Friday, June 30, 2006

Off to Paris

Hi Everyone! I'll be taking a small, 1 week blogging hiatus while I stroll along the Seine, eat ratatouille and pretend to be Canadian. See you next week!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Baba Ganoush

I'm keeping on the themes of great chilled dishes for summer as well as things I make after roasting all my market eggplants and red bell peppers. Today, it's Baba Ghanoush (or Baba Ghanoush or baba ganoosh.) As it is with terms borrowed from the Arabic, just pick your phonetic equivalent and run with it. Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern dip that goes really well with just bread or with vegetable crudités. Is is cooling and very much not like salad, which makes me happy these days.

The Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
½ tsp salt
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
2-3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste, much like runny peanut butter)
1 mint sprig
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preparing the eggplant: Prick the eggplant with a fork ina a few places. Roast it in a 350F oven for 45 minutes to and hour until completely soft. Let stand until it’s cool enough to touch. Cut the eggplant in half longways (from top to tail), score the flesh into ½ inch squares and scoop into a mesh strainer over a bowl. Add ½ tsp salt, mix and let drain for a couple hours. Music to drain eggplant by: The soft, slow, contemplative sounds of Dhafer Youssef. This is perfect for the calm stillness that torrid hot afternoons impose on us.

Making the dip: Put the garlic and mint leaves into the bowl of a small food processor. Process them until they are in small pieces. Add the drained eggplant, the tahini, the cumin and oprional cayenne pepper. Process until you have a smooth paste. While processor is on, drizzle the olive oil in. Taste and correct for seasoning. Chill and serve with flatbread and raw veggies. This dish is great as part of a cool Eastern Mediterranean mezze dinner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The first time I had summer gazpacho I was at a graduate student pot-luck and a Basque colleague of mine brought some. Being very Basque and not at all Andalusian, "Ivan" just put in all the veggies from his fridge, including carrots and broccoli into his blender, chilled the result and called it gazpacho. I learned something that day about the strength of Spain's regional identities. Even I knew more about Andalusian Gazpacho than "Ivan", at least enough not to puree raw broccoli into soup! Needless to say, it took me years to ever try it again. I'd trust "Ivan" with Basque Bacalao a la Vizcaina any day, but not this southern Spanish delight. The real deal is a drinkable version of mixed salad with vinaigrette dressing. For a really funny gazpacho ingredient list that includes sleeping pills, see "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" by Pedro Almodovar.
My ingredient list looks like this:

1 medium cucumber, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 medium tomatoes, cored
2 roasted red bell peppers, seeded**
2 slices of sturdy, day old bread
1/4 cup Spanish sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Easy recipe reminder: You do not have to take the trouble to peel the tomatoes or peppers nor do you have too seed the cucumber as the soup will be strained before serving.

**Seeded raw red peppers work well too and they are more traditional, but if you have the roasted ones on hand, do add them as they give the soup a richer taste and color.

Soak the bread in ice water to cover, squeeze out. Place the vegetables and bread in the bowl of a large food processor. Process at high for 1 minute until you have achieved a smooth tomato sauce-like texture. Music to puree gazpacho by: Bebe, "Malo" see the video here. Add the salt, pepper, vinegar and ice water from the bread and process to incorporate. While the processor is running, open the feeder top and drizzle in the oil. Put the soup through a medium mesh strainer, check again for salt and possibly add more water if you feel the soup is too thick. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestions: This soup goes well in bowls alone or with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, You can even serve it in cocktail classes spiked with vodka or tequila, but please, no sleeping pills.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer Vegetable Terrine Photo

Here's the photo of the "cool summer vegetable terrine" I posted about on Sunday. It took me several days (the date of this post is a lie) and many more tries before it finally deigned to appear, but here it is! This time I didn't do anything different, no use of Gabriel's special techie tricks, no Santeria ceremony, no threats to the Blogger site administrator it just worked this time mysteriously.

Cool Summer Vegetable Terrine

If you’re having a hot summer and do not possess an air conditioner, as is the case for many (most?) Italians, chilled foods become really appreciated. For the last couple summers, I’ve gotten pretty tired of salad, even the delightful Caprese, after a couple months of eating it, leaves me well, cold. But this year, I discovered a delicious, light but satisfying vegetable dish that I plan to make a lot. It’s impressive to look at, so it goes very well as a fresh starter for a dinner party or a main course for lunch.

Now that summer is in full swing, I buy a lot of red bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini by the kilo. When I get home I go through a new ritual: I turn on the oven (oh, for an outdoor BBQ grill! No heating up the house!) and roast all the peppers and eggplants. Once charred on the outside, I pull out the peppers (they take less time than the eggplants), toss them in a paper bag, let them steam for a couple minutes and once they’re cool enough to touch, I peel off the skins, scrape out the seeds and put them in Tupperware in the fridge. Next come the eggplants: Out of the oven, sliced in half longways, flesh scored with a sharp knife into ½ squares or just ½ inch strips then scooped out with a spoon, placed in a mesh strainer, salted and drained for a couple hours. Then the Tupperware, fridge experience. With this (admittedly long) prep-work out of the way, I’m in business to make all kinds of fantastic foods: Greek Melitsanosalata, roasted red pepper mayonnaise, baba ghanoush, gazpacho (much redder and richer than with raw red peppers), and the list goes on. But the prettiest of summer dishes is the cool summer vegetable terrine.

2-3 roasted red bell peppers (depending on size), once roasted, each pepper is cut into 3 wide strips from top to tail
1 large eggplant roasted, sliced into strips, salted and drained
2 large zucchini, sliced into thin rounds and lightly sautéed in minimal olive oil until soft
1 lb spinach (or other cooking green) washed, spun rather dry, salted and wilted in a large frying pan
8 oz log of goat cheese or 8oz gorgonzola mixed with cream cheese
¼ cup whole arugula leaves or whole parsley leaves or basil chiffonade or any other green garnish.

Almost all the work for this recipe is in the initial veggie preparation, sautéing or roasting, etc. Once that’s done, all you do is assemble. I took a standard rectangular bread loaf pan and lined it with plastic wrap. Then I layered the peppers, one strip on the bottom and the rest laying up the long sides and hanging a bit over the edges (they will be folded over the top in the end). Music to layer peppers by: "Higher Ground covered by Red Hot Chili Peppers You should not layer peppers up the short sides because in the end, you should be able to see all the veggies from there. This is the most important step since the peppers will be the visible outside layer of the terrine, so make sure there are no bare spots on the bottom or long sides of the terrine. Save 2 pepper strips for the last layer. Follow with the eggplant, in a flat layer on the bottom, then ½ of the zucchini slices, also in a flat layer, then place the cheese along the center and continue layering zucchini at it’s sides. You will probably not have enough zucchini to build up the sizes of the cheese to make a flat layer, so continue layering the spinach on the sides of the cheese until the sides are built up enough to make a flat layer. Finish by covering the cheese completely with the last of the spinach. Finally, place the last two pepper strips in the center on top of everything and fold over the overhanging pepper strips. This part can have bald spots since it will be the bottom of the terrine when it’s served. Finally, fold the plastic wrap over and weigh the terrine down. I used a smallish oval dish with my heavy mortar and pestle on it. Put everything on a large plate and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24. The terrine will give off a LOT of liquid, so make sure the plate underneath is large enough.

Serving: When you’re ready to serve, line the serving plate with the arugula or herb garnish, pull the plastic wrap away from the top of the terrine and flip it over onto the serving plate. Slowly remove the metal bread pan and then the plastic wrap. Slice into 1 inch serving pieces with a very sharp knife. Serve some crusty Italian bread or grizzini (breadsticks) alongside.

As opposed to a salad, this chilled veggie dish is satisfying with the rich cheese center, and dense with all those packed summer vegetables, yet refreshing and so healthy!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Belly Report

The morning after ingesting raw pork in the form of thinly-sliced Italian salt-cured pancetta, I awoke at 8:00 am.

8:01 am, Googled "Trychnosis symptoms". Found very little
8:02 am Googled the correct spelling of "trychinosis symptoms". Found: Several possible symptoms.
8:03 am Performed personal inventory, which went a little like this:

Nausea? - no
Fatigue? - um, let you know after my coffee.
vomiting?, diarrhea?, fever? - no, no, no.
loss of appetite? - sadly, no.

Hey! Looks like I got through raw bacon unscathed! (Feeling of immortality comes over me) Maybe next, I'll try raw breakfast sausage!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can You Eat Raw Pancetta?

I've seen on my Statcounter that the second most common way people get to my site is by googling "Can you eat raw pancetta?". The #1 most common seems to be, "How to build a balcony" for which I just have no answer at all, sorry. The problem is that up until now, I have left the pancetta knowledge seekers unsatisfied. Today, I'm going to rectify all that, today I'm conducting a raw pancetta taste/health test.
You see, lo these 3 years in Milan, I have yet to eat pancetta raw. I chop it up and fry it with vegetables to make a minestrone soup base, I stuff Thanksgiving turkeys with it, I wrap fennel and radicchio in it and bake them, but I've never dared to eat the stuff raw. Lots of Italians do this however and with no apparent trychnosis epidemic, so I imagine it's safe despite the fact it really looks exactly like raw bacon. So, here goes: Gulp. Music to eat raw pork by: Somehow the gross thought of eating raw "bacon" calls for punk rock, don't you think? Today, I'll go with the Meat Puppets. Well, as for taste, it's got the very salty flavor of cured pork; I can't say it's as nice as prosciutto. This particular pancetta was not the most expensive at the store, so maybe I should have sprung for the fancy stuff. Yet, it certainly isn't terrible by any means. Time will only tell if there are any health consequences for eating raw pancetta. Tune in tomorrow for the belly report!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tomato Concasse

Another of Amalia's delicious dishes was handmade eggplant-fresh mozzarella ravioli with a "simple" sauce of tomato concasse. I put quotation marks around "simple" because I'm almost always too lazy to go through the process of making it when it's called for in a recipe. But if your sauce consists of nothing but tomato concasse, you may as well try it. It's creme de la tomato, all rich pulp, no seeds or peel.

Here's how it's done. Bring a small or medium pot of water to the boil. The level of water should be just high enough to totally cover the tomato(es). Score the blossom end of the tomato (opposite of the stem end) with an X. Once the water is at a full, rolling boil, drop the tomato(es) in for 10 seconds, no more. Scoop them out and run under cold water or drop into ice water. At the X you made, begin to peel the tomato skin off. This should now be very easy. If it is not, drop the tomato back into the boiling water. Once the peel is off, slice the tomato in half at the equator. Squeeze all the seeds out, the chop the pulp as you like. Music to chop pulp by: General Public "Hand to Mouth". Their 1980s ska-dipped new wave pop will leave you hungry for more. Add salt and pepper. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Melon and Feta and Onion, Oh My!

I could get used to this. I've been the beneficiary of such delicious hospitality lately. Gigliola, her family and I had lunch overlooking Lake Como and the mountains beyond; Amalia, her family and I ate al fresco on their enormous, vine-covered balcony. I may never cook again. Wonder how long they'd appreciate me showing up on the doorstep on a regular basis. Ladies?

Amalia is a big Gambero Rosso TV fan. I think this is where she gets to watch lots of famous Italian chefs as well as international ones like Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. Nigella proposed this counter-intuitive salad (scroll down to the bottom of the page on this link) of watermelon, feta and lime-marinated red onion, which was surprisingly delicious. The sweet of the watermelon played really well against the salty pungency of the feta and olives while the mint and parsley added an herby note. The red onion mellowed in it's marinade of lime juice and so, added a brightness to the salad. Amalia used tiny, brown-green gaeta olives rather than the black ones called for and the dish turned out really well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An embarrassment of Riches

I may complain sometimes about the lack of great Mexican food here in Italy, no good mangoes, no tomatillos or poblano peppers to speak of, but all in all, Southern Europe kicks ass in terms of fresh produce. One of the most shocking examples of this are the fig trees you see growing everywhere like weeds. They spring out of cracks in walls and sidewalks, they grow by the side of the highway like so much poison sumac. In Chicago, figs when they are available, are revered. They appear at Caputo's Italian market for at least 2 bucks per pint and you don't even want to know what they charge for Whole Foods' fig preserves. In Italy, you reach up and grab them for free sometimes. In the open-air markets, they almost give them away yet no-one but me seems shocked at this. So lo and behold, at my friend, Amalia's house today what did I spy growing out of the window-box among the snap-dragons? This sneaky weed!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Torta di Zucchini e Ricotta

After we ate the marinated baby zucchini with their flowers, Gigliola served us a puff pastry tart filled with zucchini and ricotta, which was as lovely as the first and completely different.

2 lbs zucchini, diced very fine
1 onion diced, very fine
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp pesto sauce*
250 grams (about 8 ozs) of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 package of puff pastry

Heat the oil over medium and add the onion. Sautee until translucent then add the zucchini. Cook until it has rendered it's juices and they have evaporated. Take off the heat and cool. Mix in the pesto (or herbs) and ricotta. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. The end product will be tastier if you do this ahead of time and bake the next day.

Line a pie tin with the puff pastry, dock and add the filling. Bake in a 350F pre-heated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is set.

*You can vary the herbs you put into this dish. If you do not use pesto, in summertime Gigliola suggests you try out the many herbs available, particularly, "mentuccia romana" (Satureia nepeta = field balm), but says to avoid parsley as it will get bitter during the baking process.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Zucchini in Carpione

Mmm...I recently spent the day at my friend, Gigliola's house in Como. Presumably not far from the very attractive and politically right-on (left-on?) George Clooney, we had a delicious lunch and started working on an English-for Science-students project.
Gigliola prepared a few lovely vegetarian dishes that we all ate heartily. This one, "zucchini in carpione" is a vegetarian version of a classic fish dish made with, as Gigliola describes it, "'carpione', a trout species ( Salmio trutta carpio) = Carp." Carp. I've never been happier to be eating the vegetarian version of something. I don't think carp in Italy is as maligned as in the States. And even Stateside, it wasn't always so bad, I mean, over 100 years ago, we introduced carp from China into America's waterways because they were so delicious.


baby zucchini with their flowers
flour for dredging
oil for pan frying
red onion, sliced
herbs (she used sage & thyme but you can opt for anything that seems good to you)

Slice the zucchini into long 1/4 inch slices. Separate the flowers from the zucchini ends. Reach into each flower and carefully pull off the stamen. Coat everything with flour and fry on both sides until light golden. Remove from the pan and place in a low dish. Fry the sliced onion in the pan then add it to the dish with the zucchini. Mince the herbs, place them in a small bowl, add a small amount of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and some extra virgin olive oil. Whisk to blend and pour over the zucchini. Let stand at room temperature for a couple hours to allow the flavors to blend.

We ate this dish with a lot of crusty bread and some nice white wine. It's perfect for summer since it's eaten at room temperature and can/must be made ahead of time.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Twice-Cooked Pork Belly

I’ve read a lot recently about a Chinese dish that almost no Chinese restaurants serve abroad. Twice-Cooked Pork Belly, yep, that’s fresh, uncured, unsmoked bacon boiled and then slow-baked (or if you’re lucky enough to cook on a grill, barbecued. Now I’ve READ a lot about this dish but have seen almost no recipes that specify clearly HOW the pork should be cooked. Or they suggest boiling first then stir-frying it in pieces, which I find unappealing. And most online mentions of the term are descriptions of the delicious food you can order in Australia’s better restaurants. Any Australians or Chinese out there who can give me a heads-up on this? I really wanted a step-by-step guide to this since I’m wondering how I’ll get enough of the fat (and there’s a LOT!) rendered, so this’ll be good, not excessive and disgusting. So today, I’m winging it. I figure that if I first boil the pork whole in salted, garliked water until the water has completely evaporated and then let the fatty side brown in the pork’s own rendered fat, I’ll be halfway to getting the bacon to be more like a really tender regular piece of meat, not bacony at all. Then, I’ll rub on a sort-of spice paste and put it in a not-so-hot oven for a couple hours. After that, we’ll see if the meat turns out tender and yummy. If I had access to a grill, I’d slow barbecue it.

1.5 pound slab of fresh pork belly
2 teaspoons salt
4 whole, unpeeled garlic cloves, bruised*
water to barely cover

*How to bruise a garlic clove: Place you knife flat on top of the garlic clove and whack it so that the garlic is a bit mooshed but ideally, still in one piece.

First I put all the above ingredients in a large, non-stick stock pot and set to the boil. In the first 10 minutes of cooking, I skimmed off a lot of foam until the meat stopped producing it. This cooks a long time, over an hour until all the water is evaporated, but once it does, it begins to make loud crackling sounds of the meat frying in it’s own fat. If you’re even in the vicinity of the kitchen, you’ll hear it long before it gets a chance to burn. I let the fattier side get brown and then took it out of the pan to cool a bit.
While I was boiling the pork, I made something between a barbecue dry rub and Rick Bayless’s “Essential Garlicky Achiote Seasoning Paste”. The result looked like this:

1 tbsp achiote (annatto) seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper
¾ tsp dried oregano
3 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves peeled
½ tsp salt
4 tsp sugar

I pulverized the achiote and black pepper in a spice grinder then added the oregano to pulverize that as well to a fine powder. In a very small food processor (in a medium or large one, there would not be enough stuff to whiz around), I placed the peeled garlic and processed until it was in small pieces. Music to whiz garlic by: The White Stripes' "Suzy Lee" on their eponymous release. Then I added 1 tbsp cider vinegar at a time and processed each time until, after the 3rd addition, I had a relatively smooth liquid. I then added the spices from the grinder plus the other ingredients and processed to a thick paste. I slathered most of that onto all sides of the cooled pork and placed it on a roasting rack over the fitting roasting pan.
I baked the pork at 325F for 3 hours. If you do this, between hours 2 and 3 check periodically to make sure the crust doesn’t burn. I took the meat out of the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes so the juices would not run when I sliced it, then I served ¼-inch slices with an extra daube of the chili BBQ paste. The meat was indeed more meaty and less bacony, that is, most of the fat rendered and the outer layer of fat got really crispy and delicious. The meat, itself was extremely tender. I’ll definitely do this again and when I do, I’ll brine the meat first to get some spice flavor into the interior. For more info on brining, see here. So sorry for the lack of photos. I've done something unforgiveable to my camera's memory chip and it hasn't forgiven me yet.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Charlie Trotter's Roasted Mushrooms

A little over 3 years ago, we had our wedding reception dinner at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and the experience was a thing to remember! In fact a number of guests actually took photos (sadly, not digital) of all the courses so we have the whole meal documented. The chef (not Charlie) came out to greet us at the end of the meal and offered us some free cookbooks, Charlie Trotter’s biography, a copy of the evening’s menu and a European Hotel/Restaurant Guide since he knew we were moving immediately to Italy. One of my cousins got a chef’s touque and my dad, a CT baseball hat. We took a tour of the bustling kitchen One thing that struck me about the incomparable food at Trotter’s was the persnicketyness of everything. Anal retention and perfectionism seem to rule in that place which does make for some fabulous cuisine but I’ll bet working in the back is tough! Of the 2 cookbooks, “Charlie Trotter’s Seafood” and the more accessible, “Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home” (He does?! Hmmm…I don’t buy it.) I have made precious few recipes. A typical seafood recipe in the fancier book calls for things like preserved turmeric, verjus, poached quail eggs or tatsoi. Even the homey book is pretty complicated with 2-3 mini recipes required to make each dish (not much of a problem for me) but the ingredients are, I dunno. Elite? Not run-of-the-mill? The poultry section has more duck breast recipes than chicken. So I don’t use these books much. However, in the homey book there’s a basic recipe (meant to go into a more complicated final dish) for roasted mushrooms that is very easy, yet like anything Charlie, DIVINE.

Here’s what I did with it:
1 lb cleaned, stemmed mushrooms (Charlie specifies button, cremini, shitake or portabello, I used oyster)
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
½ cup water
salt and pepper

Now Charlie suggests to toss all the ingredients in a roasting pan and roast in the oven at 325F for 30-40 minutes until mushrooms are tender. I, however, heated the oil in my largest frying pan over medium heat, added the onion, fried it until light golden, added the garlic, fried for a few seconds, then added everything else and sauteed until the mushrooms were tender. Music to sautee mushrooms by: Chicago musical greats (with an edible name) Smashing Pumpkins "Snail" from the ambum Gish. Look at the photo and tell me these mushrooms don't look like snails! This makes a delicious bruschetta topping (see photo IF I CAN GET IT PUBLISHED! ANYBODY ELSE HAVING THIS PROBLEM?) but also a wonderful accompaniment to polenta or mashed potatoes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Trip to Lecco

Yesterday, we took a train out past Milan's suburbs and then rode our bikes to the lakeside town of Lecco. The towns around Lake Como are so beautiful since they are both on the water and among gorgeous mountains. We had clear skies, warm (not hot) weather and pretty strong breezes. A lot of the town was out in the piazza enjoying the afternoon in grand Italian Sunday-stroll style. So, we did the same.

The town was full of closed butcher shops and salumerie. We passed one that had beautiful whole bresaolas. This is a meat that I never found in the States. It's a cured beef, pretty much treated like prosciutto, salt-cured but has much less fat. Here you see the bresaola, Valeria, Gabriel's reflection, Valeria's reflection, my reflection and Simone's profile.

Then we went down a tiny pedestrian street (cars would not have fit here!) and found a dried porcini specialist. 13 euros per "etto" (100 grams or a bit less than 4 ounces) Good deal? Maybe.

So we got pretty hungry after the bike ride and all the food specialty shops, so we stopped at (get this name!) L'Azzeccagarbugli for some lunch. I have to say that, while the food was pretty good, this osteria distinguishes itself only by it's name; in other words, this ain't no promo. (Pronunciation: latz-ecka gar BULL yee) We happily ate fresh buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes, beef carpaccio, smoked salmon with butter curls and a mixed salumi plate then, sated we headed for home.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Homemade Italian Sausage

You may have read complaints in this blog about how here in Northern Italy I haven’t found “Italian” (at least I thought it was) sausage. You know the kind, with fennel seeds if it’s mild and fennel + red pepper flakes if its hot? The most delicious grill item served on a piece of Chicago Gonnella or Turano long loaf with a slice of tomato or sweet peppers? Well, a while back I did find some mild sausage with fennel seed, got all excited, bought it, took it home, cooked it and was very disappointed. I cooked it thoroughly, until the casing was dark dark brown. Well, ok, I burned, it. I forgot it on the stove and it ended up way over on the side of well-done. But the interior was still pink, thoroughly cooked but pink. It’s as if they used so much food coloring that the pink never gave way to the brown of cooking. Yeesh!

The other day, my butchers were selling lots of ground pork so I took avantage of the opportunity and got a kilo of it to make my own Italian sausage. The recipe was more than simple. Here’s what I did:

I took:
1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of ground pork
3 tsps of mild Hungarian paprika
2 tsps salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds lightly bruised in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper

In a very large bowl, I thoroughly mixed all the above ingredients with my hands (boy is that fun!) Music to squoosh pork with your fingers by: "Jacking the Ball" by Chicago alt-artists, The Sea and Cake. The thing is, unlike Danno at NOLA Cuisine, I don’t have a contraption with which I can safely age the sausage. My stuff is very moist and can only be served as meatballs or burgers but it really tastes like real, Chicago-style “Italian sausage”! So I’m happy.

P.S. Give a toast to Italy today as they (we?) celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Constitution signed on June 2, 1946!

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