Buffalo mozzarella, puttanesca, parmigiana, friarielli, and babbà, a whole menu as it is enjoyed in Naples
Naples boasts a very ancient and varied culinary tradition. It is very diverse and influenced by the many cultures that arrived in the city thanks to the sea.
Between different dominations and merchant ships, a multitude of ingredients arrived in the port. And the locals included them in staple food as well as elaborated recipes. Thus, from starters to desserts, each typical Neapolitan course is a true delight for the palate. Here is an ideal menu with some of the most representative dishes prepared in the shadow of Vesuvius.
Buffalo Mozzarella – Generally it is one of the most important starters on the table and it can be enjoyed alone or with cold cuts. Nevertheless, it often enriches pizza margherita or gnocchi. In any case, its flavor and texture is a concert for the taste buds.
Pasta Puttanesca – Often called “aulive e cchiapparielle,” this delicious sauce requires few simple ingredients: tomatoes, black olives from Gaeta, garlic, capers, and oregano. Neapolitans traditionally marry it with spaghetti, but today there are variations with other pasta shapes, even short ones.
Eggplant Parmigiana – Today, there are light versions of the recipe with grilled rather than fried eggplants. However, the original recipe requires that they are fried twice: once as soon as they are cut and then again once battered with flour and egg. Subsequently, they are layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and basil, before being baked.
Friarielli – Turnip greens were such an important cultivation in Naples that the Vomero was called “o colle d’e friarielle”, the turnip greens hill. Today they are mainly cultivated in the inland areas of Campania. The name ‘friarielli’ derives from the cooking method: frying. The tenderest parts of the turnip greens are put in a pan with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and chili pepper.
Babbà – No one has any doubt that babà is a typically Neapolitan dessert, yet its original recipe comes from Poland. The first to make it was Stanislaus Leszczyński, a Polish king who dabbled in cooking and had problems with his teeth. To avoid hard food, he thought to dunk a typical local dessert with a Hungarian wine. Only when the dessert arrived in Naples in the nineteenth century, however, it began to be dunked in rum. Then, it became popular with the characteristic mushroom shape.
Ilona Catani Scarlett