As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout the various regions of the United States, many brought with them a distinct regional Italian culinary tradition. Many of these foods and recipes developed into new favorites for the townspeople and later for Americans nationwide.
The ICC (The Italian Cultural Center) was established as a center in Minneapolis for all things Italian and to serve as a beacon for classic and contemporary Italian culture through language, art, music, design, cinema, architecture and technology. The ICC draws Italian-Americans who want to learn more about the culture and connect with their roots.
Discovering modern Italy is a goal for ICC’s students. Some of the students who come to study language here also enjoy learning about what Italy is like now. The Center’s seven university-trained teachers are from Italy and bring their own diverse heritages into the classroom, giving students a glimpse of life in some of the small towns and villages.
Films are a big part of the Italian cultural experience. Since the development of the Italian film industry in the early 1900s, Italian filmmakers and performers have enjoyed great international acclaim and have influenced film movements throughout the world. As of 2015, Italian films have won 14 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, the most of any country.
Every year, the ICC presents a series of outstanding contemporary films in their annual Italian Film Festival. They also offer screenings throughout the year in the CineForum series.
Through the lens of drama, comedies, documentaries and movies, the view of Italy is broadened and offers a fresh perspective on the country and its people. It is a way to take a journey to Italy without leaving Minnesota.
The desire to show Twin Cities’ residents the real Italy has led them to select films by modern Italian directors for the ICC’s annual free film festival, held in collaboration with the Italian Film Festival USA and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). The Italian film series offers a glimpse into award-winning, post-war Italian films and the high fashion industry they launched.
Inspired by her travels and studies in Tuscany, Carmela Tursi Hobbins created Carmela’s Cucina to teach the art of Italian cooking and entertaining. Her experience blends years as co-owner of a successful catering business and her background as a classroom teacher. She has written two cookbooks, Carmela’s Cucina and Celebrations with Carmela’s Cucina.
- 1 pound package of fresh tri-colored tortellini
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 pint fresh bocconcini mozzarella balls
- 1 pint pitted olives
- 1/2 pound salami sliced thin
- 2 envelopes Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing mix
- Bamboo skewers
Boil the tortellini for about 6 minutes in salted water. Drain and put the tortellini into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Wash the tomatoes and basil and pat dry.
Thread the tortellini, tomatoes, basil leaves, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives and salami (folded into quarters) onto the skewers.
Using one package of the Italian salad dressing mix, make up the dressing following the directions on the package and drizzle the dressing over the prepared skewers.
Sprinkle the contents of the second envelope of dried Italian Salad mix over the skewers and let marinate for several hours.
When ready to serve, assembled skewers can be stuck into a melon or pineapple half or laid on a lettuce lined tray.
Little Italy is a neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska that, historically, has been the home to the city’s Italian population. Omaha’s first Italian community developed during the 1890s near the intersection of South 24th Street and Poppleton Street. It was formed by immigrants from southern Italy and Italian immigrants who moved there after living in the eastern states. In 1905, Sicilian immigrants settled along South 6th Street in the hills south of downtown. Additional immigrants from Sicily arrived between 1912 and 1913 and following World War I.
Two brothers, Joseph and Sebastiano Salerno, are credited with creating Omaha’s Little Italy, located near the Union Pacific yards in downtown. When Sebastiano took a job as an agent for a steamship company in 1904, he encouraged friends from Sicily to emigrate. Joseph then secured housing and jobs for the immigrants, particularly in the downtown Omaha’s Union Pacific shops that included grocery stores, clothing and shoe stores and the Bank of Sicily, established by the Salerno brothers in 1908.
Today, the Festival of Santa Lucia is still celebrated throughout Little Italy, as it has been since the arrival of the first immigrants. An annual festival called “La Festa” is held to unite the city’s Italian community and celebrate its heritage. Many other remnants of Little Italy endure, making this area distinct within the city.
Little Italy has several landmarks, including St. Francis Cabrini Church, built in 1908 at 1335 South 10th Street. Other landmarks include the Santa Lucia Festival Committee Hall at 725 Pierce Street; Marino’s Italian Grocery at 1716 South 13th Street; Sons Of Italy Hall located at 1238 South 10th Street and Orsi’s Bakery at 621 Pacific Street.
Orsi’s Bakery and Pizzeria is a gold mine for Italian fare. Their Sicilian style pizza, in particular, has been popular since they first opened in 1919. Passed through the Orsi family for over 90 years, the interior and the owners may have changed, but the recipes have stayed the same. Along with pizza, their Italian deli offers a variety of meats, cheeses, olives, peppers and desserts.
Chefs at Omaha’s Piccolo Pete’s flavor the sauce for their spaghetti with beef steak trimmings and pork and beef bones. In the true sense of Italian American cuisine this recipe combines Italian heritage cooking with Omaha’s love of beef.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. beef shank bones, trimmed
- 1/4 lb. raw steak trimmings (ask your butcher for this)
- 1 pork neck bone
- 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons. celery seeds
- 4 sprigs basil
- 3 (28-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Heat the oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook bones and steak trimmings until browned, 7–9 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add garlic and onion; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, celery seeds, basil, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add bones and trimmings. Cook, until the sauce is reduced by a third, about 1 hour. Discard bones, trimmings, basil and bay leaves; shred the meat and add it to the sauce.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and divide among serving bowls; ladle with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
The Columbus Park area is Kansas City’s Italian neighborhood. Although ethnic lines are less distinctly drawn than in years past, the unique character of the neighborhood remains. Unlike other Little Italys that blur into other neighborhoods, Columbus Park has established boundaries: the Missouri River on one side and the Heart of America Bridge on the other. As one of Kansas City’s oldest immigrant neighborhoods, it has also had a long history of social infrastructure and culture. By 1920 there were about 10,000 Italians living in the area.
The heart of the community is the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Built in 1895, the Church was the result of petitioning by the local Italian community for a church. Bells still toll on Sunday mornings and services have continued in the building for more than 100 years.
The main business area is found along 5th street, where there are many Italian restaurants and grocery shops. You will find traditional foods and products at Garazzo’s Ristorante, LaSala’s Deli and LaRocca’s Grocery.
Wish-Bone Salad Dressing originated in Kansas City. In 1945, returning World War II veteran, Phillip Sollomi, opened a family-style chicken restaurant in Kansas City called, The Wish-Bone®. In 1948, Sollomi began serving his mother’s salad dressing made from a recipe she brought with her from her native Sicily. As demand grew, Sollomi began mixing the dressing in a 50-gallon drum and bottling it. The dressing became known as“The Kansas City Wish-Bone® Famous Italian-Style Dressing. Word of this unique salad dressing spread throughout the heartland. In 1957, Sollomi sold the business to Lipton.
Chef Jasper Mirabile grew up in an Italian family. Each year he travels back to Italy and his family’s hometown of Gibellina, Sicily to see family and friends. He also goes to do research on the authenticity of Sicilian cuisine and to learn as much as he can about its rich history.
He writes in The Kansas City Star, “ I like to say my mother is “old school” in her style of cooking. No short cuts, no microwaves, no cheating at all, just respecting traditional recipes and cooking methods. Unlike me, a short order line cook, mama measured everything exactly, never doubling a recipe, never experimenting with different ingredients, just preparing the same tried and true recipes over and over again since she learned to cook as a teenager. Mama learned to prepare her Sunday sauce, meatballs and braciole from her mother, Rosa Cropisi. Grandmother Cropisi brought the recipe over from Corleone, Sicily, never-changing a single ingredient. My mother claims my father only married her for her mother’s meatball recipe.”
Jasper Mirabile’s Recipe for Meatballs
Makes about 20
- 1 lb. Ground Pork
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Freshly Grated Romano
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Parsley, (Chopped)
- 3 Garlic Cloves, (Minced)
- 1/2 cup Onion, (Minced)
- Salt and Pepper, (To taste)
- 2 cups Plain Bread Crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups Water
- 1 cup Olive Oil
Place pork & beef in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, minced garlic, onions and salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
Add the bread crumbs and blend into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water until the mixture is moist. Shape the meat mixture into 2 1/2- to 3-inch balls.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and fry in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan.
When the bottom half of the meatballs are well browned and slightly crisp, (usually takes about 5 to 6 minutes), turn them over and cook the other side for 5 minutes more.
Remove the meatballs from the heat and drain them on paper towels. Simmer in your favorite sauce.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. runs his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, Jasper’s, with his brother. He is the author of The Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook. Chef Mirabile is a culinary instructor, a founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts a weekly radio show, “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM.
Krebs began as a small coal-mining camp inhabited by the English, Irish and Italian miners. The commercial exploitation of coal in the Native American Territories began in 1872, with the completion of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. A few years later, the Osage Coal and Mining Company leased the property on which the town of Krebs emerged. The first mine opened in 1875 and twenty years later, 15 mines were operating in the area.
Krebs, Oklahoma is considered the center of Italian culture in the state of Oklahoma. Most of the immigrants who found their way to Oklahoma settled in the coal-producing communities in Pittsburg County and in the Choctaw Nation. Italian immigrants to Oklahoma were predominantly from northern Italy. They came as families and often established strong ethnic communities. In 1910, there were 2,162 Italians living in Pittsburg, Latimer and Coal counties. Later on the region attracted immigrants from southern Italy.
First-generation Oklahomans learned Italian from their parents. There aren’t many first-generation Italian Americans left in Krebs. The language hasn’t made it down through the generations, but it can still be heard during festivals and community events, especially over a game of bocce ball. The Italian Festival has been running for 40 years and is the community’s biggest single event.
When Kreps’ resident, Joe Prichard, took his family back to the Italian town his grandfather emigrated from, he was surprised by how familiar it felt. “The little village my grandfather left was almost a clone of the village he came to in Oklahoma,” he said. Joe discovered that San Gregorio Magno, in the Campania region, was not only the same size as Krebs, but community life there also centered around the Catholic Church. Even the town’s differences created parallels for him.
Krebs is famous throughout Oklahoma for its many Italian restaurants. Isle of Capri, “Pete’s Place” and Roseanna’s, to name a few, have been there for generations. A specialty of the region is Lamb fries, the name generally given to lamb animelles (testicles) that have been peeled, rolled in cracker meal and fried. Lamb fries are served in many Italian restaurants, particularly in Oklahoma’s “little Italy” and the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse located in the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
Three years after his arrival, at the age of 11, Pietro began working in the coal mines, changing his name officially to “Pete Prichard.” Through hard work and determination, he managed to make a meager living. However, in 1916, when Pete was 21 years old, a massive cave-in nearly cost him his life. He survived, but the accident crushed his leg in such a way that he couldn’t return to work in the mines.
To help pass the time, Pete took an interest in brewing beer. He found a unique recipe brewed by the local Native American tribe, the Choctaw, which made use of the plentiful supply of golden wheat that grew on the Oklahoma plains. Pete experimented and tested until he perfected his own version, which he named choc® beer.
Before long, other immigrant miners began gathering at his house regularly to relax and enjoy a beer during breaks. Then, it only seemed natural to start fixing the men a hearty lunch to go along with the beer. That’s the Italian way! He served “family-style” helpings of homemade Italian specialties like spaghetti, meatballs, ravioli and sausage. In 1925, Pete officially opened a restaurant in his home and, since everyone had always just called it “Pete’s Place®”, the name stuck.
When Mike Lovera’s Grocery first opened in 1946 in Krebs, it was a regular mom-and-pop general store and meat market. But it was the homemade Italian sausage that made Lovera’s store stand out from the competition. A specialty Italian grocery store would find it hard to survive in most towns of 2,000 people. But Krebs has been largely Italian since immigrant coal miners arrived in the 1870s and the town has no problem supporting a grocery store, three Italian restaurants and a Catholic church.
Along with about 40 imported Italian products, Lovera’s is famous for its caciocavallo, a milky cheese covered in wax. Initially, Lovera bought caciocavallo from local Italians who made it at home, but when the supply started to dry up, Lovera learned how to make it.
Sausage and Peppers
Source: News OK, Dave Cathey, Food Editor
- One 16-ounce coil of fresh Lovera’s sausage
- 1 whole garden-fresh green pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 onion sliced in 1-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeno cut in thick slices, optional
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush sausage with 1 tablespoon oil and place in a cast-iron skillet or small roasting pan.
Roast sausages 20 minutes.
While the sausages are roasting, toss onions and peppers with remaining oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
After 20 minutes in the oven, turn the sausages over and top with the onion-pepper-oil mixture. Roast another 20 minutes and remove the pan from the oven.
Remove the sausages from the pan, let sit five minutes, then cut in slices and toss with the onions and peppers in the pan.
Serve with pasta and Italian tomato sauce or with crusty bread.
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Italian immigrants began settling in Minnesota 200 years ago and at the beginning of the 20th century the largest concentrations were living on the Iron Range, in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Stillwater. Early arrivals tended to be from northern Italy. Railroad workers hired in Chicago and sent northward, took up residence in St. Paul and Minneapolis and later in other towns. Railroad jobs led others to Cumberland and Hudson in northern Wisconsin and many immigrants moved back and forth between these towns and the Italian communites in Minnesota.
First mined in the 1880s, the three ranges – the Vermilion, Mesabi and Cuyuna that make up Minnesota’s Iron Range – provided an economic core for northeastern Minnesota. They also drew waves of immigrant workers, creating the state’s most diverse melting pot and a distinctive cultural legacy that still defines the region. Although mining has declined since the 1960s, the mines and the tight-knit communities they fostered have developed a new industry focused on cultural-heritage tourism.
On the Mesabi, iron ore was originally mined both underground and in open pits above ground. Few skills were required. Many Mesabi Range miners were immigrants, recruited by mining companies, including the Oliver Iron Mining Company, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. From 1900 to 1980, the Mesabi Range contributed about sixty percent of the country’s total iron ore output. Production peaked in the 1940s, when more than 600,000 tons were shipped to serve the nation’s needs during World War II. Production remained high in the 1950s and then began to decline. It had taken less than 100 years for industrial demand to deplete the supply of high-grade ore.
Living and working conditions on the Iron Range were poor and mining companies openly discriminated against immigrant miners by giving them the most dangerous and lowest paying jobs. New immigrants were easily exploited because they did not speak English, had little money and were far away from their families and social support networks.
The history of the American labor movement is peopled by immigrants to this country. Finnish, Southern Slav and Italian immigrant laborers were prominent in labor movements in the logging and mining industries of Minnesota and its neighboring northern states of Michigan and Wisconsin. The Range, as the three ranges were jointly nicknamed, was a major site of strife between owners and laborers and a fertile field for labor organizing.
The Mesabi Range is where much of the strife occurred and where historic battles between labor and management were fought. Two strikes on the Mesabi — one in 1907 and another in 1916 — are legendary in the struggle for workers’ rights and fair wages. The 1907 strike was the first organized, widespread strike on the Iron Range. The immigrant miners had little experience with unions or large-scale strikes. Previous work stoppages had been unplanned reactions to localized problems. The Western Federation of Miners (WFM), an organization connected to several bloody, mining-related labor struggles, sent its first organizers to Minnesota in 1905 at the request of local activists. By June 1907 the WFM had organized fourteen locals. Although the union had been planning a strike, the immediate cause was the layoff in July of 200 union members by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. A strike was called on July 20 and, in early August, strikebreakers were brought in and “deputies” were hired to protect them. By mid-August, sufficient numbers of strikebreakers, combined with improved economic conditions, broke the strike. Despite minor hostilities between the strikers and the deputies, the strike was relatively peaceful.
Forty miners walked off the job on June 3, beginning the 1916 strike. The unorganized miners soon realized they needed help. Unlike the 1907 strike, this time the Western Federation of Miners was not interested in organizing the miners. Instead, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) responded, sending in some of their top organizers. Many of the strikebreakers from 1907, ironically, became instrumental in the 1916 strike.The 1916 strike was marked by violence. The civil liberties of strikers were violated, mine guards and police used force to intimidate strikers, union leaders were jailed, economic pressure was exerted on merchants who extended credit to strikers and, finally, the Oliver Iron Mining Company refused to negotiate with the strikers. The strike was called off on September 17. The miners did win some important short-range reforms from the mining company, but the company’s anti-union attitude persisted for another quarter century. A more serious altercation occurred at the Stevenson Mine west of Hibbing, when laborers protested the discharge of an Italian foreman. The strikers, most of whom were Italians, Finns and Southern Slavs, reportedly harassed the “loyal employees” who wished to continue working. To reduce tensions, officials closed the local saloon and brought the county sheriff and 42 deputies to the scene. The presence of so many armed men quelled the “enthusiasm” of the strikers and within a week they were back at work.
Today, there’s no better place to learn about the Range’s legacy than at the Ironworld Discovery Center in Chisholm. Interactive exhibits in this mining museum, set on the edge of an abandoned mine pit, include everything from the early geology of the region to the story of taconite (iron ore). Wall-sized pictures show the men and women from 43 nations who transformed a dense wilderness into an industrial society in less than 100 years. Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich directed an oral history project called, Italian Voices, that collected interviews in the late 1970s with the men and women who emigrated from Italy to Minnesota. The interviews provide a window into the world of the ordinary Italian immigrants, ranging from iron miners, labor activists, women at home and at work, small businessmen and women and people from all walks of life. Just some ot the stories include: a boardinghouse keeper found her kitchen in a mess after Saturday-night revelry and refused to cook on Sunday; an iron miner pried frozen ore from his car in 40-below temperatures and a grocer who made sausage, brewed wine and foraged for mushrooms and dandelion greens to sell in his store.
A few more stories:
Jeno Paulucci was born on July 5, 1918 in Hibbing, Minnesota. He was born just a couple years after his parents immigrated to the Iron Range from a small mining town in northeastern Italy, called Bellisio Solfare. Jeno began his career selling olive oil door to door. During Prohibition, his family ran a speakeasy out of his family’s basement on the Iron Range. Jeno did all he could to help, even making most of the wine himself.
After this chapter in his interesting life, he moved to Duluth at the age of 16 and began a job bartering fruit and vegetables on First Street. Jeno enrolled in the Hibbing State Junior College’s pre-law program. However, he had an offer for a job selling wholesale products, and left his education without a second thought. On a sales trip with this company, he learned to grow Chinese bean sprouts, with which he decided to start his now worldwide company, Chun King Foods. Today, Jeno’s business is worth $450 million. Just 15 years ago he started yet another brand, Michelina’s frozen meals, named after his mother.
The Amato family’s pathway from southwestern Italy to Minnesota’s Iron Range is a long one. Their story is told through the recollections and documents of Melanina Amato Degubellis. In 1901, Giuseppe Amato and his two brothers came to northeastern Minnesota where they worked as miners. After years of saving in Italy, his daughter, Melanina and her mother, Concetta set out to join Giuseppe in Minnesota. However their inability to speak English got them lost on their journey. With the help of many Italians along the way, the family was reunited in Chisholm, Minnesota. While such a detour was exceptional, the importance of others during their journey was not.
Founder the Robert Mondavi Winery
Robert Mondavi’s parents emigrated from the Marche region of Italy and settled in the Minnesota city of Hibbing. Mondavi was born on June 18, 1913, in Virginia, Minnesota. His mother ran a boarding house for local Italian laborers and his father was the proprietor of a grocery store and later, a saloon. However, a Prohibition law was enacted in 1919, which outlawed the sale of beer and liquor, threatening Cesare Mondavi’s business. The law allowed for individuals to produce up to 200 gallons of wine though, so Mondavi’s father decided to become a grape wholesaler for the many Italian families who wanted to continue enjoying their traditional wine with meals. Cesare Mondavi’s business often took him to the West Coast. So, in the early 1920s, the family relocated to Lodi, California, south of Sacramento.
These kinds of stories are what makes oral history interviews such compelling reading and, more importantly, provide information that would not necessarily be obtained elsewhere. The traditional historical accounts from working-class people are sparse, making the oral interviews even more crucial in trying to interpret the past of all Americans—not just those who left behind written records.
Pork is King on the Iron Range
Iron Range Porketta
Not to be confused with Italian porchetta, Iron Range porketta is a fennel-and-garlic-seasoned pulled pork originating in Minnesota. The pork butt is butterflied to speed up cooking and cutting a crosshatch in the surface of the meat ensures that the seasoning—a mixture of granulated garlic, crushed fennel seeds, salt, and pepper—will penetrate the meat. Before roasting, the meat is topped with sliced fresh fennel for a second layer of flavor.
- 3 tablespoons fennel seeds, cracked
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored and chopped
- 8 crusty sandwich rolls
1. Combine fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and garlic in a bowl. Butterfly pork and cut 1-inch crosshatch patterns, 1/4 inch deep, on both sides of the roast. Rub pork all over with spice mixture, taking care to work spices into the crosshatch patterns. Wrap meat tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Unwrap meat and place in roasting pan, fat side down. Spread chopped fennel evenly over the top of the roast. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast pork until temperature registers 200 degrees F. and a fork slips easily in and out of the meat, about 4 hours.
3. Transfer pork to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Strain liquid in the roasting pan through a fat separator. Shred pork into bite-size pieces, return to the pan and toss with a 1/2 cup defatted cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat gently. Divide meat among rolls and serve.
Prepping the Porketta
BUTTERFLY: Slice through the pork parallel to the counter, stopping 1/2 inch from the edge. Then open the meat flat like a book.
CROSSHATCH: Use a chef’s knife to cut a 1-inch crosshatch pattern 1/4-inch deep on both sides of the meat.
Italian Sausage with Pasta and Herbs
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups zucchini, cubed
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 oz rotini pasta
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried herbs (basil, sage, parsley)
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Cut sausage diagonally into one-inch pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat, brown evenly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in the same skillet and add zucchini and red pepper. Cook over medium heat until tender but still crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
Cook the rotini according to package directions. Drain and reserve one cup of cooking water. Add pasta to the skillet with the vegetables and stir in ricotta.
Add 1/2 cup pasta water and stir until creamy. Stir in sausage. Add more water if mixture is too dry. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and Parmesan. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.
Iron Range Pot Roast
This type of seasoned pork roast was popular with Italian immigrants who came to northern Minnesota to work in the iron mines, hence this recipe’s name.
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup beef broth
Mix together seasonings (Italian through pepper) and rub over the entire pork roast.
Brown roast in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning often to brown evenly. Place potatoes and garlic in 3½ to 4-quart slow cooker; pour broth over and top with browned pork roast. Cover and cook on “low” for 8 to 9 hours, until pork is very tender.
You can also brown the roast in a Dutch Oven, add potatoes, garlic and broth. Simmer on top of the stove for about 4 hours or until very tender. Recipe serves 6 to 8.
Pork and Olive Bruschetta
- 1 (1 1/4-lb) pork tenderloin, “silverskin” removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 24 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices
- About 1/3 cup green or black (or both) olive spread, also called olivada or tapenade
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Combine Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub all over pork. Add pork to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Leave pork in skillet, place pan in the oven and roast, turning occasionally, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in center of the pork reads 145 degrees F. about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pork to a platter and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Reheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits in the pan with wooden spoon. Cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Slice pork crosswise into 24 slices. For each bruschetta, place one pork slice on each baguette slice. Top with about 1/2 teaspoon olive spread and drizzle with pan juices. Serve warm.
This recipe serves eight (3 bruschetta each).
Read About Life On the Iron Range
New York Times best selling novelist, Adriana Trigiani’s novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife, captures the immigrant experience of the early 1900′s. Much of the novel takes place on Minnesota’s Iron Range.
- Milwaukee’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The Italians In Texas (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2013/06/14/little-italy-new-orleans-style/Birmingham, Alabama’s “Little Italy” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- West Virginia’s Little Italy Communities (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Baltimore’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Western Pennsylvania’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Philadelphia’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Chicago’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Cleveland’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- New England’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Italian American Neighborhoods – Boston (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Ybor City – Florida’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Little Italy – Manhattan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The “Little Italies” of Michigan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The Hill” St. Louis’ Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)