Homemade Giardiniera

Frankantipasti, Preserves, reference25 Comments

There are many ways in Italian cookery to put up food, relics of the days before refrigeration and freezing and commercial processing. There is straight up canning, of course. I can remember Angelina’s yearly day-long ritual of putting up summer tomatoes for the winter. The mason jars nearly filled one … Read More

Sorbetto di limone (Lemon Sorbet)

Frankdessert, summer27 Comments

Sorbetto di limone

Along with gelato, sorbetto is *the* classic Italian frozen dessert. And perhaps the most basic. Sorbetto di limone is essentially frozen lemonade: Simple syrup is made by simmering sugar and water together, to which lemon zest is added and allowed to infuse its flavor. When this flavored syrup cools completely, it … Read More

Homemade Passata di pomodoro: Step by step

Frankreference48 Comments

Passata di pomodoro (or passata for short) is the multi-purpose tomato purée that every aspiring Italian cook should learn how to make. Fortunately, it’s really quick and easy, but you do need one special piece of equipment: a food mill. The method is simplicity itself: You take ripe tomatoes, simmer them just long … Read More

How to Slice a Bell Pepper

Frankreference12 Comments

How to slice a bell pepper

If you’re like me, you probably slice peppers in half lengthwise through the core, and proceed to trim out the seed core from each half (which inevitably send seeds flying around) and then slice up the flesh, trimming off the bitter pith attached to the ridges along the way. Well, if you’re … Read More

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Frankgnocchi, primi piatti, reference37 Comments

Potato gnocchi are one of the easier types of ‘pasta’ to make at home and are most definitely worth the effort. The mini-hockey pucks that are sold commercially are, to put it bluntly, hardly worth eating—especially after you’ve tried the real thing. The best homemade potato gnocchi are as light and … Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Authentic Italian Food

Frankreference17 Comments

Welcome to our three part beginner’s guide to authentic Italian food! Here’s what you’ll find here: Part I: The Varieties of Italian Cooking This post walks you through the principal types of Italian cooking you are likely to encounter from true Italian food, the kind they make in Italy, to … Read More

Homemade Mayonnaise, the Italian Way

Frankreference, sauces13 Comments

Homemade Mayonnaise, the Italian Way

Mayonnaise may have been invented by the Spanish and popularized by the French, but Italians make maionese, too. The Italian method for homemade mayonnaise is not very different from elsewhere, but, not surprisingly, it is made either partially or entirely with olive oil (as was the original Spanish version) and is kept … Read More

Tomato Sauce 101

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti, reference, sauces, Toscana54 Comments

Tomato Sauce 101

I’m all for convenience when it actually makes life simpler, but it’s always been a mystery to me why people buy those jars of wretched “spaghetti sauce” that line our supermarket shelves when you can make real tomato sauce with only a tiny bit more time and effort. I suspect … Read More

Pane casereccio (Homemade Bread)

Frankreference103 Comments

Pane casereccio (Homemade Bread)

I am not a baker. Never have been. I have always found stove-top cooking fun and easy but baking is a very different art. Cooking lets you stir and taste and adjust as you go along to get things to come out just right. But with baking—once you close that … Read More

How to Dress a Salad “all’italiana”

Frankcontorno, reference22 Comments

How to Dress a Salad, the Italian way

The proper dressing of a salad has got to be one of the most overlooked techniques in all of cookery. For many people, a salad is something so common that it hardly merits thinking about. But there is actually a kind of art to this everyday task that can really transform … Read More

Sugo di carne (Meat Sauce)

Franksauces12 Comments

Sugo di carne (Meat Sauce)

When you mention Italian meat sauce, most people will immediately think of those monuments of Italian cooking, the ragù alla napoletana and the ragù alla bolognese. Those sauces that require hours of cooking and fairly elaborate preparation. These time-consuming ragù are, quite rightly, reserved for special occasions. Ragù alla napoletana is often … Read More

Part III: How to Cook Authentic Italian Food At Home

Frankreference17 Comments

Authentic Italian Food

Well, now that you know all about the varieties of Italian cooking and how to tell real Italian cooking from the fake, you may want to take your knowledge to the next level: making authentic Italian food at home. The good news is, it is really very easy to do. … Read More

Part II: Learning to Tell Real Italian Food from Fake

Frankreference31 Comments

Signs of fake Italian food

In Part I of this series, we explored the varieties of cooking styles that call themselves Italian, some rightly, some wrongly. As you will have realized from reading that post, there is a lot of fake Italian food out there, nowhere more so than right here on the internet. Since so … Read More

Part I: Varieties of Italian Cooking

Frankreference20 Comments

I sometimes feel sorry for Italians. While they are not generally a nationalistic people—Mussolini cured most of them of that affliction—they can be downright chauvinistic when it comes to their food. That’s perfectly understandable as far as I’m concerned, as Italians have given the world one of its great cuisines. And yet there may … Read More

How to Make a Frittata

Frankantipasti, reference, snack12 Comments

How to Make a Frittata

One of the wonders of Italian cuisine is its incredible variety, and much of that variety comes from the mix-and-match nature of so many of its dishes. You take a staple base ingredient like rice or pasta, and you pair that with all sorts of flavoring ingredients and come up … Read More

Granita di caffè (Coffee Granita)

Frankdessert, Sicilia, snack, summer20 Comments

Coffee Granita

As the summer draws to a close, it’s time to finish our trilogy of Italian frozen desserts. We have already explored the delights of gelato and sorbetto, and now it’s time to finish our trilogy with a post on granita, a kind of country cousin to the first two. Most commonly … Read More

The Italian Pantry

Frankreference31 Comments

Every cuisine has a collection of dry, canned, preserved and fresh staple ingredients that form the backbone of its repertoire. These staples show up time and again in countless dishes and define the characteristic tastes and textures of the cuisine. Italian cuisine is no different, and enormous regional variations in … Read More

Gelato: The Basic Recipe

Frankdessert, summer65 Comments

Gelato Basic Recipe

Today we’ll take a look at the basic recipe for everyone’s favorite summer dessert: ice cream! The Italian version of ice cream, called gelato, meaning simply ‘frozen’, is typified by the density of its texture and intensity of flavor. It achieves these qualities by avoiding any fillers or fluffers like … Read More

How to make béchamel sauce

Frankreference12 Comments

Béchamel sauce, How to Make

Béchamel sauce, which is essentially nothing more than milk thickened with a roux, is widely used in northern Italian cooking. It is not usually used as a ‘sauce’ per se but rather as a component in baked primi like lasagne alla bolognese, cannelloni, polenta pasticciata or crespelle al forno, as well as … Read More

How to Make Homemade Polenta

FrankCampania, Lazio, Lombardia, piatti unici, Piemonte, polenta, reference, Veneto44 Comments

How to Make Homemade Polenta

Homemade polenta is one of the most emblematic dishes of the northern Italian cuisines from the Veneto to Lombardia to Piemonte. It is also one of the oldest foods eaten in Italy, dating back at least to 990 BCE. In its original form, polenta—known to the ancient Romans as pulmentum—was … Read More

How to Make Homemade Broth

Frankprimi piatti, reference, Soups34 Comments

How to Make Homemade Broth

Making homemade broth is so easy to do, and the results are so wonderful and so almost infinitely useful, I really don’t understand why it’s almost disappeared from home cooking. Well, actually, I can guess: fewer and fewer people cook anything at all, let along things like homemade broth, which … Read More

Il ragù della domenica (Sunday Sauce)

FrankCampania, Italian-American, pasta, primi piatti, sauces39 Comments

Ragù della domenica (Sunday Sauce)

The subject of Sunday Sauce always brings me back to my childhood. My passion for food began early, and most of my culinary Ur-memories lead me back to Sunday dinners at nonna Angelina’s place. About noontime, after Sunday Mass, the family would congregate around the enormous table (or so it … Read More

How to make fresh egg pasta

Frankpasta, reference38 Comments

When making fresh home-made egg pasta, variously known in Italian as pasta fresca or pasta fatta in casa or pasta all’uovo, I usually make life easy for myself by using my trusty KitchenAid mixer to form and knead the pasta dough and then the pasta attachments to roll out and … 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

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