Like any place in the world, there are both bad and good parts of living in New York City. One of the great parts is that I can celebrate festivals from all over the world with just the cost of a Metrocard fare. One of those festivals is Ferragosto. Most tourists who come to New York walk through a few blocks of lower Manhattan and think they have been through our Little Italy. However, if you really want to experience Italian culture in New York, you need to take the train up to the Bronx. Here you will experience the real Little Italy. Small family owned purveyors who do one thing really well. At Casa Della Mozzarella, home made cheeses and cured meats are their specialty. You can even purchase the whey to make your own homemade mozzarella.
Ferragosto is celebrated every September in the Bronx’s Little Italy, although it is celebrated in August in Italy. It has been an annual festival here for 15 years and brings in about 20,000 visitors. All of the food purveyors bring their goods out on the streets. Fresh Bread, cheese, cured meats, as well as grilled meats and fresh seafood is available for all to enjoy.
Fresh shucked oysters on the half shell at Randazzo’s and long lines for some fresh roasted pork from the animals rotating on the spit is definitely not to be missed for the seafood and meat lovers.
Thin crust pizza with fresh ingredients the way they make it in Italy….live music…so much to take in, so make sure to arrive early!
So what is Ferragosto?
Ferragosto is an ancient festival that traces its roots back to 18 B.C. After a season of hard labor, the festival is to celebrate the harvest. Although the festival occurs in the middle of summer, rich foods are often eaten to represent prosperity and the season’s bounty. Wheat, beans and fresh produce – products of the harvest – are eaten, often in rich sauces. Rich game birds like quail and pigeon as well as whole pigs are also often roasted to celebrate the holiday.
This pasta in a rich cream sauce with beans and other vegetables represent the bountiful harvest that is celebrated during Ferragosto.
Basil Cream Sauce Pasta with Vegetables
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 2 cups trimmed and halved green beans
- 20 basil leaves
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 12 oz. box of vegetable pasta
- 2 cups cooked or canned canneloni beans
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions.
In the blender, combine cream and basil. Process well.
In a deep skillet, heat oil.
Add onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, until softened. Add green beans and saute for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and basil cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Add beans and pasta. Cook for 1 minute, until heated through.
Add cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Even though this is a rich cream sauce, the fresh vegetables prevents the dish from feeling heavy and rich after eating.