February may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s also a special month to celebrate loved ones, dear friends, (and yourself, of course!).

Love is in the air, and our vision of Valentine’s Day conjures up flowers, chocolate and a delicious meal. 

That’s why we’ve chosen Fiori D’Inverno — winter flowers —  as this month’s theme for the Mediterranean Pantry Club.

The Mediterranean Pantry Club is a monthly subscription where we feature a new set of products to help build a completely delicious Mediterranean-style pantry.

For February,  we’re bringing you a selection of flavorful and versatile pantry staples, perfect for creating some incredible meals.  

This month’s selection includes:

  • Trampetti Umbrian EVOO 500ml  
  • Casina Rossa Porcini & Salt
  • Polenta Vicentina del Palladio
  • Casina Rossa Sugo Al Pomodoro Abruzzo Pasta Sauce  
  • Italian Harvest Dried Borlotti Beans  
  • Vera Lucano Cavatelli Pasta
  • Dr. Pescia Sulla Honey    
  • Le Dolcezzi di Nani Lemon Amaretti

See details below…

Trampetti Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A certified organic, mono varietal, Moraiolo olive oil with an herbal and slightly earthy aroma. Fluid and light on the palate. Fruity, green apple flavor with a slight bitterness. Full peppery finish. Best as a finishing oil. Drizzle on burrata cheese with artichokes and arugula.

Region: Trevi, Italy (Umbria, Central Italy. Estate produced.
Varietal: Moraiolo
Color: Deep green
Aroma: Herbal and slightly earthy.

Purchase here

Casina Rossa Porcini & Salt

A richly flavored salt by Casina Rossa with sun-dried porcini, onions, garlic, and herbs. It is a natural rub for halibut and chicken, and also a great compliment to cream soups, ragus, risotto, roasted mushrooms, and game meats.

Purchase here

Polenta Vicentina del Palladio

Polenta Vicentina, or polenta from corn grown only in the Vicenza area of northern Italy, is considered among the best in the world. It is a high quality, fine corn flour to make a creamy and fragrant polenta.

Also known as “mais del Palladio” in honor of the museum located in Vicenza and dedicated to 16th century architect, Andrea Palladio; one of the most influential architects of the world, especially on southern American architecture.

Purchase here

Italian Harvest Dried Borlotti Beans

These absolutely fabulous heirloom borlotti beans from Italy’s Piemonte Region are the protein equivalent of eating a beefsteak. Tender and flavorful, they are ideal for pasta fagioli, soups and savory tomato-based dishes.

Purchase here

Casina Rossa Sugo Al Pomodoro Abruzzo Pasta Sauce

A classic Abruzzo ‘red sauce’, made in small batches by Casina Rossa. Fresh tomatoes, oregano, garden vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil make for elegant simplicity at its finest.The perfect ingredient for five-star pasta or pizza and equally elegant over roasted meats and in sauces of all types. Extraordinary!

Purchase here

Vera Lucano Cavatelli Pasta

A compact pasta made from heirloom, high protein non-GMO Senatore Capelli durum wheat flour. A traditional southern Italian hand-rolled cut for use with anything from olive oil, garlic and arugula to prosciutto and fava beans or your favorite soup or sugo.

Purchase here

Dr. Pescia Sulla Honey

The Dr. Pescia line of unfiltered Tuscan honeys is a personal favorite of The Shop Agora. 

Sulla honey is light and delicate, with a velvety texture, and is derived from the flowers of Tuscan legume plants. It has a beautiful, smooth texture, making it an ideal to spread over toast, atop desserts, or to simply devour by the spoonful. Suggested for sauce reductions, tea, and coffee.

Paolo Pescia is a second generation honey maker, practicing nomadic beekeeping, which involves transporting his beehives to seasonally-flowering zones and protected national parks located from the Tuscan coast to its hills. The result is monofloral honeys of stunning quality and flavor. All production is done by hand, including the scraping of the honey from their combs. 

Purchase here

Le Dolcezzi di Nani Lemon Amaretti

Amaretti made with lemon, sweet and bitter almonds and apricot kernels. These soft Amaretti are hand pinched and dusted with icing sugar as the Nanni family ancestors have always done. Gluten-free and absolutely delicious!

Recipes

Polenta

Polenta is simply, coarsely ground cornmeal. The classic ratio is 1 part polenta to 4 parts water, though we like to measure the polenta just a little scant of a full cup. You can use vegetable or chicken broth instead of water. 

Polenta may be served as a hot porridge, or it may be allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled and is a perfect base for any kind of marinara sauce, or meat or mushroom ragu.

Braised Radicchio and Polenta

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Polenta
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • 3 Teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Radicchio, halved
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)

Method

Bring the water/stock to a boil in a medium stainless steel pot. Slowly stir in the polenta to avoid lumps. Add in the salt. Turn heat down to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes,  stirring every minute or so. Be careful of splatter and use a lid on the pot as needed.

When the polenta is thick and tender to the bite, pour into an oiled sheet pan, so that the thickness will be about a 3/4 inch and allow to cool completely until firm.

Cut 3 inch square pieces and grill well on one side.

In about an inch of water with the honey and the Balsamic Vinegar mixed in thoroughly, braise the halved heads of Radicio, until just wilted,

Drain off the liquid well and place the Radicchio on top of the grilled squares of Polenta, garnish the whole plate with a drizzle of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Borlotti Bean and Pasta Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb dried Borlotti beans, soaked for 12 hours
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/2 lb fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb Cavatelli or short pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Place soaked beans in 6 cups of water in a large saucepan.

Add bay leaves, bring to boil and reduce to low-medium heat. Cover saucepan and allow beans to cook for 30-45 minutes or until beans are getting noticeably more tender (Note: with dried beans, it may take longer).

While beans are cooking, finely dice onion and chop celery stalk.

Heat olive oil in large pan and add onion and celery. Cook until vegetables are noticeably softened and fragrant.

Crush, or pass tomatoes through a sieve or food mill and add them to pan.

Allow tomatoes to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With a slotted spoon, begin adding beans to the pan and stir to mix. Once all beans are simmering, add the bean-cooking liquid to pan.

Leave soup to simmer on low-medium heat until beans are tender.

Remove a cupful of beans from pan and blend in a food mixer until smooth and pureed. Return pureed mixture to pan and season with salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, bring water to boil. Add pasta and cook for one minute less than the recommended cooking time. When that time is up, drain pasta in a colander and add pasta to soup. Cook and infuse in soup for one more minute. Remove from heat.

Serve in bowls with a little extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top.

Mushroom Ragu

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake) chopped
  • Porcini & Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Marsala, or Dry Sherry
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan 

Method

In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onions and garlic over medium-low heat until the onions have wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with the Porcini & Salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and saute until mushrooms are tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from heat and pour in the Marsala (or dry sherry). Return pan to heat and allow wine to evaporate, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for 1/2 hour until the sauce has reduced by half. Add heavy cream and mix well. Take the pan off the heat and add the fresh herbs and Parmesan and mix thoroughly.

Serve over a bed of polenta or pasta.

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