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Posts from the ‘Summer’ Category

Gluttony or Sloth?

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I  am a sinner. Everyone sins. All of us human beings were born sinners. In fact, in Christian moral tradition seven sins are said to be deadly:  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Out of these seven sins, I usually have a conflict between two of them – sloth (which refers to laziness) and gluttony, which  Pope Gregory I defined as: “seeking delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the vile sense of taste.” 

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Shredded veal salad with radishes, tomatoes, spinach and yogurt-mustard dressing

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I have a confession to make: there are some ingredients I just don’t know how to cook. This is was the case of – radishes. I used to eat radishes in salads, and sometimes as crudités pairing dips, but I never really understood its usage in the kitchen – or even how to make the most of it.

While scrolling down tweets from Food52 – a truly amazing food site- I discovered a simple, delicious recipe with grilled chicken, radishes pickles and greens from Caroline Wright, who creates recipes for Food52.

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Give me whatever crap: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

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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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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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Zucchini Variations

Appetizer or main course? When it comes to vegetables, we think about them as appetizers, and – more often – as side dishes.

I had a bunch of zucchini romanesche at home (with their flowers) and before I was off for vacations, I had to make use of them.  Since I usually prepare zucchini with pasta or simply as a side dish, I wanted to come up with a main course (with zucchini as “main” ingredient). I thought it was a good idea because zucchinis are fresh and in season, and a meat course would have been heavy with the high temperatures we got in Rome.

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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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A dynamic dish

When it comes to “primi piatti”, you usually get a bowl of pasta, rice or soup. Sometimes I find this kind of plating rather boring since there is a lack of motion on the dish. There isn’t much fun unless you add a component that will make your guests have fun while eating the dish. Some say “food enters through the eyes”; I say that food can be fun if you can make it dynamic by letting your guest “play” with it.

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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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