Archives For lent

Bigoli in salsa

Bigoli in salsa

 

Bigoli in salsa is one of the most classic Venetian dishes which is found mostly in the city of Venice itself, but in variations in other parts of the Veneto. It consists of a kind of pasta made with semolina flour and eggs, served in an anchovy and onion sauce. The bigoli themselves are like very thick spaghetti, and similar to Tuscan pici or bringoli except that those are made without eggs. The name is also used for a kind of wholewheat spaghetti typical to the town of Bassano del Grappa in the north of the Veneto and so these are also sometimes used. Normal spaghetti would work well if it’s all that you can find.

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Pinza

 

One of the hallmarks of Tuscan regional cooking is that a lot of it makes use of stale bread. I recently wrote an article about it outlining some of the traditional soups and salads from the region all with stale bread as their main ingredient. However, it’s not just savory dishes which use it. In many parts of Italy, not just Tuscany, stale bread is used to make cakes, such at the Venetian pinza. Like a lot of dishes which started out in poor kitchens, these bread cakes are now seen as part of the traditional cusine and something to be proud of.

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Buona pasqua!

 

Well, it’s almost Easter and time to break free of the restrictions of Lent and celebrate with all the wonderful Easter food we’ve been dreaming of. Here in the Tuscan Valtiberina, Easter is of particular importance, especially in the town of Sansepolcro, whose name means Holy Sepulchre, referring to the tomb of Christ. In fact there are two important cultural items in the town connecting it with Easter. The first is 16th century model of the tomb of Christ in the Oratorio della Compagnia del Crocifisso. The second, and better known, is the painting of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca which is housed in the Museo Civico.

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TUSCANY

This recipe is from Tuscany.

Torta di Semolino

No sooner is carnival out the way than we have an excuse for another sweet blow-out: San Valentino, or Valentine’s Day. And in a country famed for lovers and romance it’s seen as a big occasion—notwithstanding the fact that the original Saint Valentine was Italian.

It’s also the very beginning of the strawberry season here in Italy with fruit from the milder south appearing in the shops. So inspired by both of these things I created this romantic dessert.

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Frioe aea Venexiana

 

In Renaissance Venice, the period from 26 December until Ash Wednesday was one of chaos. The city was full of parties, festivals, but also of general misrule and often violence—tolerated by the authorities as a way for society to let off steam and a way to ensure good order for the rest of the year. People would wander the streets wearing masks to ensure anonymity as they played tricks on each other, or worse. Immediately after this period was Lent when meat and other so-called luxury food items would be forbidden. In Latin, to take away meat is carnem levare, so this festival became known as carnevale.

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