Tag Archives: handed-down recipes

Cooking caponata…

There are as many versions of caponata as there are cooks… so it’s said. The first written recipes date to the early 18th century but of course it’s one of those dishes handed down over many centuries from mother to daughter (and hopefully a few fathers and sons too). While it’s famously Sicilian, other regions like Calabria also have versions and most likely my (very rustic!) caponata will be completely different when I next cook it. This time I went with pretty much what I had on hand that would suit and baked it instead of frying (although frying creates more caramelisation and is very tasty). I’m guessing many of you will have your own delicious recipes perhaps handed down through generations, such a lovely tradition of cooking and passing on family history. xx

Ingredients (on hand!) for this version of caponata.

Chopped and tossed (in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt and lemon juice).

Baked and ready to serve (warm or cold).

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Pasta alla chitarra…

Making pasta alla chitarra just as my Abruzzese great-grandmother, Maddalena used to make. The shoebox-sized wooden box strung with steel wires must be ‘tuned’ like a guitar (chitarra). A sheet of pasta is laid over the strings and pressed through with a rolling pin, slicing it into strips. And the pasta sauce is like the ‘gravy’ Nanna Francesca cooked (with a few extra greens I added!)

I certainly don’t use the chitarra too often unless I have a few hours to spare but it was lovely to make this and remember my grandmothers. I like how in a way cooking can bring together different generations, even after some are long gone, as only handed-down recipes can do.

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