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Food, wine and wanderings from our beloved Italy

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Pasta with Crabmeat2 (2 of 2)

Satisfy your inner Italian…..grab a seat at the table as we share our favorite recipes, foods and musings about all food Italian!

Throw Your Own Spaghettata di Mezzanotte (Midnight Spaghetti)!

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 in Food | 0 comments

Throw Your Own Spaghettata di Mezzanotte (Midnight Spaghetti)!

  Let me set the scene. You are in America. You just left a rather lame cocktail party with a bunch of friends. You don’t want the evening to end quite yet and all are still rather famished. So you head to a late night pizza place or perhaps the local diner for a stack of pancakes. Fun ritual, right? Well, those clever Italians, in their special effortless way, trump our ritual hands down with their Spaghettata di Mezzanotte – or translated – Midnight Spaghetti. Instead of heading out, they head home for an impromptu dinner with the...

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Crescia: It’s not for just Easter anymore

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Food, Le Marche, Pasta, Risotto, Breads, Recipes, Regions of Italy | 0 comments

Crescia: It’s not for just Easter anymore

Since a very young age, I can remember eating Crescia at Easter time. It’s one of my earliest food memories. The aroma of this cheese bread with a good dose of black pepper would fill my Aunt Mary’s house. My aunt, who is about to turn 90, made this every year. And I remember my father using this bread to make “scarpetta” with the leftover tomato sauce on his plate. In recent years, I’ve been making Crescia at from a recipe in one of Mary Ann Esposito’s cookbooks, which also refers to this as an Easter tradition. I always knew Crescia had its...

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‘mbrecciata – A Perugian bean and ancient grain soup

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Food, Recipes, Regions of Italy, Soups, Stews, Umbria | 0 comments

‘mbrecciata – A Perugian bean and ancient grain soup

Like so many other cities in Italy, Perugia (home of Italy’s famous chocolate industry) has its own unique cuisine and dialect. While visiting this lovely hilltop town last year, we stumbled across a tiny restaurant named Fontanella Di Porta Sole. The sign saying that they have served “cucina perugina” since 1940 caught my eye. That it was off the main tourist streets of this popular destination made it all the better. At the restaurant, I asked about this strangely named dish, ’mbrecciata, and when my ears heard “lentils”, I was sold. While...

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Beat the Winter Beiges! Sicilian Blood Orange Sangria to Pizazz Your Palate

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Beverages, Food, Our 'Regione' Series, Recipes, Regions of Italy, Sicilia, Sicily | 0 comments

Beat the Winter Beiges!  Sicilian Blood Orange Sangria to Pizazz Your Palate

Aah, the winter beiges! Trips to the local farm market this time of year tend to be rather uninspiring – fresh heaps of gorgeous colorful produce replaced by mountains of (mostly) beige root vegetables. Now – I absolutely love a good rutabaga or celery root. I enthusiastically jump in with both feet at the start of the root vegetable season but by February, with snow starting to pile up outside, everything just starts to feel – well, beige. But – oooh la la – my trip to the farm market yesterday was about to take a turn for the...

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Lentil and golden beet salad with hazelnut gremolata

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Food, Recipes, Salads | 0 comments

Lentil and golden beet salad with hazelnut gremolata

It’s the dead of winter, when one’s tastes go to deep earthy root vegetables such as beets and lentils. Never mind that it’s 70 degrees in Los Angeles! That makes exploring urban farmers’ markets for candy cane beets and other colorful vegetables all the more fun. Beets and lentils do make a great combo, but deep purple beets and dark lentils make for pretty muddy colors. Enter the golden beet and the candy cane beet! Golden beets are getting easier to find at both farmers markets and grocery stores. Candy cane beets remain a bit elusive, but...

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Braise, Baby, Braise! Vinegar Braised Chicken with Pancetta and Onions

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Food, Main Courses, Recipes | 0 comments

Braise, Baby, Braise!  Vinegar Braised Chicken with Pancetta and Onions

When a chill fills the air, few meals up the comfort factor more than a succulent, warming braise…that fork-tender cut of meat bathing in some sort of aromatic bath of stock, or perhaps wine and plenty of aromatic, fresh herbs. These easy dishes may appear to be a lot of work but with just a few key things to remember, braises are as simple as they come. An added bonus is the beautiful aroma that wafts from your stove filling your home with lip smacking goodness. Given it is that season for resolutions, one of my personal goals is to practice...

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Caramelized and braised fennel

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Food, Recipes, Vegetables, Side Dishes | 0 comments

Caramelized and braised fennel

Fennel is probably my favorite vegetable. Every time I eat it, I am reminded of Italy. Fennel seeds and more recently pollen show up in all kinds of Italian receipes. And fennel is found up in numerous liqueurs including Strega. Cooking up a batch of fennel on a weeknight could not be easier. Here’s one approach that develops deep rich flavors and then finishes with a gentle braise. This recipe serves 2 people as a side dish. Ingredients and Directions: 1 fennel bulb cut into 8 or 12 wedges depending on the size. Cut through the root so...

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Pasta alla Norcina

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Food, Pasta, Risotto, Breads, Recipes, Regions of Italy, Umbria | 0 comments

Pasta alla Norcina

When we visited Umbria this fall, I expected the region to be a mere stepchild to Tuscany and its cosmopolitan, touristy vibe. Instead, we found a truly distinctive part of Italy, with its own unique character—and a place that includes mountains, national parks, river plains and hilltop towns. Umbria is the only region in Italy that neither borders another country nor has a coastline. As a result, the land alone and its diversity very heavily influence the cuisine. You’ll find truffles and lentils in the mountains, wheat and farro on the...

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Simply Soul Satisfying Soups for Fall

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Food, Recipes, Soups, Stews | 0 comments

Simply Soul Satisfying Soups for Fall

The simplest of meals can feed the soul. With the Thanksgiving holiday (and all its excesses) behind us, it is the simple soups of fall that I crave. A simple meaty mushroom soup or perhaps s simple pot of leftover stock with greens and eggs stirred throughout – nothing fussy yet satisfying to my very soul. These recipes will require a bit of preparation in the kitchen but nothing excessive – a bit of time washing and chopping and rolling; a bit of quiet kitchen time after the storm of the recent holiday and in advance of the onslaught of...

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Crostata di marmellata (Jam-filled crostata)

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Le Marche, Recipes | 0 comments

Crostata di marmellata (Jam-filled crostata)

  Why haven’t I made this before??? Every time I’ve been to Italy, I’ve enjoyed a crostata filled with jam as part of a classic Italian breakfast. Crostata is served right alongside delicious meats, cheeses and a caffé latte in the morning. On our last trip to Italy, we stayed at a stunning agriturismo in Marche, Tenuta San Marcello. Each morning, a lovely woman named Sylvia would make a different fresh jam crostata. As we enjoyed the crostata and other breakfast items from the area, Sylvia would patiently suffer...

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