Tag Archives: Italian

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmesan )

Name: Ramona Marks
Class Year: 2002
Country of Residence: Germany

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

During the 2015 refugee crisis in Germany, I became involved with our local volunteer group. After many projects and changing priorities, we founded a Verein, or club, at the beginning of 2020, and now have a similar social and tax status as a non-profit in the U.S. I’m the committee leader of the group we call Kulinarik, or culinary. We only had one cooking evening before the shutdown, but we are hoping to have cooking classes and a recipe exchange in the near future. 

I studied abroad in Italy when I was a student at MHC. I love Italy, and of course Italian food. Here where I live in Germany, there is a very large population of Italians, many of whom arrived in the 1970s as economic refugees and had children who have had children. They are a part of the community now, and refugees who arrived during the 2015 crisis are also becoming our neighbors and friends. Cooking together helps, whether Syrians, Iranians, Italians, Afghanis, this American, or of course Germans, among others.

The recipe I chose is an Italian recipe that surprised me: Parmigiana di Melanzane, or Eggplant Parmesan with eggplant that is not breaded. Unlike what I knew in the U.S., this recipe calls for quickly deep frying the eggplant before layering it between a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves. As with so much of Italian cuisine, the recipe is deceptively simple and the outcome depends on the quality of the ingredients.

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Sub-6-hour Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

Name: Ralitsa Donkova
Class Year: 2005
Country of Residence: Belgium

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Erin McCarthy (Class of 2006) and I cooked this lasagne in her tiny Brooklyn kitchen in November 2011 when I was visiting her from Minneapolis. Erin had sent me the torn-out page from Bon Appetit magazine in the mail, and I brought it back to NYC when I visited her so we can make it together.

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Bärlauch/Ramps Pesto with Green Almonds

Name: Katia deSouza
Class Year: 1999
Country of Residence: Formerly Switzerland, now USA

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Before I moved to Switzerland, I got caught up in the seasonal ramps crazy at the farmers’ market. I really missed them until I discovered the alternative, bärlauch. I then realized that I could forage for them along my favourite running trail in Basel and I knew what I had to do…make pesto. Since I have an allergy to all nuts accept peanuts and almonds, pesto is generally out of reach for me. Green almonds, which are also very seasonal, are a great alternative to pine nuts. But you can easily sub pumpkin seeds for a truly nut free alternative.

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Penne in barca con asparagi selvatici (Penne on the boat with wild asparagus)

Name: Laura Aimone
Class Year: 2004
Country of Residence: Italy

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

This recipe is a mix of some of my fondest memories as a child/teenager. From 6 to 19 years old, I spent my summer holidays with my parents on the island of Elba, in Tuscany. We were renting a tiny panoramic house overlooking the sea in a village with the same people going there year after year. We had also met a local family with a grandma who was a chef and they were often inviting us to their place. They gave us this recipe and it still tastes like sun, sea, Mediterranean summers, youth, dancing under the stars on the beach and friendships.

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Vitello Tonnato (Cold sliced veal)

Name: Ellie Shulman Bartolozzi
Class Year: 1975
Country of Residence: Italy

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

This speciality from the region of Piemonte (in northwest Italy) is traditionally served cold or at room temperature as a starter. However, it makes a great main course in the warmer months, served with a side of string beans in a vinaigrette sauce. Every cook has his or her recipe and swears it is authentic! Variations include boiled rather than oven-cooked meat, or using homemade mayonnaise instead of olive oil. The bottom line: it’s a classic regional dish that has spread in popularity and is appreciated by everyone!

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Apple Compote with an Italian Twist

Name: Silvia Maulini*
Class Year: 1980
Country of Residence: The Netherlands

* Silvia is one of this competition’s judges, so this recipe will not be considered – it’s simply delicious, and needs to be shared!

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

In August 2019 a small group of MHC alumnae in the Netherlands attended a Slow Food event I had helped to organize in a historic orchard located close to Amsterdam. We picked apples and plums and together with friends and family members we processed them producing several delicious dishes. Our team was responsible for the apple compote and we surely had a great time!

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Ragù alla Bolognese (Pasta sauce)

Name: Linda C. Moffa
Class Year: 1996
Country of Residence: Italy

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

This original Ragù alla Bolognese recipe was passed on to me by a true Bolognese chef, my mother-in-law! Despite attempts all over the world to copy or revisit it, no recipe meets the level of this traditional one that has never disappointed.

Be wary of a ragù that is too red and saucy because of too much tomatoe, or even worse, loads of Béchamel sauce that make it creamy. The real Ragù alla Bolognese should dominate in taste over the pasta but result rather dry and not saucy or soupy. To respect the traditional recipe, Ragù alla Bolognese should be served over tagliatelle (please NO spaghetti alla Bolognese…). Alternatively, it can accompany polenta or a pasta like Gramigna.

A main course of Tagliatelle with Ragù alla Bolognese is a hearty dish that satisfies everyone. When it is made with carefully selected meats, organic vegetables, and top quality extra-virgin olive oil, it is definitely a complete meal that everybody savours.

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