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, Toscana34 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

Cicoria e fagioli (Chicory and Beans)

FrankCampania, contorno, piatti unici, primi piatti, Soups45 Comments

Chicory and beans (Cicoria e fagioli)

Chicory and Beans is one of those lean dishes that Angelina practically lived on weekdays. Like many good southern Italians, she was what we might call today a ‘flexitarian‘—living mostly on vegetables, saving meat for Sundays and other special occasions. Her lunch would often consist of chicory or escarole or some other … Read More

Cacio e pepe, a Roman classic

FrankLazio, pasta, primi piatti49 Comments

Cacio e pepe

When you’re in a real hurry or just too tired to cook anything too elaborate, here’s a great solution: cacio e pepe, literally ‘cheese and pepper’, a pasta dish usually made with spaghetti, bucatini or—my personal favorite—tonnarelli, a kind of square spaghetti better known Stateside by its Abruzzese name, spaghetti … Read More

Peas and Eggs (Piselli cacio e uova)

FrankCampania, contorno, Italian-American, piatti unici, primi piatti, secondi piatti, Soups29 Comments

Peas and Eggs

Columbus Day is right around the corner, and as regular readers know, that’s the occasion each year for us to feature a classic Italian-American dish. This year we’re sharing an old family recipe, one that I’m sure will be familiar to many readers “of a certain age”: Peas and Eggs. … Read More

Spaghetti alla colatura di alici

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti18 Comments

Spaghetti alla colatura di alici

If you’ve ever had occasion to read the 4th century Roman cookbook De Re Coquinaria, popularly known as Apicius, you will have noticed that an ingredient called garum seems to make it into just about every savory dish, and even some sweet ones. Garum—a condiment made from fermenting fish—was a common ingredient back … Read More