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Posts from the ‘Italian’ Category

Give me whatever crap: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Puttanesca4

Even though it’s not tomato season yet in Italy, the other day I was craving for a tomato- based pasta. To be more precise, I was searching for the recipe of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.

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Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, strawberries and cream gelato

fragole-con-aceto-balsamico

I don’t know about you, but when Spring arrives, I become lazy (well ..let’s put it this way…I am lazy but I become even lazier!). And yet, I am still that food snob (not foodie please!) who’s willing to travel all the way down from Rome to Modena to get the real deal: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena -TBVM-, the right name for this luscious, fascinating potion.

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How to make Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe like a Roman

Cacio-e-Pepe-7

It took me years to make a decent Cacio e Pepe, one of Rome’s traditional pasta dishes (the others are Carbonara, Matriciana, and Gricia).

Since Cacio e Pepe has only three main ingredients -Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper and pasta-, it might seem an easy recipe to make – but it isn’t.

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Massimo Bottura: Italy’s “IT” Chef

Massimo Bottura

Making this post was a tough call: not only because I did not have daylight on my side for food photography, but mostly because I was about to experience (probably) the best dining experience of my life – an evening with Massimo Bottura’s cuisine at Eataly Roma. Having said that, imagine my biggest food photography challenge combined with the pressure of having to photograph Massimo Bottura’s remarkable dishes.

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A Flashback to the Eighties?

What brings you back to the eighties? Well, in my case – as far as music – this song from Wham!

What brings me back to the eighties in terms of food? Buttered pasta and tomato sauce on the side.

We all have childhood memories about eating, and we all can relate to a certain food during a specific period of our lives. When I was a child, I still remember pasta cooking in the boiling pot and, as soon as it was done (not necessarily al dente), we used to add butter to prevent spaghetti from sticking together. To eat spaghetti, a simple tomato sauce with dried oregano was served to pour over the pasta. I thought that was so Italian. However, little did I know that this was not the way Italians ate their spaghetti.

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Silenced By The Trout

A view of the crystal clear water of Santa Sussana well

 “If I am a river, you are the ocean
Got the radio on, got the wheels in motion
We were silenced by the night
But you and I we gonna rise again
Divided from the light
I wanna love the way we used to when”

Nope! This is not a post about love. However, I could not find a better way to star this post without citing the song Silenced by the night from my favorite band – Keane -.  Not just because we always play their music while we are driving, but because  we were also heading to a river with the stereo on (with Keane’s Strangeland of course!) and our wheels were in motion to Rivodutri, where you can find a marvelous restaurant specializing in fish river called La Trota (the Trout).

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Trofie al Pesto con Fagiolini e Patate

In my past post , “How to make Pesto like a Ligurian” , I shared the secrets of the ancient pesto recipe. Having unveiled the ingredients and the method to make pesto alla Genovese, I thought that you may also want to know how Ligurians eat their pesto – right? Well, they combine it by using different pasta shapes that go really well with pesto – trofie, trofiette and trenette. While ago I was going down the pasta aisle of my nearest supermarket, and I came across a box of pasta Barilla. What caught my attention was not only the shape of the pasta – trofie , but the recipe on the back of the box – Ligurian trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans…Potatoes with pasta? Did I read well? A weird combination, isn’t it? What added value could potatoes give pasta?  Since this is a traditional recipe of the Liguria region (and there might be a reason why Ligurians use potatoes), I then decided to give it a try and find out by myself.

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How to make Pesto like a Ligurian

I used to make pesto with my food processor. I just had to blend all ingredients and there you have  – a quick and easy sauce. Little did I know that using a mortar and pestle would change the taste of this ancient recipe. Indeed, pesto dates back to the mid 800’s and – of course – Ligurian cooks did not have any electrical appliances back then.

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Italy vrs Spain …on a plate!

Losing an Euro Championship final match to Spain was not an easy thing to digest for Italy, a country with a great football (soccer) tradition. However, this is as far as football I am going to get since I rather write about the one thing Italians and Spaniards can agree on and are proud of …and that is: their culinary tradition.

Last week we had some friends for dinner so I wanted to come up with an appetizer using a recipe from Andalucía, a Southern Region of Spain, Salmorejo, which is a cold soup similar to Gazpacho with the difference that Salmorejo is creamer because it has bread on it. The traditional recipe – named Salmorejo Cordobés because it comes from the city of Córdoba –  is topped with hard boiled eggs and Jamón Ibérico (dry-cured Spanish ham).

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Timballo di anelletti

During my last trip to Favigana, Sicily, I bought a book of Sicilian recipes named – Ricette di Osterie e Genti di Sicilia (Recipes of Taverns and People of Sicily) – Slow Food Publishing. As the title says, this book is a collection of recipes from different taverns and well known cooks across the fascinating Island of Sicily.

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