Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“Le Matte” hold a festa /artichoke squares recipe

May 2009 545

If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I am a member of “Le Matte,” a group of women who meet weekly to chit-chat in Italian. A lot of the group disperses for the summer, heading to Italy or other wonderful places, and except for an impromptu gathering here and there, we suspend the meetings until the fall. To mark the end of our “riunioni,” we hold a picnic at someone’s home, extending an invitation to the husbands as well.  Ours was held yesterday amid splendid weather at the home of Cristina, the “le matte” member who actually gave the group that name years ago (It means crazy ladies in case you’re wondering).

This year our festa nearly coincided with Italy’s “Festa della Repubblica,” celebrated on June 2.  Today is a national holiday in Italy, when Italians celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic with parades, military bands and festivals in cities and towns up and down the peninsula.  Until 1946, Italy was a monarchy, but it became a republic following a popular referendum.

Everyone brings a dish to share to our festa, and as you can tell from the photo above, it’s a veritable feast. The photo is a fraction of the actual offerings, because I snapped it before all the food had arrived. We always make room for dessert too and there were enough to satisfy the largest sweet tooth imaginable.

I’ve asked the ladies to send me their recipes and hopefully I’ll get some replies and post them on the blog in the next few weeks. I’ve already gotten a response from Gilda, who brought this dish of artichoke squares:

May 2009 551Here’s the recipe:

Artichoke Squares

4 eggs

2 jars marinated artichoke hearts, sliced ; save the marinade

1 medium chopped onion

10 soda crackers, crumbled

¼ teaspoon tabasco sauce

½ lb. shredded cheddar cheese

Saute the onion in a little of the artichoke marinade. Beat the eggs with a wire whisk and add each of the remaining ingredients, beating after each addition, including the rest of the artichoke marinade.

Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake at 325 for about 35 minutes.

Serve chilled. Top with olives or thinly sliced lemon triangles, if desired.


To tempt you further, and hopefully induce some of the others to send me their recipes, here are some of the other offerings from yesterday. There was even more deliciousness, but I didn’t manage to capture everything with my camera (I was too busy eating) :

potato pizza, pizza with asparagus, shrimp spread:

rice salad with ham and veggies, bresaola “purses”, eggplant rollatini:

Spinach pie, goat cheese and onion pizza, pasta with broccoli:

And we can’t forget desserts now can we?

fig crostata, peach-filled cake, chocolate-mint brownies:

strawberry “tiramisu,” filled peaches, watermelon “ice cream” bombe:

Tune in again for more recipes from Le Matte!

May 2009 584


  1. What a feast!!!!
    Did I see a fig crostata there?
    I would have snuck into the picnic, grabbed a slice and left without anyone noticing.
    Linda, really gorgeous spread.

  2. This is too cool! I never read about your group before! How did that get started?

  3. What a wonderful group of ladies and the spread on that table is fabuloso!

    Almost make you wish summer ended quickly so these get togethers resumed

  4. My goodness! When you ladies celebrate, you CELEBRATE! I will fervently pray that you receive replies and recipes to accompany the amazing array of dishes shown here. For now, the artichoke squares recipe should tide me over!

  5. I want to make those artichoke squares asap! The whole fiesta looks delicious!

  6. Love to see the happy faces here! With all of those delicious food, how will someone not going to be happy?

  7. Love to see the happy faces here! With all of those delicious food, how will someone not going to be happy?

  8. That sounds like such a blast and I am jealous that you have found such a tremendous group of women! The festa looks fantastica e voglio venire la prossima volta! Sono una matta,anch'io, allora?

  9. LOL! Purtroppo, sono in francia! Peccato! Ma grazie mille per l'invitata! And I will assume that it is an open invitation for whenever I am in the area :-)

  10. Oh My Goodness!!!!!!! How do I get myself invited to THAT!!??!!?

  11. Wow, how fun! And of course the food looks so delicious!

  12. What a feast! What a nice group of women and reason for meeting.

    My Italian consists of a few words and expressions. I tried to learn but my husband's family only spoke Calabrian dialect Italian so it was hopeless trying to communicate and I gave up.

    I have a very big jar of marinated artichoke hearts from Costco so this is a recipe I can try soon.

  13. Oh please get those other recipes!
    I'll be making the artichoke squares very soon, all I need is the crackers. I wonder what those peaches were filled with? I have 6 nice ripe ones sitting on my counter right now. The food looks amazing,what a spread! I love the group photo. I'm in an Italian American group called "Amici", I just came home from lunch with "the girls".

  14. Wow, everything looks so good. I can't wait to read some of the other recipes.

  15. what an extravaganza - dang all this was missing was the pope - but he isnt italian anymore...

  16. Wow, this is a fabulous feast! The recipe for artichoke squares is excellent!

  17. Look at all of that amazing food! The artichoke squares sound really good!

  18. How fun is that?! I love how easy the artichoke squares recipe is. Hoping for the shrimp spread recipe soon!

  19. WOW, what a treat! Nice group of ladies...and fantastic dishes...they all look so yummie!

  20. Bunch of lovely 'crazy' ladies and so talented ! What a spread!

  21. How fun! Really like this artichoke recipe. I always have jars from Trader Joe's on hand, so I will definitely try it. Love how you displayed the photos too.

  22. Ciao MATTE!
    Come si puo' non dire che
    Un abbraccio a voi e ai vostri cari e tanti auguri per un'estate davvero serena e gioiosa!

    Cristina da Piacenza

  23. How HOW HOWWWWwwww can I join this amazing group? I'll go out and start learning Italian now!

    Omgosh. This is amazing Linda!

  24. What a wonderful idea for a group-I only have bunco group, meeting once a month, and would love to get together with like minded women who love anything Italian! I have spent some time with Janie at Panini Girl-maybe we can start a group!

  25. What a great spread of food!!
    I'd sure like to join that group!! I'd bet they'd be impressed with my aqua bollente dish!! (just boiled water-I'm not an accomplished chef)

  26. What a feast - no wonder you are all smiling! Those artichoke squares are shouting my name.

  27. WOW!!! Trust an Italian conversation group to come up with the best feast ever. The spread looks incredible.

  28. Only Italians can make a feast that not only looks good but tastes delicious. I can't wait to see the rest of the recipes.

  29. Love your blog. Everything looks wonderful!

  30. Wow... this seems like such a great idea!

  31. Is it possible to get the recipe for the watermelon “ice cream” bombe? :-)