Riso in cagnone (Rice with Butter and Cheese)

FrankLombardia, Piemonte, primi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes38 Comments

Riso in cagnone

I was an atypical child. The other kids would come home from school and happily eat their milk and cookies, but I hated milk and didn’t care much for sweets. My idea of an after-school snack was a bowl of rice mixed with lots of butter and cheese. I would make … Read More

Minestra di broccoli e arzilla (Skate and Romanesco Broccoli Soup)

FrankLazio, primi piatti, Soups44 Comments

Minestra di broccoli e arzilla

I lived in Rome for over ten years, but in all that time, minestra di broccoli e arzilla, or Skate and Romanesco Broccoli Soup, somehow passed me by. I belatedly discovered this homey soup only recently, while perusing some old cookery books I picked up there years ago. Better late than never… … Read More

Minestra dei morti (Soup of the Dead)

FrankLombardia, piatti unici, primi piatti, secondi piatti, Soups35 Comments

Minestra dei morti (Soup of the Dead)

Modern Milan, political capital of Lombardy and financial capital of Italy, conjures up images of sharply dressed business people, trendy fashion shows and elegant shops. Lombardy is one of the riches areas of Italy and, indeed, the world. So it may come as a surprise that the region’s traditional cuisine is actually fairly rustic, with … Read More

Farinata di cavolo nero (Tuscan Kale and Polenta Soup)

Frankpolenta, primi piatti, Soups, Toscana57 Comments

Farinata di cavolo nero

When I think of Tuscan cuisine, first and foremost, even before the classic bistecca alla fiorentina as wonderful as that is, I think of its hearty vegetable soups. The best known of these soups is probably  the ribollita, of course. But the most memorable Tuscan soup I’ve ever had was in a small … Read More

Pasta alla gricia: The Mother of Roman Pastas

FrankLazio, pasta, primi piatti30 Comments

Pasta alla gricia

What was Italian cuisine like before the tomato arrived from America? Pasta alla gricia gives us some idea. Widely considered the ancestor of the more famous bucatini all’amatriciana, it is a simple dish that, according to at least one  legend, originated among shepherds in the mountains around the town of … Read More

Ragù d’agnello e peperoni (Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù)

FrankAbruzzo, pasta, primi piatti39 Comments

Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù

One of my regrets from my years in Italy is that I didn’t get over the Abruzzo more often. Just opposite from Lazio on the Adriatic side of the Italian peninsula, it was so close, but somehow the siren songs of Florence to the north and Naples to the south … Read More

Ravioli nudi (Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings)

Frankgnocchi, Lombardia, primi piatti, Toscana32 Comments

Ravioli nudi

Ravioli nudi, or “nude ravioli”, also known as gnudi, malfatti, gnocchi verdi, or the more literal gnocchi di ricotta e spinaci—are dumplings made with the usual spinach and ricotta filling for regular ravioli without their usual pasta “clothing”. Often thought of as a speciality of Tuscany—they are also sometimes called strozzapreti toscani—they … Read More

Vellutata di cavolfiore (Cream of Cauliflower Soup)

Frankprimi piatti, Soups27 Comments

Vellutata di cavolfiore

Here’s a dish that’s perfect for a spur of the moment meal, but is so beautiful and refined it could also serve as the starter for an elegant dinner: Vellutata di cavolfiore, or Cream of Cauliflower Soup. A vellutata—like its twin the crema, see the Notes below—can be roughly translated in English as a “Cream … Read More