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. No one has contributed more foods to the American dinner table than the Italian immigrants. Strong Italian-American enclaves in New York City, Boston’s North End, Providence’s Federal Hill and South Philly have helped shape a new American hybrid cuisine. Based on Old World traditions, Italian-American cuisine is marked by an appreciation for the New World’s abundance.
Boston’s Pan Pizza
Boston’s Italian neighborhood is called the North End. It has a strong Italian flair and numerous Italian restaurants. The North End is also Boston’s oldest neighborhood and it still possesses an old-world charm kept alive by its mostly Italian-American population. The neighborhood also is a major attraction for tourists and Bostonians alike, who come seeking the best in Italian cuisine and to enjoy the Italian feel of the region. Hanover and Salem Streets, the two main streets of this bustling historic neighborhood, are lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, selling a variety of incredible foods. A trip to Boston would not be complete without including a meal at one of North End’s over one hundred fine Italian restaurants.
You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet, preferably non-stick, about 11 1/2-by-17 or a 16-inch pizza pan and a plastic dough scraper.
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water, or more if necessary
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Olive oil (for the pans)
- Extra flour (for sprinkling)
- Extra salt (for sprinkling)
In a bowl, sprinkle yeast into water; set aside for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Stir to blend.
With a wooden spoon, stir in the yeast mixture. Add enough additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a dough that holds together, but is sticky and too moist to knead.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so the wrap does not touch the dough. Lay a dish towel on top. Set aside for 2 hours.
Rub a large rimmed baking sheet or pizza pan with olive oil. Rub the center of 1 long sheet of foil with oil and set it aside.
Sprinkle the dough with a little flour. Use a dough scraper to transfer the dough to the baking sheet or pizza pan. Pat the dough with a little flour to within 2 inches of the edge of the pans.
Cover with foil, oiled side down. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (or as long as overnight).
Remove pan from the refrigerator. Dip your hand in flour and pat the dough with your hand, adding as little flour as necessary, until it reaches the edges of the sheets.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- 12 slices provolone cheese or 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced, or 4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 slices good-quality ham, cut into matchsticks (optional)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
Arrange racks on the lowest and center parts of the oven. Set the oven at 500 degrees.
If using provolone, arrange it on the dough, spacing out the slices. Add the cherry or plum tomatoes, spacing them out. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
Sprinkle with ham, if using, then Parmesan.
Bake the pizza on the lowest rack of the oven for about 10 minutes (check after 8 minutes to make sure edges are not burning).
Transfer the pizza to the center rack and continue baking for 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, the dough is golden and crisp at the edges, and the bottom is firm.
With a wide metal spatula, lift the pizza from the pan and transfer to large wooden board. Cut into rectangles, wedges, or strips.
Federal Hill’s Zuppa Di Polpette (Meatball Soup)
Federal Hill is the Italian neighborhood of Providence with many restaurants, bakeries, cafes, art galleries, cigar shops and markets. DePasquale Square is the center of the neighborhood. Historic Federal Hill is the “Heartbeat of Providence” and begins at Atwells Avenue, the street that flows under the arch. The gateway arch over Atwells with the La Pigna (pinecone) sculpture hanging from its center is a traditional Italian symbol of abundance and quality and the symbol of Federal Hill. It is a place dedicated to the Italian immigrants who gathered here as a community and is still a place of charm, warmth and hospitality to all. Numerous Italian restaurants and businesses line the main thoroughfare and its surrounding area. Garibaldi Square, with a bust of the “Hero of Two Worlds”, and DePasquale Plaza, with outdoor dining and two bocce courts, all contribute to the Italian atmosphere.
In a large 8 quart stock pot prepare the following:
- 1 small chicken broken up in pieces
- 1 large onion cut in quarters
- 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 medium ripe tomato cut in half
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Pinch of turmeric, for a little color
Add enough water to cover 4-5 inches above the ingredients and cook for about one and one half hours. Remove the chicken and vegetables separately and cool.
Puree the vegetables through a food mill or processor and add back to the stock.
Cool the chicken and use it for chicken salad. If you like you can add some of the chicken cut into pieces back into the soup.
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup Romano cheese
- 1 large egg
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Scoop out by tablespoons and form into small meatballs. Add them to the soup and simmer them for about 30 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons uncooked soup (small) pasta, per person, optional
- Lots of freshly grated Romano cheese
Cook the pasta and distribute it between the bowls. Ladle in the soup and meatballs and serve with the cheese.
Capellini Alla Positano from Philadelphia’s Bellini Grill
Philadelphia’s Italian American community is the second-largest in the United States. Named after its view of the Center City skyline, Bella Vista, Italian for “Beautiful View,” is one of Philadelphia’s oldest and authentic Italian neighborhoods. Bella Vista is home to many Italian-American treasures, such as the city’s first Italian American bathhouse, the Fante-Leone Pool, built in 1905 and the Philadelphia Ninth Street Italian Market, claimed to be the oldest open-air market still in operation in the country. More than 100 years old, the Italian Market was originally a business association of local vendors who banded together to compete with larger stores that were moving into the area. Today, the market houses an assortment of shops, bakeries and restaurants.
Makes 4 Servings
- 5 oz uncooked Angel Hair Pasta
- 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Chopped Fresh Chili
- 3 Garlic Cloves; minced
- 2 tablespoons Shallots; chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup Fish Broth
- 2 ups Dry White Wine
- 3 cups Marinara Sauce (see recipe below)
- 8 oz Lump Crab Meat
- 1 bunch Fresh Basil; chopped
- 2 cups Grape Tomatoes
- 24 oz Canned Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove; minced
- 1/2 tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Pinch White Pepper
For the marinara sauce: sauté chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add tomato sauce and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally.
For the pasta: Cook pasta according to directions on package.
Sauté shallots, chili and garlic in olive oil for 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Add fish stock and white wine, cook until slightly reduced. Add marinara sauce, stirring until combined.
Gently fold in lump crab meat, fresh basil and tomatoes – cook for 5 minutes. Serve sauce over cooked pasta.
Bakeries in New York’s Little Italy
Most of the Italian immigrants who made their home in America first landed in New York City. Many then traveled to other parts of the country; but by the early 1900’s, hundreds of thousands had settled in lower Manhattan, living in row houses and tenements in an area of about one square mile. For the unskilled, it was a hard life of cleaning city streets and ash barrels and, for the skilled, it was a hard life of working their trade in constructing buildings and roads. Others became fruit peddlers, bread bakers, shoemakers and tailors. Some opened grocery stores and restaurants or worked in factories. Most of the people who lived on Mulberry came from Naples; those from Elizabeth Street were from Sicily; Mott Street from Calabria; and most of the people north of Mott, came from Bari.
Sweets would have been a rare indulgence for most in the Old Country, however, in America they were a frequent treat. One of the earliest New York ice cream parlors to open, in the 1820s, was Palmo’s Garden, whose immigrant owner, Ferdinand Palmo, fitted it out with gilded columns, huge mirrors and an Italian band. In 1892, opera impresario Antonio Ferrara opened a confections parlor under his name on Grand Street, where he could entertain his musician friends. Veniero’s on East 11th Street began as a billiard parlor in 1894 that sold candy and coffee, eventually, evolving into an enormously successful pastry shop that created the cake for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration.
Arguably the most famous bakery and cafe in Little Italy is Ferrara, the two-floor dessert mecca with flashing lights and an outdoor summer-season gelato stand. Constantly packed with tourists and locals (on a recent Friday at 11 a.m., the takeout line was out the door), Ferrara has some of the most delicious cannoli this side of the Atlantic. Open since 1892, the cafe serves the dessert with a side of dark chocolate pieces and mixes small chocolate chips into the sweet ricotta-based filling.
Ferrara’s Bakery Tiramisu
Enrico Scoppa and Antonio Ferrara, opera impresario and showman, opened the cafe in New York City called Caffé A. Ferrara. Enrico Caruso, the great opera singer, thought the coffee marvelous but loved the cookies and cakes.
- 1 box (7 oz.) Savoiardi or Lady Fingers
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup strong warm coffee
- 1/4 cup coffee liqueur
Arrange Savoiardi in rectangular serving dish, (approximately 11″ x 13″).
Lightly soak Savoiardi with a mixture of coffee and coffee liqueur.
While gradually adding sugar, beat egg yolks (approximately 5-10 minutes) until very stiff and egg yolks appear pale in color.
Beat heavy cream until very stiff and fold into egg yolks.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a wire whisk or electric beater until very stiff and gently fold egg whites into the cream mixture. Add vanilla and fold gently.
Cover Savoiardi with this cream mixture. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Sprinkle with cocoa or chocolate flakes before serving.
Tiramisu may be frozen and should be defrosted in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Di Palo’s Ricotta Cheesecake
Di Palo’s in New York’s Little Italy is the iconic Italian deli, the stuff of dreams for anybody who cooks Italian. Lou Di Palo, whose family has owned the store for 104 years, is still working behind the counter. He is the great-grandson of the founder, is the fourth generation, along with his brother, Sal and his sister, Marie. When you stop in, you’ll almost always find two or more of them there, offering tastes of cheeses, slicing speck or prosciutto or dishing out orders of Eggplant Parmigiana. They make their own ricotta and mozzarella and have for decades.
Lou Di Palo shared his grandmother’s recipe for a true Italian-style cheesecake.
- Unsalted butter, for greasing
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup crushed Zwieback cookies or graham crackers, plus extra for garnish
- 3 pounds fresh ricotta
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 teaspoons orange-blossom water
- 3/4 cup cream
Butter a 9-inch springform pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the crushed cookies in a small bowl and evenly coat the bottom and sides of the buttered pan with the mixture.
In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups sugar and the ricotta, eggs, vanilla, orange-blossom water and the cream. Pour into the cookie-coated pan.
Sprinkle the top with additional crushed cookies and place the springform pan on the center oven rack on a cookie sheet to catch any leaks.
Bake for 1 hour or until the center no longer jiggles; it may crack slightly. Let cool, remove from pan and serve at room temperature.
Cassateddi Di Ricotta (Ricotta Turnovers)
This traditional Sicilian recipe for sweet ricotta turnovers is adapted from “The Little Italy Cookbook: Recipes from North America’s Italian Communities” (out of print) by Maria Pace and Louisa Scaini-Jojic. The authors suggest using a pasta machine to get the dough thin enough to make the pastries.
- 1 pound ricotta, drained, see note at the bottom
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 eggs plus 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup shortening, melted
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Oil for deep frying (about 2 cups)
- Confectioners’ sugar
For the filling, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and egg white in a large bowl; set aside.
Combine the 4 eggs, melted shortening, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and milk in a small bowl.
Mound 3 1/2 cups flour on a board; make a well. Pour the egg mixture into the well; sprinkle on the baking powder. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the flour to form a dough; add a little more milk, if needed. Knead briefly until the dough is smooth. (Add flour, if needed.)
Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one of the pieces and flatten; dust with flour and roll until it is 1/16th-inch thick and shaped into a 4-inch-wide rectangle.
Place 1 rounded teaspoon of filling along one side of the dough at 3 1/2-inch intervals. Fold the top half of the strip over the filling and press edges together to enclose completely.
Cut with a pastry cutter or knife into individual squares or half moons. Lay each piece on a lightly floured baking sheet; repeat with remaining pieces and filling.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Fry several turnovers at a time until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on a rack placed over paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Draining ricotta: Place ricotta in a wire sieve in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to remove excess water. For faster results, cover the ricotta with a small plate that fits in the sieve and weight that with a heavy can. If you can, use fresh whole milk ricotta from a specialty market for the richest flavor.
Philadelphia’s Italian American community is the second-largest in the United States.
Named after its view of the Center City skyline, Bella Vista, Italian for “Beautiful View,” is one of Philadelphia’s oldest and authentic Italian neighborhoods. Protestant Italian immigrants from Sicily, known as Waldensians who were seeking freedom from religious persecution, settled the area originally during the colonial era. During that time, a distinct Italian community emerged in Bella Vista, but the number of Italian Philadelphians remained relatively low until the Great Migration at the end of the 19th century.
In the late 1880s, a new wave of Italian immigrants in search of employment, poured into the Bella Vista neighborhood. By 1970, the Italian immigrant population had grown to about 600,000 and was largely concentrated in South Philadelphia. Bella Vista has remained a hub of Italian life and culture since its beginning and is now known as Philadelphia’s “Little Italy.”
Bella Vista is home to many Italian-American treasures, such as the city’s first Italian American bathhouse, the Fante-Leone Pool, built in 1905 and the Philadelphia Ninth Street Italian Market, claimed to be the oldest open-air market still in operation in the country. More than 100 years old, the Italian Market was originally a business association of local vendors who banded together to compete with larger stores that were moving into the area.
Today, the market houses an assortment of shops, bakeries and restaurants and, though it has maintained a predominantly Italian influence, the market has begun to encompass other immigrant cultures. The “outdoor” market features colorful metal awnings that cover the sidewalks where vendors of fruit, vegetables, fish and housewares conduct business year round. Ground floor shops in traditional Philadelphia row houses line the street. Owners would have originally lived above their shops and many still do.
Another major landmark in Bella Vista was the Palumbo nightclub and restaurant. Originally built by the Antonio Palumbo family in 1884 as a boarding house for immigrant workers, it was expanded by Frank Palumbo, Antonio’s grandson, into a well-known entertainment complex for local residents. At the peak of its popularity, the club attracted residents and politicians from all over the city and featured musical guests like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The club no longer exists, having been destroyed by a series of fires in the 1990s.
The market has also played a role in the culture of Philadelphia and is often included in cultural depictions of the city. For example, the Italian Market was featured in the movie, Rocky. The television series, Hack, also filmed several episodes at the Italian Market. The Italian Market was also used in a season 5 episode of the television show, “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” South Philadelphia has produced many well-known Italian American popular singers and musicians, including Frankie Avalon, Jim Croce, Joey DeFrancesco, Buddy DeFranco, Fred Diodati (lead singer of The Four Aces), Fabian, Buddy Greco, Mario Lanza, Al Martino, Bobby Rydell, Charlie Ventura and Joe Venuti. If you visit South Philadelphia in May, you can celebrate with the locals at the Annual Italian Market festival and the Procession of the Saints.
Culinary Tour of South Philly
While the neighborhood is home to several Italian- American attractions, it also has a variety of local restaurants and grills. It was the Genoese and Ligurian blue-collar workers and restaurateurs who came in the 19th century and created an Italian American cooking legacy that includes cheese steaks, veal parmesan dinners, Italian ices, hoagies and tomato pies.
As you read, you will see why, Philadelphia is often called the “Sandwich City”.
Pat Oliveri invented the Philly Cheese Steak in 1930, when he switched from hotdogs to steak sandwiches after he was caught making himself one for lunch and his cabbie customers wanted the same. Just down the street is Geno’s Steaks. This relative newcomer burst on the scene in 1966 and, ever since, has been engaged in a battle with Pat’s for the best cheese steak sandwich. There are fierce loyalties on both sides and with locations so close together, you can decide.
The steak, debatably sliced or chopped, is smothered in melted cheese and served on a chewy, long roll. With locals and tourists alike lining up for the hearty sandwich, you need to do your homework and know how to order. First, you choose the type of cheese you’d like, which can be “prove” for provolone, American or “whiz” as in the processed, Cheese Whiz. If you want onions say “wit,” no onions is “wit out.” Then dig in with plenty of napkins.
Pizza Philly Style
Philadelphia Tomato Pie is stretched and baked into sheet pans. The thick, bready crust is as thick as a Sicilian pizza—about 1 inch tall. The tomatoes for this sauce are cooked down with lots of seasoning into a thick, heavy, sweet sauce. No toppings and no cheese, save for a scant shake of Romano or Parmesan cheese. For many who grew up in the area, this simple bakery style pie says “Philly” more than any other style of pizza.
Walk off your lunch back at the market exploring the many Italian specialty stores, then head west on Christian street two blocks and pick up a box of fresh cannoli at Isgro Paticceria (1009 Christian Street) established in 1904. Wrap up the day at the country’s second oldest Italian restaurant and the oldest family run restaurant in the country, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant (760 S. 9th St). Established in 1900 by Neapolitan immigrants, Francesco and Catherine Dispigno, Ralph’s has been a favorite of many Italian Americans over the years, including Frank Sinatra, as well as non-Italians like President Franklin Roosevelt.
Make Some Philly Inspired Sandwiches At Home
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich.
- 1/4 of a green bell pepper
- 1/8 of a medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 oz leftover steak
- 1/3 cup shredded Provolone cheese
- 1 small Italian baguette or hoagie roll (6-7 inches long)
Slice pepper into 1/4″ wide by 3″ long julienne strips. Cut the onion into 1/4″ by 3″ julienne pieces. Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan and heat on high heat. Once hot, cook the pepper and onions just until soft, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Place the saute pan back on the stove, set on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Slice the cold leftover steak very thin, then sear very quickly in the pan on each side for 30 seconds. Stack the steak in the pan, then top with the shredded cheese. Cover the pan for about 45 seconds to melt the cheese.
Slice the baguette in half horizontally. Place on a plate, then stack the meat with the melted cheese on top of the bottom piece of baguette. Add peppers and onions on top.
Pulled Pork Italiano
DiNic’s, in Philadelphia, serves this sandwich of wine-and herb-braised pulled pork, sharp provolone and roasted long hot peppers.
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
- 3 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1½ tablespoon dried thyme
- 3½ teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
- 1- 6 lb pork shoulder, butterflied
- 3 sprigs rosemary, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 head garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 lb broccoli rabe
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 32 slices sharp provolone
- 8-12″ crusty Italian rolls, split
- 24 roasted long hot peppers
Heat oven to 450°F. Combine fennel, parsley , thyme,and 3 teaspoons chili flakes in a small bowl; set aside.
Open pork shoulder on a work surface and spread with half of herb mixture, rosemary , 1/4 of the chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Roll up the shoulder, tie with kitchen twine at 1″ intervals to secure and season out-side with remaining herb mixture, salt and pepper.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast until browned, about 40 minutes. Remove pan from oven and heat broiler. Add remaining garlic to pan, along with stock, wine, onion and bay leaf; pour tomatoes over top and sides of pork shoulder. Broil until tomatoes are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Cover pork with parchment paper and, then, cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil. Cook until the internal temperature of pork reaches 165°, about 2 hours. Set aside to cool.
Transfer pork to cutting board and remove bay leaf from pan. Transfer juices to a blender and purée; transfer to a 4-qt. saucepan and keep warm. Pull pork apart into large pieces and add to pan juices.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add broccoli rabe. Cook, stirring, until just tender, 2–3 minutes. Drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet. Working in batches if necessary , add remaining chili flakes and broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, until crisp and warmed through, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Place 4 slices provolone on bottom half of each roll, and top with pork. Add broccoli rabe and peppers.
Real Italian Hoagie
The Hoagie sandwich was originally created in Philadelphia. There are a number of different versions to how the Hoagie got its name, but no matter what version is right, all agree that it started in Philadelphia.
The most widely accepted story centers on an area of Philadelphia known as Hog Island, which was home to a shipyard during World War I (1914-1918). The Italian immigrants working there would bring giant sandwiches made with cold cuts, spices, oil, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and peppers for their lunches. These workers were nicknamed “hoggies.” Over the years, the name was attached to the sandwiches, but under a different spelling.
Another version: The word Hoagie came from the sandwiches that used to get eaten by workers over on a place that was nicknamed “hog island”. The workers there would bring crusty rolls with Italian meats and some olive oil and these sandwiches became known as “hoggies”, which eventually morphed into hoagie. By the way – It has to be a fresh, crusty Italian long roll!
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 hoagie rolls
- 1/4 lb prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
- 1/4 lb capicola, thinly sliced
- 1/4 lb genoa salami or 1/4 lb sopressata salami, thinly sliced
- 1/4 lb provolone cheese
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup shredded lettuce
Slice the rolls, but not all the way through.
Place the vinegar and oregano in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.
Remove some of the bread from the center of each half of roll.
Drizzle a little of the olive oil mixture on the bread.
Place first the meats, then the cheese in layers.
Top with the tomatoes, onions and the lettuce. Drizzle with more of the dressing, as desired.
Chicken or Veal Cutlet Hoagies
The luncheonette, Shank’s & Evelyn’s, which has become an Italian Market staple over the past 48 years, is known far and wide for their breakfast, lunch and most notably their sandwiches. In recent years, The sandwich Shank’s is most famous for, and has solidified their name in publications across the nation, is the Chicken Cutlet Italiano with greens.
Makes 4 sandwiches
- 4 (4-6 ounces) chicken or veal cutlets (about ½-inch thickness)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups plain bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 hoagie rolls or ciabatta rolls
- 4 slices sharp provolone cheese
In a wide, shallow bowl whisk eggs, milk, crushed red pepper and salt.
Place flour in a separate wide, shallow bowl. Do the same with the breadcrumbs.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Dip one chicken cutlet at a time in the flour, then in the egg mixture, allowing excess to drip into the bowl. Dredge in the bread crumbs, ensuring that the entire cutlet is evenly coated. Add to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp. Place on a paper-towel lined dish. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 2 minutes; drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. “Shocking” the rabe will maintain its vivid green color.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic. Sauté until garlic starts to turn golden. Add broccoli rabe, crushed red pepper and salt. Saute 1-2 minutes more until just tender.
Place one split roll on a clean work surface. Place chicken cutlet on the bottom half of the roll. Top with 1/4 of the broccoli rabe and 2 slices of cheese. Place under a broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Philadelphia Tomato Pie
For the Dough
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
- 2 1/4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
- 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons water
For the Sauce
- 6 fresh Roma tomatoes
- 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1-6 oz can tomato paste
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1½ tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
Combine flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Whisk to combine. Add olive oil and water. Knead on low speed just until dough comes together, about 3 minutes.
Let dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead once more on low speed for 10 minutes. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl, but stick to bottom.
Remove dough hook, cover top of mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Slice tomatoes in half, season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients in a non-aluminum, heavy bottom pan and simmer until thickened.
When roasted tomatoes are done add them into sauce, continue to cook down and mix them in until there are no large chunks.
Two hours before baking, remove dough from the refrigerator. Generously grease the inside of a 13 by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (about 3 tablespoons).
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Form into flat ball and transfer to the oiled baking sheet. Using your hands, coat the ball on all sides with olive oil.
Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic and let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough should spread out .
Carefully stretch and push the dough into the corners and edges of the pan. Cover loosely and let rise for 1 hour longer.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. When the dough has risen, gently use your hands to create a risen ridge about 1-inch wide around the edge.
Spread sauce generously over dough, leaving the raised 1-inch edge un-sauced. Bake until edges are light golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes total, rotating pan once halfway through baking.
Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Romano cheese, cut into slices and serve.
- New England’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Little Italy – Manhattan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Little Italy New Jersey Style (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- New York’s “Other Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Rocky Balboa house in South Philly for sale; asking price: $139,000 (newsday.com)
- Italian American Neighborhoods – Boston (jovinacooksitalian.com)