The Abbondanza Papers

By treatyrockbeef - Last updated: Thursday, July 8, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

When I was a kid, my friends and I quickly learned which of the neighborhood houses were the right ones to show up at just around mealtime.  This was where I learned the Old World term abbondanza – abundance, plenty, copiousness.  Of course the places I made this memorable discovery were the homes of my Italian-American friends – one in particular where there usually was homemade gravy (please don’t say spaghetti sauce) on the stove and a plate of cookies on the table.  There was a men’s kitchen (yes) downstairs where the sausage (sopressata) was made and the anisette was drunk.  We didn’t snoop around there uninvited – big Nick was a warm and towering bear of a man who could be positively frightening with his dander up.  You could not leave without sitting down to visit with Miss Rita and have “a little something” – maybe some rice balls or veal and peas with a little macaroni and a little salad for your digestion.  The ways in which an authentic food culture links generations and neighbors and gives kids important grounding touchstones as they grow up and move away cannot be overstressed. 
 
Many families have lost and are losing anything resembling food culture in the name of packaged convenience and prepared meals (family structure and stability is a big part of keeping foodways intact).  We who love actual food defend the fortress and pass along tradition and lore to those we love.  Our recipes express our travels and experiences and joys. 
 
My son and I planted our garden this spring with great excitement and anticipation.  We envisioned summer meals with tomatos and basil and mozzarella.  We saw ourselves trading the abundant harvest with our neighbors for eggs and blueberries and venison in the fall.  The arugula and sweet peas have come up well and we started cutting our first baby zucchini in mid-June marinated in olive oil herbs and balsamic vinegar sliced thin and grilled.  Then we departed on our annual flyfishing trip to the North Maine Woods and returned to huge baseball-bat sized zucchinis way bigger than my wife likes grilled or sauteed.  What to do with these things other than fend off an unwelcome intruder ??
 
Like a thunderbolt, Miss Rita’s recipe for baked stuffed zucchini with a savory meat filling popped into my head so I made them for Farmers Market last Saturday and people seemed to like them well enough.
 
Cut zucchini in half the long way and then each long piece in half cross way so you have 1/4 zucchinis.  Core out the middles with a sharp knife and discard or use for something else.  Parboil your zucchini for 5 minutes in a big pot of salted water to soften them up a little.  Remove, drain and place in oven pans for stuffing.  Roast 2 sweet peppers till skins blacken.  Let cool.  Slip off skins, remove seeds and chop.  Saute a sweet onion in olive oil till clear.  Add a chopped summer squash (fine dice) and some Italian herbs, dried crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.  Saute till onions start to brown.  Add roasted peppers and a package of Treaty Rock dry aged 100% grass-fed beef and brown dicing it apart into the saute.  When beef is browned, transfer to a big bowl and add 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs and 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese.  Mix well, fill your zucchinis and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.
 
Abbondanza !!
 
Treaty Rock Farm takes great pride in producing 100% grass fed, dry-aged beef LOCALLY, NATURALLY & HUMANELY.  We have a full supply of new inventory from 3 animals that came from the meat packer this past week.  The 1 1/2″ thick Porterhouse and T-bone steaks will bring out your inner Pleistocene man.  Put in your order for a 20-pound Pasture Pack and save 10% on the wonderful steaks, roasts, ribs and ground beef that your family loves.
 
Respecting the Protein, PMB

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