COOK

We're Sharing Our Recipes--and our Love
of Italian Food

Typical Italian-American family all set to enjoy Christmas dinner with the "good plates" set at the table.


Typical Italian-American family all set to enjoy Christmas dinner with the "good plates" set at the table.

Food lovers go crazy for Italian, where simple dishes and lots of passion rule the table. 

Over twenty years ago, Italian food was mostly cooked by our Italian immigrant families in our home kitchens. Our grandmothers, who we called "nonna," could whip up a batch of "homemades" (pasta) in only a few minutes flat. Outside of our homes, Italian food was associated with Chef Boyardee's canned spaghetti, cheap ingredients and pasta with red sauce. Anyone not Italian were known as "American people." And, with the exception of our families, no one ever heard of extra virgin olive oil or TV celebrity chefs cooking amazing Italian dishes

Nowadays, high-end pizza and Italian restaurants offering customers their choice of amazing, fresh toppings, fresh-made pasta and sauces, followed by fresh-made gelato in assorted homemade flavors is the standard. But as children, we have known way of cooking, this way of life, one can say, for many years.

Our Membrs cherish their family recipes, which have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of the home cooks who developed these time-tested recipes have long since gone to their final reward and some are still cooking away. We hope you enjoy.

Are you an Italian Lodge Member and have a family recipe to share? Email us at office@HersheyItalianLodge.com

Italian War Soup

OUR MEMBER Cook: America Vincenzi

America with her husband Guido, son Alex, Daughter Lynn and her mother-in-law visiting from Italy.

America with her husband Guido, son Alex, Daughter Lynn
and her mother-in-law visiting from Italy.

During World War II, the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA was the site of a camp for Italian prisoners-of-war. Guido Vincenzi, a cook aboard an Italian Navy submarine, was captured by the Americans and brought to the POW camp at Letterkenny. Portia Brissoni and America Vincenzi (both sisters with the last name of Macchioni at the time) went to the camp at the invitation of a local Catholic church. They were asked to help as few in the area spoke fluent Italian. Both Portia and America met their future husbands at the camp; Portia met Anthony and America met Guido. After the war, both came back to the States, eventually became U.S. citizens and were married. 

On one of her many visits to Italy, America’s mother-in-law taught her to make this delicious soup. It was popular during World War II because of the scarcity of meat. It became a family favorite and is great on a cold Winter day served with fresh Italian bread. Amercia passed away in her home in Hershey on August 2, 2011 in her home at the age of 88.

Ingredients

4 cups of diced potatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
Chicken bouillon to taste
1 large can of cannellini beans
1 pound of ditalini pasta
1 large onion, finely diced
4 quarts of water
Fresh ground black pepper  

Bring water to boil, add potatoes and onions, cook potatoes and onions until done; add bullion, beans and tomato paste; fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve with fresh Italian bread

Baccala alla Marinara

our member cook: Angie Allegrini

Baccala is a traditional Italian dish made during the Christmas holidays. Cod is one of the most common type of fish used to make this dish and is usually marinated with some sort of tomato based sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds Cod steak about 1 inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 cups crushed tomatoes canned or fresh
¼ cup green olives pitted and chopped
2 Tablespoons capers
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt
Pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano 

Coat 1½-quart casserole with oil place cod in and then set aside. Sauté onion in olive oil and add tomatoes olives capers parsley salt pepper and oregano and bring to a boil.  Pour over cod and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes when pierced with fork or is tender. Garnish with parsley.

Who is the Queen or King of Pizzelles?

EVERYONE thought that THEIR pizzelles were the best! Bragging rights were the talk of the day as Italian moms--and yes, dads too--would think their pizzelles were the best ever! Many of the ladies would drop off samples at the St. Joan of Arc Church rectory and the priests, of course, would have to say an obligatory white lie and state--matter-of-factly--that her pizzelles were, yes, the best he ever had!

Some were thick and crisp and could be dipped in coffee and egg nog. Others were so light and tender they had to be handled with great care. Either way, they are an amazing Italian dessert treat AND, once you get the hang of it, a relatively easy recipe to produce!

Pizzelles can be rolled while hot into a cone and make great ice cream cones!


Pizzelles can be rolled while hot into a cone and make great ice cream cones!

Chocolate Pizzelles

OUR MEMBER COOK: dale lalli

Pizzelles are a holiday staple in Italian homes and there was always a big competition between local Italian women about who made the best ones!

INGREDIENTS

(Makes 60 to 100 cookies) 

6 Eggs
3 ½ cups Flour
1 ½ cups Sugar
1 cup Butter (½ lb.)
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons real Vanilla extract

Chocolate ingredients

½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
½ cup Sugar
½ teaspoon Baking   Powder

Mix all dry ingredients together first then slowly mix in eggs melted butter and extract. Let batter set before baking

Anise Pizzelles

OUR MEMBER COOK: sylvan paioletti

What did we tell you about the pizzelles?

INGREDIENTS

(Makes75-80 cookies)

6 eggs
4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 lb. of butter
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of Anise oil (not extract)

Beat eggs in mixing bowl; add melted butter and Anise oil; slowly beat in sugar; add flour one cup at a time while mixing; mix well; add baking powder and mix all ingredients well. 

Place batter on Pizzelle iron and go to town.

Gnocchi

OUR MEMBER COOK: GEMMA MACCHIONI

Gemma with her grandsons Jason and Matthew who stopped by on a regular basis with their friends for "fast" Italian food.


Gemma with her grandsons Jason and Matthew who stopped by on a regular basis with their friends for "fast" Italian food.

Gnocchis are a traditional Italian meal consisting of flour eggs and potatoes. Due to the varying moisture content of potatoes many modern Italian cooks use instant potato flakes. They no longer have to peel boil and mash fresh potatoes before combining with the flour.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups instant potato flakes
2 cups white flour
2 medium eggs room temperature
2 cups warm water
Pinch of salt

Combine potato flakes flour eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the warm water. Mix with your hands or a large mixing spoon but not a machine. Knead dough until it no longer sticks to your hands. Pull off a large handful of dough and place it on a flat surface that is dusted with flour. Hand roll dough down to about one inch thick and then cut into pieces slightly over one inch long. 

To freeze the Gnocchi place on a flat pan. Once frozen store them in a sealed plastic bag or any airtight container suitable for freezing. 

To cook the Gnocchi whether fresh or frozen place in a large pan of boiling water. Stir gently. When the Gnocchis float to the top they are done. Remove from water and drain well. Then serve on a large platter and top with red sauce and freshly grated cheese of your choice.

Gemma died in Hershey, PA at the age of 83 on February 28, 2007.


Are you an Italian Lodge Member and have a family recipe to share? Email us at office@HersheyItalianLodge.com

More to Come!