Making gnocchi is a family affair with Selvina Bertuzzi. Helped by her daughter Oriana, Selvina told us what this dish means for her.
Le Marche and Food
Discover and Explore Le Marche it's rich Italian cuisine found throughout the region, the great traditional and tasty food
Curated by Mariano Pallottini
On a rare, warm, spring-like winter night in a farmhouse in La Marche, Italy, it was also a bright sunny Sunday morning in California. I was cutting up a chicken and potatoes in my PJ’s, while chef Jason Bartner, in Le Marche, instructed me. Jason told me to make sure my chicken was dry, and to use a towel—it won’t get stuck and it will wash. All I had to do was roll out of bed, turn on my IPad, click a link, and there he was—live, available for any questions I had. We braised the chicken and roasted the potatoes. Both were golden and crisp on the outside, moist on the inside. The chicken meat was full and moist, infused with garlic, sage, and seasoning; the potatoes like pillows, flavored with rosemary and garlic. This is the way to take a cooking class. The benefits of a live question and answer at any point, hands on cooking along with the chef, and all the ease of my own kitchen in whatever I wanted to wear. I’ve paid $50-$75 for a cooking class I had to drive to and mainly watch, this was $5 and I was hands on throughout. I got the ingredient list the day before, along with prep instructions (pretty simple, preheat the oven and have your ingredients ready to go). The class was over an hour, it lasted as long as it took to cook.[...]
Basil is undoubtedly the most loved and popular herb in Italy. Although we tend to associate the herb with Italy and other Mediterranean countries, it actually originated in India and was brought to the Mediterranean via the spice routes in ancient times. [...]
Great article that gives you an idea how better employ basil while "cooking Italian". The article do more giving you several recipes:
A cold Soup:
[...] I will never forget the first time a true mozzarella in its production zone (Campania and southern Lazio). It was a revelation: a moist, soft but springy texture and a creamy taste with just a slightly tangy aftertaste (the sign of a true mozzarella di bufala, made with the milk of water buffalo). Sadly, real mozzarella does not travel well.
Mozzarella in carrozza, literally “mozzarella cheese in a carriage”, is one of the rustic glories of Neapolitan cuisine. It’s a kind of savory French toast, or a kind of grilled cheese sandwich, only fried.
For the anchovy sauce (optional):
The initiative "La Cucina dello Spirito" aims to promote the territory around Monteprandone and its landscape, cultural heritage and cuisine. Ermetina Mira, one of the owners of Hotel San Giacomo, wanted to promote this initiative dedicated to fine food and wine and monastery traditions, inspired by the figure San Giacomo della Marca, originally from Monteprandone. The event involves restaurants, hotels and tour operators and includes three cycles of events related to three precise periods: Lent, summer and Christmas.
The "Cucina dello Spirito" includes various events such as conferences, conventions, round tables, tours in museums and spiritual places, themed tours, concerts of sacred music, historically re-enacted dinners in cloisters, taste-testing and workshops. In particular, religious tours (Monteprandone - Loreto, Monteprandone - Madonna dell'Ambro) and food and wine tours on farms and wine vineyard in the Piceno area are organized.
The "Cucina dello Spirito" is also a title of a book. It's subtitle translated to "History, secrets and recipes of a monastic kitchen from Piceno to Le Marche".
The book is based on Tommaso Lucchetti's research, conducted since 2005 by the Association I Sapori del Piceno, on the ancient cooking practices in monasteries.
The book contains an anthology of convent recipes that have survived over time and a historical guide to the knowledge and arts of the pantry, kitchen and dining room of the monks and nuns, from the origins of monasticism to today.
A cultural, material and intellectual system that travelled from community to community, while constantly exchanging ideas and improving practices: a world you can discover all through this book page after page.
The motivation is always the best incentive to make the enterprises the more impossible. An enterprise worthy of the approval of all your friends, achievable without leaving the kitchen at home, is certainly learning a foreign language. If you saw the movie Julie & Julia certainly you know the history of the legendary Julia Child, masterfully played by Meryl Streep, struggling with a tome on French cooking. Just cooking Mrs Child was able to learn, with great satisfaction the hostile language of the start.
If Italy is your favourite Country and you are looking for an emerging cuisine, than your choice must fall on Le Marche traditional recipes and "La Cucina delle Marche" is the book to achieve the tremendous task to acquaint, at least, a wonderful italian culinary dictionary.
Petra Carsetti, with a great enthusiam will introuduce you to the gastronomic well kept secrets of the best travel destination in 2013: The Marche Region. Here some of the dishes you can start to love while playing both roles of Julie and Julia:
and much more.
The book is strongly suggested to all food bloggers, expecially from outside Europe, who want to rule in internet with a great culinary niche.
Pasta e Fagioli Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 35 minutes
Ditalini pasta is commonly used for pasta e fagioli, but you can use any short pasta — or you can break up vermicelli into small bits.
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* To cook the beans from scratch, start with 1 3/4 cups dry beans. Either soak them overnight in water, or cover them with boiling water and let them sit for an hour, then drain. Place the soaked beans in a pot, cover with two inches of water, bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about an hour.
Risotto agli Asparagi - asparagus risotto
Directions - watch the video
[...] Slow Cooker Rabbit Ragu For Pasta
Yield: Serves 6Prep Time: 20 minsCook Time: 4 - 5 hrs
[...] For centuries, cod was caught, cleaned, and dried primarily in Scandinavia before distribution across Europe. If the cod is salted and then air-dried, it’s called salted cod, baccala in Italy. If the cod is hung and air-dried, it is called stock fish, stoccafisso in Italy. (In Italy, all stoccafisso is cod but that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere.) Before either form of cod can be prepared, each must be re-hydrated and, if necessary, rinsed free of salt. To do so, place the cod in a flat baking dish, deep enough to hold enough water to completely submerge the entire fish. Keep the cod in the water for at least 12 hours but no more than 2 days. Replace the water 3 timesdaily. You can speed up the process a bit by letting a slow, steady stream of water flow into the dish but not on to the cod or you might damage the fillet. You’ll know the fish is ready by the way it looks, feels, and smells.
When cooked properly, cod will easily flake. Keep this is mind as you carefully remove the cod from the grilling basket. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately with lemon wedges
The word crostini means little toasts, whereas bruschetta has as its origin bruscare, to char or roast. I’ve always thought the difference to be in the bread used. When I make crostini, I use a baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal. For bruschette, I use a thicker slice taken from a loaf of Italian bread. I toast both before piling on the fixin’s and sometimes pop them back into the oven afterward. It really does depend on what’s being used to top each off. And speaking of the fixin’s, you can use pretty much anything you like. Just stick with fresh ingredients and you won’t go wrong.
Mozzarella and Tomato Bruschette Recipe
Crostini alla Caprese Recipe
When making fresh home-made egg pasta, variously known in Italian as pasta fresca or pasta fatta in casa or pasta all’uovo, an easy to remember rule of thumb is to use 1 egg per 100g of flour for each person. If you are using imperial measurements, the rule is 1 egg per cup of flour per person. These rules of thumb, however, are not at all exact, as the results will depend on the exact size of the egg, the quality of the flour, even the humidity in the air, so be prepared to adjust as you go along. Pour the flour into the mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and the egg(s)...
A creamy baked polnta dish layered with sausage and mushrooms.
Baked Polenta With Sausage & Mushrooms
Yield: Serves 6 Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 40 mins
A hearty baked casserole featuring creamy polenta layered with sausage, mushrroms, and cheese.
This is the kind of carefree pasta dish that, for me, typifies summer eating. The recipe is quick --you can make the condimento (sauce) in the time it takes for you to bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta--and precise measurements hardly matter at all.
Ingredients (serves 4-6 people)
'I fell in love with her food, and then with her'. This being Italy, he might be forgiven. So might we, for expecting a tale of formaggio, pasta and tomato sauces, stirred suggestively beneath the olive trees of Tuscany. But we are in Le Marche, on the Adriatic coast of Italy and the man speaking, being a biodynamic-cum-natural winemaker, has more adventurous tastes. The food he fell in love with was a sesame prawn; the lady was from a local Thai family.
Perhaps Natalino Crognaletti is not the first man to be seduced thus but perhaps he also sensed a deeper affinity. His natural winemaking, Thai and Italian food all share an aesthetic - simple ingredients, minimal intervention; let things be, allow them to shine as they are, let the cook step back and allow nature to show her hand.
Curiously, under his direction of simplicity, the normally light and fresh Verdicchio wine has become a richer, more profound contender - with fine fruit sweetness and the medicinal tang of dried chrysanthemum flowers that the Chinese use as herbal tea. And if, on his side, the wine has become a better partner for Asian food, then her cooking has embraced the range of local ingredients - buffalo milk, salt cod and pasta in place of coconut, grouper and noodles - but has kept the Thai trademarks of purity and freshness.
When nice weather is approaching (not in London, though!) I am always keen in buying and cooking seafood. This weekend I had a go in preparing a seafood risotto. The result of the risotto is proportional to the quality and taste of the fish used for it. Therefore I started buying fresh fish and not frozen one. Mussels, clams, prawns and squid all fresh from the fish counter of my local supermarket. It would be even better if from a market but it was not possible this time.
Below the ingredients:
Springtime. My oh my it’s glorious!
We have several acacia trees and Elderberry (Sambuco) trees around us and everywhere.
The flowers of both are edible.
Fried Acacia Flowers
From the elderberry flowers we make a syrup that’s refreshing in the summer mixed with fizzy water, a natural soda if you will. The beautiful lacy flowers become tiny clusters of dark blue, almost black berries that I use in jams and in a syrup for the winter to help keep colds and flu away. The birds like the berries as well, and they are great trees to attract birds.
Since both are blooming and I’m just not in the mood to go to the grocery store, today I fried the flowers and served them with a green salad for lunch.
Ever so slightly sweet and tangy, dipped in a light batter of egg, water and flour and then fried in an inch of olive oil.
The trick is to make the batter fairly liquid, dip the flowers and then gently shake off any excess batter from the flowers or you end up with a heavy fried batter that masks the delicate flavor of the flowers. Make sure your oil is hot enough to sizzle the batter, but not so hot it’s smoking…this way your batter gets lovely and crispy quickly without absorbing oodles of oil.
It's zucchini season again! Zucchini are sometimes dismissed as 'bland' but in fact their mild flavor can be put to good use. They make an ideal foil for all sorts of flavors, whether simmered in tomato sauce and marinated with herbs and vinegar or baked alla parmigiana. They also make fine vehicle for a savory stuffing.
Unlike, say artichokes, pepper or tomatoes, zucchini don't have a natural cavity to hold the stuffing. You need to cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and carve out a hollow in each of the two halves so they look like little 'canoes'. It's smooth sailing from there. You can use the bread stuffing from last week's post on stuffed artichokes, or the tuna-based stuffing we used to stuff peppers last year. But for something more substantial, try a stuffing of ground meats and flavorings, a mixture very much like the one you might use for meatballs or an Italian meatloaf. Then pop it in the oven (with our without tomato sauce) and let it all cook until golden brown.
Ingredients (for 4-6 as an antipasto or light secondo)
For the filling:
I did a random survey on my foodie friends, acquaintances, chefs even some italians, “What does Porchetta mean to you?”
Some said a pork loin rolled up and roasted with some salt, pepper and garlic. Others didn’t have a clue or said the restaurant chain with the same name!
If visiting a market day in any little village or city in Italy you would find a porchetta stall, serving freshly roasted pork with stuffing. But it is how it is cooked and what it is stuffed with that actually makes it a porchetta. Just because it is pork it can be the only food called porchetta – WRONG. Porchetta actually refers to anything roasted over a WOOD fire with WILD FENNEL. You can make any piece of meat that is porchetta along as you have roasted it in a wood fire oven and stuffed or even marinated or cooked with fennel (preferably wild). So you can actually find rabbit porchetta, duck porchetta etc, etc.
Now in Australia we are in fennel season, and also getting a bit colder, I think it is time to make Coniglio in Porchetta – Rabbit Porchetta or a Porchetta of your choice.
Fried olives have originated in the Le Marche region of eastern Italy. There, they take pancetta, ground meats, cheese, herbs and spices and stuff large green olives, breading them and then deep-frying them to a golden crisp. Olive all’Ascolana is the name of the dish.
I felt a slightly North African take on this tradition would be delicious. I stuffed them with a spicy, harissa cream cheese before rolling them in breadcrumbs laced with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. A bit of tang from the cream cheese, some fiery heat from harissa, a touch of sweetness from honey — the briny olives become even more complex and with a deeply satisfying, deep-fried crunch. If you have never tried fried olives, now is your chance. They are incredibly easy to make and work for everything from a movie night to an elegant hors d’oeuvres for a dinner party. Enjoy!
Aliya LeeKong is Culinary Creative Director and Chef at Junoon in NYC.
La Primavera is Italian for the Spring and today’s pasta features 3 vegetables that are synonymous with Spring: asparagus, artichokes, and ramps. Although ramps are no longer in season here, my Friends to the North may still be able to find them. If not, feel free to substitute a few Spring onions, thinly sliced, reserving the green ends for garnish. There’s still plenty of asparagus available at the market and, as you may recall from last week, I’ve a nice stash of artichokes in the deep freeze. So, with these ingredients, this pasta will just about prepare itself. Now, as much as I enjoy a cream sauce, it would only mask rather than accent the delicate ramps. As a result, I prepared this pasta similar to Aglio e Olio, but with ramps used instead of garlic and with artichokes and asparagus added to the mix. As such, the dish is certainly simple enough to prepare but its success lies in the timing. Remember it is better to have the sauce ready and waiting for the pasta than the reverse. No one likes mushy pasta...
It seems like the artichoke was designed for stuffing. That huge cavity in the middle surrounded by all those layered leaves make it a perfect receptacle for all sort of savories. No wonder there are almost endless variety of stuffed artichoke recipes.
Here is the way that Angelina made her stuffed artichokes: as always, her recipe was as straightforward as they come, with a simply stuffing of bread crumbs, garlic, grated cheese and parsley, bound with a bit of egg. The artichoke is boiled, stuffed and then baked until golden brown on top. It's a technique that really lets the flavor of the artichoke itself shine through.
Ingredients (to serve 4 as a antipasto or vegetarian secondo)
For the stuffing:
For the baking:
I am not a big fan of Tiramisu in the States, it can be a boozy, mushy mess and nothing I would ever want to order. So when I was given a heaping plate for dessert at a friends house when we first arrived, I was a little nervous about how I was going to finish it all to be polite- well it didn't seem to be a problem at all because it was lick-your-plate amazing! So what's the difference in the dish served at restaurants State-side vs. that of Italy? First off the eggs - this recipe calls for fresh egg yolks not whipped cream or imitation eggs making it much richer and secondly it's all in the lady-fingers! When Jason first asked for a lady-finger recipe to make this dish, our friend Daniella balked - "No, why would you do that? You buy Pavesini." And she was right! They perfectly hold up after being soaked in coffee & layered with cream.
Tiramisu literally translates to "pick me up" and it sure does with all the coffee, eggs & sugar.
Tiramisu - Serves 8 (use a 9x6 dish)
The following are recipes from La Cucina Picena, by Beatrice Muzi and Allan Evans , the school's directors of the Scuola Italiana del Greenwich Village. At the time of its publication, traditional culinary practices were endangered by societal changes: the book was an attempt to codify these recipes before their disappearnce. Luckily, the Slow Food movement and proliferation of Agrotourism helped revive interest in country cooking, giving it an extra breath of life, which one hopes will continue. An English edition is planned, which will include recipes of the aristocrats.
(thanks to http://soleinfaccia.blogspot.it)