Puglia Pasta and Piedmont Dolcetto
Ciao amici!
In this month's newsletter we are covering Italy from head to toe! (well maybe its heel)!
From the Dolcetto wine in Piedmont in the north to an orecchiette pasta recipe from the southeastern region of Puglia. We've had a busy fall and missed a month or two with our newsy news. We're back!

Our fall tours to Tuscany were loads of fun! We had great people who enjoyed the delicious foods and wines and the spectacular weather. Such great memories and friendships were made! Grazie mille to all who came with us!!!

So, before November closes, here's this month's focus on Puglia and one of our favorite recipes from that southern region. We'll be taking two groups next September there (more info below and on our website).  Also, we continue featuring the vini deliziosi from the Piemonte region and turn to a favorite red wine - Dolcetto. Scroll on!
   
Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary
Puglia  Specialty!
Puglia is a beautiful region full of history, white-washed villages and sweeping land- and sea-scapes. Surrounded by two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic, one would think most dishes from Puglia would be seafood and fish based. But the heritage and cuisine inland are what really makes this region special: rich burrata that takes mozzarella to a whole new level; bombette that wraps pork and beef around cheese and herbs and grills them on spits in wood-fired ovens; fields covered with wild fennel, ancient olive and almond trees and artichokes; ancient grapes ripening in the hot southern sun yield rich, dark wines. Puglia is a special place, outside of Italy's normal tourist path and we love to visit.
 
One of our favorite dishes from Puglia is orecchiette pasta with sausage and rapini, the perfect dish for colder weather. This indigenous pasta was always hand-made by little ladies on the streets of Bari. It's possible to visit still today to see them making it, and we never leave Bari without a few kilos of it in our suitcases!
 
Orecchiette means "little ears" and the shape is faintly reminiscent of an ear. Made with semolina flour, water and a little olive oil and shaped by hand on a board, good orecchiette is hard to find in the US. Luckily, Trader Joe's has an excellent imported product, straight from Puglia, which is perfect for this dish.
 
Hearty but not heavy, this rich and flavorful dish also offers wonderful health benefits from thedark, bitter greens and the light use of chili pepper flakes. Rapini, also known as cimi di rape or broccoli rabe, is a member of the mustard family with broccoli-like flowers that turn yellow as they open. Buy the darkest, firmest bunches with no yellow leaves. Rapini might be harder to find but we always find that Whole Foods stocks it at this time of year. If you simply cannot find rapini where you live, you can substitute chopped broccoli flowers, stems and leaves.   
The recipe is below.    Buon Appetito!
This Month's Italian saying...
"Mai mettere la chiave della propria felicita' nella tasca di qualcun altro."
(Don't put the key to your happiness in somebody else's pocket.)
Our wine of the month: Dolcetto of Piedmont
Dolcetto is a grape native to Piedmont, Italy's region in the northwest that forms the foothills of the Alps. Dolcetto loves cooler, higher sites where other indigenous grapes, like Nebbiolo and barbera, can't ripen. This grape ripens early and makes lovely wines that are low in acid and high in tannin that are meant to be enjoyed young. Some of the highest quality dolcetto comes from around the towns of Dogliani and Diana d'Alba, both of which are DOCG quality wines
 
Orecchiette con Salsiccie e Cime di Rape
("little ears" pasta w/ sausage & rapini)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teas hot pepper flakes, or to taste
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, broken up
1 bunch rapini, cleaned and chopped (also called cimi di rape or brocolli rabe)
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 lb orecchiette pasta, cooked in boiling salted water
 
Steam the rapini in a large sauté pan with some water and salt. Remove the rapini and set aside. Sauté sausage in the sauté pan, using a small amount of the olive oil. Remove to side and, adding additional olive oil, sauté garlic and pepper flakes until soft but not browned, just a minute. Add cooked rapini and stir to coat with oil, using the water you cooked the rapini in as well. Return the meat to the pan and allow to cook together a few minutes. Add the cooked orecchiette and more good extra virgin olive oil, tossing with a good amount of grated pecorino romano cheese.
Our Culinary Tours to Italy - 2019
Interested in traveling with us? We're traveling to Tuscany, Piedmont and Puglia next year!
Be sure to check out the schedule - 2019 is filling up.
Contact Mary to get the details - mary@eccolacucina.com or call: 972-342-8308.

Beautiful, magical Puglia! We're leading 2 tours in this unique and gorgeous region.  
There are a few open spots. The dates for this tour are:
September 15-22 and September 23-30, 2019
Contact Mary to register or with questions: mary@eccolacucina.com 972-342-8303 
Going to Louisville, Kentucky?
If you are traveling to L'ville anytime, be sure to get a seat "At The Italian Table"
Chef Gina has several special holiday dinners planned during December. Beginning with a Truffle dinner on 11 December. Featured will be cheeses, salami and other truffle products the chef brought back with her from Italy. Reserve your spot by calling: 502-883-0211
Rentals in Florence and the countryside
If you want to travel on your own, Mary can help you find the perfect spot to enjoy your vacation. In addition to several beautiful homes of varying sizes in the countryside, she has two apartments in Florence that are comfortable and well located. Contact her if you're interested! mary@goitalyhomes.com  972-342-8308

Gina Stipo and Mary Stipo Potter | Ecco La Cucina| 1-972-342-8308| Email | Website
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