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 […]

Peaches Arrive For Our June Desserts

Local peaches and nectarines, two of my favorite fruit, arrived at many farmers markets in the past couple of weeks and they will be at their peak of season for the next few months.  I’m lucky I can even get a peach prepared for a dessert as I tend to eat them while bent over […]

Comfort of Meatballs

There’s something very comforting about meatballs. They are, in fact, comfort food, and whether one ate them as part of spaghetti and meatballs or in a meatball hero as a child, they remain the paragon of comfort. In my research over decades concerning the cuisines of the Mediterranean in general and Italian in particular–the kafta […]

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 […]

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? […]

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