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Rosaria's Authentic Italian Easter Bread Recipe from Enzo and Lucia

Renata Cardelli

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Some things may get lost in translation, but never taste as is the case with our authentic Easter Bread, a recipe handed down from Lucia's mother, Rosaria. Fond memories were made while gathering the ingredients, cooking together, and finally sitting down to enjoy this delicacy and family.  
Authentic Italian Easter Bread Recipe Photo

ROSARIA’S EASTER BREAD

Ingredients for dough:

3 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 stick of margarine at room temperature
1 tsp of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
50 grams of dry yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of warm water

mix all ingredients together and knead dough. Place in a bowl and cover with a dishtowel and allow dough to rise for about 2 ½ to 3 hours.


Ingredients for filling:

Four hard-boiled eggs
¼ pound imported swiss cheese (cubed pieces)
¼ pound mozzarella (cubed pieces)
¼ pound sharp provolone cheese (cubed pieces)
6 slices of ham
¼ pound of genoa salami – sliced

- cut eggs and cheese into cube size pieces
- cut salami and ham into small pieces
- mix together 
- flatten dough with rolling pin
- pour cheese and meat mixture into the center of dough.  Fold over, completely covering mixture.  
- Place in a round baking pan, cover with dishtowel, and allow to rise another hour or two.  



Bake at 375 oven for an hour.  Allow to cool and serve at room temperature.


Bootlegging Italian Style

Renata Cardelli

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Growing up in an Italian family can sometimes be a lot of work. As you already know, our family cans tomatoes and lots of them. Well, the tradition wouldn’t be complete nor could it snow until the wine was made, as well. This, too, was a Fall
“activity”, for lack of a better word.

The fun would start in early September when my dad, Papa’, would “scope out” the grapes. He’d visit different venues, but always ended up at Caputo’s where he’d buy 25 cases of green, seedless grapes and 10 cases of Moscato grapes, which are white and seedless, as well. These 35 cases of grapes would render anywhere from 80 to 100 gallons of wine. I know. I know. Craaaaaazy!!! He’d lug those home and the process would begin. For my Papa’ it was like being a kid in a candy store, and to say that it was a labor of love, is an understatement.

The wine press. Unlike back in the day when people stomped on the grapes in their bare feet (hope they were clean), we had a wine press, which by its very definition “pressed” the grapes. The one Papa’ had is now referred to as Ratchet design. It’s basically a big wooden barrel with slats on the sides and a ratcheting head that works its way down a threaded, stationary shaft that is secured at the base of the press. It had a two-piece break-away basket design which allowed for the removal of the spent pulp more quickly between pressings. In any event, it looked something like this.

I remember that Papa’ would crush the grapes first, but cannot for the life of me remember how he did it. Did he use his bare hands? Did he pound them with a small object? See? It’s times like these when I still wish he were here. He’d then fill the press to capacity, press, and continue adding crushed grapes until all were passed through the press. His method was two cases of Moscato grapes to five cases of the regular green.

As the “juice” was coming out of the press, it would be transferred to gallon drums with the entire process taking from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Now you’re thinking, “what were the women doing while the men were “slaving” away bootlegging?” I remember my mom cooking up a storm in the kitchen, all the while grumbling that my Papa’ did not need the wine.

The work wasn’t complete until all the drums were covered with a white sheet (ma loved that one). A temperature of 60 degrees or cooler needed to be maintained as the wine fermented for a good six weeks, and the longer the fermentation process, the clearer the wine. It would then be transferred into
five-gallon glass containers, using a siphon until it was ready for use.

I can still remember Papa’ checking on his precious brew daily, making sure the temperature was just right, listening to the boiling of the wine, and inhaling its scent. Then he’d exclaim once again, “Now it can snow.”

Renata Cardelli

Roasted Fig Cappellacci Recipe from Enzo & Lucia's Chef Angelo

Renata Cardelli

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ahhh, Figs. Figs, figs, figs. Not a favorite of mine. If any of you know my mother, she is a walking produce department. No kidding. Case in point? We’re sitting at my nephews’ football game, and Nonna (aka my mom) pulls out grapes, a couple of apples, and figs! She asks, “Anyone want a fig?” Poor little thing didn’t even get a reply. It seems that no one eats figs. That’s what I thought. So I decided to learn more about the fig.

Well, let me tell you, figs are grossly underrated. Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. California figs are available from June through September; some European varieties are available through autumn.

When choosing figs, select those that are plump and tender, have a rich, deep color, and are free from bruises and not mushy. Ripe figs have a sweet fragrance. When brought home, ripe figs should not be washed until ready to eat. They should be kept covered in the refrigerator on a paper towel - lined plate, where they will remain fresh for approximately two days. If figs are not yet ripe, it is best to keep them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

The fig has many health benefits, as well. It helps lower cholesterol, is high in dietary fiber, and is a great source of fruit calcium, just to name a few.

So when Chef Angelo (Enzo’s son) decided to create the Roasted Fig Cappellacci which is the special this month, I became intrigued. After having had it for dinner one night, I can confidently say that that was one of the BEST ways to eat a fig. The sweet fig combined with the salty prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham) is a taste sensation. It is then served in a butter, sage, and cinnamon sauce. Y-U-M!

Roasted Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Cappellacci in Cinnamon Scented Brown Butter Sage Sauce

2 pints of figs cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons of diced prosciutto
3 fresh sage leaves
3 tablespoons of goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
one dozen 2x2 fresh pasta (can be bought at a local pasta shop)


Wash and cut figs in half
Put figs in baking dish, along with diced prosciutto.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of olive oil over figs
salt and pepper to taste
cover baking dish with aluminum foil
Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Drain excess juices from baked fig.
Blend figs in blender
Add 3 tablespoons of goat cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of panko break crumbs and mix all ingredients together
Refrigerate for an hour.

After refrigerating mixture for an hour, place two teaspoons of mixture into the 2x2 inch square of fresh pasta, fold over in a triangle and seal the edges.
Cook in boiling water for three minutes.

Cinnamon scented brown butter sage sauce

1/4 stick of butter
5 or 6 sage leaves
1/2 to one teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of water

Using a sauce pan, melt butter, add sage leaves, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Once butter starts to brown, add 1/4 cup of water. Add the cappellacci and serve.

Cooking tip -

When browning butter, once it starts to foam add water. This will prevent butter from burning. 

Lobster Mac n Cheese - Simply Delicious

Renata Cardelli

Monday, August 20, 2012

Okay. So I’ve been quiet for a while, I know. And for those of you who know me, it’s unusual. I know that, as well. But I can be silent no longer cuz I’m so excited about a new dish that is quite the sensation at Enzo and Lucia’s, Lobster Mac n Cheese.

Mac n Cheese, you say, at an Italian restaurant? My Italian/Catholic/Immigrant mom would have said the same thing so I get it.

Yes!!! Let’s look at the ingredients. Mac as in macaroni, which is a type of pasta. Pasta, Italian…check. Okay. Cheese. Parmesean, fontina. Italian. Italian again! Check. Throw in shallots, butter, heavy cream, parsley and, of course, lobster and you have a Mac n Cheese lover’s delight.

It’s been appearing on our special’s menu, but is quickly becoming a favorite.

Canning Tomatoes - "Real Fun" from the Past!

Renata Cardelli

Monday, August 13, 2012

August and being in the produce section of the grocery store, seeing all of the fresh, red, beautiful tomatoes, bring back memories of tomato canning season. As a child of Italian/Catholic/Immigrant parents, canning tomatoes was an event, one that included the entire family.

When I tell people that we canned tomatoes, the response is usually, “oh, we canned, too. We’d can about two dozen every year.” Two dozen? Are you kidding me? How about three to four dozen. Yep. You read it right. By the time it was all said and done, our house was lined from top to bottom with beautiful jars of “red sauce”, as our American neighbors referred to them.
This herculean task required bushels and bushels of tomatoes.

Unlike the folks of today, we didn’t just go out and buy our bushels of tomatoes. Oh, heavens, no. We went tomato picking. Another family event. So Ma and Papa would pack the kiddos in the car and off we’d go to some farm. For my mother and father and grandparents, this was a very serious task. For us kids, it was an invitation for fun. And fun we had. We’d pick a few and throw even more at each other.

At the end of the day, we’d pack up our bushels and head home. Then the “real fun” (not really) began. Next morning bright and early all of us, grandparents included, would gather in the yard where we would wash each and every one, scrubbing off any remaining dirt. Each clean tomato would be thrown into the “to be cut pile”. Each tomato would then need to be cut into fours. Those would be thrown into a pot and brought to a boil. And I don’t mean a small little saucepan. I’m talking HUGE pots filled literally to the brim with cut tomatoes. My mother would add a bit of water, fresh basil cut from our garden, salt and pepper. Of course, you had to repeatedly stir the tomatoes or they’d stick to the bottom of the pot thereby ruining an entire “batch”. Like I said, this was serious business.

We’d have at least four of these monstrosities on our small cook top. When they came to a boil, it was time to “deseed”. Now, mind you, I own a machine that does the job for you. Back in my grandmother’s day, no such machine existed. I have no idea how it was done, nor do I want to. This was excruciatingly painful with a machine!!! My father “had a guy” who built us such a machine as back when I was a kid, they didn’t the machine and “deseed” it, after which the mixture would be put back into aforementioned pots and brought to yet another boil upon which the “canning” commenced.

This particular part in the process was just as important. The tomato “sauce” would be ladled into each jar and immediately sealed and tightened. We’d then have to gently place each jar upside down. Yes, upside down, until the next morning.

This entire process would take up an entire weekend, and as a kid, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted to be like all the other kids on the block and just eat Chef Boyardee. I will tell you, though, that the tradition continues in our home today. The aroma from the boiling pots is wonderful, our daughters join in the fun so it is still a “family affair”, and at the end of it, we are not only exhausted, but closer because of it. And as my father used to say, “Now it can snow”.

Enjoying Shrimp Diavalo at Enzo & Lucia.

Renata Cardelli

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Having never done this before, I hope you all will bear with me a bit.  I just had to share with you one of my favorite dishes at Enzo and Lucia.  The Shrimp Diavolo is a delectable dish of shellfish delivered fresh daily, San Marzano plum tomatoes imported from Italy, fresh garlic and parsley, along with a dash of salt and a few red pepper flakes to spice it up giving it a bit of a zing.  Maybe that's where the word Diavolo comes from which translates to Devil as in “some like it hot?”  This heavenly dish includes clams and muscles served over a bed of linguini giving it exquisite flavor and texture.  Pair it with a bottle of Sonoma Curtrer, sit back, relax, and enjoy!