[Sca-cooks] Period pasta sauce

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 15 11:49:55 PST 2009

On Dec 13, 2009, at 1:21 PM, I wrote:

> The "fresh cheeses dripping with butter and milk on all sides," what kind of cheese do you think he was referring to? It certainly doesn't sound like Parmesan. Taking a look at the Florilegium and the cheese entries there, could Landi have been referring to a mascarpone?

Adamantius replied: 
>I would think it's something in a cohesive mass, but barely. Buffalo-milk mozzarella?

Actually, I think I have solved the mystery of what this fresh, dripping-with-milk-and-butter Sicilian cheese could be - fresh tuma (I understand it was originally made from sheep's milk, but it's more often made with cows milk today). Aged tuma is eaten as a table cheese, but the very fresh, just barely out of the mold (12 hours) stuff would be very similar to fresh mozzarella or a firm ricotta in texture, and it's weepy.

Here is Saputo of Canada's version of it:


There's a gourmet cheese store in South Philadelphia that sells a version of aged tuma, "Tuma Persa" ("Lost Tuma," so called because the producer of the cheese discovered a 100-year-old recipe for the cheese in a closet in his new home outside of Palermo, and recognized that this recipe had been lost). I should ask them if they have fresh tuma. 

I found mention of a modern-day pastry from the Madonie Mountains of Sicily; they are stuffed with fresh tuma and flavored with chocolate and cinnamon. I guess they're using it similar to ricotta in cannoli.

So, if I were recreating the dish of pasta as described by Landi for a feast, I'd use a combination of very fresh mozzarella and ricotta, tossed with the hot pasta and then sprinkled with the cinnamon and sugar; I am betting that tuma would be so expensive it would be priced out of just about every feast budget.


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