John's Neapolitan Birthday Feast

Neapolitan FeastFor the last of our four Exploring Italy feasts, we discovered Naples and Campania. All three wines were traditional to Campania, based on the ancient and under-appreciated Aglianico grape.

Antipasti, with a Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio:

  • Polpo alla Luciana (marinated Octopus)
  • Marinated Olives
  • Fritto di Mozzarella
  • Wine Biscuits and Fennel Taralli
  • Two pizzas: a Pizza alla Napolitana (tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies) and a Pizza alla Gamberi (garlic,  shrimp, and bay scallops)

The Pasta, with a spicy, delicious Aglianico di Taburna 2008:

  • Fusilli Aglio e Olio - a simple olive oil and garlic sauce for the pasta, with no tomatoes

The Main Course, with a fabulous Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi 2004.

  • Peperoni Ripieni (bell peppers stuffed with rice, mozzarella, and hard-cooked egg)
  • The Porchetta! My all-time favorite dinner... courtesy of my brother Bill. Follow the link to see his excellent little treatise on Porchetta.

Dessert was not Italian - this being my birthday, Annette made her special mincemeat pie with her homemade green tomato mincemeat - my favorite!

WINE NOTES: It was something of an adventure getting the wines for this feast. The Taurasi came from Cirace's in the North End. I got the Taburna at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, but they had no Lacryma Christi. I used to be able to count on East Side Liquors in Worcester for Italian wines, but they no longer have the selection they once had. I ended up getting the LC at the new Wegmans Supermarket in Northboro, aided and frustrated by two well-intentioned clerks who thought I was looking for La Crema...