Sardinia’s Way with Peas in Soup

Springtime in Sardinia means fava beans, peas, and a variety of other vegetables and fruit. One favorite way with fresh spring peas is in a minestra. A minestra can mean both a soup and a first course. But the difference between a zuppa (soup) and a minestra is that a minestra is usually a thicker […]

Bigoli, The Latest Hot New Pasta

Bigoli is actually not the latest hot new pasta as Venetians have known of it for centuries. However, in America, where food fads are driven by newness rather than tradition you’ll be hearing more about it. Bigoli in salsa, an old and beloved Venetian preparation made on Good Friday. A Venetian would know that bigoli […]

Rib-sticking Whole Wheat Pasta for Winter

Winters were much colder when I lived in New England and rib-sticking meals like this pasta dish were meals often made. In southern California it never really gets cold enough to want something rib-sticking, but I love this preparation anyway even for nostalgia’s sake. This preparation was originally inspired by the rib-sticking cooking of the […]

Lasagna for the Financiers?

Lasagne alla Finanziera–Lasagna in the Financier’s Style–is a particular preparation in the Piedmont region of Italy. This preparation—and any with the name finanziera—is a nineteenth-century or perhaps eighteenth-century invention.  One finds this kind of preparation in the province of Turin, but also in Lombardy and Liguria as well in French cuisine.  So-named dishes are probably […]

Duck, Sausage, and Chestnut Stew from the North of Italy

This duck, sausage, and chestnut stew from the province of Verona, also called ragù d’anitra, is often made with goose and is made too in Brianza in Lombardy and around Lake Garda. Preparing this dish is a more or less all-day affair.  Don’t let that put you off.  Gather around the hearth and keep the […]

Minestrone alla Genovese – The Classic Minestrone

The famous Genoese-style minestrone is a very dense and satisfying meal.  It utilizes both seasonal vegetables and the famous pesto alla Genovese, made of garlic, basil, pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  But, as the Italian gastronome Massimo Alberini has said, as good as minestrone is, it is not a gastronomic specialty but rather an elemental […]

Vegetable Heaven From Italy Is Called Gianfottere

One of the grand dishes of southern Italy is a baked vegetable medley called gianfottere. There is a summer version and a winter version. It can be eaten from the vessel it’s cooked in hot, warm, or at room temperature. This recipe is a preparation for the summer version of verdure al forno, mixed oven-baked […]

Pork Tenderloin Skewers on the Grill Are Buttery Delicious

This Italian preparation is called spiedini di maiale (pork skewers) and I use pork tenderloin, a buttery cut of meat ideal for grilling. The bread is a natural foil for the aromatic flavors of fresh sage and prosciutto.  A drizzle of olive oil at the end keeps the meat and bread moist and glistening.  The […]

“Oh, Wonderful!” Sicilian Eggplant

The Sicilian expression—although little known among contemporary Sicilians—sciàtara-e-màtara, is an exclamation of wonder–or contempt!  It might be said like “Oh, wonderful!” or contemptuously as in “God! Great merciful God!”  The expression derives from the Arabic shātirū yā mā tāra as in “oh, the cleverness that you see!” which Arabs say sarcastically when someone from whom […]

Fava, Artichokes, and Porcini Mushrooms with “Straw and Hay” Fettuccine

June is the time for fava and artichokes and what better way than to cook them with pasta as is typical of Italian cooking. In this recipe inspired by Tuscan cooking, the name of this pasta dish in Italian, paglia e fieno, is a slight twist on a typical dish in Siena, that means “straw […]

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