There have been many great joys and experiences in life celebrating one’s ethnicity, one of which was my father’s arrival from Palermo, Sicily, and settling in Madison in 1911 with his parents, Salvatore and Caterina Tripolino in the old neighborhood of Greenbush , to join Uncles Angelo and Dominic DiMaio who were rebuilding the State Capitol.
The Italian Workmen’s Club, a mutual aid organization founded in Madison on January 18, 1912, continues to preserve its ethnic past with an outdoor festival season featuring Festa Italia 2022 after a two-year absence. What started as a small party in the old neighborhood of Greenbush has grown into one of Dane County’s premier ethnic festivals with flavors of delicious food, refreshing drinks, great musical entertainment, games and activities for children and wonderful tributes to Italian culture to McKee to fill. Farms Park in Fitchburg June 3-5.
Check out the full event schedule at iwcmadison.com. Tell your neighbors and friends to come out and enjoy all things Italian.
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Insalata di Patate (Italian Potato Salad)
Proud members of our Italian community have shared some of their old favorite Italian recipes, starting with Ross and Penny DePaola. Both recipes will appear in the June 2022 Fra Noi and DePaola cookbooks.
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Boil the potatoes with their skins on for 18-20 minutes, or until tender. Do not overcook. Drain, let cool slightly and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cut the onion into inch strips and add to the potatoes. Add oregano, salt and olive oil and stir gently to mix all ingredients. Add a little water if necessary to moisten. Add more spices to taste if needed. Hang out.
Insalata di Pomodori e Cetrioli (Italian tomato and cucumber salad)
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeds removed, then sliced crosswise
¼ large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped or torn into small pieces
¼-½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to release the juice from the tomatoes. Serve with fresh Italian bread.
Steve and Sherie Sasso found this recipe a few years ago regarding spiedini that are quite small, eaten off the skewer or taken off skewers and added to pasta.
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 20 pieces and beaten with a meat mallet to about ¼ inch thickness (for even cooking).
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated cheese: Parmesan, asiago, or pecorino romano
¾ tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour melted butter and lemon juice into a small shallow dish. In a small to medium mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs with chopped parsley, grated lemon zest, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Brush chicken with butter and roll or toss in breadcrumbs. Thread 5 spiedini’s on each skewer with a little space between them so that the meat is cooked through. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Notes: For even more flavor, marinate the chicken in the butter mixture up to 6 hours before breading. Add an extra teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter mixture for even more lemon flavor.
Gene and Nancy Urso received this recipe from their friend, Donna Wrend, many years ago, and it has been a favorite ever since.
1 pint crushed tomatoes
2 cloves peeled tomatoes
Slowly pour olive oil into the ingredients until it rises to the top of the container; warm up a bit. Best made ahead of time. This is great when poured slowly over Italian sausages and can also flavor steak, etc.
Orzo Pasta Salad With Watermelon And Feta Cheese
This is a favorite watermelon and feta cheese pasta salad recipe shared by Gene Urso’s sister Judie.
1 cup Orzo pasta according to package directions, then rinse and cool.
2 cups diced seedless watermelon
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup chopped fresh basil
Mix and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Quick Tomato Sauce
Growing up with homemade spaghetti sauce that had simmered for hours, it caught the eye of my cousin Joe Tripalin and his wife, Deb, when it was described as thick and delicious served with freshly cooked pasta. It makes 4 cups in 20 minutes with ingredients that assured them how delicious it was in such a short time.
16-ounce can crushed plum tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Serve hot. (Can be prepared 1 month in advance and frozen in an airtight container.)
Contact the Wisconsin State Journal’s Cooks’ Exchange, PO Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at [email protected]