View Original Article If you live in the US, and hear of or see another stuffed turkey recipe, you may want to scream. And I'd understand you. But how about capon? Not quite turkey, and different from chicken too. A couple of suggestions:
Cappone Ripieno: A roast capon stuffed with brussels sprouts, chestnuts, sausage and more.
We're not yet in winter, but it has become nippy, and the past few nights have smelled of woodsmoke from people's fireplaces. In other words, it's time to start cooking things at a simmer, warming the house and -- once they reach the table -- the heart too.
The town of Impruneta's zesty, peppery Peposo is an excellent candidate: It's cooked slowly (in the past Impruneta's potters would slip the pot into the mouth of the kiln as it cooled), and is wonderful with either beans or polenta, or spinach if you want to add greens to the table. Moreover, it uses economical cuts of beef, which makes it perfect for feeding the masses (or cooking enough for several meals at once), and, since it doesn't call for oil, is healthier than many other stews.
And it is a recipe that has stood the test of time; depending upon how traditional you want to be you can either make it without tomatoes, or move up a couple of centuries to the newfangled version, which includes them.
View Original Article Risotto may seem difficult, but is actually quite easy to make -- that voluptuous creamy texture comes from the starch in the rice grains, and so long as you use the proper rice -- an Italian short grained cultivar such as Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano, the results are guaranteed.
Making risotto is also quick: Bring vegetable, meat or fish stock to a simmer, and while it's heating prepare the rice and the seasonings, and then add simmering stock to cook the rice. Total time - I usually calculate 15 minutes plus the time it takes the stock to boil, and I'm rarely off.
View Original Article Are happiest when wrapped around something warm, and while a hot cup of coffee is a nice option in Northern Europe or the US, in Italy we have espresso tazzine that are a little too small for this to work.
Tea? While Italians have progressed since Artusi's day -- he tells about showing a waitress at a resort, who had simply put tea leaves in a strainer and poured boiling water through them, how to steep tea -- it's not part of the Italian tradition.
In the Valle D'Aosta There's Caffé alla Valdostana, which is delightfully fortified. Might not warm the fingers, but will do wonders for the rest of you.
Vin Brulè is, as its name suggests, steaming hot. And perfect in chill weather.
Looking for other warming drinks? It's hard to beat Lindsey's Coffee & Tea Site. This week she's looking at Spiced Apple Cider, something I remember with a certain nostalgia, as we don't have freshly pressed cider in my part of Italy.
I went to the Mercato di San Lorenzo in the heart of Florence the other day, and found a beautiful grouper in Andrea's Pescheria Ultima Spiaggia. When he saw me raise my camera, he invited me to come behind the counter, and quickly added a few more fish to the picture. The grouper is the larger whole fish, looking up, while the smaller red fish are reef mullet, and there are also shrimp and octopus. Very nice!
Moving in a completely different direction, a couple of people have asked me how they can help those affected by the flooding in the Veneto. The city of Padova has set up an relief fund -- they are as badly flooded as Vicenza -- and has instructions on how to make donations, including from abroad, here. There's also a new site, Alluvione Italia, with the latest news on the flooding, and a Facebook page.
View Original Article I'm not sure how much coverage this is getting outside of Italy, but the Veneto has suffered severe flooding in the past few days, with much of the area between Vicenza and Verona (Soave, in particular) under water, and around Padova as well. Though it did clear for a couple of days they are now getting more heavy rains. I don't have any personal photos as I live several hundred miles from the Veneto, but here are a couple of things:
View Original Article Italian cooking is intensely seasonal, and during the winter months there are many dishes that cook slowly for hours, without one's needing to do much more than occasionally stir the pot -- this is an outgrowth of the fact that in the past people had wood-fired stoves, which were lit first thing in the morning as they also supplied hot water, and kept alight throughout the day. A hot stove provides steady even heat, and since it's there why not take advantage of it?
Now, of course, most of us no longer use wood-fired ovens, but we do have cooktops that can be turned way down, and if you are in the home for long periods, as I am -- my office is in a back room -- it's quite easy to set a pot to simmering and then do other things while the pot bubbles and warmth spreads from the kitchen. Last night I made broth, which we will enjoy with farfalline this evening, while eating some of the boiled meats with a variety of sauces (mustard, mayonnaise, salsa verde...) and a salad (the rest of the boiled chicken will become something else, perhaps a chicken salad). Another time I might do something else, for example:
Tacchino alla Ghiotta An unusual recipe from the Marches, for a turkey that's roasted and then simmered. Takes a while, but perfect if you're in the house.
Sugo alla Bolognese: The perfect winter pasta sauce, which gets better and better as it simmers.
Slowfood's Salone del Gusto offers a fantastic opportunity not just to taste traditional foodstuffs, but also to admire them, and I spent many hours wandering the pavilions, camera in hand. This horse is Provolone dei Nebrodi, a traditional cow's milk cheese from the Nebrodi Mountains between Messina, Catania and Enna -- the cheeses are usually shaped like long-necked gourds, but for special events cheesemakers also sculpt it. Most impressive.
The stand was organized by the folks at La Fiumara, a cooperative run by the farmers of the Nebrodi, that also has an online store.
Unfamiliar with Provola? It's a firm cow's milk cheese made in many parts of southern and northern Italy, which is filante, meaning that it becomes stringy when heated. Very nice, and well worth seeking out for a cheese platter or as an ingredient.
Moving in a different direction, this month I have tasted quite a bit of Nebbiolo, wines made from Piemonte's great red grape, and have just posted a selection of the 2007 Roero and Barbaresco wines that impressed me the most. These aren't light easy drinking wines, but will be wonderful served with a steak or roast (red meat especially), and will also age nicely for a number of years. In other words, wines for special occasions.
View Original Article Well, Halloween has come and gone, and though the Casa Del Popolo did organize a costume party for the local children, it didn't amount to as much as we had hoped, because it was raining much too hard for the outdoor activities they had planned -- trick-or-treating and lighting a bonfire. So we came home, and enjoyed the fire in our fireplace while Daughter C and her cousins played, and we listened to the rain sluice down.
When it gets like this, with the chill settling into the (stone) walls of the house, one of the nicest remedies is beans. Beans cooked up with tomato sauce and sausages, beans with rice and pork, or even a hearty bean soup. And in all cases crusty bread and a zesty dry red, along the lines of a Bardolino or a Chianti D'Annata.
View Original Article When I moved to Italy in 1982, American Halloween activities were novel enough to be mentioned on the evening news, and my friends would ask me furtively if the (adult) parties were as fun and as racy as they looked... Italians have discovered the holiday since then, and though it's not yet the most popular partytime on the calendar (Carnevale still holds that honor) it is gaining quickly, and last year Daughter C went trick-or-treating, something that owuld have been unthinkable just a few years ago, when Son R was her age.
What to serve if you're planning a party? A few tasty ideas:
Arancini di Riso: Rice balls stuffed with a filling (usually meat-based) and fried until golden brown.
Bruschetta: Being toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with oil is one of the nicest things that can happen to sliced bread. Good for keeping the Vampires away.
Olives, stuffed with a zesty combination of meat and cheese, and fried. They're Addictive!
The rotisserie chicken sandwich shop at Eataly, Mario Batali and Lydia Bastanich's new venture in New York City, described as the "largest high-quality food market in the world.'' The massive 43,000-square-foot space is home to restaurants, cafes, sandwich shops and food stores with an emphasis on Italian.
Shoppers can taste the world without leaving the North Hills
Pittsburgh is a crossroads for people of many ethnicities. Every culture's diet started in the same way: Take indigenous plants, nuts, seeds and spices; mix with grains, meats, fish and oils; find a cooking vessel; add water and fire; and stir.
First Published: 15:54 IST Last Updated: 01:04 IST After winning accolades and tantalizing palettes at culinary festivals in some very exotic locales like the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, at Kuala Lumpur and Lima, Peru, Italian chef Gianfranco Angelillo recently came knocking at Delhia s doorstep.
Chef Chat Part 2: Raul Garcia and Federico Cavatore...
I enjoy cooking for my friends and family.A And they enjoy eating the fruits of my labor.A When I lived in New Jersey, my cooking was kind of taken for grantedA because we all cooked.A Taken for granted by everyone except my mother, that is.A Because I never stepped foot in the kitchenA until I got married, I think she had a deep dread that I would ...
EatalyA opened on August 31st, 2010 and it's taken almost two whole months for the mass crowding to abate.A The largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world,A Eataly A is a culinary collaboration between Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Oscar Farinetti, founder of Turin's original Eataly in Italy.A The New ...
La Grotta Ristorante is located at 1218 East Cary Street in the heart of Shockoe Slip, just a short stroll down a narrow cobblestone street to the city's River Walk area.A You can check out their web site at www.lagrottaristorante.com for additional information.