Neapolitan cuisine has ancient historical roots that date back to the Greco-Roman period, which was enriched over the centuries by the influence of the different cultures that controlled Naples and its kingdoms, such as that of Aragon and France.
Naples has a history that goes back many centuries: the city itself predates many others in that area of the world, including Rome. It has endured the Greeks, Romans, the Plague, and dozens of successions of kings from France and Spain and each culture left a mark on the way food is prepared in Naples and Campania itself.
Neapolitan cuisine starter, Aubergine Parmesan recipe
And now one of the cult dishes of a Neapolitan family: AUBERGINE PARMESAN
Aubergines 1,500 kg
Tomatoes 1,500 kg
Half an onion
Mozzarella cheese 300 gr
Parmesan cheese 500 gr
Ten leaves of basil
Olive oil 3 spoons
Cut the aubergines into slices without peeling and fry them. In the meanwhile brown the onion in olive oil then adds the tomatoes and some basil. Let the sauce cook slowly. Slice the mozzarella cheese and once the sauce is ready, put in a pan, alternatively, a layer of sauce, one of the aubergines, one of mozzarella cheese, basil and parmesan cheese. When all the ingredients are over, put the pan in the oven and let cook for about half an hour at moderate heat.
Neapolitan Cuisine Pasta and Italian Sauces
How to make gnocchi
I’ll give you now the recipe of the Neapolitan gnocchi, the most gorgeous type of fresh handmade pasta to serve with different sauces, on top of which, of course, reigns the ragù! It is one of the most loved dishes of Neapolitan cuisine.
Ingredients for 4 people
1 kg potatoes 2 cups regular flour salt
Boil the potatoes without peeling them and pureè them in a grinder. Now add the flour and mix the ingredients till you get a smooth paste. Cut it in small pieces and roll them (a diameter of 1 and a half cm). Cut the rolls in small pieces, about 2 cm long, and press them on the back of a grater to give them a nicer look and a wider surface to be covered with the sauce. In the meanwhile bring to boil a large quantity of salted water in a pot and pour the gnocchi in. When they came to the surface they are ready, so take them out with a skimmer, put them in the plates and cover with a hot ragù and parmesan cheese.
Neapolitan Ragù (Ragout)
I want to teach you the richest and most savory sauce of the Neapolitan tradition (Neapolitan ragu’). It is a sauce prepared on Sundays and holidays and needs long and slow cooking but with a wonderful results!
1 pound beef
1 pound pork ribs or pork sausages
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 oz red wine
1 medium-size onion finely chopped
14oz chopped tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion together with the meat and fry until the meat is browned. Add the wine and wait for it to reduce and at this point add the tomatoes, season them with little salt and pepper and stir well. Once the sauce boils lower the fire as much as you can and cooks it for a minimum of two hours always simmering until it is dark but of course not burnt! Serve the sauce with pasta and some grated parmesan cheese and the meat as the main course.
Genovese Sauce, Neapolitan Cuisine
It seems some merchants from Genoa took the Genovese sauce to Naples in the 15th century and it became a favorite recipe of the Neapolitan cuisine. It takes several hours to prepare it and it is not easy to be digested but the result is gorgeous!
Ingredients of the Genovese sauce:
Round of beef or pork ham 1kg
Onions 2 kg
Ham or salami in small pieces 100gr
One glass of white wine 150 gr
Olive oil 5 spoons
A stalk of celery
Slice the onions, cut the carrot and celery into small pieces and put them in a pot together with the olive oil and the meat tied with a piece of kitchen string. Add a glass of water and the pieces of ham or salami, salt, and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid. Mix the ingredients now and then. When you see the onions getting brown, uncover the pot and keep watching. Lower the heat and pour some wine every time it sticks on the bottom of the pot. The sauce will be ready when it gets creamy and medium brown. You can have pasta or rice with it while having the meat with a salad as a second course.
Mixed pasta with beans and mussels
I’m giving you the recipe of seafood with legumes, an old traditional dish: mixed pasta with beans and mussels.
It is not a refined or elegant one but the taste of mussels gets along wonderfully with that of the beans. Try it!
• 1 kg mussels
• 200 gr mixed pasta
• 250 gr dry haricots
After soaking the beans for eight hours cook them with water, garlic, oil, salt, and parsley. In the meanwhile fry a clove of garlic in a saucepan, add the cleaned mussels and after they are opened, filter the water and keep it aside. Shell the mussels and cook the pasta with the beans. In the middle of the cooking add the mussels with the filtered fluid and at the end some fresh parsley.
Neapolitan and Italian desserts
Graffe or ring donuts
I’m going to talk to you about some delicious donuts typical in Campania of the carnival period: the graffe! But I used to prepare them to make my young children happy in any period of the year. Nowadays they are grown-ups but still ask me for them.
500 grams flour
400 grams boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
50 grams of butter
1 cake fresh yeast worked into half a cup of warmish full-fat milk
Mix all the ingredients working the dough till it gets even. Then divide it into pieces shaping them in rolls with a diameter of 2 centimeters. Then break the roll every 15 centimeters and let the ends adhere. Cover the donuts with a kitchen towel and wait till they double their size (the time depending on the external temperature). Fry the donuts a few at a time in hot but not burning oil, until they are golden, remove them, dry with kitchen paper and roll them in a bowl with granulated sugar.
Enjoy them lukewarm.
The Neapolitan zeppole, in Naples, called graffe from the German krapfen, a very similar preparation, not must be confused with the “zeppole di San Giuseppe”!!!
Delizia al Limone and Limoncello
Sorrento is famous as the land of Sirens in mythology or place of wonderful sites!
But it is also the home of limoncello the light liqueur that captures the fragrant taste of the wonderful variety of lemons growing in the area.
Lemon is used very often in Neapolitan cuisine.
There is also a gorgeous dessert with the same characteristic: the Delizia al Limone!
Shall we try them?
They are round sponge cakes, filled with lemon cream and covered with fresh whipped lemon cream.
Here is the recipe.
For sponge cakes:
grated peel from 1 lemon
Beat the eggs, sugar and peel until foamy, then add flour (a little at a time) and baking powder. Fill half ball shaped baking tins (just 3 quarters of the tins!) and bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes.
For the lemon cream:
1 lt milk
2 lemons-the peel
1 bag vanilla extract
100gr whipped cream
Mix yolks, sugar, flour, and vanilla in a pot. Slowly add milk, stirring well. Add lemon peel and cook on low heat until the cream is dense. Take out the lemon peel and leave to cool. Then add a shot of Limoncello and the whipped cream.
For Limoncello cover cream:
200gr lemon cream
grated peel of 1 lemon
Mix carefully all the ingredients.
For the lemon syrup:
3 tablespoons sugar
Boil the water with the lemon peel and sugar for 5 minutes and let it cool. Now add the limoncello.
Cut each sponge cake in half, splash with the lemon syrup and fill with the first lemon cream you prepared. Put together the two halves and cover with limoncello cream decorating with grated lemon zest or candied lemons.
The Caprese Chocolate cake
Today I want to talk to you about a dessert that I love preparing (…and eating!): the Caprese chocolate cake! It originated in our wonderful island of Capri and hence its name.
oz 8 butter
oz 8 sugar
oz 8 dark chocolate
oz 11 finely ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons potato flour
Preheat oven to 170 deg C Line a cake tin with non-stick paper Melt in bain-marie chocolate, sugar and butter and then add one egg at a time, always stirring between each egg. Mix all the ingredients with the almonds, the baking powder, and the potato flour and transfer to the cake tin. Bake at 170 deg C for approximately 40 minutes. Insert a wooden pin in the center and it must come out with only a few crumbs on it. Do not over-bake! The flavor of the Caprese chocolate cake is inebriating but wait for it to cool down before having your bliss!
The struffoli are a typical dessert always present in Neapolitan homes at Christmas. It is a tradition of Neapolitan cuisine! They are tiny balls of fried dough covered with honey and mixed with candied fruit and colored sprinkles. Greek in origin, they were probably taken to Naples by this population in ancient times and it seems that also their name comes from the Greek world strongholds meaning “Round-in-shape”.
500 gr flour
200 gr sugar
70 gr butter
250 gr honey
150 gr candied fruit
100 gr sweet sprinkles
Mix the flour, the eggs, the yolks, the butter, and 100 gr sugar with a pinch of salt to get a smooth dough, round it in rolls with a diameter of 1 cm to be cut into pieces 1 cm long. Fry them in hot seed oil in small amounts and once they are cold melt the honey and the remaining sugar in a pot, mix the struffoli in together with the candied fruit. Leave them in the pot to cool and after 15 minutes take them out and arrange them in a round shape in a plate. Now pour the sprinkles on.