'ravioli' is already plural.

                        Buon anno! Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene!

                        1. re: ChiliDude
                          f
                          fourunder RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 10:42 AM

                          According to Merriam-Webster.....you would be wrong to assume there is only one plural word for raviolo...and the *s* is acceptable.

                          1. re: ChiliDude
                            iluvcookies RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 11:51 AM

                            You may not like Italian American cooking, and that is fine. However, please don't insult those of us that do, or those who wish to learn more about it.

                        2. re: vasiliki
                          iluvcookies RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 01:33 PM

                          Foodiex2 means that crack about Italian American food being only spaghetti and meatballs is offensive. I agree.

                          1. re: iluvcookies
                            m
                            magiesmom RE: iluvcookies Dec 31, 2013 03:02 PM

                            I agree also.

                            1. re: iluvcookies
                              v
                              vasiliki RE: iluvcookies Jan 1, 2014 08:45 AM

                              I see that now - thanks!

                            2. re: vasiliki
                              foodieX2 RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 02:13 PM

                              No you- the person whose quote I responded to. No worries!

                            3. re: foodieX2
                              v
                              vasiliki RE: foodieX2 Dec 31, 2013 01:29 PM

                              Sorry, Foodie X2. I'm still learning how to read these threads. Thank you for these blog links. This is all such awesome info. i am so excited about this.

                            4. re: ChiliDude
                              v
                              vasiliki RE: ChiliDude Dec 31, 2013 01:32 PM

                              Chilidude, this is great info, but I really think exploring the Italian American tradition is quite worthwhile! Definitely more than spaghetti and meatballs. I think so many people immediately think of that, which is one reason I want to do it justice and learn more about it.

                              1. re: vasiliki
                                c
                                ChiliDude RE: vasiliki Jan 1, 2014 10:42 AM

                                OK, mi dispiace! Get a copy of "My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South" by Rosetta Costantino. I think you will find it very insightful.

                                BTW, did I mention that my wife of Italian heritage and I have been married for over 5 decades? I've had an education in Italian cooking over that period of time.

                                1. re: ChiliDude
                                  v
                                  vasiliki RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 12:14 PM

                                  Can't wait to check it out. Thank you!

                                  1. re: vasiliki
                                    c
                                    ChiliDude RE: vasiliki Jan 1, 2014 01:09 PM

                                    il mi piacere.Your very welcome. I hope that you will find the cookbook helpful. There's history in the book as well as recipes. You will be able to impress the other members of your Supper Club with your knowledge and cooking.

                                    1. re: ChiliDude
                                      s
                                      sandylc RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 04:06 PM

                                      While we're correcting, and I do appreciate and agree with your point regarding "raviolo/ravioli", you should say, "you're welcome", not "your welcome"...

                                      1. re: sandylc
                                        c
                                        ChiliDude RE: sandylc Jan 2, 2014 10:53 AM

                                        Thanks for the correction. I'm guilty of making that mistake all too often because I do not proofread well.

                                        1. re: ChiliDude
                                          s
                                          sandylc RE: ChiliDude Jan 2, 2014 11:03 AM

                                          Sorry. I should NOT correct people and I keep telling myself this. I've been pretty good about it lately. Your posts/contributions are great and you are appreciated here.

                                          1. re: sandylc
                                            f
                                            fourunder RE: sandylc Jan 2, 2014 03:17 PM

                                            Your posts/contributions are great and you are appreciated here

                                            Especially this one....

                                            OK folks...It's capocollo, not all the other misspellings and pronounciations

                                            : 0 )

                                  2. re: ChiliDude
                                    b
                                    bob96 RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 10:25 PM

                                    I love Rosetta Costantino's book, but as a Calabrese 2nd generation, I appreciate her intention to cover food that is not commonly considered Italian- (or Calabrian-) American, but the traditional cooking of rural Cosenza, mostly, with dishes from other Calabrian provinces included. There are overlaps, of course, and there are more than enough wonderful recipes in her book for a great festive meal. But she never set out to do a traditional "Little Italy" cookbook. For that, Nancy Verde Barr's We Called it Macaroni is perhaps the classic.

                                    1. re: bob96
                                      v
                                      vasiliki RE: bob96 Jan 2, 2014 07:23 AM

                                      I wish I could postpone my dinner - so many cookbooks to check out. Thank you. I can't wait to look up Cosenza. I see covering a province in Italy next time around.

                              2. f
                                fourunder RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 10:14 AM

                                My Sunday Sauce this time of year would include:

                                Pork Braciole

                                Country Ribs

                                Back Ribs/Spare Ribs

                                Short Ribs

                                Oxtails

                                Sausage & Meatballs.

                                My Sister-In-Law's Paternal Grandmother also had a Chicken Cut up ....and everyone who ever tasted her sauce regarded it as the best they ever had....and not just to be polite.

                                If you really want to blow their minds....do a Pork Skin Braciole, and or, Tripe.

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656452

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fourunder
                                  v
                                  vasiliki RE: fourunder Dec 31, 2013 01:27 PM

                                  Fourunder, thank you. This is so helpful. I love oxtails. I'm going to do the pork skin braciole. I have a lead on some great heritage hog skin! Many thank yous.

                                  1. re: fourunder
                                    j
                                    Jerseygirl111 RE: fourunder Jan 1, 2014 02:32 PM

                                    Pork skins! Fourunder, you never fail to bring up memories of childhood Holiday celebrations. First Roasted Fresh Ham, now Pork Skin Braciole. Wow. Thank you.

                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                      f
                                      fourunder RE: Jerseygirl111 Jan 1, 2014 02:35 PM

                                      My Belly knows no boundaries.....speaking of Belly...

                                      Porchetta!!!!

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/887174

                                  2. penthouse pup RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 10:30 AM

                                    "We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking" by Nancy Verde Barr is about the best Italian-American cookbook I have read. Barr writes about her family in Providence, Rhode Island and the recipes are both easy and satisfying. (She is also a professional, having been executive chef for several of Julia Child's TV ventures and cooking workshops in the 1980's.)

                                    You can get it via Amazon
                                    http://www.amazon.com/We-Called-It-Ma...

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: penthouse pup
                                      v
                                      vasiliki RE: penthouse pup Dec 31, 2013 01:27 PM

                                      Can't wait to check this out! Ordering today!

                                      1. re: penthouse pup
                                        melpy RE: penthouse pup Jan 2, 2014 11:24 AM

                                        We really do call it macaroni!

                                        1. re: penthouse pup
                                          Berheenia RE: penthouse pup Jan 2, 2014 11:26 AM

                                          I missed your post so I posted another rave for this book this a.m. A gem.

                                        2. l
                                          laliz RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 01:47 PM

                                          I'm not Italian, but married into an Italian family with a Sicilian MIL. I think your idea of braciole is excellent. I'd serve two "meats" i.e. braciole and baked chicken or sausage; two veggies i.e. garlic broccoli or panned spinach (w/pignoli and raisins) or baked eggplant; a pasta w/red sauce and lots of good grated pecorino. I'd have a green salad and an antipasto platter (another place for vegetables) and good Italian bread; with cookies and panna cotta and fruit for dessert. That's my two cents.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: laliz
                                            v
                                            vasiliki RE: laliz Jan 1, 2014 08:59 AM

                                            Thank you, Laliz. That spinach sounds wonderful.

                                            1. re: laliz
                                              c
                                              ChiliDude RE: laliz Jan 1, 2014 01:14 PM

                                              Let me know when you're serving that dinner...I'll be there. My mother-in-law also included pecorino formaggio in her meals. My wife prefers Parmigiano Reggiano. I like them both.

                                              1. re: ChiliDude
                                                j
                                                Jerseygirl111 RE: ChiliDude Jan 1, 2014 02:36 PM

                                                I miss Pecorino Romano. It is excellent to use in meatballs. I grew up with it (rather than Parmigano Reggiano) but my husband and son find it too "sheepy." Sigh.

                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                  Berheenia RE: Jerseygirl111 Jan 2, 2014 09:04 AM

                                                  I consider it the secret ingredient in mine. :-)

                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                    l
                                                    lagatta RE: Jerseygirl111 Jan 2, 2014 03:05 PM

                                                    I love pecorino romano (or the other types of pecorino). I live in Montréal, and use that more often than parmigiano.

                                                    1. re: lagatta
                                                      monavano RE: lagatta Jan 6, 2014 04:15 PM

                                                      Me too. My favorite is Fulvi.
                                                      I just think that Pecorino gives you more bang for the buck. I've never had a piece of Parm wow me, and I've bought the good stuff.
                                                      It tastes good, sure, but the sheep's milk is so piquant.

                                                  2. re: ChiliDude
                                                    v
                                                    vasiliki RE: ChiliDude Jan 2, 2014 07:21 AM

                                                    Will definitely be using pecorino. I think one of the meatball recipes I was checking out calls for it. Thank you.

                                                    1. re: ChiliDude
                                                      v
                                                      vasiliki RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2014 06:50 AM

                                                      I used Pecorino in a meatball recipe I tried last night. It was wonderful. I'm so glad to be out of my Parmigano Reggiano rut, although I will forever love that cheese, too. I loved the tang and saltiness of the Pecorino.

                                                  3. Ttrockwood RE: vasiliki Dec 31, 2013 07:21 PM

                                                    I am not sure if you are also responsible for wines but i recently fell in love with lambrusco, its fruity and sweet and pairs well with chocolate for dessert

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                      v
                                                      vasiliki RE: Ttrockwood Jan 1, 2014 08:45 AM

                                                      Somehow, I have never tried one. Thank you for the recommendation.

                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                        j
                                                        Jerseygirl111 RE: Ttrockwood Jan 1, 2014 02:38 PM

                                                        Yes! Cheap and the only wine for Sangria.

                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                          f
                                                          fourunder RE: Jerseygirl111 Jan 1, 2014 02:41 PM

                                                          Yes! Cheap...

                                                          Reunite....with the screw cap is the only way to go....they were ahead of their time...

                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                            Njchicaa RE: Jerseygirl111 Jan 1, 2014 03:12 PM

                                                            I use the $15 big 4L jug of Carlos Rossi Paisano red wine for sangria. People PAY me to make it for their parties.

                                                            The recipe? Google Carmine's sangria and click on the Thinking of Drinking link. I use the liquid ingredients as called for except berry puree. (can't find and homemade made the liquid look funky) I skip the grapes and rosemary b/c no one sees the grapes in red sangria to scoop them out (they sink to the bottom) and there is nothing more unpleasant than sipping your sangria and getting a big, tough rosemary leaf in your mouth. I speak from experience. I use apples, pears, and orange wheels instead as the fruit.

                                                            1. re: Njchicaa
                                                              v
                                                              vasiliki RE: Njchicaa Jan 2, 2014 07:19 AM

                                                              My friends will love this. Thank you.

                                                              1. re: Njchicaa
                                                                j
                                                                Jerseygirl111 RE: Njchicaa Jan 2, 2014 08:15 PM

                                                                Yes, yes, yes! In the summer I also use peaches, in the winter, lemon but I remove the lemon after 12-18 hrs otherwise I think it gets too strong. Always make the Sangria 24 hrs in advance then add the seltzer before serving.

                                                          2. Njchicaa RE: vasiliki Jan 1, 2014 01:13 PM

                                                            The Carmine's cookbook is exactly what you need. It has recipes for everything from spaghetti and meatballs to penne al vodka to lasagna, veal marsala, chicken saltimboca, etc.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Njchicaa
                                                              v
                                                              vasiliki RE: Njchicaa Jan 2, 2014 07:20 AM

                                                              I was thinking chicken saltimboca fro the chicken dish. Looking forward to checking this out. Thank you.

                                                              1. re: vasiliki
                                                                Njchicaa RE: vasiliki Jan 2, 2014 03:14 PM

                                                                I love their chicken saltimboca recipe and it is always a hit with our guests.

                                                            2. Berheenia RE: vasiliki Jan 2, 2014 05:20 AM

                                                              One of my favorite Italian American Cookbooks is "We Called It Macaroni" by Nancy Verdi Barr, with a lot of history about Federal Hill in Providence, a famous and vibrant Italian American neighborhood. Her recipe for ravioli is terrific as well as her Irish American mother's rendition of meatballs.
                                                              Full disclosure we were neighbors as children.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Berheenia
                                                                v
                                                                vasiliki RE: Berheenia Jan 2, 2014 08:30 AM

                                                                I ordered this cookbook. Can't wait to get it! Thank you.

                                                              2. w
                                                                Westy RE: vasiliki Jan 2, 2014 07:28 AM

                                                                I gave this to my brother (a fan of Italian Social Clubs). He loved it:
                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Street-...

                                                                My favorite Italian cookbooks (in no order).
                                                                1. Patsy's. Everything works. Low production value,and I don't care that Frank Sinatra loved your clams, but a cool, concise book.
                                                                2. Sicilian Gentleman's. GREAT book. Again - all of it is do-able
                                                                3. Jamie's Italy. Very good, and not too fussy
                                                                4. Bravo! http://www.amazon.com/Bravo-Stylish-G...
                                                                5. Frankie's Spuntino. Some people lve it and some hate it. I am in the middle. I would say, though, the meatballs rock

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Westy
                                                                  v
                                                                  vasiliki RE: Westy Jan 2, 2014 04:28 PM

                                                                  Thanks, Westy. I'm desperate for a rockin' meatball recipe.

                                                                2. d
                                                                  DowntownJosie RE: vasiliki Jan 2, 2014 08:59 AM

                                                                  I have been researching Italian American cuisine and I find it fascinating. There are so many ways to up the kitschy italian theme. Chianti bottles with candles in them and wax dripping down the side. I made garlic knots with homemade dough that were fun and delicious.
                                                                  http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/...
                                                                  I love a good theme so run with it....red and white checkered tablecloths, lots of red sauce and meats(Sunday gravy is definitely a labour of love), antipasto, Caesar salad, tiramisu and cannoli. I agree with others that food need not be authentic to be delicious.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: DowntownJosie
                                                                    l
                                                                    lagatta RE: DowntownJosie Jan 2, 2014 03:11 PM

                                                                    The Italian cuisines of the Americas are authentic, and don't necessarily mean Olive Garden !@#$% From Canada to Argentina, they combined foodways from Italian regions with New World ingredients. Even within the US, there is a considerable difference between New Jersey and New Orleans (home of the muffaletta), not to mention the West Coast.

                                                                    I wouldn't eat them every day though, as their advantage of having easy access to affordable meat and a lot of dairy becomes a downside when we are mostly doing sedentary work, and need more vegetables and lighter foods.

                                                                    1. re: DowntownJosie
                                                                      hotoynoodle RE: DowntownJosie Jan 2, 2014 03:28 PM

                                                                      as somebody who grew up italian-american, i guess i'm unsure why the op's dinner has to be a cartoon of what can and should be excellent food?

                                                                      caesar salad isn't italian, btw. even if they serve it at bertucci's.

                                                                      1. re: DowntownJosie
                                                                        v
                                                                        vasiliki RE: DowntownJosie Jan 2, 2014 04:29 PM

                                                                        Thank you! I'd really like to try to make cannoli from scratch. Need to get busy.

                                                                        1. re: vasiliki
                                                                          c
                                                                          ChiliDude RE: vasiliki Jan 5, 2014 11:02 AM

                                                                          Ciao vasiliki! Has the dinner get together happened already? If so, how did it go?

                                                                          If you plan to continue your quest to become most adept at Italian American cooking, here are some books which I have in my collection that may be of interest.

                                                                          Cooking with Love, Italian Style by Francis Anthony
                                                                          Simple Italian Food by Mario Batali
                                                                          Little Italy Cookbook by David Ruggerio
                                                                          American Pie, My Search for the Perfect Pizza
                                                                          by Peter Reinhart

                                                                          I also have one by Sophia Loren, but I bought it for the photos. Actually it is a pretty good one entitled Recipes & Memories.

                                                                          Maybe your local public library may have these or can borrow them thru interlibrary loan.

                                                                          In bocca al lupo e buon appetito!

                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                            v
                                                                            vasiliki RE: ChiliDude Jan 6, 2014 03:43 PM

                                                                            Not yet. This Saturday night!

                                                                            This week, I'm trying out as many recipes as possible. I'm going to look for your cookbook suggestions at the library tomorrow. The Sophia Loren one sounds great, too. I have really enjoyed the books with family photos, everyone around the table enjoying a big meal.

                                                                            I have wonderful memories of my Greek Yia Yia and aunts cooking big feasts on Sunday, which is why I think I was attracted to the Italian-American theme. I have already done the Greek thing on one of my turns.

                                                                            I'll keep you posted! More meatballs for dinner tonight...

                                                                            1. re: vasiliki
                                                                              coll RE: vasiliki Jan 6, 2014 04:02 PM

                                                                              The Sophia Loren is one of my favorite Italian cookbooks, I haven't made anything from it that wasn't top notch.

                                                                              I bought it as a joke for my SIL, who adores her, but she ended up buying me a copy after I kept asking her where she had gotten all these great new recipes.

                                                                      2. v
                                                                        vasiliki RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 08:53 AM

                                                                        I just wanted to thank everyone here who offered ideas. My supper club night was fantastic! Unfortunately, my We Called it Macaroni cookbook arrived too late, but I had several other great ones. We started with a huge antipasta platter, which included a fabulous olive, red pearl onion and orange zest recipe from Lidia Bastianach, as well as several delicious Italian cheeses, cured meats, etc. The cocktail I served was a freshly squeezed blood orange number from Mario Batali. I also used a recipe of his for our first course, which was a scallop crudo. Even though I was going for more of the Sicilian Italian-American experience, I couldn't help but toss in a couple of Batali's recipes to lighten up the meal a bit. I used Carmine's meatball recipe with a couple of minor changes that I picked up on Chowhound: I soaked the bread in buttermilk instead of milk, and added a little Parmesan Reggiano along with the Pecorino.I used L.B.'s Sunday sauce recipe and Carmine's pork braciole recipe. I'm in love with braciole! I also added in some short ribs and Italian sausage with plenty of fennel. It was all fabulous! Dessert was Carmine's tiramisu recipe. I had a wonderful tiramisu in New York eons ago and have not had a "real" one since. The Carmine's recipe was what I remembered loving. Italian digestifs, more wine, lots of dancing to Sinatra and a few other Italian-American crooners on my record player. Just a fabulous night. And thankfully, I have an extra batch of sauce already frozen for another evening! Thank you all.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: vasiliki
                                                                          f
                                                                          fourunder RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 08:55 AM

                                                                          Nice time...thanks for reporting back and sharing.

                                                                          1. re: vasiliki
                                                                            coll RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 09:11 AM

                                                                            The right music always makes it perfect! You did good.

                                                                            1. re: vasiliki
                                                                              b
                                                                              bob96 RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 04:00 PM

                                                                              So happy you had such a great time, and congrats for making it happen. Far better, honestly, than most of the Sunday ragu dinners I had growing up. Complimenti!

                                                                              1. re: vasiliki
                                                                                foodieX2 RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                                sounds like a blast! Glad you had fun

                                                                                1. re: vasiliki
                                                                                  Njchicaa RE: vasiliki Jan 13, 2014 05:06 PM

                                                                                  so glad to see that the Carmine's cookbook helped you out. I love love love it and recommend it to anyone looking for Italian-American food. I've been trying to get it nominated for Cookbook of the Month for several months now but no luck so far.

                                                                                  1. re: vasiliki
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    ChiliDude RE: vasiliki Jan 16, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                                                    Glad that it was a success!

                                                                                    My wife always has an extra batch of (excuse the expression) "gravy" frozen if needed on the spur of the moment. The "gravy"/"sauce" controversy has been raging in our home for 54 years come February 6th.

                                                                                    I refer to that red stuff that is added to the pasta as either "salsa" or "condimento" in order to keep the peace, but I still get a "look."

                                                                                    Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene!

                                                                                  Show Hidden Posts