Mallone Irpino is an ancient dish made with turnips and potatoes, and accompanied by a special local pizza made with corn.
Mallone is an integral part of the tradition of Avellino, the city I love and live in, and owes its name to its shape similar to that of the walnut ‘husk’ while Irpino indicates the area where it was consumed.
Irpinia is perhaps still famous for the terrible earthquake of 1980 but today it has been rebuilt in all its beauty and is one of the most enchanting areas in Italy.
Avellino is its natural centre, located in a large basin, the medieval city and the nineteenth century are real jewels. While the soil of volcanic origin gives some of the best wines in Italy such as Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo and Taurasi.
Mallone Irpino was a typical dish of the autumn and winter season and, despite being composed of vegetables, in Avellino the dish is consumed as a first course and is a fairly elaborate recipe in its realization.
The Mallone Irpino, however, is different and less complicated than the Mallone Sciatizzo, made with wild vegetables. Sciatica in our dialect are the seasonal herbs that grow spontaneously in the fields or in the vineyards and which, by tradition, are harvested mainly in the area around Solofrano, the town known for its leather processing, and in Montoro.
Turnips and Potatoes is a typical peasant dish handed down to us by the peasant culture based on the principle of ‘nothing is thrown away’.
In fact, the farmers, when they cleaned the broccoli, did not throw away the leaves but used them precisely for the preparation of Turnips and Potatoes, which they divinely accompanied with a fried “Pitta” pizza prepared with corn flour (or granone) and called “pizza king graurignolo” .
Recipe of Mallone Irpino, Turnips and Potatoes
Ingredients for 4 people:
- turnip leaves 1 Kg
- potatoes 500 gr
- 1 pickled papaccella “pepaina”
- garlic to your taste
- enough oil and salt.
Ingredients for corn or Pitta pizza:
- corn flour 200 gr
- vegetable broth or alternatively boiling salted water 1 lt
The preparation begins by boiling the potatoes, which are then peeled and coarsely mashed, mixing them in.
Meanwhile, rinse the turnip leaves and heat them. Once cooked, the turnips must be cooled, squeezed and shredded.
Take a large pickled ‘papaccella’, a particular type of sweet-tasting pepper, remove the seeds and excess vinegar and cut into strips. Fry the papaccella in boiling oil that you will have flavoured with garlic, to your taste.
At this point, add the turnip leaves cut into small pieces, frying everything together with salt.
Add the mashed potatoes into the pot with the vegetables previously fried with the papaccella, season with salt and oil to taste.
Over low heat, stir with a wooden spoon for about ten minutes, adding, if necessary, a little of the cooking water from the potatoes (the mixture must be thick and homogeneous but not excessively dry) and the mallone will be nice and ready. You can add some hot pepper if you prefer.
Prepare the pizza with the 200 gr. of flour to be mixed with about a litre of boiling vegetable broth (as if preparing a very thick polenta). This dough will then be fried by rolling it out and crushing it with your hands in a pan, cooking it on both sides.
In ancient times, the peasants cooked the pizza at the base of the fireplace near the embers in a clay container, and it was called “pizza ‘ndo chinco”.
In Irpinia, a land rich in food and wine culture among other things, prestigious wines known throughout the world are produced, including Aglianico and Taurasi that enhance and increase the taste of the dish.