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  1. For a big dinner, I'm making a lasagna with Bolognese (and spinach pasta). I want to make a second, different lasagna so people can choose (or have both ). I know the Bolognese is not really that tomato-y, but still I think it would be nicer if the second one has no tomatosauce at all. Any ideas? Oh and I never know if I should call it lasagna or lasagne..
  2. The 20 Best L.A. Italian Restaurants / by Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly, Feb. 7, 2007 Jonathan Gold is the food writer for the LA Weekly, your basic alternative weekly newpaper for the Los Angeles area. When he wrote this list, I had to see where my favorite Italian chef (Gino Angelini) was placed. WHAT? NOT FIRST? Okay, so I haven't eaten at every Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Let's check the list: 1. Vincenti 2. Valentino 3. La Terza 4. Capo 5. Drago 6. Tre Venezie 7. Pizzeria Mozza 8. Il Moro 9. Angelini Osteria 10. Angeli Caffe 11. Madeo 12. La Botte 13. Il Grano 14. Pecorino 15. Casa Bianca 16. C&O Trattoria 17. Ago 18. Matteo's 19. Dominick's 20. Zelo
  3. Anyone else catch this article in the NY Times: Cracking the Spaghetti Code? Did it bug anyone besides me? My problem with this article is that it shows no awareness of Italian cooking. Its a lovely article about a roaming family that is grounded by spaghetti sauce, but it has nothing to do with Italy. It only perpetuates the stereotype of Italian cooking. Chicken thighs? Dried basil? boh!
  4. Well, here we are in Umbria. I’ll leave the formal intro to Judith, which I’m looking forward to a lot. All I’ll say is that it’s a somewhat sparse, robust cooking “elevated” at times by its use of cream, butter, and of course the native black truffle shaved over anything. Lots of game, particularly fowl and rabbit, as well as an abundance of freshwater fish (being one of the only regions in Italy not touching the sea). Whoops, I’m already drifting into giving an intro and taking away from Judith. So, without further ado, the books available for this region, based on an Amazon booksearch for “Umbria”: Umbria: Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy by John Rizzo and Julia della Croce Italian Country Cooking: Recipes from Umbria & Apulia by Susanna Gelmetti and Robert Budwig Ciao Italia in Umbria: Recipes and Reflections from the Heart of Italy by Mary Ann Esposito I only have the della Croce book. She appears to be undertaking the admirable task of doing book for each region of Italy. However, they are woefully short. Though she does give a good idea of the cuisine in her intro and you do definitely feel more knowledgeable of the region after you finish. Waverly Root’s chapter on Umbria in The Food of Italy is one of the standouts. Ada Boni combines Umbria and Le Marche into one chapter (hmmm . . . ) and Roden’s Umbria chapter has just two pages of recipes to it. Still, with our weather getting steadily cooler and more autumnal, I'm looking forward to the simple cooking style that yields big flavors that comes with Umbrian cooking.
  5. Would anyone know an importer or store in the U.S. from which one could buy dry tajarin (specialty egg pasta from Piemonte)? I have searched the net and come up dry. Surely it must be available from someone here. Thanks for the help.
  6. Anyone know of a good place to get quality Italian ingredients in Scottsdale or the Phoenix area in general? I really miss the italian markets from the northeast. In particular right now I'm looking for some decent ricotta.
  7. I recently took a trip to Northern Italy, and was delighted to find that the cappuccino everywhere was just wonderful, without exception. Smooth, flavorful, aromatic perfect crema, strong but not too strong. Aside from the obvious answer (duh, Italians created cappuccino ), what makes Italian capp so fantastic, and how do I duplicate the effect here? I'm wondering if it's the water, the way the coffee is ground or stored, the machines used....I'm baffled. Also noticed that the serving size tended to be smaller than what I'm used to -- i.e. a small teacupful vs. a brimming mug or Starbucks supersize. Not sure why that is either. Grazie mille for any insight on this!
  8. We're going to dinner at a friend's house this weekend. They're doing the main meal (first course = pasta - second = grilled fish). Simple Italian. I'm doing appetizer and dessert. Any ideas for something light to start? It should be fairly simple to eat (so our hosts can munch while they're cooking) - pre-made (except perhaps for heating) - and designed to travel well. I'd prefer to do Italian - but no one will kill me if it isn't Italian. I was thinking of making some caponata - but I'm not sure I can find eggplant in the stores now. Robyn
  9. References to good cookbooks and other resources crop up here and there on this regional forum, with Kevin's food blog providing interest in cookbooks that focus on specific regions that hathor and orte (? sorry if I don't recall name correctly) have also traced in their cooking. Is there any interest in collaborating here on eGullet to assemble an annotated bibliography* of books, periodicals and other sorts of resources that feature Italian cooking and food history? An emphasis could be placed on items in English, in print and accessible here in North America. However, online international resources are rich, including library catalogs such as the one for the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze. This is to the Schlesinger Library and the New York Public Library Links to other online resources, including blogs that focus on Italian food might also be added. *Members could write short blurbs detailing contents, or evaluating features of the resource.
  10. Looking for a recomendation or two. All of my wife's Italian cookbooks seem to approach desert as an afterthought (not unlike many Italian restaurants come to think of it). Is there such a book? Thanks, -M
  11. So, I recently cooked what is certainly one of my favorite single dishes in the Italian repertoire, Ragu Bolognese. Seems to have generated lots of interest and cooking. And certainly this is not to try to move the discussion out of my Year of Cooking thread, but I just thought that such a heavyweight deserved its own topic. So, let's do this. Anything at all ragu bolognese related: Historical facts, debates, etc. Where is the best version you've had in Italy? Elsewhere? What version do you use? What meats do you use? Anything unusual in your version? Anything off limits that drive you nuts when you see it in other recipes? How long do you cook it? What pastas do you serve it with? Stand-alone meal or part of a full feast? I want a good, clean fight folks.
  12. I am trying to find a handful size list of the best fine dining Italian restaurants in NYC. I have Felidia, Beppe (chosen based on the NYT review that might be dated)and Babbo. Can you help me add to this list? Also can you help me with a recent review of Beppe, I can't seem to find a string on it. Thanks, A
  13. I would love a really good tried and true recipe for a from scratch italian cream cake. Does anyone have one to share? Jane
  14. When I was still a graduate student, I would leave the library just before it closed. Winding down Via Sant'Antonino where four little pigs sat stuffed, clutching forks and knives, checkered napkins tied around their necks like the ropes that suspended prosciutto from the ceiling of the shop behind their table, I headed toward the bus at Santa Maria Novella. Often it was one of those accordian monsters, the front of the vehicle attached to the rear by pleated folds of a substance that resembled vinyl. If the bus was really packed, there was nowhere to stand but on the metal platform between those folds, pitching and adjusting your balance with every turn down narrow streets while the space around you expands and then contracts over and over until it stopped beside the lumber yard far from the city center. From there, the walk home was through twisting, dark passages lit by electric candles set before Madonnas enshrined within the towering walls. At the end: a club for working men; above, my apartment. Behind that, fields where the rooster crowed just before the light returned to us once more. I shared the space with three other students. We would collect in the kitchen when it got really cold which it did that winter. Instructions on the wall advised us to turn on the heat only in the evening and only until we went to bed. Even when the heat was on, it was barely enough for the two of us from the U.S. We wore layers upon layers and walked around with hands wrapped around mugs of tea. We sipped lots and lots of soup. Kevin's thread on ragu has gotten me to think about that nourishing soup. If you are also as grateful as I am for thick, substantial winter soups from Italy, I would love to hear from you, whether it is a recommendation of a favorite restaurant, or recipe or advice you'd like to share based on soups you have made yourself. Since this post is rather lengthy, I will mention only two sources very briefly: 1) in Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen there is a recipe for ribollita that strikes me as amazingly Tuscan and authentic. It is now a favorite. 2) Wasserman-Miller's Soups of Italy is now on sale at JessicasBiscuit. Based on what I have made from a copy checked out at the library, I highly recommend the book.
  15. We had delicious dinner at Sangiorgio's Italian Bistro, 86 Boonton Avenue, Kinnelon; BYO. Started off with bruschetta topped with chopped tomatoes and warm Italian bread. Appetizers were a tremendous whole stuffed artichoke filled with bread stuffing and cheese surrounded by a garlicky butter sauce, and a hardy escarole and bean soup. I loved my entrée of perfectly cooked grilled shrimp with cannellini beans, diced tomato and spinach. Lowell had two tender pork chops on the bone in a balsamic demi-glace topped with sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms. We brought one home as the portions are big here. The chef/owner is Rosario Sangiorgio previously from Foro Italico, Elmwood Park. His wife Lucia took baking classes at Johnson and Wales and her crepe filled with chocolate almond mousse is a “must try.” We also devoured the apple-caramel pie. For reservations call 973-492-5305.
  16. I haven't figured out how to get pictures into the posting (if anyone can help me, please do!). You can see a photo of them here. They're the dark tall cakes in the middle of the rows.
  17. We're planning a special dinner for eGullet members and guests at Incanto in January. The dinner will feature a flight of Italian wines selected to match the four course meal. Here's the relevant information: Date: Monday, January 9, 2006 Time: 7:00 pm Place: Incanto Restaurant 1550 Church St., San Francisco [Public transportation: the J Church Muni streetcar stops about two blocks away] This dinner will showcase the unique seasonal, Italian-influenced cuisine of Incanto, with Italian wines selected to accompany each course. The chef will talk about the courses and the wine director will discuss the wines selected. Exact menu will be set at a later date; it will be posted in this thread. Incanto Restaurant has garnered much discussion both in the local SF press and on the eG California forum (click here and here for a couple of eGullet discussions of the restaruant). It's known for a reliance on local, seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on using the whole animal. The wine list is exclusively Italian, with wines selected to complement the dishes from the kitchen. Cost: Fixed cost of $45 for four courses (plus tax and 20% gratuity). Optional paired wine tasting for $17-$20 (to be determined before the event). Total cost would be $57.75 without wine. With wine, the top price would be $83.50. The dinner will take place in the private Dante Room, maximum occupancy 16. Reservations can be made by posting in this thread (first come, first served). Because space is limited, reservations will be limited to one guest per member. We'll keep a waiting list, and if there is enough interest, we will try to plan future dinners (perhaps quarterly). Payment to be made in advance (right before the dinner is fine) by cash or check. Any additional beverage or food ordered will be the responsibility of the person(s) ordering and can be paid directly to the restaurant at the conclusion of the dinner. If you have any questions not answered here, please PM me and I'll try to answer them. Hope to see you at the dinner! -------------- This event has been organized through the eG Forums by members but is not sponsored by the Society or its eG Forums. The event is open to all participating eGullet Society members, contributors and their guests. By participating in this event, you confirm your understanding and acceptance of the eGullet Events Policy (click here), to which all eGullet Society members have already agreed.
  18. I spent the recent Thanksgiving holiday at my parents' house, as we do every year. As my dad was opening the wines to be served throughout the day he remarked that he and my mom have recently begun to be disappointed that a lot of the wines that they are holding onto aren't really showing that well. Indeed, the 1992 Dolcetto that we opened (Abbona Dogliani) seemed to be past its prime. There just aren't enough holidays in the year, it seems Of course, this opened the door for me to volunteer my services as a taster of sorts. I brought home six bottles this particular trip with the intention of actually opening the damn things and getting a sense of where they are. Since I'm taking some notes anyway I figured that it might be interesting to post my impressions here as well. So far I've opened two- 1988 Sansone Amarone della Valpolicella Bad bottle, unfortunately. It definitely requires another look pronto. 1992 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Rich, yet lively, wonderful bouquet full of cherry-like fruit, earthy dried mushrooms and perhaps some marjoram-ish herbal traces. It falters on the washed-out palate, however, which is mostly acid and tannin- though the cherries linger on the finish. It was a lot better with food (ravioli with tomatoes, onion, chicken and mushrooms) than on its own. Open these soon. And these are waiting on deck- 1989 Abbona Dogliani Vigneto Terlo Ravera Barolo 1988 Il Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1989 Moccagatta Barbaresco 1988 Podere Il Palezzino Grosso Sanese
  19. Having read the eGCI article on making fresh pasta, I was charged up and looking to buy a pasta machine. Being a stingy student, I saw how much they cost and put it on my Christmas wishlist instead. Then today, I was in the supermarket and they had a table selling the various props that they used to have in their recently-renovated Deli area. You know, the stuff they put up to project the image of a cosy little Italian shop, but never actually sell -- there were a few giant jars of olives, some long long <i>long</i> stale bread rolls, some Italian-looking crockery, and then in amongst the clutter, an Atlas Marcato pasta Maker. I'd heard that these models are very high quality and can last a lifetime, and since this had no obvious structural problems and all of the pieces were there, I bought it for the very reduced price of $11. As stingy as I am, $11 for a $60 Pasta Maker seemed worth the risk. The only problem is that it is extremely filthy. I don't think it's ever actually been used -- the parts that come into contact with the pasta dough are reasonably clean -- but the rest of it is grease central. There is no rust or corrosion, just a consistent coating of sticky horrible grease. Most of it feels like when a price sticker has been pulled off leaving behind a gummy sticky patch. Did I waste $11, or can this thing be salvaged? I though I would ask here first since <a href="http://fantes.com/marcato.htm">I've read</a> that these machines shouldn't be cleaned with water. I don't mind if it takes me days to restore this thing (Uni holidays, I have a lot of time on my hands), but I want to do it right. Any tips? (First post by the way -- hi! -- apologies if it's overly long-winded)
  20. Friends of ours are proposing a night out at an Italian dinner club on Commercial. Apparently this place has dinner, dancing, and a high kitsch value. I don't know the name of it but I was wondering if anyone had heard of it or been there, and if so, thumbs up or down? Many thanks.
  21. I recently had one of the most inspiring agnolotti in LA's La Terza. The thing was light fluffy and swathed in a delicious butter sauce with wild mushrooms. The whole experience has inspired me to blow the dust off my pasta machine. Here's what they look like: Anyone know how it's done? and how do I get the best results?
  22. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo. Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines. So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
  23. Since we talk so much about the embarrassment of riches that Philadelphia brings to the sandwich board, I thought it high time we start documenting (in one place) all of our glorious sandwiches. Here's what I had for lunch yesterday... The Chickie's Veggie Special. Baked eggplant, roasted red peppers, sauteed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. Doesn't get any better than this.
  24. Hi all, Clients of mine from China have requested that we go out in a greek or italian restaurants whre there's singing and/or dancing (and good food, of course). Since the client is always right; do you have any recommendations? Those are not the kind of places I visit regularly... Thanks, Salomon
  25. Can anyone direct me to a guide to regional Italian cuisine? I'm looking for a quick-and-dirty rundown of what identifies and differentiates Italian food in different areas of the country: not just northern vs. southern, but things like Ligurian, Tuscan, Pietmontese, etc. I want to understand better which foods are used in each region, and why. I've seen some of the overviews on About.com, which are helpful, but I'm looking for something that delves further into the regions and is easy to follow without assuming an in-depth knowledge of Italy and Italian terms (which I do not have). There's lots of great pockets of knowledge in this forum -- which I fully intend to read when I have more time -- but for now I'm looking for something that can get me up to speed fast. Thanks for your help!
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