Three Recipes From The Nonnas

Our April 7, 2015 hour on the fantastic authentic Italian cuisine of Staten Island, NY's Enoteca Maria included three delicious recipes from the nonnas who make up the restaurant's non-traditional cooking staff. Three of our producers whipped up the recipes, and the nonnas gave their blessing — or, in one case, not — for the appetizer, entree and dessert on host Tom Ashbrook's table. The recipes — and the producers who made them — are all right here.

On Point producer Abigail Collins shows off her freshly prepared cut black olives. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)
On Point producer Abigail Collins shows off her freshly prepared cut black olives. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Cut Black Olives

FRANCESA LEONE: This is a classic Calabrese way to prepare olives. Though the ingredients I use are similar, I handle black and green olives differently. Look for raw black olives at Italian markets or online.

4½ pounds large, firm, raw black olives

9 cups kosher salt, or as needed 6 fresh peperoncini

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

3 garlic cloves

Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Wash the olives under cold running water in a large colander. With a small sharp knife, make four cuts on each olive from tip to tip.
  2. Place the olives in a large bowl and cover with water. Rinse and drain two or three more times, then cover with warm water and stir in ½ cup of the salt. Drain and rinse three times a day, adding ½ cup salt each time to the fresh water, until the olives are no longer bitter, 5 to 6 days. Discard any olives that turn mushy during the process.
  3. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F.
  1. Drain the olives and spread them out on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Stir in 1 table- spoon salt, the peperoncini, and fennel seeds. Bake until warm and soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. Cool the olives to room temperature on the baking sheet, about 1 hour. Transfer them with the peperoncini, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and garlic cloves to sterilized glass jars. Cover fully with oil, seal, and set aside for an hour or two to blend the flavors. Enjoy warm or store in a cool, dark place for about 2 months.
On Point producer Kat Brewer shows off her freshly prepared pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, complete with hand-made pasta noodles. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)
On Point producer Kat Brewer shows off her freshly prepared pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, complete with hand-made pasta noodles. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Pappardelle with Porcini in Cream Sauce

ROSA TURANO: My brother-in-law is crazy about this sauce. I prefer to make it with the Italian dried porcini because they’re bigger, without crumbly bits. Look for dried porcini in large unbroken pieces in the packet.

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 medium shallots, minced (about 1 cup) 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

¾ cup heavy cream

1 pound dried pappardelle, cooked and drained

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about ¾ cup)

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Set the porcini in a small bowl and pour in the boiling water. Soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Set a colander over a bowl and drain the porcini, reserving the liqui Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to get rid of any grit. Chop the porcini into small pieces. Set both aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the oil in a deep skillet set over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the porcini and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the soaking liquid and raise the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has been reduced to a thick glaze, about 7 minutes.
  4. Pour in the heavy cream, stir well, and return the sauce to a simmer. Add the pappar- delle and toss with tongs to coat. Pour into a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
On Point producer Nick Andersen displays his blueberry tart. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)
On Point producer Nick Andersen displays his blueberry tart. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Blueberry Tart

ROSARIA  VIGORITO: This classic crostata, made with homemade blueberry jam, is my signature dessert at the Enoteca.

F O R  T H E  B L U E B E R R Y  J A M

1 pint blueberries

¼ cup sugar

F O R  T H E  C R U S T

2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for  rolling

2⁄3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, diced and kept chilled in the refrigerator

1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

  1. To make the jam, heat the blueberries in a small saucepan set over medium heat until they begin to bubble, stirring frequently and smashing the berries against the inside of the pan, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sugar and bring to a boi Cook, stirring continu- ously, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool to room tempera- ture, about 1 hour. The jam can be made up to 1 day in advance; store, covered, at room temperature.
  2. To make the crust, whisk the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl until uniform. Add the butter; use a pastry cutter, a fork, or two knives to cut the butter into the flour, continually working the butter through the mixture until it all resembles coarse sand.
  3. Stir in the eggs; stir until the dough gathers into a bal Seal in plastic wrap and refrig- erate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Unwrap the dough and cut it into two even pieces. Lightly flour a clean work surface; set the dough on top. Lightly flour the dough and a rolling pin; roll the dough into an 11-inch circle. Set the dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing it against the fluted edges to make an even crust. Spread the blueberry jam over the crust.
  6.  Set the second piece of dough onto a lightly floured work surface; flour the dough and a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Use a fluted pastry cutter, a pizza wheel, or a knife to cut ½-inch-thick strips; lay these over the tart, forming a crosshatch design. Seal the edges of the crust.
  7. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the sides from the tart pan and slice into wedges to serve. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Copyright © 2015 by Enoteca Maria Corp. from NONNA’S HOUSE by Jody Scaravella with Elisa Petrini published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

This program aired on April 7, 2015. The audio for this program is not available.


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