May 20, 2013 by Giulietta
Every month the challenge of the MTC becomes bigger and bigger. And, in April, Mai challenged us proposing us the fideuà, a Spanish dish (Catalan, to be precise, because I learned that Castilian and Catalan aren’t the same thing), a sea dish, a complex dish, but simple at the same time, because it was born on a fishing vessel, so you’ll need few ingredients and tools (believe me, cooking on a boat is not easy at all).
In addition, this dish helped me to recall a very far past (even if it was only 2009) and a trip to Barcelona in the middle of winter, and in that moment I didn’t give to that city the possibility to amaze me, to capture me with its eccentricity, his sinuous shapes , its pulsating life. It was such a different period of my life, in which the beauty of the eccentricity, of the peculiarity had a lesser power on me, a period in which I wasn’t ready to see the essence of Barcelona. Therefore, I believe I have an offset memory of this city: in my mind I see it as a city that has the color of the sand, where nothing seemed to me finished or definitive (but, while now this appears to me as a sign of hope and constant evolution, once it seemed to me as a simple lack of something). I can’t see its colors in my head, I can’t smell it or taste it, and remember it as a cold city (and it was cold, indeed, at least its weather conditions) and so far from Barcelona seen through the eyes of Pepe Carvalho, who describes it as a hot, pulsating city.
It’s amazing how moods or stages in life can change so much our own perception, so that an entire city can change with it. And I am a sea lover, so I usually love seaside town no matter what: even in the most banal or awful seaside town I can find something to love. However, I never felt anything for Barcelona (and -how strange?!-some time ago I lost all the pictures I took there and that were stored in my laptop), every memory is blurry, fuzzy, muffled.
But now I have something to start with, before I come back to Barcelona, I hope with my eyes changed: I have this seafood dish, a dish that I tried to transform, but without transfiguration, adding some artichokes (also available in a 1915 vessel that docks in a Spanish harbour – oh, yes, Spain produces artichokes) and using almost exclusively black squid (but also some prawns) with their ink black (my mom’s idea, I recognize that).
A sort of black and white picture of the original fideuà, something like my black and white picture of Barcelona. Who knows, maybe sooner or later I’ll go and add the necessary colors.
Category Contest, First course, Pasta, Sauces, Sea first course, Shellfishes, Spanish cuisine, Vegetables | Tags: artichoke,catalan cuisine,contest,fideuà,first course,ink black,mtc,pasta,prawns,sauces,sea first course,seafood,shellfishes,spanish cuisine,squid,sun dried tomatoes,vegetables | 1 Comment
April 29, 2013 by Giulietta
Oh, yes, now I’m addicted to mountain memories… and so, aided by the memories, by the desire to go to Alto Adige and by this wintery climate (and it’s almost May, for God’s sake), I propose another mountain dish, and this time it’s a dish typical of the Alto Adige.
Of course, I’m going there also because of a recent and unmissable purchase (a spätzle grater), so here they are, my spinach spätzle, with one of the most classic topping, cream and speck (but they’re delicious also with a simple butter and sage topping).
A very easy, quick and yet delicious recipe!
Category Cold cuts, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Pasta, Regional Italian cooking, Trentino Alto Adige, Vegetables | Tags: cold cuts,cream,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,pasta,regional italian cuisine,spatzle,speck,spinach,Trentino Alto Adige,vegetables | 10 Comments
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 20, 2013 by Giulietta
There is nothing you can do: there are some traditional Italian dishes strictly connected to holidays and festive occasions. When you see those dishes on the table, you immediately think about Sunday, you smell home, you recall the whole family sitting around the table. Usually those dishes, at least in my imagination, are (almost) all piping hot… well, maybe because in my imagination they always came out of the oven.
Think about it: lasagna, pasta al forno (pasta -usually with ragù or tomato sauce- baked in the oven with cheese -usually mozzarella and parmigiano- and bèchamel sauce), casseroles, eggplant parmigiana, pot roast (with baked potato, of course), then pizza and focaccia, and so on and so forth. Well, in my humble opinion, the dishes baked in the oven are synonymous with holidays, care for food, conviviality.
Among these dishes we can anso include cannelloni. You can stuff and garnish them in every possible way, but the version that I love the most is the most famous and perhaps the simplest one: ricotta and spinach filling, topped with tomato sauce and béchamel sauce. I admit it, prepare them from scratch requires a certain commitment: Everything in this dish could (and probably should) be done by hand, and this is the challenge that conquers me every single time I make them. Because I love being in front of a dish that I can really define “homemade” (well, maybe I should make my oven dish, too – for philological accuracy), a dish that is able to speak for you and say to the people sitting around your table “I love you” at the first bite. And this is not something that all the dishes are able to do…
Category Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Home-made is better, Italian cuisine, Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: béchamel,earth first course,egg pasta,first course,fresh pasta,home-made is better,italian cuisine,ricotta cheese,spinach,tomato sauce,vegetables,vegetarian | 6 Comments
February 27, 2013 by Giulietta
In Jenuary I decided to join the MTC, a challenge between bloggers: every month everybody make the same recipe, but all dishes are obviously different, ’cause everyone makes some changes, so that his/her recipe becomes unique.
And the crazy thing is that this decision has brought me luck, because January recipe was pici, a type of fresh pasta that awakens in me so many memories of a long gone holiday I spent in Umbria (I checked the pictures: damn it, it was the year 2007). For me pici mean Umbria, Trasimeno lake (where I ate pici with a rich duck ragù), a green and hospitable land, with a great history and culture.
Making pici I was able to remember all these things, and I hope I could return soon to Umbria, but also I hope to discover the Tuscan side of this dish.
For the seasoning of this wonderful dish, I chose a very Piedmontese sauce, instead. I chose a chicken livers ragù, typical of Langhe region, a very poor sauce, with a strong and rustic taste, and yet very velvety on the palate.
Category Contest, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Italian cuisine, Pasta, Regional Italian cooking, Sauces, Tuscany | Tags: chicken livers,contest,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,italian cuisine,livers,pasta,pici,ragù,regional italian cuisine,sauces,Tuscany | 6 Comments
January 19, 2013 by Giulietta
In Italy, especially in Southern Italy, there is a famous saying, which reads “passata la festa, gabbatu lu santu” (something like “once the holiday is gone, the saint is duped“, more or less the same meaning as “once on shore we pray no more“) … in a nutshell, when somebody obtains something he/she really wanted, he/she often forget very quickly the thing he/she obtained.
So, quickly after Christmas holidays, it’s easy to forget the relax and the sumptuous lunches we had at Christmas.
But I say NO to this bad habit to forget too quickly, so I’m publishing now three recipes to remember Christmas when it’s already gone (sooooo gone). Two of these recipes are very traditional one, while one is a “leftovers” one, but all have something in common, Mr. Capon (which has already suffered castration in life, and deserves a little celebration, uh?!).
The first of these recipes, a very traditional one (and very festive), typical of Emilia region (but there’s a “war” between Modena and Bologna about their origin), tortellini in a capon broth. Needless to say, this is not a family recipe.. well, not my family, at least. I “stole” Sara’s family recipe (Sara aka Fiordifrolla), and I slightly modified it.
Category Christmas, Earth first course, Emilia, First course, Fresh pasta, Holidays, Home-made is better, Pasta, Regional Italian cooking, Soup | Tags: broth,capon,Christmas,earth first course,emilia,first course,fresh pasta,holidays,pasta,regional italian cuisine | 9 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
October 13, 2012 by Giulietta
The origin of this recipe lies in a contest created by Switzerland Cheeses in collaboration with Tery of Peperoni e Patate, entitled “Switzerland in a dish“.
This contest asked to create one or two original recipes, inspired by the Italian gastronomic tradition, but using POD Swiss cheeses.
So, thinking about a dish that fully represents the Italian tradition, but at the same time very customizable, I immediately thought about lasagne (we all love the classic Bolognese lasagne, but I often twist them – take a look at my pesto, potatoes and green beans lasagne or curly hard wheat lasagne with eggplant sauce and smoked scamorza). So, thinking about a sauce that would harmonize well with the two Swiss cheeses I chose, Gruyère POD and Sbrinz POD, I chose a zucchini cream with a béchamel adding.
The result was a white and green lasagna, in which zucchini, béchamel and cheeses were married to perfection, creating a delicate and yet tasty dish.
Surely these lasagne are different from the usual (in fact you could call them doubly Swiss – for the origin of the cheeses I used, and because I’ve always heard the term “Swiss” as a synonym for “weird, wacky,”…who knows why?!), in which the Italian tradition is contaminated, creating a new and delicious dish.
Category Cheese, Contest, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Italian cuisine, Pasta, Vegetables | Tags: béchamel,cheese,contest,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,gruyère,italian cuisine,sbrinz,single course,swiss cheese,switzerland,vegetables,zucchini | 13 Comments
August 21, 2012 by Giulietta
Today we talk about cinema, and the opportunity to speak of this love of mine (I'm saying I want to take a second degree in history of cinema long before taking my first degree … ok, I have a problem) comes from an amazing contest, organised by Patty of Andante con gusto in collaboration with Lagostina. For this contest I was asked to describe a comedy through a recipe.
I had to take up the challenge! And, thinking about a comedy, the first one that came to my mind was Little Miss Sunshine, one of the movies that I loved the most in recent years, a comedy out of the box and with tragicomic tone.
Category Cheese, Cinema, Contest, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Herbs, Home-made is better, Pasta, Spices, Vegetables | Tags: cinema,contest,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,herbs,home-made is better,mint,pasta,ricotta cheese,saffron,spices,vegetables,zucchini | 6 Comments
June 12, 2012 by Giulietta
I talk and talk, I promise and promise, and then I don't fulfil .. I'm just a lot of talking and a badge (do you remember this quote from "The Untouchables"?). Every single time, in fact, I come here, I tell you that my presence on this blog reduced a lot, that I'll make up for it, that you'll see me more often, and then I cook less and, therefore, I further reduce my presence on this poor blog. Does saying that I'll patch things up bring me bad luck? Does life beyond the blog really absorb me so much?
Whatever it is, I really hope I'll be able to cook a bit more in the next weeks, 'cause maybe I'll have a bit more time available (but I added the "maybe" just in case). But don't worry, in the past weekend I relaxed a bit and I cooked (hallelujah, hallelujah), so you'll have the pleasure (or displeasure) of seeing these 2 or 3 new recipes soon. Of course, if only I'd remember to take pictures every time I cook something new, maybe my blog will definitely improve, but I can't ask myself too much.
Coming back to topics much more interesting than my (lack of) mental health, let's talk about today's recipe. Some time ago I saw this recipe over at Manu's menu and I fell in love; so, thanks to a visit to the farmers' market on Saturday morning, I bought a nice bag of zucchini flowers and I made this delicate and springy risotto. A memorandum for me: next time remembering to make Parmigiano baskets before the risotto would be good: I remembered too late, and so I didn't make them. "More attention" will be my mantra from now on (and I know that mantra is going to fail). But, with Parmigiano I planned to use for the baskets, I made a hell of a creaming … ergo every cloud has a silver lining.
Category Earth first course, First course, Risotto, Spices, Vegetables | Tags: earth first course,first course,parmigiano,risotto,saffron,spices,vegetables,zucchini flowers | 17 Comments