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Friday
Aug022013

GNOCCHI

By Maria Liberati - Gnocchi, pronounced “nyo-kee”, is not always the first Italian food that comes to mind, but it is surely one that cannot be forgotten. The word “gnocco” translates to “lump”, which is a fitting name for these mini pillows of rich potato flavor. Wheat flour gnocchi were brought over to Italy and (more)

Wednesday
Jul312013

SICILIAN CASSATA

Cassata Siciliana is a sponge cake moistened with fresh orange juice or liqueur; layered with creamy sweetened ricotta cheese and candied citrus peel; covered with a shell of marzipan, pastel colored icing, and decorative designs; and topped with candied fruit. You can find it with ice-cream filling instead of ricotta and it becomes a semifreddo perfect for summer. (more)

Tuesday
Jul302013

GUANCIALE, CHEEK BACON

A delicacy of central Italy, Guanciale is unsmoked bacon made with pig's jowl or cheeks, similar to the jowl bacon made in the United States but much tastier. It is mostly fat, so it has more flavor than other types of bacon and a delicate texture. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek. The meat is rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices (ground black pepper, thyme and sometimes garlic) and cured for (more)

Tuesday
Jul302013

BRUSCHETTA

Ripe summer tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and grilled bread rubbed with garlic make one of the most famous Italian appetizers: bruschetta. You can top the grilled bread with almost anything but Bruschetta with tomato and basil is a classic summer dish. Along with crostini, bruschetta (more)

Monday
Jul292013

CAPOCOLLO OR GABAGOOL

Capocollocapicollocapicola,capicollacoppagabagool, or however you want to call it, is a traditional Italian delicate and tender cold cut made from the dry-cured upper portion of the pig's neck and part of the shoulder. The namecoppa is Italian for nape (back of the neck), while capocollo comes from capo—head—and collo—neck—of a pig. Strings made out of natural materials are used to (more)

Sunday
Jul282013

DEATH BY NUTELLA

By Caroline Chirichella -  Some of you may recall my Valentine’s Day Post: Death by Nutella Cake. Layers of Nutella brownie, Nutella mousse, Nutella glaze, melted chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. I knew I was a mad woman already, this cake just proved it more so. But, the madness didn't stop there. Due to the popularity of this cake recipe, I knew I had something, I knew I had to do more, and so I did: Death by Nutella 2.0. (more)

Thursday
Jul252013

RAPINI AND ORECCHIETTE

By Cathi Iannone - Come on, 'fess up! You call them "hats?" If you're from my neck of the woods, broccoli rapini & orecchiette... well, that's what's up! Okay, okay, I have a confession to make. We call it broccoli rabe & HATS. I know; it's a misnomer, or, to some, a misdemeanor. Technically, in Italian, "orecchiette" means little ears, not hats. Nope, not even close.  But, because of their shape, we, affectionately, call them hats. (more)

Thursday
Jul252013

FRIED ZUCCHINI

By Caroline Chirichella - If you are like me (and most people out there), you love fried food. Anything that tastes good to begin with can only taste even more amazing when fried, right? When I was in Italy last summer, I had the ultimate pleasure of sampling every single vegetable you can imagine fried! Italians (more)

Wednesday
Jul242013

Etruscans, Romans and Olive Oil

By Maria Liberati - Umbrian olives have been known as the best olives in Italy since ancient Roman times. Even today, Umbrian olives are notorious for making olive oil with an amazing potent flavor and digestive qualities and nutritional values to boot. The recipes for olive oil have been passed down through generations of Umbrian farmers, starting with the Ancient Romans and Etruscans. (more)

Tuesday
Jul232013

BAKED ZITI

Pasta al forno (oven-baked pasta) goes back to the Middle Ages when pasticcilasagnetimballicannelloni, and other forms of baked pasta were served at the banquets hosted by the aristocracy. Today, it is a staple dish usually prepared on Sundays, holidays, and special occasions. Campania, (more)

Saturday
Jul202013

AMARO

Italians have invented hundreds of after-dinner drinks, and amaro cocktails are well known internationally. Served straight in a tall glass, or with ice and a lemon or orange wedge, amaro (bitter) is the classic Italian herbal liqueur that is usually drunk as a digestif. It originated in monasteries and pharmacies as a medicinal tonic: around 1300, monks began to (more)

Monday
Jul152013

BRACIOLE

In most of Italy, a braciola is a slice of lean meat pan-fried or grilled, usually a pork-chop. In the United States, when people say braciole they mean what in Italy are called involtini (little bundles), thin slices of beef, or pork, or chicken rolled as a roulade with a filling of grated cheese, onions, garlic, parsley, olive oil, bread crumbs, minced prosciutto (or pancetta or Italian sausage), held together by a wooden toothpick or tied with a string. The word braciola comes from brace, hot coal. (more)

Friday
Jul122013

GELATO DI BABBO

By Caroline Chirichella - Ciao a tutti!! I love gelato, but then again who doesn’t? I mean, on a hot summer day, is there anything better than that first lick of cold, creamy gelato. Heck, I eat it year round. It doesn’t have to be cold. In fact, I’ve been known to put a scoop of gelato in my cioccolata calda. So, when I (more)

Wednesday
Jul102013

MOZZARELLA

If Parmigiano is the king of cheeses, Mozzarella is its Queen. Fresh, sensuously rich, soft enough to melt in your mouth, mozzarella can be fior di latte, made from fresh pasteurized or unpasteurized cow's milk; affumicata (smoked mozzarella); or the best of all, mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella). The expression "mozzarella" derives from the (more)

Tuesday
Jul092013

BALSAMIC VINEGAR

It is not only a food condiment or a cooking ingredient, and you cannot call it just ‘vinegar’: it would be like calling caviar ‘fish eggs’. Evidence of the use of vinegars have been dated back to the third millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine, and later in Greece and Rome. Balsamic vinegar may have been made back then but the ones we know have been developed in the Emilia Romagna region during the 1700s. Before that, the first person to mention a precious vinegar produced in the area of Modena and Reggio Emilia (more)

Monday
Jul082013

PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

Sharp and sweet, nutty, with a unique gritty texture, Parmigiano-Reggiano is the king of Italian cheeses. Historical evidence shows that it was invented in Bibbiano, in the province of Reggio Emilia, and its production spread to the Parma and Modena areas. Already in the late 1200s, Parmigiano had reached its perfection and it has remained pretty much the same. Today (more)

Saturday
Jul062013

SPUMONI

Spumone is a creamy cross between ice cream and Italian ice, made with layers of different flavors, usually containing tiny bits of candied fruits and almonds, chocolate or caramel. It may have derived from the Neapolitan Cassata, a very popular ice-cream during the 1700s and 1800s in Naples, but it became a traditional ice-cream of the Salento (south-eastern extremity of the Apulia region), and you can find it everywhere in the South of Italy. Sometimes the ice cream layers are mixed with whipped cream. It is popular in places with large Italian (more)

Friday
Jul052013

LIMONCELLO

Limoncello is a lemon liquor mainly produced in the Campania region (Naples’ area, the Sorrento Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast and the islands of ProcidaIschia and Capri). Nobody knows when and where it was created: most people believe it came from the island of Capri in the early 1900s where Maria Antonia Farace had a lush lemon garden. After WWII, Maria’s grandson opened a bar, and the specialty was his nonna’s lemon liquor. It was such a success that his son, Massimo Canale, registered the trademark and opened a small factory (more)

Wednesday
Jul032013

SICILIAN GRANITA

We cannot know exactly when Italians started making ices. We do know that in the mountains all over the peninsula people packed snow during winter to preserve food since pre-history. Roman Emperor Nero (37–68) had ice brought from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings. Today, you can find granita all over Italy, but Sicilian granita is unique. (more)

Monday
Jul012013

CHEF MORELLI'S CHICKEN RIGGIES

By Cathi Iannone - The sauce in this dish is a very typical Piedmontese-style, spicy tomato sauce that is made with a Sherry Wine, is laden with roasted red peppers and studded with spicy, hot cherry peppers. The name “Chicken Riggies” is a Utica, New York, colloquialism and a household name known to everyone in Central New York. And, for those that do not know, Utica (more)