Penne all’arrabbiata (“Angry” Penne)

FrankLazio, pasta, primi piatti13 Comments

Here’s another signature dish of Roman cooking, penne all’arrabbiata or ‘angry’ penne, perfect for an impromtu meal or snack when you crave something spicy. It is a very simple dish—basically an aglio, olio e peperoncino with tomato and extra peperoncino added for more heat. Ingredients Serves 4-6 persons 500g (1 … Read More

Seppie coi piselli alla romana (Roman-Style Braised Squid and Peas)

Franksecondi piatti8 Comments

Strange as it may seem, squid and peas were made for each other. The sweetness of peas sets off the brinyness of squid perfectly. And the savoriness of a tomato sauce brings it all together nicely. This dish, as so many traditional Roman dishes, is really quite easy to make but … Read More

Peperoni ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Peppers)

Frankantipasti, Lazio4 Comments

Tuna Stuffed Peppers

There are so many different ways to stuff a pepper. Here’s one, Tuna Stuffed Peppers, that I particularly like. Stuffed peppers are commonly used as an antipasto or part of a buffet. But, to my mind, they are substantial enough to serve as a secondo. In fact, last night they were … Read More

Italian Food Culture: A primer

Frankreference27 Comments

Italian Food Culture

There is much more to Italian food culture than many people outside Italy realize. Mastering the art of Italian cooking is not just a matter of learning recipes but rather requires coming to understand a whole approach to the preparation and eating of food. This approach can be understood, among … Read More

Costolette d’agnello «a scottadito» (Roman-Style Lamb Chops)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti9 Comments

Scottadito

There is surely no meat more typical of the Mediterranean basin than lamb. Sheep husbandry began in pre-historic times­ and is thought to have gotten its start in Mesopotamia, quickly spreading to Asia Minor and southern Europe—it played a major role in the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, including the … Read More

Patate in padella (Sautéed Potatoes)

Frankcontorno2 Comments

Patate in padella

These pan-fried potatoes make for a wonderful accompaniment to lamb and other meat dishes, and they are incredibly simple and easy to make: Peel and cut waxy, yellow-fleshed potatoes into wedges, put them in a non-stick frying pan with olive oil, a sprig of rosemary and a slightly crushed but … Read More

Angelina’s Pizza Casareccia (Homestyle Pizza)

Frankantipasti, Campania, primi piatti, snack9 Comments

Pizza casereccia (Homemade Pizza)

  A perfectly round, thin-crusted pizza of the kind you can eat in the best pizzerie is a hard thing to make at home. It takes practice and talent to be a first-rate pizzaiolo, or pizza-maker. (I know because I’m trying to master the art!) But there is a simpler … Read More

Ada Boni: Il Talismano della Felicità

Frankreference22 Comments

Ada Boni

Writing only about two decades after Artusi, another giant of Italian gastronomy, Ada Boni, produced an even more monumental work entitled Il Talismano della Felicità, literally the “Talisman of Happiness”. Unlike Artusi, who was basically a talented amateur, Ada Boni was a professional food writer. In 1915, she founded a … Read More

Coda alla vaccinara (Roman-Style Braised Oxtails)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti13 Comments

This is comfort food at its most comforting, one of the many humble but delicious dishes that typify popular cooking in the Eternal City: Roman-style braised oxtails. The  Italian word vaccinara actually means “butcher style”. The tail is one of those cuts of meat that are known in Italian as … Read More

Spaghetti fatti in casa con pomodori al forno (Homemade Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes)

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti9 Comments

This dish of homemade egg pasta spaghetti with roasted tomato sauce is one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Giuliano Bugialli. The sauce is simple to make and, if you use dry spaghetti (or store-bought fresh) the dish becomes extremely simple to execute. But if … Read More

Pellegrino Artusi, La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene

Frankreference4 Comments

Pellegrino Artusi

his is an Italian cookbook like no other. Artusi–it is quite common to call this book by the author’s name rather than its title–is to Italian cooking what Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire is to the French: indispensable. The author, Pellegrino Artusi, was born in 1820 near Forli, in the region … Read More

Chiocciole con salsiccia, piselli e ricotta (Pasta Shells with Sausage, Peas and Ricotta)

Frankpasta, primi piatti5 Comments

This was a dish I made up on the spot today, finding a stray single link of Italian sausage, some leftover ricotta and some frozen peas at the bottom of the freezer. The result was very good indeed—I thought I had stumbled on a new classic, until I check it … Read More

Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato and Bread “Soup”)

Frankprimi piatti, Toscana4 Comments

Pappa al pomodoro

In the days when freshly baked bread was a staple of everyday life, a plethora of recipes grew up for using leftover stale bread. This classic Tuscan recipe is, to my mind, the very best of the lot—pappa al pomodoro, literally “mush with tomatoes”. (Sounds better in Italian, doesn’t it?) … Read More

Arista alla fiorentina (Florentine Spit-Roasted Pork Loin)

Franksecondi piatti, Toscana2 Comments

Arista (Florentine Spit-Roasted Pork Loin)

Arista alla fiorentina, or Florentine Spit-Roasted Pork Loin, is one of the signature dishes of Tuscan cookery. And like so many Tuscan dishes,  the dish is as simple as it is good. Ingredients 1 pork loin roast Olive oil, q.b. For the dry marinade: 2-3 cloves of garlic 2-3 sprigs … Read More

Insalata di arance rosse (Blood Orange Salad)

Frankcontorno, Sicilia2 Comments

I recently found some blood oranges from California at the market–and I love blood oranges–so I made a blood orange salad as ‘dessert’: you just peel and slice the oranges, sprinkle over some black olives (Gaeta or nicoise are best), bits of red onion and parsley. Season with a bit … Read More

Scallopine di pollo (Chicken Scaloppini)

Franksecondi piatti, summer1 Comment

A friend was asking the other day about the tenderest chicken breast he had ever had. Well, after some probing questions, we figured out that he had enjoyed a dish of scallopine di pollo, chicken scallopini. It’s not actually a particularly common dish in Italy, where scaloppine are far more … Read More

Tagliatelle alle zucchini (Tagliatelle with Zucchini)

Frankpasta, primi piattiLeave a Comment

Vegetables and pasta were meant for each other. And no vegetable says summer like zucchini. Ergo, there’s no more iconic summer pasta than tagliatelle with zucchini! Start by sauteing some sliced baby zucchine in olive oil with a chopped up shallot over moderate heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as it … Read More

Frittata di patate e cipolle (Flat Omelette with Potatoes and Onions)

Frankreference4 Comments

Besides her fabulous pastas, Angelina would make wonderful Italian flat omelettes or frittate. I loved them. This was one, stuffed with potatoes and onions, she would make often. Made from the humblest of ingredients, it left you soooo satisfied… A frittata is rather easy to make, with one slight tricky … Read More

Risotto: The Basic Recipe

FrankLombardia, primi piatti, reference, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Veneto8 Comments

Risotto: The Basic Recipe

Risotto is Italy’s unique contribution to rice cookery. At its most basic, the rice is toasted with a flavor base of sautéed onion, then simmered in broth that is added ladleful by ladleful. When the rice is nearly cooked, it is vigorously stirred with grated cheese (and sometimes a knob of … Read More

Aglio, olio e peperoncino (Pasta with Garlic, Oil and Hot Pepper)

FrankCampania, Lazio, pasta, primi piatti19 Comments

Here’s another super simple pasta that I call the “mother of all pasta dishes” since its garlic and oil base forms the foundation for countless other pasta sauces. It’s also the quintessential impromptu snack the Italians call una spaghettata. I’m sure all the Italians and Italo-Americans out there have grown up … Read More

Fettuccine alla papalina (Fettuccine for the Pope)

FrankLazio, pasta, primi piatti23 Comments

Fettuccine alla papalina

Fettuccine alla papalina, or “Fettuccine for the Pope”, is an upscale reinterpretation of the earthy spaghetti alla carbonara. The story goes that the dish was prepared for a certain Cardinal Pacelli, soon to become Pope Pius XII, who had asked the owner of a restaurant in the Borgo (the area … Read More

Pollo coi peperoni (Chicken and Peppers)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti6 Comments

This savory Roman chicken dish, also known as pollo alla romana, is enormously satisfying. Although you could precede it with a rustic pasta like an ajo e ojo if you’re really hungry, you can skip the primo, as we did tonight, but have lots of crusty bread on hand to … Read More

Angelina’s pasta e lenticchie (Pasta and Lentils)

Frankpasta, primi piatti6 Comments

Pasta and Lentils

Of all the wonderful dishes my grandmother Angelina would make when I was growing up, this was my very favorite. And that’s saying a lot, since she made incredible lasagna di carnevale. Angelina’s pasta e lenticche (pasta and lentils) was very simple to make but involved three more or less simultaneous … Read More

Insalata Caprese

Frankantipasti, Campania5 Comments

Insalata caprese

It’s a warm, wonderful Summer-like day, and I didn’t feel like doing any ‘real’ cooking (yes, even I feel lazy about cooking sometimes) so I just threw together—almost literally—this typical summertime salad of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil that we’re all familiar with. This is a ‘composed’ salad like the … Read More

Fagioli e tonno (Tunafish Bean Salad)

Frankantipasti2 Comments

Fagioli e tonno

Fagioli e tonno, or Tuna Bean Salad, is just about as simple a dish as you can make. If you can open a can, you can can make this salad! And it’s easy to double or treble the recipe if you’re expecting more dinner guests, or you just feel extra-hungry. … Read More