Tag Archives: Winter

Il Gran Bollito Misto (Mixed Boiled Meats)

We usually think of boiled meat as a by-product of making broth, a humble if comforting dish for parsimonious souls. But in northern Italy, particularly in the Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna, they’ve transformed boiled meats into a regal spread. Traditionally, a true Gran Bollito Misto includes seven different cuts (tagli) of beef or veal, seven ‘supporting’ […]

Continue Reading

Carabaccia (Tuscan Onion Soup)

Carabaccia is an ancient soup, going back to the Renaissance. They say it was a favorite of Leonardo da Vinci—and that, as for so many other classic dishes,  the recipe was brought by Catarina de’  Medici to France, where it evolved into the soupe à l’oignon we all know and love today. You may be surprised at the […]

Continue Reading

Montebianco (Montblanc)

Montebianco—which most English speakers know by its French name Montblanc even if the dish originated in Italy—is an elegant dessert often served for Christmas, but, to my mind, it is a perfect conclusion to any festive occasion in the late autumn or winter. Named after the highest peak of the Alps straddling the border between France and Italy, Montebianco […]

Continue Reading

A Neapolitan Christmas: Insalata di rinforzo (Cauliflower and Pickled Vegetable Salad)

This zesty cauliflower salad is a fixture on family tables in Naples during the Christmas season.  The salad is called rinforzo—’reinforcement’—is because it was customary in the old days to make a first batch as an antipasto on Christmas Eve and to keep on ‘reinforcing’ it with more cauliflower and condiments over the course of the holiday […]

Continue Reading

Polpettone in umido con funghi (Meatloaf in Tomato and Mushroom Sauce)

As the temperatures dip, I find myself seeking out comfort foods. And what says ‘comfort’ more than a good meatloaf? And, yes, meatloafs do exist in Italian cookery, where they’re called ‘polpettoni‘ or big meatballs. Makes sense, doesn’t it? We’ve already seen Angelina’s southern Italian style meatloaf, stuffed with mozzarella and baked in the oven […]

Continue Reading

Orecchiette ai broccoletti (Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Rabe)

A quick pasta dish with vegetables that you can whip up in less an 30 minutes, this (and a piece of fruit) make a fine supper—pretty typical of the kind of thing we like to eat in our house on a weeknight when there’s not much time to make dinner. The pasta is orecchiette or […]

Continue Reading

Torta di mele (Apple Torte)

A quick post as we prepare to batten down the hatches before Sandy hits town: Here’s a homely version of an apple torte that could hardly be easier. And believe me, if a non-baker like myself can make this with no trouble at all, you will, too. You just make a simple batter in your […]

Continue Reading

Jota triestina (Beans and Sauerkraut Soup from Trieste)

One of the things that make Italian cuisine so fascinating is its vast variety of flavors and cooking styles.  Going from one region of Italy to another, in culinary terms (and not only) is something like going from one country to another—not surprising, I suppose, if you consider that the unification of Italy is only […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Hamburger alla panna (Hamburger with Cream Sauce)

Not everyone associates hamburgers with Italian cooking, but Italians have a long tradition of using ground beef in imaginative ways, for meatballs (polpette) and meatloaf (polpettone), as well as as a basis for the classic ragù alla bolognese. So it should really come as no surprise that they’ve also applied their culinary creativity those patties […]

Continue Reading

Fondue au fromage (Cheese Fondue)

When you want something filling and warming but don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, cheese fondue is your ticket. ‘Fondue’ means melted in French and, indeed, cheese fondue is basically melted cheese, flavored with just a hint of garlic and thinned out a bit with white wine and kirsch, into […]

Continue Reading

Spezzatino di manzo con la polenta (Beef Stew with Polenta)

It’s hard to believe, but in all the years that I’ve been writing this blog, somehow I’ve managed to avoid writing a post about Italian beef stew. I suppose that’s a tribute to the vast variety of Italian cooking or perhaps a reflection of the somewhat secondary role that beef plays in Italian cuisine. Or […]

Continue Reading

Frank’s Hot Chocolate

Is there anything quite so comforting, after a chilly day’s outing, as a cup of hot chocolate? It almost makes me look forward to the cold weather. But, if you ask me, most hot chocolate you can find commercially, either entirely pre-made or from a mix, is either too thin or too bland or too […]

Continue Reading

Costolette di maiale ai funghi (Pork Chops with Mushroom Cream Sauce)

You could probably devote a small cookbook just to Italian veal chop recipes, but with the price of veal being what it is, I usually do what many Italians do and turn to pork. The taste of pork is different, of course, but most veal recipes translate quite well into oinkier versions. I was reminded […]

Continue Reading

How to Roast Chestnuts

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose… Toasted chestnuts evoke wistful holidays images of days gone by. But how many of us have actually roasted chestnuts on an open fire? Too few, I imagine. And a shame, too, since anyone with a fireplace can do it easily. All you need […]

Continue Reading

Viennese Goulash

For some reason, I must be feeling nostalgic for my Vienna days as I keep coming back to the dishes I made during those years. Perhaps it’s the cold weather that calls out for the hearty cooking of Mitteleuropa. In any event, here’s another favorite from that time and place: Viennese Goulasch. Goulash is a […]

Continue Reading

Canederli (Tyrolean Bread Dumplings)

Canederli is the Italian name given to the bread dumplings so popular in Austria and other parts of central Europe, known in German as Semmelknödl or just knödel. During my years in Vienna it was one of my favorite things to eat, so when I re-discovered them in Italy, on a visit to an old […]

Continue Reading

Zuppa di porri (Leek Soup)

‘Tis the season for soups! When the temperatures dive, there is simply nothing that takes the chill off like soup. The wonderful thing about soups is their enormous variety: they can be thick and stick-to-the-ribs, whole meals in themselves, or they can be light, even austere, just enough to whet the palate as the start […]

Continue Reading
Ping