Quick Note: Frullati di frutta (Fruit Smoothies)

 
This one is so simple you might wonder why I am even posting about it. It’s what some of my fellow bloggers might call a ‘non-recipe’.  And yet, the frullato is so essential to the Italian summertime food culture that it would be malpractice not to mention it. And besides, it’s delightful.  
 
A frullato di frutta, or fruit smoothie, is nothing more than chopped up fruit blended together with milk (or, less commonly, orange juice) and ice, sweetened with a bit of sugar or simple syrup. All you really need is a reasonably powerful standing or hand immersion blender and your frullato will be ready, quite literally, in seconds. It makes a  great ‘pick me up’ on a sweltering afternoon. 
 
Ingredients (for each serving)
 
A medium-sized piece of fruit, peeled and cut into large chunks
A few ice cubes
Cold milk, to cover
 
Optional:
Superfine sugar or simple syrup, to taste
 
Directions
 
Put the cut up fruit and ice cubes in a blender or, if using a hand immersion blender, into its beaker or a tall glass. Add enough milk just to cover the ingredients and, if you like, a spoonful of two or sugar or syrup, just enough to enhance the fruit flavor. A proper frullato should not be cloyingly sweet. 
 
 
 
Blend until perfectly smooth and serve immediately, as a snack. 
 
 
NOTES: Obviously, the character and quality of the frullato will depend almost entirely on the fruit you choose. For best flavor and a smooth texture, it is best to use very ripe fruit. In fact, this is a great way to use fruit that has gone past its prime for eating whole, like speckled or even bruised bananas. The most common fruits for making frullati are probably strawberries and bananas, but just about any fruit can do the trick: blueberries or other types of frutti di bosco are really nice, as are summer fruits peaches or melons. For a more exotic frullato, a nice, ripe mango would be a great choice. I’ve even seen frullati made from oranges and other citrus fruits. 
 
While I’m not usually a fan of skim or part-skim milk, I find that they actually works better in frullati. A frullato made with whole milk, while delicious, can be a bit too rich and ponderous, especially when using an already creamy fruit like bananas. As mentioned, you can use fruit juice instead of milk if you want to avoid dairy or simply feel like a change of pace. (Orange juice is usual but apple juice would also do fine).
 
The addition of a sweetener is pretty standard, although you don’t really need it if your fruit is very ripe and flavorful. But, alas, a lot of our fruit does not fit that description. I prefer to use simple syrup, which is very easy to make and lasts forever in the fridge, as it gives the drink a very smooth finish. If you do use sugar, better to use superfine or ‘caster’ sugar; regular sugar tends to give the frullato a slight ‘gritty’ mouthfeel. Honey is a nice, natural alternative as well. 
 
Some folks like to add fresh herbs like sweet basil or mint to their frullati. I’ve never tried this but it does sound rather nice. 

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22 Responses to “Quick Note: Frullati di frutta (Fruit Smoothies)”

  1. 2 July 2013 at 17:24 #

    I love them made with Mango

  2. 30 June 2013 at 16:35 #

    Simple is my favorite. This is so refreshing and beautiful, I must make this smoothie ASAP!

  3. 29 June 2013 at 09:49 #

    We make these all the time. They are really great for summer! It’s time! Have a wonderful weekend, Frank!

  4. 19 July 2012 at 21:53 #

    Here, here! Thanks for stopping by, Drick!

  5. 5 July 2012 at 07:05 #

    Echo Trix, ALL of our days are humid, now anything cold is essential in making it through the day and this is just the right thing…

  6. 27 June 2012 at 07:16 #

    Amen!

  7. 27 June 2012 at 07:13 #

    Thanks!

  8. 26 June 2012 at 16:40 #

    Goes to show. Nothing like something you've seeded, nursed and grown yourself. At the end of the day it all boils down to the quality of the ingredients. If only we could learn to cherish our ingredients, their origin and quality the way the Italians do. That passion for good food needs to be spread throughout the world, methinks.

  9. 26 June 2012 at 08:23 #

    Haha, I'm laughing at Trix's comment. But also agreeing:) I can't think of a better drink to cool off during the summer than a fruit smoothie. So glad you shared it Frank.

  10. 26 June 2012 at 07:43 #

    Busted! ;=)

  11. 26 June 2012 at 07:42 #

    And thanks for pointing it out. I hadn't noticed!

  12. 26 June 2012 at 07:42 #

    Quite right! I miss those sweet, juicy Italian fruits, too! We had two peach trees in our garden that gave the sweetest, juiciest peaches I've ever tasted, and probably will ever taste…

  13. 26 June 2012 at 07:41 #

    Viva l'estate!

  14. 26 June 2012 at 07:38 #

    Mango makes an incredible smoothie! And a dab of yogurt gives it a little zing.

  15. 26 June 2012 at 07:37 #

    So true! Who doesn't love a smoothie?

  16. 26 June 2012 at 06:34 #

    Hmm, am I one of those fellow bloggers to whom you are referring? ; ) Well, this is just the sort of unrecipe that SHOULD be posted!! This is actually the sort of thing I would like for lunch on a humid day.

  17. 26 June 2012 at 02:43 #

    Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  18. 25 June 2012 at 17:03 #

    So very simple and healthy. Makes me miss the simplicity of good Italian Seasonal ingredients. Truly delicious!

  19. 25 June 2012 at 11:12 #

    Totally right, Frank: summer means frullato di frutta.

  20. Anonymous
    25 June 2012 at 06:30 #

    I've been making a smoothie a day this spring/summer. And I just happen to have a fresh mango on the kitchen counter right now. So this will be my breakfast this morning. Thank you for today's recipe. I might add a bit of yogurt though.

    Bonnie
    Kentucky, USA

  21. 25 June 2012 at 03:57 #

    Oh the memories of traveling to Italy. Very common on the coast of Amalfi. I love these fruit smoothies!

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