Strangolapreti (Priest-stranglers)

bapopik at AOL.COM bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Aug 3 16:05:54 UTC 2005

Greetings from the NYU Bobst Library. I have temporarily escaped from my girlfriend...Henry Stern (the former NYC Parks Commissioner I lunched with about a month ago) is reviving the Liberal line. It's saved many Republicans--John Lindsay got re-elected mayor on it, and Rudy Giuliani needed it to win in 1993. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is supporting this, and DA Robert Morgenthau is also running on it. I haven't received a word back...Dem. Margarita Lopez (a lesbian city council member, always a longshot in the Manhattan Borough President race) got caught giving city money to Scientologists and getting them to give to her campaign, and has already imploded. My competition figures to be Scott Stringer, an Upper West Side old-time liberal, a longtime member of the worst legislature in the country up in Albany.
In an attempt to corner the priest-stranglers' vote, I present you with "strangolapreti." It's mentioned in a food review today and is not in OED (of course).

(ADS-L ARCHIVES)("strangolapreti")
00524100/03/1521:3746 The Mafia Cookbook (1970)

1.Restaurants; Italian specialties straight from Apulia, the heel of the boot, with fresh pasta of every sort.
Ruth Reichl. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Apr 29, 1994. p. C20 (1 page)

2.Neighborhood Place, Warmed by Hospitality
Eric Asimov. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 3, 1997. p. F12 (1 page)

 The IntelligencerSunday, August 08, 1993 Doylestown, Pennsylvania
...was urging me to eat a helping of W W STRANGOLAPRETI, a delicious local pas..

 Syracuse Herald JournalMonday, March 28, 1994 Syracuse, New York
...While we tried a local dish called 'STRANGOLAPRETI.' which means 'priest..

Heavy Duty

809 words
3 August 2005
The New York Sun
Copyright 2005 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC. All rights reserved.

Those who tire of nouns as names for restaurants will delight in the recent crop of verbs - Share, Swish, Amuse - and adjectives - Artisanal, Smoked, and the Upper West Side's new Regional. While names like Plate or Landmarc leave prospective diners blindly guessing about what the restaurant might offer, adjectival names, by their descriptive nature, can't help but do a somewhat better job of conveying what the restaurant is about. Regional, true to its title, offers dishes from 20 or so regions of Italy, all done in a casual, populist style.
The restaurant's look is spare and handsome: loosely arranged wooden tables, without tablecloths, flowers, or candles, in a long, unadorned white space. The bright, accommodating room stretches from a counter-style salumi bar in the front to a tall communal table in the back. Up here on 99th Street, above the West 80s' glut of mid-range dining, a new restaurant gets attention: Regional's charming but underpowered waitstaff is a bit outgunned, night after night, by hordes of local families and couples. Noise levels are elevated but not egregious, and the service, even when it bogs down, remains accurate and friendly.
Although it happily skips the "authentic Old World" conceit - this hodgepodge of diverse traditions is nobody's mamma's cooking - there's a definite unified character to the kitchen's output. Unfortunately, one of the key commonalities among the dishes is an unstinting richness: delicious, yes, but standing up at the end of the meal can be a pronounced effort. Sicilian-born chef Salvatore Zapparata cooked wide-ranging dishes at Piadina and La Madrastra; here he has selected the fried and buttery best of Italy. You can almost hear the neighborhood elevators groaning.
Nonetheless, the cooking is skillful. For a majority of the dishes, the richness complements rather than drowns the balance of flavors. Among the best of the starters are puffy batter fritters ($8) incorporating chunks of fresh, tasty codfish and capers, with a variety of flavors and textures in each bite; and delicate, micro-thin beef carpaccio ($9) with zesty bagna cauda, a hot anchovy oil. But others labor under their own weight, like fat golf balls of fried Fontina ($7.50) with more grease than flavor. A daily selection of cured meats and cheeses provides an alternative antipasto-style start to the meal.
A dozen pastas comprise the heart of the menu. Plump, round little cavatelli ($12) are tossed in an abundant buttery sauce (of course) with toothsome turnip greens; toasted garlic and crushed red pepper add piquancy. A rich, carroty ragu, thick with strands of duck meat, flatters bigoli ($12.50), short, rough-textured Venetian noodles that are full of chew and flavor from whole-wheat flour, and pair beautifully with the sauce. Long, hollow bucatini ($11.50) are drenched in a luscious, heart-stoppingly rich version of a classic sauce, with savory bits of pancetta and sweetly caramelized red onion. Strangolapreti ($12) - "priest-stranglers" - are fist-size soft dumplings from the north, made with spinach, breadcrumbs, and egg, flavored with nutmeg, and served awash in melted butter. A full order of four dumplings suffices to strangle several priests. And a pasta gratin ($12.50) pulls no punches, dousing hollow noodles, mushrooms, and leeks in a mammoth dose of cream and toasting the whole thing to a sublimely savory turn.
Heroic diners who have room for another course after even half a serving of pasta are rewarded with a couple of excellent choices. In a Sardinian preparation, pieces of lamb ($15) are pounded tender, tossed with artichoke hearts, and topped with shreds of tangy, salty cheese. The nuanced, flavorful combination brings out the best in all its ingredients. A moist, tasty tuna steak ($18) gets light flavor from a basic salmoriglio sauce of olive oil, garlic, lemon, and oregano.
Desserts (all $6) like lemon ricotta fritters and flourless chocolate cake offer no respite from the onslaught of weighty food, but a couple of lighter ones - zabaglione poured over fresh berries, or a delicate Italian ice-cream cake - go down more easily.
Sixty Italian wines with a broad provenance fall largely under $50. Everything is labeled with its region of origin, so it's easy to pair dishes with local wines. A dozen by-the-glass choices include the popular, emphatic Nuhar Nero d'Avola blend from Sicily ($7), a supple, herby Ligurian Vermentino ($7), and Santi's excellent Ripasso Valpolicella ($8), which is "re-passed" over the skins left over from earlier fermentations, providing a tannic structure that stands up to the heaviest dishes.
Given its heft, Regional's food isn't ideal for everyday enjoyment, but it's tasty (and affordable) enough to merit an occasional indulgence, perhaps on days when you're feeling a little too buoyant.
Regional, 2607 Broadway, 212-666-1915.

Translating American Gorceries Into Italian Masterworks

Phyllis Chasanow-Richman
Washington Post Staff Writer
3,565 words
3 April 1985
The Washington Post
(Copyright 1985)

"Cooking potatoes and cooking lobster is the same," said Andreas Hellrigl, whose cooking is known throughout Italy from his television shows as well as from his Merano hotel, Villa Mozart, and restaurant, Andrea. So he wasn't even faintly daunted by the prospect of cooking whatever an American supermarket had to offer. He arrived at the Georgetown Safeway to choose ingredients for lunch with several lists, for his menu would depend on what looked good at the moment.
He knew, however, that he wanted to make his specialty, wine soup.
That would require chicken broth, which in turn needed a good flavorful hen. So right away Hellrigl faced a dilemma. There were no big old hens at the poultry counter, only young chickens. Those Hellrigl smelled through their plastic bags. "Not too much aroma, the chicken," he stated with disappointment. "Hens have more aroma." So he chose instead a package of chicken wings and a package of bouillon cubes to boost their flavor.
Next he considered dessert, and for that he wavered between a souffle' of ricotta with asti spumante zabaglione and fruit, or an "apple in the oven" with caramel ice cream. But since he was ticking off five courses for lunch, homemade ice cream sounded excessively time-consuming, so he settled on the souffle' and began his quest for ricotta.
That turned out to be no less a problem than the hen. Hellrigl opened a package of ricotta and shook it, trying to assess its texture under the plastic cover. Too soft, he concluded. Wasn't there any firmer ricotta? No, all were the same texture, so he headed for the cheese counter to see if dry ricotta might be added to firm it up. But the dry ricotta turned out to be salty, and by the end of afternoon he would be reduced to adding bread crumbs to the souffle' mixture to give it the body the ricotta lacked.
The parmesan, too, wasn't up to Hellrigl's standards, though he examined every form of it the Safeway had to offer. In general, the packaged cheeses were quickly rejected.
Prospects for lunch improved at the meat counter. What would the main course be? Osso bucco? Liver alla Veneziana? One look at the veal shanks decided the question: It would be osso bucco, for these were meaty, though not as uniform as Hellrigl might have liked them. He also chose some bones for their sauce.
The produce section, too, yielded what he wanted, though the plastic bag dispenser didn't yield easily to his yanking. Like Michel Gue'rard, who had run through this experiment before him, Hellrigl had risen easily to every surprise the Safeway presented except those recalcitrant plastic produce bags. Gue'rard, too, had chosen wings for his chicken broth and picked plum tomatoes from among the several available varieties, and was stopped in his tracks by fascination with the frozen prepared foods.
Being an Italian, though, Hellrigl sneered a bit at the quality of the garlic, and as an Italian, could do with no less than two heads of garlic to make lunch for eight people. He was also disappointed with the selection of fresh herbs, for that day the Safeway's inventory was low, and there was neither rosemary nor sage, not to mention oregano.
What delighted Hellrigl, though, was two-toned savoy cabbage with its purple center. Did it retain its color in the cooking, he wondered? He also slowed his determined pace long enough to examine the varied apples, and eventually chose some granny smiths.
As for packaged goods, Hellrigl has long admired American flour. "America has very good flour!" he exclaimed, smelling the bag. "It has very good aroma." But not so the vanilla beans. He shook the jar and listened; "A little old," he concluded.
An hour and ten minutes for shopping, then four hours for cooking. In that time Hellrigl produced five courses, each of them so complex that they included a tomato sauce from scratch or a broth started on the spot or several sub-dishes concocted for a medley.
He arrived at the kitchen of Chanterelle caterers, which had been borrowed for the afternoon, with a suitcase in hand. "I have my own kitchen," he proclaimed, as he changed from jacket and tie to white chef's coat, apron and toque, and brought out his own knives. He cooks in many kitchens on his visits-this is his third, he said, to practice his English-to the U.S. during the three months a year his hotel is closed. The next night he was going to be cooking ravioli in New York.
"The salt here makes me crazy," he confided, as he salted a pot of water on the stove. First a dish tastes undersalted, he said, then he adds a little salt and it tastes oversalted. A few minutes later a Chanterelle staff member came in the kitchen to pour her pot of boiling water-the water that Hellrigl had just salted-through the drip coffee maker.
Apologies made, Hellrigl unwrapped the meats-the veal shanks should breathe for a half-hour, he explained-and started the potatoes boiling for the gnocchi roll. He sharpened his knives, trimmed the veal shanks and tried to define the name of the gnocchi roll (strangolapreti) in English-"strangle the priest" was the closest he could figure.
Buy shanks cut from the middle, he advised, as he discovered that one of the shanks he'd bought was too bony and another had muscles that were too hard because it had been cut from the end.
By now the kitchen was in full swing, with one of Chanterelle's assistants helping to wash, peel and cut ingredients. And not only were five courses under way, but in three languages: She spoke Spanish, Hellrigl switched back and forth between Italian and English, and gestures did what words failed to convey.
At 3:50 the first four courses were ready for a ravenous audience, and it was considered too late to make the dessert. Hellrigl looked crestfallen, but dinnertime was looming before lunch was started. So the group agreed to forego the souffle', and sat down to taste the wine soup.
Extraordinary stuff! They loved it! Suddenly time seemed not to matter any more. If this was the beginning, they were prepared to stretch into the evening to savor the end. They reconsidered dessert, which delighted Hellrigl. Back to the food processor and on to the souffe'.
Here are Hellrigl's recipes. STRANGOLAPRETI (Gnocchi-spinach roll)
(8 servings)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes
2 pounds loose spinach
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 pound flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups grated parmesan
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 pound gorgonzola
Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water to cover and boil 25 minutes, or until tender. In the meantime, wash and trim spinach, lifting to drain it from the water rather than letting the water drain from it, so it doesn't retain its sand. When potatoes are done, drain them and leave them over high heat for about 1 minute to dry them, being careful not to burn them. Peel them while they are still hot, quarter them and mash them through a potato ricer or sieve. A food processor can be used in emergencies, but it is not as good for mashing the potatoes.
Weigh out the mashed potatoes and put 1 1/4 pounds on the counter top to use for the gnocchi. Reserve the rest for another use. Make a well in center of potatoes and add nutmeg, salt and egg yolks. Sif flour over them and knead mixture together with hands.
Half fill a large metal bowl with ice. Add cold water to cover ice. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil and when it boils add spinach and cook 4 minutes. Drain and plunge spinach in ice water to keep it green. ("This is the new kitchen: color," said Hellrigl.) Drain, squeeze out and chop the spinach.
Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small pan and pour it into potatoes on the countertop. Knead potatoes to form a dough that is soft but holds its shape; if it is too soft, a bit of extra flour might be necessary. Set aside.
Mince together rosemary, sage, garlic, mashed, and shallot. In a saute' pan melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add minced herbs and saute' 1 minute. Add spinach and stir. Heat 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, then 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan.
Dampen a dish towel about 20 inches long and wring it out. On a floured surface roll out potato dough to a 12-by-15-inch rectangle and neatly trim edges. Spread spinach on dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch margin all around. Roll up, starting with the long side. Flour the roll and roll it onto the dampened cloth. Roll up the cloth and tie the ends. Set aside until ready to cook.
Fill a pan wide enough to hold the roll with enough water to cover the roll. Bring it to a boil and add the wrapped roll to the water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
To prepare the sauce, lightly whip 1 cup whipping cream. Add gorgonzola and heat over a pot of simmering water until the cheese melts. Put in a blender with 2 tablespoons of butter and blend until smooth.
Unwrap the gnocchi roll and slice on the diagonal 1/2-inch-thick. On each plate spoon a pool of gorgonzola sauce, then arrange 2 slices of gnocchi on top. Sprinkle with more parmesan and serve.
Note: Gnocchi roll can also be served with just a little butter, sage and parmesan instead of sauce. Zucchini can be used to fill the roll instead of spinach.

Where pasta by any name is superb

Pat Bruno
992 words
24 April 1987
Chicago Sun-Times
47; nc
(Copyright 1987)

Sogni Dorati, 660 N. Wells, 337-6500. Trattoria Bellavia, 3811 N. Harlem, 286-5568. Stefani's, 1418 W. Fullerton, 348-0111.
By the end of this year Americans will consume close to 3 billion pounds of pasta. I don't know how that works out per capita, but I do know that I will play an important role in contributing to that figure.
The pleasure of pasta lies in its versatility. I can't think of another food that works as well, adapts as easily and goes with as many other foods. Can you name another food that has as many different shapes as pasta? (The latest shape I've seen is radiatore or radiator, which looks like a miniature radiator with honeycomb openings for picking up the sauce.)
Can you name a food with names more lyrical or fanciful? Farfalle means "butterflies"; fettuccini stems from the word for "ribbon" or "band"; capelli d'angelo translates as "angel hair" because the noodles are so fine; orecchiette means "little ears"; strangolapreti translates as "priest strangler." And on it goes into the hundreds, each style with its own special name.

By Andrew Gumbel
789 words
23 November 1988
Reuters News
(c) 1988 Reuters Limited

PARMA, Italy, Nov 23, Reuter - In a gleaming north Italian factory, top designers are creating exotic new shapes of pasta under a mantle of secrecy worthy of an armaments plant.
There may be over 300 varieties of Italy's national food handed down through the centuries, but the country's largest pasta maker Barilla says its exclusive, patented innovations are doing brisk business.
"The Italians are notoriously conservative in their eating habits, but we have found that our new lines do very well with young people at the upper end of the market," Barilla spokesman Albino Galapini said.
The company has had to compete with a panoply of existing shapes -- quills, shells, spirals, wheels, butterflies and ears -- and find names to rival the vivid imagery of paglia e fieno (straw and hay) or strangolapreti (priest stranglers).

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