Carote marinate (Marinated Carrots)

Frankantipasti, contorno17 Comments

Marinated Carrots

Carote marinate, or marinated carrots, 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. … Read More

Cavolfiore al gratin (Cauliflower Gratin)

Frankcontorno, secondi piatti26 Comments

Cauliflower Gratin

There’s something so comforting about creamy gratins. Who wouldn’t go for that bubbly, cheesy, warming goodness? Cauliflower Gratin 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 … Read More

Fagiolini in salsa di acciughe (Green Beans with Anchovy Sauce)

Frankcontorno, Liguria7 Comments

Green beans with 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, … Read More

Melanzane a funghetto (“Mushroom-Style” Eggplant)

FrankCampania, contorno, summer16 Comments

Melanzane a funghetto

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 … Read More

Crocchette di patate (Potato Croquettes)

Frankantipasti, Campania, contorno, primi piatti, snack32 Comments

Croquette di patate (Potato Croquettes)

Crocchette di palate, or potato croquettes, 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, … Read More

Spinaci alla romana (Roman-Style Spinach)

Frankcontorno, Lazio25 Comments

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 … Read More

Cipolline in umido (Cipollini Onions in Tomato Sauce)

Frankcontorno31 Comments

Cipollini onions 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, … Read More

Cipolle al forno (Baked Onions)

Frankcontorno9 Comments

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 … Read More

Carote al latte (Braised Carrots in Milk)

Frankcontorno20 Comments

Braised Carrots in Milk

Braised carrots in milk are fine side dish for roasted or braised meats, and they’re 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 … Read More

Broccoli strascinati (Dry Sautéed Broccoli)

Frankcontorno, Lazio10 Comments

Dry Sauteed 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 … Read More

Scarola aglio e olio (Sauteed Escarole)

FrankCampania, contorno14 Comments

Sauteed 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 … Read More

Grigliata di verdure (Grilled Vegetables)

Frankcontorno, piatti unici, summer13 Comments

Grilled vegetables

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

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

Frankcontorno23 Comments

Papas arrugadas

I love potato salad in summer but, variety being the spice of life, I like to shake things up a bit now and again. One delicious option are papas arrugadas, or ‘wrinkled’ potatoes. I had them for the first time at a local tapas place run by celebrity chef José … Read More

Finocchi gratinati (Fennel Gratin)

Frankcontorno, Winter30 Comments

Fennel gratin

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 … Read More

Funghi in pastella (Mushroom Fritters)

Frankantipasti, contorno, Puglia, snack26 Comments

Funghi in pastella (Mushroom Fritters)

I was so very pleased to read in the paper the other day that frying need not to be bad for you, especially if you fry in olive oil. The news didn’t come as a surprise—I had always figured if Angelina managed to live to be 98 eating fried foods … Read More

How to Dress a Salad “all’italiana”

Frankcontorno, reference22 Comments

How to Dress a Salad, the Italian way

The proper dressing of a salad has got to be one of the most overlooked techniques in all of cookery. For many people, a salad is something so common that it hardly merits thinking about. But there is actually a kind of art to this everyday task that can really transform … Read More

Carciofi trifolati (Sautéed Artichokes)

Frankcontorno, Spring16 Comments

Carciofi Trifolati (Sautéed Artichokes)

The trifolati technique is one we’ve seen before on this blog. And although it is probably most often associated with mushrooms, you can make many different non-leafy vegetables using the same basic technique: slice it and sauté it in garlic and oil, and season with salt, pepper and finely chopped … Read More

Fagioli con le cotiche (Roman-Style Pork and Beans)

Frankcontorno, Lazio, piatti unici11 Comments

Roman-Style Pork and Beans

Tuscans are known for being the biggest bean-eaters in Italy, so much so that they are sometimes called mangiafagioli in Italian. But Romans are no slouches in the legume department, either. They love fava beans, of course, and they make a mean pasta e lenticchie, for example, even if the … Read More

Fagiolini alla panna (Creamed Green Beans)

Frankcontorno, Lombardia16 Comments

Fagiolini alla panna (Creamed Green Beans)

When most people (myself included) think of Italian style green beans, fagiolini in umido (green beans in tomato sauce) is likely to come to mind or perhaps fagiolini all’agro, a simple green bean salad. Here is a less well known but perfectly delicious dish from Lombardia that I recent came … Read More

Pommes Frites: the original “French” Fries

Frankcontorno2 Comments

Pommes frites

Deep fried potatoes, which in the US usually go by the misnomer “French fries“, have suffered from association with fast food and the modern aversion to deep fried foods in general, but a well-made batch of pommes frites is one of the tastiest ways to prepare potatoes. And while they … Read More

An Italian Cookout

Frankcontorno15 Comments

Italian Cookout: Tagliata

For many Italians, Summer means outdoor grilling, just as it does for much of the rest of the world. An Italian cookout is more or less like any other, but with some distinctive dishes and approaches. The meats are grilled simply, with minimal rubs and sauces, if any, and there’s … Read More

Spinaci ripassati in padella (Sautéed Spinach)

Frankcontorno11 Comments

Spinaci in padella

Here’s a ‘master recipe’ for one of the most common techniques in Italian cookery for preparing vegetables, particularly green, leafy vegetables. The technique is called rispassato in padella or saltato in padella or simply in padella for short, which literally means ‘tossed in the skillet’ and could be translated into English as ‘sautéed’. As … Read More

Angelina’s Green Beans with Onions and Mint

FrankCampania, contorno, Puglia13 Comments

Although our favorite way of having green beans when we were kids, especially in the summer, was in umido, or stewed with tomatoes, Angelina had another nice way of making green beans with sautéed onions and mint. As it turns out, at least according to this article, the recipe is … Read More

Céléri rémoulade

Frankantipasti, contorno, Non-Italian9 Comments

Celeri Remoulade

I normally like my salads with a simple oil and vinegar dressing in the typical Italian manner, but once and a while I get the urge for one of those rich and creamy salads like cole slaw or Russian salad … or this French classic: céléri rémoulade, shredded celery root … Read More

Piselli alla romana (Roman-Style Peas)

Frankcontorno, Lazio18 Comments

Now piselli alla romana may be the shortest post I ever write, as this tasty and elegant side dish is about as simple as a recipe can get, short of boiling water. Ingredients Serves 4-6 as a side dish 1 large bag  (approx. 450g/16 oz) of frozen peas, or the equivalent … Read More