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Rome and Tuscany Recipes

by Debra C. Argen
Chef Gaetano Costa adn Andrea Lombardi
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Enticing Italian recipes from Executive Chef Gaetano Costa of the Hotel Majestic Roma in Rome, Italy, and from Tuscan Chef Giovanna Decaro of Il Borgo di Villa Bossi-Pucci.


Executive Chef Gaetano Costa of the Hotel Majestic Roma shares two of his favorite recipes with us. This energetic chef also stood still long enough in November 2004, for an interview with me with some translation assistance from Primo Maître, Andrea Lombardi. Read our articles on the Hotel Majestic Roma, www.hotelmajestic.com, in Hotels & Resorts, Restaurants, and Destinations.

Executive Chef Gaetano Costa is a personable, enthusiastic man, with an impressive career. He has been with the Hotel Majestic for 4 years, worked at the Aldrovandi Palace hotel, and attended a culinary school in Naples. He said that when he is not busy cooking at work, his favorite meal to eat is fish: all types of fish, from turbot, sea bass, tuna, red mullet and other typical Italian fish. Although he keeps in shape, his favorite desserts are semi-freddo, parfaits, chocolate tortes, soufflés and tiramisu!

Although the recipes we present each month are written in grams, we are including a conversion table into ounces to help our readers convert the measurements. Please note the conversions are as close as possible, but are not exact.

Ounces             Grams

3.75                    100  
7                         200
11                       300
14.1                    400
17.75                  500
21                       600
25                       700
28.25                  800
32                       900
36                    1,000

Executive Chef Gaetano Costa provided his recipes in Italian, which we in turn translated into English. We present the recipes to you in both languages. Buon appetito!

Candied Scampi in a Sweet Garlic Potato Mayonnaise

For 4 Persons

Preparation Time: approximately 20 minutes

12        large               scampi (shrimp)
1          150-gram        potato
2          cloves             garlic
100      grams              mixed mesculun
2                                 egg yolks
100      milliliters       extra virgin olive oil 
salt and white pepper to taste

Method of preparation of Mayonnaise:

In a tureen beat the egg yolks with the cooked warm potato. Pour the olive oil in a steady stream. Season the mixture with salt, pepper to taste and garlic, which has been cooked in milk, (with the inner green part removed).

Once the mayonnaise is ready, spread it uniformly over the scampi tails, which have been placed on a baking sheet. Place it in the oven and cook for 8 minutes at approximately 175 C or 350 F. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or mesculun.

Garganelli with Rock Lobster and Eggplant

For 4 Persons

Preparation Time: approximately 20 minutes

320      grams              Garganelli (a type of egg penne from Emilia Romagna region of Italy)
2                                  rock lobsters, approximately 400 – 500 grams each
1                                  eggplant, approximately 200 grams, diced
100      grams              cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
3          branches          lemon balm
1                                  scallion
1          clove               garlic
½         leaf                  bay leaf
                                    white pepper and salt to taste
5          ml                    extra virgin olive oil

Method of preparation:

In a frying pan lightly sauté the garlic and scallion until golden brown. Meanwhile cut the rock lobsters lengthwise and then place them face down into the pan, searing them. Add the bay leaf, and the tomatoes. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Cook the garganelli in salted boiling water. In the meantime, sauté the diced eggplant with extra virgin olive oil and lemon balm. Once the garganelli are cooked, drain them, and then sauté the pasta with the eggplant and lemon balm. Add the pasta and eggplant to the rock lobsters, sauté and serve.


This year Carnival falls in February, and to celebrate those pre-Lent days of parties and feasts, Chef Giovanna Decaro of Il Borgo di Villa Bossi-Pucci, www.toscanaitaly.com, shares her recipe for Cenci, a delicious, crisp, deep-fried pastry that is enjoyed during the Carnival season. Read our articles on Il Borgo di Villa Bossi-Pucci and Tuscany in Hotels & Resorts, Restaurants, and Destinations.

Cenci at Carnival

4 Servings

300      grams              white flour 2                                  whole eggs
1                                  egg yolk
            sprinkle           baking soda
100      grams              sugar
1          small glass      Vin Santo
20        grams              butter melted in
2-3       tablespoons     hot milk
1          orange             grated peel only
            pinch               salt
                                    peanut oil and olive oil for frying


On a smooth work surface, place the flour. Make an indentation in the center of the flour and add the eggs and egg yolk; a sprinkle of baking soda, sugar, Vin Santo*, butter melted in 2-3 tablespoons of hot milk, the grated peel of 1 orange and a pinch of salt. Knead it all thoroughly, and then let it rest for about fifteen minutes. Flour hands if the dough starts to get sticky, and then roll it into a ball, cover it, and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.

After 1 hour, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes, and then roll the dough with the rolling pin, (do not roll it out too thin.) Afterwards cut the dough into strips 5-6 cm wide with a sharp knife. Then cut the strips on a slant (in order to obtain lozenge shapes).

Deep-fry the Cenci in an abundant amount of very hot oil (¾ peanut oil, ¼ olive oil) for 2-3 minutes per side. If the temperature of the oil is right, the result of the Cenci will be nice and puffy with a golden color (which can be accentuated, if you desire, making them cook a little longer) with the edges a little darker. They are served hot or cold, sprinkled with sugar after they've been dried off on a sheet of kitchen paper.

Note: *Vin Santo Toscana di Caratello, 5-6 years old sweet dessert wine, made in the traditional way handed down by the peasant culture.

Chefs, grazie per tutti!

© February 2005. Luxury Experience. www.luxuryexperience.com All rights reserved

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