Paola Corso
Copyright © 2017 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved.
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PIZZELLE BY PAOLA An Italian American mother who can't cook pasta for her family—I ask you is there a fate worse than this? Don't laugh, Giulia Melucci, author of the memoir I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. I've seen a clip of you preparing your luscious Italian dishes in your kitchen, telling your audience to enjoy...if they can eat gluten. Well, my youngest son and husband are senstive to wheat, and their stomachs tell them so. Maybe someday you'll date a gluten-free guy and you'll see what I mean. If I cleared all the Italian food with the G word from my table, there'd be nothing left but an olive to mangia. No linguini with sugo and meatballs, no pastina in wedding soup, farfalle with lentils, orrecchio with escarole and beans, risotto with pesto. No spinach lasanga and mushroom ravioli along with 140 other varieties of the wheat noodle. And there's more: bread—glorious Italian bread, gnocchi, artichokes stuffed with breadcrumbs, salad with garlic croutons, not to mention one of my favorite Italian cookies: pizzelle. Pizzelle, those round, crisp wafers pressed in irons with designs from the days they were fashioned with a family's crest in the Abruzzi region of Italy. Buttery thins that melt in your mouth. Mine are not your Nonna's standard anise-flavored: They're chocolate peppermint, kaluha and cream, coconut lemon zest, rum raisin, savory herb with fresh basil or rosemary from my flower pot, and flavors I don't even know yet because it will depend on whatever ingredients I have in my cupboard. I've put behind all my kitchen catastrophes of yesteryear (when my mother and I used to say that we don't cook, we burn) to begin a tradition of making Italian cuisine without setting off the smoke alarm or getting out a knife to whittle away the char. I now press burn-free pizzelle to share at special occasions such as weddings or book parties, family picnics and music recitals. All these sweet-smelling waffle cookies but none for youngest son, Mario who carries on my father's name? This Italian American mother knew she better start thinking outside the Ronzoni box and wasn't going to get any help from Lydia or Giada. She's concocted a gluten-free recipe by trial and error. The result: the lightest of pizzelle, so airy you pat your stomach and can't remember if you ate them or not. And if you do, you stop counting how many. Here's a recipe that combines and adapts several I found on the Internet. I pressed Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Pizzelle for my bello figlio, and he loves them. Let me know how they turn out. Enjoy in good health! Of course, I still make pizzelle with the G word, and my mother has come to give them her seal of approval. This was after I asked if I should pack the pizzelle iron on a visit to Pittsburgh once, and she said, "It's up to you. If you want to lug that heavy thing on the train all the way from Brooklyn, I won't stop you." I took that as a resounding no! But after we hung up, she must have put on a pot of coffee and found nothing to dip in her tazza because an hour later she called back and told me to bring it. I packed, I pressed, she dunked. Read an Article about a pizzelle iron maker.
Read Paola’s Ellis Island essay in The New York Times
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