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Italian Renaissance Christmas Recipes

Guest Author - Deborah Watson-Novacek

As the "leader" of the Renaissance period, Italy in the 14th century became home to some of the most skilled and creative cooks in Europe. The royalty and upper classes throughout the city states of Italy developed a practice of putting on elaborate banquets during holiday celebrations.


TYPES OF ITALIAN RENAISSANCE FOOD
During this time period, Italian cooking was known for its use of light sauces made of fruit or aromatic plants, the heavy use of spices and sugar in both savory and sweet dishes. The consumption of roasts, stuffed pastas, pies and tarts was widespread throughout the region.

Milk and pasta were in heavy use, and people began cooking with butter, heavy cream and all types of cheese. There was also a great love for giblets and sweetbreads. It was also during this period that fruits became a stable part of the Italian diet, most often being served at the beginning of a meal.


SOME ITALIAN RENAISSANCE CHRISTMAS RECIPES
Below are two recipes for dishes that would have been served during holiday seasons during the Italian Renaissance.


Galine ho Caponi - Roast Chicken with honey/lemon glaze
From 1465 Naples

Original Recipe in Italian
"In spito cum suo sapore Piglia, quando le harai cotte bene arosto, cinque amandole mondate he pistale bene cum zucaro fino ho non havendo zucaro, pone mel he stempera cum sugo de limoni che sia un pocho spisso; he ponerai sopra le galine, ho vero fa in scutellino el sapore et le galine in piatelli; he manda caldi a tavola."

Modernized Recipe in English
"When you have roasted them well, take five peeled almonds and grind them up with fine sugar. If you do not have sugar, use honey and temper with lemon juice to make it slightly thick; put this over the chickens, or else put the sauce in small bowls and the chicken on plates; serve warm."

Serves 5-6

1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. Clean a whole chicken

3. Make sauce - 5 finely ground & peeled almonds, 3 Tablespoons honey, add lemon juice as desired until sauce is at its desired consistency.

4. Roast chicken, whole with skin on, at 375F until done and juices run clear, about 45 to 50 minutes.

5. Remove skin from chicken.

6. Pour sauce over the chicken or carve first then glaze the meat. Can also serve the sauce on the side in bowled.


ORIGINAL TEXT & TRANSLATION
Scully, T. (2000). Cuoco Napoletano - The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: a critical edition English translation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.



Cemolella Ciciliana - Polenta (Sicilian semolina with cheese)
1465 Naples

Original Recipe in Italian
"Falla cocere in brodo grasso, ponendola a pocho nela pignata, menando continuamente cum lo cughiaro; he falla bulliere per spacio de meza hora supre la braxe longe dal focho; poi fa le menestre he meteli sopra caso he specie. Alla Quaresima la po fare cum latte de amandole he zucaro he aqua rosata."

Modernized Recipe in English
"Cook the semolina in fat a broth adding it little by little to the pot, stirring constantly with a spoon. Boil it for half an hour on the coals away from the fire; then dish it up and put cheese and spices on top. During Lent you can make this with almond milk, sugar and rosewater."

Serves 8-10

Ingredients::
1 c. Semolina
c. grated parmesan or other hard grating cheese
3 c. Chicken broth
Pinch Menagier Fine Spice for garnish
Salt to taste

1. Preheat stockpot to hold broth

2. Bring broth or water to boil with pinch of salt

2. Gradually add semolina, stirring constantly

3. Bring back to simmer and reduce heat to simmer until done, stirring regularly, and all liquid is absorbed.

4. Stir in grated cheese

5. Place on serving dish and sprinkle lightly with spice powder and more cheese.

6. Serve warm.


ORIGINAL TEXT & TRANSLATION
Scully, T. (2000). Cuoco Napoletano - The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: a critical edition English translation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.


RECIPE SOURCE
Thanks to The Home and Hearth of the Castlemere Cookies Medieval Dinner Club for the publication of these recipes - both in English and the original Italian. The Home and Hearth of the Castlemere Cookies Medieval Dinner Club is a A Shire of he Castlemere SCA interest group for medieval cooking and feasting.

Go Ye Now and Feast!


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Content copyright © 2014 by Deborah Watson-Novacek. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deborah Watson-Novacek. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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