Author: Daniel Bellino

Hello All ! I'm Daniel Bellino "Z" Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author and Publisher of Positano The Amalfi Coast ... I have traveled the World extensively and have been going to: Napoli, Capri, Positano, and The Amalfi Coast of Italy Since 1985 ... I live and write in New York's Greenwich Village. I am the Best Selling author of such Books as : SUNDAY SAUCE , The RAGU BOLOGNESE COOKOOK, The FEAST of The 7 FISH, and the soon to be released POSITANO - Capri The Amalfi Coast , a book that tells stories of Napoli, Capri and Psoitano, and is part Cookbook of Regional Dishes of the area, as well as being a Guide Book of this region of Italy. I have been a Restaurant and Wine Professional for more than 30 Years, and I Created America's 1st Ever Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro) in 1997, in Bar Cichetti, where I was the Head Chef / Wine Director and Managing Partner.

Best Italian Christmas Cookbook for The Feast of The Seven Fish

 

The BEST ITALIAN COOKBOOK

For The ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

FEAST of The SEVEN FISHES

For CHRISTMAS 2022

mrnewyorkny_5THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH

THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke



La VIGILIA   

The Feast of The 7 Fish

    My Aunt Helen used to make the famous Italian Christmas Eve Dinner, “The Feast of 7 Fishes,” The 7 Fish of the Seven Sacraments. I know she made it because I used to hear her talking about it when I was a little kid. Although I shared many wonderful meals with my dear Aunt Helen, I never had the pleasure of having the famous Christmas Eve Dinner “La Vigilia” Feast of Seven Fish with her. We always had Christmas Eve dinner with the immediate family and Aunt Helen had the Christmas Eve with her brother and sister and other family members. Aunt Helen was born in Salerno, Italy and was my Uncle Franks (1 of my Mother’s 3 brothers) better half. So for our Christmas Dinner my mother would make an Antipasto of Salami, Provolone, Peppers, and Olives, followed by Baked Ziti and a Baked Ham studded with cloves and Pineapple rings.

The first time I ever had the mystical dinner was about 12 years ago with my cousin Joe, his family and my girlfriend Duyen. 


We had been talking about this famous Italian Feast a few weeks previous, and were thinking of making it. Joe told me he wanted to have the Christmas Eve Meal of The Feast of The 7 Fishes, known in Italy as La Viglia (The Vigil) or “La Festa Dei Sette Pesci,” which is also known in Italian-America as The Feast of The 7 Fish, that signify the 7 Sacraments. Now, how’s all that for a mouthful?

 


This Dinner, La Viglia originated in Southern Italy, especially in and around the environs of Napoli. The Feast of The 7 Fish is a Southern Italian tradition that does not exist in the rest of Italy, it is of the South. La Viglia, or “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” as it is known to Italian-Americans commemorates the waiting (Vigil) of the Baby Jesus to be Born at Midnight and the Seven Fish represent the Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Some also believe that the Seven Fish might signify the 7 Days of Creation, or The Seven Deadly Sins, but most believe the 7 Fish pertain to the Seven Sacraments.

 So Joe asked me if I wanted to make this festive and all important dinner, to perform the ceremony. He didn’t need to ask twice. I had never made it before and was dying to do so. For a long time I had yearned to partake in this celebrated old Southern Italian Ritual, and this was my chance. Naturally I was excited, so was Joe. 


The anticipation of the Great Feast to come was of happy expectations and excitement.

 And what for the menu? I know Aunt Helen made Bacala, Shrimp Oreganata, Mussels, Baked Clams, Calamari, Octopus, and eel, all much Loved Southern Italian (especially Napoli and Sicily) Creatures of the Sea. We decided which fish we wanted and how to cook each one. Much thought and planning went into the menu and its execution. Joe wanted; Langoustines, Lobster, and Bacala. Alexandra asked if I would make Stuffed Calamari. We also decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams Oreganata, and Cozze al Posillipo. The menu was set. Duyen helped me with the Calamari which we stuffed with Shrimp, parsley, breadcrumbs, and Peas. We braised the Calamari with tomato, White Wine, and herbs, and if I must say so myself, the Calamari came out superbly. The Stuffed Calamari were a lot of work to make, but well worth the effort as they were a huge hit with all. The Macari boys, Joey, Edward, and Tommy, as well as sister Gabriella, Alex, Joe, Duyen, Jose and Sergio from Barcelona were all in attendance.

 The Mussels Posillipo were cooked with garlic, white wine, parsley, and tomato. The sauce is great to dip your bread into. This dish was one of my mother’s favorites back in the days when few Americans other than those of Italian origins ever ate these wonderful little bivalves. Now-a-days every-body does. As a young boy I remember my mother sending me to Bella Pizza in East Rutherford to get an order of them for her. She always gave me a few and I have Loved them ever since.

 Joe helped me to cook the Langoustines. They are hard to find and I had to order a ten-pound box from Silvano in order to get them. 


The best way to cook langoustines is to split them in half and sauté them on each side in olive oil with a little butter and garlic. We served the Langoustines the same way as Silvano does as we feel his recipe is the best and everybody loves them that way. The Langoustines are served with a salad of thinly shaved fennel and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon with some split cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!!!

 The Lobsters we prepared the best way possible, the New England way, steamed and served simply with drawn butter and lemon wedges. There’s nothing better on Earth, well except for Sunday Sauce of course.

  


Well, that Christmas Eve Dinner The Feast of Seven Fishes was quite a wonderful experience. It was a huge success but quite a bit too much work and actually, too much food, everyone was kind of full already by the fifth fish. The following year we decided on incorporating the Seven Fish into three courses instead of seven separate ones as it’s just too much, too much to eat and too much to cook, a lot of work, and who needs to work that hard on Christmas. It was a good decision. We still had 7 different fish, which is a must. Serving these 7 Fish in three courses was a good idea as it is much more manageable that way, both to cook and to eat.

    


On this Feast of The 7 Fish in “3 Courses” we decided to make the Stuffed Calamari, which I would not have chosen again because it was a lot of work, but it was Alex and Joe’s favorite and they said that it was a must. This was our Antipasto Course. Alexandra and her mom helped me, so the amount of work was cut down and divided into three, “A good thing.”

The stuffed calamari took care of two of the seven the shrimp that were stuffed into the squid.

  The second course (Primi) of Linguine Frutti de Mare consumed four of the Seven Fish required for the meal. It consisted of Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and Scallops cooked with garlic, oil, herbs, and just a touch of tomato.

    The seventh and final fish was fresh Cod that I roasted and served with a sweet and sour onion sauce (Bacala Fresca Agro Dolce). Everybody went bananas for it especially cousin Joe who raved at each and every dish I put down. It’s a pleasure cooking for Joe as his passion for eating and for the Italian American way of life, the food, the wine, the rituals. 


Joe truly Loves and savors the experience, so I always love to cook for him, Alexandra, their children, or just about anyone for who savors the experience so well. This goes the same for my cousin Anthony Bellino his wife Debbie and their three girls Chrissy, Danna, and Allison, along with all my close friends and family.

    It makes cooking a joy rather than a chore. When cooking for family or friends, you give two of life’s great gifts, a tasty Home-Cooked meal combined with a little bit of Love. Scratch that. “A whole lotta Love!”

    


If you don’t want to go so crazy, with 7 Fish as it’s quite an undertaking, you should try to do an odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11. Three (3) is a Nice Number and Represents the Holy Trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Buon Natale!

Excerpted from The FEAST of The 7 FISH “ITALIAN CHRISTMAS by Daniel Bellino “Z”




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mrnewyorkny_5THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH  

 
The FEAST of THE 7 FISH 

Available

in Paperback

and Kindle 
  AMAZON.com

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Positano-BOOK-Cover

POSITANO

The AMALFI COAST

TRAVEL GUIDE – COOKBOOK

AMAZON.com

FRANK COOKS The FEAST of The SEVEN FISH

ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

La VIGILIA

The FEAST of The 7 FISH

In NEW YORK

Frank Prisinzano


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Feast of 7 Fish 

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Roman Gnocchi with Pork Rib Ragu Recipe – Rome Italy

 



MARIELLA

And Her GNOCCHI w / PORK RIB RAGU

Homemade GNOCCHI

With PORK RIB RAGU







NONNA BELLINO’S COOKBOOK

SICILIAN PASTA GRANNIES



Mariella is a PASTA GRANNY. Gnocchi with PORK RIB RAGU is Delicious. “Love it”



#Rome  #Italy









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ROME to POSITANO and Roman Pasta Recipes

 

The COLOSSEUM

ROME , ITALY




ROME :  FOOD & DRINK – TOURS – HOTELS – EVERYTHING


Roma


Rome, Italy — a city that has captured hearts and minds for years. Like most big cities, you can spend a pretty penny in Rome if you aren’t careful. Luckily though, there are also numerous free things to do in Rome just waiting to be explored.

The Eternal City is a fascinating contrast of history and modern society living together in harmony. It seems that everywhere you turn there is a historical site surrounded by the modern city that has grown up around it.



The ROMAN FORUM

Home to incredible churches, fabulous museums, beautiful piazzas, and unmatched historical sites, Rome is an ancient city with loads of things to do.

The COLOSSEUM

Rome’s tenacity is best illustrated in its ancient monuments, remarkably intact nearly 2000 years on. Debuting in 80 AD, the behemoth 50,000 seat Colosseum famously hosted frenzied spectators who would watch gladiators facing off against each other or wild animals. No photograph can prepare you for the thrill of seeing it for the first time. More than any other monument, this iconic amphitheater symbolizes the power and drama of ancient Rome, and still today it’s an electrifying sight. The amphitheater dominates as the top tourist attraction in the city; Book Tickets in Advance to bypass the lines. 




The PATHEON

ROME


Built by Romans in 126 A.D. in Rome, Italy, the Pantheon is the oldest, continuously used structure in history. The dome was and is a marvel of engineering and the design of the dome plus columns inspired domed landmarks worldwide.


“EAT LIKE a ROMAN”

5 MUST EAT DISHES



# 1  – BUCATINI  AMATRICIANA






# 2  – SPAGHETTI CARBONARA



It is hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the origins of carbonara. The most popular rumour says that the dish came about during World War II when American GIs were craving bacon and eggs, and a clever chef found a way to mix them into pasta. Egg yolk is the key to a good carbonara because the dish is never made with the addition of cream in Italy. Some newer Rome restaurants riff on the dish, offering seafood or vegetarian versions, but there is nothing like the umami explosion of the classic egg, bacon and cheese.





# 3 –  CODA di VACCINARA
Roman Oxtail Stew







# 4  –  PASTA CACIO PEPE

There are few dishes simpler or more satisfying than cacio e pepe–pasta with cheese and black pepper. The cheese in question is cacio–the word for Pecorino Romano in the local dialect. The finely grated pecorino is emulsified in starchy pasta cooking water to create a smooth sauce that is essentially pure cheesy goodness. Freshly ground black pepper helps to cut through the fattiness and adds a kick to the dish that Romans love. With so few ingredients, the key to cacio e pepe is a speedy chef who can ensure that the sauce comes out creamy instead of clumpy.

Where to EAT It :  Flavio al Velavevodetto

# 5  – CARCIOFI GUIDEA
ROMAN FRIED ARTICHOKS
From The JEWISH GHETTO of ROME

Perhaps it is true that anything will taste good fried, but there is a special place in Roman hearts for carciofi alla guidea. Looking like bronzed flowers, these deep-fried artichokes are a speciality in the city’s old Jewish quarter. The meaty globe artichokes attain their creamy-on-the-inside and crispy-on-the-outside perfection by being fried not once but twice. No need to separate the leaves or look out for thistles; these artichokes are eaten whole.





# 6  – TRIPPA alla ROMANA
Roman Stewed Tripe

Offal is a cornerstone of Roman cuisine, dating back to when Europe’s largest slaughterhouse operated just outside the historic centre beside the Tiber river. Workers were partly paid in these poorer cuts, and a distinctive cuisine emerged. The most beloved of all is trippa or tripe–the honey-combed upper stomach of a grazing cow. In Rome, the tripe is slowly simmered in tomato sauce and topped with cheese, resulting in a pleasant flavour so long as you can get past the slightly off-putting texture.

Where to get it: Checchino dal 1887



# 7  –  ROMAN PIZZA


Not to be confused with chewy Neapolitan-style pizza, Pizza alla Romana is cracker-thin and should always finish with a good crunch to the crust. The round pizza can be served with plain marinara sauce or piled high with toppings like olives, artichokes, egg and prosciutto alla capricciosa. The budget-friendly meal is most popular with young Romans, who hardly let a week go by without a night out with friends over pizza.



ROMAN PASTA RECIPES

MANGIA ITALIANO
CARBONARA – AMATRICIANA
CACIOE e PEPE
And MORE


“ROME to The AMALFI COAST”

ROME to POSITANO The AMALFI COAST


PRIVATE & SEMI-PRIVATE

DOOR to DOOR

“I LOVE POSITANO”
Going to POSITANO ?

The AMALFI COAST ?

“YOU NEED THIS TRAVEL GUIDE”

POSITANO The AMALFI COAST

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe

 
EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
 
 
 
 

TOMATO SAUCE for EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA

 
Ingreidents :
 
8 tablesppons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cans San Marzano Tomotoes, removed from can and crushed with your hands
10 fresh Basil Leaves, torn into small pieces
 
 
1.  Add the Olive Oil to a large stainless steel pot. Turn heat on to a low flame. Add the Garlic.
     Cook the garlic for 2 minutes on low heat. Add the Red Pepper and continue cooking for 1 min.
 
2.   Add the tomatoes to the pot, and turn heat to hot. Cook on high heat, stirring the tomatoes with a 
      wooden spoon. Cook on high heat until the tomatoes start to bubble, then turn heat down to low.
 
3.   Add the Basil, Salt & Black Pepper and mix. Turn heat to medium and cook, as you stir for 8 minutes
      on medium heat. Low flame to very low, and cook on a low flame for 14 minutes, stirring occasionally
      with a wooden spoon.
 
4.    Turn heat off, and let the sauce rest. It is done.

FRIED EGGPLANT CUTLETS for EGGPLANT PARM

 

 

 
BREADED FRIED EGGPLANT
 
“TASTY on THEIR OWN”

 

Ingredients :

  • 3 Medium Large Purple Eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bread Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Sea Salt And Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  •  
  1. Slice the Eggplants into round slices, each about 1/2 -inch thick.
  2. Sprinkle the slices with salt and then place them in a colander.
  3. Leave the eggplant in the colander to drain for at least 1 hour, giving the salt time to absorb the eggplant’s bitterness.
  4. When eggplant are ready to be used, use a fork to lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
  5. Spread the flour onto one shallow pan, and the breadcrumbs, cheese, and paesley in another one.
  6. Season the eggplant slices to taste with salt and pepper, and then lightly dredge each eggplant slice first lightly in the flour, then the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.
  7. In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and when the oil begins to smoke, lay several eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan.
  8. Fry the slices until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
  9. When the first batch is cooked, remove the eggplant from the pan to a serving dish using a slotted spoon.
  10. Repeat the cooking process, beginning by adding 3 fresh tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, until all of the cutlets are cooked.
  11. Keep the cooked cutlets warm in a hot oven while you continue to cook all of the eggplant slices.
ASSEMBLING the EGGPLANT
 
 
INGREDIENTS :
 
1  1/2 cups grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Grana Padano Cheese
 
 
Get a Baking Pan and caot with a little Olive Oil on the bottom of the pan.
 
Add a layer of Tomato Sauce to the bottom of the pan.
 
Place a layer of fried Eggpant on top of the tomato sauce to completely cover.
 
Top the Eggplant with a layer of Tomato Sauce. Sprinkle grated Parmigiana or Grana Padano Cheese ofver the Eggpant. 
 
Add another layer of Eggplant, top with Tomato Sauce, and grated cheese.
 
Continue layering the Eggplant, Tomato Sauce, and Grated Chees until all the Eggplant has been used up.
 
Place the pan of Eggplant into a 400 degree oven. Cook for 7 minutes at 400 degrees, then turn down the heat to 350 degrees. Cook the Eggplant until cooked through, about 35 minutes more at 350 degrees.
 
Turn oven off and let the eggplant sit in the oven for 7 minutes befor taking it out.
 
Take the Eggplant out of the oven, and let sit for 12 minutes before serving.
 
Cut the Eggplant into square or rectangle pieces and serve to your guests.
 
 
Note : The Eggplant can be cooked ahead of time, cooled and place in the regrigertator and served later in the day or the next day.
 
When reheating the cold eggplant to serve. Remove the eggplant at least 30  to 40 minutes befor reheating.
 
Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Cook the Eggplant for 14 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 8 minutes before cutting the Eggplant and serving. 
 
Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
 
 
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SUNDAY SAUCE
 
alla CLEMENZA alla PACINO
 
AUNT FRAN’S EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
 
“IT’S The BEST EVER” !!!
 
ITALIAN SOUP – PASTA – MEATBALLS
 
AND MORE …
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