Category: Traditions – Food from Abruzzo, Calabria, and Alto Aldige

Homemade Pizza – Not Hard At All!

We love pizza, especially fresh out of the oven.  So, how better to impress your football-loving friends than with your own homemade pizza, fresh out of your oven? Making pizza at home is a lot easier than you might think.  The task requires only a few ingredients which can be prepared a day ahead.  And you can add whatever toppings you might want – and it will be a whole lot more fun than the local delivery joint. Our major revision to this post is the way we handle making pizza dough.  It’s super easy, and it is almost fool-proof.  We are using the method we saw on Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street show (click HERE to see the original post), which comes together in minutes. Our favorite party idea:  Have guests bring their favorite ingredients – then mix & match. Here’s a quick primer on what to do, with a few of our favorite recipes. What You’ll Need The tools you’ll need for homemade pizza can be found in some grocery stores, specialty kitchen ware stores (for example, Sur la Table), and Amazon.com. While you can use a sheet pan, a pizza stone is really the best for getting a […]

Mini-Eggplant Recipe

We found these little beauties at our local farmer's market this weekend, and we had to come up with a cool and easy recipe to share.  These baby eggplants like to be stuffed, and are in fact the perfect size for this technique. Being as small as they are, the outer shell of the eggplant cooks completely as the filling cooks so no prior prep or precooking is needed before they are stuffed. They're less than 4 inches in diameter (called "Nubia" eggplants), and probably the best tasting mini variety. Our recipe is a slight variation on classic Italian cooking, which includes the flesh removed from the eggplants, onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggs, cheese - and a bit of pancetta.  Since you can serve this at room temperature, this dish is an elegant touch to any party, even a tailgate event. 3.2.2925 Mini-Eggplant Recipe Author: Mr. Serious Foodie Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 50 mins Serves: 4 servings Use your imagination to create variations on this recipe, such as substituting in feta cheese for Pecarino and mint instead of the oregano Ingredients 4 to 6 baby eggplants 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 medium onion, Peeled & [...]

Revising the Italian Easter Pie Recipe

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1458918608300{border-top-width: 1px !important;border-right-width: 1px !important;border-bottom-width: 1px !important;border-left-width: 1px !important;border-left-color: #000000 !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-top-color: #000000 !important;border-bottom-color: #000000 !important;}”] A few years ago, we published a recipe for Torta Pasqualina (which is simply Easter Pie) that has been passed down from our Italian heritage (we give quite a bit of history to the Easter Pie story in that article, which we won’t repeat here).  Though we’ve been making it the same way for a long time, we really never liked the crust – and sometimes the filling was quite heavy. We’ve done a bit of experimenting in our test kitchen, and found some very simple fixes.  It’s still a bit of work, but with our revisions it is not hard work – and the results are delicious! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”black” align=”align_center” border_width=”2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] The Crust Frankly, the crust for most Easter Pie recipes are not good.  We tried a few, including the classic we published previously – and just decided to rethink what we really wanted.  Let’s start with flaky – but a crust that has enough substance to hold up to filling.  We tried both store-bought filo dough and puff pastry, and found that puff pastry was quite good. […]

Three Simple Appetizer Recipes

We like simple – especially simple, tasty, and impressive.  We have three recipes that we have been using at our tasting events which fall in this category – and would be fun as starters at any event, any time of the year. So, let’s get started…… Salami Crisps There is only one ingredient: 24 paper-thin slices (4-inch rounds) Genoa salami (1/4 lb) Instructions: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange salami slices in 1 layer on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are crisp and beginning to curl, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer slices to a rack to cool. (They will crisp as they cool.) Parmesan Crisps Again, only one ingredient: 3 oz of high quality Parmigiano-Reggiano Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick liner. Instructions: Grate 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I like to use large holes of a box grater, but this recipe works just as well with finer grated cheese. Arrange 6 mounds (1 rounded tablespoon each) of cheese 3 inches apart on liner or parchment paper, then […]

Pasta Alla Carbonara – With a Twist

We visited our local Italian market (Mazarro’s in St. Petersburg, FL),  and came across guanciale.  It’s not easy to find in the US, and most people would mistake it for pancetta.  However, guanciale has a much more “porky” flavor than bacon or pancetta, and has a surprisingly delicate texture.  In Italian, guancia means pillow or cheek.  So, guanciale is made from pork cheeks.  To make this delicacy, the meat is rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices (mostly black pepper is used, but sometimes you’ll see thyme, fennel, and/or garlic). It is then cured for a minimum of three weeks. We started with the classic recipe for Pasta Alla Carbonara, but we’re adding a few Serious Foodie twists.  Enjoy! Pasta Alla Carbonara Serious Foodie Recipe Our first twist is the use of a farro-based pasta from Monograno that we got from the same Italian market.  It’s a bit hard to find, but you can easily source it from most Italian markets in major cities (such as Eataly in NYC). The texture was very much like standard wheat-based pasta, but had more flavor, and its better for you.  This recipe would work perfectly fine with standard spaghetti.   Ingredients: 1 pound dry […]

Italian Easter Pie – Torta Pasqualina alla Mickalene

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Growing up in an Italian Catholic family was all about family, food, and tradition.  One great tradition was making the Easter Pie. During the Lenten season, we all fasted, especially on Good Friday (no meat) and on Holy Saturday.  When it came to Easter Sunday, we splurged. I can remember the smells on the Saturday before Easter, when Mickalene was frying off the sausage, making the crust, then baking the pies.  We couldn’t wait until we dug into the cheesy, meaty, dense delight – but it was reserved for Easter Sunday morning.  The dish was incredibly labor intensive, and my Mom make enough to feed a small army. There are many varieties of the “Easter Pie,” based on the regional Italian cooking.  It’s called Pizzagaina, pizza piena (stuffed pizza), pastiera in the Naples, pizzachino, pizza rustica, but we called it  Torta Pasqualina (which is simply Easter Pie). For the most part, it is a quiche-like savory pie, but I have also seen some sweet versions.  The basics of the savory version call for eggs, cheese, meat, often a green vegetable (we used spinach, our Tyrolean parts of the family used asparagus, and we’ve seen others use swiss chard).  My Mom’s […]