I'm pleased to welcome Rosie Genova to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rosie writes the Italian Kitchen Mystery series which is being re-released. THE WEDDING SOUP MURDER is the second book in the series and was reissued last week. The review I'm sharing was originally posted in 2014.
The recipe comes from my friend Tom Ficarra, an enthusiastic foodie and pretty formidable home cook. (He also provided the inspiration for Father Tom, a secondary character in the series.) Italian dishes are the real-life Tom’s specialty, particularly those he samples in his yearly travels to Italy. The last time Tom visited Sicily, he stopped in a small town to fill up his rental car. He interrupted the gas station owner just as he was about to have his pranzo, or late day meal—pasta with arugula and fresh tomatoes that had been marinating in garlic. Served over hot pasta, the vegetables form a “sauce” that doesn’t require cooking.
As you can see, the measurements are not exact, and Tom’s original wording (“Chop the crap out of the tomatoes!”) has been, shall we say, adjusted, for public consumption. If arugula is not to your taste, you may use any green you like in this dish; the heat from the pasta will wilt it slightly. Also, if you find raw garlic a bit too pungent, do what I do: before marinating, lightly sauté the cloves in olive oil until soft but not browned.
The sweetness of the tomatoes really balances the bite of the greens. And here’s what else I love about this meal—your salad is on top of the pasta! All you need to add is some crusty bread and a medium-bodied wine for a complete meal.
Tom’s Cold Tomato Sauce with Arugula
This recipe makes more than enough “sauce” for a pound of pasta. It’s also good the next day as a cold pasta salad—add olives, cubed cheese, and chickpeas for a different take on the dish.
About 10 fresh plum tomatoes
· A 5 oz. package of fresh arugula or other hardy baby green
· ¾ cup-1 cup of olive oil
· 1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
· Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
1) Chop tomatoes, arugula, and garlic well; place in large bowl and mix thoroughly. At this stage, I season with two generous teaspoons of sea salt and several twists of the pepper grinder. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings to preference.
2) Pour olive oil over the mixture.
3) Let the mixture marinate for at least three hours, taking care to stir the mixture several times. The arugula will soften and sweeten in the oil and juices from the tomatoes.
4) Serve over hot pasta of your choice (I used the double twists known as gemelli) with a generous amount of grated Romano cheese.
The Second Italian Kitchen Mystery
Victoria Rienzi is still on the Jersey Shore learning the family's restaurant business as research for her new book. Unfortunately, Vic's research feels more like punishment as her Nonna has her forming a thousand tiny meatballs, or polpetti, for the Italian Wedding Soup the restaurant is making for a special wedding. In addition, she has to go on site to help prepare the soup and special cookies for the reception with her ex boyfriend, Tim, the sous chef. Add some volatile chefs and staff at the fancy country club and we have a recipe for murder!
This second book in the Italian Kitchen Mystery series explores secrets. Multiple secrets are revealed to us as the book progresses; some good, some a possible reason for murder. Does what lies in the past determine what happens now? Do secrets, whether long hidden or recent, make things better or worse?
I'm happy to be back on the boardwalk. In addition to a solid mystery, Rosie Genova has given us another fun look into the Rienzi family and their relationships with each other as well as their restaurant, the Casa Lido. I'm curious as to what will develop between Vic and Cal, as well as between Vic and Tim. And I love seeing penance as 100,000 polpetti!
Italian Recipes included.
The Wedding Soup Murder by Rosie Genova
About The Wedding Soup Murder
Cozy Mystery Reissue 2nd in the Series
Two Roses Books; 2nd edition (October 3, 2021)
Print length: 275pages
Setting: A seaside town at the New Jersey shore
A wedding with all the trimmings—and death as an unexpected guest…
Victoria Rienzi came home to the Jersey shore to research a new book and perfect her cooking skills at her family’s seaside restaurant, the Casa Lido. But when Vic’s exacting nonna puts her in charge of catering the soup course for a wedding at the exclusive Belmont Country Club, it’s not long before trouble is simmering in the kitchen. Three temperamental chefs are butting heads, their sous chefs are throwing punches, and the formidable club president, Elizabeth Merriman, antagonizes everyone around her.
Elizabeth, aka “The Iron Lady,” has made her share of enemies, including the father of the bride, who was caught embezzling from the country club. She threatens to fire the famous pastry chef in charge of the wedding cake, who doesn’t bother to hide her hatred of Elizabeth. And who is the mystery man in dark glasses, who never leaves the older woman’s side?
Though the wedding goes off without a hitch, by the time the happy couple and their guests depart, Elizabeth Merriman is missing. When her body is found on the beach the next morning, it appears that the country club president slipped from the top of the seawall, but Vic isn’t convinced. Did The Iron Lady finally push someone too far? And did that someone push her back—into the arms of death?
About Rosie Genova
Bestselling and award-winning author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The inspiration for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, comes from her deep appreciation for Italian food, her affinity for the New Jersey seaside, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. A former journalist and teacher, Rosie also writes women’s fiction and suspense. The proud mama of three grown sons, she still lives in her favorite state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rosie-Genova/e/B00BEKZU5U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1630158065&sr=8-1
Purchase Links - Amazon -