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  1. In a fit of enthusiasm I bought a small basket of good ricotta at the market Saturday, thinking we'd serve it as-is on Sunday, but we had so much stuff, I didn’t bring it out. Now every time I open the fridge it squawks at me that it's not getting any younger. I have realized for some time now that I greatly need new ricotta ideas, so here I am. Let me specify: I really don't want to make a sweet; I already know how to make regular pasta con la ricotta and view it as a last resort (though it may come to that), and I'm too exhausted from the Easter lunch yesterday to think about making ravioli. I might wait till tomorrow (when I can buy eggs) and make a tiella di Gaeta with ricotta, herbs, and onions, though my enthusiasm does not extend to the making of pastry. I also might just wind up putting it out with some excellent salami and bread and hoping Franco will eat it. Still, I'm sure there's some wonderful dish out there in ricotta land that I'm totally missing. Maureen B. Fant www.maureenbfant.com
  2. Does anyone have any recommendation for a short term {month or more} professional or at the very least a very serious amateur cook, school in the Naples area?
  3. I was torn between posting this query here or in the Italy forum but decided this might be the better venue. I'm trying to reconstruct a recipe Nonna made for a dense, almost medieval pie filled with spinach, dried fruit and pignoli. Eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and some parm -- maybe ricotta too. The crust wasn't tender: the fat might have been olive oil, and I know she threw in a couple of tablespoons of Marsala. She made it once a year, at Easter, like an Italian substitute for Hot Cross Bins. I can't find a recipe, or even the name of this wonderful pie. Can my brilliant eG pastry folks help out?
  4. Some some food slave friends of mine from Chicago are coming in town and they want to go to a "great, authentic red-sauce Italian". I'm ashamed to say that I don't know any to recommend, I usually go home when I want that (South Jersey). Any suggestions since Rao's is obviously still impossible? Thank ya.
  5. Greetings, I teach a course on the food and culture of Italy. One of my students and I are co-learning about Zeppole di San Giuseppe. This is something I have not encountered. And I am always ready and willing to learn. Can anybody provide information on this food which is associated with the Feast of St. Joseph? In addition, can you refer us to other sources of information?
  6. Hi! I've been making fresh pasta quite a few times, using different recipes with lots of egg yolks as well as using tipo 00 flour, but my pasta always comes out pretty boring looking after it's been cooked. Taste is just fine though. Anyway, last week a had a meal at Mario Batali restaurant Babbo, and the stuffed pasta I ate were really delicious and had that strong yellowish color mine is missing. Has anybody had this problem, knows how to fix it? I've seen some recipe (not batalis) putting in turmeric for colour which I'm pretty sure is not how they do it in Italy.
  7. Someone gave me a bottle of olive oil from Frantoio Faliero Mancianti. its unfiltered and very peppery... i wondered if anyone else has used it and what you think. thanks
  8. Italian Wine Tasting Vin Classic Wines 5717 Legacy Drive Suite 120 Plano, TX (Map) Thursday June 28, 2007 6:30 - 8:00 pm Free, with a paltry $5 contribution per person to the eGullet Society Wines tasted: Frescobaldi Brut Millisimato 2000 Attems Pinot Grigio 2005 Nipozzano Chiant Reserva 2003 Castelgiocondo Brunello 2002 Tenuta di Castglioni Rosso Toscana 2004 Ornellaia 2004 Pomino Vin Santo 2001 Thanks to Darrell Gibson at Vin Classic for arranging this special tasting, and to Gina della Vedova from the distributor, Folio, for the interesting background on each wine poured. This was the most extensive free tasting I have been to -- from the $12 Attens Pinot Grigio 2005 to the $175 Tenuta dell' Ornellaia 2004.
  9. Hello! This is my first eG post, but I have been enjoying all of the information and insights as I plan summer travels! My husband and I will be going with my parents to Chicago at the beginning of August to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The focus of our trips is usually food, and I have booked Alinea for Saturday night (can't WAIT for that!), but we have two other nights available. My dad adores Italian food. Are there any great new "finds" for Italian? I have looked at Spiaggio, but I couldn't help but wonder if there is somewhere perhaps slightly less formal/more fun that had really great food. Cost is not a big factor as this is a special occasion weekend, but we are doing the blowout at Alinea on our last night, so big "production" restaurants are not a requirement for the first two nights, though if they DO happen to be the places you think are best, I'm open to that. Plus, we're from California and used to casual attire even at our top restaurants - we don't mind "jacket required", but would kind of prefer "elegant but relatively casual". (I know, savages we are... ) And aside from the Italian recommendations, what other places shouldn't be missed? Thank you, I really appreciate your thoughts! Christina
  10. The other day someone asked me the difference between crostini and bruschetta, and I realized that I don't know what it is. I've been told that it's a matter of size -- that crostini are smaller, bruschetta are larger. But I've also heard that with bruschetta, the bread is grilled, while crostini are toasted. Can anyone give me the real story?
  11. So, what happens when you mix regions? We've spent the past 2 years exploring the regional cooking of Italy. And it's been a fantastic exploration; any of us who participated learned many, many things. So, what happens when you mix regions? There is hand wringing from town to town, let alone whole regiosn. What got me thinking about this was something that I made for lunch today. Sliced tomatoes (could be anywhere in Italy), layered over some tallegio (Northern Italy), with a sprinkle of dried orgegano (southern Italy...the mezzogiorno). I stuck it in the oven long enough to melt the tallegio. The result was excellent, cheesy goodness that was completely balanced by the acidity in the tomatoes, with the oregano adding a herbal note. Much more savory than combining tomatoes and mozzarella. Did I cross the line? Is this not Italian? Does such a thing as fusion Italian exist?
  12. So where does one go for great Italian in the Phoenix area? (any typeP And while we're on the subject. What about Mexican? (preferably Sonoran) any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
  13. When in Italy, what's your favorite brand of Italian coffee? I'm asking because we are in the throes of deciding what brand to use in our new restaurant, and would love to hear some biased opinions! Grazie mille!
  14. A couple of us are heading to Piedmonte in November and we are looking to do some truffle hunting. Anyone know of a guide we can hire? Any assistance is appreciated. Best Regards, Mark
  15. The other day I purchased some baby spring artichokes. I was having my children over for dinner. They love Italian Stuffed Artichokes that "nonna" used to make. I wanted to use the baby artichokes as appetizers that would be easy to eat while standing and visiting before dinner, but would convey the same flavor as the "family favorite." I ended up fixing the baby artichokes as artichoke hearts with the stuffing dropped like a little pillow in the heart. I prepared the hearts by par boiling in chicken stock after cutting and cleaning them. Then I created the stuffing using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, minced garlic, salt, pepper, chopped fresh parsley all binded with egg white. I placed the stuffing on the heart, drizzled with EVOO and placed in the oven for about 15 minutes. They were a hit! Preparing: The final product! Since we are entering the artichoke season, does anyone have any other interesting ways to serve them?
  16. I've just made my first few batches of risotto recently using some white wine which the recipe's had called for. I've seen recipes substituing wine with vermouth (I beleive it was vermouth) and I've seen a recipe without wine or any alcohol. My reason to not bother with wine is mainly $$. I am not a fan of white wine at all, so I have to buy a bottle every time I make risotto, of which only a small portion of the bottle is used for cooking, then I have to drink the wine relatively shortly after it's been opened even though I don't really enjoy it, just not wanting to waste it. So I'm curious if some experienced risotto fans can comment how important white wine is to risotto, if it can be substituted (vermouth?) or dropped all-together. The reason I ask here as opposed to experimenting for myself, is that I when I cook risotto it will be for few people at a time and I would not want them to be dissapointed. Thanks in advance.
  17. Hey all, I've tried zeppoles from many Italian bakeries ( in Toronto) but today I had the best!!! I always thought that zeppoles had to be fried but these were baked and just awesome. Some lovely custard cream on the inside and a light dusting of icing sugar on the outside. Anyone tried making these?
  18. I use my Atlas pasta maker to roll out fondant, chocolate plastique, and gum paste. I've had it for almost a year, and I probably use it once or twice a month (it has a motor). To clean it, I usually run a damp paper towel through it (although the first time I wasn't paying attention and was wiping it with a dish towel, which promptly got stuck in the rollers! I had to cut it away and then it worked like a champ.) Now, it doesn't "grab" the dough, no matter what setting it is on. The rollers move toward each other when it is on; they also slide wider or narrower depending on which setting is chosen. The fondant (think dough) doesn't catch automatically, so I try to guide it, but it doesn't grab even then. Any clues? Is it hopeless? This is the first sign of trouble, it's been fine up to now. The motor still works, maybe I should just get another pasta machine...?
  19. I've recently learned to cook risotto and am curious about what you serve it with. Normally I serve rice with meats that make gravy, since risotto is basically a rice dish with it's own 'sauce', my traditional dishes are overkill in the sauce dept. I'm not talking braised dishes, I think they're an excellent choice. It's the roux added gravies that don't make sense to me. I'd also like to incorporate seafood with the meal as a main dish, but am unsure of how to do it without putting it into the risotto itself (it's a kid thing, they don't like risotto but dh and I do and I still want them to eat the main dish). I thought of salmon. I like lamb with it as well. What flavors do I add to the risotto to compliment salmon? What traditional dishes is risotto served with? Do you have a traditional favorite? I've added mushrooms and spinach. What flavors, herbs, veggies do you add? I'm especially curious of how to make it compliment fish etc. since it's lent and fridays are meatless. thanks in advance.
  20. In September, we are covering the cooking of Campania, whose best-known city is of course Napoli or Naples. Do I really need to do best-known dishes? Pizza, calzones, pasta with tomato sauce, spaghetti with clams . . . it’s amazing how many mainstays are listed here. But then, immigrants from Campania formed a sizeable portion of those Italians who left the poverty of their home country for America and other destinations at the beginning of the 20th century, so their cooking naturally is at the heart of our “red sauce joints”. But there’s much more to the cooking than tomato sauce and buckets of garlic (which is in an of itself a misunderstanding of the more delicate native Campanian cooking): the mountainous regions have hearty fare with goat forming a basis of their ragus. Along the coast, you have wonderful, herbal, light seafood and shellfish dishes. One of the isle of Ischia’s most famous dishes is braised rabbit, of all things. Cookbooks listed as dedicated to Neapolitan cooking on Amazon: Guiliano Bugialli's Food of Naples and Campania The Food and Wine Guide to Naples and Campania by Carla Capalbo Naples at Table : Cooking in Campania by Arthur Schwartz Schwartz's book is really good; I don't have experience with the other two.
  21. Having read about how delicious the tromboncino is and having failed at growing them in my garden, I have now acquired one from a neighbor. I'd love to hear about traditional ways of preparing this wacky-looking squash. (My neighbor calls it by the Italian nickname which I can't begin to spell but which I suspect is rather off-color.)
  22. This needs to be read:The Times online Any comments? By the way, GLIS GLIS is known as GHIRO in Italian
  23. Recently, I picked up a bag of this: Optimally, what would you sauce this with?
  24. This week I made Alton Brown's tomato sauce. . .it starts out as fresh plum tomatoes, halved, seasoned, and baked for 2 1/2 hours, then put through a food mill, and finished off by being cooked with a little white wine. It's a really good sauce, even with out-of-season store bought tomatoes. After it came to temperature, it sat on a back burner on the "low" setting to keep warm. After cooking the spaghetti, I drained it in a colander, then put it back in the cooking pot. It was dry enough that I was concerned about it sticking together. So far, so good. After ladling it onto the pasta, however, I ended up with really good tomato stuff on top, and the pasta was swimming in red water. What's the deal? Is there any way to prevent this?
  25. Has anyone else been to this place (4700 Guadaloupe) yet? I haven't even tried the restaurant operation yet, but the grocery/bakery/deli is amazing. This weekend I got squid ink, marinated anchovies, excellent canned tuna, and a new brand of spaghetti. It really felt like being in a little market in Italy. Andrew
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