Vintage Cookbook- 'Practical Italian' - Rheasie & Co

Vintage Cookbook- 'Practical Italian'

Practical Italian - Recipes for American Kitchens.

Please enjoy this delightful snapshot of a remarkable time in our modern history.  In an effort to raise funds to help the families of Italian soldiers, struggling to survive in Italy and America during World War 1, a cookbook was compiled using family as well as commercial recipes from a range of contributors. It includes a wonderful selection of anecdotes as well as household hints and sage advice about thriftiness that can still be applied today.

With an ever-growing desire to simplify our lives, and our cooking, this recipe book is the perfect addition in any cook’s kitchen. The recipes are delicious and affordable and showcase fresh produce with minimal waste. It is a wonderful way to reconnect to the way our predecessors lived and cooked and looked after their families, and experience our own la dolce vita!


Note: some of the ingredients and cooking methods have additional annotations included as a guide to ensure you are cooking as closely as possible to the original recipes.













      Sugo di Carne



      Minestrone alla Milanese



      Minestra di Cipolla alla Francese



      Minestra del Paradiso



      Zuppa di Piselli



      Zuppa di Fagiuoli



      Zuppa Regina



      Zuppa Sauté




      Cappelletti all' uso di Romagna





      Risotto alla Milanese I



      Risotto alla Milanese II



      Risotto coi Piselli



      Fagiuolini in Salsa d'Uovo



      Sedano Fritto



      Sedano per Contorno



      Cavolfiore in Umido



      Giambotto alla Napolitana




      Melanzana in Umido



      Tortino di Melanzana alla Parmigiana



      Stufato di Patate



      Sformato di Fagiuolini o Piselli_



      Stampa di Spinaci










Corn Meal Dishes



      Pasticcio di Polenta



      Polenta Pasticciata



Spaghetti and Other Pastas



      Gnocchi alla Romana







      Tagliatelli o Pasta Fatta in Casa





      Ravioli alla Genovese



      Tagliatelle col Presciutto






      Maccheroni alla Bolognese



      Salsa di Pomidoro



      Salsa Bianca



      Salsa Piccante








      Stufato di Baccala



      Cotolette di Baccala






      Frittura Piccata



      Piatto di Carne Avanzata



      Flam di Carne Avanzata







      Stufato di Vitello con Maccheroni



      Piccioni con Polenta



      Stufato di Pollo



      Pollo alla Cacciatora



      Lesso di Pollo col Riso









      Budino di Cioccolata





      Monte Bianco, Dolce di Castagne













n this world war we are learning many lessons from our Allies beside

those of the battle field. The housewives of the old world have much

to teach us in thrift, especially in the kitchen. Italian cooking--not

that of the large hotel or restaurant, but the cucina casalinga of

the little roadside hostelry and of the home where the mother, or some

deft handmaid trained in the art from infancy, is priestess at the

tiny charcoal stove--is at once so frugal and so delicious that we do

well to study it with close attention.


If you have ever sat at a snowy table in the garden of some wayside

inn in the Appennines, a savory dish of risotto before you and the

music of the mountain torrent far below in your ears; or sipped a

zabaione in the portico of a cafe on the sun-baked piazza of some

brown old town clinging to a hillside of Umbria; or eaten fritto

misto on a pensione terrace overhanging the sapphire Gulf of

Naples, one of those inimitable haunts of comfort kept by a handsome

Italian dame who served her apprenticeship in Anglo-Saxon ways as an

English lady's maid; if any of these experiences have been yours you

do not need to be convinced of the inimitable charms of the Italian



The Italian housewife uses quantities of vegetables, many soups and

made dishes containing only a small proportion of meat and that the

inexpensive cuts. Vegetable salads are a staple, while fresh or dried

fruits, coffee, cheese and nuts are the regular dessert. The elaborate

creations for which the Italian confectioner is justly famous are

reserved for festal occasions.


At first reading many of the recipes may sound elaborate, but in using

them it is well to bear in mind the general plan of the Italian menu.

Each dish is usually served as a course in itself. A good soup, a

savory dish of spaghetti, rice or vegetables combined with meat, a

crisp salad dressed with oil and vinegar, followed by a piece of

fruit, a bit of cheese and black coffee make a characteristic Italian

meal and one with which an epicure could find no fault. It is a meal,

moreover, in keeping with the suggestions of our Food Administrator

that we use a minimum of meats and sweets and a maximum of soups,

fruits, vegetables, made dishes and cheese.


This little venture is launched in the hope that the booklet may pay

its way in new suggestions to American homemakers while it is earning

money to prevent Italian homes from being destroyed. The expenses

incident to publication have been contributed, so that every penny

from the sale of every copy is forwarded direct to responsible people

in Italy who will use it for food and clothing for the families of

Italian soldiers.


Additional copies may be had at fifty cents apiece, from Julia Lovejoy

Cuniberti, 14 West Milwaukee street, Janesville, Wisconsin.








TOMATO PASTE. This is a concentrated paste made from tomatoes and

spices to be had of importers or grocers in Italian neighborhoods.

Thinned with water, it is a much used ingredient in Italian recipes.

Catsup and concentrated tomato soup do not make satisfactory

substitutes as they are too sweet in flavor, but canned tomatoes

seasoned with salt and a bit of bay leaf, cooked down to a thick cream

and rubbed through a sieve, serve very well in lieu of tomato paste.


PARMESAN CHEESE. When an Italian recipe calls for grated cheese it

usually means Parmesan. This is practically unobtainable now, except

the grated, bottled cheese, which is inferior in flavor. Gruyère, our

own brick cheese, or any skim milk cheese dried and grated fresh as

needed makes a good substitute.


DRIED MUSHROOMS. These may be had of importers or small groceries in

foreign neighborhoods. They sound expensive until one realizes that a

very few ounces go a long way. They make a pleasing variety added to

soups or sauces, and are much cheaper and more highly flavored than

the canned mushrooms. They should be thoroughly washed and softened in

warm water before using.


ANCHOVIES. These recipes do not call for the filets of anchovy prepared

for hors-d'oeuvres, but the less expensive and larger whole anchovies

in salt to be had in bulk or cans at large dealers. To clean them

plunge in boiling water. This loosens the skin and removes superfluous

salt. Remove head, tail, backbone and skin and they are ready for use.


GARLIC. Garlic is an inoffensive and wholesome ingredient if properly

handled. Used in small quantities and thoroughly cooked it gives an

indescribable flavor that is never disagreeable. By "a clove of

garlic" is meant one of the tiny sections of a whole garlic peeled

down to its white, fleshy core.


SUBSTITUTION OF OTHER INGREDIENTS. Many of the recipes which have been

written down just as they were given can be made more economical and

no less delicious by the substitution of clarified drippings,

vegetable shortenings and corn or nut oils for salt pork, butter or

bacon. Corn-starch is recommended for thickening instead of flour.

Anyone who does not care for as much cheese or tomato as the Italian

likes, may omit them entirely or greatly reduce the quantity in most

of the recipes and still have an excellent dish.



Soups and Stocks




Sugo di Carne

    1 lb. beef from some tough but juicy cut*

    A small piece of salt pork**

    A large onion

    A stalk of celery

    2 tablespoons butter

    A carrot

    2 cloves

    Salt, pepper


Chop the pork and put it in the bottom of a saucepan. Next add the

onion, celery and carrot chopped. Dot with butter and over this place

the meat cut into small pieces. Add any trimmings from steaks, roasts

or chops that may be on hand and any bits of leftover cooked meat.

Season with salt and the cloves. Put over the fire without stirring.

When you smell the onions getting very brown turn the meat and when

everything is extremely brown add a cup of water and let it cook

almost dry. Repeat this operation of adding the water three times.

Finally add three pints of boiling water and let it boil gently five

or six hours, when the stock will be reduced to a few cupfuls. Strain,

cool and skim off the fat which will form a cake on top of the liquid.


The meat may afterwards be used for a Flam, for Polpettone or

croquettes. The stock may be kept for some days and forms the basis

for many dishes. In soups it is far superior to beef extract or

bouillon cubes which may be substituted for it.

*Chuck, round, brisket and shank can be used.

**salt pork is pork that is almost entirely fat and has been cured in salt. It is still readily available in many places. You can substitute it with ham or bacon.




Minestrone alla Milanese


    1/2 lb. salt pork

    2 or 3 sprigs parsley

    1 kernel garlic

    2 carrots

    1/4 medium sized cabbage

    1 scant cup dried beans, Lima or kidney, soaked over night

    2 quarts cold water

    A little celery

    Any leftover peas

    1 tablespoon butter

    Rice, salt and pepper


Cut off the rind of the pork and put it into 2 quarts of water to

boil. Cut off a small slice of the pork and beat it to a paste with

the parsley and garlic. Add this paste to the pork and water. Slice

the carrots, cut the rib out of the cabbage leaves. Add the carrots,

cabbage leaves, other vegetables, seasoning and butter to the soup,

and let it boil slowly for 2-1/2 hours. The last 1/2 hour add 1 small

handful of rice for each person.


When the pork is very soft, remove and slice in little ribbons and put

it back.


This is equally good eaten cold. Three bouillon cubes may be used

instead of pork, or may be added if a richer soup is desired.


    Mme. Varesi.




Minestra di Cipolla alla Francese


    4 large onions

    4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or meat drippings

    1/4 lb. Swiss or American brick cheese, grated

    1 quart to 3 pints soup stock or boiling water

    4 slices of stale bread toasted, salt, pepper


Peel the onions and slice them very thin. Fry them slowly in the fat

until they are a uniform golden brown, using a kettle deep enough to

hold the water afterwards. When the onions are thoroughly fried add

the hot water, cover and let simmer at least three-quarters of an

hour, seasoning to taste. The onions will make a clean brown liquor

without the use of any meat but soup stock may be used instead of

water, or beef extract or bouillon cubes may be added to the water if

a meat soup is preferred.


Put the soup in a hot tureen, add the toast cut into triangles and

sprinkle it over with the grated cheese. Serve as soon as the toast

and cheese have been added.




Minestra del Paradiso


    4 tablespoons sifted bread crumbs

    4 tablespoons grated cheese

    1 quart white soup stock or clear broth

    3 eggs


    Salt, pepper


Beat the whites of the eggs, then beat in the yolks. Add the

breadcrumbs gradually, then the grated cheese, a pinch of salt and a

grating of nutmeg. These ingredients should form a thin batter.


Have the broth boiling and drop the batter into it by spoonfuls. Let

it boil three or four minutes and serve immediately. The batter will

poach in soft, curdled lumps in the clear soup.


This soup is much used as a delicacy for invalids. In this case the

cheese may be scanted or omitted entirely. By way of variety a

tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley may be added to the batter, or

a half a cup of spinach drained and rubbed through a sieve may be

substituted for half of the breadcrumbs.


When stock or broth is not available, it may be made from bouillon

cubes and a lump of butter dissolved in boiling water and seasoned

with celery salt, onion salt and pepper.


    Signora Maria Ronchi-Cuniberti.




Zuppa di Piselli


    1 pint peas; fresh peas, canned peas or dried peas soaked over night

    2 tablespoons oil or butter substitute

    1 small onion

    1 small carrot

    A sprig of parsley

    2 oz. ham, fat and lean

    A piece of celery

    A bay leaf

    Salt, pepper


Chop fine or put through a meat grinder the ham, onion, carrot and

celery, add the parsley chopped or clipped fine with scissors, and the

bay leaf. Fry all this in the oil until it is golden brown, but not at

all scorched. Add one pint of boiling water and the peas. If this

cooks away add more water as needed until the peas are tender. Rub the

soup through a sieve. Serve this soup garnished with croutons or toast

triangles, and send a dish of grated cheese to the table with it to be

added according to individual taste.




Zuppa di Fagiuoli


    1 cup dried beans, Kidney, Navy or Lima

    1/4 cup oil

    1/4 onion

    1 clove of garlic

    1 sprig of parsley

    1 piece of celery

    1 cup canned tomatoes


Soak the beans overnight. Boil until tender. Many cooks put the beans

to cook in cold water with a pinch of soda. When they come to a boil,

pour off this water and add fresh.


Chop fine the onion, garlic, parsley and celery and put them to fry in

the oil with salt and a generous amount of pepper. When the vegetables

are a delicate brown add to them two cups of the broth from the beans,

and the tomatoes. Let all come to a boil and pour the mixture into the

kettle of beans from which some of the water has been drained, if they

are very liquid. This soup may be served as it is or rubbed through a

sieve before serving. Croutons or triangles of dry toast make an

excellent addition.




Zuppa Regina


    1 cup cooked chicken

    1/4 cup bread crumbs

    1/4 cup milk

    Yolk of 1 egg, if desired

    5 or 6 blanched almonds

    1 quart chicken stock

    1 slice stale bread

    Fat for deep frying


Grind the meat and almonds in a meat grinder, or chop very fine. Soak

the bread crumbs in the milk, and rub all these ingredients to a very

smooth paste. Add the hot broth. If you wish the soup to be richer and

have a more milky consistency use the yolk of an egg, which should be

beaten and have a few tablespoons of the hot broth stirred into it

before adding to the soup. Do not let the soup boil after the egg is

added or it will curdle.


Cut the stale bread into cubes and fry in deep fat. Put these croutons

in the soup, and send it to the table with a dish of grated cheese.




Zuppa Sauté


Many kinds of vegetables may be used for this soup, carrots, celery,

cabbage, turnips, onions, potatoes, spinach, the outside leaves of

lettuce or greens of any variety.


Select three or four kinds of vegetables. Shred or chop coarsely

cabbage or greens, and slice or cut in cubes the root vegetables. Put

them over the fire with a small quantity of cooking oil or butter

substitute, and let them fry until they have absorbed the fat. Then

add broth and cook until the vegetables are very tender. Fry croutons

of stale bread in oil and serve them in the soup.


In this, as in other recipes, water may be used instead of broth if

the latter is not available, and bouillon cubes or beef extract added

just as the hot soup is removed from the fire.




Cappelletti all' uso di Romagna


    Equal parts curds or cottage cheese and cooked meat (chicken, pork

      or veal)

    Grated cheese

    1 egg

    Grated lemon peel

    Nutmeg, allspice, salt


Grind the meat very fine and make a highly seasoned mixture of it and

all the other ingredients. The ground meat may be sautéed in a little

butter or drippings before it is mixed with the other ingredients to

improve the flavor. Cut rounds measuring about three inches in diameter

from a thin sheet of paste made according to the recipe on page 35.

Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle of each circle of paste.

Fold over and moisten the edge of the paste with the finger dipped in

water to make it stay securely closed. These cappelletti should be

cooked in chicken or turkey broth until the paste is tender, and served

with this broth as a soup.


This is a time-honored Christmas dainty in Italy.






Risotto alla Milanese I


    1 lb. rice

    A medium sized onion

    4 tablespoons butter, or oil


    Curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon

    Grated cheese


Chop the onion very fine, or put it through a meat grinder. Put it to

cook in the butter, until it is soft and yellow. Wash the rice and add

it to the onion and butter, stirring constantly so that it will not

stick. Salt it and add boiling water, a little at a time, until the

rice is cooked tender, yet not too soft, with each grain distinct.

Dissolve the curry powder in a tablespoon of cold water and add to the

rice. Take from the fire and serve very hot after mixing into it a

handful of grated cheese. The delicacy of this dish is lost if it is

overcooked or allowed to cool.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.




Risotto alla Milanese II

    1 lb. rice

    The giblets of a chicken*

    Cooking oil or chicken fat

    1 egg

    Chicken broth


    Grated cheese

    Salt and pepper


The broth for this Risotto may be made by cooking together the

giblets, neck and tips of wings of a chicken which is to be roasted,

or it may be made from the remnants of roast fowl.


Boil the rice until it is about half done in salted water. Then let

the water cook away and begin adding the broth, in such quantity that

the rice will be nearly dry when it is tender. Fry the chopped onion

in the oil or fat. Some mushrooms cut up small are a very good

addition to this "soffritto." Mince the chicken giblets and add to the

onion. Stir this mixture into the rice. Add grated cheese and a beaten

egg just as the rice is taken from the fire.

*Giblets refers to the neck, heart, liver and gizzard of poultry, mainly chicken or turkey. Generally whole birds bought from butchers will have the giblets still inside.



Risotto coi Piselli


    1 cup rice

    1 tablespoon oil

    1 tablespoon butter

    1/2 onion

    Grated cheese

    A small can of peas


Clean the rice. Chop the onion fine and fry it a golden color in the

oil. Put in the rice and stir it until it has absorbed all the oil.

Salt and add boiling water. Boil until the rice is tender, taking care

to keep plenty of water on it until the very end when it should cook

almost dry. Drain the peas and add them toward the end of the cooking.

Grated cheese is a good addition to this dish.




Fagiuolini in Salsa d'Uovo


    1 lb. green or wax beans

    Butter, salt and pepper

    Yolk of 1 egg

    1 teaspoon cornstarch or flour

    Juice of 1/4 lemon

    3/4 cup soup stock


String the beans and parboil them in salted, boiling water. Drain, cut

up into inch pieces and season with butter, salt and pepper. Beat the

egg yolk in a sauce pan. Beat in the flour and lemon juice, add the

stock (cold water will do) and cook the mixture over a moderate fire

until it thickens. Pour over the hot beans and let remain over the

fire a moment so that they will absorb the flavor of the sauce but not

long enough to curdle the egg.




Sedano Fritto


Cut the outside stalks of celery into pieces 3 to 4 inches long, and

strip off the coarsest fibres. Cook in water until soft and

transparent. Drain in colander. When it is as dry as possible roll

each piece separately in flour, and sauté separately, not in a mass,

in butter, vegetable oil or drippings, with salt and pepper. Each

piece must be turned to cook on both sides.


Swiss chard may be cooked in the same way.


    Mme. Varesi.




Sedano per Contorno


Cook the outside stalks of celery, cut into small pieces, in boiling

salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and sauté in a very little butter.

Add a few tablespoons of brown stock and simmer until tender. Sprinkle

with grated cheese if desired, before serving.




Cavolfiore in Umido


    A small strip of salt pork

    1/4 onion

    1 tablespoon butter or oil

    A large cauliflower

    Tomato paste*

    Salt, pepper, allspice

    A little sausage meat

    Grated cheese


Chop fine the onion and salt pork, and brown together, adding the

butter and spices. Add enough tomato paste and boiling water to

moisten the mixture thoroughly, and let it boil a few minutes. Then

add the finely chopped sausage and more water as necessary to keep it



Wash and quarter the cauliflower and cook it for ten minutes in

boiling, slightly salted water. Drain it and add it to the sauce, and

simmer slowly until tender. Be careful not to cook it so long that it

gets mushy. Grated cheese may be sprinkled over it before serving.


Cabbage may be cooked in the same way.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.


          *See Suggestions, page 10.




Giambotto alla Napolitana


    1/4 onion

    An eggplant

    A few tablespoons oil

    Fresh or canned tomatoes

    Two or three green peppers

    One or two potatoes

    Salt, pepper



Zucchini are a kind of small squash for sale in groceries and markets

of the Italian neighborhoods of our large cities. Summer or winter

squash, ripe cucumber or even pumpkin make good substitutes.


Chop the onion and fry in oil. The other vegetables should be in

proportion to each other. For example, if there is a cupful of each of

the other vegetables when they are cut up, use a cupful of tomatoes

unless you wish the tomato flavor to be very pronounced. Peel and cube

the potatoes, eggplant and squash. Remove the seeds and stems from the

peppers and slice or shred them coarsely. Add the tomatoes to the

onion and oil. After that has cooked a few minutes add the potatoes.

When they are half done, put in the peppers, lastly the eggplant,

squash, and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the vegetables are

tender but still whole and firm.


    Roma Pavilion Restaurant, Chicago.




Melanzana in Umido


Peel and cut up the eggplant. Salt it and let it stand for an hour or

so to draw out the bitter juices. Drain and sauté in a little oil or

drippings. Add tomato sauce* and simmer a few moments until tender.


*see recipe on page 39




Tortino di Melanzana alla Parmigiana


The eggplant should be prepared as for ordinary frying, that is, it

should be peeled, sliced and the slices sprinkled with salt and left

under a weighted plate for some time to extract the bitter juices.

Sauté the slices in oil or lard. Line a baking dish with them. Fill

the center of the dish with hard boiled eggs and cheese cut into

little pieces. Add to this filling enough grated cheese and tomato

sauce to flavor it to taste. Cover the top with another layer of the

fried eggplant and a little more tomato sauce. Bake in the oven for 10



    Roma Pavilion Restaurant, Chicago.




Stufato di Patate


    2 lbs. potatoes

    1 tablespoon flour

    4 tablespoons butter

    1 pint milk

    Grated cheese

    Salt, pepper


Peel the potatoes and cut them into little pieces. Cook in boiling

water for ten minutes. Take them out, drain thoroughly, and put in a

saucepan, sprinkling them with flour, then adding the butter and milk.

Cover the pan and let the potatoes cook slowly for a quarter of an

hour or until thoroughly done. Season well with salt and pepper and a

generous amount of grated cheese before serving.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.




Sformato di Fagiuolini o Piselli


    1 lb. green or wax beans

    1/4 onion

    A sprig of parsley

    A piece of celery

    2 tablespoons oil or butter substitute

    1 tablespoon flour

    1 cup milk

    3 eggs

    Grated cheese


String the beans. Blanch them by throwing them into boiling water. As

soon as the water has boiled again drain the beans and plunge them

into cold water. Fry the finely chopped onion, parsley and celery in a

tablespoon of oil. When the onion is a golden color add the beans and

let them absorb the oil. Add just enough water to keep them from

burning until the beans have simmered tender.


Make a white sauce of the milk, flour and one tablespoon of oil. Beat

the eggs. Let the beans and sauce cool a little. Then add the eggs,

beans and a few tablespoons of grated cheese to the white sauce. Pour

into a buttered mould. Bake or steam as a custard until firm, and

serve hot.


Peas are good cooked in the same way. Canned peas and beans may be

used. This makes a very satisfactory luncheon dish.




Stampa di Spinaci


    1 cup milk

    1 tablespoon butter

    1 tablespoon flour

    Grated cheese

    2 cups boiled spinach

    3 eggs

    Brown stock

    Salt, pepper


Make a smooth white sauce of the milk, butter and flour. Let it cook

until it is thick and the flour is thoroughly cooked. Add to the sauce

the spinach (drained, rinsed and chopped very fine) a few tablespoons

of grated cheese, two eggs beaten, a few tablespoons of brown stock

(or a bouillon cube dissolved in a little hot water) and salt. Mix

thoroughly and pour into a buttered mould. Steam as a custard until it

is firm. Brown stock or tomato sauce may be poured over this, but it

is excellent served hot just as it is. For the recipes for Brown

Stock and Tomato Sauce see pages 11 and 39.


    Pensione Santa Caterina, Siena.




    1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil

    1 cup milk

    1 tablespoon flour

    3 eggs

    Salt and pepper


Hard boil the eggs. Make a white sauce of the flour, milk and butter.

Be sure to cook it thoroughly. Add the whites of the eggs diced very

fine. Pour this out on a platter and cover with the yolks forced

through a sieve or potato ricer.


    Pensione Santa Caterina, Siena.





    5 or 6 ripe tomatoes of equal size

    5 or 6 eggs

    White sauce or brown gravy


Peel the tomatoes. Cut a slice from the top of each, and scoop out the

core. Break a raw egg into each and replace the top. Put in a baking

dish and bake until the eggs are set. Serve with a cream sauce or

brown gravy.




Pasticcio di Polenta


    Yellow cornmeal

    Dried mushrooms*

    Parmesan cheese





The day before this dish is to be served, cook cornmeal very

thoroughly with only enough water to make it very stiff. Turn out to

cool in just the shape of the dish in which it has cooked.


Next day take this same dish, butter it and sprinkle with bread

crumbs. Cut the mould of cornmeal in horizontal slices about 1/4 inch

thick. Lay the top slice in the bottom of the dish where it fits. Dot

with two or three small pieces of butter and three or four dried

mushrooms which have had boiling water poured over them and soaked

some time. Moisten with cream and sprinkle with grated Parmesan

cheese. Repeat slice by slice until the shape is complete. On the last

slice put only two dots of butter.


Put in a moderate oven and bake three hours. If at the end of this

time there should be too much liquid on top pour this off to use for

the seasoning of some other dish, such as spaghetti, rice or noodles,

and continue cooking until the liquid ceases to ooze.


          *See Suggestions, page 10.




Polenta Pasticciata


    1 cup yellow corn meal

    1 cup milk

    1 tablespoon cornstarch

    Grated cheese

    Bolognese Sauce*


    1 tablespoon cooking oil or butter


Make a very stiff mush of the cornmeal. Salt it well and when it is

cooked spread it out to cool on a bread board in a sheet about an inch

thick. Make a smooth white sauce of the milk, cornstarch and butter.

Prepare the Bolognese Sauce according to its recipe. When the

cornmeal is cold slice it down in half inch slices and cut into

diamonds or squares. Butter a baking dish. Put in a layer of the

cornmeal, sprinkle it with cheese and a few tablespoons each of the

white sauce and the meat sauce. Repeat until the dish is full. Bake

until the top is nicely browned. This seems like an elaborate dish, but

it is very delicious and a meal in itself.


          *See page 38.




Gnocchi alla Romana


    1 pint of milk, or half milk and half water

    1/2 cup farina or cornmeal

    Butter and grated cheese

    1 egg



Let the milk come to a boil, salt it and add the farina gradually,

stirring constantly so it will not become lumpy. Take from the fire

and add a tablespoon of butter and several tablespoons of grated

cheese, also the egg slightly beaten. Mix well and spread out on a

moulding board in a sheet about 3/4 inch thick. When it is cold cut it

in squares or diamonds. Put a layer of these on a shallow baking dish

or platter that has been buttered. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with

butter. Make another layer and so on until the dish is filled. Bake in

the oven until the crust is well browned.





    3/4 lb. spaghetti

    5 medium sized anchovies*

    Olive oil

    Canned tomatoes


Put the anchovies into a colander and dip quickly into boiling water

to loosen the skins, and remove the salt. Skin and bone them. Chop

them and put over the fire in a sauce-pan with a generous quantity of

oil and some pepper. Do not let them boil, but when they are hot add

two tablespoons of butter and three or four tablespoons of

concentrated tomato juice made by cooking down canned tomatoes and

rubbing through a sieve. Boil the spaghetti in water that is only

slightly salted and take care not to let it become too soft. Drain

thoroughly and put it into the hot dish in which it is to be served.

Pour the sauce over the spaghetti, and if you have left the latter

unbroken in the Italian style mix by lifting the spaghetti with two

silver forks until sauce has gone all through it. Serve with grated



          *See Suggestions, page 11.





    1/2 lb. round steak

    1/4 lb. salt pork or bacon

    1 small onion

    A clove of garlic

    1 tablespoon butter or substitute

    A few dried mushrooms, if desired

    Several sprigs parsley

    Fresh or canned tomatoes


Grind the salt pork and try it out in a saucepan. While it is frying

put the onion through the grinder. As soon as the pork begins to brown

add the onion, the parsley chopped, the garlic shredded fine, and the

mushrooms which have been softened by soaking in warm water. When the

vegetables are very brown (great care must be taken not to burn the

onion, which scorches very easily) add the meat ground coarsely or cut

up in little cubes. When the meat is a good brown color, add about one

pint of tomatoes and simmer slowly until all has cooked down to a

thick creamy sauce. It will probably take 3/4 hour. The sauce may be

bound together with a little flour if it shows a tendency to separate.


This sauce is used to dress all kinds of macaroni and spaghetti, also

for boiled rice. Spaghetti should be left unbroken when it is cooked.

If it is too long to fit in the kettle immerse one end in the boiling

salted water and in a very few minutes the ends of the spaghetti under

the water will become softened so that the rest can be pushed down

into the kettle. Be careful not to overcook it and it will not be

pasty, but firm and tender. Drain it carefully and put in a hot soup

tureen. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese over it and pour on the

sauce. Lift with two forks until thoroughly mixed.





Tagliatelli o Pasta Fatta in Casa


The best and most tender paste is made simply of eggs and flour and

salt. Water may be substituted for part of the eggs, for economy, or

when a less rich paste is needed. Allow about a cup of flour to an

egg. Put the flour on a bread board, make a hole in the middle and

break in the egg. Use any extra whites that are on hand. Work it with

a fork until it is firm enough to work with the hands. Knead it

thoroughly, adding more flour if necessary, until you have a paste you

can roll out. Roll it as thin as a ten cent piece. If the sheet of

paste is too large to handle with an ordinary rolling pin, a broom

handle which has been sawed off, scrubbed and sandpapered, will serve

in lieu of the long Italian rolling pin.


This paste may be cut in ribbons to be cooked in soup as Tagliatelli,

or cut in squares or circles and filled with various mixtures to make

Cappelletti, Ravioli, etc.


Any bits that are left or become too dry to work may be made into a

ball and kept for some time to be grated into soup, in which it makes

an excellent thickening.





    1/4 lb. curds or soft cottage cheese

    1/2 cup cooked spinach or beet greens

    1 egg



    Grated cheese


Drain and chop the greens. Mix well with the curds, egg, a little

grated cheese, salt and nutmeg. Make a paste such as that described in

the recipe for Pasta fatta in Casa, above. Roll out this paste very

thin and mark it off in two or three inch squares. Place a spoonful of

the mixture on each square. Fold together diagonally. Moisten the edges

with the finger dipped in cold water, to make them stick together, and

press them down with the fingers or the tines of a fork. Another method

is to put the spoonfuls of the mixture in a row two inches from the

edge of the paste and two inches apart. Fold over the edge of the

paste. Cut off the whole strip thus formed, and cut into squares with

the mixture in the middle of each square.


Boil these ravioli in salted water, being careful not to break them

open. Drain and serve with a tomato sauce containing mushrooms*,

either fresh ones, or the dried mushrooms soaked and simmered until

tender. Arrange the ravioli on a platter, pour the hot sauce over

them and finish with a sprinkling of grated cheese.


          *See page 10.




Ravioli alla Genovese


    1 cup cooked meat, veal, chicken, turkey or giblets

    1 small slice cooked ham

    1/2 cup spinach

    1 egg

    Grated cheese, nutmeg, salt


Chop the meat and spinach fine and work to a stiff mixture with the

egg. Season with cheese, nutmeg and salt to taste. Enclose in little

squares of the homemade paste described above, and cook and serve as

in the preceding recipe for Ravioli.




Tagliatelle col Presciutto



    A slice of ham, fat & lean

    Oil or butter



    Tomato paste*


Cut the ham into little pieces. Chop carrot and celery to equal the

ham in quantity. Put them all on the fire with some butter. When the

mixture is brown add a few tablespoons of tomato paste dissolved in a

cup of hot water.


Cook the noodles in water that is only slightly salted. Drain and

dress with the sauce and grated cheese. The quantities to use in the

sauce must be determined by the amount of noodles to be cooked.


          *See Suggestions, page 10.




Maccheroni alla Bolognese


    1/4 lb. raw round steak

    A slice of salt pork or bacon (2 oz.)

    1 tablespoon butter or substitute

    1 pint hot water or broth

    1 small carrot

    1/4 onion

    1 large piece celery

    1/2 tablespoon flour

    Pepper, nutmeg if desired


Chop the meat and vegetables fine and put them over the fire with the

butter. When the meat has browned add the flour and wet the mixture

with hot water or broth, allowing it to simmer from half an hour to an

hour. It is done when it is the consistency of a thick gravy.


This is enough sauce for 1 lb. of macaroni or spaghetti. Dried

mushrooms are a good addition to this sauce. They may be soaked,

drained and chopped with other vegetables. This sauce forms the basis

for the dish of scalloped cornmeal called Polenta Pasticciata.




Salsa di Pomidoro


Pellegrino Artusi, the inimitable author of that droll yet practical


(La Scienza in Cucina e l'Arte di mangiar bene) has the following to

say about tomato sauce.


    "There was once a good old priest in a village of the Romagna who

    stuck his nose into everything; in every family circle and in every

    domestic affair he wanted to have his finger in the pie. Aside from

    this he was a kindly old party and as his zeal was the source of

    more good than bad people let him go his way; but the wiseacres

    dubbed him Don Pomidoro (Sir Tomato) to indicate that tomatoes

    enter into everything; therefore a good tomato sauce is an

    invaluable aid in cooking."


Chop fine together a quarter of an onion, a clove of garlic, a piece

of celery as long as your finger, a few bay leaves and just parsley

enough. Season with a little oil, salt and pepper, cut up seven or

eight tomatoes and put everything over the fire together. Stir it from

time to time and when you see the juice condensing into a thin custard

strain it through a sieve, and it is ready for use."


This sauce serves many purposes. It is good on boiled meat; excellent

to dress macaroni, spaghetti or other pastes which have been seasoned

with butter and cheese, or on boiled rice seasoned in the same way.

Mushrooms are a great addition to it.




Salsa Bianca


    1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch

    1/4 cup butter

    1 tablespoon vinegar

    Salt and pepper

    1/2 cup water or soup stock

    Yolk of 1 egg


Melt half the butter, add the flour and cook until it begins to brown.

Add the water slowly, stirring meanwhile, the vinegar and the rest of

the butter. Take from the fire and add the beaten egg yolk. This sauce

should be smooth like a thin custard.




Salsa Piccante


    2 sardines or anchovies

    A bunch of parsley

    1/4 of a small onion


    Lemon juice


    Olive oil

    Salt, pepper


Wash, skin and bone the anchovies. Chop the parsley very fine with the

onion. Rub a bowl with the cut side of a clove of garlic. Put in the

anchovies and rub to a paste. Add the parsley and onion, a tablespoon

each of lemon juice and vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil and salt and pepper

to taste. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and thick. Capers may be

added by way of variety. This is delicious as a sauce for plain boiled

meat or fish.


    Signorina Cornelia Cuniberti.





    2 lbs. fresh salmon

    A sprig of parsley

    2 cloves garlic

    A bit of sage

    A bay leaf

    1 egg


    Salt, pepper


    Oil for frying


Boil the piece of salmon for half an hour with the parsley, garlic,

sage and bay leaf. Bone and roll into fillets 3/4 inch thick. If the

fish has boiled very tender it may be necessary to tie the fillets in

shape with string or strips of cheese cloth. Dip in beaten egg, then

in flour, salt and pepper. Sauté a delicate brown. Serve with oil

mayonnaise. The white from the egg used in the mayonnaise may serve

for dipping the fillets if only a small piece of salmon is cooked.




Stufato di Baccala


    1 cup codfish, flaked or picked to pieces with a fork

    4 tablespoons cooking oil

    Several sprigs parsley

    Tomato paste*

    Pepper, hot water


Freshen and soak the codfish in cold water, changing the water two or

three times. Heat the oil, with the parsley finely chopped. Add the

tomato paste, pepper and enough water to make sufficient liquid to

cover the fish. Add the fish and let it simmer over a slow fire until

it is done.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.


          * See Suggestions, page 10.




Cotolette di Baccala


    1 lb. salt codfish

    2 anchovies

    A sprig of parsley

    Grated cheese

    2 eggs

    1/2 cup breadcrumbs

    1 tablespoon butter



Flake the codfish and put it on the fire in cold water. When it has

come to a boil remove from fire and drain. Clean the anchovies and

chop them together with the codfish and parsley. Add enough hot water

to the bread crumbs and butter to moisten thoroughly. Mix with the

other ingredients Form into croquettes and dip into egg and crumbs and

fry in deep fat.


Serve with tomato sauce or simply garnish with lemon.


          *See Suggestions, page 11.




Frittura Piccata





    1 tablespoon vinegar

    Chopped parsley

    Salt and pepper


Take any piece of veal and slice it as thin as possible in small

irregular slices like chipped beef. Roll in flour, put butter in

frying pan; when hot add the vinegar and stir hard. Lay in the slices

of veal and sprinkle salt, pepper and chopped parsley over it. sauté

first on one side, then on the other, turning each piece separately.

Serve hot with its own butter and vinegar sauce poured over it.


    Mme. Varesi.




Piatto di Carne Avanzata


    Any leftover meat


    Tomatoes, fresh or canned


    Butter or butter substitute

    Sifted bread crumbs




Into the bottom of a baking dish put a layer of thinly sliced onion,

salt, pepper, a sprinkling of flour and a few dots of butter, then a

layer of the cooked meat sliced very thin, another layer of onion and

seasoning, and then one of meat, moistening it occasionally with a

tablespoon of soup stock or hot water in which a bouillon cube has

been dissolved. Repeat this until the dish is nearly full. Last put in

a layer of raw tomatoes (canned tomatoes may be made to serve the

purpose) and cover the top with bread crumbs, salt, pepper and bits of

butter. Bake in the oven for one-half hour.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.




Flam di Carne Avanzata


    1 cup cold boiled or roast meat chopped fine

    1 oz. butter

    1 tablespoon flour

    Grated cheese, to taste

    1 pint of milk

    2 eggs

    Salt, pepper


Make the butter, flour and milk into a white sauce by melting the

butter, cooking the flour in it until the mixture bubbles and begins

to brown, then adding the milk and cooking until it is smooth. Let

this cool. Brown the meat in a saucepan with a little fat or

drippings, salt and pepper. Take it from the fire and add the white

sauce and the eggs well beaten. Season with grated cheese, salt and

pepper. Butter a mould and sprinkle it with bread crumbs, fill with

the mixture and steam or bake as a custard for an hour. Serve with any

good meat or tomato sauce.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.






    Cold boiled meat

    An egg

    Bread crumbs

    Butter, hot water


Chop or grind cold boiled meat and form into an oval cake after mixing

it with enough slightly beaten egg and bread crumbs (soaked in hot

water and seasoned with butter) to make it hold its shape. Sauté on

one side in a frying pan. To turn it use a plate or cover so as not to

break it. Sauté on the other side. Lift it from the pan and with the

fat remaining in the pan make a gravy to pour over it, which may be

enriched by the addition of a beaten egg and a dash of lemon juice

just as it is taken from the fire.


A Polpettone from left over soup meat often forms the second course

to a meal, the first course of which has been the soup made from this

meat with vegetables or macaroni cooked in it.




Stufato di Vitello con Maccheroni


    1-1/2 lbs. beef or veal suitable for stewing

    1/4 cup vegetable oil or shortening

    1 cup broth or sour milk

    2 large onions




Cut the meat into little pieces and season each piece with salt and

pepper. Chop the onions very fine or put them through the meat

grinder, and fry them brown in the fat. Put in the meat and let it

cook until it has absorbed all the fat and is slightly browned. Add

the broth or milk and let it cook over a moderate fire.


As a vegetable with this stew serve macaroni boiled, drained and

seasoned with tomato sauce* and butter.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.


          *See page 39.




Piccioni con Polenta




    Chopped onion

    Stock, or boiling water and bouillon cubes


    Yellow cornmeal

    Salt, pepper


Make a stiff cornmeal mush, thoroughly cooked. Cut the pigeons in

quarters or even smaller pieces. Brown them in butter with salt,

pepper and a little chopped onion. Cover with stock, add a bit of sage

and stew slowly for an hour and a half. If the birds are young less

time will do.


Line a round dish with the mush, hollowed out. Lay the pigeons with

their sauce inside of this and serve hot.




Stufato di Pollo


    A chicken (this is an excellent way to cook a tough fowl)

    4 oz. fat, half butter and half lard, or any substitute

    1 cup tomatoes stewed down and put through a sieve

    1 carrot

    1 onion

    Boiling water

    1 stalk celery


Cut up the chicken, rub it with the lard and brown it in the other

half of the fat. Add the strained tomato, then the finely chopped

onion, finally the carrot and celery cut into small pieces, and season

with salt and pepper. Let it simmer slowly until perfectly tender,

adding hot water enough to keep it moist, from time to time, as the

strained tomato cooks away.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.




Pollo alla Cacciatora


    A chicken

    1 pint fresh or canned tomatoes

    1/4 lb. fat salt pork or bacon


    6 sweet green peppers

    2 or 3 medium sized onions


Grind or chop the salt pork and put in a large frying pan with the

onions sliced thin. Fry the onions slowly and carefully until they are

golden brown. Skim them out. Cut up the chicken, sprinkle the pieces

with flour, salt and pepper, and sauté in the fat which remains in the

frying pan. When the chicken is brown add the tomatoes and green

peppers and put back the onions. When the vegetables have cooked down

to a thick gravy keep adding enough hot water to prevent their

burning. Cover the pan tightly and simmer until the chicken is very

tender. This an excellent way to cook tough chickens. Fowls which have

been boiled may be cooked in this way, but of course young and tender

chickens will have the finer flavor.




Lesso di Pollo col Riso


    1/2 lb. rice

    A fowl suitable for boiling

    Salt and pepper

    1 egg


    Grated cheese


Cut up the fowl and boil until it is tender. Wash the rice and blanch

it by letting it come to a boil and cook a few minutes in salted

water. Finish cooking it in the broth from the boiled fowl. Do not

cook it too long or it will be mushy. Add the broth a little at a time

to be sure the rice is not too wet when it is done. Season with cheese

and butter and add the egg yolk to bind it just as it is taken from

the fire. Serve as a border around the fowl.






    2 small link sausages

    Giblets of the fowl

    1 cup dry breadcrumbs

    1 tablespoon drippings

    1 egg

    A few dried mushrooms


    Very little salt and pepper

    8 or 10 large roasted chestnuts


Brown the sausages and giblets in drippings. Add a cup of boiling

water and simmer until cooked. Skim them from their broth and put the

bread crumbs to soak in it. Skin the sausages and chop or grind them

together with the giblets, chestnuts and the mushrooms which have been

washed and soaked in warm water. Mix thoroughly with the bread crumbs.

Add more bread crumbs or hot water if it is not the right consistency.

Double the quantity for a turkey. This dressing is very nice sliced



           *See Suggestions, page 10.






Budino di Cioccolata


    2 cups milk

    3 eggs

    1-1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate

    1/4 cup sugar

    3 oz. ground macaroons


Make a custard of the eggs, milk, sugar and chocolate. Cook it in a

double boiler until it thickens. Take from the fire and add the finely

ground macaroons, stirring and beating the mixture until it is smooth.

Pour into a buttered mould and chill thoroughly on the ice.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.





    1 wineglass Marsala or Madeira wine (1/4 cup)

    1 tablespoon sugar

    2 eggs


Beat the eggs, beat in the sugar, add the wine. Cook over a slow fire,

beating constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Take from the

fire and continue to beat a moment so the mixture will not cook to the

side of the hot vessel. It should be a smooth, frothy cream. It is

eaten hot, poured over sponge cake or served in tall glasses. A scant

teaspoon of cinnamon may be added by way of variety.


It is best to cook Zabaione in a double boiler or in a dish set into a

larger one of boiling water, to prevent its curdling.


Orange or other fruit juice may be substituted for the wine, but

Marsala is the original and authentic ingredient. Made with fruit

juice it becomes an acceptable pudding sauce.


    Pensione Santa Caterina, Siena.




Monte Bianco, Dolce di Castagne


    1 lb French or Italian chestnuts*

    Milk, sugar, whipped cream, cinnamon


Boil the chestnuts for two hours and then peel off the shells and

inner skins. Put them over the fire with a little milk, and mash them

to a paste, adding more milk if necessary, to make them of about the

consistency of mashed potatoes. Flavor with sugar and cinnamon. Pass

them through a sieve or potato ricer to form a mound on the plate on

which the Mont Blanc is to be served. Decorate with a generous

quantity of whipped cream just before serving. Vanilla or a little

wine may be used for flavoring instead of cinnamon.


    Marietta Ieri

*Nowadays, most of the imports of chestnuts to the US are from Southern Italy, with the large, richly flavoured Sicilian chestnuts being considered among the best quality.





    1/4 lb. rice flour

    6 oz. sugar

    4 oz. butter

    4 eggs


    4 oz. almonds and filberts*


Blanch the almonds and filberts and dry them thoroughly. Grind them

very fine and mix with the rice flour and two tablespoons of the

sugar. Beat the eggs light and beat in the rest of the sugar. Pour the

eggs into the other mixture and beat all very light. Add the melted

butter and continue to beat. Pour into a buttered loaf-cake tin and

bake in a moderate oven.

*filberts are otherwise known as hazelnuts or cobnuts





    1/4 lb. potato flour

    1/4 lb. powdered sugar

    4 eggs

    Lemon juice


Beat the egg yolks thoroughly and beat in the sugar. Then add the

flour and lemon juice and beat in all 1/2 hour. Beat the whites of the

eggs dry and fold them into the rest. Butter a mould and sprinkle with

powdered sugar. Pour into the mould and bake. When it is cool turn out

of the mould and sprinkle with powdered sugar.





    1 cup flour

    1 cup water

    1/2 cup butter

    3 eggs

    A little salt


Boil the water and melt the butter in it. Salt it, add the flour and

let it cook a little while. Cool and add the beaten eggs. Form this

into 12 Bigné, (little cakes or cookies) and bake them in the oven.

When they are baked split them open and fill with a custard flavored

with vanilla and sprinkle them with powdered sugar.


    Signorina Irene Merlani.







End of Practical Italian Recipes for American Kitchens, by Julia Lovejoy Cuniberti


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