April 22, 2013 by Giulietta
When I think back to winter (and it’s very easy to do, since in these days the weather in Turin is so cold), I think about mountain. And, if I think about the mountain, I think about those great comfort food, those rustic dishes, tasty and rich, in which you usually indulge yourself after a walk, or after a day on the snow.
I’ve never been a big fan of the mountains … until this year. I think that sometimes it’s necessary seeing the love that another person feels in front of the vastness, the majesty and peace of the mountains to re-evaluate places you’ve never considered before. So now I’m slowly learning to appreciate this place so far away from me (I’m very fond of the sea): I’m beginning to enjoy a trip in which I spend hours photographing butterflies, I’m starting to love the cable car rides crushing the hand of my boyfriend ( it’s dizzy heighs’s fault), the long walks with amazing views, a sandwich in your backpack, and I still love (I never hated it) mountain food.
It’s amazing how in just one year my head filled itself with memories of a natural system that I always considered hostile, whose charm never touched me before. It’s amazing how the curiosity for this environment grew up so much in such a short time: and now in my travel wish-list at the top stands Alto Adige, a wonderful mountain paradise in Northern Italy. Well, many things change in a year, but mountains don’t, and maybe in this lies a big part of their charm.
So, to remember the mountains and the amazing mountains food, today I propose you the Pizzoccheri from Valtellina, a very rough kind of pasta, made with buckwheat flour (by the way, do you remember my buckwheat tart with raspberry jam from Trentino Alto Adige?), richly topped with potatoes, cabbage, butter and cheese.
The recipe is the one encoded by the Academy of Pizzocchero in Teglio, a sure hit.
Category Cheese, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Lombardy, Pasta, Regional Italian cooking, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: butter,cheese,earth first course,first course,fontina,fresh pasta,Lombardy,pasta,potatoes,regional italian cuisine,savoy cabbage,vegetables,vegetarian | 6 Comments
March 5, 2013 by Giulietta
Since I completed my professional pastry class in December, I made a lot of short pastry, mostly because I love it, but also because I think it’s an incredibly versatile recipe, something that you can easily transform in 1001 different ways, one better than the the one before.
So, having some salted butter I bought some time ago, I decided to make a slightly salted short pastry (using some salted butter, together with unsalted one) orange-scented. I took the cue from Sara, but I used my shortpastry recipe.
One of the great things about short pastry is that you can make a lot of delicacies with the same dough (and a quite simple one, I’d say. So, with a single dough, I propose three different recipes.
But, first thing first, I’ll start with my basic recipe for short pastry cookies,or shortbread.
Category Citrus, Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Egg yolks only, Fresh fruit | Tags: butter,citrus fruits,cookies,dessert and sweets,egg yolks,fresh fruit,salted butter,short pastry,tartes | 4 Comments
December 3, 2012 by Giulietta
Did I ever tell you that I have a passion for pistachios? No?! Well, now you know it: I am a pistachio-addicted! I can’t say no to a couple (a couple?! Who believes that?) pistachio nuts, at any time and situation, I believe that “if a dessert has pistachio in it must be good” (and not just desserts… I’m not a racist!), I strongly believe that “Sicily is the promise land”.
So when last summer I went to Calabria, even without setting foot in my promise land (I admit it, I haven’t been in Sicily, yet), I found out that pistachio flour was very easy to find. Could I ever come back home empty-handed? I definitely couldn’t, so, while a part of that treasure still lies in my wardrobe/pantry (yes, sometimes I keep food and clothing together), a part has already gone away, but it was for a good cause.
Our heroine, in fact, sacrificed itself on a special occasion, the birthday of two people who are very important to me and who, like me, love pistachios. So I chose to prepare as a birthday cake a mille-feuille with hand-made puff pastry, pistachio custard and then garnished with a sprinkling of pistachios and a chocolaty writing (as I said, there were two party boys: no one turned 2728).
To accompany the dessert I could choose to stay in Sicily, with a Pantelleria passito (did I ever mention my passion for passito wines?! Well, I still have many secrets), but then I decided to serve it with a Piedmontese passito, the Sulé Caluso Passito doc produced by Orsolani. This wine, sweet and fruity, would marry even better with pastries, but I think that pistachios created the right conditions for a perfect wedding, even if this dessert is made with custard and whipped cream. And, maybe it’s my love for the Sicilian land, but I’m always in favour of a marriage between Sicilian food and a Piedmontese wine, as I already shown in the past.
Category Birthday, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, French cuisine, Holidays, Home-made is better | Tags: birthday,butter,custard cream,dessert and sweets,french cuisine,holidays,home-made is better,mille-feuille,nuts,pistachio,puff pastry,whipped cream | 5 Comments
November 22, 2012 by Giulietta
Ok, I have a soft spot for pumpkin… a big one, I might say.
And, if the cream of pumpkin soup is my Achilles heel (those of you who believe I only have one Achilles heel raise your hand … well, who raised his/her hand is wrong), pumpkin tortelli are placed second place in my “favourite pumpkin dishes” top 10: their filling with amaretto and mustard flavour amazes me every time and makes me go crazy; well, and they’re served with butter and a lot (really a lot) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano… simply delicious, I have no further definitions.
Also, for me it pumpkin tortelli mean Mantua, and I love this city so much, a human scale city, with a discreet and delicate charm, with its cobblestones, its little squares, its palaces, its rich and generous cuisine.
I have many memories of Mantua: some of them are tied to little holidays spent between bookstores and restaurants, with people who now I tend to neglect, but who I always carry in my heart for what they gave to me, because of their advices, because of the laughter and the noshes. Some of those memories, instead, are tied to people I lost, and thanks to their departure I learned the importance of picking myself up, the greatness and the power of change. Thus, these memories that have a sweet-sour flavor, the ones that leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth, are now replaced by new memories, with a sweet taste and able to surprise with something unexpected and delicious, a bit like these pumpkin tortelli, that now in my mouth taste like tenderness, like surprise, like happiness.
Category Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Lombardy, Pasta, Regional Italian cooking, Vegetables | Tags: amaretto,butter,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,italian cuisine,Lombardy,mantua,pasta,pumpkin,regional italian cuisine,sage,tortelli,vegetables | 7 Comments
November 15, 2012 by Giulietta
If the gestation of the first recipe I sent to the Fiandino Farms’ Contest was long and painful, I had no doubt about the second recipe (I could send how many recipe I want, but I opted for two recipes, a savoury one and a dessert) since the first moment I saw, made and tasted it during the professional pastry class that I am attending.
Ta dà! Surprise! I didn’t tell you, yet, but I’m attending a professional pastry class at the Chefs’ Association in Turin, and I’m finally learning the basics of pastry, which I wanted to learn for a long, long time, and now I’m finally learning them.
During the lesson about short pastry for tarts and tartellette we made a great Piedmontese classic, the Langarola (which means “from Langhe“, wonderful Piedmontese lands) cake, a triumph of butter and hazelnuts, a delicious cake in which a sort of frangipane cream (made with hazelnuts instead of almonds, though) is enclosed in a shell of short pastry, a real bomb of flavor (and calories, but I didn’t tell you this). A cake perfect for a special occasion, rustic but elegant and refined at the same time .
Maybe it’s my Piedmontese DNA, but I love it … and you?
Category Cakes and pies, Contest, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pantry cakes, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cakes and pies,contest,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,italian cooking,pantry cakes,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine,short pastry | 6 Comments
April 18, 2012 by Giulietta
Third (and fourth) and last buttery recipe (always for the Occelli butter contest), and this time the key word is not just "butter", but also "quick".
Thinking about quick and buttery recipes, the first thing that jumped to mind is the combination between butter and eggs, so I decided to propose two minor changes to this "theme".
I replaced chicken eggs with quail eggs and I paired them with brown butter; I also made an hard-boiled version (to serve as a finger food) and a sunny side up version (in Italy we call this "uovo all'occhio di bue" aka "beef's eye egg").
Two super-easy recipes, that can sort out a last minute dinner with elegance and easiness.
Category Appetizer and Finger food, Contest, Cooking for dummies, Second course | Tags: appetizer and finger food,brown butter,butter,eggs,quail eggs,second course | 10 Comments
April 17, 2012 by Giulietta
Here it is, my traditional buttery recipe… it's not a family tradition, but about a regional one, aka little treats made with hazelnut (a classic in Piedmontese cuisine). There's also an almond version, but in this case I vote for hazelnut.
And, in line with the spirit of Burro Occelli's contest on the Burro Occelli and in line with Piedmontese spirit, I chose a very buttery traditional recipe (I live in a Northern region, and this means butter).
I'm talking about (but maybe you've already recognised them in the picture) baci di dama (lady's kisses in Italian), a traditional and very easy recipe, since the ingredients are in a 1:1 proportion and since you can prepare the dough using a food processor.
The hardest part is to resist these stuffed cookies, in which the buttery aroma goes perfectly with the toasted flavour of hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
Category Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pastries, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,chocolate,contest,cookies,dark chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,pastries,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 14 Comments
April 15, 2012 by Giulietta
Prepare yourselves, 'cause this will be the first of 3 posts with a common ingredient, butter. I chose to title this series "not only butter", 'cause we certainly don't live only for butter (and I'm a real Italian, 'cause I definitely use more extra-virgin olive oil than butter), but in my opinion butter is a great discriminant in certain preparation, 'cause it's an added value, that accompanies flavors and enhances them.
These buttery thoughts arose from a contest dedicated to butter (binder butter): the challenge is to create and/or implement three recipes (an original one, a quick one and a traditional one) that have butter as a key ingredient.
I started from this key element and I tried to create (or re-create) dishes in which the butter is the binder, the ingredient that holds the flavors together and, at the same time, doesn't tower above them.
I hope you'll be pleased with these creations as I was of the results.
As for the original recipe, I made some beef turnovers filled with fresh spinach, walnuts and Parmigiano, cooked in butter and served with a walnut sauce. To create this recipe, I started from the assumption that beef cutlet cooked in butter is absolutely delicious, and I decided to add two more buttery notes: I sauteed spinach in butter and there's butter in the walnuts sauce (which is a quick recipe to keep in mind to dress a pasta dish).
Category Beef, Contest, Dried fruit, Meat, Sauces, Second course, Vegetables | Tags: beef,butter,contest,dried fruit,meat,sauce,second course,spinach,turnovers,vegetables,walnut | 11 Comments
January 26, 2012 by Giulietta
The amazing things in life are the unforeseen, unexpected ones, those small or insignificant details that deviate from the usual order of events and that, therefore, affect us. And, in my humble opinion, the things that amaze me are often the object of an instantaneous (and lasting) sympathy or attraction.
In fact, I often feel an immediate sympathy for a person who seems to have a sterling character, but who is unleashed, for a "grave" person who hides an unexpected sarcasm or for a "tough but soft-hearted" man. Well, I can't help it, I feel the same thing about food: I am always impressed (and I instantly adore it) by a food that seems something and that ends up being completely different.
Believe me, when you'll have in front of you this small flan (that from the outside looks like an ordinary chocolate cake) and, sinking in your teaspoon, you'll trigger a chocolaty lava flow, you'll agree with me … the things that astound your senses are the ones that attract and conquer you (and, if chocolate is involved, how can you resist?!).
Category Chocolate, Cooking for dummies, Dessert and Sweets | Tags: butter,chocolate,dark chocolate,flan | 27 Comments
October 16, 2011 by Giulietta
When Katherine asked me to write a guest post for her beautiful blog, while she is on vacation, I wondered what recipe I could write about, since I wanted to share an Italian dish at all costs or, even better, a recipe typical of my Region, Piedmont. So, after all this thinking and after a lot of exclusions (but you'll find these dishes on my blog, anyway), I found out that the perfect recipe was already in my mind all along, waiting for the right trigger … and so, here I am with my meliga pastries.
So, if you want to read about my first experiment, my misadventures and my memories about these amazing cookies, come and read my post here, and take a look at Katherine blog… it definitely worths a visit!
Here you can find only the recipe
Category Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cookies,corn flour,dessert and sweets,guest post,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 23 Comments