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Celebrating the Jewish food of Italy

Cookbook author Benedetta Jasmine Guetta attended the show to share a few recipes from her book, Cooking all Giudia. #newdaynw

Italian cuisine is as diverse as the regions in Italy. There is also a centuries-old but little-known tradition of Jewish cuisine in Italy.

In her new book Cooking alla Giudia, Benedetta Jasmine Guetta pays tribute to the culinary heritage of Jews in Italy.

She joined the show to share some recipes from the book!

Concia di zucchini / Fried zucchini in a garlic and herb marinade

From spring to late summer, fried zucchini is a staple on every Roman Jewish family’s Shabbat menu. Any type of zucchini will work, but in Rome they’re made with the special Italian zucchini called concia Courgette romaneshe; They are small and light green with thin pale stripes and have beautiful flowers. If you can’t find them, try Persian zucchini or Mexican squash.

Generally prepared ahead of time to ensure the flavors blend well, this marinated fried zucchini dish is served as an appetizer or side dish, but it’s also the best snack on top of a crusty pizza bianca or between two slices of crusty bread like ossi.

For 4 to 6 people as a starter or side dish

  • 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) zucchini
  • Sunflower or peanut oil for frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • A handful of parsley or basil leaves, or both, finely chopped (see Variations)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cut the courgettes lengthwise into 6mm thick strips. People debate how best to cut the zucchini for this dish; Some like to cut the slices at an angle to get wide ovals instead of strips. Any shape will do, as long as your slices are uniform in thickness.
  2. If you’re not pressed for time, let the zucchini slices dry on a paper towel-lined baking sheet for a few hours so they lose some moisture. If you’re in a hurry, go straight to the roast.
  3. Pour about 2 inches of sunflower or peanut oil into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 180°C (350°F). (You can also use a deep pan for frying if you like, but I find a saucepan helps contain the oil if it foams too much.) You can test the oil by adding a small piece of zucchini: whether it sizzles nicely but not too wildly, the oil is ready.
  4. Working in batches to avoid crowding, carefully place a few zucchini slices in the pan, making sure they are all lying flat and not overlapping. Fry, turning once, until deep golden, almost brown, about 5 minutes. Place the slices on a tray lined with paper towels to drain and continue frying the zucchini in batches.
  5. Place one-third of the fried zucchini in a deep rectangular pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with some chopped garlic, herbs and salt and season with pepper. Repeat with two more layers, finishing with a final sprinkling of chopped garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.
  6. Cover the zucchini with the vinegar, cover with the olive oil and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours and up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.
  7. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, for a few days.

variations

You can swap eggplant for zucchini to make concia di melanzane.

Some Concia recipes contain parsley, some basil, some both parsley and basil, and some mint. Find your favorite combination!

Montini / almond paste hills

The shape of these small almond cookies is said to be reminiscent of Mount Sinai. They are usually given to family and friends in Purim gift baskets because they travel well and last a long time.

The traditional Montini recipe is quite difficult to prepare as it requires sugar cooked to thread stage, which not everyone can master, so I went for a much simpler version using eggs, taught to me by Anna Levi Cogoi many years before. I promise you, no one will be able to tell the difference between the difficult classic recipe – which you can find in the sidebar – and this modernized recipe.

  • 5¼ cups (600 g) almond flour or finely ground almonds
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (40 ml) of liquor, such as cognac or other brandy
  • Chopped candied or dried fruit for decoration (optional)
  • food coloring (optional; see variations)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the almond flour in a large bowl. Add sugar, eggs and liqueur. Mix and knead the ingredients in the bowl with your hands until combined into a soft dough.
  3. Scoop out walnut-sized portions of the dough and shape into small mounds or slightly flattened balls, as you like. Place the mounds on the prepared pans and decorate with candied or dried fruit as you like.
  4. Bake the cookies, one at a time, for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden on the bottom and dry on the outside. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Montini will keep for a good week in an airtight container or cookie jar.

variations

Montini can be white or colored. For brown Montini, add a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the batter. For a pink version, add 1 teaspoon of maraschino liqueur and some red food coloring. If you want to make a multicolored cookie, divide the dough into 2 or 3 portions, color each portion, and then fold the portions of dough together.

You can use this recipe to make walnut paste. Replace the almond flour with walnut flour and the liqueur with brewed coffee.

The almond dough, which is essentially almond paste, can also be used for stuffed dried fruit. Dates, dried apricots and dried prunes (plums) stuffed with almond paste are served especially in Venice for Passover and Tu B’Shvat; Walnuts can also be topped and served with almond paste.

Traditional Montini made with boiled sugar

  • 1¾ cup (200g) almond flour or finely ground almonds
  • ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon (100ml) water
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • Candied or dried fruit for decoration (optional)
  • food coloring (optional; see variations)
  1. Place almond flour in a bowl.
  2. Combine water and sugar in a small nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then attach a candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until sugar syrup reaches 110°C (230°F). the thread stage. Pour the simple syrup over the almond flour and mix together with a heatproof spoon, then knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
  3. Sprinkle the powdered sugar on the counter, invert the almond dough onto the counter and shape into a flat disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 12 hours before using.

Excerpt from “Cooking alla Giudia” by Benedetta Jasmine Guetta (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2022.

“Cooking alla Giudia” is the ultimate homage to the wonderfully rich but still largely unknown culinary heritage of Italy’s Jews. From fried Roman artichokes (carciofi alla giudia) to Venetian sardines in saor (sweet and sour sardines), Apulian orecchiette pasta and Sicilian caponata, some of Italy’s most famous dishes are of Jewish origin. But little is known about the Jewish people of Italy and their culinary traditions. For example, it was the Jews who taught Italians to eat aubergines, helping to inspire the classic aubergine parmigiana and many other local specialties. With a collection of kosher recipes from every region of Italy, including many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, author Benedetta Jasmine Guetta aims to tell the story of how the Jews transformed Italian food to preserve these recipes. and to share with home cooks the extraordinary dishes prepared in Italy’s Jewish communities. Throughout the book, menus featuring regional Italian specialties are highlighted, as well as short, useful guides to Italian cities with Jewish history. The book shows how you can incorporate the recipes into your daily meals and holiday traditions as well.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11am on weekdays KING 5 and live streaming at KING5.com. Contact New Day.

https://www.king5.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/new-day-northwest/jewish-food-italy-cooking-alla-giudia-cookbook-author-benedetta-jasmine-guetta/281-f18ebcf2-33f2-4927-b809-3799071109a6 Celebrating the Jewish food of Italy

Sarah Ridley

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