Back to Italy again, this time to Campania. The dish is Cianfotta, a vegetable stew, originating in Naples and vicinity. While it would normally be made in late summer with fresh vegetables from the region, we have the luxury these days of obtaining most of such ingredients in pretty good shape during our winter. Thank you, Idylwilde Farms. I was even able to pick fresh rosemary from our garden near the back door, despite the very cold weather and a couple of inches of snow on the ground.
I have two recipes for this dish, one from Arthur Schwartz, in his definitive book on Naples, and one from Vianna La Place, in her delightful book, Verdure. I prefer the latter.
Naturally, I had two make a couple of small adjustments for my wife’s palate — no peppers of any kind. We also had to go without basil, unfortunately — none available. However, a small amount of dried sweet marjoram was a successful substitute.
I was delighted to have one bottle of just the right wine, Mastroberardino’s Irpinia Aglianico. The pairing was perfect with this dish. It was especially gratifying for me to drink it from the wine glass given to me a few years ago by the proprietors of my favorite restaurant in Rome, La Matriciana.