Marinating Pancetta Shrimp by Patricia for Casagiove

Un posto a tavola // Summer 2016

Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy dining al fresco with family and friends. Dining al fresco is simply eating outside; it requires very little and has the ability to top off a beautiful day perfectly, to make an ordinary day more special, or to brighten up even the toughest of days.  In the spirit of al fresco dining, I like to keep the meal easy and tasty… add some hanging lights and a little rustic charm, pour a glass of rosé and you’re set!

 

Favorite Dinners

Pancetta Shrimp

Pancetta Shrimp has become one of our signature dishes. I first enjoyed a version of this dish at Market City Caffe in Pasadena many years ago. Bert and I had never had anything like it – succulent shrimp wrapped in salty pancetta with a subtle hint of bright herbs and sweet balsamic…ma che buono! We decided to ask the chef about it and he quickly listed some key ingredients – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and pancetta. We made sure to take mental notes on the overall look and texture. Bert and I repeated the list all the way home (this was before smart phones) and wrote down a recipe on the first piece of paper we could find once we walked in the door.  After some trial and error, we perfected all the details (including who did what – I got the ingredients and did all the prep, while Bertie grilled the shrimp to perfection) and “took it on the road”. It was a hit at parties and soon became a top request by friends and family. It is still a favorite and a wonderful way to start out an al fresco meal. 

Shrimp wrapped in pancetta, marinating in olive oil, balsamic, garlic and herbs

 

 

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Pancetta Shrimp

Pancetta Shrimp has become one of our signature dishes.  I first enjoyed a version of this dish at Market City Caffe in Pasadena many years ago. Bert and I had never had anything like it - succulent shrimp wrapped in salty pancetta with a subtle hint of bright herbs and sweet balsamic...ma che buono! We decided to ask the chef about it and he quickly listed some key ingredients - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and pancetta. We made sure to take mental notes on the overall look and texture. Bert and I repeated the list all the way home (this was before smart phones) and wrote down a recipe on the first piece of paper we could find once we walked in the door.  After some trial and error, we perfected all the details (including who did what - I got the ingredients and did all the prep, while Bertie grilled the shrimp to perfection) and "took it on the road". It was a hit at parties and soon became a top request by friends and family. It is still a favorite and a wonderful way to start out an al fresco meal.
Course Appetizer
Servings 12 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs jumbo shrimp (U-12 or U-15) deveined and de-shelled, leave the tails on
  • 6 oz thinly-sliced pancetta
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil and flat leaf Italian parsley leaves coarsely chopped or torn
  • 2-3 cloves garlic sliced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a glass Pyrex dish, drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top with the herbs and sliced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Then wrap each shrimp with a slice of pancetta and place on the marinade.  Top with another layer of marinade. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  2. About a half an hour or so before you are going to grill, take the shrimp out. Grill each side for 2 to 3 minutes - until the tail is pink.  A little char is nice, but be careful not to overcook them.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

Grilled Pancetta Shrimp by Patricia for Casagiove

Grilled Pancetta Shrimp, ready to be eaten!

Pan-fried Chicken Breasts, come faceva Zia Emilia (like Zia Emilia used to make)

My Zia Emilia and Zio Ciccilio ran a farm in a small town called Santa Maria Capua Vetere in the Campania region of Italy.  Like most Italians, they were always ready to have you over for dinner.  No matter how last minute, how tired, how early or how late it was, you knew you could show up and be greeted with huge smiles, kisses for both cheeks and a satisfying meal. I have so many sweet memories from this special couple, but one of my all time favorites was the time we showed up because we ended up in the neighborhood, and my dear zia insisted we stay for a simple dinner.  We knew she was tired and had had a long day, so we tried with all our might to say no, but she wouldn’t take our “no” for an answer and whipped up the yummiest chicken for us. Although I could never make it as good as her (nor could I ever get chicken that fresh), I think she’d still be proud of my attempt. 

Pan-fried Chicken Breast, ready to be served

Pan-fried Chicken Breast, ready to be served

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Pan-fried Chicken Breasts

Come faceva Zia Emilia (like Zia Emilia used to make)

Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 4-6 chicken breasts thinly sliced
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to taste
  • freshly chopped herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage...

Instructions

  1. Drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil and then season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. 
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken, frying both sides until golden and cooked through. (This shouldn't take long!) One of my zia's tips is to not move the chicken while it is cooking and to only turn it once, so that you can achieve a beautiful golden crust. Sometimes, this can be hard to do... so once I put the chicken in the pan, I try to focus on something else like tidying up the counter or watering my herbs so that I am not tempted to fidget with the chicken. 
  3. Once you take the chicken out of the pan, drizzle a little more olive oil on top, along with some freshly squeezed lemon (or a little balsamic vinegar).

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

If you’d rather stick to grilling outside, I love this recipe from Martha Stewart using chicken thighs. And here’s a beautiful post, along with a great tip for grilling zucchine, from @pizzeriabianco:

This Summer your garden or farmers mkt will be soon in Zucchini overload , just a note on grilling I look for smaller firm ones my fav variety are the romanesco … These shown grown by @blueskyorganicfarms just a basic tip I find just slicing in half and grilling dry without oil (to prevent flare ups which can for me lead to off flavors) or salt (which draws moisture to flesh ) dry grilling will allow u to not only keep them longer on grill without burning but without the oil to insulate them I find it helps moisture to release easier creating a texture I like best slightly leathery but moisture still sealed … When off the grill (there done when they look done to time varies due heat and grill height ) when off the grill I then season quickly while hot w best quality extra virgin olive oil flaked sea salt turn of black pepper a pinch of crushed chilies (chiltepin) or what u have , a rough chop of basil , flat leaf parsley … A few smashed garlic cloves let all rest till just slightly warm or room temp …A squeeze of lemon juice is optional or a few drops of best quality balsamic vinegar I didn't use here i wanted a less acidic profile … Any way I had some time to kill and hope this helps some zucchini somewhere… cheers

A photo posted by Chris Bianco (@pizzeriabianco) on

Favorite Salad

Here’s a great salad for those dining-al-fresco evenings.

Grilled Romaine with Caesar Vinaigrette

 

 

Grilled Romaine with Caesar Vinaigrette

Grilled Romaine with Caesar Vinaigrette

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Grilled Romaine with Caesar Vinaigrette

A great salad for those dining-al-fresco evenings. The Caesar dressing was passed along to me by my brother-in-law Jim, and we love that it is a little less creamy than traditional Caesar dressing.  The only ingredient I added was a little Tabasco sauce.

Course Salad
Servings 4 people
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE

Ingredients

  • 2-3 hearts romaine lettuce cut half lengthwise
  • Caesar Vinaigrette see below
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
  • freshly ground black pepper

Caesar Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tsp Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Instructions

  1. Once the grill is nice and hot, place each romaine heart face down, and then flip 'em to get a little charring on the other side too.
  2. Top with vinaigrette, some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California, www.casagiovecalifornia.com

Favorite Flower

Chamomile

At this time of year, I love finding chamomile at my local Trader Joe’s. Summer is the time to slow down the pace and there’s nothing like the gentle honey scent of chamomile to help you do just that.  The delicate flowers are so lovely and instantly bring me to a field of wildflowers in the Lazio region of Italy.  This picture posted by @st_oliva captures the beauty and peacefulness of chamomile.

I recently added a sprig of chamomile with some twine, along with a handwritten Bible verse, to these paychecks. Not only does it look pretty, but I especially love that the sweet smell and words of encouragement can brighten up someone’s day.

Using Chamomile on Envelopes by Patricia for Casagiove

Favorite Saying

Butta la pasta! // Throw the pasta (in the water)!

Butta (pronounced boo- ta) la pasta translates to “throw the pasta”. When you are making pasta and it’s time to throw the pasta in*, that’s when you’ll hear this being enthusiastically yelled throughout the kitchen. Little kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents find the need to let the cook know “It’s time! It’s time to throw the pasta in the water!” And we all get a little bit closer to enjoying that satisfying and delicious plate of pasta.

*It’s when the water is boiling, all elements of the dinner are ready to go, and every guest has arrived (especially Papà) because it’s extremely important that we eat the pasta before it gets cold.

I got to thinking about this expression and why I love it so much.  I realized there is a lot wrapped up into these three words, and that it applies to even more than just making pasta. There are so many times in life, when we need to be patient, when we need to wait, when we wonder if the necessary conditions will ever be ready.  As the anticipation builds, the time finally comes and with it comes the joy of knowing that it’s time to move forward and to take that next step. You realize that all that waiting wasn’t in vain.  It’s a time to celebrate, and I love that Italians remind us to celebrate even the little things.  

As I continue to move forward with my dream of bringing CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience to you, I am thankful for those “butta la pasta” moments – a new idea for a blog post, a new connection, a new lead, a conversation that encourages me to move forward…  I realize that all these moments are necessary steps in the process.  Knowing that the perfect conditions are just around the corner adds a richness to the waiting, and I look forward to the moment when I can share the final vision with all with you. 

Cin cin!

—Patriziella

Patricia Bergen

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!
Patricia Bergen

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Grazie for sharing!
Posted in Fai da te — Recipes & Projects, Storie - Family & Friends and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
Patricia Bergen

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!

4 Comments

  1. Love your posts and recipes….hope you are able to open your dream store soon….Jackie and I plan to be there at your grand opening. Karen too if not during a school day.

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