ITALIAN FOOD IS NOT ‘JUST’ FOOD…
Italy is not synonymous with just food. Italy is synonymous with original and unique food.
In fact, every city, every town, even the smallest ones, has its own way to prepare the same dish and its own food.
That’s true for Capri and the surroundings as well. What you eat about 7 miles away, in wonderful Nerano, on the other side of the small canal dividing Capri from Sorrento Peninsula, you cannot eat on the island – or anywhere else throughout the Gulf of Naples. We’re talking about the delicious Spaghetti with Zucchini – also known as ‘Spaghetti alla Nerano’. There must be some secret ingredient or combination of ingredients that has never been revealed to anyone to get the same taste as the original one.
‘Coniglio all’Ischitana’, to give another example. A very specific way of cooking rabbit, with or without pasta. Should you have it with pasta, it will be ‘bucatini’: a thick spachetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre. No matter how much hard you try, no matter how much care and attention you put in balancing ingredients, no matter how much expensive the restaurant you choose is (most of the times, the more expensive the less tasty, when it comes to this kind of food), you cannot have it the way you have it in Ischia.
Sausage. You might say: ‘a sausage is just a sausage’. That cannot be true in Italy. There are so many different kinds of sausages in Italy, so many different ways of preparing and cooking it that we might firmly declare there is no such a thing as ‘sausage’.
The meet that is used in Capri to make sausage is flavoured with fennel seams. This gives it a very peculiar taste that Neapolitans just hate. They have it with no fennel seams and absolutely no fat. Fennel seams to flavour sausage is an abomination for Neapolitans. By the same token, sausage without fennel seams is an abomination for Capresi. A never-ending dispute that has not been solved since man set foot on Earth.
How not to mention Ravioli Capresi? Something you can eat in Capri only, as it is made with a kind of cheese (Caciotta cheese) that is produced specifically for ravioli – and nothing else. Only alternative use is on ‘maccheroni al sugo’, if you don’t like Parmesan cheese and want to be a little unorthodox.
How to forget Caprese cake, traditionally known as ‘Torta di Mandorle’, ‘Almond Cake’? Its fame and glory have spread throughout the world. But only Caprese grannies know how to nail it! However, if you want to give it a try and dare to match Caprese grannies’ knowledge and expertise, here is the recipe.
270g Dark Chocolate 60%
160g Egg Yolk
240g Egg Whites
200g Toasted Almond Powder
100g Chopped Toasted Hazelnuts
20g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
30g Flour 00
Whip butter and sugar together and then egg yolks. Melt dark chocolate separately and add it to whipping. Beat egg whites and sugar together gently and add the remaining ingredients. Add half-mounted white eggs. Spread butter evenly in a pan. Bake cake in middle oven for 50-1hr. minutes at 150 Celsius degrees, or until it begins to pull away from side of pan and a tester comes out with moist crumbs adhering. Cool cake a dust it with confectioners sugar.