Today I learned more about a renowned food writer, Marcella Hazan, than I had known before. She appeared today on the Martha Stewart Show preparing a Tortelloni Stuffed with Swiss Chard, Prosciutto and Ricotta served with a heavy cream tomato sauce. She also talked about her new book, Amarcord: Marcella Remembers, available online.
The base of this dish is prepared with “prosciutto”, an Italian word for ham that has been seasoned, cured or air-dried. It is often used as a fat base for flavoring (thus referred to as “pancetta” or offered in sandwiches as a deli meat or part of an appetizer tray with other cured meats, cheeses and olives. In this particular recipe, those who follow a halal or kosher or any non-pork based diet can simply delete the prosciutto without sacrificing any great taste at all. Substitute the prosciutto with halal beef sujuk, a type of beef sausage, mostly found in Turkish and Middle Eastern markets, or online. Marcella Hazan is renowned for teaching culinary techniques and methods, which I noticed while watching her on Martha’s show. For example, she says when you drain pastas like ravioli, that you shouldn’t just throw them in the colander, but try to catch them first with a ‘chinese spider’ type of handled colander because the weight of the water will break the raviolis. What a great tip! You can find these types of colanders here.
Ms. Hazan is not teaching cooking as she used to in the past at the famed French Culinary Institute but is now retired and lives with her husband, Victor, in Florida.
To find the exact recipe mentioned in this post, check out the Martha Stewart Show.
You can read more about Marcella Hazan’s interesting background here.