Inspired by my recent trip to Italy I set out to recreate a lunch that I had been served by a wonderful home cook. After a month of dining on incredible food, this meal was right at the top of my list. It couldn’t have been simpler and yet it was just perfect-a bowl of handmade noodles sauced with a meat ragu. The first bite of the incredibly light pasta bite brought me right back to my grandmother’s table. I savored each and every bite and willingly helped myself to seconds, even though I knew there was a chicken dish yet to come. (more…)
Is Chianti a place? Is Chianti a name for a wine? Is Chianti a grape variety? Is Chianti a glass of Love?
WHAT THE HELL IS CHIANTI?
Nowadays, Chianti is a red Italian wine produced in the Chianti area of Tuscany. (more…)
Hello from Arezzo! As I sit here writing I’m listening to the sound of church bells ringing all over the city. I am lucky to be staying in a great apartment with a huge giardino (garden) right in the center of town. I love that I can walk out my door and be in the midst of all the action – shops, bars, cafes, restaurants. I seem to be taking part in a constant food fest, as I cannot stop myself from making a purchase in just about every food shop that I enter. If you’ve been to Italy before, you know that about every third store has something to do with food! (more…)
I frequently have a running list going of things I would like to make in the kitchen. Ages ago I read about “Farinata” a crepe-like snack that comes from the Liguria region of Italy. Made with chickpea flour, water with a little bit of olive oil, salt and if you like, fresh rosemary, it is a relatively simple food to make. A few weeks back I was down in San Diego’s Little Italy and there in one its shops I found the necessary chickpea flour. I knew that we would soon be nibbling farinata with a glass of wine before dinner. (more…)
When I grew up in Torino, Italy I would dream of other places, better places. My house was located right in front of the first FIAT factory, the Lingotto factory where Mr. Agnelli, Giovanni’s grandfather, built the very first automobile plant in Italy. The view from my balcony was not very appealing and as a matter of fact sometimes, very noisy too. Up until about 8 yrs. old, when the factory shut down to be replaced by the newer one about 2 km. away (thank goodness), I would hear a lot of strikes and chants by those workers that were complaining about almost everything…
So, imagine my desire to leave that area and Torino, dreaming of better places with more greenery without gloomy architecture with gloomy unhappy people and gloomy ME! (more…)
Suddenly, anticipated only by a crescendo of silence, Grandpa Amedeo materialized from the back door of the kitchen. He came from his stanzino (his little shop in the basement in Montopoli, Tuscany.) He swiftly crossed the kitchen, a quick and quiet appearance in the dining room, totally ignoring every human being different from himself, jumped out of the door, slid away, disappeared… He went to fare una passeggiata. (To take a stroll.) Nobody knows where he goes, but we know for certain that his mind is already miles and miles away, before he leaves the house. (more…)
The wiser I get the more I want to live in a farm, close to the animals, away from the city but close enough to Italian nonne (grandma’s) that can teach me the true Italian good cooking. By good, I don’t mean elaborate, I just mean, tasty, fresh. I think my state of thinking is also due by the fact that with the years and the large number of children (almost reaching number four), I want to be more in contact with my family and nature OR…I am just getting older and not in need of the party scene anymore. (more…)
I’m a farmers’ market devotee. I’ve been going to the same Saturday market for twenty years. I go to the market even if I really don’t need anything. There’s just something that being surrounded by all that gorgeous produce that I can’t bear to miss.
In Italy the weekly markets are a way of life. Everyone shops there and has their favorite vendors who they are loyal to. The farmers are proud of their wares and are more than willing to tell you how to prepare them. Women can be heard discussing recipes with each other as they make their purchase. Each is convinced that their “way” is the best treatment for that particular vegetable. (more…)
Nutella is the name of a hazelnut flavored, sweet spread that was registered by the Italian company Ferrero in 1963. Nowadays, Nutella is sold in over 75 countries.
The recipe took the cue from an earlier Ferrero spread released in 1949, called Gianduja. Gianduja was a mixture containing approximately 50% almond (or hazelnut) paste and 50% chocolate. (more…)
Ravioli are probably my favorite form of pasta. I suppose it has a lot to do with the memories of my grandmother’s ravioli that I grew up with. Those were very traditional of the area where she grew up (Campania) filled with creamy ricotta cheese and topped with tomato sauce. I have carried on the tradition of making fresh pasta and stuffing ravioli and it’s not as hard as you think. There is however a way to have great tasting and incredibly tender ravioli with a minimum of effort-wonton wrappers! (more…)