Tag Archives: datterini

A Summer Take on Italy Most Classic Garlic Dish


Aglio, Olio and Pommodorini

Aglio, olio e pepperoncino (garlic, olive oil and hot pepper) is one of the most sincere and dangerous pasta dishes. Dangerous because so many people shy away from garlic and even I shy away from the hottest of the hot stuff. But also perilous because in its simplicity to make and to devour, a plate of spaghetti doused with these two ingredients lightly simmered in olive oil can tempt more than more complex and expensive pastas.

Simmering Aglio Olio and Pepperoncino


I’m always hesitant to mess with near perfection, but in the summer there’s always another ingredient laying there, calling to you. The heat makes risk taking just that much easier.

Slow-baked tomatoes ready to jump

My friend Fabrizio C was playing with fire a few days ago (and only our tongues got slightly singed). Piccadilly and datterini tomatoes had come into their own on the Abruzzo coast when he invited a dozen friends over to his terrace for dinner. His twist was adding slow-baking breaded piccadilly cherry tomatoes (to dry them out a bit) at the end off the garlic, hot pepper and oil process.

Mixing it up

Slowly baking (about 45 minutes) and breading tomatoes dried them out while keeping just the right amount of juice and sweetness in to keep them slightly chewy but not as much as the al dente durum wheat pasta in which they were hiding.

Friends, tomatos and pepperoncino

This being summer we followed up with local vegetables – roast sweet peppers and above all some of the last great fresh fava beans of the Summer (to be eaten right out of the pod and accompanied by good pecorino cheese) as we washed it all down with some of this years Pecorino white and rich Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo rosè wines from the valleys between Pescara and Sulmona. The wine kept our conversation and appetite for summer dinners growing well into the night.

Friends, tomatos and pepperoncino

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com

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Aglio, olio and pomodorini

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Want to try making aglio olio and peperoncino and don’t want to look for it on the web? My first and favourite guide is “The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating” by Marcella Hazan. My hitchiker’s guide to Italian food.

Roast peppers

Also my friend Eleonor’s blog http://www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com/ is inspired.

Garlic on FoodistaGarlic

Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil, Oh My!

Datterini” tomatoes are in season in Italy!

Pomodori datterini

One of my fondest memories, of my paternal grandfather, was roaming Southwestern Wisconsin in search of “perfect” tomatoes for the first BLT of the summer. For those of you unfortunate enough to not know what a BLT is, it’s a sandwich made with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

Grandpa Miles, bought the bacon from a butcher in the town of Plain, the lettuce came from a grocery store, or someone’s garden –– it didn’t matter where. The bread was white and the more processed the better. But, the tomatoes had to be excellent, and locally grown. Back then, in the rural, sparsely populated Midwestern countryside, tomatoes, as most veggies like sweet corn, peppers and cucumbers were good only when they were in season and grown nearby. Come to think of it, that’s probably true today.

We had other pastimes when I visited Grandpa Miles in Lone Rock. One was fishing off of sandbars in the Wisconsin River for perch and other pan fish. The other was watching “Wheel of Fortune” –– that’s when my grandmother Genny joined us for the fun. But, finding perfect tomatoes for BLT’s is the one activity that means summer for me. Summer and tomatoes and driving from farm stand to farm stand go hand in hand in my memory.

Caprese Salad Ingredients - datterini style

Even knowing that tomatoes originated in the Americas and are relatively new to the European diet, having spread in common use in the 1800s, the variety of tomatoes in Italy is striking. Especially if you grew up, like me, with only two kinds: the baseball or softball sized, roundish tomatoes, or the smaller, cherry tomatoes. I’m still becoming aware of the varieties available here on the Boot.

When it’s hot, as it was in Pescara today, one of the great summer lunchtime fallbacks is insalata caprese – the salad named for the island of Capri, in the Gulf of Naples. An insanely simple salad, caprese consists of sliced tomatoes, alternating with sliced fresh mozzarella, a leaf of sweet basil scattered here and there, and a few lines of good extra vergine olive oil drizzled over. If you really have to, a pinch of salt, to taste, may be added. Which brings me to the tomatoes.

Silvia bought a couple of pounds of pomodori datterini, literally “date-like tomatoes,” the other day. Pomodori datterini are about the same size and shape as dates and as

Lunch today: datterini tomatoes, abruzzo mozzarella, basil, salad

intensely sweet. But, their color, flavor, and aroma are all Ferrari red. They were a great substitute for the larger varieties usually used in caprese. We added a green salad (the “soncino” variety) with a dressing of the same olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Modena. Along with a few slices of local bread, the lunch turned out to be a meal that Sofia, and I agreed, was light, filling and very, very wonderful. Grandpa Miles would have approved.

Pomodori datterini begin appearing in early summer. Buy them up.

– Joshua Lawrence

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com

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D&D (Datterini tomatoes & De Cecco olive oil)

Diced datterini tomatoes and basil

Grape Tomato on FoodistaGrape Tomato

Tomato on FoodistaTomato

Basil on Foodista


Mozzarella Cheese


Caprese Salad

Insalata Caprese on Foodista

Going Native – Cococciola on a Sultry Afternoon

A Rediscovered Indigenous White Wine.

Pecorino, the wine not the cheese, is the first varietal indigenous to Abruzzo to make to consumers the world over. Since I’ve moved to Abruzzo at the beginning o the millennium it has gone from an unknown to a sought-after bottle, especially for before dinner drinks and for fish dinners. Wisconsin writer and poet Gillian Nevers has written a guest-post here about finding a pleasant bottle in a Madison restaurant (http://wp.me/pfkhI-53).
Italy has over 350 indigenous varietals (an Italian-language website, http://www.amordivino.net/, has catalogued about 250 of them), according to some sources the largest variety in the world. Many of them, like Abruzzo’s pecorino, are living a sort of renaissance as family owned wine producers and local cooperatives are dragging many of them out of obscurity and consumers are looking for new experiences and getting local by rediscovering wines and gastronomical traditions near where they live.

Cococciola Sesto 2006 from Dora Sarchese

Cococciola, a white varietal, is following in the footsteps of its better known and more easily pronounced cousin. The bottle we opened the other night, and that I finished yesterday during a light lunch of mozzarella and datterini tomatoes, is darker in color than pecorino, more yellow with a hint of rust. Our bottle, Cococciola Sesto 2006 from Dora Marchese had a thick mineral taste which I enjoyed. It also had a fun hint of the same liquor-like flavor associated with drier vin santos and late-harvest whites, but it disappeared a bit too much towards that back of the mouth. Much of this is probably because it was a four-year-old white.
The Dora Sarchese vineyard it came from is, I am told, one of Abruzzo’s rising wine stars. It is family run estate near Ortona. Cococciola Sesto is one of the first of their labels that I’ve been able to try so far. One of the next on my list – if only for the name, is going to have to be Rosè Osè. They also produce their own branded olive oil, marmalade, fruits bottled in their own syrup, sauces, and other toppings.

– Joshua Lawrence

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com

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So many things to try, so little time.

Wine on FoodistaWine