The Cooking Runner

A Calabrian Valentine’s Day

on February 15, 2013

Miles run this month: 19.2 miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1946.5 miles

Ran outside…super awesome!!! Icy, yes…but I just can not do the treadmill!

The hubs and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I cook, but, then again, I cook 5 nights a week on average.

So let’s start by pretending we are here…


Just a little north of Calabria, in Sorrento, but I had to use one of our pictures from our honeymoon

 I made

Salsiccia Calabrese (Calabrese fennel sausage)

Pane Calabrese (everyday bread)

Pasta from The Local Epicurean

A variety of cheeses from The Cheese Lady

Gelato alla Liquirizia (pure licorice ice cream)

Chocolate covered strawberries

It seems like a lot of food…it is really not. It also seems as though it could be a daunting process to make everything, I had to prepare everything a few days before hand to let the flavors blend in the sausage and let the bread starter and sponge ripen. It really was not bad at all.

Salsiccia Calabrese (Calabrese fennel sausage)

Recipe adapted from “My Calabria”  -Rosetta Constantino- but like all recipes I post, I have altered them slightly 🙂

3lbs pork

1/4 cup sweet paprika

1 TBS ground sea salt

1 TBS fennel

3 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and blend with your hands for about 10 minutes to ensure all the ingredients are uniformly blended. Wrap the raw sausage in plastic and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.


After the 24 hours, shape into patties or links and saute’ in a pan until cooked throughout.

I divided the meat into three portions. I froze two portions and cooked 1.


*The original recipe gives directions to stuff the sausage casings. I didn’t do that…1) because I do not have a sausage filling machine, and  2) ATS doesn’t mind eating the casings on brats and sausage, but I am not a fan. Since I am the cook, I don’t make sausages with casings!

Pane Calabrese

Recipe adapted from “My Calabria”  -Rosetta Constantino- but like all recipes I post, I have altered them slightly 🙂


*Side note on all the breads I make… I use all King Arthur Flour. It is the only flour currently sold that does not use and GMO’s. It is expensive, but I am willing to pay it.

The starter is a three day process… The bread takes 5 days from start to finish.

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (about 105-110*)

Day 1… Mix all the ingredients together. Wrap the bowl in a towel and place it in the warmest place in your house. The towel helps insulate the bowl.

Day 2… Divide the starter in half and discard one half. Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup warm water.  Wrap the bowl in a towel and place it in the warmest place in your house.

Day 3… Repeat the directions for day 2.

Day 4… you can save the starter for later, just put it in the refrigerator or you can make the bread now.

The Sponge

1/2 cup starter

1cup flour

1/2 cup warm water

Day 4…combine all the ingredients and wrap the bowl in a towel and  place it in the warmest place in your house for 24 hours.

The bread dough

3 pounds flour

1 TBS sea salt

3 1/2 cups warm water

Day 5… You can either use a mixer or your hands. I used a mixer because I could add all the ingredients and turn it on while I did other things. But if you make it by hand, always make a “well”. Put the flour in the bowl and make a well. Put the sponge in the well followed by the salt and the water. Mix the bread in the bowl, if possible. The dough is a fairly sticky dough and will stick to the counter. The more you knead the dough the dryer it will become. If you do need to turn the dough out on the counter, try not to add more flour. You want to knead the dough for about 15 minutes until it is springy.

The first rise…

Gather the dough into a ball and place in a oiled bowl (I use olive oil) wrap with a clean towel and place in a very warm place away from any drafts. Let it rise about 2 hours. It will form “stretch marks” on top when it is done. IMG_0799[1]

The second rise…

Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape the dough into logs, or whatever shape you want your bread. I did two loaves and 6 doughnut shapes, to make Friselle. (that is another recipe for another day!) Cover the loaves with a towel and let rise again for 2 hours.IMG_0800[1]


Preheat the oven to 475* Bake the bread for 15-20 minutes until golden all over. Lower the heat to 400* and cook for another 25-30 minutes. IMG_0803[1]Continued tomorrow!


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