Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The sauce of the Genteel Woman of the Country - Gentildonna di Campagna

This is an elegant sauce for the noble of heart with simple means who wants to prepare an elegant dinner. Italians often convey important concepts with simple phrases. “One is born noble, one cannot become noble,” said in Italian is “Signore si nasce, non si diventa!” Just because one is born in the province does not mean that they cannot have a refined and sophisticated palate. This simple sauce uses ingredients commonly found on the farm in their simplest form. These are the basic food elements in a provincial farmer’s everyday diet. The things he grows in the field or garden. Bell peppers, eggplant, garlic, and basil are the mysterious ingredients.

The resulting sauce is velvety and perhaps a bit hot spicy. To the untrained palate there is an immediate taste of a Mussel Marinara sauce. This then gives way to the soft flavor of the smooth bell peppers and the bite of the garlic. The sweet Basil completes the progression of flavors leaving the mouth ready to start all over again. Do not be fooled by the smooth flavors, pasta with this sauce can hold its own with complex wines including Nadir Rapitala, Dolcetto, Super Tuscans, Querciabella, and Refosco del Peduncolo Rosso.


1 red Bell Pepper
2 yellow Bell Peppers
2 Fresh Tomatoes (or 1 8 oz. Can diced tomatoes)
1 medium Onion
1 medium Eggplant (peeled and diced)
2 oz. (60 g) Bacon
½ stick (50 g) Butter
1 clove Garlic
1 cup (1 dl) dry White Wine
1 cup (1 dl) Heavy Cream
1 squirt Tabasco
Fresh ground Pepper
100 g ground Pecorino Cheese


Place the peppers on a baking pan and cook at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a brown paper bag. Allow them to cool. Remove the skins, seeds and stems and cut into strips.

If using fresh tomatoes, blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin and seeds and dice. Peel the Eggplant and cut into small cubes.

Cut the bacon into very small pieces. Slice the onion. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat, add the bacon, onion and garlic. When the onions are translucent, remove the garlic and add the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Taste the mixture and add salt.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the liquid has been reduced by ¾. The vegetables will almost break apart when stirred.

Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Reduce the wine and add the Tabasco, 1 turn of fresh ground pepper and the heavy cream. Continue over the heat for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and consistent then remove from heat.

Prepare 1 lb of spaghetti or other pasta in abundant hot, salted water.


Drain the pasta and pour it into the skillet with the sauce. Mix together the pasta and sauce directly in the skillet. Finally prepare the individual plates in the kitchen and serve your guests at the table. Allow each guest to add Pecorino cheese as desired. The combination of colors and flavors will impress your dinner guests.


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Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Mixing the languages in this title hasn't worked. While gentile means kind or polite in Italian, in English you have stated that she is not Jewish.

Sometimes Italglish works, sometimes not.

11:49 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Giusi Corrected. Thank you! Unfortunately, I am still translating back from Italian.

11:32 AM


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