Ciao a Tutti,
Pack your bags and start up your donkeys, we're heading back to the dripping mountains of Molise -- and what luck -- Nonna Maria Nibaldi just so happens to have the perfect meal for us to fill up on before we leave! In Nonna Maria's town of Frosolone, in the old days, it was difficult for the freshest of fish to be transported from the seaside, so they decided to take a page from the vikings and use dry fish in order for it to travel the long distances as well as maintain that just-caught flavor. This week, we're highlighting the ages-old Pasta con Baccala` (Pasta with Baccala`). The "Baccala`" itself is simply a codfish, and Nonna Maria will show us how to go from thin, dry and salted to plump, moist and delicious in record time!
To make our Baccala`, we're going to prepare our star fish two ways, then combine them at the end for a sweet and savory finale. First, we're going to make a tomato sauce base with some Kalamata olives to give a really unique compliment to our fish which we're going to throw in as well. While the sauce is being infused with those flavors, we're going to fry up some of that extra baccala because, hey, who doesn't like fried fish? The "Pastella," or batter, is a medley of garlic, parsley and parmigiano cheese, and is so incredibly delicious that when all the fish is battered, I like to make little pastella cakes with the leftover batter (trust me, they're AMAZING!) If you're feeling adventurous, I recommend taking some of the fried baccala` and adding it to the sauce just before it's finished for that extra special crunch after every bite.
We've been bouncing all over Italy this season, and I don't know about you at home, but I'm ready to head home for the holidays! So get ready, because next week I'm back in the loving arms of my ancestral hometown of Mola di Bari, and of course, the warm kitchen of my very
own Nonna Romana. Stay tuned for holiday recipes that are sure to light up your holidays!