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Found 743 results

  1. highchef


    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.
  2. 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?
  3. scordelia


    I read somewhere that you could not get real fragolino anymore because the grape is American (oh no!) and the EU banned commercial production. Is this true?
  4. 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
  5. MITllama

    pasta sauce

    I am bored with red pasta sauce, and don't like heavy Alfredo sauce. I have been experimenting with making sauce from cooked sweet potatoes or green peas, but both seem to lack oomph. I added crushed pineapple to the sweet potatoes and that helped, but it needs something more. I tried adding tomatillo salsa to the green peas, but that wasn't quite right either (or not to my taste). Any suggestions? I'm open to any vegetable base.
  6. What's with all these new Italians? Pretty soon the city's going to be all trattorie and sushi bars. Riccardo Trattoria (Northern Italian from the longtime chef at Bice, opened February in Lincoln Park) Terragusto (BYOB with organic, fresh pastas, opened February in Roscoe Village) Spacca Napoli (Neapolitan pizzas, opened February in Ravenswood) Tony Rocco's (casual homestyle, with twists like Broasted chicken, opened February in River North) Jay's Amore on Madison Ristorante & Lounge (February in the West Loop) Timo (March Italian redo of Thyme on the Near West Side) Frasca (Pizzeria/wine bar from the cousins behind Dunlays on the Square and Dunlays on Clark, May in West Lake View) Rosebud Prime (Italian steakhouse at 1 S. Dearborn St., May) Cafe Bionda (South Loop, from an ex-Rosebud chef, May) Trattoria 31 (Bridgeport, May) Erba (Lincoln Square, from the people behind Brioso, May) Gruppo di Amici (Rogers Park, opening in June)
  7. J_elias86

    The Italian

    Hey all, Thought I'd share a nice place with you all. The Italian. New up market restaraunt in the Melbourne CBD. (I think little collins, Can't remember) I think it had a nice balance between rustic and honest fare. Its seasonal, with its mainstays. Mind you, its only been open for seven months, So whose to know what a Mainstay is! The decor is tacky. bad and all thing crap. But last time a checked, I don't eat the surroundings. Don't get me wrong, were not talking grungey, dirty back bar. We are talking try hard, nouvelle, modern architure, with high ceilings and asian tastes. In a place with as authentic italian food as this, i think there is an identity crisis. Nonethelss, lets talk food. Nyway on to the food. For entree had soft polenta with trippa with a sweetish tomato sauce. It was great. I went to italy last year and really felt like a hit of tradition. The polenta was creamy without resembling a cup full of butter, and the trippa was amongst the most tender I've ever had. For main, gnocci with veal stew. Again, the sauce was quite sweet to taste, not dessert sweet but prob some sugar in there to deal with those out of season tomatoes. The veal was tender and the gnocci was fresh, as gnocci should be! For dessert, chocolate fondant. Not as oooozeing as anticpated, somewhat more cakey. But, it was a welcome twist, and still tasted fantastic with the vanilla icecream. John Lethlean (the agre head critic) wrote it up during the year as one of the best meals he had eaten during the year. (pan fired lambs brains). I must have lost it somewhere amidst the massive menu. In any case, I'm going this weekend! If any more q's about it. feel free to ask. Sorry got uni exams, otherwise, if i get a chance I'll add some more places. Cheers. J
  8. Andrew Fenton

    A Tale of Two Fish Markets

    (N.B.: shamelessly cross-posted from my blog.) I've been thinking a lot about fish lately, prompted by a project I'm beginning on fish in Roman culture and literature. It's not a bad thing to work on here, since it gives me the excuse to do some research on fish in modern Italy. By "research", of course, I mean mostly "eating"-- but I've been looking into fish in other ways as well. You wouldn't think it from visiting coastal Italy (or, for that matter, an inland city like Rome), but the Mediterranean is actually relatively fish-poor, at least compared to the ocean. Modern fishing techniques mean that it's not too hard to get a variety of fish to market. But some parts of the peninsula have historically had better access to fish than others, and that access is reflected on a consumer level by the presence of large fish markets. I'm going to look at two of these, from opposite ends of Italy. The first of these is pretty famous, the Rialto fish market in Venice. Venice's lagoon, with its shallow, brackish water, is a great environment for attracting the wide variety of fish that are the hallmark of Venetian cuisine. The importance of fish for Venice is highlighted by the elegant architecture of the market. The structure, built in 1907, is a wide portico with room for two rows of stalls, facing onto the Grand Canal. It's easily the loveliest fish market I've ever seen (okay, not that much competition there...) The column capitals along the outside are all in the shape of different fish, boats, etc.: I didn't see any turtles for sale at the market! But these guys are pretty cute. The architect (whom my guidebook lists as the painter Cesare Laurenti) was clearly having some fun, while maintaining a traditional Venetian appearance. As the city of Venice has shrunk (there are about 60,000 people in central Venice, down from 200,000 a century ago), the importance of the market has decreased. Restaurants buy a lot of fish, of course, but they mostly get it from the wholesale market, and while tourists might buy an apple or cherries, a whole mackerel or bag o' shrimp doesn't tend to fit well into a suitcase! As a result, when I was there (late May), the market was only about half-occupied by stalls, and many of the people walking around were (like me) tourists with cameras, rather than shoppers. Too bad, because the seafood there is absolutely gorgeous. I'm pretty bad with seafood names (in English or Italian)- so please feel free to help me out in comments... Here's one I do know, some nice looking red mullets: They're particular favorites of mine, both because the Romans loved 'em (as pets and as food), and because, hey: "red mullet". hee! There's a lot of care put into displaying fish (it helps that I arrived at around 8 AM, when things were just starting to gear up): Here are some canocce: alien-looking crustaceans that are very characteristic of Venice. I don't know if they live elsewhere: I love those "eyes". This is a close-up, obviously, but lots of the vendors stack them up like so much fishy cordwood. We had canocce for dinner that night (at Alle Testiere); they're sweet and tender, sort of between really fresh Gulf shrimp and crab. Here's a bucket o' eels: Still alive: that one in the center was flapping its gills and glaring balefully at me. I have to admit something here and say that eels squick me out a little, and this guy didn't really change things for me... The fruit and vegetable market is right next to the fish market. There's a nice selection, but it didn't strike me as especially distinctive: Hey you! Get back to the piazza San Marco! (And memo to shoppers: be sure to wash that eggplant well! The other fish market I've visited that really impressed me was way at the other end of Italy, in Syracuse. Sicilian seafood is of course famous, and rightly so. Like Venice, Sicilians have been able to exploit their environment to get access to lots of different kinds of seafood. In this case, the straits of Messina provide naturally good fishing grounds. The small space creates a difference in temperature between the western and eastern Mediterranean, something that attracts fish. And the narrow straits funnel fish, making them easier to catch. The market in Syracuse is on the island of Ortygia, steps away from the temple of Apollo and next to the small harbor. It stretches for about two or three blocks on a small street. Not as picturesque as the Venice market, but with at least as good a selection of fish, and with a more vibrant atmosphere. Here are some anchovies. Or maybe sardines. I'm not really sure, actually: To misquote Maurice Chevalier, "thank heaven for leetle feesh!" I've really come to love the miniature members of the scaly tribe: alici sott'olio? Oh yeah. It's a real shame that Americans are so fixated on steak fish (salmon, tuna, etc.); I'm sure whether I'll be able to get them back in the US. Anyway, it's an excuse to eat as many as possible now... I don't know what this thing is. But it kind of scares me. Probably it's delicious, but I wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with it. Other than back away slowly... Again, not really sure what these are. I just think they're really beautiful. As with these: Let's just call those last photos "two studies in stripes." Finally, the biggest fish in the market that day, a nice-looking tuna: Everybody is impressed (and rightly so), even that kid in the corner. Yum! I love Syracuse; it's a beautiful, friendly city with wonderful food and a fascinating history. One of my fantasies-- once I win the lottery, you know-- is to move there and just cook fish every single day. Someday, maybe...
  9. Ciambellone (Ring Cake) is an Italian favourite of mine and I would like to recreate it at home. Can anyone help? Thanks
  10. 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?
  11. JeanneCake

    broken atlas pasta maker

    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...?
  12. Norman Walsh

    Italian Bread

    On a recent visit to Toronto I had for the first time Italian bread and it was the best bread I have ever tasted. I would love the recipe for this bread or does it use ingredients only obtained commercially? Any information on this would be very gratefully received. Thanks norm
  13. The pizza-consumption idiosyncrasies topic has been a goldmine of ideas for related topics. One thing I wanted to start getting to the bottom of is a taxonomy of non-pizza, pizza-like things. I happen to like stromboli a lot. I assumed it was a real Italian pizza variant but Wikipedia says it comes from Philadelphia in the 1950s. I also hear that "pizza rolls," which are sometimes like stromboli, I gather, and sometimes like egg rolls with sauce-cheese filling, are gaining popularity. What else is out there?
  14. Shalmanese

    Reusing pasta cooking water

    I've been making a lot of fresh pasta recently and a lot of my recipes involve using pasta cooking water in the sauce. In restaurants, the same batch of water is used to make multiple batches of pasta, leading to full bodied pasta cooking water and superior sauces. I've taken to trying to replicate this effect at home by reusing pasta cooking water. I keep a half gallon tupperware container of pasta cooking water in my fridge. When it comes time to cook pasta, I'll add the water + another half gallon of fresh water to a large pot on the stove and bring it to the boil for at least a minute and use it to cook about a lb of fresh pasta. Instead of draining in a colander, I use a spider to scoop out the pasta and dump it directly in the sauce (bringing some cooking water along with it). I leave the water on the stove until it's cooled down to room temperature, then strain half a gallon of it back into the container, discarding the rest. I then add enough salt such that, when re-diluted, it'll be at the appropriate salinity to cook pasta next time. So far, I've been using the water at least once a week so I'm not too concerned about the food safety issues but I figure the excess salt buys some protection as well. Every time I've used it, I taste it beforehand and it's fresh and clean tasting but I assume if you're cooking pasta less than once a month, there may be issues with this approach. Also, now that I have it around, it's been occasionally useful as an all-purpose light thickener when I want to add just a bit of body to a dish. Because it's so heavily salted, it needs to go in before the final seasoning adjustment but I've found it's actually really great in soups where it adds just that hint of thickness that gives it the mouthfeel of a stock based soup (at the expense of cloudiness). Does anyone else regularly do this? What's been your experience?
  15. seabream

    Ciabatta with holes too big

    I made ciabatta for the first time, and I think the holes in the baked loaf are a bit too big (see photo attached). What did I do wrong? I searched the internet quite a bit, and I found lots of people striving for ciabatta with big irregular holes, and not quite able to achieve it, but I found no one with the same problem as me. I followed Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe of Ciabatta with Poolish, which has 73% hydration, and calls for two folds during bulk fermentation. I followed the recipe as described in the book, to the best of my ability. The ciabatta tasted so good that I am eager to make it again. However, I'd like to know what I should do different to achieve a better texture. Thank you in advance for any replies!
  16. Okay, pizza in Buenos Aires...a very complex topic to tackle! At once, it's ubiquitous and elusive. There's cheese (to the gills!) and no cheese. There's ham--deli-type and salt-cured--but no pepperoni. There's the thick, gooey crust that tastes and tooths like bread or there's the "pizza a la piedra," or stone-baked, thin, crispy crust that tastes like a water cracker. There's faina, a...hmm, how to describe it...chickpea flour biscuit-like, focaccia-shaped bread thing, slightly reminiscent of cornbread in appearance, that is eaten on top of the very local, very traditional pizza called fugazzetta (pizza dough piled thick with lots of onions, oregano and cheese, maybe some green olives...yep, that's it.) So, what's the complexity about? For starters, locals--Porteños, the residents of the Capital--will say that they LOVE pizza and that Buenos Aires has the best pizza in the world. Being here in BA, you will quickly identify that the former statement is as true as can be: almost every commercial corner in this city has either a pizza joint (or two) or a resto-bar that serves pizza proudly. Any lunch cafe will serve pizza. In other words, ubiquitous. But you will find that these eateries serve an identical menu--empanadas, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches, milanesas--indicating that the local palate is quite limited. That isn't to imply that a limited palate necessarily must be an indiscriminate one, but...here, it kind of is. Argentine pizza is in its own category of cuisine. It is not Italian pizza. It is not NYC pizza, nor Chicago pizza. In order to appreciate it at all, you MUST divorce your preconceived notions of pizza from the experience of eating Argentine pizza. Then--and only then--you might be able to enjoy what you are ingesting. You will find that Argentine pizza is oozing with unbrowned, insufficiently baked, rubbery, bad mozzarella. You will find that the sauce is both lacking in quantity and flavor. You will find the crust, if it is the soft kind, bready without any yeastiness, often toothless. The cracker-crisp crust is better because of the improvement in texture, but again, tends to be flavorless. Sorry I sound so cynical, but 90% of the Argentine pizzas I have eaten have caused in me regrets and disappointment and low after-dinner self-esteem. My suggestion: try it for the experience of it, but I can't bear to make any recommendations here on an integrity basis and because I refuse to be held accountable either for intentionally leading anyone to a negative dining experience or for finding out that anyone had a great experience with something I define as mediocre! So, to find a GREAT pizza in Buenos Aires was an exercise in patience and grave tolerance, but finally that elusive pie has been identified... Siamo nel Forno Costa Rica 5886 in Palermo Hollywood 4775-0337, reservas@siamonelforno.com.ar Tues-Sun from 8 pm to close An exercise in Neapolitan-style, artesanal excellence: Original, imported, wood-burning oven from Italy; thin-crust, gourmet pizzas using highest-quality ingredients; nice wine list; great coffee! Warm, personable, professional service, English-speaking staff; owner/head chef will probably stop at your table to check in; comfortable ambience Super busy on weekends, so reserve if you plan to go after 9 pm. Second choice: Piola, 2 locations Libertad 1078 in Barrio Norte 4812 0690 / 4815 4746 open late night (until 2 or 3 am) Gorriti 5751 in Palermo Hollywood 4777 3698 / 4777 3298 http://www.piola.it/...mber=21〈=en International chain of pizzerias out of Italy, but consistent and with a huge variety of pizzas; also offer pastas and other dishes. They give a complimentary sweet limoncello (?) blended drink at the end. Service is sometimes perfunctory and slow, but generally kind. Lots of English-speaking waiters. Also very busy; they take reservations, but if you go early, you'll get in. Open all day. I don't quite understand why there are always TV's on at this restaurant.
  17. I'm going to the Italian Market tomorrow and need veal stock. The small demi-glace packets are available several places but IIRC they're expensive. Any other recommendations?
  18. Cookwithlove

    An Italian starch dish

    Hi friends, I am proposing an Italian starch dish for Christmas in my menu(Buffet style), I am toying of a polenta, risotto, lasagna or others dishes that is practical and suitable for buffet and at the same time maintain its traditionality. Thanks you and do correct me for any misconception. Thanks you.
  19. Having just returned from the UK we are out searching for apartment and Saturday took us to Bondi Beach, after checking out the apartment we strolled along the beach and by chance came across NBIF. I had heard a lot of great things about it, and so took this opportunity to give it a go. As you would expect on a sunny spring afternoon it was mobbed, they don’t take bookings so we added out name to the list and were told it would be two hours (and no they don’t take mobile numbers). Off we headed for a longer walk with the aim to get back for a few beers before a late lunch. We arrived back 40 mins later (we were thirsty) to find our table ready. Good news but a bit worrying on the time estimate front. A good position on a shared table (more later) at the front with a prime view of the beach, this is really one of the best located beach side restaurants I have eaten in, and given the location the scenery inside isn’t at all shabby either. It is quite a big menu divided up in the usual Italian style, starters are around $16 to $18 mark, mains head towards $30 and sides $10 t0 $18. It reads pretty well, with some interesting sounding dishes including a daily roast (evenings only) and an offal section. We start with some very good bread and oil, great texture to the bread and a nice bite to the oil, the draught beer is “Blue Tongue” which hits the spot. We share “Baccala Fritto” for a starter and it is OK, probably a lot more potato than fish and quite a bland aioli to go with it, OK but we have had lots that are better. My partner had a good “Carpaccio White Fish” which really worked well with some chili flakes and toasted fennel seeds, it is a good dish but really only a starter size ($21). I chose the “Coteletta” which again was fine but not really inspiring, again I have had many that are better. Only the roasts come with veggies so I ordered a side of zucchini, asparagus peas etc. It was quite good but at $18 for basically a bowl of peas I would hope so. Service is very good, even though it is packed there is no pressure to move on. We were still at the table when dinner started at 6:00, no reservations again so it gets busy quickly. We offered to clear the table and head for the bar but the waiter was happy to let us stay. When we asked for the bill he said: “Have you guys been here a long time?” “Yes” “Wow” He then gave us the bill for $675. It looks like the people we had shared the table with had done a runner and left us with the bill, it was quickly cleared up and our bill for food, a few beers and two bottles of decent wine was just over $200. Not bad value given the location etc. Overall the food is OK, but I would not go back for just the food. Interestingly it is owned by the same team that own “Icebergs” on the other side of the beach, and this is another restaurant I find has a “style of substance” problem. When it first opened the food was fantastic, but on a recent visit in March is was good but no longer stunning. However, the location of NBIF is stunning and it is a perfect way to while away an afternoon with a few beers, some wine, and then eat a few dishes to balance the alcohol.
  20. Chris Hennes

    Butternut Squash Ravioli

    Does anyone have a recipe for the filling for butternut squash ravioli? I've been craving it recently, and squash is now in season here. I'll probably go with a sage and brown butter sauce in keeping with the way it's usually served in these parts, but I'm open to other suggestions as well.
  21. Doodad

    Pasta alternatives

    My wife is on meds now for a heart condition that thankfully is not life threatening, but requires some additional lifestyle changes including lowering carbs. She is already fairly frugal on carbs, but this reinforces that. So, she wants ravioli. What can I do? I am having trouble thinking outside the box on this one. Sure, lettuce cups or such. What else?
  22. Jason Perlow


    Recently, I picked up a bag of this: Optimally, what would you sauce this with?
  23. wannabechef

    Reggiano Question

    I have a block of high quality (and expensive) reggiano. Would it be a waste to use this as the cheese in a homemade pesto sauce? I'm just wondering if the flavors will be lost in the sauce. Maybe it's better to use a cheaper supermarket cheese in the sauce itself - and use the good stuff for topping later? Any thoughts or opinions? ~WBC
  24. From a recent Texas Food Media DIGEST entry by Raynickben: From the article Kuby's sausages have been a long time favorite of mine. What are your favorite sausage makers in the DFW area?
  25. Jean Brislance

    WTN: Two Italians

    Two Italians from this week... 2001 Villadoria Nebbiolo d’Alba - Dark red with an orangish tint. Very aromatic, with cherry, red berry, rose petals, and what I swear smelled like truffle oil. Flavors of cherry, red berry, herbs, and some minerally notes. Initially the tannins very firm and grainy, almost crunchy! Extremely drying, chalky, and gripping on the finish. This did soften up somewhat on day two, but there were some substantial tannins that were really getting in the way of the fruit. Not sure if age will soften this, or if it is just really tannic. Great nose, but it left me feeling somewhat ambivalent. 1997 Tenuta Cappallotto Barolo Sori Paradiso - Sat for a good hour in the glass before tasting. Brick red in color. A pretty and fairly intense nose with cherry, tar, and a sweet floral perfume. Flavors of tar, flowers, cherry, licorice, and orange peel. The wine was quite approachable, with tannins that are a little drying, but they are pretty fine and were easily tamed by a bowl of duck and wild mushroom risotto. Good balance and nice flavor, finishing with some nice tar and licorice notes. Drinking well now, and seemingly not a long term ager, but it was tasty with the meal and a good Barolo bargain for the $29 paid. I found this enjoyable. All the best, Jean