As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout 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 local communities and later for Americans nationwide.
Italians came to Idaho, mostly during the years 1890 to 1920, to mine, farm, ranch, construct railroads, and start businesses. In 1910, 2,627 Italians in Idaho lived in enclaves in Kellogg and Wallace, Bonners Ferry, Naples, Lava Hot Springs, Roston in Minidoka County and Mullan and east of Priest River. The largest concentration was in Pocatello, where as many as 400 families were supported by railroad jobs.
Portrait of an Italian Immigrant in Idaho:
Giacomo Manfredo was born 18 June 1875 in Casamassima, Bari Province, Italy. He immigrated from Monopoli, Bari province, Italy arriving on the Hamburg at Ellis Island 25 June 1911. (My grandfather also came across the ocean on the S.S. Hamburg but in 1914.)
Giacomo’s daughter, Christina, remembers that he immigrated with Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Elio, friends from Bari province. Giacomo worked for the Pennsylvania RR, then, and migrated through Winnipeg, Canada to Las Vegas and, eventually, arrived in Pocatello, Idaho, where he worked freight for the Union Pacific. The Elio’s, also, settled in Pocatello.
Mount Carmel Parish had an Italian priest and sermons were delivered in Italian. It was at Mount Carmel where Giacomao met Giovanna Palombo, a young woman from Vicalvi, Italy with a 2-year-old daughter, Filomena. They married in 1917. Giovanna and Giacomo raised Filomena along with two more children, Dominic and Christina (Crissy). A second son, Ralph, born in 1922, died in 1923 due to complications from measles.
Giacomo prided himself as the winemaker for the local Catholic parish. He ordered grapes from California every year, pressed the grapes and made wine in the cellar of their home. He insisted that the children help stomp the grapes and once spent Giovanna’s kitchen money to purchase a pair of rubber boots for the wine production. When told that he needed a license to produce the wine, he dutifully purchased one and proudly directed the local authorities to the certificate several years later. Unfortunately, it was an annual license and the moment was rather tense until the officials decided that if he agreed to purchase a current permit, they would not arrest him for his past crime. The family purchased their first wine-press from Sears in 1944.
Giacomo and Giovanna purchased a substantial brick house at 529 N. 5th street from Charlie Busco, another Italian immigrant and they were very proud of their purchase. They rented out the main floor for several years until the payments became more affordable. Giovanna crocheted lace for St. Anthony’s altar and, at times, cleaned Pullman cars in addition to her full-time housewife duties.
Giacomo had a brother, Giuseppe, who lived with them in Pocatello. He worked with Giacomo for the Union Pacific and lost a leg in a railroad accident. After the accident he moved to Denver where he opened a bar. Giovanna’s brother, Dominic Palombo, lived in Pocatello with them for a while and worked for the railroad until his brother, Angelo, talked him into moving back to Pennsylvania, Unfortunately, he was killed in a steel mill accident there.
Both Giacomo and Giovanna were illiterate. Their daughter, Filomena remembers that Giacomo’s surname was spelled incorrectly on his paycheck. It did not seem to make any difference to him, though, as long as he got the money. Giacomo’s pronunciation was interpreted as Manfredi at Ellis Island and family friends in Pocatello wrote it in this manner. Other spellings, on such documents as their immigration registration forms and paychecks, include Monfreda, Manfredi, Monfredi, Monfredo, Maffreda and Moffreda. One of the railroad paycheck versions was Montfraid. The spelling became consistent only after Filomena entered first grade, when Manfredo became the family name. When Giacomo died in 1959 at the age of 84, his name was legally designated Manfredo.
Potato Pizza Margherita Style
- 3 large Idaho russet potatoes, unpeeled
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Black pepper, ground, to taste
- 2 eggs, large, beaten
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the baking sheet
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, minced
- 16 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Fresh basil leaves, sliced
- 1/2 bunch asparagus
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 1/4 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Oil a 15 x 10-inch cookie sheet.
Cook the unpeeled potatoes in boiling water until they are easily pierced with a knife but not falling apart, no more than 20 minutes. Allow the cooked potatoes to steam dry slightly in a strainer, then peel and press through a ricer or pass through a fine strainer onto a sheet pan to cool completely.
Scrape the potatoes into a bowl and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the eggs and make a smooth dough.
Add the minced garlic to a quarter cup of olive oil; set aside.
Slice the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Brush with a little garlic olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the dried oregano. Season with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Side aside.
Cut the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Cut stalks in half. Brush with a little garlic olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Lay a piece of parchment paper, the size of the baking sheet, on the counter and dust with flour. Shape the dough into a rectangle and place it on the floured parchment. Dust the top of the dough with a little more all-purpose flour. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll the dough out evenly, so that the dough is about the size of the cookie sheet.
Remove the top parchment paper and flip the dough onto the oiled cookie sheet. Remove the parchment paper. Push the crust into the edges of the pan.
Brush the dough generously with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
Par-bake the crust in the preheated oven for 9-10 minutes until the crust begins to turn a light, golden brown.
Remove the pizza from the oven and top the crust evenly with alternating slices of mozzarella cheese, Roma tomato slices and halved asparagus spears, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.
Drizzle the top of the pizza with 2 tablespoons of the garlic olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of dried oregano and the freshly grated Grana Padano cheese.
Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown on the bottom, about 10 more minutes. Allow the pizza to cool slightly on the baking sheet. Top the pizza with the fresh basil and cut into squares.
The first Italian immigrants reached Seattle a hundred years ago, exactly four centuries after Columbus discovered the Americas and Amerigo Vespucci gave them his name. Most Italians, settled into cities on the eastern seaboard and only a small fraction of the Italian immigrants made it to Washington in 1900. However, Seattle in the decade following the Klondike rush enjoyed the greatest growth in its history, tripling its population from 80,000 to 240,000 between 1900-1910. Italians, along with other immigrants and native-born Americans, shaped much of the Seattle we know today. They built buildings, constructed water mains and sewer lines. They made Elliott Bay uniform by placing dirt from the nearby hills which transformed Seattle into a world-class waterfront.
Most of Seattle’s Italians were unskilled laborers and some were illiterate. Yet nearly all of them were able to become successful and a remarkable number would become very well-to-do. Rocco Alia, for example, was a construction laborer who started his own underground and roadway construction company. His son, Orly went to work for his father as a waterboy and recalls that the laborers’ clothes were always soaked with sweat. Orly, as soon as he could, also started his own company and so did his son Richard, now head of R. L. Alia Co. This pattern of sons following in their father’s’ footsteps even to the fourth generation would become a tradition among Seattle’s Italian families.
By 1915, 20 per cent of Seattle’s Italian community members were in business or in one of the professions. They included Doctors Xavier De Donato and A. J. Ghiglione (who founded a macaroni factory); Joe Desimone, who owned the Pike Place Market; Frank Buty, a real estate executive, Attilio Sbedico, professor of literature at the University of Washington and Nicola Paolella, publisher of the Gazetta Italiani. Paoella also produced and announced an Italian language radio show for 26 years and was the recipient of the Order of Merit, Italy’s highest civilian decoration.
The most eminent scholar in the Northwest was Henry Suzzallo, whose family came from Ragusa. In 1915, he was appointed to the presidency of the University of Washington. He held the position until 1926. He achieved even more prominence by becoming chairman of the board of trustees and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning. He stayed there until he died in 1933.
Angelo Merlino, while still working in the mines, imported cheese, pasta and olive oil in bulk. He quit mining and opened a store in 1900 that was so successful that he was soon importing Italian food by the shipload. Today Merlino and Sons is one of Seattle’s biggest distributors of Italian foods.
Gradually, Seattleites developed a taste for Italian foods and other Italian food businesses, such as, Oberto’s and Gavosto’s Torino sausages, DeLaurenti’s, Magnano’s and Borracchini’s food stores became household words.
Linguine with Shrimp in Pink Sauce
Recipe courtesy of DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine Shop
- 3 garlic cloves – thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots – chopped
- 1/2 cup celery – chopped
- 1 cup sweet onion – chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme – minced
- 28 oz can DOP San Marzano tomatoes with liquid
- 1 lb. Italian dried Linguine
- 1 lb. shrimp – peeled, deveined and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chilies
- 3/4 cup fish stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Italian parsley – chopped for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Saute the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat, covered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, being careful to keep the onions from burning. Add carrots, celery, thyme and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Crush tomatoes by hand, add to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the sauce to a blender or processor and puree (this turns it pinkish). Return the sauce to the pan and set aside.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil with 2 tablespoons salt. Add linguine and cook al dente.
While the pasta cooks, season shrimp with salt & pepper. In a separate sauce pan, saute shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil and red pepper flakes until almost done, approximately 3 minutes – shrimp should still be a bit opaque in the middle. Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add stock and wine to the pan and reduce by 1/3, approximately 5 minutes. Ladle red sauce into stock & wine mixture and heat through.
When cooked, add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix. Add shrimp and heat through. Plate pasta, garnish with Italian parsley and serve immediately.
In and around cities like Portland, immigrants found work as laborers, shopkeepers and farmers. The Italian population of Portland surged from 1,000 in 1900 to 5,000 by 1910. They first settled south of town near Marquam’s Gulch, a district shared with Russian Jews. Later, Italians moved to Ladd’s Addition, Brooklyn and Parkrose.
Italian immigrants worked in a wide array of professions. Many hundreds of Italian immigrants worked in Portland’s extensive railroad yards or served as street graders and built and maintained roads throughout the city. Italian entrepreneurs, like Francesco Arata, established shops and restaurants in Italian neighborhoods on both the west and east sides of the Willamette River. Almost 1,300 Italians lived and worked on the east side. They rented land and grew vegetables and berries and some families operated truck farms that sold produce to individuals and businesses across the city. The Italian Ranchers and Gardeners Association organized and established the first retail produce market on the west side but frequent flooding forced organizers to move it to the east side in 1906. The new market covered a complete block and growers brought their produce there to sell before loading the remainder on trucks to be sold throughout the city.
Grapes first came to the Oregon in the mid 19th century, along with the influx of French, German and Italian immigrants, bringing with them their tastes and cultures of wine. Early planting in Washington County included Zinfandel, Muscatel, Riesling, Burgundian varietals (Pinot Noir or Chardonnay and their derivatives) and Hambourg (Black Muscat).
Family, business and Italian heritage are not separate subjects for Michel Ponzi. Born into a first-generation American-Italian family, where his old-world, European roots were at the forefront of his upbringing. Michel grew up in a household where the Italian immigrant work ethic met the American possibility. His grandparents sacrificed their own familiar life and culture in Italy in hope of a brighter future in America. Their American born children practiced the importance of hard work and following a dream. Michel’s parents, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, followed their dreams that led them and their young family to Oregon.
Michel was only six years old when his parents pursued an idea that had yet to be proven – to grow pinot noir grapes in Oregon and make world-class wines. In the late 60’s, early 70’s, Oregon was timber country filled with lumberjacks, hunters and farmers, with plenty of property available for purchase. Through trial and error, like a handful of other wine enthusiasts, his family started a winery. As a boy, he planted vines on the rugged property and worked throughout his childhood, pruning them and picking grapes at harvest. Later, he became a row boss, tractor driver and, also, worked the bottling line, in packaging and in product delivery. With a business degree in hand, he continued his lifelong career of developing the family business into a prosperous entity, side-by-side with his mother and father, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, founders of Ponzi Vineyards.
In 1999, the Ponzi Family recognized that the rapidly increasing enthusiasm for wine touring was not supported sufficiently by fine dining facilities located in the local wine country. They constructed and continue to operate a culinary center in the tiny town of Dundee. The Dundee Bistro and the Ponzi Wine Bar, showcasing the region’s finest wines are the result of their endeavor. Reception to the facility has been overwhelming, garnering excellent reviews and recommendations in the national media.
The Ponzis wanted to create a casual, friendly atmosphere that welcomed tourists, families, local residents and wine makers still in their overalls and field boots. On a given day it’s possible to order handmade pizza, fish and chips, a salad of mixed organic greens with seared foie gras, Kumamoto oysters fresh from the Pacific 60 miles away, roasted butternut squash soup with chanterelles, loin of venison or local, natural pork smoked all day over local walnut to tender perfection. A meal can end with simple house blackberry sorbet or flaming Oregon cherries jubilee, either one accompanied with piping hot Italian espresso.
Pork Tenderloin in Pomegranate and Walnut Sauce
Courtesy of Christopher Flanagan, Executive Chef, The Dundee Bistro
2 pork tenderloins (approx. 2 lbs)
- 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons star anise pods, crushed
- 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
- 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
- 1/2 cup Port
- 1/2 cup pomegranate concentrate
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 star anise pods, whole
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2/3 cups toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Garnish: Pomegranate seeds, fresh mint sprigs
Marinade: Combine marinade ingredients in a sealable plastic bag with the pork tenderloins. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours. Remove tenderloins and pat dry; reserve marinade.
Sauce: Sauté shallots in olive oil for 2–3 minutes. Add Pinot Noir and Port. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. Add pomegranate concentrate, orange juice, chicken stock, star anise and reserved marinade. Continue to simmer until reduced by half again, or until the sauce thickens enough to coat back of wooden spoon. Cautiously add vinegar, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, strain and add walnuts and butter. Keep warm.
Tenderloins: Brown by grilling (5–6 minutes/side) or sauté in olive oil 4–6 minutes/side without overcooking. Hold tenderloins at least 5 minutes in a tinfoil tent. Slice into 1/3-inch slices.
To serve: spoon a pool of sauce on individual plates. Arrange sliced pork on top, then additional sauce.
Garnish: with pomegranate seeds and mint sprigs.
Recommended accompaniments: a simply prepared rice pilaf, barley, oven-roasted potatoes or pasta dressed with butter, olive oil and salt.
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Rocky Mountain States
As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout 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 local communities and later for Americans nationwide.
Classic Example of an American Entrepreneur:
Italian Immigrants came to Wyoming in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and most worked in Wyoming’s mining industry. The bulk of Italian immigration to Wyoming was between 1890 and 1910. By 1910, 7.7 percent of Wyoming’s foreign-born population was Italian. The Italian immigrants originated from the northern provinces of Lombardy, Tuscany, and Piedmont. By 1920 more than sixty percent of Wyoming’s Italians lived in Laramie, Sweetwater and Uinta counties.
Domenico Roncaglio was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in 1916. The son of Italian immigrants, he was known as “Teno” to his friends and later changed his last name to Roncalio. Teno was one of a family of nine children. Teno obtained his first job, operating a push cart at the age of five years. The next year he took over a shoe shine stand in a local barber shop. By the time he was sixteen years old, Teno had passed the Wyoming Barber Board of Examiners and was the holder of a Journeyman Barber’s Union card. Teno worked in the barber shop throughout his high school years but after graduation went to work on the Rock Springs Rocket as a combination reporter and advertising salesman. For six years Teno worked for the newspaper, gaining much valuable experience.
In 1938 he entered the University of Wyoming as a Journalism and pre-law student. To help out with expenses, Teno and a Rock Springs buddy, Frank Larrabaster, made stencil duplicates of basketball schedules and sold advertising to go with them. During his years at the University, Teno ran a snack bar in his dormitory, waited tables and washed dishes at Annie Moore’s boarding house, tended the furnace, shoveled snow and scrubbed floors. Any job was a good job as long as it helped pay the college expenses. During his second year at the University, Teno was elected Student Body President and got his first taste of politics.
His service to the people of Wyoming had to wait, though, since America went to war. In 1942, Teno joined the Army and fought with the First Infantry Division, 18th Regiment, in North Africa. Teno later fought in Sicily, Italy and on D-Day on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Teno was also there as the Americans fought Germany and ended the War in Europe. Teno Roncalio would leave the Army a Captain with a Silver Star for gallantry and returned home a hero. That is when his long career as a public servant began. After returning to the University of Wyoming to complete his law degree, Teno would serve his community and state as a Representative in Congress for 5 terms.
Source: Teno Roncalio, U. S. CONGRESSMAN FROM WYOMING by Mabel E. Brown.
Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna
By Deborah Johnson of Cody, Wyoming
- 4 medium sweet red peppers
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cut each pepper into quarters; remove seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 20-25 minutes or until skin is blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Peel off and discard skin. Cut peppers into 1/4-in. strips.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. In a saucepan, cook red peppers and garlic in oil for 1 minute; add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, basil and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Spread 1 cup pepper sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with three noodles, 1-1/2 cups pepper sauce, 1 cup white sauce and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, white sauce and pepper sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
Italians first started coming to Colorado as early as the 1850s. They came for many reasons but the majority — particularly later immigrants — came to improve their lives and the lives of their families.
In the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, the area in Denver between Broadway and Zuni Streets on the east and west and 46th and 32nd Avenues on the north and south was known as “Little Italy”. It was an area of Italian grocery stores and bakeries, community bread ovens, churches and schools; an area where a new wave of immigrants from all over Italy moved to and where they were comfortable and socially secure in a new country.
The area along the South Platte River sandwiched between Denver’s growing downtown and the hills to the west was known as “The Bottoms”. Here many of the first Italian immigrants settled. There was also farmland along the South Platte where they could grow cash crops of vegetables that were then sold in small, neighborhood shops and from push carts and horse-drawn wagons throughout the neighborhoods of Denver.
Although created by accident, these neighborhoods combined many elements of wise urban planning and organization — self-contained communities with their own institutions. They offered, first, a cloak of familiarity — the language, customs and foods of the homeland and they fostered valuable social and economic networks, helping the newest arrivals to get established quickly.
The Denver Post reported that members of the Polidori family have been blending ground pork with just the right balance of salt and spices for more than 80 years.
Ensconced in an unpretentious building that includes what was once the carriage house behind the old Coors Mansion in north Denver, Steve Polidori and his sister, Melodie Polidori Harris, are continuing a tradition launched in 1925, when their great-grandfather, Rocco and his wife, Anna, opened Polidori’s Grocery and Meat Market. It was there that Anna first prepared the sausage recipe she brought with her from Abruzzi, her hometown in Italy.
Anna came through Ellis Island and ended up in Utah, where she met and married Rocco, who was then a miner. After he fell victim to black lung disease, they moved to Colorado for fresh air. Rocco’s brother owned a grocery store. In time Rocco and Anna bought the store. She became the butcher. From time to time, she would make sausage for her husband and herself. Customers would come in, smell the sausage cooking, ask for samples and, before long, they were asking to buy it.
When they could no longer run the store, their sons, Louis and Augie, took over and ran it for almost 40 years. The brother-sister team (the son and daughter of Gary, an attorney, and Ruth Ann Polidori, a retired district court judge) represents the fourth generation to sustain the family business.
Today, the Polidori twosome are behind the Polidori Meat Processors, a family business that has grown its product line to include chorizo, breakfast sausage, bratwurst and meatballs, in addition to hot and mild Italian sausage. Polidori sausages are now found throughout the metro area.
Rigatoni with Polidori Sausage
4 appetizer servings
- 1/2 pound rigatoni
- 1/4 pound spicy Polidori Italian sausage, casing removed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Cook rigatoni in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Cook sausage in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up with back of wooden spoon. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Drain off excess oil and return pot to medium-high heat. Stir in marinara sauce and crushed red pepper, then pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide pasta among four 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over. Place in broiler until cheese melts and begins to brown, watching closely to prevent burning, about 1 1/2 minutes. Sprinkle rigatoni with parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Italian immigrants were one of the largest groups of Europeans to move into Utah. The bulk of Italians came to Utah during the period from the 1890s to the 1920s in response to demands for unskilled labor in the mining and railroad industries. Italians came primarily from the regions of Piemonte, Veneto, Abruzzi, Lazio, Calabria and Sicilia. Immigrants were attracted to four counties, Carbon, Salt Lake, Tooele and Weber. Coal mining, metal mining, work in the mills, smelters, refineries, railroading, farming, ranching and involvement in service-related industries and businesses provided livelihoods for these immigrants.
Italian coal miners played an important role in the Carbon County strike of 1903-04 with labor organizer, Carlo Demolli, assuming a leading role for the United Mine Workers of America. From the late 1910s through the 1930s, Frank Bonacci from Decollatura, Italy, led a tireless effort for UMWA recognition. After union recognition was achieved in the 1930s, Bonacci became the first Italian-American elected to the Utah House of Representatives.
As an early hub of the D&RGW Railroad, the town of Helper became an important Italian settlement. Joseph Barboglio became especially important as the founder of Helper State Bank, an institution that aided Italians with their economic needs.
Many immigrants resided in Salt Lake City and in the mining areas of Bingham Canyon, Magna, Midvale and Murray. The west side of Salt Lake housed a “Little Italy” around a cluster of shops and businesses that catered to Italian tastes. One such establishment was F. Anselmo and Company, located on Rio Grande Street.
In the south end of the city, immigrants had truck farms that supplied fruit and produce to the Farmer’s Market in Salt Lake City. Others, including Luigi Nicoletti, operated goat ranches that specialized in cheese and meat goods sold to Italian miners.
Those who lived in Tooele County found work in the mining town of Mercur, an early central location for Italians and the site of one of their first fraternal organizations. Photographs survive that show bocce (a form of bowling) being played by Italians in the streets. Work was found in the Tooele smelter (run by the International Smelting and Refining Company), where safety signs were printed in Italian and other languages.
Italian-language newspapers produced in Utah included Il Minatore, La Gazzetta Italiana, La Scintilla, and Il Corriere D’America.
Sunnyside had its own Italian band, complete with a music professor from Grimaldi, Italy. Salt Lake City Italians enjoyed the music of various individuals and bands who often played at dances and celebrations. Even the San Carlo Opera Company managed to give concerts in Utah. Accordion, guitar and mandolin music could be heard emanating from many of the mining camps.
Source: Philip F. Notarianni, Italianita in Utah: The Immigrant Experience.
Cristiano and Silvia Creminelli have made Salt Lake City home for authentic Italian salumi. The Creminelli family has been producing artisan meat products in Italy as far back as the oldest aunt can remember and, legend has it, as far back as the 1600s. The Creminellis decided to bring their products to America, specifically Utah, because of the quality pork found there.The Cristianos also brought other authentic Italian flavors to the Beehive State. Cristiano’s wife, Silvia, is an excellent cook in her own right and teaches cooking classes in the city. “We come from the land of rice,” says Silvia. “Piemonte.” So instead of pasta or polenta, a risotto is the center of a meal. It’s not a side dish. It’s served on its own, so the creamy texture and rich flavors can be savored solo. For this dish, Silvia starts with arborio rice and takes it through the traditional steps: the soffrito, the tostatura and the mantecatura.”
Risotto Alla Birra Mortadella E Mascarpone
“This is an extremely easy and flavorful risotto to prepare in colder weather. Beer in the rice gives the dish a full-bodied flavor balanced out with the unexpected additions of ginger, lemon zest, and rosemary – an echo of Italy’s fortunes built on the spice trade. It’s also a great way to use mortadella – the grandfather of the much-maligned bologna in a sophisticated way.”
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup beer such as a pale ale or lager (nothing hoppy or dark!)
- 5 cups beef broth
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 ounces Creminelli Mortadella, julienned
Bring the broth to a low simmer in a large pot.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion over low heat, just to soften and release the flavors. Do not let brown. Add the rice and toast it for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the beer and let it evaporate, stirring the rice as it does.
Add one ladle of hot broth and bring the rice to a simmer over medium heat, stirring as you go. Add a ladleful of hot broth as the rice soaks it up, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until “al dente,” where the rice is soft but still has a slightly firm texture in the middle. Add the lemon zest, rosemary, and ginger.
Remove from the heat and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheese. Serve immediately, garnished with julienned mortadella slices.
Source: Salt Lake City Magazine
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Charles Angelo Siringo (1855-1912)
Siringo was born in Matagorda County, Texas to an Irish immigrant mother and an Italian immigrant father from Piedmont. He attended public school until the age of 15, when he started working on local ranches as a cowboy. After taking part in several cattle drives, Siringo stopped herding to settle down, get married (1884) and open a merchant business in Caldwell, Kansas. He wrote a book, entitled, A Texas Cowboy; Or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony. A year later, it was published and became one of the first true looks into life as a cowboy written by someone who had actually lived the life. In 1886, bored with the mundane life of a merchant, Siringo moved to Chicago and joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He was immediately assigned several cases, which took him as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico City. He began operating undercover, a relatively new technique at the time and infiltrated gangs of robbers and rustlers, making over one hundred arrests. In the late 1890s, posing as “Charles L. Carter”, an alleged gunman on the run from the law for a murder, he infiltrated Butch Cassidy’s Train Robbers Gang. For over a year, using information he would gather, he severely hampered the operations of Cassidy’s gang, but without many arrests. After the gang committed the now famous train robbery near Wilcox, Wyoming, in which they robbed a Union Pacific train, Siringo again found himself assigned to capture the Cassidy gang. Several members of the gang were captured as a result of information Siringo gathered, including the capture of Kid Curry, who escaped but was again cornered and killed during a shootout with law enforcement in Colorado. Siringo’s information helped track him down. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid both fled to South America. Siringo retired in 1907 and wrote another book entitled, Pinkerton’s Cowboy Detective. The Pinkerton Detective Agency held up publication for two years, feeling it violated their confidentiality agreement that Siringo had signed when he was hired and objected to the use of their name. Siringo gave in and deleted their name from the book title, instead writing two separate books entitled, A Cowboy Detective and Further Adventures of a Cowboy Detective.
Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino (1860 – 1909)
In 1874, the remaining members of the Petrosino family emigrated to the United States from Padula (in the province of Salerno, Campania), a village in southern Italy. Joseph had come over previously with his cousin to live with their grandfather in New York. An unfortunate streetcar accident took the life of the grandfather and the two young cousins wound up in Orphans/Surrogates Court. Rather than send the children to the orphanage, the judge took them home to live with his own family and provided for the boys until relatives in Italy could be contacted and arrangements made to bring over family members. Joseph Petrosino and his cousin, Anthony Puppolo, lived for a time in a “politically connected” Irish household and this opened up educational and employment avenues that was not usually available to immigrants. On October 19, 1883, Joseph joined the NYPD. During his service he would become friends with Theodore Roosevelt, who was police commissioner of New York City at the time. On July 20, 1895, Roosevelt promoted him to detective sergeant in charge of the department’s Homicide Division, making him the first Italian-American to lead this division. The pinnacle of his career came in December 1908 when he was promoted to lieutenant and placed in charge of the Italian Squad, an elite corps of Italian-American detectives assembled specifically to deal with the activities of organized crime. One notable case in Petrosino’s time with the Italian Squad was when the Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, who was performing at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, was blackmailed by gangsters who demanded money in exchange for his life. It was Petrosino who convinced Caruso to help him catch those behind the blackmail. A second notable case was Petrosino’s infiltration of an Italian-based anarchist organization that assassinated King Umberto I of Italy. During his mission, he discovered evidence that the organization intended to assassinate President William McKinley during a trip to Buffalo. Petrosino warned the Secret Service, but McKinley ignored the warning, even after Roosevelt, who had by this time become Vice-President of the United States, vouched for Petrosino’s abilities. McKinley was assassinated during his visit to Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition on September 6, 1901. Petrosino’s investigations into Mafia activities led him to Don Vito Cascio Ferro. In 1903, Petrosino arrested him on suspicion of murder, but Cascio Ferro was acquitted. Cascio Ferro later returned to Sicily, where he became increasingly involved with the Sicilian Mafia. In 1909, Petrosino made plans to travel to Palermo, Sicily, on a top secret mission. Unfortunately, the New York Herald published the story of Petrosino’s mission on February 20, 1909, just days before his departure. Even though he was aware of the danger, Petrosino headed to Palermo as planned. Petrosino wrongly believed that the Sicilian Mafia would not kill a policeman, as they did not in America. On March 12, 1909, after arriving in Palermo, Petrosino received a message from someone claiming to be an informant, asking the detective to meet him in the city’s Piazza Marina to give him information about the Mafia. Petrosino arrived at the rendezvous, but it was a trap. While waiting for his “informant”, Petrosino was shot to death by Mafia assassins. The various crime fighting techniques that Petrosino pioneered during his law enforcement career are still practiced by various agencies in the fight against crime.
John Sirica (1904 – 1992)
John Sirica was born in Waterbury, Connecticut to Ferdinand and Rose (Zinno) Sirica, both Italian immigrants. His father, Fred, who had emigrated from a village near Naples in 1887, worked as a barber. His mother, Rose, ran a grocery store. “It was”, Judge Sirica later said “an uphill fight against poverty.” The family, including brother, Andrew, moved several times, to Jacksonville, Fl, New Orleans, Richmond and, then when John was 14, to Washington D.C. Along the way, he helped out, working once as a waiter and another time selling newspapers. Sirica received his degree from the Georgetown University Law Center after doing undergraduate work at Duke University. Boxing champion Jack Dempsey was a close friend of his and was Sirica’s best man at his marriage in 1952. Sirica was in the private practice of law in Washington, DC from 1926 to 1930. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1930 to 1934 and, subsequently, returned to private practice from 1934 to 1957. He also served as general counsel to the House Select Committee to Investigate the Federal Communications Commission in 1944. John was a Republican and was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on February 25, 1957. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 26 and became chief judge of the court in April, 1971. John Sirica had a largely unnoticed career before Watergate. He rose to national prominence during the Watergate scandal when he ordered President Richard Nixon to turn over his recordings of White House conversations. Sirica’s involvement in the case began when he presided over the trial of the Watergate burglars. He did not believe the claim that they had acted alone and persuaded them to implicate the men who had arranged the break-in. For his role in Watergate, the judge was named TIME Magazine‘s “Man of the Year” in 1973. Sirica served as chief judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1974 and assumed senior status on October 31, 1977. He died in 1992 at the age of 88. Sirica, with the help of John Stacks, published his account of the Watergate affair in 1979 under the title, To Set the Record Straight: The Break-in, the Tapes, the Conspirators, the Pardon.
Frank Serpico (1936 -)
Serpico was born in Brooklyn, the youngest child of Vincenzo and Maria Giovanna Serpico, Italian emigrants from Marigliano in the province of Naples, Campania. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed for two years in South Korea as an infantryman. He then worked as a part-time private investigator and as a youth counselor while attending Brooklyn College. In September 1959, Serpico joined the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and was assigned to the 81st precinct. He worked for the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) for two years and then was assigned to work plainclothes. Serpico worked in Brooklyn and the Bronx to expose vice racketeering. In 1967 he reported credible evidence of widespread systematic police corruption. Nothing happened until he met another police officer, David Durk, who helped him. On April 25, 1970, Serpico contributed to the New York Times front-page story on widespread corruption in the NYPD. Mayor John V. Lindsay appointed a five-member panel to investigate charges of police corruption. The panel became the Knapp Commission, named after its chairman, Whitman Knapp. Serpico was shot during a drug arrest attempt on February 3, 1971. Four officers from Brooklyn North received a tip that a drug deal was about to take place. Serpico was sent up the fire escape to enter the building by the fire escape door and follow two suspects. When they came out the police arrested the two suspects who were found with bags of heroin. Serpico (who spoke Spanish) was told to attempt to make a fake purchase and to get the drug dealers to open the door. Serpico knocked on the door and the door opened a few inches, just far enough for Serpico to wedge his body in. Serpico called for help, but his fellow officers ignored him. Serpico was then shot in the face and the bullet struck just below the eye and lodged at the top of his jaw. His police colleagues refused to make a “10-13”, a dispatch to police headquarters indicating that an officer has been shot. An elderly man who lived in the next apartment called the emergency services and reported that a man had been shot. The bullet had severed an auditory nerve, leaving him deaf in one ear and he has suffered chronic pain from bullet fragments lodged in his brain. He survived to testify before the Knapp Commission. On May 3, 1971, New York Metro Magazine published an article about Serpico titled “Portrait of an Honest Cop”. Frank Serpico retired on June 15, 1972, one month after receiving the New York City Police Department’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Serpico, a biography written by Peter Maas, sold over 3 million copies. The book was adapted for the screen in the 1973 film titled, Serpico, which was directed by Sidney Lumet and starred Al Pacino in the title role. In 1976 David Birney starred as Serpico in a TV-movie called, Serpico: The Deadly Game. This led to a short-lived Serpico TV series the following fall on NBC. Serpico still speaks out against police brutality, the weakening of civil liberties and corrupt practices in law enforcement. On June 27, 2013 the USA Section of ANPS (National Association of Italian State Police) awarded him the “Saint Michael Archangel Prize”, an official honor by the Italian State Police and the Italian Ministry of Interior.
Antonin Scalia (1936 -)
Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey. His father, Salvatore Eugene Scalia, was an immigrant from Sicily, who was a graduate student and clerk at the time of his son’s birth, but who later became a professor of Romance languages at Brooklyn College. His mother, Catherine Scalia (née Panaro), was born in the United States to Italian immigrant parents and worked as an elementary school teacher. When Antonin was six years old, the Scalia family moved to Elmhurst, Queens, in New York City. After completing eighth grade in public school, he obtained a scholarship to Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he graduated first in his class. In 1953, Scalia enrolled at Georgetown University, where he graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1957. While at Georgetown, he also studied at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and went on to study law at Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University. The fellowship allowed him to travel throughout Europe during 1960–1961. On September 10, 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy, whom he met on a blind date while he was at Harvard Law School. Maureen Scalia had been an undergraduate at Radcliffe College where she later obtained a degree in English. The couple raised nine children, five boys and four girls. After spending six years in a Cleveland law firm, Scalia became a law school professor. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, first in minor administrative agencies and then as an assistant attorney general. He spent most of the Carter administration teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the Federalist Society. In 1982, he was appointed as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Ronald Reagan. In 1986, Scalia was appointed by Reagan to the Supreme Court to fill the associate justice seat vacated when Justice William Rehnquist was elevated to Chief Justice. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first Italian-American justice. As the longest-serving justice currently on the Court, Scalia has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court’s conservative wing. In his years on the Court, Scalia has staked out a conservative ideology in both his opinions and in constitutional interpretation. He is a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposes affirmative action and other policies that treat minorities as groups. He files separate opinions in large numbers of majority opinion cases and, in his minority opinions, often castigates the Court’s majority decisions.
Regional Foods of Piedmont – a region of northwest Italy.
Piedmont’s forested foothills provide mushrooms and white truffles that add depth to risottos and pastas. Rich foods in general are featured with anchovies, garlic and gorgonzola cheese often in their recipes. The breadstick is also characteristic of Piedmontese cuisine. Grissini were actually invented at the end of the 17th century to cure the health problems of young Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy. The Duke had major difficulty digesting most foods and the court doctor commissioned the court baker to make an extremely light bread. The baker decided to take dough used to make ghersa, a typical bread of Turin, and stretch it out into long, thin strips. Once baked, the thin breadsticks were crisp and easy to digest. Thanks to this recipe, the duke’s health improved and, after a couple of years, he was able to take the throne. He was crowned king in 1713. Legend has it that the ghost of the King, with grissini in hand, still haunts the rooms of his old castle.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast (4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Directions In a saucepan, warm the milk. Add the yeast and sugar and let stand until slightly foamy. Pour the milk into a large bowl. Add the flour, butter, salt and oil and stir until a stiff dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it, turning to coat. Cover with a towel; let rest until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. (You can also use an electric mixer to make the dough.) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat down. Cut into 5 pieces and roll each piece into a 10-inch square. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt. Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Transfer to the baking sheets. Bake the grissini for 12 minutes or until golden and crisp, shifting the pans as necessary for even browning. Let cool completely before serving.
Regional Foods of Campania – a region south of Rome on the west coast of italy.
Its capital, Naples, is the birthplace of Pizza Margherita (a tomato, basil and mozzarella pie) and its pizzerias are praised around the world. The area, which includes Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, is also famous for its San Marzano tomatoes, seafood and pasta. Campania is agriculturally rich: Tomatoes, chestnuts, figs, beans, onions, artichokes, lemons and apples flourish in the rich soils under Mount Vesuvius. Fresh, still-warm mozzarella, floating in brine; bubbly, wood-fired pizza and just-caught shellfish tossed with pasta are just a few of the can’t-miss dishes. The most famous Campania food product made from Sorrento lemons is limoncello (or limunciel, as the Campanians call it), a liqueur that is the result of an infusion of lemon peel in pure alcohol.
You can add rosemary, onion or oregano to season the focaccia, however the most traditional version calls for no extra flavorings. Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
Directions In a bowl of an electric mixer, add the water, yeast and olive oil, then cover the liquid with flour. Add the salt. Mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until combined. Switch to the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic. Coat a baking dish, roughly 9″ x 13″ and 2″-3″ deep liberally with olive oil. Stretch the dough until it is roughly the shape of the pan, lay it in the pan and push it into the corners to fit. Wiggle the pan back and forth to make sure the bottom of the dough is coated and slides smoothly. Cover and let rest an hour or until it has risen by half. Create an interesting pattern of indentations using your fingers, coat the top with yet more olive oil to fill the indentations and bake in a 450 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
Regional Foods of Sicily
Separated from the peninsula by the narrow Strait of Messina, Sicily sits at the toe of the Italian boot. Grapes are not the only fruits that thrive in the warm Sicilian sunshine. Oranges, lemons and figs also love the climate and rich volcanic soils. Eggplant and tomatoes are also in abundance. The waters around Sicily provide tuna, sardines, anchovies and swordfish. Dry pastas come in every shape and size in Sicily. The local olive oil is often poured over pastas and used to marinate fish. Local cheeses include the hard Pecorino Siciliano and creamy ricotta.
- 1 packet dried yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/4 cups golden durum flour or semolina -( if using semolina, grind in a blender a quarter cup at a time with some of the white flour until it becomes powdery)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
Directions Dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand 5-10 min. until creamy. Stir in olive oil. Mix together golden durum flour and salt and stir into yeast mixture. Slowly stir in 1/2 all purpose flour. Spread 1 cup all purpose flour on a work surface and turn the dough out onto the flour. Knead until silky, about 10 minutes. Work in more flour as needed. (You can also use an electric mixer to make the dough.) Form dough into ball, oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover, let rise 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Without punching down, shape dough into a loaf. Heavily dust a peel or baking sheet with flour. Place loaf on the baking sheet or peel and brush with water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and press seeds into dough. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for 30 minutes with a baking stone or tiles on the middle rack. Spray the oven with water to create steam and slide bread onto the baking stone and spray with water again. Bake for 10 minutes, spraying with water during that time. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and bake 40-50 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow.
- Research: Pinkerton Detective Agency (cyncatsinkblot.wordpress.com)
- Italian American Culture – The Art Of Writing(jovinacooksitalian.com)
I can assure you, public service
is a stimulating, proud and lively
enterprise. It is not just a way of
life, it is a way to live fully. Its
greatest attraction is the sheer
challenge of it – struggling to
find solutions to the great issues
of the day. It can fulfill your
highest aspirations. The call to
service is one of the highest
callings you will hear and your
country can make.
Lee H. Hamilton
Chairman of 9/11 Commission
The words in the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal” were suggested to Thomas Jefferson by Filippo Mazzei, a Tuscan physician, business man, pamphleteer and Jefferson’s friend and neighbor. Mazzei’s original words were “All men are by nature equally free and independent.” Philip Mazzei (December 25, 1730-March 19, 1816) was a promoter of liberty and acted as an agent to purchase arms for Virginia during the American Revolutionary War.
Mazzei was born in Poggio a Caiano in Tuscany. He studied medicine in Florence and practiced in Italy and in the Middle East for several years before moving to London in 1755 to take up a mercantile career as an importer. While in London he met the Americans Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Adams of Virginia. They convinced him to undertake his next venture. In 1773 he led a group of Italians, who came to Virginia to introduce the cultivation of vineyards, olives and other Mediterranean fruits. Mazzei became a neighbor and friend of Thomas Jefferson. Mazzei and Jefferson started what became the first commercial vineyard in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They shared an interest in politics and libertarian values and maintained an active correspondence for the rest of Mazzei’s life.
In 1779 Mazzei returned to Italy as a secret agent for the state of Virginia. He purchased and shipped arms to them until 1783. After briefly visiting the United States again in 1785, Mazzei travelled throughout Europe promoting Republican ideals. He wrote a political history of the American Revolution, “Recherches historiques et politiques sur les Etats-Unis de l’Amerique septentrionale” and published it in Paris in 1788. After its publication Mazzei became an unofficial roving ambassador in Europe for American ideas and institutions.
He later spent more time in France, becoming active in the politics of the French Revolution under the Directorate. When Napoleon overthrew that governmen,t Mazzei returned to Pisa, Italy. He died there in 1816. After his death the remainder of his family returned to the United States at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. They settled in Massachusetts and Virginia. Mazzei’s daughter married the nephew of John Adams.
Gemelli with Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1” florets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. dried gemelli pasta or other short pasta
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted
Heat the oven to 500° F. Mix together ¼ cup oil, oregano, garlic, cauliflower and salt and pepper in a bowl and spread out evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender, 25–30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.
Toss cauliflower mixture with remaining oil, pasta, almonds, raisins, parsley, lemon juice and zest. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve topped withthe toasted bread crumbs.
John Orlando Pastore
John Orlando Pastore (March 17, 1907 –July 15, 2000) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Rhode Island from 1950 to 1976. He previously served as the 61st Governor of Rhode Island from 1945 to 1950. He was the first Italian American to be elected as a governor or as a senator.
John Pastore was born in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. The second of five children and the son of Michele and Erminia (née Asprinio) Pastore, who were Italian immigrants. His father, a tailor, had moved from Potenza to the United States in 1899 and he died when John was nine. His mother went to work as a seamstress to support the family. She married her late husband’s brother, Salvatore, who also ran a tailoring business. As a child, Pastore worked delivering coats and suits for his stepfather, as an errand boy in a law office and as a foot-press operator in a jewelry factory. Pastore graduated with honors from Classical High School in 1925 and earned a Bachelor of Law degree in 1931. He was admitted to the bar the following year and established a law office in the basement of his family’s home, but attracted few clients due to the Great Depression.
In over 50 years in public office, Pastore never lost an election. He began his political career as a state assemblyman in 1934. As governor, he was reelected in 1946 and then again in 1948 by a record 73,000 vote margin over his opponents. As a senator, Pastore served as the chairman of United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. He is probably best remembered for taking part in a hearing involving a $20 million grant for the funding of PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was proposed by Former President Lyndon Johnson. The hearing took place on May 1, 1969. President Richard Nixon had wanted to cut the proposed funding to $10 million due to Vietnam War expenses and Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, appeared before the committee to argue for the full $20 million. In about six minutes of testimony, Rogers spoke of the need for social and emotional education that Public Television provided. Pastore was not previously familiar with Rogers’ work and was sometimes described as a gruff and impatient man. However, he told Rogers that the testimony had given him goosebumps and after Rogers recited the lyrics to “What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?”, one of the songs from his show, Pastore finally declared, “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s wonderful. Looks like you just earned the $20 million.” The following congressional appropriation, for 1971, increased PBS funding from $9 million to $22 million.
Fiorello Enrico La Guardia
Fiorello Enrico La Guardia (December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) was the 99th Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1934 to 1945. Previously he had been elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918 and again from 1922 through 1930. Irascible, energetic and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet tall, he was called “the Little Flower” (Fiorello is Italian for “little flower”).
LaGuardia, a Republican, appealed across party lines and was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage from LaGuardia’s foes. La Guardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine and reestablished merit employment in place of patronage jobs. The former lawyer was a champion of labor unions and campaigned in English, Italian, Yiddish, German and Spanish.
LaGuardia was born in Greenwich Village in New York City to two Italian immigrant parents. His father, Achille La Guardia was from Cerignola and his mother, Irene Coen, was from Trieste. His maternal grandmother, Fiorina Luzzatto Coen, was a member of the prestigious Italian-Jewish family of scholars, kabbalists and poets and had among her ancestors, the famous Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto. It was in Trieste that Achille La Guardia met and married Irene. The family moved to Arizona, where his Achille had a bandmaster position at Fort Whipple in the U.S. Army. LaGuardia attended public schools and high school in Prescott, Arizona.
After his father was discharged from his bandmaster position in 1898, Fiorello went to live in Trieste, where he joined the State Department and served in U.S. consulates in Budapest, Trieste (Austria-Hungary-now Italy) and Fiume (Austria-Hungary-now Rijeka,Croatia), (1901–1906). He returned to the United States to continue his education at New York University. In 1907–10, he worked for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, as an interpreter for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration at the Ellis Island immigrant station in New Jersey. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1910. He was admitted to the bar the same year and began a law practice in New York City.
LaGuardia married twice. His first wife was Thea Almerigotti, whom he married in 1919. In November 1920 they had a daughter, Fioretta Thea, who died May 8, 1921 of spinal meningitis. His wife died of tuberculosis six months later at the age of 26. He married Marie Fisher in 1929 and they adopted two children, Eric Henry and Jean Marie.
Valle D’Aosta’s Traditional Beef Stew
Carbonade is one of the classic Valdostan stews.
- 2 pounds lean beef, cubed
- 2 medium-sized onions
- A bay leaf
- A few cloves
- A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- A pinch of powdered cinnamon
- A pinch of sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Beef broth
- 2 cups full bodied dry red wine, ideally from Valle D’Aosta
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper
Marinate the beef in the wine for 4-6 hours (at the most, overnight), adding the bay leaf and spices to the wine. When it is time to prepare the recipe, remove the meat from the wine with a slotted spoon and pat the pieces dry. Reserve the wine mixture.
Flour the beef and brown the pieces in the butter in a Dutch Oven, taking them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and setting them aside as they brown.
Slice the onions into rounds and brown them in the same pot; add a ladle of broth and simmer until the broth has evaporated. Add the meat, salt to taste and a pinch of sugar.
Then add the reserved wine with the spices, bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook covered, adding more broth as necessary to keep it from drying out.
After about an hour, grind black pepper over the stew and serve it over polenta or boiled potatoes.
Geraldine Anne Ferraro
Geraldine Anne Ferraro (August 26, 1935 – March 26, 2011) was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female vice-presidential candidate, representing a major American political party. She was elected to the House in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions and retirement plans. In 1984, former vice-president and presidential candidate, Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so, she became the only Italian American to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. In the general election, Mondale and Ferraro were defeated in a landslide by incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.
Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York, the daughter of Antonetta L. Ferraro (née Corrieri), a first-generation Italian American seamstress and Dominick Ferraro, an Italian immigrant and owner of two restaurants. She had three brothers born before her, but one died in infancy and another at age three. Her father died of a heart attack in May 1944, when she was eight. Ferraro’s mother soon invested and lost the remainder of the family’s money, forcing the family to move to a low-income area in the South Bronx, while Ferraro’s mother worked in the garment industry to support them.
Ferraro attended Marymount Manhattan College with a scholarship, while sometimes holding two or three jobs at the same time. During her senior year she began dating John Zaccaro, who had graduated from Iona College with a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. Ferraro received a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1956 and she was the first woman in her family to gain a college degree. She also passed the city exam to become a licensed school teacher. Ferraro began working as an elementary school teacher in the public schools in Astoria, Queens
Dissatisfied with teaching, she decided to attend law school and earned a Juris Doctor degree with honors from Fordham University School of Law in 1960 going to classes at night, while continuing to work as a second-grade teacher during the day. Ferraro was one of only two women in her graduating class of 179 and she was admitted to the New York State Bar in March 1961.
Ferraro’s first full-time political job came in January 1974, when she was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Queens County, New York. At the time, women prosecutors in the city were uncommon. The following year, Ferraro was assigned to the new Special Victims Bureau, which prosecuted cases involving rape, child abuse, spouse abuse and domestic violence. She was named head of the unit in 1977 with two other assistant district attorneys assigned to her. In this role she became a strong advocate for abused children. Ferraro found the nature of the cases she dealt with debilitating, grew frustrated that she was unable to deal with the root causes and talked about running for legislative office. Ferraro ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District in Queens in 1978 and captured the election in a contest in which dealing with crime was the major issue.
She became a protégé of House Speaker Tip O’Neill, established a rapport with other House Democratic leaders and rose rapidly in the party hierarchy. She was elected to be the Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus for 1981–1983 and again for 1983–1985. This entitled her to a seat on the influential Steering and Policy Committee and she was named to the powerful House Budget Committee. As Mondale’s vice-presidential candidate, Ferraro was the first woman to run on a major party national ticket in the U.S.and the first Italian American, her nomination at the 1984 Democratic National Convention was one of the most emotional moments of that gathering, with female delegates appearing joyous and proud at the historic occasion. In her acceptance speech, Ferraro said, “The daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice-president in the new land my father came to love.” Convention attendees were in tears during the speech, not just for its significance for women, but for all those who had immigrated to America.
Tuna, Pepper and Cannellini Bean Salad
- 5 oz lettuce, shredded
- 5 oz cooked cannellini beans
- 3 ½ oz yellow bell peppers, diced
- 1/2 lb fresh cooked tuna
- 2 tomatoes, cut in eighths
- Half a red onion, sliced thin
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Arrange the cannelloni beans on the bed of lettuce. Next, add the tuna broken up into small pieces. Add the tomatoes, peppers and onion.
Mix together the salad ingredients with a dressing made from whisking together the lemon juice, oil, a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Anthony Joseph Celebrezze
Anthony Joseph Celebrezze, Sr. (born Antonio Giuseppe Cilibrizzi, September 4, 1910 – October 29, 1998) was an American politician in the Democratic Party, who served as the 49th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, as a cabinet member in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and as a U.S. appeals court judge. Celebrezze was born to Dorothy (née Marcogiuseppe) and Rocco Cilibrizzi in Anzi, a town in the region of Basilicata, Italy, one of thirteen children. The family moved to the United States when he was two years old and the surname was Americanized to “Celebrezze”. Having been a shepherd in Anzi, Rocco learned of work on the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad as a track laborer in Cleveland.
Like many of his generation, Celebrezze did odd jobs as a youngster, shining shoes and selling newspapers. He attended Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from Central High School and Fenn College (later renamed Cleveland State University). He graduated from John Carroll University in 1934, during which time he worked as a railroad laborer and freight truck driver, as well as a boxer to pay his way. He later attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) in 1936. Celebrezze began working for the Ohio Unemployment Commission and in 1938 he passed the bar and entered the general practice of law. That same year, he married Anne M. Marco, a teacher in the Cleveland Public School system. With the on-set of World War II, Celebrezze enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Upon his discharge at the end of the war, he returned to private practice.
In 1950, Celebrezze ran for a seat in the Ohio State Senate and won. He served as an Ohio state senator from 1951 to 1953. In 1952, when Celebrezze sought re-election to the state senate, he ran into trouble when he crossed the Democratic party chairman Ray T. Miller, by supporting fellow Italian American Michael DiSalle for the U.S. Senate instead of James M. Carney. Celebrezze was, nevertheless, renominated by his party and won the general election. Ironically, he would face off against DiSalle six years later in his bid for the statehouse. In 1952, after continuing battles with the Democratic leadership in the Senate, Celebrezze resigned to run for Mayor of Cleveland. Celebrezze was the first foreign-born mayor and was elected an unprecedented five two-year terms as mayor, from 1953 to 1962. Celebrezze drove efforts to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, a massive $140 million urban-renewal program. Major portions of the rapid-transit system were constructed during this time, most notably the Red Line, which connected much of the city to the existing Blue and Green Lines. There was also extensive work done on the city’s freeway system, the Port of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport. In 1961, President John Kennedy offered Celebrezze a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship. Celebrezze turned it down to run for a record breaking fifth consecutive term as mayor, which he won by an unprecedented 73.8 percent, sweeping every one of the city’s thirty-three wards. During this period, Kennedy appointed him to the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the Commission on the Status of Women. In 1962, he also was named the president of the U.S. Conferences of Mayors. In 1962, President Kennedy returned with an offer of a cabinet appointment and Celebrezze resigned as mayor On July 31, 1962, Celebrezze took the oath as the U.S. Secretary for Health, Education, and Welfare, which is now known as the Department of Health and Human Services. He would continue his service in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson following Kennedy’s death.
Living in Washington on a $25,000 salary apart from his family, Celebrezze asked Johnson to return to Cleveland. “We are going to lose the house in Cleveland if I continue to live here, Mr. President,” Celebrezze told Johnson. The President replied that Celebrezze was too honest for Washington because he was the first cabinet secretary “to go broke while working for the White House.” Celebrezze resigned as HEW Secretary on August 17, 1965. Two days later on August 19, Johnson appointed him to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where he authored numerous distinguished opinions. He served as a federal appeals court judge until 1980, when he retired from active service on the bench and assumed senior status.
Mario Matthew Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo, born June 15, 1932, is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978, as the Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982 and as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994. He was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. He was born in the Briarwood section of the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian origin. His father, Andrea Cuomo, was from Nocera Inferiore, Italy and his mother, Immacolata (née Giordano), was from Tramonti. The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. Cuomo attended public school and later earned his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and a law degree in 1956 from St. John’s University, graduating first in his class. He was sent to clerk for the Honorable Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals. Additionally, he was signed and played baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system until he was injured by a ball. Subsequently, he became a scout for the team.
He first became known in New York City in the late 1960s when he represented “The Corona Fighting 69”, a group of 69 homeowners from the Queens neighborhood of Corona, who were threatened with displacement by the city’s plan to build a new high school. He later represented another Queens residents group, the Kew Gardens-Forest Hills Committee. Cuomo became more well-known across and beyond New York City, when Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to conduct an inquiry and mediate a dispute over low-income public housing slated for the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Forest Hills.
In 1978 Cuomo easily won the primary for Lieutenant Governor and was elected in the general election. In 1982, Governor Carey declined to run for re-election and Cuomo declared his candidacy. Cuomo won the primary by ten points and faced Republican nominee businessman, Lewis Lehrman in the general election. With the recession aiding Democratic candidates, Cuomo beat Lehrman by 50.91% to 47.48%. Cuomo was re-elected in a landslide in 1986 against Republican nominee Andrew P. O’Rourke by 64.3% to 31.77%. During his 12 years in office, Gov. Cuomo pushed through landmark programs in criminal justice, education, the environment, health care, human rights, housing and health care that were national firsts.
Cuomo has been outspoken on what he perceives to be the unfair stereotyping of Italian Americans. He also opposed the move of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, choosing instead to attend the home games of the Buffalo Bills while serving as governor, referring to the Bills as “New York State’s only team.” Since 1996, Cuomo has served on the board of Medallion Financial Corp., a lender to purchasers of taxi medallions in leading cities across the U.S. Cuomo was the first guest on the long-running CNN talk show Larry King Live in 1985 and Neal Conan described Cuomo as both the most intelligent and wittiest politician he has ever interviewed.
Mozzarella in Carrozza
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Olive oil
Slice the mozzarella and divide among 4 slices of bread. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread.
Whisk the eggs with the milk in a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the flour in another shallow dish. Dust the sandwiches in the flour and then dip into the egg mixture.
Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sandwiches to the pan and fry on both sides until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. The mozzarella should be completely melted. Slice the sandwiches in half to make 2 triangles.
- Italian American Museum (jmbruno.wordpress.com)
- Italian American Culture – The Art Of Writing(jovinacooksitalian.com)