It's time for Italian

The international house of spatchcockery is back with our chicken Vesuvio, a California version of a Chicago-Italian classic; spatchcocked, local, free range chickens marinated with farm-fresh citrus, garlic, and oregano. You can roast this chicken and eat it as is, or use our directions on how to make a little white wine, chicken stock pan sauce to pour over the roasted chicken. Plus, artichokes and peas are popping up at the market, so we might put some of those in the produce box for you to add to the vesuvio as well.

For easy meals ready to heat and serve (or freeze for later), Mel is making a batch of bolognese with grass-fed beef and ground pork, and we’ve picked out big tubes of Rustichella’s paccheri pasta for you to serve them with. Our neighborhood friends at Ceci’s Gastronomia are making us a batch of their lasagna al pesto (layered handmade pasta with basil pesto, bechamel, and parmesan) for you to pop in your oven or freezer. And we've got locally made frozen pizzas from La Morra. These Neapolitan-inspired pies are made with a naturally leavened dough that’s hand-stretched and wood-fired, with a crispy, blistered crust to prove it. We’re selling their Margherita, pepperoni, and vegan pie with marinated artichokes, pickled guindilla peppers, taggiasca olives, and plum tomatoes. Mel’s also making a hearty, winter minestrone for these rainy days. Garnish it with parmesan, and add pasta, farro or serve it with some crusty Bub and Grandma’s bread.

For your pantry we have a couple of my essential winter staples, which I often use together. Dried porcini are umami magic. They’re earthy, "meaty" and an easy way to enrich soups, meat rubs, grains and pasta dishes. Farro, is an ancient grain that is toothsome and nutty, and great in soups, used in place of arborio rice in risotto, or dressed with a vinaigrette for a hearty grain salad. Of course, we’ll provide recipes for making porcini farrotto, my version of stone soup (porcini, white bean, kale & farro), butternut-porcini soup, and ideas for porcini and marscapone (which we're offering.) We also have cans of Bianco DiNapoli canned tomatoes. We love using these canned romas to make oven roasted tomatoes or use the yellow onion in the produce box, get a brick of plugra butter and make a batch of Marcella Hazan’s best tomato sauce. 

For proteins, we have wild, pacific swordfish, which we love “Sicilian-style”- simply seared and dressed with a fresh oregano and lemon vinaigrette (which we’ll have in the produce box.) And Peads and Barnetts’s Italian sausages are delicious in the minestrone, crumbled in a pasta or sandwiched in a roll with some of Mel’s giardineria. Our version of this classic Italian relish is loaded with cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions and olives in a punchy oil and red wine vinegar marinade with garlic and oregano, and has become my favorite thing to have on hand to dress sandwiches, grilled meats, leftover grains, you name it.

Of course, we wouldn’t dare offer an Italian menu without burrata from Gioia Cheese Company in South El Monte. Load this burrata on some Bub and Grandma’s olive ciabatta or jumbo baguette with oven-roasted tomatoes or roasted vegetables from the produce box.

To shower on everything, we’re getting a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, aged for at least two years, by Giorgio Cravero, a fifth-generation affineur. This superior parmesan is good enough to eat before or after dinner, but you could and should put some on your minestrone or bolognese as well. 

And finally for dessert, we have our favorite tiramisu from Ceci’s, as well as wine poached prunes and Gioia Cheese Company’s mascarpone. This pair makes a simple and elegant dessert, where the combination is greater than the sum of its parts. At Canelé, we served these prunes and mascarpone alongside our french toast which you could make with or Bubb and Grandma’s jumbo baguette soaked overnight.

Molto bene!