Fritole alla veneziana (Venetian Carnival Fritters)

Frankdessert, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, snack, Veneto34 Comments

Fritole

In Italy, Carnival, that last blast of excess before the austerity of the Lenten season, is known for fried foods of all sorts, especially sweet ones. I grew up on Angelina’s chiacchiere, the fried dough ribbons typical of southern Italy and beyond, but in Venice and nearby Trieste, they make fritole, … Read More

Salmone in crosta (Salmon en croûte)

Franksecondi piatti47 Comments

Salmone in crosta (Salmon en croute)

Salmone in crosta, or Salmon en Croûte, is one of those dishes that every cook should have up their sleeve. Its combination of mildly sweet salmon, savory braised leeks and buttery puff pastry is perfectly delicious. And it makes an elegant presentation at the table. But you needn’t tell your … Read More

Risotto allo champagne (Champagne Risotto)

FrankLombardia, primi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes38 Comments

Risotto allo champagne (Champagne Risotto)

Risotto allo champagne, or Champagne Risotto, is a simple but elegant first course. It is very much follows the basic recipe for a risotto in bianco but gets its particular charm from the use of Champagne instead of wine. You might think it extravagant to cook with Champagne, but you only use a … Read More

Struffoli (Angelina’s Honey Balls)

FrankCampania, dessert77 Comments

Stuffoli

Struffoli, small balls of dough fried and then covered in honey, is the quintessential Christmas sweet of Naples and its region of Campania. Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, it is very dear to my heart; it was one of nonna Angelina’s signature dishes, and it never … Read More

Baccalà in guazzetto (Roman Style Salt Cod in Tomato Sauce)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti32 Comments

Baccalà in guazzetto

Here is the “other” Roman way with salt cod: baccalà in guazzetto, simmered in tomato sauce. It may not be quite as famous as Rome’s iconic battered and fried salt cod filets called filetti di baccalà but it’s just delicious, although in a very different way. Simmering salt cod in tomato sauce—”in … Read More

Coscia di tacchino ripiena al forno (Oven-Roasted Rolled Stuffed Turkey Thigh)

Franksecondi piatti40 Comments

Coscia di tacchino ripiena al forno (Oven-Roasted Rolled Stuffed Turkey Thigh)

There’s nothing quite so impressive as a whole roast turkey brought to the table for carving. It’s almost guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs from your dinner guests. It certainly did back in Rome when we prepared Thanksgiving dinner for our Italian friends. A whole turkey was a rare thing … Read More

Melanzane al cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant)

FrankCampania, dessert36 Comments

Melanzane al cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant)

Chocolate Eggplant? It sounds like a culinary joke or some newfangled fusion dish. In reality, melanzane al cioccolato is a perfectly orthodox if unusual dish from Campania, more specifically the Amalfi coast, traditionally made for the Ferragosto holiday on August 15. I have to admit, although I had heard of this … Read More

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

Cocktail di gamberetti (Shrimp Cocktail in the Italian Manner)

Frankantipasti36 Comments

New Year’s Eve in Italy, as for so many other special occasions, means a special meal, the cenone di Capodanno, or ‘big supper’. Like Christmas Eve, this meal is often “lean” or fish based—at least before midnight, when it’s time to break out the cotechino sausage and lentils for good fortune. (In modern times, however, … Read More

A Neapolitan Christmas: Insalata di rinforzo (Cauliflower and Pickled Vegetable Salad)

Frankantipasti, Winter31 Comments

Insalata di rinforzo

This zesty cauliflower salad is a fixture on family tables in Naples during the Christmas season.  The salad is called insalata di rinforzo—’reinforcement salad’—is because it was customary in the old days to make a first batch as an antipasto on Christmas Eve and to keep on ‘reinforcing’ it with more cauliflower … Read More

Pizza rustica (Easter Cheese and Salumi Pie)

Frankantipasti, Campania, snack60 Comments

Pizza rustica

Pasquetta, or ‘Little Easter’, known in English as Easter Monday, is a holiday in Italy and much of Europe. Folks traditionally take to the roads to drive out to the countryside and enjoy a fresh air picnic. In Campania and elsewhere, one favorite item in the Pasquetta picnic basket is the … Read More

Pollo arrosto ripeno (Angelina’s Roasted Chicken with Sausage Stuffing)

Franksecondi piatti21 Comments

Angelina's Roasted Chicken

Apart from lasagna, nothing says Sunday dinner to me like a roasted chicken, sitting on the dining room table golden brown, with crispy skin, tender, juicy meat and—for special occasions—a savory stuffing. It’s a dish that was almost a universal feature of family dinners back in the day but, sadly, … Read More

Rotolo di tacchino (Roast Turkey Roll)

Franksecondi piatti22 Comments

Roast Turkey Roll

Turkey is a popular meat in Italy, often providing a less expensive alternative to veal in dishes ranging from scalloppine to ossobuco. But a whole roast turkey, Thanksgiving style, is a rarity. Back in Rome, I remember we had to special order our bird from a local butcher and presented … Read More

Pizza di scarola (Escarole Pie)

Frankantipasti, Campania, snack27 Comments

Pizza di scarola (Escarole Pie)

The word pizza in Italian has a broader meaning than it does in English. Besides the savory disk we all know and love, it also refers to both savory and sweet confections that we would likely call ‘pies’ in English, including Angelina’s pizza dolce, which doesn’t even have a crust. Then … Read More

Spaghettini al caviale di salmone (Thin Spaghetti with Salmon Roe)

Frankpasta, primi piatti20 Comments

Spaghettini al caviale

Elegant cooking doesn’t need to mean complicated. Thin spaghetti with salmon roe is a pasta dish that you can whip up in the time it takes for the water to come to a boil and the pasta to cook—yet it is fancy enough for the most important or better yet, intimate … Read More

Casatiello (Neapolitan Easter Bread)

Frankantipasti, Campania, Spring52 Comments

Casatiello

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

Tortellini fatti in casa (Homemade Tortellini)

FrankEmilia-Romagna, pasta, primi piatti, Soups24 Comments

Homemade Tortellini in brodo

Among the dizzying variety of stuffed pastas in the Italian repertoire, perhaps none—with the exception of ravioli—is more famous than tortellini. These ring-shaped bits of bliss are ambassadors of Italian cuisine abroad and these days they (or aberrant facsimiles) can be found on the shelves of almost any supermarket. Within … Read More

Angelina’s Pizza Dolce (Italian Cheesecake)

FrankCampania, dessert36 Comments

Italian Cheesecake

For most of us, pizza means just one thing: a round disk of dough topped with tomato, mozzarella and other goodies and baked in a hot oven. But ‘pizza’ really just means pie, and can refer also to Italian cheesecake, typically made with ricotta and eggs, flavored with sugar and other … Read More

Bignè di san Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs)

Frankdessert, Lazio, snack33 Comments

Bignè di san Giuseppe

Being a Catholic country, Father’s Day is Italy is celebrated on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. The feast is associated with a number sweet and savory dishes, but none more so perhaps than the  fancy, sweet version of zeppole usually called, appropriately enough, zeppole di san Giuseppe. Romans  … Read More

Chiacchiere (Fried “Ribbons”)

FrankCampania, dessert51 Comments

Chiacchiere (Fried Ribbons)

I wasn’t much on sweets even as a kid, but these little sugar-dusted ribbons of fried dough—variously known as chiacchiere, nastrini, stracci, cenci, frappe and a myriad of other names—were my one weakness in the sweets department. They are a traditional treat for Carnival, a time for over-indulgence, culinary and … Read More

Lasagna di Carnevale (Angelina’s Lasagna)

FrankCampania, Italian-American, pasta, piatti unici58 Comments

Lasagna di carnevale

Among Angelina’s generation, each of the female family members had a special dish that she was known for. My great-aunt, Angelina’s sister, who we called zi’-zi’ (loosely translated, ‘auntie’), was the ravioli specialist. Another great-aunt, zi’ Annin’,  was known as “the little pie-maker” and yet another specialized in calzone pugliese, … Read More

An Italian New Year’s: Cotechino con lenticchie (Cotechino with Lentils)

FrankEmilia-Romagna, secondi piatti, Winter39 Comments

Cotechino with lentils (Cotechino e lenticchie)

New Year’s Eve for Italians—like so many other holidays—is marked by a large, festive meal, often an elegant seafood dinner, called the cenone di San Silvestro or cenone di Capodanno, the word ‘cenone‘ being Italian for ‘big supper’. For me, following the typical Italian meal service, a perfect primo (first course) … Read More

Pollo fritto per Chanukà (Hanukkah Fried Chicken)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti9 Comments

Hanukah Fried Chicken

Continuing with our Italian Hanukkah dinner, after the first course of riso coll’uvetta, proceed to the second course: Hanukkah Fried Chicken which is, of course, fried in olive oil. This dish is popular in Rome and all over Italy for this Jewish holiday. Ingredients Serves 4-6 One whole chicken For … Read More

An Italian Hannukah: Riso coll’uvetta (Rice with Raisins)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Veneto8 Comments

Rice with Raisins

It may come as a surprise to some, but Italy has a Jewish tradition going back not just centuries, but millennia. A Jewish community existed in Rome dating from during the Roman Republic, even before the Empire, in the first centuries BCE. That presence grew during the late Middle Ages, … Read More

Spaghetti alle vongole (Spaghetti with Clam Sauce)

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti33 Comments

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

A Friday night favorite at our place—and traditional Christmas Eve primo piatto—is spaghetti with clam sauce, one of the signature dishes of Neapolitan cuisine. It is surprisingly easy to make, fun (if a bit messy) to eat and—if you have some good, fresh clams on hand—really, really tasty. Ingredients Serves … Read More