Laura's Recipes


Music by the Book

Laura's Recipes

Favorites from The Lost Ravioli Recipes
of Hoboken
just for book groups!


Laura Schenone suggests some favorite recipes for your discussion of
The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

Enrichetta's Pesto

It was difficult to find a large mortar (6 to 8 inches wide) for making hand-pounded pesto in the United States. Then, I finally found one, and it was not so easy to pound as I'd expected. For now, I'm sticking with Enrichetta's blender method. Note, there are dozens of variations on pesto throughout Liguria.

Yield: enough for 4

1 handful (about 1/4 cup) pignoli
pinch salt (1/3 teaspoon or less)
2 small cloves garlic, each about 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch deep, green germ removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin Ligurian olive oil or other mild oil
1 1/2 handfuls (about 2 cups) Genoese basil, small- to medium-sized leaf, harvested while tender, washed and dried very gently
a little bit of water, perhaps a tablespoon
2 handfuls Parmigiano-Reggiano, and then another, and maybe yet another if you're Enrichetta

1. Put the pignoli, salt, garlic, and oil in the blender. Process well. Scrape down with a spatula.

2. Add the basil. Process well, pausing as necessary to turn off the machine and scrape down the inside of the blender. Add a little water. Repeat. Process very well.

3. add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and process very well. Add more cheese as necessary,

4. Serve your pesto over pasta. You may wish to thin it out using some hot water from your pasta pot.

Note: The Genoese add a peeled and roughly cut potato to the water when making pasta that will be dressed with pesto.

Spinach Torta via Hoboken

In Genoa, you find torte--vegetable pies—everywhere.  Usually they are made with pastry crusts, but sometimes, as in this recipe, without, saving lots of time.   This family recipe calls for cream cheese—an American substitution for a cheese called prescinseua in Liguria.  It is easy and a crowd pleaser of a recipe—great for a party, or book group meeting.

Yield: serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer or side dish

4 pkgs  frozen chopped spinach
8 eggs (beaten)
1 cup grated Parmiggianno-Reggiano cheese
1 large 8-oz cream cheese at room temperature (or ricotta, or cottage cheese if you prefer)
salt, pepper, parsley to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Brush about 2 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9x11 pan or Pyrex-type dish. 

3.  Begin with three mixing bowls:  large, medium and small.  In the largest bowl, defrost and drain spinach very well.  Expedited with heat or the microwave if you wish    Place the cream cheese or (other fresh cheese) in the medium bowl.  Beat the eggs in the small bowl. 

4. Cream the cream cheese, using a hand-held electric mixer.  Add the beaten eggs, then the Parmiggiano, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well and pour half the mixture into your spinach. Evenly spread the spinach mixture into the oiled pan.  Cover the spinach with the remaining half of the liquid egg mixture. 

Bake about 45-50 minutes or until top is golden.  Cut into squares.