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Zucchine «a scapece» (Piquant Fried Zucchini)

There are four quintessential Italian summer vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Of these, zucchini seems to get the least respect, maybe because zucchini plants are so incredibly prolific. New zucchini can literally sprout from one day to another, and the production—especially around now, in high summer—can really get out of hand. I remember that one year […]

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Tiella di patate, cipolle e pomodori (Potato, Onion and Tomato Casserole)

I really like baked casserole dishes. You can assemble them at your leisure, then pop them in the oven and serve them when you’re ready to eat. It’s cooking at its most relaxing. The people of Puglia, the region at the heel of the Italian boot, are particularly casserole dishes they call tielle after the […]

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Carciofi fritti

Carciofi fritti alla romana (Roman-Style Fried Artichokes)

Rome has produced two world famous artichoke dishes, carciofi alla romana (Roman-Style Braised Artichokes) and carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-Style Deep-Fried Artichokes) Both are fantastic but require rather elaborate preparations and deserve ‘star’ treatment as an antipasto or even a light vegetarian second course. Lesser known but every bit as delicious, carciofi fritti alla romana can […]

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Cavolfiore in salsa di acciughe (Cauliflower in Anchovy Sauce)

A quick note with a recipe for what is probably the most versatile of winter vegetables: cauliflower. It lends itself to practically every cooking technique you can think of: steaming, braising, boiling, frying, baking, roasting… And its mild flavor lends itself to pairing with all sorts of other foods and sauces. Here is one of […]

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Carote marinate (Marinated Carrots)

Carote marinate are beautiful to look at and wonderfully versatile.  In season year ’round, they serve equally well as an antipasto or side dish, or as part of a buffet spread. Best of all, they take almost no effort to make and can—indeed, should—be made ahead of time. If you ask me, every cook should […]

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Cavolfiore al gratin (Gratinéed Cauliflower)

There’s something so comforting about creamy gratins. Who wouldn’t go for that bubbly, cheesy, warming goodness? Gratinéed cauliflower is not exclusively Italian, of course—the Brits have their Cauliflower Cheese and the French their chou-fleur au gratin— but I think it is particularly nice made with Italian cheeses like Parmesan and fontina. It makes for a […]

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Fagiolini in salsa di acciughe (Green beans in Anchovy Sauce)

Some people, I’m told, have an aversion to anchovies. That’s too bad, because it’s hard to think of a more savory “condiment” for your dishes. The ancient Romans used garum, a sauce derived from anchovies that still lives on today in the form of colatura, they way we use salt, to add savor to just […]

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Melanzane a funghetto (“Mushroom-Style” Eggplant)

Don’t let the name of this dish fool you, there are no mushrooms in melanzane a funghetto, also known by its Neapolitan dialect name, melanzane «a fungetiello» The name refers to the way in which the eggplant is cooked, reminiscent of the classic sautéed mushrooms. Like so many of the summer dishes from Campania we’ve […]

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Crocchette di patate (Potato Croquettes)

Crocchette di patate are wonderfully versatile. They are probably most often served as an antipasto, but they can also do fine service as a lovely contorno, especially with fried meat or fish dish, or as part of a fritto misto, or as a first course instead of pasta, which is how we enjoyed them today, […]

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Spinaci alla romana (Roman-Style Spinach)

We all know that spinach is full of iron and other good stuff, but it has an undeserved reputation for being … blech. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the school cafeteria spinach I remember from my childhood, stewed within an inch of its life and left […]

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Cipolline in umido

Cipolline in umido (Baby Onions Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Onions are everywhere in Italian cooking. They form part of the flavor base for just about every savory dish you can think of but, besides that, they make for a perfect contorno because they go with just about anything. The most common onion side dish is no doubt cipolline in agrodolce, baby onions braised in a […]

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Cipolle al forno (Baked Onions)

Where would we be without onions, I ask you? The onion and other members of the allium family provide the flavor base for practically every savory dish in the Italian repertoire. Countless dishes begin with the preparation of a soffritto which, almost always, includes onion. In fact, although it might come as a surprise, I […]

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Carote al latte (Carrots Braised in Milk)

A fine side dish for roasted or braised meats, these carrots are a snap to make. Just combine baby carrots, milk, butter and seasonings and let them simmer together until the carrots are tender and the milk is fully absorbed. The milk brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots. The whole thing requires no […]

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Broccoli strascinati (Dry-Sautéed Broccoli)

One of things that most fascinates me about cooking is how a very slight change in technique, even using the same ingredients, will produce a very different end result. We’ve already explored on this blog the ripassare technique, perhaps the most common in central and southern Italian vegetable cookery, in which parboiled vegetables are then […]

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Scarola aglio e olio (Sautéed Escarole)

One of the oldest nicknames for the people of Campania was mangiafoglie, or ‘leaf eaters’, because they were known for their prodigious consumption of leafy green vegetables. It was probably a matter of necessity as much as preference back in the day. Wander around just about any open piece of land in Italy and you’ll […]

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Grigliata di verdure (Grilled Vegetables)

Summer is the season for grilling, as we all know, but don’t limit yourself to meat. Seasonal vegetables are gorgeous on the grill, too. The intense heat of the grill concentrates their flavors and adds a smoky undertone that is very appealing. The main tip for grilling vegetables of whatever kind is to keep the […]

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Papas arrugadas con mojo rojo (Salt-boiled potatoes with red chile sauce)

A little thing called a ‘derecho’ rolled through town last Friday and left us all without electricity (for three days) or Internet (for six days) so if you missed last weekend’s post, now you know why! Life is, more or less, back to normal now and, thankfully, property damage was relatively minor, so we’re back […]

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Finocchi gratinati (Gratinéed Fennel)

  I love fennel. It may, in fact, be my favorite winter vegetable. Personally, I mostly like fennel eaten raw, either dipped in bagna cauda or in some seasoned olive oil as part of a pinzimonio, or—best of all—just as is, as ‘dessert’. Its refreshing anise taste and crisp texture seems to act as a […]

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