Eating is a serious matter in Italy and is just as serious in the Stampone Family. It seems Italians learn to cook before they learn to walk or talk. Whether at home with family and friends, or in a fancy restaurant for a special occasion, cooking Italian style is synonymous with fresh flavors, great wine, and the best of friends. Whether rustic or sophisticated, Italian cooking has always been based on fresh seasonal ingredients.
In the recent past, American chefs and restauranteurs have begun to focus on local ingredients in what has been coined the “farm to
table movement”. I have always found this curiously funny, since our family and Italians in general have been growing and choosing seasonal ingredients and cooking in this fashion for 100 years. This expression in the use of local, sustainable ingredients, is why Italian food varies so much from region to region and even village to village. Italians have always followed the rhythm of the seasons and will wait until spring before choosing asparagus, or the summer for a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad. And when autumn rolls around, everyone is ready for a warm plate of braised beef in Barolo. From a simple spaghetti with garlic and oil, to a penne allà arrabbiata, authentic Italian dishes are often based on just a few humble ingredients. What makes them so tasty and delicious is over the centuries Italians have discovered how to achieve the perfect mix of seasonal flavors – this perfection has been achieved through centuries of testing in family kitchens just like ours.
And so, it is with this heritage in mind that I am assembling the Stampone Family Cookbook. These will be the recipes which we will pass onto our children, teaching them the skills of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all who have gone before them. It is my hope this will allow them to understand what Italian cooking is all about, a celebration of family, and an appreciation for a heritage which they are so fortunate to be part of.
And although this collection of recipes will be fondly referred to as the “Stampone Family Cookbook”, the contribution will extend far beyond the Stampones alone. Just as the many regions of Italy have played a vital role in Italian cuisine, so has the marriage of families. From the Rosatos, Vizzas and Lentinis, to the Contorni of dishes of the McGraths, Fosters, and Kramers, all have contributed to the spirit of the collection.
Many of you have asked that I return some of the recipes which previously appeared on our prior website. Over the next few months, I hope to provide a sampling for your continued reference. I also hope to offer you the opportunity to make the gastronomy of our family, part of your life as well. Buon appetito!
My Sister-in-Law, Eva’s, Ridiculously Good Spinach Salad
8 oz sliced white mushrooms
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
Fresh bacon bits
1 small onion minced
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. Grey Poupon mustard
2 tbsp. Ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
Clean and prepare salad ingredients and mix in a large bowl. In a separate container, mix dressing ingredients together starting with the oil and vinegar. Add sugar, onion, mustard, ketchup, Worchestershire and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and shake well before dressing the salad. Serve chilled.
Lawyers Have to Eat Too
This rich, creamy pink sauce is offset by a generous dose of red pepper. Heat 2 tbl.of olive oil in a large skillet over med. heat. Add 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (crumbled/casings removed) and a ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or simply use hot sausage, we prefer Hatfield brand) – cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently (about 7 minutes). Add ½ cup diced onions and 3 garlic cloves minced – cook until onion is tender and sausage is light brown (about 7 minutes). Add one 28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes coursely chopped (preferably San Marzano), 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream and ½ teaspoon of salt – simmer until sauce thickens slightly (approximately 4 minutes). Place aside.
Cook 12 oz. DeCecco bowtie pasta (Farfalle) in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (firm to bite).
Bring sauce to a simmer and add the cooked pasta until heated through and the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Divide pasta among four plates, sprinkle generously with freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano. (If you own one of those green cans of alleged parmesan, proceed no further. Immediately remove it from your household and never buy it again). Top with 3 tablespoons freshly minced basil or parsley. Buon Appetito!