Ferrante Feast

Ferrante Feast

Sunday March 6th will be a day that lives forever in my heart. Rita J. King and I hosted a "Ferrante Feast" to celebrate the extraordinary Neapolitan quartet by the Italian author, Elena Ferrante. We were joined by Italian professor Jennifer Federico, Ann Mah, Jennifer Maloney, Michael Reynolds and translator Ann Goldstein, who had to leave before the limoncello was served and this picture was shot.

Here is the full menu of the meal of dishes mentioned in the text as well as other dishes I chose to tell a story about Naples. I purchased all the ingredients from the Italian-American food artisans in Little Italy in the Bronx. Buon appetito!


Feudi di San Gregorio, Falanghina

Crisp, bright acidity, citrus notes, the “Sauvignon Blanc” of Southern Italy, name derives from Latin “falangae” for stakes supporting grapes in a vineyard

Salvatore Molettierri, Aglianico

Name derived from “Helenikos” means “of Greece”, medium to full body, dark berry hints, earthy, smooth tannins, perfect structure, often referred to as the Barolo of the South because of its aging potential

Pate delle Due Sicilie

White mushrooms, capers, butter, sweet Marsala wine, heavy cream

A dish from the Bourbon kingdom of Naples, purposefully bland in color as the aristocracy wanted refined white or beige foods as opposed to the lower classes, known for eating brightly colored foods

Bruschetta Napoletana

Melted mozzarella cheese, tomato, anchovy

A typical Neapolitan comfort food, consider it the prototype for the after-school, English muffin pizza

Insalata di Rinforzo

Steamed cauliflower, roasted peppers, capers, black cured olives, extra virgin olive oil, white vinegar

A traditional Christmas salad that can be “reinforced” through the New Year by adding more pickled vegetables

From “The Story of a New Name”

“There, after another long walk, she would arrive in the neighborhood, and start polishing and cooking, she would cut up the eel and prepare the insalata di rinforzo, and the chicken broth and the struffoli, without resting for a moment, filled with rage, but consoling herself by saying, “Lenuccia is better than Gigliola, than Carmen, than Ada, than Lina, than all of them.” 


Potato, egg, smoked mozzarella cheese, parsley

From the French word gâteau, it derives from the French period in Naples when this dish would be prepared for the aristocracy by their butler, a monzù or monsieur

From “Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay”

“He showed such a liking for the potato gattò that my mother served him a second very generous portion and promised him, even if in her usual reluctant tone, that she would make it again before he left”

Pasta e Patate

Pasta di Martino, guanciale, yellow onion, celery ribs, potato, parmigiano reggiano

With no one defined recipe, this dish reflects true home cooking and Neapolitan soul food

From “Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay”

“As I ate pasta and potatoes I reread at random some passages from my book.”


Broccoli rabe, sausage




Invented by a nun on the Amalfi coast to resemble the back of a monk’s hood, it was inverted into a seashell for the fashionable pastry shops of the Via Toledo when Naples rivaled Paris and Vienna

Babà al rum

Stanisław Leszczyński, the exiled king of Poland is said to have introduced this rum soaked cake to French chefs who then brought babà to Naples.

 Bruschetta Napoletana right before they go in the oven

Bruschetta Napoletana right before they go in the oven