Archives For cheese

 

polpette

Polpette biscotte al finocchio

Italian food may be simple, but often it’s not fast: but that’s one of its charms. Good ingredients, cooked well. It’s no surprise therefore that the Slow Food movement started in Italy. Traditionally, a lot of the more time-consuming dishes would have been cooked by housewives while their husbands were out at work, and so often consist of dishes which can cook more or less unattended while you get on with other chores. A good example is the authentic ragù which would be cooked slowly for about three hours. If you’ve ever tasted a three-hour ragù, you’ll appreciate why.

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spaghetti alla carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara just like it’s served in Rome.

 

After pizza, spaghetti alla carbonara is probably Italy’s most famous dish, but also its most controversial. Everybody knows that this plate of bacon-and-egg pasta is supposed to have a rich, creamy, sauce, but few know the real secret of how to achieve it. Outside—and even inside—Italy, people often cheat and add a little (or sometimes a lot of) cream to get the right consistency. But to purists (and even not so purists), cream might as well come in bottles with the number 666 printed on the label. They will tell you, with a stronger than religious fervour, that it is not part of the original recipe. Nor, for that matter are peas.

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It’s no secret that I love aubergines, or eggplants as some of you call them, or … well for argument’s sake let’s call them melanzane, the Italian word. So, it’s no secret that I love melanzane and would probably eat them every day, if I could. When cooked properly, they have the same mouth-puckering strength as a quality mature cheese. It’s no secret that I love cheese, or fromage, or … well let’s call it formaggio.

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frittata di maccheroni

Frittata di maccheroni

 

The more I learn about southern Italian cuisine the bigger the differences I see between that and northern cuisine. And, to be honest, nothing surprises me. I was recently taught this recipe by a good friend of mine from Naples and it’s already become one of my go-to favourites. As the name suggests―maccheroni in Italian is used to refer to pasta in general rather than a specific kind―this can me made with any type of pasta. In fact, it’s often used as a way of using up leftovers. I already knew that you could make delicious arancini with leftover risotto to avoid re-heating (and therefore overcooking and ruining) the rice. But this recipe is the same with pasta. Alternatively, as with this recipe, you can cook the pasta specially and just enjoy eating the dish for its own sake.

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melanzane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aubergine, eggplant, melanzane: they sound good in any language and, in my opinion, taste even better. These have been my favourite vegetables since I was a child and my mother used to prepare melanzane al funghetto alla veneziana, a kind of cold salad of marinated aubergine. Heaven. Italy is the largest european producer of aubergine and produces more than the whole of the USA. Another reason why it plays such a large role in Italian cuisine. And it’s in season all throughout the summer.

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