Spicy Catalan Stew of Haricot Beans

The role of dried common beans in the cuisine of Catalonia is unique in the Mediterranean. They play a role in the staple diet more akin to the role of beans in Mexico than with any other region of the Mediterranean. Although it’s true that beans are a staple or near-staple everywhere in the Mediterranean, […]

Country Soup-Rustic Corsican Soup for Winter

This is the most famous of all the Corsican soups. The soup is simply called minestra which in the Corsican culinary pantheon is simple soupe paysanne, country soup.  Although it’s called a soup, it’s meant to be so thick you could eat it with a fork. Shepherds would take some leftover with them into the […]

Make A Spicy Jewish Soup from North Africa

Bread bakers set aside a portion of yeasted dough to act as a starter for the next batch of bread. This starter is called a sponge, poolish, levain de boulanger in French, and biga in Italian. But in this medieval soup of the Jews of North Africa it is the foundation to a soup. The […]

Potato Gratin with Swiss Chard is for Wintertime

Potato gratin is one of those preparations that speaks to people.  When a gratin comes out of the oven it is one of the most inviting foods.  It’s also a dish perfect for winter. Swiss chard developed from the beet and was first mentioned in a book about plants published in Basel, Switzerland in 1596. […]

Cocido, the Quintessential Spanish Stew from Andalusia

Spiced sausage, cumin, saffron, black pepper, and garlic flavor this stew that some call the national dish of Spain. These spices had their culinary roots in Islamic Spain, but the trade in spices itself was coming through Lisbon to the great spice markets of Seville and Barcelona. This chickpea stew is found throughout Spain in […]

Lentils and Sausage for Winter Dinners

There is a winter dish from the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy of cooked lentils topped with slices of boiled stuffed pig’s trotter called zampone.  Decades ago I was lucky to live near an Italian deli that regularly carried a domestically-made zampone. Then they went out of business and once the internet was invented and […]

Slow-cooked Comfort Perfect For The Week After Christmas

The week separating Christmas from New Year’s can be a strange dead zone in culinary terms. We may be eating leftovers from Christmas dinner, but by the 27th we’re sick of those. New Year’s Eve tends to be more about partying and drinking than comfort food. What do we eat during that week? No one […]

Christmas Eve Risotto from Venice

This is a typical Christmas Eve dinner preparation and is unusual for two reasons: it is not cooked according to the risotto method even though it’s called a risotto, and it combines cheese with fish. The dish probably evolved from a simple fish pilaf, one using, perhaps, gò (goby, an ugly little fish that lives […]

Soul-satisfying Baked Rigatoni for a Cold, Blustery Day

On a cold blustery day, my kitchen beckons and I look forward to spending the day assembling this baked rigatoni dish. I imagine you’ve looked at the ingredient list and maybe thought “no way.” I suggest you think like a cook who sees the list and thinks “Look at that ingredient list! Isn’t it great? […]

Romanesco Cauliflower with Pasta …Studies on Mandelbrot Fractals

This preparation of the small ridged rigatoni called rigatoncello is meant to feed a large group of people.  It makes for an ideal party dish.  The romanesco cauliflower used in this pasta dish is one of those marvels of nature that once could only be found in farmers markets, but now many supermarkets sell them, […]

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