Spaghetti alla Nerano

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti50 Comments

Spaghetti alla Nerano

We’ve featured pasta and zucchini before, but this celebrated dish from the Sorrento peninsula is a bit more elaborate and intriguing. Spaghetti alla Nerano, named after the beach town where it originated, could be the child that your basic pasta and zucchini would have if it got married with a cacio e pepe. … Read More

Spaghetti con la bottarga

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sardegna, Sicilia, summer26 Comments

Spaghetti con la bottarga

Bottarga—cured fish roe typical of Sardinian and Sicilian cookery—is an unusual but tasty treat. It has a unique flavor that reminds me of a cross between caviar and anchovy but more delicate than either. Like a good, aged Parmesan or pecorino cheese, bottarga lends itself beautifully to grating over pasta. There … Read More

Sugo finto (“Fake” Sauce)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, sauces, Toscana44 Comments

Sugo finto

Another of the many Italian dishes in the cucina povera tradition, sugo finto is “fake” because it is basically a meat sauce (sugo di carne) without the meat that was so unaffordable for most people not too far in the past. (It is also called sugo scappato, or ‘escaped’ sauce, for … Read More

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, Soups46 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, Toscana58 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