Sausage Galore – Ramolacce ripassate con salsiccia

At one point as I was preparing this dish,  I began humming a song that Billie Holiday used to sing, and one I love because it’s not her usual gut-wrenching, heart breaking, mournful cantata.   Maybe you know it? It’s called “Ooo what a little moonlight can do”.  Here is a link to her singing it live, followed by the lyrics below:

Ooh, what a little
Moonlight can do
Ooh, what a little moonlight
Can do to you

You’re in love
Your hearts fluttering
All day long

You only stutter
‘Cause your poor tongue
Just will not utter
The words, I love you

Ooh, what a little
Moonlight can do
Wait a while
Till a little moonbeam
Comes peepin’ through

And then don’t ask me why, but I substituted the word ‘sausage’ for ‘moonlight’ as in … oooh, what a little sausage can do.  To enhance a dish, naturally.  Add crumbled sausage to any vegetables and you open an Aladdin’s cave of taste buds doing their bidding.  Sausages are cheap, they are cheerful, and don’t like standing to attention much.  And yet, their addition in a recipe somehow engenders a note of regal presence.

I had some ‘ramolacce’ … greens that are somewhere related to the family of mustard, I believe.  Here in the Castelli, where we can be pretty rustic linguitically speaking, the ‘l’ gets changed into an ‘r’ and we call ’em ‘ramoracce’.  Anyway … they are great with potatoes, and they are great with sausages and pecorino as a stuffing for ravioli.  To me .. they were great that evening as a vegetable side dish.  Take a look.

1 I was crooning the song and so chose this dish with the rooster …1a Here are the blessed ramoracce … trimmed.  And lots of them!2 Such a large amount of ramoracce to clean that I had to put them in the largest tub I own, and wash them in the bathtub.3 4 Wilt the ramoracce in boiling salted water … for as long as it takes to make them tender.  Ramoracce abhor the very idea of being ‘crunchy’.5 I had to wilt the ramoracce in batches …5a It takes a bit of patience, but it’s not the end of the world.6 And now it was time to remove the skin from the sausages.7 There is olive oil and plenty of garlic in the frying pan.8 9 Cook over a fairly high heat, but the meat does not need to brown, just cook through.10 Some good red local wine … Cantina Santa Benedetta, Le Tre Maria (and don’t these ladies look fierce!).11 Splash the wine in, to add merriment and sizzle and also to confer that je ne sais quoi that wine always does.12Once wilted and taken out of the cooking water, the ramoracce need to cool down and then get squeezed.  Squeeze out as much water as you can.  Then add them to the frying pan.
13 Salt and pepper at some point.  Hot chilli flakes would be excellent, except some members of my family take exception to too much heat in a dish, forcing me to add some to my own plate later on in the meal.14 15 16 Gleaming on the medium sized serving plate.17 18Looking jolly good on my own plate – greedy guts that I am.  Meatballs, pan fried potatoes, and ramoracce with sausages.  We’ll reserve understatement for another evening.



Vellutata di Asparagi – Cream of Asparagus Soup

A friend of mine asked me for this recipe, hence this blog post.  It requires 1 kg of frozen asparagus (although of course fresh asparagus would be better), 500ml of chicken stock and 500ml of just plain water. I don’t use stock cubes.  There is an Italian salt and herb mixture called Ariosto which is usually brilliant for meat recipes – but a pinch of it comes in handy and adds the famous je-ne-sais quoi to any soup.  Also needed are some pepper corns, a few drops of lemon juice, and a swirl of cream.  A  hint of paprika for toasting the bread with butter and making croutons.  An immersion blender and bob’s your uncle.

It is simplicity itself – the photos say it all.  Try it, you won’t regret it.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17