Torta Pasqualina (Easter Pie from Liguria)

Frankantipasti, Liguria, Spring38 Comments

Torta Pasqualina

Savory pies and enriched breads figure prominently on the Easter dinner table. We’ve already featured a couple Neapolitan examples on the blog: the casatiello and the incredibly rich pizza rustica. Today we head north to Liguria to present another classic savory pie served around Easter time: la torta pasqualina or, “Easter Pie”. … Read More

Carciofi coi piselli (Braised Artichokes and Peas)

Frankcontorno, Lazio, Spring12 Comments

Braised Artichokes and Peas

Two iconic spring vegetables, artichokes and peas, are braised together with an onion flavor base to make this simple but tasty side dish. Often made with a bit of pancetta and broth, you can omit the pancetta and substitute water for broth to make a vegan version which, to my mind, … Read More

Costolette d’abbacchio fritte (Roman-Style Breaded Lamb Chops)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti, Spring5 Comments

Unlike fruits and vegetables, one doesn’t often think of meats as having seasons, but I’ve always associated game with the fall, pork with winter, and lamb with the spring. And as it turns out, there is something to this. Lamb is generally at its most tender in May and June when the animal is … Read More

Le virtù (Abruzzese “Seven Virtues” Minestrone)

FrankAbruzzo, piatti unici, Soups, Spring2 Comments

Abruzzese minestrone

Le virtù, literally meaning “the virtues”, is the signature Spring dish from the town of Teramo in the Abruzzo region of Italy. This version of minestrone takes it name from the  Seven Virtues of Catholic catechism. Custom has it that you need 7 different legumes and 7 different vegetables to make it, … Read More

Lasagne agli asparagi (Asparagus Lasagna)

FrankEmilia-Romagna, pasta, primi piatti, Spring73 Comments

Asparagus Lasagna

A good dish of lasagna is one of the most satisfying meals I can imagine. But, to be honest, a dish of classic lasagna di Carnevale or lasagne alla bolognese can be a bit on the heavy side, especially as the weather gets warmer. That’s the beauty of vegetarian lasagne. If not … Read More

Spezzatino di vitello con piselli (Veal Stew with Peas)

Franksecondi piatti, Spring12 Comments

Spezzatino di vitello (Veal Stew)

You might not know it from the weather around here, but spring is finally here. And one of the great delights of this time of year in Italy is the appearance of tiny young vegetables the Italians call primizie. While in this era of year-round asparagus the seasons are not quite so discernible in … Read More

Quaglie coi piselli (Braised Quail with Peas)

Franksecondi piatti, Spring20 Comments

Braised Quail with Peas

I love chicken, but I find it a shame that so many people overlook all the other edible birds out there: duck, goose, turkey, pigeon, guinea fowl, Cornish hens and—last but not least—quail, just to name a few. Most of these can be hard to find these days, as supermarkets … Read More

Tagliatelle alla crema di asparagi (Tagliatelle with Asparagus Purée)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Spring13 Comments

Tagliatelle with Asparagus Purée

Spring is a special time of year. There’s nothing that lifts a body’s spirits quite like the green shoots and gentle sun of spring. And then there’s the wonderful produce that starts to appear in our markets—tiny peas, artichokes, slender green asparagus, fava beans in their hefty pods, plump strawberries… … Read More

Carciofi Imbottiti (Angelina’s Stuffed Artichokes)

Frankantipasti, Campania, Spring24 Comments

It seems like the artichoke was designed for stuffing. That huge cavity in the middle surrounded by all those layered leaves make it a perfect receptacle for all sort of savories. No wonder there is an  almost endless variety of stuffed artichoke recipes. Here is the way that Angelina made … Read More

Casatiello (Neapolitan Easter Bread)

Frankantipasti, Campania, Spring52 Comments


One of my fondest taste memories from my childhood was a bread we used to call “Anzogna bread” (the name, I am told, is a dialect word for lard). My grandparents would buy it at a local bakery in the Italian neighborhood they lived in. These days, sadly, it’s very … Read More

Involtini di asparagi e pancetta (Asparagus and Pancetta Rolls)

Frankantipasti, Spring21 Comments

Asparagus and pancetta rolss

For a quick and easy, but elegant, starter or even a light main course, these little roll-ups of asparagus and pancetta (Italian bacon) are hard to beat. And it’s tasty, too! Cured pork and asparagus is one of those taste combinations that were just meant to be. This is just … Read More

Pesce al forno con patate e carciofi (Roasted Fish with Potatoes and Artichokes)

Franksecondi piatti, Spring18 Comments

Roasted Fish with Potatoes and Artichokes

Fish and vegetables are a fabulous combination. We’ve already posted about fish and potatoes—a classic–as well as the less well-known fish and fennel. Now that spring is here, let’s take a look at another great pairing: fish and artichokes. Like the other combinations we’ve seen, the method is very simple: … Read More

Risotto primavera (Spring Risotto)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Spring11 Comments

Spring Risotto

Well, Spring is finally here! All those lovely seasonal vegetables that are just beginning to arrive in the markets, the kind that Italians call primizie—asparagus, baby artichokes, fresh peas in their pods—are beginning to make their appearance in the local markets. There are so many ways to enjoy these vegetables, … Read More

Asparagi alla milanese (Milanese Asparagus)

Frankantipasti, Lombardia, primi piatti, Spring23 Comments

Milanese Asparagua

Asparagi alla milanese, or Milanese asparagus, might just be the best known asparagus dish in the Italian repertoire. True to its Northern roots, it features butter and cheese, whose sweetness is the perfect offset to the somewhat astringent, slightly grassy taste of asparagus. A ‘sunny side up’ fried egg completes … Read More

Crocchette d’agnello e bieta (Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes)

Franksecondi piatti, Spring17 Comments

Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes

About this time of year we often find ourselves facing the same culinary conundrum: what to do with leftover lamb? I have always thought that throwing food away was almost criminal, but, truth be told, it is hard to know what to do with leftover lamb. It tends to develop … 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

Cotolette alla milanese (Milanese Veal Chops)

FrankLombardia, Spring8 Comments

One of the pillars of Milanese cuisine, cotoletta alla milanese  is nothing more than a breaded veal chop browned in butter. It’s so typical, in fact, of the cooking of Milan that if you just ask for ‘una milanese’ in a restaurant in Italy, this is what you’ll be served. Simple … Read More

Pinzimonio (Tuscan Crudités)

Frankantipasti, Spring, summer, Toscana14 Comments


When things are really hectic at work, as they are now, even a hardcore food fanatic like myself doesn’t always feel like cooking. Or perhaps you’ve had a heavy lunch or midday dinner and feel like a light dinner. Or you’re looking for something to serve an easy and convivial … Read More

Pollo alla diavola (“Devil’s Style” Grilled Chicken)

FrankSpring, summer, Toscana17 Comments

Pollo alla diavola

Pollo alla diavola, or Devil’s Style Grilled Chicken, is a simple and deliciously spicy way to grill chicken. Ingredients Serves 4-6 1 chicken, preferably free-range Olive oil Salt Red pepper flakes The juice of 1/2 lemon Directions Begin by butterflying a young chicken: cut away the chicken’s back bone with … Read More

Risi e bisi (Venetian Rice and Peas)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Spring, Veneto14 Comments

Risi e bisi

Sweet, fresh peas in their pods can be hard to find, but when I spotted some in a local market I grabbed them up to make a delicious Springtime dish from the Veneto: risi e bisi, or rice and peas in Venetian dialect. Although it resembles a risotto, the technique … Read More

Risotto agli asparagi (Asparagus Risotto)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Spring12 Comments

Asparagus Risotto

These days you can find asparagus in the market all year round but, for me, they signify Spring. This most noble of Spring vegetables can be made in an infinite variety of ways but perhaps my favorite is as a risotto. I like the flavor of asparagus so much that … Read More

For a May Day Picnic: Fave e pecorino (Fava Beans and Pecorino)

Frankantipasti, Lazio, Spring11 Comments

Fava Beans and Pecorino Cheese

Fave e pecorino—fava beans and pecorino— is not really a “dish” at all, you just set out the fava beans, in their pods, and a hunk of pecorino cheese. Each diner opens the pods for themselves and eats the raw fava beans they find inside with a bit of pecorino, washed … Read More

La vignarola (Roman Spring Vegetable Medley)

Frankantipasti, contorno, Lazio, Spring14 Comments

La vignarola

A Springtime Roman treat, la vignarola is a vegetable ‘medley’ made from spring onions, fava beans, artichokes, peas and tender lettuce. It comes in an entirely vegan/vegetarian version and one that uses a bit of guanciale or pancetta to lend flavor. Ingredients Serves 4-6 1 kilo (2 lbs) mixture of artichokes, … Read More

Agnello brodettato (Lamb Stew with Egg and Lemon)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti, Spring10 Comments

Agnello brodettato (Lamb Stew with Egg and Lemon)

In Italy, as elsewhere, lamb—especially the milk-fed baby lamb called abbacchio—is strongly associated with the Spring. Roman cookery has some wonderful lamb dishes, such as the grilled rib chops known as scottadito and lamb roasted with potatoes known as abbacchio al forno con le patate  as well as lamb braised … Read More

Carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-Style Artichokes)

Frankantipasti, Lazio, Spring18 Comments

Carciofi alla giudia (Jewish Style Artichokes)

Carciofi alla giudia, or Jewish-style artichokes, are one of the signature dishes of Roman Jewish cooking and a very popular dish in Rome. I have rarely seen this dish in Italian restaurants in the US, perhaps because it is a bit tricky to make, or because of the quality of … Read More