Pollo in fricassea (Chicken Fricassée)

Franksecondi piatti, Toscana42 Comments

Pollo in fricassea (Chicken Fricassee)

The Italian cooking term fricassea is a bit of a false friend for English or French speakers. Like a fricassée, it usually involves a two-step cooking process of a sauté followed by a braise. But for Italians the thing that makes a fricassea a fricassea—and not, say, a spezzatino—is the … Read More

Zuppa di cicerchie (Grass Pea Soup)

FrankLazio, Marche, primi piatti, Puglia, Soups, Toscana, Umbria38 Comments

Zuppa di cicerchie (Grass Pea Soup)

Yes, autumn is well and truly here. There’s a definitely chill in the air, the leaves are turning color, pumpkins have been placed on doorsteps, and logs are piled high on back porches, ready for the fire. I don’t know about you, but when the temperatures drop, I start to … Read More

Pollo al mattone (Chicken under a Brick)

Franksecondi piatti, summer, Toscana37 Comments

Pollo al mattone (Chicken under a Brick)

Pollo al mattone, which I would translate roughly as “chicken under a brick”, is an ingenuous way of grilling chicken. The bird is butterflied, flattened and weighed down so it cooks quickly and evenly over hot embers. It sounds astonishingly simple—and it is—but by some sort of sorcery I can’t … 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

Petti di pollo al burro (Butter-Braised Chicken Breasts)

Franksecondi piatti, Toscana64 Comments

Petti di pollo al burro

In Italian Food, the 1954 book that introduced the English to real Italian cookery, Elizabeth David includes a recipe for petti di pollo alla fiorentina, or Florentine-Style Chicken Breast. She says it is a “lovely way of cooking a good chicken, and has a nice, extravagant air”. And indeed it is. But the … Read More

Cantucci (Tuscan Almond Cookies)

Frankdessert, Toscana23 Comments

Cantucci

Cantucci, also known as biscotti di Prato, are perhaps the best known of Italian cookies. Made from a simple dough of flour, sugar and egg, into which whole almonds are folded, they are baked twice: once in cylindrical ‘logs’ to cook on the outside, then cut into sliced and baked again … Read More

Calamari in zimino (Squid Braised in Greens)

FrankLiguria, secondi piatti, Toscana31 Comments

Calamari in zimino

If you’ve read our Glossary of Italian Cooking Terms, you’ll know that the term ‘in zimino‘ refers to a whole class of dishes in which the main ingredient (usually seafood) is braised in spinach or swiss chard. And perhaps no dish represents this class better than this one, calamari in zimino, from … 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