mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto

Lots of Italian favorites here, so let's dive right in...

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. 

We're stocking the freezer with locally made 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.

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, as well as some fresh pesto. 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 their zucchine alla parmigiana, thinly sliced and grilled zucchini baked with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, and parmesan. This is a delicious vegetable side dish and gluten free as is, but also great sandwiched in some ciabatta bread. They’re also frying up some suppli, risotto balls filled with gooey mozzarella and coated in crunchy focaccia crumbs, that make a great snack or aperitivo, simply reheated in the oven and served with the side of pomodoro they come with. 

For proteins we have grass-fed ground beef and Peads and Barnetts’s ground pork. If you want to make your own bolognese, grab a can of Bianco DiNapoli canned tomatoes. We also 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. Peads and Barnetts’s Italian sausages are delicious out of their casings in a pasta dish 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.

We have wild, Pacific swordfish steaks, and Mel is making artichoke spread. I love this simple spread on grilled swordfish topped with some olives or tapenade (perhaps last week’s nicoise) and a juicy cherry tomato salad. This is one of the meals I helped my dad make over the phone during quarantine. It’s so simple and easy, yet sophisticated and satisfying. This artichoke spread is also great as part of an antipasto platter/salad or on bruschetta. Layer it on some Bub and Grandma’s olive ciabatta bread or jumbo baguette, and add some burrata or ricotta from Gioia Cheese Company.

We’re also getting Santa Barbara shelled pistachio kernels, Molinari pancetta and Cravero’s Parmigiano Reggiano. You could do many different things with these ingredients, but with the pistachios I don't eat out of hand or throw in salads, I'll satisfy my kids request for Canele’s pancetta-pistachio pasta, spaghetti with morsels of chewy pancetta and sweet pounded pistachios bound in a creamy parmesan pan sauce.  

For something sweet, our friend Adel Aschenbrener is making us some classic biscotti, almond with orange and anise as well as chocolate dipped hazelnut. And finally for dessert, we have Ceci’s tiramisu so we can keep it Italian from start to finish.

To wash it all down, we have a chillable, summery Sicilian red wine from COS natural winery that would be great with pizza or swordfish alike. We’ve also restocked our favorite orange wine, the Weisser Mulatschek from Meinklang.

Molto bene!